Monday, August 27, 2007

Legitimising Tiger ‘aspirations’

It is becoming increasingly clear to separatist elements of all hues that the LTTE’s military option is not going to work at all in realising their goal. The CFA too failed to meet this objective through `legal’ means.
So ‘Tamil Eelam’ sympathisers are now trying the second option. Earlier, they tried it as ‘a test run’ during the many `anti-war’ rallies in Colombo and in interviews given to the foreign media. This time they are re-attempting the same strategy with renewed vigour, since they have absolutely no alternative.

The aim is to fully convince the world that Sri Lanka is a failed State under the Rajapaksa regime. The NGO ‘civil society’ is currently exploring all possible avenues to meet this goal. Once the so-called international community and the world bodies like the UN are compelled to accept that this country is a failed state - a land without hope - the way is open to legitimise the claim for a Tamil Eelam in Sri Lankan territory. Then the Security Forces will have to withdraw from the East and the North and no longer will there be High Security Zones in these areas - the so-called Tamil Eelam. The sacrifices our troops made for the past 24 years will then come to nothing.

The TNA has already said that the government has no mandate to develop the East. In other words it means that the Eastern Province (and for that matter the North too) is not part of the Sri Lankan State.
It is immaterial whether it is the LTTE or some other separatist group that is going to fill the vacuum in the two provinces in the very unlikely event that such a misfortune occurs. After all, the Tigers have today been reduced to the level of a rabid dog on a leash. And dubious peace makers both local and foreign use this animal to threaten the government and all patriots whenever it suits them. What matters to us is that these actions will jeopardise this country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty in the name of a confederation. There is no question that Ranil Wickremesinghe’s UNP will gladly embrace this idea if it helps the party to grab power and secure “peace for all communities.”

So it is hardly a wonder that the Opposition leader, the TNA and the ‘peace brigade’ are repeatedly blaming the government for the war. Have any of these pundits answered the questions: who started this armed conflict in the first place - not only in 1983 but also in 1987 (with the Indian Peace Keeping Forces) in 1991, 1995 and finally in 2005 soon after the present government came to power? Did the perceived injustices and alleged discrimination warrant an endless terror campaign that has brought nothing but absolute misery and suffering to all ethnic groups of this country over the past two decades? Who backed out of peace talks giving flimsy excuses (from Thimpu to Geneva)?

Who justified the LTTE terror campaign all these years by saying that the Tamils have graduated from grievances to aspirations?
Who has helped to prolong the crisis by urging successive governments to engage in fruitless dialogue (“Get back to the negotiating table!”) with the Tigers when Tamil Leaders like V. Anandasangaree and Douglas Devananda see no point in talking to the LTTE?
And again we he hear the cry “disarm the Karuna group.” Why only Karuna’s cadres? What about the LTTE?

The SLMM has quite rightly insisted that only government troops have the right to bear arms. However at this stage whose interests will the government serve if it tries to disarm only Karuna’s cadres? Have these pundits forgotten the fate that befell many EPDP and PLOTE and other anti-LTTE groups at the hands of the Tigers when the former were compelled to give up their arms in the name of peace.
It is up to the government and all concerned citizens to fully ensure that no opportunity is given to the separatists - some pretending to be `moderates’ - to push forward their bogus power-sharing `peace’ agendas.

The only way to secure a genuine and lasting peace and stability in this country is not to stop the war but to end it. An armed conflict always involves two or more sides and it is the party which fired the first shots that should stop fighting. When the JVP took up arms against the Sri Lankan State did the then government stop fighting before the rebellion could be crushed - both in 1971 and in 1988-89 - and get back to “negotiating table?” Why should it be any different now? Are the Tamil Tigers a community far superior to the Sinhala rebels?

How much longer is the `Sun God’ going to be in hiding in his Wanni bunker and pretend that he is the sole and authentic representative of Tamils?
There can be no end to the war as long as he is alive and kicking. So the first step to end the conflict is to crush him and his gang of desperadoes once and for all. If he and his cohorts wish to survive, they have to lay down arms in the same way the IRA did in Northern Ireland and agree to unconditional talks.
Such talks can be fruitful only if both parties agree - among other issues - that every citizen has the right to purchase land and live in any part of the country, without harassment.

