Saturday, September 29, 2007

LTTE and their Inhuman tactics

3 LTTE boats destroyed, 4 more damaged By Navy

Sri Lankan military says it sank 3 Tamil Tiger boats in lengthy sea battle

Naval attack craft waged a three-hour sea battle with 20 Tamil Tiger boats off the eastern coast of Sri Lanka on Friday, sinking three of the rebels' vessels and killing one of their top naval commanders, the military said.

The battle, which also killed one navy sailor, came as fighting between the two sides near the Tamil Tigers' de facto state in northern Sri Lanka has escalated in recent days, leaving more than 60 rebels dead, according to the military.

The details of the clash could not be independently confirmed and rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan could not immediately be reached for comment.

The naval battle began about 11 p.m. Thursday as 20 boats from the rebels' navy, known as the Sea Tigers, headed toward Pulmoddai, about 25 miles north of the eastern city of Trincomalee, a military official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.

The rebel boats were apparently trying to stage a mass evacuation of rebel fighters who were trapped in nearby jungles after a government offensive earlier this year recaptured the east from the Tamil Tigers, the official said.

Naval attack craft cut off the rebel boats, sparking a lengthy sea battle that led to the sinking of three rebel vessels, the official said. Military intelligence said it had intercepted rebel reports indicating that a top rebel officer, Lt. Col. Nishan Than, was among those killed, the official said.

One Sri Lankan sailor was also killed in the battle and another was injured, the official said.

Fighting along the front lines separating government-controlled territory and the rebels' ministate in the north has increased in recent days, with the military saying Thursday that 25 rebels, three civilians and one soldier had been killed in two days of fighting across the area.

The casualties could not be independently confirmed, but the rebels said the military was exaggerating their death toll.

The two sides have been fighting for more than two decades, with the Tigers demanding an independent homeland for minority Tamils in the northeast and the government, dominated by the Sinhalese majority, insisting that the country remain unified under a strong central government.

More than 70,000 people have been killed in the fighting, 5,000 of them since a 2002 cease-fire broke down nearly two years ago.

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Pulmoddai Seas: Navy's Famous Hunting Grounds: Another Tiger Evacuation Attempt thwarted

The Sri Lanka Navy's elite fighting squadron successfully averted another attempt by the sea tigers to evacuate their cadres trapped in the Peraru/Kumburupiddi Jungles in the Trincomalee district after a fierce battle which started around 10.30 p.m. last night (27) and lasted nearly four hours in the Pulmoddai seas.

Navy destroyed three (03) sea tiger boats killing around eighteen (18) sea tiger cadres including a self styled Lieutenant Colonel named "Nishnathan".

One sailor who was on the shore was killed while another suffered injuries. No damages were reported to any of the FACs.

The naval patrol craft on surveillance duties detected few echoes appearing on their Radar displays from Nayaru area. All sea units were alerted and message was sent to both Eastern and Northern naval commands keeping the naval headquarters operations room informed. Naval units observed around twenty (20) sea tiger boats moving South hugging the coast. FACs then blocked the sea tiger move off Pulmoddai area and confronted them fiercely. Meanwhile, the naval intelligence units intercepted tiger communications between a group of ground cadres and sea tiger units. The shore detachments of the Navy which stretches along the coast North of Trincomalee too stood by to cut off any ground movements of the tiger cadres who are believed to be trapped in the Peraru jungles after their defeat in areas South of Trincomlaee.

During this year alone, LTTE had made four attempts to evacuate their trapped cadre along this route.

On 12th February, sea tigers launched their boats towards Poduwakattu area, but the Navy's Fast Attack Craft averted their mission by destroying one sea tiger boat along with cadres.

Once again on 27th February, another such attempt was thwarted by the Navy when they attacked and destroyed two (02) sea tiger boats off Pulmoddai.

Tigers failed again on 12th August when they were turn back and send with heavy damages after destroying a sea tiger boat.

The latest incidents record as the biggest lost for the sea tigers in attempting to evacuate their trapped cadres in Peraru jungle areas. It is important to note that though the tigers are said to be completely washed from the East, they have made their way towards the Peraru jungles through ground tracks. What are we going to do to them now? The possible option remains as to hunt them down before they make the next attempt for their desperate evacuation attempt in order to gather cadres to face a possible northern thrust by the Security Forces.


