Monday, September 27, 2004

LTTE rejects request of villagers to return By Ranjith Jayasundara

LTTE has notified registered villagers in Nadduwan Kawdu village in Elephant Pass under the LTTE not to return until further notice.

The LTTE has prohibited resettlement until land mines and anti-personal mines are cleared and protection confirmed.

LTTE has commenced clearing land mines by their land mine clearing unit Wemipura battalion and the human unit engaged in clearing operations.

There were 168 families left this village for Vavuniya, Jaffna or Killinochchi when the war was on for refugee camps or to stay with their relations. Now they have informed the LTTE that they need to come back. The LTTE response was negative.

Paramilitary cadre shot dead in Jaffna [TamilNet, September 27, 2004 09:45 GMT]

A member of a paramilitary group working with the Sri Lanka army was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Jaffna Monday afternoon, Police said. The man, identified as Valli Sundaram, was riding a motorbike on KKS Road between Maruthanamadam and Inuvil when two gunmen on a motorbike fired on him with a handgun, according to Police.

He is from the coastal village of Myiliddy. Mr. Sundaram was residing in the EPRLF (V) camp by the Sri Lanka army's main garrison in Jaffna town after he was displaced from his village due to Sri Lanka army operations in 1990, Police said.

LTTE condemns assassination of senior leader [TamilNet, September 26, 2001 13:09 GMT]

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in an official statement issued from its headquarters in Vanni Wednesday, strongly condemned the killing of one of its senior leaders, Colonel Shankar. The statement said the LTTE leadership "shares the Tamil people's outrage and treats the killing of a senior leader with utmost gravity."

The full text of the press release follows:

"The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in an official statement issued from its headquarters in Vanni Wednesday, strongly condemned the killing of one of its senior leaders Colonel Shankar.

"A deep penetration commando unit of the Sri Lankan Army triggered a claymore mine on Col. Shankar's vehicle and he was killed on the spot. The incident occurred around 10.45 a.m. today near Oddusudan in the heart of Vanni, Northern Sri Lanka.

"Col. Shankar has been an active participant in the Tamil people's freedom struggle for nearly two decades. He was a close confidante of the LTTE leader, Mr. Vellupillai Pirapaharan and accompanied him in the first historic meeting in the Vanni with Oslo's Special Envoy, Erik Solheim, in November 2000.

"Provocatively, Col. Shankar's killing occurred on the anniversary of the death during hunger strike of Lt. Col Thileepan, a day of profound sadness amongst the Tamil people. The LTTE leadership shares the Tamil people's outrage and treats the killing of a senior leader with utmost gravity.

"Whilst maintaining to the international community that it is committed to a negotiated settlement, President Chandrika Kumaratunga's regime has repeatedly sought to sabotage the Norwegian peace initiative and continued its military operations. As a result of repeated Sri Lankan acts of aggression, formal and informal efforts to de-escalate the conflict have proved futile. The attack on Col Shankar and the date chosen for it highlights the Sri Lankan government's ongoing determination to seek the military option in solving the Tamil national question. Prospects for peace talks through Norwegian facilitation, stalled earlier through Colombo's efforts to sideline Mr. Solheim, have been further set back by the killing of this senior LTTE leader."

Preaching to the convinced

The ‘Peace’ cacophony increased in crescendo last week and hit the high notes. It was the International Day for Peace and this was commemorated in this country perhaps as no other country did.

The state media had little news other than ‘Peace’ and President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s visit to the New York UN headquarters where she too made a clarion call for peace in the world over as well as in her country. The peace drums were being beaten in gusto in the newspapers, over radio and TV. Peace demonstrations were organised in many parts of the country such as mini marathons. The Centrepiece was Sarvodaya Chief’s demonstration termed, Ahimsa, on the lawns of the BMICH where some thousands who had been transported from far away places gathered. Mr Ariyarartne’s demonstration was held to ‘meditate on Peace’.

Transcendental and metaphysical thoughts and prayers to gods may help in bringing about the wishes of the devotees but to whom were they appealing to on terra firma? What is the ‘Peace’ that they wanted and whom did they think was disturbing the tranquillity or in more materialistic terms, making war?

Was it the government of Sri Lanka? Are our armed forces at war right now and killing people or is it the LTTE itself in their fratricidal between its two factions? Who is killing so called government intelligence agents and cadres of the EPDP? Who is abducting children for war? The answer is all too obvious.

