30 October, 2020

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The State Is Being Over-Represented By Its Security Arm

By Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

The sudden deterioration in the climate in the north is unfortunate.  When I visited North last week it seemed that the sense of normalcy in the North was getting stronger. The military posts and uniformed sentries on duty at short and regular intervals on the roads are no longer there.  Most of the people I spoke to in Jaffna told me that the military personnel in Jaffna behaved well and they encountered few or no problems with them.  However, they also said they could not speak with assurance about how the military was behaving in the Wanni, which is a much poorer and less densely inhabited part of the North.  When I spoke to people in Kilinochchi they gave answers that were no different from those of the people of Jaffna.  They even said that the military was helpful to the extent that if a household had a problem they would even go sometimes to the army rather than to the grama sevaka or village official, as the army could do more to help them.

However, the recent arrest and detention of Balendran Jeyakumari , one of the leading activist members of the organization of families of the disappeared may be a  indication of things to come.  She was arrested in the northern district of Kilinochchi after a policeman was shot in that area.  The government’s police spokesperson stated that a shooting incident took place in the north and they have identified a house where the suspect has been hiding and that two women are being investigated.    Human rights defenders in the area report lots of checkpoints, raids, questioning, fear and surveillance.   Jayakumari is reported to have been detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act for 16 days by a court order and sent to the Boosa detention centre which is at the other southern corner of the country.   This has been followed by the arrest and interrogation of two human rights defenders,  Ruki Fernando and Fr Praveen Selvadurai who were in Kilinochchi to see to the welfare of other families of disappeared in the aftermath of the arrest of Jayakumari.

This is an example of a counterproductive action that has been taken in disregard of the larger political consequences at a time when the UN Human Rights Council is debating the human rights situation in Sri Lanka.   Human rights activists like Ruki and Fr Praveen are those who give hope to the hopeless and who by their support discourage extremism.  The draft resolution on Sri Lanka which is being circulated among members of the UN Human Rights Council expresses deep concern over reported intimidation and retaliation against civil society members who engage with UN human rights mechanisms including those who met with the High Commissioner during her visit.  As the arrests in the North can conceivably be seen as an attempt to cause fear and the silencing of those who are seeking justice, the government needs to make clear what its position on this matter is and give a credible explanation.  It also needs to reconsider its use of the military to deal with the people of the North as this is bound to cause increased friction in the longer term.

Northern Militarisation

The militarization of the North consists of three factors.  One is the building of new military complexes right in the heart of Jaffna.  I saw a new one being built opposite the Civil Military Liaison Office, itself a big military complex.  This is on both sides of a single road in a highly residential part of Jaffna.  At a time when the government in its efforts to beautify Colombo is planning to move its military complexes located within Colombo to the suburbs, it is putting these up in the heart of Jaffna, which gives the people an impression of an oppressive and huge military presence.  The second factor is ubiquitous presence of military and intelligence personnel in civilian dress who are there to gather information, which they do very boldly.  They will go into the midst of a civilian function, such as a prayer meeting, and inquire what is going on.

The third factor is the acquisition of land, some of it privately owned, most of it state land allocated to different government departments in the past, such as the railway, being transferred to the military to set up more camps, to build military complexes, and which denies to the people their traditional farming land.  The stated reason of the government for the building of military complexes in the North is to ensure national security.  However, a civilian population that feels itself to be oppressed, even as a perception rather than a reality, is a more likely breeding ground for revolt and anti-government sentiment than a civilian population that feels itself to be free and trusted.   This is what the government seems to fear, and is guarding itself against, but in a way that is making its fears come true.

In both Jaffna and Kilinochchi when I asked what the people’s main complaints and grievances were, the answers that I invariably received was that it was more opportunities for livelihoods and to obtain houses to replace what they had lost in the war.  It seems that the people’s priorities are economic betterment, as argued by the government.  At the same time the people had the feeling that they were not being trusted which was the rationale for the presence of the army camps in several areas in small contingents. This is a barrier to true reconciliation.   The main problem is the presence of the army in the North because the government mistrusts the Tamil people.  Five years after the end of the war there is a need to start rebuilding the trust rather than to reinforce the mistrust which is what is happening.