UNP leader admits to Karuna Group support in Daily Mirror interview

In an interview published in The Daily Mirror on 8 November, journalist Champika Liyanaarachchi spoke with UNP Member of Parliament, Milinda Moragoda, to discuss Ranil Wickremesinghe’s presidential campaign. Moragoda confirmed that the UNP was behind the creation of the Karuna Group stating, “Karuna is a product of the peace process for which the UNP had made the bulk of the contributions.”

Moragoda implied the ceasefire agreement and peace process’ goal is to weaken the LTTE and disagreed with the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) that the disarmament of paramilitary groups is violation of the ceasefire agreement.

When asked about the fate of the Karuna Group in the event of Wickremesinghe’s win, Moragoda claimed that the Karuna Group was a product of the peace process of which the UNP was instrumental in creating. Moragoda asserted that the government delegation of the peace talks predicted the creation of Karuna Group. Fellow UNP leader Naveen Dissanayake also claimed in a recent campaign speech in Hatton that UNP created the Karuna faction.

Moragoda spoke about Wickremesinghe “creating the right environment” so “even a cadre who had seen all these positive changes would think twice because he has been offered an alternative to their resolve to die for a cause.” Moragoda insinuated that the “right environment” is one which undermines the people’s resolve to struggle. Moragoda claimed that the role of the peace process and “silencing guns, opening roads and removing barricades” will weaken the LTTE, and not offer any means that will engage them in the peace process. In addition to his statements on weakening the LTTE, Moragoda acknowledged their role in “intercepting (destroying) several LTTE ships with the help of an international intelligence network.” He added that the SLA will not be downsized and in fact will be built up by acquiring more human and material resources.

In discussing the implementation of disarming paramilitary groups, Moragoda referred to this as a “law and order issue than anything else,” and disregarded paramilitary presence as a ceasefire violation. The SLMM has recently urged the government to disband paramilitary groups working in government controlled areas. In declaring Wickremesinghe’s importance of being “guided by a certain set of values based on the local culture,” Moragoda compared Wickremesinghe to the liking of U.S. President George Bush, pointing out that “the conservative values of President George Bush more than anything else that assured his re-election.”


Army begins the march to secure vital supply route

A day before President Mahinda Rajapaksa reiterated to world leaders that his main objective is to arrive at an honorable settlement to the three decade long conflict after militarily defeating the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) the Sri Lanka Amy launched the first offensive of its final series of battles to capture remaining Tamil Tiger controlled areas.

Operation Edibala

Operation ‘Edibala’, which was launched to secure the Mannar-Vavuniya main supply route, commenced on February 4, 1997 with troops of the Army's 53 division with commandos and the Air Mobile Brigade participating. The troops moved out of Poovarasankulam the furthest point west of the Vavuniya defences under the control of the security forces.

The operation was led by then General Officer Commanding of the 53 Division Brigadier Wasantha Perera and his Deputy, Brig. Nanda Mallawaratchi, both frontline infantry officers.

Whilst the troops advanced westwards from Vavuniya consolidated their positions in Murunkan the Five Brigade began their advance from Mannar eastwards towards Vavuniya and linked up thus completing the Vavuniya to Mannar MSR (main supply route).

The Sri Lankan National Guard, the Commando Brigade led by Lt. Col. Chandrawansa, Air Mobile Brigade led by Col. Sivali Wanigasekera and the 20th Brigade led by Lt. Col. Sunil de Silva, were involved in the operation. Major General Patrick Fernando, General Officer Commanding Task Force Two, was in charge of Operation Edibala while the Overall Operations Commander was Major General Asoka Jayawardena.

The Army along with the Navy, Air Force and the Police, launched the latest offensive in two directions to secure some strategically important areas in the North of Mannar and North of Vavuniya.

On Sunday evening, the Commando Regiment and the Task Force-01 led by Brigadier Charlie Gallage, who guided these same units to capture the eastern province’s last rebel stronghold Thoppigala few months ago, began moving from Adampan area towards the rebel-held west side of the Yoda Wewa north of Mannar.

Before launching the offensive last Sunday the LTTE could easily monitor military and other civilian movements along the Mannar-Vavuniya Main Supply Route from areas under their control. This was one of the main purposes to launch this military operationOn the other hand there is also an argument that with the opening of the Vavuniya-Mannar axis there is potential to extend those operations to open a main supply route (MSR) northwards through Illupaikaduwai, Pooneryn to Jaffna across the Sangupiddy ferry.

