Friday, December 07, 2007

Government to hold examinations in recently captured areas in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Department of Education is preparing to hold the G.C.E. (Ordinary Level) examination in the Eastern Province areas recently captured from the hold of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) fighting for a separate state in northern and eastern parts of the island.

Accordingly, three examination centers will be set up in Vakarai, Kadirweli and Mankerni. An evaluation center is also to be set up in Vakarai.

An estimated two hundred and sixty students will be taking the examination in Vakarai.

The Examination Department did not hold examination centers in these areas last December due to the clashes between the Army and the LTTE there.

Search operations continuing in Yala Wildlife Park in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Army spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said that the search operations in the high security areas of the Yala Wild life Park are continuing today.

A soldier who was injured in a clash with the Tamil Tiger rebels was airlifted this morning for treatment, said the Army spokesman.

Four LTTE cadres and one soldier were injured in a clash that took place at Debaraduwa around 30 kilometers away from Yala Wildlife Park when Army Commandos confronted a group of LTTE cadres hidden there around 5 PM yesterday.

Meanwhile, the remains believed to be of three cattle herders that disappeared on October 18 were found near a reservoir in Tissamaharama area today. Police sources said that the relatives of the disappeared persons have identified the clothes found with the skeletons.

Evictions and Mass Arrests Cannot Deter Infiltrators

Another bomb, another blunder. Public opinion on how the security forces handle the aftermath of a bomb blasts has never been good. Always the security establishment and the government get heavily blamed for hyperactivity AFTER a bomb blast when they should have acted BEFORE the blast. No amount of reactionary measures is goings to undo the damage caused. Instead what is required is to proactively pre-empt any and all future terror bombings. It seems that they have not learnt this vital lesson yet. Suicide attackers can never be tracked down by mass arrests. What is the motivation of a terrorist to spill the beans under interrogation? Nothing. Can the ability speak Sinhala, a foreign passport, a police report, the national identity card or any other document become the all powerful determinant whether an individual is a terrorist? Definitely not.

What should be done to stop terror attacks in government controlled areas? This is the million dollar question. It has a very simple answer which is anyway known to all Sri Lankans. We have gone through this before and out of a hundred possible solutions, one (1) can be clearly separated out and credited for its extreme effectiveness. Please consider the following facts.

1. A large number of terror attacks took place around the country targeting civilians and civil infrastructure from 1983-1987. Especially during one month in 1986 things got so worse that school bags were banned and children in Colombo schools were asked to bring their belongings in transparent bags. The STF or any other paramilitary group was not present in these areas.

2. In late 1988 terrorists caused all schools to close down; declared curfews and created havoc. This lasted till mid 1989 until the paramilitaries took over. Abductions became commonplace, extra-judicial means of justice resolution took precedence and schools reopened in no time. Law and order was established without using legal means. Had we resorted to only legal means we would be still waiting!

3. From 1990-1994 August there were only a very few terror attacks on civilians and nothing on civil infrastructure. This was remarkable as violent clashes erupted from time to time in the North-East. The few terror attacks were also clouded in mystery. Again extra-judicial means were the main defenders of law and order in a country more than 95% terrorists get away without conviction; most of them are never apprehended; the few apprehensions without doubt end up in acquittals or subsequent pardons. Length of the trial and associated delays ensure that the damage intended by the terrorists are done already.

4. In 1994 the STF (hitherto a paramilitary force not bound by the Army Act) and many other paramilitary groups were disbanded. The STF was brought under the Army Act and was assigned general army duties in the East. Colombo security was bare open for any terror attack. There were more than 20 terror attacks from 1994-2001 in civilian areas mainly in Colombo. There were no abductions reported in Colombo, etc. The Central Bank bombers were tried in absentia by the courts and convicted after a lengthy trial ended in 2002, six (6) years after bombing. But what happened? Nothing. The culprits were worshipped by the 2001-2004 government for killing more than 90 people and injuring 1,200 not to mention millions of dollars worth damages.

5. From 2001-2005 the LTTE carried out more than 60 terror attacks in government controlled areas; the highest ever in Sri Lankan history. There were abductions; this time committed by LTTE terrorists in Colombo! Terror attacks inside the Mount Lavinia police station sent shockwaves throughout the populace and there was nothing the government could do are it became a puppet of the LTTE.