Mass Grave

Unfortunately, there seems to be an absence of a coordinated and rational governmental response to dealing with the Tamil people.  This has become evident in the case of incidents at the community level taking place in North of the country in the shadow of the resolution on Sri Lanka being debated at the UN Human Rights Council. The draft resolution expresses “ serious concern at the continuing reports of violations of human rights in Sri Lanka, including sexual and gender-based violence, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, torture and violations of the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, as well as intimidation of and reprisals against human rights defenders, members of civil society and journalists, threats to judicial independence and the rule of law…”

Ironically, the incidents pertain to the issues highlighted by the draft resolution in regard to disappeared persons and threats to human rights defenders.   One such incident concerns the alleged mass grave found in Mannar in the north, which was one of the last battlegrounds of the war.  Initially government spokespersons asserted that the graves were those of victims of the LTTE.  However, this was subsequently revised to be a traditional cemetery.  The Archaeological Department which conducted excavations into the mass grave declared that the alleged mass graves were in fact an ancient graveyard.  News reports said that the government authorities had also temporarily terminated the excavations connected with the investigation and the remains would be sent for laboratory testing.

However, relatives of those gone missing during the war have not been satisfied with this decision and have canvassed the matter in courts of law.  These developments have taken place in the run up to the vote in Geneva on the resolution on Sri Lanka.  The government’s claim that a mass grave unearthed by workers laying water pipes alongside a road could be a traditional cemetery, after having said it was an LTTE mass grave where the LTTE buried the bodies of its victims, would be viewed with skepticism at this time.  There is a need for the government to speak in one voice about important and controversial matters.  There is a need for the Sri Lankan State to galvanise its civil institutions which are a necessary counter balance to those that are couched in the language of national security. The problem seems to be that Sri Lanka today is being represented by institutions of the state emphasizing national security priorities, narrowly defined.

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Latest comments

  • 2
    6

    Jehan says “….  Five years after the end of the war there is a need to start rebuilding the trust rather than to reinforce the mistrust which is what is happening….”

    ‘REBUILDING TRUST’ is being carried out even at this moment in the office of Navin Pillay (a Tamil), in the sessions of UNHRC and it’s corridors, in the streets of London/NY/Oslo/.. and at the gatherings of so called Tamil diospora ( displaced Tamils) at various locations of the globe but out of Sri Lanka …
    It is being engineered and helped by TNA, catholic clergy, human rights champions of the world, NGO’s and
    western politicians in power and not in power ( guys who are evolving into third rated Politicians in third world) ….

    Don’t worry Jehan … It’s being handled in extremely professional manner by the very very powerfuls in the world at the corridors of the power … Why you worry? Don’t you have trust on your friends? Very very weird and i’m surpried…
    Run to Geneva and start to contribute to ‘REBUILDING TRUST’ ….
    Good luck, Jehan …

    • 6
      2

      Jehan Perera, why do you always talk about the militarization of the north and ignore the militarization of the rest of Sri Lanka?
      Today the SOUTH and COLOMBO too is a GIANT MILITARY BUSINESS COMPLEX of Gotabaya Jarapassa – the DEEP STATE MILITARY DICTATOR OF SRI LANKA who is supported by your friends Vasudeva Nanayakkara and the ridiculous so-called Dr. Nimalka Fernando..
      Chathem Streed in Fort, the Independence Square where the Sinhala Buddhist flag rather than the national flag flies, and huge areas of Battaramulla are military cantonments..
      JP, You really need to educate yourself and stop seeing Militarization of Sri Lanka through ane ETHNIC LENS. MILITARIZATION is ALL OVER LANKA – Ms. Thisaranee’s writings which consistently show the links between militarization in the north and SOUTH are far better..!

    • 1
      2

      Wam Batto;

      No need to run to Genève, Because we have a fully-fledged foreign service staff,
      thanks to Educated Jarapassa Family [Sic]

      even to the CHINA, Russia, Uganda Or Cuba.
      If every thing goes Wrong, Your masters, The F king family with Shit eating Pig will run to USA.