With the commencement of the operation, the LTTE put up heavy resistance and troops had to go through a heavily mined area. Three Commandos were killed and 22 injured on the first day alone. However troops continued to advance despite LTTE resistance. By Tuesday the advancing troops were able to capture the LTTE Forward Defence Lines (FDLs) after fierce fighting. During that period there was heavy artillery and mortar fire between the two parties and the military had to use Multi-Barrel Rocket Launchers at LTTE targets. But considering earlier occasions, the LTTE had not fired much artillery this time around.

The Military believe that the LTTE is now facing a critical shortage of artillery shells and instructions have been issued by the LTTE leadership to minimize using artillery shells and such heavy weapons.

Since the capture of Tiger FDLs the troops started to consolidate the newly taken areas while moving further towards Vedithalathivu, which is the LTTE’s last stronghold used to smuggle weapons and drugs from the sea west of Sri Lanka. In the meantime, Commandos and Task Force-01 members were further moving towards the Yoda Wewa where the LTTE had a heavy presence. This was the first occasion that the Sri Lanka military moved towards north of Mannar since capturing the Mannar-Vavuniya MSR by ‘Operation Edibala’ in 1997(See box for detail history).

Since then, there were no major offensives launched towards North of Mannar until last Sunday.

While the Commandos and Task Force-01 troops were advancing towards north of Mannar, infantry units based at the 573 Brigade Headquarters in Palamoddai West of Omanthai, where both sides are manning respective entry/exit points, launched a fresh offensive towards Vilaththikulam on Monday, surprising the LTTE leadership.

The operation was launched under the direction of Colonel P. Gamage – Brigade Commander of the 573. Troops from the 6 Vijayaba Infantry Regiment (VIR), 8 Gemunu Regiment (GR) and 4 Sinha Regiment (SR) took part in this operation. As usual the Tigers had laid a carpet of mines in front of their FDLs in order to block the military’s advance. On the previous night Commanding Officers of each unit had a discussion with the Brigade Commander about their operation the next day. This time the senior officers wanted to launch an unusual offensive in order to capture Vilaththikulam area, where the Tigers had a line of heavily fortified bunkers.

Before dawn, the troops started to move from Palamoddai Army base towards Vilaththikulam, but the movement was suddenly diverted to south west and south east of Vilatththikulam as planned. Then the moving troops started to go further north bypassing Vilaththikulam area and finally they arrived just north of Vilaththikulam. But the LTTE was waiting for the troops to come from South of Vilaththikulam.

By Tuesday, the military launched a massive onslaught against the Tigers taking them by surprise. Fierce fighting broke out between the two parties until the Tigers started fleeing the area.

Following the battle the LTTE deaths had risen to more than 20 and also the injured were more than 40. Troops also suffered four deaths and nearly twenty had been wounded.

However, the exact death toll of the Tigers was not known as the LTTE communications intercepted by the military had revealed that a large number of LTTE cadres were killed and an equal number were wounded.

So far the troops advanced more than three kilometres as the Tigers withdrew further to northern areas including Punchiparanthan. The same communication also revealed that a Senior LTTE area Leader named ‘Ravi’ and his group had gone missing with the breaking of fighting in the area. However until now the Tigers had been constantly trying to locate him dead or alive, as he was believed to be a top LTTE leader, tiger communications had revealed.

Advancing troops also found a large number of cells, just behind the LTTE FDLs used by them to detain and punish fleeing LTTE cadres.

Reports claim that a large number of such LTTE cadres had been kept in these cells when they had tried to escape after fearing for their lives. It is also evident that the LTTE was forcibly recruiting youth after taking their parents into custody.Intercepted LTTE communications also revealed that the LTTE was engaging in setting up medical treatment centres near their FDLs in North of Mannar and North West of Omanthai in order to treat their wounded cadres. Intelligence reports revealed that a large number of wounded LTTE cadres were getting treatment at Kilinochchi and Mallavi hospitals.

Meanwhile after fighting commenced the LTTE leadership called most of the LTTE leaders to North of Mannar, the Madhu area and the area north of Vavuniya fearing the military would further advance towards the rebel held areas.

The LTTE’s ‘Colonel’ Ramesh, one time Batticaloa and Ampara Special Commander and the Second in chief of the then LTTE eastern military Leader Karuna Amman, is also now in the area north of Mannar. Intelligence reports said that most of the cadres in these areas now were cadres who had fled the east a few months ago.

Meanwhile, the latest military intelligence report revealed that the LTTE had deployed about 4000 cadres in their Wanni FDLs while almost all the political cadres had been called for the fighting. These political cadres are now reportedly based in and around Pooneryn under the leadership of LTTE’s Political Head S.P. Thamilchelvam.

