Thursday, December 20, 2007

Church plea for political solution to Sri Lanka crisis

CHURCH groups in Sri Lanka have united to issue a plea for a political solution to the conflict that has claimed more than 70,000 lives on the strife-torn island.
Church plea for political solution to Sri Lanka crisis

The call from the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka comes as fresh fighting in the north claimed the lives of 13 rebels and two government soldiers.

And it was reported that the body of a Red Cross worker who was abducted last Friday was found on Sunday.

"Fighting will not lead us anywhere," the Rev WP Ebenezer Joseph, president of the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka told Ecumenical News International on 17 December from Colombo following the issue of a joint church statement.

Fighting has been raging since the collapse of a 2002 ceasefire between the Government and Tamil rebels, LTTE, who want autonomy. Repeated efforts to restart the peace process have foundered.

The Sri Lankan Red Cross confirmed yesterday that Sooriyakanthy Thavarajah, a 40-year-old volunteer, had been killed after being abducted by gunmen. He was the third Red Cross worker to be killed this year.

"We are shocked by another senseless and brutal murder of one of our volunteers," the president of the Sri Lankan Red Cross, Jagath Abeysinghe, said, while calling for an investigation into the killing.


LTTE: Prabhakaran not injured

In news from Sri Lanka, conflicting reports are emerging about LTTE chief V Prabhakaran, who according to the Sri Lankan government has been injured in an air raid by the Sri Lankan air force on November 26 in the rebel-held northern district of Kilinochchi.

Media reports say the injuries are minor. After initially keeping silent on the reports, it was only on Wednesday, three weeks after the attack, that the Sri Lankan government confirmed the reports.

The Lankan defence ministry spokesperson said,"Intelligence sources confirmed that the LTTE supremo, Velupillai Prabhakaran, had sustained injuries in the air strikes carried out by four fighter aircraft of the Sri Lanka Air Force on a bunker complex in Jayanthinagar, Kilinochchi around 5.25 pm on November 26."

The LTTE has however rubbished the report as, it is believed, it fears the demoralising effect the news could have on its cadres - coming as it does on the heels of the killing of its political head Thamilselvan in another air force raid last month.

LTTE trying to smuggle out injured Prabhakaran

The LTTE is trying to sneak its leader Velupillai Prabhakaran out of Sri Lanka for treatment abroad following severe injuries he is said to have sustained in an air raid last month, a government-owned newspaper claimed on Friday.

The Daily News also claimed that 116 of the 200 guards protecting the LTTE Supremo had died in the recent attack by the Sri Lankan Air Force, in which Prabhakaran was said to have been injured.

The LTTE, which has denied reports of injury to Prabhakaran, could not be contacted for its comments on the latest Daily News claim.

A senior Defence Ministry official said that since intelligence reports have "confirmed" that Prabhakaran sustained injuries on November 26, there could be an attempt by the Tiger leader to go to India for treatment if the medical facilities in Killinocchi or Mullaithivu were not sufficient to treat him.

"But India will not provide any facility for Prabhakaran and we will not allow him to leave the country and will maintain strict vigilance on the LTTE movement," the official felt.

The newspaper said the condition of Prabhakaran, a diabetic, has worsened and the LTTE is looking at prospects of taking him out of the country for treatment.

"Intelligence reports indicate that the top Tiger has sustained injuries or fractures in his arm and a leg. Since the Tiger leader is already suffering from diabetes, the situation has got worse and the LTTE is making attempts to evacuate him to a foreign country for further treatment," the newspaper said.


LTTE trying to take Prabhakaran abroad for treatment: report

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has been attempting to smuggle its chief, Velupillai Prabhakaran, out of Sri Lanka to treat the injuries he suffered when the air force busted his bunker last month, the media reported Friday.

According to the government-owned Daily News, intelligence reports say that the Tiger chieftain might have suffered fractures in his arm and leg when his bunker in Jayanthinagar, northern Sri Lanka, was destroyed by the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) on Nov 26.

'Since the Tiger leader is already suffering from diabetes, the situation has got worse and the LTTE is making attempts to evacuate him to a foreign country for further treatment,' the paper said.

The Colombo-based daily said 116 of the 200 bodyguards of the Tiger chieftain were killed in the air raid.

The SLAF's MIGs and Kfirs fighter bombers, which struck the bunkers, had used a sufficient number of bombs to destroy the kind of bunker Prabhakaran would hide in.

'The pilots who carried out the task observed that anti-aircraft guns at the location were activated once the target was hit precisely. That confirmed that the Tiger leader was definitely there at the time of the raid.

'The Tiger leader has around 200 guards around him all the time. The SLAF has received reliable information that 116 of Prabhakaran's bodyguards also perished in the air raid.'

According to information available, the LTTE removed rubble from the location to save the life of Prabhakaran who had been trapped inside a destroyed bunker, the report added.

However, a senior Tamil journalist working in north Sri Lanka discounted the story.

'Prabhakaran's wife, Mathivathani, would never have participated in a public function in Kilinochchi last Sunday (Dec 16) if her husband was in bed with a grievous injury. Also, she would never have attended a public function if the security situation was so bad,' the journalist, who did not want to be identified, told IANS.


Prabhakaran lives more than 40 ft underground

Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran lives more than 40 ft underground in a massive, well provided, and seemingly impenetrable bunker complex hewn from rocks in the middle of a thick jungle in northeast Sri Lanka.

Adele Balasingham, the Australian-born wife of the late Anton Balasingham, the LTTE's ideologue, describes Prabhakaran's office cum residence in the Alampil jungles, in her book "The Will to Freedom".

"Our cadres led us down the steps into a room about thirty to forty feet underground. To our amazement, we could see that this subterranean haven of tunnels and rooms had been chiseled out of the underground rocks. Our room had been carved out, high enough to stand up in and move around comfortably."

"Prabhakaran's room was even deeper underground than ours," she writes.

"Low lying roofs constructed over the bunkers, and banks to divert water, prevented the monsoon rains from pouring in and flooding the bunkers."

"Stronger than concrete, this underground granite structure stood up to the heavy downpour of the monsoon rains when the entire jungle turned into a muddy quagmire."

"Since we were deep into the earth, where the sun's heat has no access, the room was absolutely freezing, particularly at night. My bones ached from the cold and I wondered how it could be endured over a sustained period of time. But obviously it had been, and without any ill-effects," she notes.