      Your Dhaja Jarapassa clan and Shit eating Pig’s Goons are REBUILDING THE TRUST IN Hanwella, Rathupaswala, kilinochchi area.
      When we read news papers, every thing understood.

      • 1
        1

        Pansi Laka is loosing it. Isn’t he?

        It happens to all hymies suffering from paranoia. The disease, and the foul language, comes from European ghettos – like with Victoria Nudelman.

  • 4
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    The long term agenda of the govt in the North is similiar to what the Israeli Govt is doing in Palestine. Gradually acquistion of land and establishment of kibbutz type military settlements. Have no illusions about it. Subjugation of the people is a side issue due to the problems it has with the international community.

    • 2
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      Safa,
      Good, we should have the military for protection from terrorism in any corner of SL as needed. More than 30 years of killings and murder by the terror group was more than what we could take. People of the south should be also encouraged to migrate and settle down in the north. That will help get rid of the homogeneity of Sri Lankan races. Learning each others language, religions, culture, food etc. brings people together and takes the country forward. The US is a prime example for this.

      • 1
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        Eusense: you make a lot of good sense with this comment. Isn’t it funny how people now complain after all we have been through. The older folk might recall that nobody shouted about the underfunding/under resourcing of our police and security forces in those early years. When VP and his boys murdered Alfred, it was a local affair so no law and order was upheld. All those wasted years; what for? At least give the GOSL, (yes, even Gota) credit for ensuring that we never again allow such a situation to develop. You are right on us all coming together; not just the races learning about each other but also showing respect and consideration for each other and allowing everyone to live in dignity. Is that a dream too far? I agree that the US with all its faults and shortcomings is still the best example of a working model of people and their cultures living together. Never mind Mahinda’s ‘chinthanaya’ what we really need is a Sri Lankan dream – of the people, by the people for the people.

  • 3
    2

    If Shakespeare were alive, he would write a play: Comedy of the Indian Ocean, or Ceylon; the cast is international and colorful.

    The theme will be Sinhala supremacy in independent Ceylon, and how to diffuse it and confound the ongoing genocide of miserable Tamils.

    We have the demagogue, 24-hour fame SWRD; weeping widow, Srimao; one-eyed daughter, heroes come and go, and the current hero the king and emperor of Sri Lanka and Tamil Eelam, his Excellency, no other than Dudda Madinda; Satan incarnate Gota and the dynasty of Rajapaksayas.

    Court jesters include orange clad bhikus, Weerawansas, Veera Soorayaas, Mosque and Church destroying BBS, and of course the Hakeem and the Moors.

    International actors include Wild-West fame uncle Sam, a Turbaned Sikh, Roma rani Sonia, and the ruler the waves, Britannia.

    The stage is set in the cool climes of Geneva, year after year with the theme invigorated to suit the cmood. Don’t forget the stars, the Ban Key Moon, who plays to the tune of the piper and the judge Pillay who judges the play, and is set to pass the baton to the successor soon.

    The play is in town and is good fun, don’t miss it – this March madness.

    • 1
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      Thiru. do you know Shakespeare from your left Lansi buttock?

      Don’t try to step in to unknown territory, thinking the hymies are God’s gift to the world. THey are not.

      Your lot are the problem. Get the hell out of Sri Lanka with your protocols.

  • 1
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    “Vipoosana” the 13-year old apparently taken into child care is a curious case.

    The handler of Vipoosana is known as Gajendran, aka “Horse Riding”. So called because during LTTE days the guy would bring in LTTE agents into Jaffna University using illegal means. He is the guy who setup the LTTE cell in the campus.

    Gajendran is also responsible for engineering attacks on Elian’s widow during election and Uthayan Newspaper to frame the army.

    Vipoosana brother is apparently missing. Going by the modus operandi of these people he has left the country.