The intelligent report had also confirmed that some 1800 cadres have been deployed along the Muhamalai FDL, while 1000 cadres were assigned to the LTTE’s Radha Regiment, which was established to provide security to LTTE Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. The current strength of the Sea Tiger wing is estimated at 1200 cadres.

In another development, a Commanding Officer of one of the Infantry units that taking part in the military operation in West of Omanthai has been removed with immediate effect for failing to carry out an assigned task during the operation. Currently the second in Command of the unit is commanding it. However no details are available about the latest removal.

LTTE death toll rises
A total of 80 LTTE cadres were killed within a period of one week, as the LTTE had intensified minor scale infiltration attempts at the northern defences at Nagarkovil, Kilaly and Muhamalai recently, with the intention of targeting strategic military locations.

During the last week, the LTTE made at least four attempts to infiltrate the Muhamalai FDL, while three attempts were made in Vavunia and two attempts in Welioya. However most of the time LTTE elements attempting to breach the army defence lines had fled the scene following effective counter attacks from troops.

In most instances they had got killed when they tried to infiltrate the military FDLs in Vavuniya, Muhamalai and Welioya.


Senior LTTE leader killed in shooting incident-Trincomalee

A senior LTTE leader identified as Kandeepan was killed in a shooting incident that took place in the Sallisambalthvu area in Trincomalee around 11 a.m. this morning (September 28) said the defence sources.

Sources further said that an internal clash in LTTE might have caused the killing. Kandeepan was believed to be the leader of the LTTE gang which is responsible for covert operations in the Trincomalee district. The mission of the terrorist gang is to cripple the normalcy in East province which was liberated by the security forces recently, the sources added.

On Saturday (September 22) , LTTE terrorists believed to be led by Kandeepan detonated a claymore mine targeting a privately owned bus killing one civilian and injuring two others.


Warplanes hit Tiger territory

Sri Lankan military jets pounded a suspected Tamil Tiger rebel training base in the north of the island on Saturday, the defence ministry said.

"A combined air raid of MiG-27 and Kfir fighter jets launched at 8:10 am (0240 GMT) accurately hit the terrorists' training camp, which is known as L2," the ministry said in a statement.

It gave no details of any casualties and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam had no immediate comment on the bombing raid, said to have taken place near Puthukudiriruppu, a village inside the mini-state run by the guerrillas.

Security forces have stepped up bombing raids inside rebel-held territory in recent weeks ahead of monsoon rains, which usually slow down fighting.

More than 5,400 people have been killed in the fighting in the past 21 months following the breakdown of a Norwegian-brokered truce.


Significant change in LTTE strategy

As the LTTE was losing their credibility and support recruitment to the LTTE has gone down in numbers. It is reported that LTTE is trying to use their supporters abroad to canvas their cause. This was revealed at the media briefing held in Colombo today (28).

Navy Spokesman D.K.P. Dassanayake went on to say that the LTTE had suffered heavy naval losses in the recent past. While the Pulmudai battle erupted yesterday (27) and destroyed 3 LTTE yachts and damaged four others. A land combat at the same time had killed one naval officer and injured another.

In the debris found of the damaged ships were claymores and light weapons among other items. The Navy Spokesman completely denied the LTTE’s statement on an attack on the naval vessels or destruction of any.

"All strikes against the LTTE were successfully accomplished" he added.


WFP desperately seeks funds

The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) yesterday made an urgent appaeal for more funds to distribute among thousands of internally displaced people in the Jaffna peninsula.

“I am concerned about our resourcing situations as we will be running out of food in November,” Jean-Yves Lequime, acting country director of the WFP in Colombo said yesterday.

Claiming that US$ 8 million is required to meet needs till the end of December he said this was the moment to mobilize food for the vulnerable people.”

While welcoming the shipment of 3,500 tons of food for Jaffna that will be distributed by the Government and WFP to persons and families among the most vulnerable populations in the isolated peninsula, the WFP said it faced a shortfall for its protracted relief and recovery operation (PRRO), “Assistance to Vulnerable Groups for Peace Building in Conflict and Tsunami Affected areas”:

The WFP also faces a shortfall of US$ 1.7 million for its two Special Operations, augmentation of logistics capacity, and UN Humanitarian Air Service.

WFP appeals for new contributions to build on recent positive developments and to reach destitute people desperately in need of support, the WFP said in a statement.

