19 February 2005, Sri Lanka
When Amma visited the Tamil tsunami-relief camp in the Ampara district of Sri Lanka on 17th February, 15 Tamil Tigers—soldiers of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam)—came for Amma’s darshan, as did 20 soldiers from the Sinhalese government’s Special Task Force (STF). The Sinhalese and Tamil armies have been engaged in a brutal civil war since 1983, in which more than 60,000 people have been killed.
“Their hearts were open,” Amma said. “They told me that they want to become united, but that they have a goal to achieve. I went there for tsunami rehabilitation; they came for my darshan.”
The LTTE soldiers who came for Amma’s darshan were all young women, recognizable as militants by their short haircuts, men’s shirts and wide black gun belts. As the ladies came before Amma, their hardened face softened and smiles lit up their eyes.
Maheswari Velayudham, the political secretary to Sri Lankan Minister Douglas Devananda, was also in attendance. She was overwhelmed at seeing the two groups peacefully together. “Amma is the unifying force,” she said. “She is the catalyst. Only Amma can bring all these people together.”
When asked by reporters at Trivandrum if She would be interested in facilitating peace between the two warring groups, Amma said, “Amma is not interested in interfering in the internal affairs of another country, but if they ask, I will discuss.”
On 18 February, Amma met with Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunge at the president’s residence in Colombo. The president expressed to Amma her concern regarding the intense strife plaguing her country. She told Amma that just when it seemed like some progress was being made with the peace negotiations that the tsunami had come, once again bringing pain and suffering.
Amma told the president that she indeed felt the pain of the Sri Lankan people, and that as with every situation in life two factors were required for a favourable outcome: human effort and God’s grace.