    • 4
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      V, Bheeshana,

      as you say,

      Katunayaka factory worker killing,
      Chilaw city fisherman Killing,
      Rathupaswala Water Protesters killings,
      Prison Inmates killings,
      Business men abduction’s,
      Wanathamulla Protester Sunil abduction,
      Intimidating Customs and exercise dpt Officers and so on
      are Done by those LTTE agents and V-Bheeshana Riders.

      V- Bheeshana,

      There are about 90 present of morons, and uneducated IRC, buffoons at Diyawanna oya Piggery called your bosses’ Sri Lanka Parliament.

      Tell that to those buffalos and Hyenas of shit eating pigs.

      Hoooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

  • 4
    1

    Tamils are in mourning. They are looking for assistance to heal their wounds. They are looking for assistance to re-build their lives.

    Looking at ordinary citizens as security threat is counter productive. And, blaming them for not trusting the authorities is even worse.

    Trust is a two-way street. The presence of military among civilians – in civil or in uniform – is blocking the street for Tamils to trust the Government machinery.

    Hey, whom am I speaking to … .

    • 2
      3

      Unreal,
      You need to get real here!
      Who do you think wounded them? Shouldn’t they be resenting the terror group LTTE who devastated their life for over 30 years? Shouldn’t these Tamils need to go to the UNHRC against the remnants of LTTE and the diaspora who funded them?
      Why did innocent Tamil civilians had to die for the stupidity of the terrorists? One reason was the terrorist looked like what you describe as “ordinary citizens”. No one in SL wants terrorists to raise their ugly head ever again. UNHRC or anything else does not matter, the GOSL’s duty is to take preemptive action on any sign of new terrorism. Sadly, people of Jaffna will have to live under such circumstances for a while. But there is an alternative, they are always welcome to migrate to the south and live with the Sinhalese.

    • 2
      1

      Unreal, Oh really. I visit Vavuniya,Kilinochchi and Jaffna about month ago and I did not see anybody mourning or weeping. I saw bustling streets of Killinochchi and in Jaffna with full of energy and lot of businesses activities going on.

      Maybe you day dreaming. Hey run to Geneva and meet Navi Nazi Pillai if you want to speak and cry like Sassitharan. And finally say I’m scared to go back to SL and please give me political asylum.

      • 2
        2

        Noel,

        I do not know everything. But you pretend to know everything.

        You do not know old history (as I have found from your earlier comments elsewhere on CT) and you do not know what is going on now. You try to twist things.

        ” I visit Vavuniya,Kilinochchi and Jaffna about month ago and ****I did not see anybody mourning or weeping****”

        Do you know the NPC election results?

        If the people are happy they would have voted for murderer Rajapakse.

        • 2
          2

          Anpu, I know old history and I know what’s going on. Bloody pro-LTTE die-ass-pora wants to re-write the history of SL. For that purpose they bought many people in SL and abroad. And bought or forcefully silence intellectuals like Prof.Indrapalan. And they bought the service of few retired Professors,Doctors,Archealogists, etc. including even from few Sinhalese.

          Die-Ass-Pora bought H/R agents,medias,MP’s,Senators,TV channels pouring millions of dollars collecting from their own ethnic work force in Canada,EU,UK,Norway,Australia just to scream against Sri Lanka by saying there are human right violations,no religious harmony,media people vanishing,religious placess attacking etc..In any country these kind of problems exist when several ethnic groups living together. And their own Navi Nazi Pillai ready to accept and forward these bogus complains immediately to UNHCR Assembly because she has only few months to remain in UNHCR as Chief, while real H/R violators whom backing her just to cover their violations.

          Even if the Tamils in North happy they voted for TNA because of the sepertist ideas forcefully inserted into their minds through out last 6 decades by from politicians like Chelvanayagam to Amirthalingam. When brainwashing done it is not very easy to erase. Those politicians never preach co-existence. They preach seperatism while preaching us to co-exist. It is easy to win elections when their motto is Seperate state. It is easy to make wars when their motive is Seperatism.