All are well aware that there is one organisation under one fascist megalomaniac making war and killing people but none of these ‘peace’ demonstrators dared even to name him or the organisation. Why oh why is this deadly silence? The favourite excuse from NGO workers to diplomats is that it is not the way of conflict resolution. And all negotiators have been scared of calling a spade a spade. This has been an ideal situation for Prabakaran right right along—- using the peace fa`E7ade to further his military and political objectives.

Could not that messiah for peace, A.T.Ariyaratne ,from the foot steps of the BMICH on the day of his ‘Ahimsa’ cried out aloud for the world to hear : ‘Vellupillai Prabakaran, in the name of humanity, in the name of your brothers and sisters of Sri Lanka, stop the killings?’ Mr. Ariyaratne who once threatened a ‘Peace March’ to Jaffna from Dondra but which failed to proceed even a short distance, made no such direct appeal to the killers. Meditation with his demonstrators dressed in white, 190,000 of them, as he claimed, was his contribution.

But the message he sent out gave a totally wrong picture to what is happening in this country. Such mass demonstrations for ‘Peace’ in a country where only a terroist organisation continues its killings, coveys a totally different picture to the outside world. It conveys the impression that a massive bloody conflict is on in this country and the minorities are being massacred. The crimes committed by the killers are covered by this fa`E7ade of peace.

It is doing no good to the country and its people. It only amounts to preaching to the convinced and taking away attention from the killers.

It will be recalled that peace has been the objective of every Sri Lankan government since the guerrilla war with the terroist groups commenced. President J.R.Jayewardene went over to India to bring about a settlement because India at this stage was building up the guerrilla groups. Since then, every government has sued for peace. But the ‘Peace Mongers’ particuarly those backed by foreign NGOs consistently portrayed the government as the war mongers and the LTTE as representatives of a suppressed minority.

It happened last week, this time the objective being to compel the government to sit down for negotiations on terms demanded by the LTTE. Even foreign governments that conceded that the LTTE proposals were a blue print for a separate state now want the government to start negotiations—- come hell or high-water—- for the government and the people of this country.

People like Mr. Ariyaratne must realise that preaching to the convinced like his faithful Sarvodaya organisation in the full glare of the media will not contribute to peace. It is counterproductive to peace. Go forth Mr. Ariyaratne, to the north and east and preach your ‘ahimsa’there. The people of Colombo are not killers and don’t need your loving kindness.


Fighting in Nagar Kovil [TamilNet, September 26, 2000 12:42 GMT]

Fighting has been reported between the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and the Liberation Tigers in Nagar Kovil on the southeastern coast of Jaffna since Tuesday afternoon.

Residents in neighbouring areas reported heavy shelling and firing. Further details were not known.

The Sri Lanka army has a large base in this coastal village and its environs. The Liberation Tigers control the coast and its hinterland immediately south of the SLA's forward defences in Nagar Kovil.

Schools complicate [TamilNet, September 26, 2003 02:04 GMT]

High level officers from Colombo head quarters of Sri Lanka Airforce (SLAF) visited Valaiyiravu military airport in Batticaloa district yesterday to investigate the feasibility of expanding the airport while the two schools, Puthur Vigneswara Vidiyalayam and Valaiyiravu Methodist Vidiyalayam, remain located in close proximity to the perimeter of the airport, security sources said.

The SLAF officers are to submit a report to Austin Fernando, the defense secretary in the United National Front (UNF) government.

Education officials from the Batticaloa district also participated in a meeting yesterday morning with the SLAF officers at the Valaiyiravu military airport premises, according to security sources. It was decided to convene another meeting with the members of the School Development Society on the 3rd of October, the security sources added.

Although funds were allocated some months ago for the improvement of the buildings and for the construction of new buildings for the schools, the Batticaloa SLAF refused to give permission for work on school buildings to begin.

The School Development Society lodged a complaint with the Defense Department which resulted in the Defense Secretary directing the SLAF to prepare a detailed report on the matter.

Northern Muslims support talks based on ISGA [TamilNet, September 26, 2004 11:41 GMT]

"Sri Lanka's President Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge should take immediate steps to commence peace talks with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on the basis of the Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA) proposals submitted by the LTTE," said Moulavi. M.Subiyan, Secretary of the Association to Protect Rights of Northern Muslims, when TamilNet asked him to comment on the current peace stalemate. M.Subiyan is also the President of Killinochchi District Muslims' Secretariat.