Commending on the government assistance to provide food to the peninsula, Jean-Yves Lequime said “With these first two shipments, WFP will be able to feed some 120,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and economically affected people in Jaffna over the next two months. It will also allow WFP to resume its school feeding and maternal and child health and nutrition projects.”


42 surrender - Who and why?

The new military spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara yesterday said some 42 “LTTE cadres” surrendered to the Jaffna Human Rights Commission during the past few weeks. An official at the Human Rights Commission office in Colombo however said that those who surrendered to the Jaffna office were youth who feared abduction or recruitment by the LTTE.

“Most of those who surrender or are handed over by their parents are those who fear the LTTE. We hand them over to the police who in turn produce them before the magistrate,” the official said.

Jaffna sources said that people who hand themselves over to the Jaffna HRC are produced before the magistrate and remanded as there is no “protective” place to keep the civilians who are seeking security from the LTTE and other actors.

“These people are not LTTE and cannot be termed as such,” the source said.

The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission in its weekly security assessment reports has also been reporting such surrendering taking place, but has not referred to them as being LTTE cadres.

“On September 10, seven men aged 20-35 surrendered to the police in Jaffna, with the help of the Human Rights Commission (HRC) due to fear for their lives,” the SLMM said.

In his first public appearance since his appointment as the new military spokesman in place of Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe who is being posted to the Sri Lankan high commission in Britain -- Brigadier Nanayakara said LTTE cadres were deserting their ranks due to their recent losses.

He said rebels were trying to secure their remaining territory in the North following heavy loses in the east and this has resulted in fierce, almost daily, battles at Northern Forward Defence Lines.

The SLMM recently announced that an international monitor would be located at its office in Jaffna on a permanent basis. Although the SLMM office in Jaffna has been opened, it had been manned by SLMM's local staff with international monitors traveling to Jaffna regularly.


The failed attempt of fooling the UN

The United Nations General Assembly is undoubtedly the most significant forum to canvass international support. Whatever criticism is directed against its functions, the UN remains the most crucial global supporter to smaller countries like Sri Lanka. Its mandate and directives are essential for the general ‘well being’ of countries like Sri Lanka. There is a lot to be had of the UN if you play your cards right.

Unfortunately, the Sri Lankan delegation to the UN this week left much undone. The government of Sri Lanka had a greater responsibility in attending the United Nations General Assembly, than just trying to play to the gallery by speaking in Sinhala. While Sinhala remains one of the oldest languages in the world, and indeed one to be proud of, more was expected of the government than winning votes back home. Its presence at the assembly this year around was not happening under the most desirous of conditions.

Hammered left, right and centre with serious charges of human rights violations, abductions, extra judiciary killings and thousands left homeless, the government had few on its side before the Assembly.

Following closely on the government’s treatment of the UN Under Secretary General Sir Holmes and the UN Special Rapporteur on Summary and Arbitrary Executions Philip Alston, there was much to answer for. In the inability of none other than the Premier and a senior Cabinet Minister to differentiate between a UN official and a terrorist, we had done serious damage to diplomacy and protocol.

The Ashton report released just days before the sessions commenced, also gave a damning indictment on the government. Citing ''a spate of extrajudicial executions'' by the military, paramilitary forces and insurgent groups in Sri Lanka, he expressed concern that we were ‘on the brink of a crisis of major proportions.

"The situation has indeed erupted into crisis and neither the Human Rights Council (in Geneva) nor the General Assembly (in New York) has seen fit to take any action to address the spate of extra-judicial executions being reported out of that country,"Citing correspondence with the Government regarding extrajudicial executions by “home guards”, the Special Rapporteur has responded in part by “stressing the need for strict control of any such auxiliary force by the security forces.

“In view of the experience of other countries, where paramilitary groups are responsible for numerous and grave human rights violations, the Government may wish to consider as a preferable solution strengthening the regular security forces in areas with armed conflict, rather than creating a paramilitary body,” he said.

Diplomatic sources caution the failure of the government delegation in meeting much of these concerns at the sessions. The role of Karuna with regard to killings, extortion and recruitment of children for war, and his links to government security forces fared very badly before the international rights groups. Continued expressions of concern went unheeded by the government, resulting in the Ashton report. The charges are serious and clearly warrant immediate accountability.

The human rights violations by Karuna cadres in the Eastern bastion of Batticaloa did little to the government’s reputation. The absence of armed cadres during the visit of Sir Holmes can hardly be termed an eye wash. The fact remains that the entire district is under the direct authority of Karuna. The Batticaloa district suffers under serious levels of human rights violations, that have systematically failed intervention by the government.