          • 2
            0

            Noel,

            You are not making any sense. When you have time read these.
            (1) Crimes Against Humanity in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province

            Sri Lanka Campaign 2014 – http://docs-eu.livesiteadmin.com/57118390-e2bf-47a8-9ae5-d7b895d842c9/crimes-against-humanity-in-sri-lanka-s-northern-province.pdf

            (2) Prof H.L. Seneviratne – “Tyrants like Dutugamunu used religion for purposes of gaining and remaining in power, and as opium of the masses, and there were willing supporters among the Sangha, as there are plenty that support the tyranny of our own times.”
            https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/sharmini-on-buddhism-and-ritual/

            • 0
              2

              Anpu, Here you go again. Here is one bugger who bought from Die-Ass-Pora’s blood money. Prof.H.L.Senevirathna. This is a fine example to prove what I’ve written earlier Anpu. The only thing I want to know is how much Die-Ass-Pora paid to him if you know that. There are many more.

          • 3
            0

            noel-jones

            “Anpu, I know old history and I know what’s going on. Bloody pro-LTTE die-ass-pora wants to re-write the history of SL.”

            What is old history you claim to know? Lets hear it. How does bloody pro-LTTE die-ass-pora want to re write he history of SL?

            So you agree that the bloody pro-LTTE die-ass-pora is no different to those Sinhala/Buddhist revisionist pseudo historians such bigots like Nalin de Silva, Champika, Bandu de Silva, Kamalika Pieris, Dharshini Ratnavale, ……… Mahanama, Navin, Ravi Perera, Banda …. and you.

            I like the idea of competitive history writing.

            The future generation is not prepared to accept your history writing as rewritten now by both Tamils and Sinhalese at face value. History will not be kinder to all of you simply because future generation can see through all your stupidity in history.

            Remember they certainly will have the use of more advanced scientific methods and technology to explore not only the future but the past as well.

            • 2
              2

              Native Mixed Veddha, You first write your history in SL without criticise Sinhalese history. And how your native blood mixed with tamil blood. And how Naana Thambi’s who came to trade in Pollebadda,Henanigala,Bintenna have sex with Veddha woman and then mixed muslim blood into your clan. Write it first man then talk about others.

          • 1
            2

            Noel-Jones, you write a load of old bollocks. Rewriting history is a professional job and clearly one that you are not cut out for – at least trying and get the grammar and spelling write.

  • 1
    2

    Military engagement with civilians in Jaffna is available here.

    http://www.cimicjaffna.com/

    • 0
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      Vibhu,
      Why there is no such military engagements in the south? I feel it is a kind of reverse discrimination by the GOSL?

    • 4
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      Yes; I see the cat is claiming its guarding the milk.

  • 4
    0

    At last the man sees to some degree what is going on in the North-East.

    In his concluding remark he says:

    “The problem seems to be that Sri Lanka today is being represented by institutions of the state emphasizing national security priorities, narrowly defined”

    I say it is much more than that:

    The Sri Lankan state, their institutions and the rulers or government tell blatant lies, and deceives everybody including the international community.

    After all all state institutions and arms of government are under the direct control of the president, who is an established.

  • 4
    1

    All Police constables in all over the country are now been issued with Revolvers.What this implies. Keep whole country under the Gun and to create an environment of fear.These guns will be used by the regime against people and justified. Unfortunately the people have no defenders.To day the armed forces are the most dangerous factor in the country. The people in north are more vulnerable as every thing is under the control of forces. There are fools who talk about the reduction of check points and tiny camps but where those soldiers are being kept ? They are not totally removed from the north. They could come out at any time to oppress people physically.

    Now the regime has already started hunting HR defenders in order to suppress the voice.The Government should respect and abide by the international norms of good governance. The present regime has failed this and the people have no alternative but to look for international support.

    I strongly condemn the arbitrary arrest of Ruki and Fr, Praveen who are genuinely and truly been committed to the cause of defending of HR of innocent and helpless people.Balakumari a women who is a direct victim of disappearance was also taken in to custody by MARA’s regime.

    Regarding the Mass graves, it was a total lie of the Chief of Archeological Department who is a close associate of MARA that the mass grave was an abandoned cemetery as the map of the area which was drawn in 1961 very clearly indicates that there was no such cemetery existing in the place through out the history.The whole country is now kept under tight rule of MARA’s family and the people are being treated as slaves.