"We will be meeting Ms.Kumaratunge to request her to start peace talks with the LTTE on the basis of ISGA," said M.Subiyan.

M.Subiyan urged Sri Lanka's President to be sincere in her effort to find a lasting peace through negotiation with the LTTE as early as possible without issuing contradicting statements. He cited the speech Ms.Kumaratunge made in UN General Assembly alleging that the LTTE has been refusing to attend the peace talks and said that it is a clear distortion of truth.

M.Subiyan further said even the President is prepared to commence peace talks with LTTE on the basis of ISGA, her political partner in the government, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) would not allow her to proceed with her independent decision. Now the ball is squarely in the President's court, he said.

"We have also decided to meet foreign envoys in Colombo to brief them on the stand taken by the Northern Muslims regarding the ISGA. We support that talks should immediately commence on the basis of LTTE's ISGA proposal. We would also be requesting the envoys of Norway, America and Japan to use their good offices to assert pressure on the Government of Sri Lanka to accept the ISGA as basis for future peace talks" M.Subiyan told TamilNet.

M.Subiyan said only through peace talks between the GOSL and LTTE problems faced by Tamils and Muslims could be solved satisfactorily.

Abomination - ISGA

This is a sincere expression of gratitude to Mr. S. L. Gunesekera for writing the timely book titled ‘Abomination - ISGA’. Many, including me, profusely thank Mr. Gunesekera.

He has, with clarity and incisiveness, taken the ISGA apart and shredded it; showing what an abomination it is.

I urge the sister paper of ‘The Island’, ‘Divaina’, to immediately translate it into Sinhala and serialize it in their daily paper (with the permission of the author, of course) for the benefit of the majority Sinhala reading citizens of our country. In the introduction SLG calls himself a political misfit and a ‘voice in the wilderness’. Political misfit or not, he should not be left to be just a voice in the wilderness. The people of the country have a right to hear him. They should know clearly what the stakes are, if the GOSL is going for talks with the Tigers. I’m sure ‘Divaina’ will Mediate between SLG and the people.

And I plead with the politicians, in power and in opposition, to listen carefully to what SLG has to say and take him seriously.

As you come to the end of the book, you are reminded of the famous refrain, ‘Carthago delenda est.’, of the Roman Senator Cato the elder who concluded all his speeches with it: Like Cato, SLG’s refrain is: LTTE delenda est. And how right he is. Is there any other option that can save our beloved country and its integrity?


Who is a fundamentalist?

Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (1961) has the following entry:

Fundamentalism: a militantly conservative movement in American Protestanism originating around the beginning of the 20th century in opposition to modernist tendencies and emphasizing as fundamental to Christianity the literal acceptance of the absolute inerrancy of the Scriptures, the imminent and physical second coming of Jesus Christ, the virgin birth, physical resurrection, and substitutionary atonement b: the beliefs on which this movement was founded c: adherence to the attitude opposing modernism and to the literalist doctrines of fundamentalism 2: a movement or attitude similar in a significant respect (as literalism or strict adherence to traditional beliefs to the American religious fundamentalism Muslim fundamentalism ...

Fundamentalist: an adherent or proponent of protestant fundamentalism 2: an extreme conservative......

Peter Mansfield, the celebrated journalist/author on the Middle East (ex-British Foreign Service) has the following: "Since the earliest times, Arab and Muslim rulers have assumed secular power to some degree -and none more so than today- Sbut the ideal continues to have a powerful influence on the hearts and minds of all Muslims. It accounts for the potent force of utopianism among Arabs -the belief that if they were to return to the ways of the Prophet and his companions the triumph of Islam in this world would be assured. In the West this is usually described as fundamentalism, but in real sense all Muslim believers are fundamentalist, because they know that the Holy Koran was God’s final message to mankind. The triumph of the West in the last two or three centuries is seen by Muslims as an aberration of history...." A History of the Middle East.

1991, Revised Second edition 2003, p.13. [Peter Mansfield died in 1996]

Haris de Silva

Colombo 5


Heavy fighting reported in Eluthumadduval [TamilNet, September 26, 2000 14:44 GMT]

Fighting is reported between Sri Lanka Army (SLA) troops and the Liberation Tigers in the Eluthumadduval-Nagar Kovil axis along the lines held by the SLA. Sources said clashes began around 4pm Tuesday

Fighting is heavy in the forward defence localities of the SLA in the Eluthumadduval sector, Army sources said. Some of the SLA's forward positions have been overrun they said.