The expansive complex was more like a village than a camp. It had been cleared of virgin jungle. The LTTE's cadres had pulled out rocks and cleared the foliage except the giant trees, which gave it good cover. Sixty to seventy feet wells had been dug, only to find that there was no water!

Since the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) was on the prowl in the Mullaitivu jungles at that time she was referring to, keeping "Base One Four" supplied with food and other necessities was extremely problematical.

From 1987 to 1990, the IPKF was fighting the LTTE as the latter had refused to comply with the India-Sri Lanka Accord on the ethnic question and lay down arms.

Under these difficult circumstances, the LTTE's cadres in Base One Four had to survive on rice and dhal without salt, Adele says.

The routes of the food suppliers had to be changed frequently to avoid being detected by the IAF's MI-24 choppers and the IPKF's foot patrols. Mines had to be detected and dodged.

Though the camp was visible from the air, and the IAF's choppers could swoop down, the casualties in Base One Four were minimal, Adele notes.

The place had, however, been very well defended on the ground by a network of mines, booby traps and snipers, as the IPKF learnt to its discomfiture when it attempted an air borne assault on Alampil in the latter stages of the war against Prabhakaran.

At the present time, Base One Four will surely have a ring of anti-aircraft guns as the Jayanthinagar camp had when the SLAF struck it on November 26.

Military analysts here say that Prabhakaran will be in danger of being hit from the air, not when he is in Base One Four, but when he ventures out to meet his cadres or attends functions outside.

Prabhakaran limits public appearances

On the 16th of this month, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam opened what it said was an Elder's Home in Kilinochchi. Usually, these types of events are inaugurated by LTTE leader Velupillei Prabhakaran. In this instance however, it was his Wife Mathivathani who attended the event (See Photo - Source Tamilnet). With the recent publicity given to the air raid which destroyed part of Prabhakaran's underground bunker, many began to speculate that he did not attend the event due to the injuries received in the incident. Latest Military intelligence reports suggest otherwise.

Apparently, LTTE's intelligence service (TOSSIE) has warned Prabhakaran of a plot to assassinate him in a public meeting by assassins disguised as civilians. As a result of this warning, LTTE leader has avoided attending several public functions recently with the latest one being the Elder's Home opening. It is still not clear if the warning mentioned the army's Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) or a rival faction within/outside the LTTE. LRRP has penetrated deep into LTTE controlled territory and so has intelligence cadres from the breakaway Karuna faction (TMVP).

Meanwhile tension prevailed in Kilinochchi on the 18th when hundreds of civilians staged a protest against a LTTE leader who allegedly raped a 13 year old schoolgirl. The angry mob is said to have damaged several vehicles belonging to the tigers. According to MI, LTTE leader in question and several protestors have been detained by LTTE's de facto police.


Prabhakaran did receive minor injuries in air raid - Military Intelligence

Several days ago, an article written by D.B.S Jeyaraj suggested that the LTTE leader received minor injuries in a SLAF Air Strike. However the Sri Lankan military did not issue any statement regarding this incident as ground based intelligence sources had not confirmed the news. So many factors suggested that the story was based on rumors and speculation and was a false lead. However, according to latest intelligence reports, LTTE's seemingly invincible leader is confirmed to have received minor injuries in the said air strike.

The air strike which is said to have caused the injuries involved three Israeli built ground attack aircraft of the 10th fighter squadron. They dropped 12 MK80 Series bombs near Jeyanthi Nagar in Kilinochchi district on the 28th of November. One or more bombs that were dropped had hit the bunker in which the LTTE leader was residing at the time. He received minor injuries to the right shoulder when parts of the underground bunker crumbled upon impact. Although Prabhakaran's injuries were in no way life threatening, he was immediately evacuated to a secret LTTE installation where he was inspected by several doctors who declared the wounds and bruises were nothing of serious nature.


Prabha Injured?

Journalist D.B.S. Jeyaraj has claimed that LTTE Supremo Velupillai Pripaharan was slightly injured in an aerial attack in Kilinochchi in November. He claims that this injury has gone below the radar of the Sri Lankan Security Forces. The situation as we know it is as follows;

Sri Lanka Air Force launched a series of attacks on identified targets in the last week of November. They destroyed a suspected safehouse of the LTTE leader (which was reported by DW) in an area called Iruthirapuram (also called Uruthirapuram), a suburb of Kilinochchi. The safehouse was completely destroyed and contrary to what Jeyaraj says, no underground concrete bunker was observed. Although it is possible for Prabha to have been injured in any of these attacks, ground intelligence sources have no credible information about Jeyaraj's claims. If the SLA sources are accurate enough to discover his safehouse, they can also be reasonably expected to obtain information regarding his injuries.

Although we dismiss Jeyaraj's claims, several things can be ascertained as truth in this matter. Firstly Prabha is trapped in the general area Kilinochchi-Mullaithivu. Secondly, it is also true that he prefers to hide in densely populated areas and avoids LTTE camps like the plague. Thirdly, Military Intelligence has LTTE spies trailing him. Fourthly, he IS susceptible to attack and assassination like any of his victims. Fifthly, it would deal a severe blow to LTTE's morale. But most importantly, the government and the Security Forces are proactively seeking his elimination before his next birthday.


Prabha's Injuries Now Confirmed

According to the latest information received through Ground Intelligence, LTTE Supremo Velupillai Pripaharan has received minor bruise and cut injuries to his right shoulder in an Air Force bombing in November at Iruthirapuram (Uruthirapuram).

According to Military Intelligence a trunk of a Palmirah tree used as part of a camouflaged bunker at his safehouse situated in a housing scheme in Iruthirapuram had hit Prabha on his right shoulder. The man in some degree of discomfort had been taken to a secret location for treatment by his bodyguards. It is also possible that Pripaharan was in a state of shock at the time.

Confirmation of this news was being awaited by the Military Intelligence long before journalist D.B.S Jeyaraj's report to The Nation newspaper.

Prabakaran to be smuggled out for treatment – a report

Press Trust of India in its reports citing Sri Lanka Government owned newspaper, revealed that LTTE is trying to sneak its leader Velupillai Prabakaran out of Sri Lanka for treatment abroad following severe injuries he sustained in air raid last month.