  • 5
    0

    Jehan,

    It all started more than 50 years ago (not 30 years). You may be too young to know all these things.

    “Some soldiers attempted to *****rape****** a young girl of 16. But her father ran up to her, held her in his arms and shouted for help. A number of people collected there and the soldiers drove away quickly. As a sequel to this, that day in the evening, a shooting incident took place at the Tellipaalai-Pandaterripu road. It was widely believed that at least two soldiers died as a result of the shooting. At Navanthurai, a little beyond Jaffna town, a soldier abducted a woman from her house while the male members were away and brought her back and left her at the gate of her house twelve hours later during curfew time. For several days, the male members of the house and this woman tried to track the soldier, but it was understood that this soldier was taken away from this place.

    At Koddadi, during curfew time, it was rumoured that some soldiers entered a house where there were two women. There was no male member. As they entered the house, the women shouted for help, but simultaneously the soldiers who were outside at the gate started singing baila at the top of their voice. On account of this, the women could not be heard by the neighbours who were by no means in close proximity. So that as the baila went on, a soldier *****raped****** the young woman as the aged mother’s entreaties and her shouts proved abortive.”

    http://new.sangam.org/2011/05/Satyagraha_1961.php?uid=4338

  • 3
    0

    The coming signs are not at all good. The Police being armed, the Army
    in active rolls in all Districts are indicators for all opposing
    politics to lie low. The silence in frequent utterances of Gota is
    also to be a hint of something impending.

  • 1
    3

    Jehan PErera:

    You don’t know the real world.

    Snowden exposed a tiny bit of the true picture.

    You need to think man.

    Try to be intelligent.

  • 3
    1

    It is a very objective and realistic analysis by Jehan. It is obvious that Jayakumari had been targeted for such treatment ever since she became vocal during the CHOGM rightfully demanding information about her missing son. She pays a price for being concerned about her son. The killing of the policemen provided the security forces an excellent opportunity to make her a convenient scapegoat for the story of harbouring of the assailant who has not been identified. Persons like this who are sent to Boosa are tortured and do not return in a hurry. It is feared that that she would languish there while her 13 year old daughter will “grow up” without a mother at her crucial age.
    Jehan succinctly puts it:”As the arrests in the North can conceivably be seen as an attempt to cause fear and the silencing of those who are seeking justice, the government needs to make clear what its position on this matter is and give a credible explanation. It also needs to reconsider its use of the military to deal with the people of the North as this is bound to cause increased friction in the longer term.”
    The courage and the dedication of Human rights activists like Ruki Fernando and Fr Praveen who give hope to such hopeless people must be admired. Indeed such persons in the face of danger take such risks to support persons who are so persecuted and oppressed.Bensen

  • 1
    1

    It is not the government mistrust of the tamil people. tamil people are prone to get trapped by the NGOs and the so call human rite defenders in order to prove a cooked up case to the international community. government is scared of letting them loose at this stage. since NE lost the hope of LTTE and now believe that they are more deprived than ever, can get in to any deal with the west ridden human rite defenders.

    i do not see any wrong doing by sending ( if its happening) spying teams to protect the interest of the country, to live with the civil society. it is a common scenario in the world, if US can trap the conversations of a leader of Germany ect,, how wrong could this be in Sri lanka among sri lankan communities. government needs intelligence in every part of its territories. it doesn’t mean the UPFA only, who ever comes to power will have to conduct such activities. in fact Sri Lanka is so primitive in such work. need to do more surveillance to protect the country from separatist in the international arena. there are many footage we can see which has been published by the Channel 4 over the past few years which work against the Sri lankan government at present. if the so call human rites violations taking place in the areas of NE, why not some one record them and publish it newly ? what prevent them doing that. many have mobile phones with camera these days and its not impossible to do so. military presence is justifiable as long as there are no violation by the forces. this part of the country needs to be protect for a long time, probably until the heat of the LTTE diaspora is shaded away.

  • 0
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    @ Jeevan K, we have sent you an email, please reply – CT

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