The reports could not be independently verified as reporters are not permitted to enter the war zones.

The SLA fell back to Eluthumadduval, southeast of Chavakachcheri town on the A9 highway, after the Liberation Tigers overran the strategic Elephant Pass base complex in April this year and advanced north, taking the town of Palai on the way.

Search operation in Vadamaradchi east [TamilNet, September 26, 1998 20:38 GMT]

The Sri Lankan Army cordoned off and searched the villages of Kudaththanai and Manalkaadu, in Vadamaradchi East, in the Jaffna peninsula from 9 a.m. this morning until 1 p.m.

Sources said that the army from the Vallipuram camp moved into the area on a tip off about the presence of some persons suspected to be members of the Liberation Tigers.

No one was allowed to leave the area until the search was over.

Residents said that many who had entered the area before 9 a.m. had to wait in a long queue until at the Vallipuram checkpoint until the operation was over.

Claymore kills nine soldiers [TamilNet, September 26, 2000 18:04 GMT]

Nine Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers were killed when the tractor in which they were travelling was hit by a powerful claymore mine blast north of Omanthai, around 7.30 p.m. Tuesday, security sources in Vavuniya said. One soldier was wounded.

The sources said soldiers were taking supplies to troops at the SLA's forward defence lines from a camp at Omanthai, about 14 km. north of Vavuniya when the Liberation Tigers set off the blast.

Reinforcement were sent to the area and a search was conducted, the sources added

SLA offensive near Chavakachcheri [TamilNet, September 26, 2000 06:53 GMT]

The Sri Lanka army launched another operation to expand its area of control northwest of Chavakachcheri from the early hours of the morning around 1.30 a.m. military sources in Jaffna said.

The operation appears to be aimed at breaking the pincer of the Liberation Tigers above Chavakachcheri town which was captured by the SLA last week in an operation code named Kiniheera sources said.

Sri Lankan defence ministry said 13 soldiers were killed and 45 wounded in the offensive which ended around 9 a.m. today. It further said that 17 Tigers were also killed in the fighting.

The LTTE has not commented on the fighting.

SLA soldiers in LTTE security zone arrested [TamilNet, September 26, 2002 11:47 GMT]

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam Wednesday morning took seven soldiers of the Sri Lanka Army into custody when they entered a security zone between two LTTE camps at Kumburupiddy, 22 km north of Trincomalee town, Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission sources said. “All steps are being taken to release the soldiers in view of the prevailing goodwill between both sides,” an LTTE official in Kilinochchi said.

The Deputy Head of the SLMM flew to Trincomalee from Batticaloa Wednesday evening and held talks with the LTTE local leaders in Trincomalee.

SLA sources said the soldiers had gone to the area in a tractor to collect sand.

The SLMM officials are holding talks with the LTTE leaders in Killinochchi, regarding the soldiers' release.

The Sri Lanka army and Police have arrested 22 LTTE fighters in the Trincomalee district since the cease-fire agreement was signed between the Colombo and the Tigers. Twenty were released amidst objections by the LTTE. The Sri Lanka Police arrested two LTTE members in Kantalai two weeks ago and are yet to release them.

Tigers divided over Reggie

Tiger spokesman Daya Master has claimed that they were not involved in last week’s killing of Reggie, the elder brother of renegade Batticaloa commander Karuna and two other dissidents. Daya Master denied the group’s involvement in a telephone conversation with Reuters last Thursday.

But the political division of the LTTE for Batticaloa-Amparai said, in a statement posted on TamilNet on Friday, that Karuna’s brother Reggie and two of his associates were shot dead by "the special jungle warfare units of the Jeyanthan Regiment around 5.30 a.m. on Tuesday (21). They were killed in a jungle near the Maduru Oya reservoir. Communications equipment, weapons with serial numbers erased and some documents were recovered."


Four member committee for release of home guards by Norman Palihawadane

President Chandrika Kumaratunga has appointed a four member committee to work for the release of two homeguards abducted by the LTTE at Gomarankadawala, a press statement issued by the President`EDs office said on Friday.

However, the fast unto death campaign staged by the relatives of the two home guards, D. Sarath Bandara and Chandana Piyasiri, passed its third day yesterday.

Ministers Mangala Samaraweera, Maithripala Sirisena, IGP Indra Silva, Secretary to the Ministry of Public Security, Law and Order Tilak Ranviraja and North Province Governor Ashoka Jayawardene visited the protestors at Trincomalee on Thursday, it said.