6. After 2006 it was a mix bag of events as regards extrajudicial means of maintaining public security. Although abductions for ransom is a despicable act which must be punishable with heavy punitive measures, abduction of terrorists, infiltrators and their supporters proved highly effective. There were only a very few terror attacks, most of them unsuccessful or aimless. However, due to pressure the government clamped down on anti-terror operations carried out by the longer arm of the law.Terrorists spun into immediate action.

7. Iraq became a hot topic in every war, anti-war, peace, terrorism forum. It became a symbol of ever increasing anarchy. However, recently terror attacks in Iraq have reduced drastically. Why? Full credit must go to the process of empowering Iraqi paramilitary groups with an estimated strength of over 80,000. Obviously they are not authorised by law to kill, abduct, judge, etc. But who cares if security is ensured.

However, Lankan authorities are still tied down to retarded post-mortem acts that can only backfire. As regards human rights, mass arrests and evictions affect more people than other means for which the paramilitaries were blamed for. However, the success rate of extra-judicial means is there for all to see. It saved lives and property. The law has proved that it is helpless when faced with terrorism and it is a must that any means are employed to save the people.

Very large scale human rights violations can take place if terror attacks are allowed to take place. 1983 riots are a classic example. The government should do everything under the sun to stop the recurrence of such an eventuality.

There is a vast knowledge base among those who support the LTTE on potential terror activities. At least they know where that knowledge is. As a kid with a lot of friends who supported the LTTE, I was privy to many impending terror attacks in the 1980s. Although I never knew who is hiding where, I knew who had that information. Things changed after 1990 when those who knew feared for their lives and kept their little secrets to themselves. This trend continues today. However, a lethargic interrogation is not going to divulge anything as the person being interrogated weighs pros and cons of divulging. If there is not enough personal motivation to divulge, obviously nothing would come out. On the other hand, friendly means, financial incentives, witness protection and like measures are never going to get the authorities anywhere. However, the type of techniques that work are all very well known to all Sri Lankans without which Sri Lanka would not have survived thus far. These techniques must be readopted aggressively if civilian security is a genuine concern of the government. Paramilitaries must be brought back to fore. Never let people yearn for the days when Karuna’s men protected them from bomb blasts; instead keep things happening.

We can expect a surge in terror attacks in the months ahead. As the war intensifies in the North, terrorists will find civilian targets as their only let-out. The world’s most ruthless terrorists are not going to perish like lamb. They will try to cause maximum damage before their last breath. This is the challenge the government must take up and it cannot be handled singlehandedly. Support of the paramilitaries and extra judicial means is a must to ensure public security, law and order.

Although the government made another blunder by allowing mass arrests, its subsequent conduct must be commended. The complete disregard of a certain politician known for his rowdy, barbaric and uncivilised behaviour is a step in the right direction. All those who followed him ended up nowhere. On the other hand the CWC leader was effective. His allegiance to the government must remain the key power factor. There is no point in extending favours to anti-government politicians. Let them make worthless statements but people won’t trust them again. It also reiterates the need to take a co-operative approach than a subversive approach by any politician.

This war cannot be won by cowards; in fact no war can be won by cowards. If the key leaders who guide the defenders of the nation are threatened with a call to the Hague, fear not, it only means that they will try to get you since the terrorists couldn’t. Either way you are dead, why not do the right thing for the fatherland/motherland and die a national hero than die an international hero but a national coward. If bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki is justified on the basis that it averted a larger catastrophe, violating human rights is amply justified to avert even bigger. Its not only the security forces who must sacrifice their lives to win the war, civilians and politicians will also be called upon to do so in different ways. Even the best Buddhist Kings (Buddhism being a more powerful deterrent than threats) had to do the needful to defend their nation. Contrary to popular history, detailed history has legendary human rights violations committed by the best kings of Lanka to defend this nation. The world has a small Aryan heritage left in the midst of the vast Indian Ocean thanks to them.

If your enemies hate you for doing your job, you have done a damn good job!