"Intelligence reports indicate that the top Tiger has sustained injuries or fractures in his arm and a leg. Since the Tiger leader is already suffering from diabetes, the situation has got worse and the LTTE is making attempts to evacuate him to a foreign country for further treatment,” PTI reported, citing Sri Lanka’s Government owned Daily News newspaper

The Indian news agency added , “The Daily News also claimed 116 of the 200 guards protecting the LTTE Supremo had died in the recent attack by the Sri Lankan Air Force, in which Prabhakaran was said to have been injured.”

Earlier on last Sunday 16 December, DBS Jeyaraj, a veteran Tamil journalist was the first to reveal in his column in The Nation that Prabakaran injured slightly in the Air force bombing.

Subsequently in an interview with Asian Tribune Minister Dr. Keheliya Rambukwella, who is the Government spokesman for Defence and National Security, confirmed that Sri Lanka Army intelligence was aware that LTTE Leader was injured. Prabaharan is actively trailed and his activities in the jungle hideouts closely monitored

However, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam has so far not come forward officially to deny the news report that Prabakaran being hit and injured, except for Uthayan a Tamil daily published from Jaffna which carried a meek denial, on 17 December.

Accordingly Uthayan reported “Vanni news sources totally denied the sensational news report from Colombo that Prabakaran was slightly injured recently in the aerial bombing at Jaeyanthi Nagar.

Uthayan’s Report further revealed that LTTE military spokesperson Rasiah Ilanthirayan when speaking to Uthayan said that it was the part of a psychological warfare let loose by Sri Lanka’s Defence headquarters. This report was put out to bring out an impression that Sri Lanka armed forces have closed on our leader Prabakaran with mischievous intent, Rasiah Ilanthirayan emphasized, reported Uthayan Tamil daily news paper.

In the meantime, PTI report further revealed that “A senior Defence Ministry official said since intelligence reports have "confirmed" that Prabhakaran sustained injuries on November 26, there could be an attempt by the Tiger leader to go to India for treatment if the medical facilities in Killinocchi or Mullaithivu were not sufficient to treat him.”

"But India will not provide any facility for Prabhakaran and we will not allow him to leave the country and will maintain strict vigilance on the LTTE movement, the official felt”, PTI said.

PTI also revealed of Prabakaran’s general health condition, the report quoting Daily news said that the condition of Prabhakaran, a diabetic, has worsened and the LTTE is looking at prospects of taking him out of the country for treatment.

Already Asian Tribune in its report on 03 July 2006 reported that Health Health card of Prabakaran is not so rosy as it ought to be.

Earlier Anton Balasingham, 64, and his Australian-born wife, Adele 52, escaped government forces in Sri Lanka by smuggling themselves by boat illegally entered Thailand in early 1999 to receive urgent medical treatment. After having his enlarged left kidney removed at a hospital in the capital Bangkok, the Balasinghams kept a low profile to avoid getting caught by immigration authorities and were contemplating their next move to London.

Adele in her book, "The will to freedom” wrote about the travails of Anton Balasingham, but the book does not name the country, but diplomatic sources confirmed that it was to Thailand the Balasinghams escaped.


In a Desparate Move Prabhakaran Grooms His Wife As Successor?

The reportedly recently injured Prabhakaran broke his own embargo not to publish any photos of his family members by publishing his wife Mathivathani's photo on Sunday.

Many consider that to be a desperate move. Prabharana is groming his wife Mathivathani as his successor, they believe.

Her photograph has never been published until this week when she opened an elder’s home in Killinochchi. This is an unprecedented matter for Prabharakan to bring his hitherto secluded wife into the lime light according to most observers.

Is Prabhakaran aware that his days are numbered they asked. His son, Charleas Anthony was supposed to take the father's place. Even his photograph has also not been published.

Prabakaran and Mathivathani met during the time when she was a university activitist. Prabhakaran broke his own rule then that there should not be any romantic involvement among the LTTE cadres by marrying Mathivathani. They have a son and daughter.

The succession story is a big hassle to the LTTe with many senior cadres staking their positions. Putting Charles Anthony would cause a strike in their ranks. Having his wife succeed at least temporarily would avoid that conflict. We will have to wait and see how things turn according to most observers watching the stakes play out.


Govt. admits paying Rs. 125 mn to LTTE front firm

The Government yesterday admitted that Rs. 125 million of public funds were given to an LTTE front organisation through the Reconstruction and Development Agency (RADA), formerly headed by Tiran Alles.

Chief Government Whip Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle told Parliament the government would probe the matter relating to funds being given to a company headed by an LTTE operative under the ‘Jaya Lanka’ housing project headed by RADA.

The matter was discussed after the JVP questioned the government on the transaction and charged that no houses were built by the monies given.

JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake who posed the question said Cabinet papers approving the funds was signed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as Finance Minister.

“The Minister must be responsible to the Cabinet,” Mr. Dissanayake said adding that the funds were passed to a company which had not even been accredited.

However, Minister Fernandopulle said the company was selected on the recommendation of Mr. Alles, who was chairman of RADA, and the minister approved such projects based on the trust he placed in his officials as he could not scrutinize all documents forwarded to him.

He added that although Rs. 757 million was approved for the project only Rs. 125 million had been released, with the remaining money stopped by the government after the controversy was brought to light.

UNP MP Palitha Ranga Bandara said the issue was first highlighted by MP Sripathi Sooriyarachchi to the House in April this year. He charged the government was trying to hide facts pertaining to the granting of funds to LTTE operative Emil Kanthan under the alleged Mahinda-LTTE deal.

JVP Parliamentary Group Leader Wimal Weerawansa said the government must take responsibility for the situation and demanded that the officials responsible be interdicted and an intensive investigation launched into the matter.

Minister Fernandopulle said the matter would also be referred to the Bribery Commission, but Mr. Weerawansa urged that state power be used to investigate the deal.

Mr. Weerawansa also asked why the government had not taken action on the matter until this point.

Mr. Fernandopulle said the issue was raised in the House only at this point and said an investigation would start accordingly.


Success of Putin and a lesson from Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin's party has won a landslide election victory, official results show. With nearly all ballots counted, his United Russia had 64.1% of the vote while the Communist Party only having 11.6% of the vote. This is clear sign of enormous support of Russian people on their national leader. Mr Putin is constitutionally obliged to stand down after his second term as president ends in March next year. Mr Putin announced earlier this year that he may seek the office of prime minister after his presidential term ends.

