Karuna Amman,a former top commander of the LTTE,was today sworn in as the non-Cabinet Minister for National Integration and Reconciliation by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa,shortly after he joined the ruling SLFP along with 2,000 supporters.
43-year-old Amman alias Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan,once a close aide of LTTE supremo V Prabhakaran,had split from the outfit in 2004 following differences with the rebel chief and formed Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) party which now heads the coalition government in Eastern Province.
He visited the residence of the Sri Lankan President this afternoon along with 2,000 former fighters to join the Rajapaksa-led Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP),official sources told PTI.
Karuna later took oath as the non-Cabinet Minister for National Integration and Reconciliation.
He joined the government two days after the TMVP members surrendered their arms in Eastern Batticaloa. His deputy and Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillaiyan,who was also an activist of the LTTE for a long time after joining it as child soldier,formally led the process of the surrender of the arms.
Pillayan said the TMVP wanted to create a trustworthy atmosphere in the country.
In January last year,Karuna was sentenced to nine months in jail by the Isleworth Crown Court in West London for traveling on a forged passport to Britain.
The TMVP-led United People Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government assumed power in the Eastern Province in May 2008 following their victory.
Weapons cannot obtain power in this country. The TMVP realised that and decided to enter politics. On the one hand we kept weapons with us for security reasons,on the other hand we have a political plan in mind, Pillayan said after handing over the weapons on behalf of the TMVP.
He added that we surrendered the weapons in order to create a democratic,secure,trustworthy and peaceful environment as expected by our people.
TMVP Spokesman Azard Moulana told media that cadres whose weapons were handed over to the military would be considered for joining the Sri Lankan Security Forces.
Most of the military wing has handed over their weapons since there is no further need for the TMVP to carry weapons as the LTTE is no longer a threat to us, Moulana said adding,many of the party cadres have no problem with joining the armed forces.
Meanwhile,a defence official said the TMVP cadres who fulfill the requirements will be given the chance to join the Armed Forces.