Ethnic Indians reject Malaysians' terror claim

A group of Malaysian lawyers demanding affirmative action for the country's ethnic Indians vowed on Friday to sue top police and legal officials who claimed it had ties to terrorists.

Malaysia has tried to paint the group, the Hindu Rights Action Force, or Hindraf, in terrorist colours after it organised a rare protest by 10,000 ethnic Indians last month. Malaysia's police chief said it was trying to provoke racial clashes.

But Hindraf dismissed the accusation as ridiculous, saying it was pursuing its objectives by legal, peaceful means.

"They're bankrupt of ideas to punish us," the group's legal adviser, P Uthayakumar, told Reuters.

"They've no more bullets to fire so they're firing this at us. It's like killing a fly with a sledgehammer, because we're so small."

Multi-racial Malaysia has brushed aside claims that it has mistreated its ethnic Indians, saying they are better off than those still at home.

But ethnic Indians, who make up about 7 percent of a population of roughly 26 million, complain of a lack of educational and business opportunities, saying government affirmative-action policies that favour majority ethnic Malays have marginalised them.

November's protest also upset authorities because it followed a much larger opposition-sponsored rally seeking electoral reform in Malaysia, where such gatherings are unusual because police clamp down tightly on them.


Police chief Musa Hassan this week accused Hindraf of seeking assistance from terrorist groups.

"Of late there have been indications that Hindraf is trying to seek support and help from terrorist groups," Musa told state news agency Bernama late on Thursday.

"The police are concerned over Hindraf's activities and will not hesitate to take harsh action to guarantee the nation's peace and security."

Police intelligence and monitoring since July 28 showed that the group had fanned racial sentiment among Malaysia's ethnic Indians by stirring up their anger and rousing hatred against the government, Musa added.

"Their actions are potentially explosive in sparking racial clashes," he told Bernama in a statement.

Uthayakumar said Musa's remarks echoed courtroom comments by Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail linking the group to Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels, and dared both officials to produce evidence of their claims.

"Technically,what they said is slander and criminal defamation," he said.

"I'm going to file a civil suit against the attorney-general and the chief of police, because then they will be forced to produce the evidence in court."

Opposition leader Lim Kit Siang said the police chief's accusation showed the government was escalating its position of denial.

"It will be Malaysia's misfortune and tragedy if the government's sole concern is to indiscriminately demonise the Hindraf leaders," Lim, head of the Chinese-dominated Democratic Action Party, said in a statement.

Sri Lanka's Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have unleashed a nearly 25-year-old civil war on the Indian Ocean island in their battle for an independent state there.

Lankan firing on Indian fishermen unintentional: Navy

The Indian Navy on Thursday came to the defence of its Sri Lankan counterpart over the allegations of firing at Indian fishermen in the Palk Straits, saying that such incidents were not intentional and fishermen often got caught in crossfire between the Island's Navy and the LTTE.

"In fact, the Indian fishermen crossover the maritime boundary and fall prey to the crossfire between the Lankan navy and LTTE," Commodore PE Van Halteren, Naval Officer In-charge (Tamil Nadu), told reporters here on Thursday.

"As a matter of policy, they do not open fire on Indian fishermen but when the fishermen venture too close to their maritime boundary, especially in the dark, it is difficult for them to distinguish fishermen from the LTTE," he said.

Halteren said the Lankan Navy never crossed over to the Indian territory to attack the fishermen, as claimed by the fishermen on many occasions.

"We are in touch with them on such issues and it would be better if our fishermen do not cross the international maritime boundary and enter their territory," he said.

The Commodore's views were in contrast to the allegations of political parties in the state which accuse the Sri Lankan Navy of indiscriminately firing at the Indian fishermen, charging them with crossing into their waters.

The Tamil Nadu government has already warned the fishermen that their licenses would be cancelled if they enter Sri Lankan waters more than thrice.

Eight Naval ships, the amphibious vessel INS Jalashwa, five missile firing units of the Khukri class among others would participate in the display of Naval vessels off Chennai on December 16. The display is being organised as part of the Navy week celebrations, he said, adding, Tamil Nadu Governor Surjit Singh Barnala would preside.