Putin entered into Russian politics by the time it was in the misery of poverty under political clownship under Gorbachev and Yeltsin, despite all the pledges from the west for new Russia. Territorial integrity of Russia has been under sever threats with Chechniyan war had been branded by west as another ‘miserable war’, ‘a war that can never be won’, etc. With weak leadership that has been dancing to the tune of West, large part of people was forced to have the same negative view as well.

It all has changed and Russia is now marching towards its supremacy again. However, this time it is not under old communist Russia, but new patriotic and national Russia which is stronger than ever.

There are many lessons to learn for Sri Lankan people from the contemporary Russian politics and there are some interesting parallels. Though we are a tiny emerald island in the Indian ocean, Sri Lankan people has great history and dignity as Russians!

Early Days of Putin
Vladimir Putin graduated from the International Branch of the Law Department of the Leningrad State University in 1975 and was recruited into the KGB. At the University he also became a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and has never formally resigned from it.

Vladimir Putin was appointed one of three First Deputy Prime Ministers, which enabled him later on that day to be appointed acting Prime Minister of the Government of the Russian Federation by President Boris Yeltsin. Yeltsin's main opponents and would-be successors, Moscow Mayor Yuriy Luzhkov and former Chairman of the Russian Government Yevgeniy Primakov, were already campaigning to replace the ailing president, and they fought hard to prevent Putin's emergence as a potential successor. Putin's law-and-order image and his unrelenting approach to the renewed crisis in Chechnya soon combined to raise his popularity and allowed him to overtake all rivals.

Both in Russia and abroad, Putin's public image was forged by his tough handling of the war. On assuming the role of acting President on December 31, 1999, Putin went on a previously scheduled visit to Russian troops in Chechnya.

First Chechen War
The First Chechen War was fought between Russia and Chechnya from 1994 to 1996 and weak political leadership under Boris Yeltsin resulted in Chechnya's de facto independence from Russia. After the initial campaign of 1994–1995, culminating in the devastating Battle of Grozny, Russian federal forces attempted to control the mountainous area of Chechnya but were set back by Chechen guerrilla warfare and raids on the flatlands (including mass hostage takings beyond Chechnya) in spite of Russia's overwhelming manpower, weaponry, and air support. The resulting widespread demoralization of federal forces, and the almost universal opposition of the Russian public to the conflict, led Boris Yeltsin's government to declare a ceasefire in 1996 and sign a peace treaty a year later. The conflict between the Russian Federation and the Chechen separatists remained unresolved; in 1999 it resumed in the form of the Second Chechen War.

Second Chechen War
The Second Chechen War is a military campaign conducted by Russia starting August 26, 1999, in which Russian forces largely recaptured the separatist region of Chechnya. The Second Chechen War was started in retaliation for the Dagestan War and Russian apartment bombings. In late August and September 1999, Russia mounted a massive air campaign over Chechnya, with the stated aim of wiping out militants who invaded Dagestan the previous month. The Chechen conflict entered a new phase on October 1, 1999, when Russia's new Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced that Russian troops would initiate a land invasion.

During the initial campaign, Russian military and pro-Russian Chechen paramilitary faced Chechen separatists in open combat, but eventually seized the Chechen capital of Grozny in February 2000 after a winter siege. After the full-scale offensive, Chechen guerrilla resistance throughout the North Caucasus region continued to inflict heavy Russian casualties and challenge Russian political control over Chechnya for several more years. Chechen separatists also carried out attacks against civilians in Russia, such as notably taking hostages inside a Moscow theater in 2002 and later doing so in a school in Beslan, North Ossetia in 2004.

In 2003, a referendum was held in Chechnya adopting a new constitution which declares the Republic as a part of Russia. The situation has been gradually stabilized with the parliamentary elections and the establishment of a regional government.

The Russians have succeeded in installing a pro-Moscow Chechen regime, composed of the former separatists, and eliminating most of the more prominent Chechen separatist leaders, including former president Aslan Maskhadov and leading warlord Shamil Basayev.

Second term
On March 14, 2004, Putin was re-elected to the presidency for a second term, earning 71 percent of the vote. A significant amount of Putin's second term has been focusing on domestic issues. According to various Russian and western media reports, Putin is extremely concerned about the ongoing demographic problems, such as the death rate being higher than the birth rate, cyclical poverty, and housing concerns within the Russian Federation. In his May 2006 annual speech, Putin proposed increasing maternity benefits and prenatal care for women. Putin has also been quite strident about the need to reform the judiciary.

In recent years, the political philosophy of Putin's administration has been described as "sovereign democracy". The political term recently gained wide acceptance within Russia itself and unified various political elites around it. According to its supporters, Presidential policies must above all be supported by a popular majority in Russia itself and not be determined from outside the country; such popular support constitutes the founding principle of a democratic society.

Domestic support and foreign criticism
Despite widespread public support in Russia, Putin has many critics. Reforms made under Putin’s rule have been criticized by independent Russian media outlets and many American commentators as antidemocratic.

During the term, Putin has been widely criticized in the West for what many observers consider a wide-scale crackdown on media freedoms. At the same time, according to 2005 research by VCIOM, the share of Russians approving censorship on TV has grown in a year from 63% to 82%. According to public opinion surveys conducted by Levada Center, Putin's approval rating was 81% in June 2007, and the highest of any leader in the world

Current state
Russian President Vladimir Putin's party has won a landslide election victory again and people of Russia have approved strong national leadership of United Russia Party. It was once ‘misssarable war of chechniya’ under feeble political clowns. There was a time when so called Russian leaders going after Western leaders to beg money. It has all changed now and it all needed strong determination and will power of people and great leadership from true born leader. The lesson for us is that whatever the political or economic view, the personality and strong bond of the leader to the people of the country play big part in success of the country.


Sinhala ‘extremists’, ‘moderate’ Tamils and other Tamils

The news media, including The Island, is full of Features by individuals of the Colombo Tamil elite, also referred to as Tamil "Moderates". These individuals are usually associated with or have the same views, as the Peace lobbyists. These latter of course consist of, foreign funded academics, NGO pundits, moralists, intellectuals and pseudo intellectuals or individuals bearing a mixture of these characteristics. They are invariably averse to idea of a unitary state, Sinhala Buddhist nationalism, devolution to district councils, and war against the LTTE. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka is not high on their list of priorities. They refer freely to those who approve of the above ideas, as racists, chauvinists, extremists, Sinhala Buddhist nationalists, using these labels interchangeably. Among political parties the JHU and the JVP are specially mentioned as belonging to this group, as are associations like the National Patriotic Front.