In this context we need to recall Attorney-at-Law Senaka Weeraratne’s address last year to the international conference on “Geneva Negotiations: Implementing the Electoral Mandate’’ at the BMICH Colombo. There, he called for the recognition of Sri Lanka’s sovereignty as the foundation of resolving the national problem and insisted that the centre remained sovereign over all aspects that are integral to the nation’s sovereignty in devolving power.
Weeraratne emphasised the need for total autonomy in conducting Foreign Relations with other States and international institutions.
“Negotiations with foreign states and international institutions such as the World Bank or IMF must be done exclusively by the central government. Any departure from this principle must have the express consent of the centre, which should not be given under any circumstance that impact on sovereignty and national security.”

He also insisted on total authority over foreign policy, which has to be the Centre’s exclusive responsibility.
“There cannot be conflicting foreign policies within one individual State. That would be a contradiction of true sovereignty. Component elements should have the right to contribute towards the making of foreign policy but there can be only one foreign policy, which must be handled and controlled from the centre.”
On the matter of national defence, Weeraratne made it quite clear that any delegation of some powers dealing with national security to the provinces, if need be, must be on the basis that such delegation is subject to the central government’s supervision. He drew attention to countries such as the USA, where national security meant not only maintaining the armed forces but also the mobilisation of industry and scientific knowledge to strengthen national defence.

“A fundamental attribute of a country’s sovereignty is that all armed forces - Army, Navy and Air Force - must come directly under the Head of State who shall act as Supreme Commander.”
He also stressed the need for the Centre’s total authority on territorial waters and shipping, international frontiers (the power to levy customs duty, impose immigration barriers etc.) and, the country’s entire airspace. Other important factors included the Centre’s total autonomy over exchange and currency, total authority over international treaties and a common legal system and central judiciary.
Weeraratne notes that out of 191 nation states that UN members, 127 countries “have systems of Government that are unitary or biased towards a unitary form of Government. These countries included France, China, and Japan and Indonesia.”

The Government of Sri Lanka represents all its citizens - Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslims and all other communities. It cannot be expected to represent only the Sinhala people. So when committees and tribunals are formed for conflict resolution it is not only the Tamil and Muslim point of view that needs to be considered but also the majority Sinhala point of view.
If this is ignored we will surely be paving the way for another major crisis.


Eight LTTE tax collectors executed for criticizing leaders- Kilinochchi

Civilian sources in Wanni revealed that eight LTTE tax collectors had been executed publicly by the supporters of Pottu Amman, at Vattakachchi in Kilinochchi two weeks ago.

According to these sources, Pottu Amman, Intelligence Leader of the LTTE, had informed the public that the eight cadres had to be executed because they had misappropriated funds of the terror outfit. The eight victims were said to have been shot dead on a playground in front of a large gathering.

However, a civilian who had managed to escape to government controlled areas recently told that the actual reason for the killing was because they criticized the LTTE leaders who used funds for personal ends.

"Those victims were educated youth. They were unhappy about the extortion of poor civilians, and what is being done to the money so collected" he said

"They dared to criticize the LTTE leaders those who misuse funds for their personal ends" he added. further learned from these sources that the victims had openly criticized Pottu Amman for being the most fraudulent leader. The informed speculation is that Pottu Amman has been able to misappropriate a large sum of money, by showing that he had used it for "clandestine" operations.

Meanwhile, the leadership disputes among the senior ranks in the LTTE are also known to be getting worse. Intelligence sources said they had received information indicating that Terror Chief V. Prabhakaran has now been reduced to a virtual figurehead, while powerful leaders such as Thamilchelvam, Pottu Amman and Balraj are fighting each other for more status. The sources further said that Soosai, leader of LTTE's rudimentary navy, has already been removed from the scene.

It has also been reported that the facilities given to the LTTE military leader for Mannar, Lakshman, had been removed recently. The vehicles and the escorts given to Lakshman are said to have been reduced by the Wanni leadership, blaming him for failing to recruit sufficient cadre from the area.