Voluble DG of UNESCO and LTTE psyops

Mr. Koichiro Matsuura, the voluble Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization ( UNESCO) has not yet been able to amend his naive condemnation of the Sri Lanka Air Force' attack at the clandestine radio station of LTTE. In his statement he says: "Regardless of the content of the broadcasts aired by the Voice of Tigers, there can be no excuse for military strikes on civilian media.... Such action contravenes the Geneva Convention which requires the military to treat media workers as civilians."

Equally, there should be no excuse for making bovine statements against a member country which has been in UNESCO for 50 years, simply because Mr.Matsuura could not guard himself against being outwitted by agents of a terrorist outfit.

There is no argument that civilian media and freedom of expression should be defended at all times; but, what Mr.Matsuura seems to be benighted about is that the content of "Voice of Tigers" has never been intended for a civilian purpose.

VoT is an illegal broadcast station that has been actively engaged in propaganda aimed at glorifying terrorism and at tarnishing the good image of the country, and raising funds from abroad for terrorist activities. Its content is not only being spread locally but also spread throughout the world through the propaganda network of LTTE. Unlike any ordinary civilian media, VoT's content is clearly aimed at kindling extreme tribalism and damaging the racial and religious harmony of the country. Even on the day it was attacked, the radio station was about to transmit the implacable speech of terror chief V.Prabhakaran spewing hatred towards Sri Lankan citizens. In the eyes of those interlopers of cowboy rights groups, VoT may be viewed as something that serves their purpose, since continued violence in third world countries is what earns them a living.

Psychological Operations or psyops are essentially military operations which are aimed at influencing a target audience to elicit behaviours supportive to realization of their originators' goals. Psyops achieve their aim by conveying carefully selected information to target audiences, using various methods and influencing audience' emotions, motives, objective reasoning and ultimately push them to elicit the desired behaviours. What VoT has been doing all this time, is incensing its Tamil audience against their own brethren, while instilling them with extreme racial hatred towards all other races living in Sri Lanka. Further, it has been engaged in putting about false and misleading information to the world to tarnish the good image of the country. The collective hatred and cussedness created in the mindset of the Tamils living in LTTE controlled areas must have contributed immensely to make more suicide losers among the Tamil youth.

Further, it should not be forgotten that making a living through reporting does not mean that journalists can break all laws in a country. They have no special licence to help the cause of a terrorist organization and also demand protection under the Geneva Convention. All employees of VoT were therefore, active members of the terrorist outfit that has caused a great destruction to this country. AS far as media freedom or freedom of expression is concerned, no other country allows freedom for media industrialists to do their business like Sri Lanka does. The best example is the bogus free media movement in this country that always bellows only for the rights of a carefully selected crowd of media personnel. It is not difficult to understand that the job security of these media people is largely dependent on the continued bloodshed in the country and as a result they always have reasons get troubled and make protests whenever their "god sent" terror outfit is threatened. All such media industrialists do their business peacefully and shamelessly in Sri Lanka, yet they choose to live under a self imposed "threat" for a business purpose. However, they must understand that a government cannot allow the coexistence of the "free media" people and terrorists to be continued forever, because the lives of the citizens are also important as their enterprise.

It is unfortunate to see that such a senior level official of a responsible international body has become an easy target for propagandists of a terrorist outfit that has been violating all rules, so far initiated by the United Nations. It is now for Mr. Matsuura to think on his own two feet, and arrive at a reasonable conclusion of what he had done. A person in his in capacity must be able to distinguish between civilians and active agents of terrorists disguised as civilians.

Therefore, requests all peace loving Sri Lankans living around the globe to rally their protest over this wicked and derogatory campaign against their motherland. We request you all to shed all petty political differences and unite against those powers that trying hard to lock our country into a never ending war. No one knows the reality of Sri Lanka better than Sri Lankans themselves. Thus, it is high time for us to break the silence and voice the truth to the world, so we would able to save our future generations from the scourge of terrorism. It is now or never!!!

Terrorism on last legs: Colombo

A day after the bus explosion in Anuradhapura district in the North Central Province in which 16 civilians were killed and 23 others injured, Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake told Parliament that the country is at a critical juncture now that “terrorism is on its last legs and, therefore, the LTTE is showing increasing signs of desperation”.