This is despite the fact that these alleged extremist groups have not ever declared themselves to be against the rights of any ethnic or religious group in regard to the promotion of language, culture or religion. No group has been obstructed in the establishment of their own educational institutions or places of worship , and are free to observe their religious rituals and cultural customs and practices, lead their own, lifestyle and dress as they please. T hey also never dispute the basic equality of status of all citizens and their fundamental rights.

Tamil Political groups

The LTTE, the erstwhile "sole representative of the Tamils’ is generally accepted as an extremist group, though some intellectuals may call them freedom fighters. However, their terrorist savagery and their violent suppression of the freedom of those whom they control, belies the latter claim. Their goal is avowedly a separate state and they work unwaveringly to achieve it.

The label Tamil "Moderates", applied to the elite Tamil Intellectuals, is a misnomer. They seek to achieve a similar goal as the LTTE, ostensibly by less violent means. There are other Tamils of course, who are as intellectual, on whom the label "Moderate"would be more appropriate, such as Mr. Sangaree and Mr. Devananda, who are willing to work with the government to solve the problems of the Tamils


The LTTE and the Tamil "Moderates" both aspire to a supremacist Tamil homeland consisting of an enforced, illegally merged, Northern and Eastern Provinces where the armed LTTE would be the dominant political actor. The homeland would be ethnically cleansed of other ethnic groups or they would remain as second class citizens. The goal is the same as that proclaimed be Mr . Chelvanayakam over 50 years ago, when it became clear that their patrons, the British colonialists, would not accede to their hubristic demands for communally balanced representation.

The "Moderates", almost never clearly state their aspirations, but they harp and carp about grievances, Sinhalese communalism, and chauvinistic Sinhala politicians Apart from the fact that there is considerable debate as to the justification for these grievances,(complained of by this group of SL Tamils, but not by other minorities such as the Muslims). Moreover, these grievances have been non- existent since 1978. In fact, the late Kumar Ponnambalam, a couple of years before his death stated publicly that the Tamils had graduated from ‘grievances’ to ‘aspirations.’

The Military approach

The current agitated despair of the "Moderates" is due to the President and the administration demonstrating unequivocally, by word and deed, their determination to destroy the LTTE.

The President is accused of having "immorally pushed back our country fifty years to the time when communal feelings were aroused with political agendas and to the attempts by the J. R. Jayewardene Government to solve political problems through violence"(Shanie, 17-11-07).

Mr. Phillips (Isl. 25-11-07 ) says, quote: The military approach, he says, is because "the Southern political class’ does not understand "the symbiotic ties that bind the LTTE to Tamil society" and "the failure of successive Governments to address Tamil grievances and the violent suppression of peaceful protests had led to a nascent Tamil militancy".

Mr. K. David, portraying his mood of despair at the impending fate of the LTTE with literary affectation, titles his Feature in The Sunday Island, 25-11-07 as. : "The prophesied war heralding the end of the world -Gotterdammerung: Twilight of the Gods". He allegorizes "the contemporary story of Sri Lanka" and the Government’s "war" against the LTTE, with a Wagner opera. Mr. David sees "two evil extremisms bound together in a ring of violence and hatred"; He casts the President and the Leader (presumably Prabakaran) as the heroes in the opera which ends with the death of the heroes, and the gods when their palace, Valhalla (Sri Lanka) is destroyed by fire. However in the Island 2-12-07, he sees a glimmer of hope. He says, quote: there can be no military solution; the pendulum today swings the way of the government’s forces, in the coming months it may swing the other way. Arguably, a decisive factor is, if despite its logistical setbacks and supply chain disruptions, the LTTE manages to acquire surface to air missiles; denied total command of the air, the army may be immobilized". Similar rays of hope, amidst the encircling gloom, are seen by others. In The Island, Features, 11-27-07, titled Crisis of leadership in Sri Lanka, by Rohini Hensman, She says, most optimistic characterisation of the current situation, as the former military chiefs recognised, is that it is a stalemate. Both the government and the LTTE can win some battles, but neither can win the war."

Tamil Moderates & the LTTE

Mr. R. Phillips(Isl. Features 11-25-07) explains the reason for the "symbiotic link " the group has with the LTTE. He says that, quote: "LTTE militarism is the main reason why major reversals have occurred in previously contested areas, namely, the citizenship of the Plantation Tamils, equality in Language rights and the recognition of territorial rights". The LTTE became a military force long after 1978, which was when citizenship rights of plantation Tamils were expanded and Tamil was declared an official Language by the new constitution. In fact, in 1987, the army would have destroyed them, if not for the threat of Indian military intervention. As for "territorial rights", as far as I know the sovereign GOSl has not excepted claims to territory by any group, till in 2002 Mr .Ranil Wickremesinghe came close to doing so by designating "LTTE controlled areas" in the CFA.

Phillips’s opinion that the LTTE’s "militarism" is seen by the Tamils "as a long overdue payback for past humiliations and an effective deterrent against their recurrence" is arrogant and divisive. There is no fear of LTTE "militarism" in the South. If there is a fear, it is the fear of cowardly terrorism and a backlash against the Tamils, with its propaganda value for the terrorists and their sympathizers.

As for the past humiliations, if the SL Tamils consider being a minority vis-a-vis the Sinhalese majority, a humiliation, and believe that it is their right to retain the privileged position as regards education and jobs which they had under the British, and if they have to resort to satyagrahas, hartals, violence and terrorism when the rights of the Majority are restored, and also if they believe that LTTE "militarism is going to give them "a long overdue payback", it is surely a problem for all Sri Lankans. I believe, however, that these sentiments are confined to the "Moderates" and not shared by the and truly moderate Tamils or the majority of SL Tamils, especially not those who are suffering under LTTE fascist terrorism. Mr. Anandasangareee says in an interview AUG 11-07: "I am happy that the eastern province has been liberated. A lot of people have been telling me, "Please ask the government to liberate us". In a letter to the UN (2-2-07) he says, "People live in agony under LTTE boot. They are at the mercy of the LTTE. These people are undergoing this agony not for one or two years but easily for quarter of a century, with no hopes of any relief". He also says, "I am totally in disagreement with anyone who still thinks that talks should take place with the LTTE."