They had informed the fasters that the Government would do its best to save the two home guards from the LTTE.

A spokesman for the North East Sinhala Organisation, however, said that they would not call off their fast unto death campaign until the two home guards are released by the LTTE. The two home guards were abducted by the LTTE on August 10 at Konabendiwewa, Gomarankadawala. The LTTE later demanded that the government release ten of their cadres for the release of the two home guards.


TNA wants Switzerland to pressure Lanka

The TNA had urged Swiss Ambassador Bernadino Regazzoni, to pressure the UPFA government to resume negotiations with the LTTE. According to a pro-LTTE TamilNet report, the meeting had taken place on Friday at the Switzerland Embassy in Colombo Friday. The TNA had been represented by the party’s Foreign Affairs Committee comprising Gajendrakumar Ponnampalam, Ms. Pathimini Sithamparanathan, and Joseph Pararajasingam.

The TNA had also emphasized the need for the international community to display a balanced approach, and that blaming only the LTTE for the violence in the east will not be constructive to peace. The active support of the Sri Lanka military to paramilitary groups is one of the key reasons for the escalating violence, the parliamentarians pointed out.

The TNA had also warned of the imminent danger in resumption of hostilities unless the government responded positively to the LTTE efforts to negotiate a peaceful end to the conflict.


A flawed theory!

Giving a press briefing at the UN headquarters, President Chandrika Kumaratunga has take up a position on terrorism, which is at variance with that of the US. She has said she does not agree with President Bush’s approach to ending terrorism through force. "Even if the expression of the conflict may take the most horrendous terroristic forms, we believe that there are justified reasons for it," she has said arguing ‘that legitimate grievances must be considered apart from the acts of violence."

She seems to have a point here in that terrorism derives sustenance from the grievances – both perceived and real – of some sections of society and the resultant frustration of theirs.

But it is wrong to assume that grievances are the only reason for terrorism. They are the fa`E7ade that terrorists use to project themselves as the underdog so as to justify terror in the eyes of the gullible.

Ask even an outfit like Al Queda why it is unleashing barbaric violence and it will claim that it is doing so to save Islam from its enemies despite the fact that it is doing greater harm to Islam than any other organisation. Ask the butchers beheading their hostages in Iraq in that barbaric manner why they are killing those innocent people who are in no way party to the conflict, they will claim some grievances in justification of their dastardly crimes against humanity. Ask the LTTE why they slashed the bellies of pregnant Muslim mothers (at Katankudy in 1990: See the statement by the Federation of North East Muslim Brotherhood – The Island of August 04, 2004) took out the unborn babies and stuffed their mouths with chopped breasts of their mothers, they will tell you they have been doing so to achieve their aspirations.

The consider-grievances-separate-from-violence theory makes it impossible to remove the scourge of global terrorism, which is chipping away at the foundations of civilisation. For, it leaves room for a terror outfit operating in one country to claim, in another, its ‘grievances’ in extenuation of its ‘horrendous terroristic’ violence. It has also led to your-terrorist-is-our-freedom-fighter policy and given the so-called the powerful nations an opportunity to deal with terrorism according to their whims and fancies.

The US policy on terrorism is a case in point. As part of a crusade against terrorism, it has bombed Afghanistan and Iraq into the Stone Age in search of its terrorists and has no qualms about its on-going military campaign even in the face of serious criticism against war on Iraq from many quarters including the UN itself.

But, the US, which employs all its resources to make mince meat of its terrorists, according to its ambassador here, believes that there is ‘no military solution to Sri Lanka’s conflict’, which, it says, has to be resolved through negotiations. In other words, the US is asking Sri Lanka to offer lamb after lamb to the Tigers until they become vegetarians!

It is only wishful thinking that terrorism will cease to be, after ‘justified reasons for it’ or the ‘legitimate grievances’ are eliminated. Terrorists always graduate from grievances to aspirations when a government agrees to redress grievances, thus upping the ante and making it difficult for negotiations to progress. We have seen this happen in Sri Lanka. The LTTE, which once spoke of grievances, is now talking of aspirations.

President Kumaratunga herself has admitted at the UN press briefing that she does not know what to do to make the LTTE eschew violence. She has said she does not know ‘what else the government could do short of handing over the country to the LTTE Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. So much for the ‘justified reasons’ for terrorism.

There is no reason why the civilised world should, without being taken for a ride by terrorists and their wily allies, hesitate to come down hard on the barbarians unleashing terror.