Introducing a motion to extend the Emergency, Mr. Wickramanayake urged everyone to join hands with the government “at this important moment to wipe out terrorism” from the island. The island nation has been in a state of Emergency since the assassination of the then Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar in August 2005 and under the Constitution of Sri Lanka, it comes up for review every month.

At the end of the debate, Parliament voted to extend the Emergency by a majority of 126 in a House of 225 members. Fifteen members voted against the motion.

The LTTE has made 11 attempts on the life of Douglas Devananda. This alone demonstrates the blood-thirsty intent of Prabakaran. Mr. Wickramanayake said that it is the responsibility of every one to create an environment where every citizen can live without fear. Separately, the military claimed that at least 17 cadres of the LTTE were killed in battles.

Rajiv Gandhi gave no instructions to eliminate LTTE chief, say ex-diplomat and former army commander

Reports suggesting that former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi gave orders for the elimination of the LTTE chief, V. Prabhakaran, at the height of the IPKF operations in Sri Lanka in 1987, have been rubbished by a former diplomat and army commander.

Reacting to former commander of IPKF operations in Sri Lanka, Major General (retired) Harkirat Singh's charge that he was ordered by the then Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, J.N. Dixit, to kill Prabhakaran during a `white flag' meeting on September 16, 1987, former Ambassador and noted commentator, G. Parthasarthy, said this was a baseless allegation.

Talking to ANI over the phone, Ambassador Parthasarthy said: "I was dealing with affairs relating to Sri Lanka in the Prime Minister's Office and flew on several occasions to Jaffna to meet with army commanders and officials. What I was told was that Major General Harkirat Singh was removed from his command because of ineptitude."

Commenting specifically on Major General Harkirat Singh's charge that he got a call from High Commissioner Dixit at midnight on September 14 and was given the order to kill Prabhakaran, Mr. Parthasarthy said: "I spoke with the army commanders and officials and they told me that instructions of this nature were not given at all."

"Instructions of this nature are never conveyed to or through a High Commissioner, and the IPKF commanders I spoke and interacted with, also said that they had received no such orders from their bosses," Mr. Parthasarthy added.

He also questioned the timing of Major General (retired) Harkirat Singh's statement in his soon to be released book "Intervention in Sri Lanka".

"Why has he taken more than 20 years to reveal this information? Asked Ambassador Parthasarthy. When told that Major-General Singh did not want to be harassed by the Army or the government for making these startling revelations for violating the Official Secrets Act, Mr. Parthasarthy said that as far as he was concerned, Major General Singh has violated the act, even though he might contend that he had honoured the three to ten year-old security embargo period before making his revelations.

In his comments to Major General Harkirat Singh's charge, Lt. General (retired) Deepinder Singh, the former GOC-in-C, Southern Command and overall commander of the IPKF operations, said: "This is absolute poppycock. There is no truth to this. Prabhakaran was never an individual target."

He further went on to say that "if there was anything of this kind, I would have been the first one to know. I was in touch with Mani Dixit throughout. Also, when someone comes to meet us under the white flag, the Indian Army will never kill him."

These reactions were in response to Major General (retired) Singh telling the Mail Today that he called up High Commissioner Dixit on September 15 and told him that he would not be following his orders to kill Prabhakaran. He claims that High Commissioner Dixit told him that the orders had come directly from Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Major General Harkirat Singh now says that there was no way of knowing whether Rajiv Gandhi gave those orders or not, and as far as he was concerned, " killing someone under a white flag is just not done".

Attention focused on security lapses at the scene of claymore attack on a bus in Sri Lanka

The special investigation team now in Kebithigollewa in the Anuradhapura district to investigate the claymore attack on a passenger bus has focused their attention towards possible negligence from the part of the home guards and Police who were manning the defense bunkers close to the crime scene.

Sources close to the investigation team said that there were two defense bunkers in close proximity to the scene of crime. It is believed that suspected Tamil Tiger rebels set off two claymores using remote control devices killing 16 passengers and injuring around 23 more.

A similar claymore attack killed 64 bus passengers a year ago and the security was enhanced in the area deploying hundreds more home guards to protect the villages and the roads.