The Elite Tamil intellectual feature writers are deluded when they argue that military action will increase the support of the Tamil population in the North- East. After the LTTE rout in the East, the Tamil population did not flock to the unucleared areas for protection. In fact, the reverse occurred. Also, there have been no protests at the army’s presence. The LTTE cadres are depleted, so the lack of volunteers has forced them to abduct children. There is no reason to believe that the clearing the Wanni is gong to produce different results.

These feature writers must realize that the "symbiotic link" with the LTTE claimed by Mr. Phillips, is not only an impediment but a hazard. History should warn them of the fate of Tamil leaders who nurtured the LTTE "boys" The LTTE is not going to help fulfill their aspirations to a homeland, in a federal state, for the "Tamil Nation" by military means. To believe that the "war" is stalemated, as Hensman states, and that this dream might still come true with LTTE help, is a delusion. The dream is dead, notwithstanding the LTTE, the ARPC and the LSSP Professor with Trotskyite ideologies, the International community, and the foreign funded local peace merchants. The International Community despite ,what seems to be, disproportionate attention to human rights violations of the government, and its aversion to war, are bringing strictures on the LTTE which are stifling its war effort.

It would seem that prudence would dictate that these Moderates should break their "symbiotic link" with the LTTE. Then, instead of harping on non existent past grievances and unachievable aspirations,and bashing Sinhalese politicians, they should cooperate with the government to address the true aspirations and concerns of the Tamils. These might include effective implementation of the Special Languages (Tamil) Provisions Act of 1958, economic development of the North and East paying special attention to people displaced by decades of conflict and returning them to their homes, recruiting Tamils into the police and security forces, and monitoring and exposing discrimination in employment in government institutions. It seems the government is not unconscious of the true grievances of the Tamils, and the cooperation and pressure of all Tamil leaders would hasten action to resolve them. The destruction of the LTTE would be a tremendous step to achieving these goals.


Rajapakse's nationalistic foreign policy pays dividends

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse's foreign policy based on an aggressive display of nationalism appears to be paying off.

In the two years Rajapakse has been in power, the government has taken on the UN and the West and has rapped multilateral bodies on the knuckles for being soft on the Tamil Tigers.

It has also demonstrated closeness to China and Pakistan regardless of how India, the only neighbour, may view it. But Colombo has been none the worse for all the boldness, even if it has smacked of adventurism and abrasiveness at times.

There has been consistent and strident international criticism of the way the regime is handling the ethnic crisis, especially the huge humanitarian problem unending fighting has triggered. But foreign governments and multilateral organisations have been reluctant to translate expressions of displeasure into corrective action.

As an analyst put it, "The international community has barked, but not bitten."

Western governments and West-based international organisations had got into the habit of making unsolicited comments on the internal affairs of Sri Lanka, often lecturing to its leaders on good governance, democracy and prudent political management. Not surprisingly, Sri Lankans find this condescending and annoying.

Under the regime of Rajapakse, the popular trend here is to launch hostile campaigns against foreign governments and international bodies including those affiliated to the UN. At times, cabinet ministers and leading lights in parliament spearhead these campaigns.

Surprisingly, the responses of the affected governments and organisations have been tepid. There has been no threat of withdrawal from the country by any group. Nor has there been any significant reduction of aid, on which Sri Lanka is so heavily dependent.

Some time ago, Britain and Germany had announced cuts in their aid, citing the continued conflict and slow progress in the peace process. But the amounts were small. And Japan, the single largest donor, has stated that it will continue to aid Sri Lanka despite the human rights violations, because stoppage of aid will only harm the innocent poor in the country.

Although depending on the US for help to fight the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) globally, Rajapakse recently paid a state visit to Iran, America's enemy. The visit was a success in terms of project aid, as Iran gave Sri Lanka what Rajapakse asked for.

At the Commonwealth summit at Kampala, the Sri Lankan stand on Pakistan's expulsion was at variance with that of the others, including Britain, Canada and Australia whose help too is vital to break the LTTE's global links.

Sri Lanka went out of the way to tout Pakistan's case even at the risk of alienating India. But Colombo was none the worse for all that. It was made part of a group charged with the task of talking to Pakistan.

Rajapakse's highly publicised support to Pakistan at Kampala was an expression of gratitude for helping out Sri Lanka with urgent military aid in 2000 when the LTTE was knocking at the gates of Jaffna and India failed to respond to cries of help.

Sri Lankans never tire of pointing out that it was to India that they had turned first but all that New Delhi offered was help to evacuate the beleaguered Sri Lankan troops.

The president has cleverly made use of both Pakistan and India in his fight against the LTTE. While the Indians have been made to supply "defensive" equipment like radars, Pakistan has been involved in the enhancement of the strike capability of the Sri Lankan Air Force. Successful air actions have helped curb the LTTE.

Regardless of possible repercussions for India, Rajapakse had got China to fund a major development project with international strategic implications. Chinese help for a mega international port at Humbantota in the south did set off alarm bells in India but New Delhi did little to prevent the president's lurch towards Beijing.

The success of Sri Lanka's aggressively independent stance was reflected in the outcome of the 6th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that concluded Friday.

To the great embarrassment of Sri Lanka, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, declared that the Colombo government's human rights enforcement machinery was ineffective and urged the setting up of a UN rights monitoring office in the country.

Arbour's call came in the context of the fact that, through 2006 and 2007, 290,000 civilians, mostly Tamils and some Muslims, had been displaced by the war and over 3,500 were killed. Attacks, extortions, abductions, disappearances and arbitrary detentions were going on, sometimes with state backing and aided by the tough anti-terror law made in December 2006.

The delegations of the US, EU, France, South Korea, Sweden, Canada and New Zealand voiced support for Arbour's call to set up a UN monitoring office in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka seemed to be isolated, but it fought the move tooth and nail -- and succeeded in scuttling it.

Talking the battle into the adversary's territory, its ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Dayan Jayatilleke, said his country did not want to be "preached" by states whose human rights record was "far from perfect". Sri Lanka would take advice from international bodies only when these had "transparency of funding" and when their agendas were "not donor driven", he declared brazenly.

Sri Lankan officials had kept hammering the point that their country could not be asked to observe Queensberry Rules in a war-cum-insurgency situation in which a beleaguered state was battling one of the most ruthless and well-organised insurgent groups in the world. They accused the UN agencies and international rights organisations of not taking adequate note of the LTTE's rights violations or rapping it hard enough.

To the delight of Sri Lankan delegation and disappointment of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, the UN council concluded its deliberations without passing the expected resolution castigating Sri Lanka. Japan, India and the Philippines had thrown their weight behind Sri Lanka at the council.