It was clear that the international rights activists were not going to let the government go scot free in the presence of inaction on noted violations. Last week’s report of the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons also charged that the inquiry into 16 grave crimes has failed to comply effectively with international norms and standards.

IIGEP claimed that the role of the Attorney General’s Department in the work of the Commission continued to render the process flawed.

“The presence of the Attorney General’s Department in the Panel of Counsel to the Commission involves ‘serious conflicts of interest’ and lacks transparency and compromises both national and international standards of independence and impartiality that are central to the credibility of and public confidence in the Commission.

‘Since the first investigation into the ACF case on 14 May 2007 only a few witnesses have been examined. No public inquiry has been held and no substantial progress has been made into any of the mandated cases and that the Commission is unlikely to have completed any case before the expiry of the Commission’s mandate in early November 2007,” they added.

It was therefore clear that words were not going to do much before the other international bodies attending the sessions. The EU noted the ‘worrying increase’ in reported abuses under the Government forces, the LTTE and the Karuna faction. They termed targeted civilian killings, extortion and the use of child soldiers as seeing an increase. The governments of Switzerland, Germany, United Kingdom, Netherlands and Amnesty International expressed concern over the situation here.

Switzerland charged that violations either linked or not to the conflict and ‘regardless of their perpetrators’ are aggravated by the culture of impunity in the country. Germany asked the government to ‘redouble’ its efforts to achieve a peacefully negotiated settlement and put an end to ongoing human rights violations allegedly committed by the security forces.

The United Kingdom stressed that those ‘most egregious’ and serious human rights situations set the necessary immediate attention. The Netherlands called upon the government to put an end to impunity and to ‘vigorously’ investigate all human rights abuses and violations in Sri Lanka. Amnesty International maintained that the Government’s ‘persistent’ denial of the severity of the situation and the casting of aspersions on those expressing concern about the situation is unhelpful.

It is in this backdrop that the President most likely failed to convince the international body of sustaining a moral high ground.

‘Don’t use human rightas tool to victimize countries: actions on compliance should be just and equal to all’, said the President. But the question remains if the Rajapaksa administration can afford to talk of justice and equal treatment to the thousands left displaced in the East.

His call for international action to facilitate compliance with human rights standards be ‘fair and even handed’ fall far short of what was desired of his administration.

‘Human rights have to be protected and advanced for their own sake, not for political gain,’ he said. The questioned could be asked, who in effect stood to gain politically by turning a blind eye to the continued violations of the Karuna group. Or the ruse of the Karuna group coming into the political mainstream.

If the President thought that the fight for terrorism should be at any cost, there was little support to be had before the UN. His questioning of the mandate of the UN also held little rationale. ‘Although the UN system has set up mechanisms to deal with many of these problems, the capacity of the UN to address these challenges effectively has been brought into question,’ he said.

Interestingly the President claimed that ‘terrorism anywhere is terrorism. There is nothing good in terrorism.’ Certainly, it becomes imperative that we question the interpretation of the role of Karuna in this context.

It is to date unclear how the government could justify the capture of the East as a victory. Military victories apart, the human tragedy that is the East today, is far from what a democratically elected government can take pride in.

‘We have freed the Eastern Province from terrorism, and restored law and order there,’ said the President. Law and order are far from complimentary in areas with a strong presence of Karuna cadres.

The President spoke of a ‘massive programme of rehabilitation and reconstruction’ launched in the East. He cited proposals to make the Eastern Province ‘a model for development and rehabilitation’. But the ground situation in the East is far from ready for such plans. The government’s failure to make interim plans till this elaborate plan gets off ground has resulted in men, women and children in their thousands living under dire conditions.

Speaking of military victories and a ‘negotiated and honorable end’ to the conflict could not help convince the international community the justification to the government’s present approach. Claims that the All Party Representative Committee is working ‘successfully’ towards it, leaves much to be desired on ground.

While the State media reportage of the Sessions portrayed the government as having played victor at the UN, it is unclear if the mere fact that the President addressed the Assembly in Sinhala, can be considered his work done. Certainly, though the deliverance in Sinhala may win votes back home, such gimmicks rarely have the desired effect in international forums.

This is especially true if your track record is not as impressive as warranted. Rhetoric can hardly do the job where genuine action is called for. And the UN is the last place on earth to try such a fast one.