Meanwhile the military has removed all permananet barriers that hamper the normal traffic flow on the roads in the capital Colombo following a Supreme Court ruling that some checkpoints violated the people’s right to free movement.

“Based on the court ruling, we started removing barriers that hamper normal traffic flow on the road, not the entire checkpoint,” military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said. The Supreme Court ruling has put the government in a dilemma in providing security to the citizens.

“The government is now in a dilemma as it has to obey the law and at the same time protect civilians from bomb explosions in the city,” Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardane said yesterday at the Cabinet meeting.

Mostly Quiet On The Eastern Front

December 7, 2007: Fighting continues to grow more intense in the north, with there being several hundred casualties on some days. The LTTE mainly attacks government check points, which tend to be prepared for this sort of thing. The army goes after LTTE defensive positions (trenches and bunker complexes). The LTTE are suffering 4-5 casualties for every soldier killed or wounded. There are occasional clashes in the east, but most of the action is in the north, where the LTTE is short of food, medicine, ammo, morale and just about everything else.

December 6, 2007: In the north, LTTE terrorists used a claymore mine to hit a bus with hundreds of steel balls. Sixteen civilians were killed.

December 4, 2007: Over 90 percent of the nearly 3,000 Tamils arrested recently in the capital, were released. But several hundred were evicted from the capital, and sent north to Tamil areas. The police continue to search for the LTTE terrorists who set of the two bombs in the capital recently.

December 1, 2007: In response to the two suicide bombing in the capital, police have been searching Tamil neighborhoods in the area, and arresting those who were not supposed to be there. The LTTE has been fighting hard up north, to breach the government lines, and send terrorist teams south. Most of the terrorists are getting through as civilians, so the army is restricting those movements as well. There is much anger among the majority Sinhalese, at these LTTE terrorist attacks.

Four More War Heroes Laid Their Lives

THE remains of four valiant soldiers died in offensives in PERLYKURLYITTAKULAM in WANNI were brought down to OMANTHE Entry/Exit point late Thursday (6) evening by the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) to be handed over to the military authorities.

Heroic troops now engaged in search and destroy operations in WANNI offering stiff resistance to the presence of terrorists on Thursday (6) swung into action in the above area triggering a massive intense fight between the troops and the enemy.

In the fight that took a heavy toll of the terrorists, six members of the Army went missing in action after brave soldiers rounded up LTTE held areas in un-cleared areas in order to eliminate them and restore peace while salvaging entrapped civilians.

Sergeant W.K.P.D Jayantha, Private B.S.P Cooray, Private L.B Wimalasena, Private S.B Dissanayaka and two more soldiers during the multi-pronged fight went missing in action while countering enemy fire.

The remains of four above named soldiers, most probably as intimated to the ICRC, were brought down and delivered to the OMANTHE check point. All of them were to be given military funerals with honors.

A Low Intensity Genocide

THE CANNIBAL OF Wanni has preyed on another busload of men, women and children. Over fifteen people were killed and many more injured in a claymore mine attack the LTTE mounted on a civilian bus in Kebithigollewa on Wednesday. That cowardly act of naked terrorism came close on the heels of a parcel bomb that killed about twenty people at Nugegoda last week.

Prabhakaran blinded by a frenzy of rage has fought his way into a trap of his own making, spurning every opportunity to resolve the conflict peacefully. Piqued, beleaguered and desperate, he is capable of any crime. He seems determined to plunge the country into a bloodbath once again, seeking foreign intervention. For, the Tiger chief is aware that the military onslaught on the horizon is too serious a threat to be overcome by occasional raids like the recent one at Anuradhapura. And the Wanni would be too small an area for him to hide in, should the army move in.

Sri Lanka’s Ozymandias of terror, has, after twenty five years of fighting, had to begin from the very beginning, taking as he does civilian targets. It is like a failed graduate going back to the kindergarten to start education all over again with a view to succeeding in life! Prabhakaran is a failed CEO who has wasted billions of dollars and driven tens of thousands of youth to suicide. He has got nowhere near his goal. Only he and his family seem to have have gained from this war. He is putting on weight like a parliamentarian. His son is being groomed for leadership.

