The alleged killing of Prabakaran’s son has evoked horror, but there can be no forgetting the children who were the LTTE’s cannon fodder, P. Jeyaram stated in an Op-Ed in The Hindu of April 3.
The writer, the then Sri Lanka correspondent of UNI who visited Jaffna in 1994 along with four other journalists recalled their visit to an exhibition organized by the LTTE at the the Nallur Kandaswamy Temple.
"We came across a group of 15-20 children, younger-looking than Balachandran and not half as well fed. They were all in military fatigues, wore caps and walked silently in single file. Seeing our surprised looks, the guide explained that they were “cadets” of the LTTE’s military academy," Jeyaram wrote.
"Hundreds of children, many forcibly taken away from schools, had been sent as cannon fodder by Prabhakaran and his lieutenants in the fanatical pursuit of their dream. In fact, some of us who managed to slip out of Subhash Hotel, where we stayed, were told by long-time contacts that child recruitment by the Tigers had become so rampant that mothers and fathers stood guard outside school gates to prevent “cradle snatching”.
"There were whispers that while most children suffered the fate of being sent off to fight, Prabakaran’s older son, Charles, then just about as old as Balachandran was when he was killed, was driven to school in an air-conditioned SUV and wore expensive clothes and shoes that others could only dream of".
"This then is a requiem for not only Balachandran but all those nameless children who perished fighting in the conflict".
Read the full article at: http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/the-many-balachandrans-of-jaffna/article4573887.ece?homepage=true#.UVuhbNDWs2k.gmail