Clearly, the LTTE's behaviour since the Norway-sponsored ceasefire agreement in 2002 had helped the Sri Lankan government bolster its case against censure.

The LTTE had scuttled peace talks, provoked the government to take military action, bombed civilians outside the war zone and assassinated political leaders by using suicide bombers.

The international community was indeed concerned about the suffering of the Tamils and Muslims in the war zones of the north and east. But this concern could not be translated into concrete support for these communities because the LTTE would not play ball. The LTTE was also using forms of violence like suicide bombing which are deplored in the present day world.

India shared Sri Lanka's views on the LTTE as it had discovered, over years of close interaction, that it could not have any meaningful interaction with that militant group. The LTTE was too narrow minded and intransigent for that.

As for Japan, it had turned hostile to the LTTE after its repeated efforts to get it to the negotiating table failed. The LTTE had also spurned Japanese offers of development aid if it took the path of peace. No wonder then that both New Delhi and Tokyo stood by Colombo at Geneva.

While Colombo's case at the Human Rights Council may have some merits, the persistent attacks against UN organisations and international NGOs seem to be needlessly confrontational. But here again, there has been no backlash of any kind from the affected parties.

Unicef has come in for much flak both in parliament and outside for having, in its offices, "Ready to Eat" food packets supplied by a French military contractor. It was alleged that the packets were meant for the LTTE's fighting units!

Unicef explained that such packets were routinely distributed among its offices in conflict areas across the globe as part of a survival kit. But the government remained unconvinced and police sleuths were told to probe the allegation.

International NGOs working in the conflict zone routinely face hostility, both in word and deed.

British High Commissioner Dominic Chilcott appealed to Sri Lankans not to demonise UN organizations, but this fell on deaf ears. At any rate, Chilcott had spoilt his case by saying that the LTTE's demand for an independent "Eelam" was not "illegitimate".

The government not only summoned him for a dressing down but also announced that it would complain to the Foreign Office in London.

Earlier, in August, cabinet minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle called the UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, John Holmes, a "terrorist who had taken money from the LTTE". Holmes had said that Sri Lanka was a "risky" place for aid workers.

When UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon described Fernandopulle's remark as "unacceptable and unwarranted", the minister made it plain that he did not "care a damn." The UN's response to this was silence.

Sri Lanka – A comprehensive view of the current situation

Sri Lankans must learn from history. For over 2000 years, Tamil Chieftains from South India have invaded Sri Lanka several times, and indeed temporarily occupied parts of the country. They were always beaten back. However, their remnants settled peacefully in the country. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) terrorist group, which has close links to organizations in the Indian State of Tamil Nadu (meaning "the Land of the Tamils"), even uses the tiger emblem of those ancient Chola invaders of Lanka. The symbolism cannot be ignored. The patient aspiration to take over most, if not all, of Sri Lanka has never died, and in the last century, taken various guises such as the pre-independence 50/50 movement, the proposed merger of the Northern and Eastern Provinces to form a "homeland" within a loose federation, and the terrorism perpetrated for the formation of a separate country called Tamil Eelam in a region of Sri Lanka that includes, and is bigger than, the Northern and Eastern Provinces. Thus, in dealing with the central issue faced, essentially the future of Sri Lanka as one island, one country, one government, we must consider the next centuries and millennia; not simply the issues facing the generations that are present today.

Who are the minority?

The Tamil community of Sri Lanka has significant interaction with the Tamil Nadu State. The Tamil language, culture, Hindu religion, geography, similar caste structure and inter-marriage bind them closely. Tens of thousands of people from Tamil Nadu came to Sri Lanka as illicit immigrants ("kallathoni") in the fifties to the seventies. Sri Lankan Tamils either escaping or even fermenting the violence in the Northern Province have been able to land in Tamil Nadu easily and live there more or less at will. LTTE cells, supply bases, training classes, and naval operations running people and arms operate freely, except for rare police raids.

Tamil Nadu politicians cannot survive unless they speak openly about Sri Lankan issues and in support of the positions of the WTM. Tamil Nadu MP's in the Lok Sabha are vociferous in their interference in Sri Lankan internal matters. Given that the homeland of Tamils exists in the form of Tamil Nadu, with a population of almost 70 million, one must question why another is needed in tiny Sri Lanka, unless the ultimate goal is amalgamation.

The Sinhala people of Sri Lanka have no such connection with India. The Sinhala are an ethnic group that is strictly a Sri Lankan mix of many ancient migrations from Northern India, other Asian countries and aboriginal people, with no current common language, religion, or intermarriage with India. Both have legitimate aspects that help their claim to be a minority.

Clearly, one cannot simply assume, as many NGO's and countries do, that the Sinhala need no protection of their rights, but that only the Tamils of Sri Lanka do so. Some would argue that it is the Sinhala who are an ethnic minority in South Asia, with no connections to any Indian State, and that they are the one's who require protection.

Aspirations of international Tamil organisations

We must not make the mistake of focusing only on one Sri Lankan terrorist group. The local terrorists, the LTTE, are controlled to a large extent, supported and nourished by the World Tamil Movement (WTM) an international organization that is similar to Al Qaeda, which spans Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu and many other countries. The WTM is administered by the World Tamil Coordinating Committee (WTCC). The LTTE is the violent arm of the WTM. It is a truism that time is on the side of those who wish to unravel constitutional and political structures of nations. The WTM strongly believes, indeed knows, that time is on their side. The WTM and its partner the 'Tamil Nadu Liberation Front' have a plan to combine the so called Tamil Eelam with Tamil Nadu since it has realized that Tamil Eelam is not a viable economic entity. There is a significant body of literature on this subject. There is even discussion of annexing the Maldives as well as large parts of Indian States such as Kerala to form what they call "Greater ('Vishala') Tamil Nadu" (GTN). (See a map of the GTN in:

The above aspirations are not so unrealistic if one considers a time scale of centuries. Indeed in 1988 the LTTE revealed the plans for a GTN when it invaded and tried to take over the Maldives. A small "victory" in the present era, such as a federal constitution for Sri Lanka, will be seen as simply a stepping stone to further "victories" in future. It is much easier to dislodge a "state" from a federation, than a land area that has no politically recognized boundary. The push for Tamil Eelam will continue to occur over the next decades and centuries, regardless of any new constitution for Sri Lanka that is signed by current Tamil leaders. Any one who believes otherwise is very naïve and does not understand history. The large numbers of Tamils who reside in Sri Lanka and think otherwise are a helpless but significant minority that is terrorized by the LTTE.