If Prabhakaran thinks he can break the will of the people to resist terror by targeting them, he is sadly mistaken. He has failed in that endeavour in the past and he is sure to fail in the future as well. With each attack on civilians, he only gives the LTTE’s journey down the Gaderene slope a fresh impetus. He has made himself an embarrassment even to his close allies.

Terror attacks on civilians also ruin the prospects of a negotiated solution and strengthen the hands of those who seek total war. Yesterday, in Parliament, the JVP called for an increase in defence expenditure. (Paradoxically, the cantankerous Rathu Sahodarayas exuding patriotism from every pore voted against President Rajapaksa’s war budget allegedly geared towards the Wanni offensive!)

The LTTE’s systematic elimination of civilians in tens, twenties, fifties and hundreds has all the trappings of a low intensity genocide. Luckily, in 1983, the pogrom against Tamils didn’t develop into genocide as the vast majority of the people refused to combine forces with the government-sponsored death squads. But, the genocidal megalomaniac who used that pogrom as a springboard to a savage terror campaign is at large in the North relishing an ethnic bloodbath.

He must be stopped in his tracks. It is high time his friends, both local and foreign, prevailed on him to eschew violence and come for talks. That is the only way to prevent him from destroying many more lives in vain. It is not only Prabhakaran who should be held responsible for the premeditated attacks on civilians. All those who are supporting him either overtly or covertly have the blood of the innocent people on their hands.

Malaysia's ethnic Indian activists accused of terror links

Malaysian authorities have accused ethnic Indian activists of having links with Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers, a charge the campaigners said could see them detained under internal security laws.

Leaders of ethnic rights group Hindraf, which last month organised mass anti-discrimination protests that were broken up with tear gas and water cannons, have already been slapped with sedition charges.

Police Inspector-General Musa Hassan accused them of seeking support from terrorists, smearing Malaysia's reputation, and inciting racial hatred -- a serious charge in the multicultural country dominated by Muslim Malays.

"Of late there have been indications that Hindraf is trying to seek support and help from terrorist groups," Musa said in a statement carried by the official Bernama news agency late Thursday, without giving any details.

However, Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail said Hindraf was suspected of involvement with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) whose campaign for an independent homeland has left tens of thousands dead since 1972.

"Somebody lodged a report based on the grounds that these people have gone out to contact the LTTE. We all know that the LTTE has been declared a terrorist organisation," he told reporters.

"Everybody in the world is worried if there is an LTTE connection," he said, adding that police were investigating the issue.

Malaysia's ethnic Indians, who make up eight percent of the population, are mostly Tamils -- the descendents of indentured labourers brought here by the British colonial rulers in the 1800s.

One of Hindraf's leaders, P. Uthayakumar, said the police chief's salvo raised the prospect of Malaysia's controversial Internal Security Act (ISA) -- which allows indefinite detention without trial -- being used against them.

"They are trying to lay the foundation to arrest us under the ISA or to charge us for a criminal offence and deny us bail," Uthayakumar told AFP.

"At all costs, they want us locked up and behind bars when all we are doing is highlighting the marginalisation and permanent colonialisation and racism against Indians here."

Uthayakumar said he would write to Musa demanding he provide evidence of the alleged terror links, or face a 10 million ringgit (three million dollar) defamation lawsuit.

Musa also dismissed as "false, baseless and malicious" the activists' claims that ethnic Indians are marginalised in terms of education, employment and wealth.

"Their actions also have the potential of creating racial conflict in the country," he said.

In a court session Friday, the government sought to overturn a decision that allowed three Hindraf leaders including Uthayakumar to walk free from sedition charges related to speeches they made last month.

The speeches criticised Malaysia's system of preferential treatment for Malays, who make up 60 percent of the population. The court adjourned the hearing until Monday.

Opposition leader Lim Kit Siang, from the Chinese-based Democratic Action Party, slammed the police allegations and called on the government to drop the attacks and instead listen to the concerns of ethnic Indians.

He filed for an emergency debate on the issue in parliament on Monday, saying that levelling the terror allegations "without any evidence whatsoever is a matter of grave national concern".

Earlier this week, 31 ethnic Indians were charged with attempted murder over the wounding of a police officer during a rally at a Hindu temple on the eve of the November 25 mass protests organised by Hindraf.