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Film by Sri Lankan rebels seen in government bastions

January 03, 2003|From Associated Press

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — A film produced by Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels was released this week, becoming the first of their nearly 50 movies to be shown in government-controlled areas.

The two-hour film, "Kadalora Kaatru" ("A Wind Along the Coast"), is based on the story of a fishing family in the north, said rebel spokesman Ilamthendral. It depicts the hardships civilians faced during the 19-year civil war that has killed nearly 65,000 people.

Ilamthendral said the movie was released Tuesday in theaters in all eight districts of the island's northeast, and also will be shown in video parlors.

The rebels' film unit has produced nearly 50 movies based on true stories during the war and circulated them in the areas under its control. This is the first time one of their films has been shown in government-controlled areas, Ilamthendral said.

Under a Norway-brokered cease-fire in February, unarmed rebels of the Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam are permitted to enter government-controlled areas in the northeast for political activities.

The rebels have fought since 1983 to create a separate state for the 3.2 million Tamil minority. They accuse the 14 million Sinhalese majority of discrimination in education and jobs. Nearly 1.6 million people have been displaced by the civil war.

Government and rebel negotiators have concluded three rounds of successful peace talks since September, and the next round is expected early this month.

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