The LTTE terrorist group

With direction, funds and intellectual support from the WTM, the LTTE has killed thousands of people of all ethnic groups including large numbers of Tamils. It invented suicide bombings, used over 250 suicide bombers to kill mostly civilians, trains other terrorist groups of the world, kidnaps Tamil children, has mastered human shield tactics, runs an arms smuggling and drug selling operation through WTM ships, and collects enormous funds from Tamils of the world. It has murdered almost all senior civilian Tamil leaders of Sri Lanka as well as many leading Sinhala politicians. It is banned all over the world. It will never support even a true short term peace. It has used every lull in the fighting, formal or informal, to further its cause and prepare for future terrorist activities. While it is active, it will never allow moderate Tamil leaders to negotiate an agreement. Its real leaders are anonymous leaders of the WTM, mostly professional Tamils from the West who arm the active terrorists, provide intellectual support, carry on drug and arms smuggling operations, provide legal assistance, and mount massive international disinformation and lobbying campaigns. Only the WTM can cause the LTTE to stop its violence. The moderate Tamil leaders of Sri Lanka cannot influence the WTM with its vision of Eelam and subsequently the Greater (Vishala) Tamil Nadu. It is a fundamental mistake to assume that the LTTE is in control and is simply supported by the WTM. In fact the WTM has a long term plan, funds and influence, and its terrorist arm is the LTTE.

Responsibilities of the Sinhala

The Sinhala majority of Sri Lanka made a fundamental mistake after Sri Lanka obtained independence from the UK, when it failed to a large extent in its stewardship of all minorities including sub groups such as Eastern Tamils.. The Sinhalese were misguided in trying to establish Sinhala as the official language of Sri Lanka. The majority has a responsibility to support the reasonable aspirations of minorities, even if the same minorities also make other unreasonable demands.

Attacks by Sinhala thugs on Tamil people

Body counts are not useful; nevertheless, it should be noted that the LTTE and other Tamil terrorist groups (the latter, by now destroyed by the LTTE) have killed in order of magnitude more Sinhala and Muslim and indeed Tamil civilians since the early eighties, in comparison to those killed by Sinhala thugs. It should also be noted that the majority of Sinhala people helped and protected Tamils in 1983 when such riots erupted in response to the first LTTE massacre of a vehicle full of soldiers. Tamil families are the witness to the support of the majority of ordinary Sinhala families that protected them at risk to themselves. The inability or unwillingness of the Sri Lankan Government of that time to prevent that violence is inexcusable. The 1983 incident, and the 1950's attempt to make Sinhala the official language are the two crutches that the WTM/LTTE keeps using to demand separation. I believe that Sinhala people, even the less educated classes, now recognize the foolishness and uselessness of such thuggery, as it is they who have had to prosecute the war through the "volunteer" armed forces. No current leader, group or political party would support such activities, given the price that has been paid, and the magnificent opportunity that was handed to the WTM/LTTE propaganda machine. Indeed, today's leaders of all parties would work actively to prevent such a situation. It is noted that there has been no violence from the Sinhala community for over a quarter of a century when they have been subject to suicide bombs and LTTE massacres of whole villages.

Role of international organizations and foreign countries

The international community has not fully recognized that the WTM is similar to Al Qaeda. They are not concerned about the long term prospects for Sri Lanka in terms of future millennia. Many of these countries and organizations, including the Indian Civil Service, have been infiltrated by the WTM. For them, a ceasefire together with a federal constitution for Sri Lanka, with a separate state for the combined North and East will be a superb solution! They will not be around to suffer the consequences when the next round of separation begins in a few decades, from the new vantage point of a "state".

Only the USA had banned the LTTE before September 11, 2001, even though front and leadership organizations such as the WTM and WTCC continued their work unabatedly. After September 11, 2001, others have done so too. Though even organizations such as the WTM are now in some difficulty Western countries have shown only half hearted interest in closing them down, due to their infiltration of political parties and organizations. Obviously, a major difficulty is that Sri Lanka requires development and military assistance from countries such as the USA and Japan.

A Tamil homeland?

The Oxford English Dictionary describes a homeland as "an autonomous state inhabited by a particular people", while the Merriam-Webster Dictionary says it is "a state or area set aside to be a state for a people of a particular national, cultural or racial origin". An examination of the concept of a homeland in the context of Sri Lanka shows how untenable it will be. Imagine a homeland of a combined Northern and Eastern Province "set aside" for Tamils to essentially "inhabit" and be "autonomous" within Sri Lanka. First of all the Sinhala and Muslim people in the Eastern Province will not accept such a concept of combining a Province, in which they are a joint majority, with a larger Northern Province dominated completely by Tamils. Secondly, the majority of Tamils who now "inhabit" areas outside the so called "homeland, will want to continue to do so. Indeed hundreds of thousands of Tamils have voted with their money against the homeland concept by buying real estate in the Colombo District. That also indicates that they have put the 1983 incident behind them. There is no chance that they will want to "inhabit" the "homeland". Nor should they have to go to the "homeland".

Thirdly and more recently, Eastern Province Tamil parties have come out against a merger. If the Northern and Eastern Provinces are the homeland of Tamils, are the rest of the provinces the homeland of Sinhala people? Muslims and Sinhala should be able to live freely in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. Tamils should be free to live in all provinces of Sri Lanka, operating actively in their language. The WTM wants a "homeland" in a major portion of Sri Lanka where only the Tamil language, culture and governance etc is extant, while they also want full and complete rights in all other parts of the country. That is not a sustainable solution. The only real solution is for all people to be able to live freely and operate actively in their own language, and practice their own culture, in all provinces of Sri Lanka.

A referendum of course will not end in a meaningful finality: Sri Lanka cannot and will not endanger its sovereignty by allowing any third party to run a referendum. Thus a rejection of the joint sate concept will not be accepted by the WTM/LTTE on the convenient basis that the Sri Lankan Government rigged the election. On the other hand, the WTM/LTTE will do their best to rig the election by violent and other means. Thus a fair referendum will be impossible to hold. This is not stated from a view that a referendum should be held if it is possible to hold a fair one. The case has been made earlier that under no circumstances should a merger be even contemplated.

Basic human rights of individuals and society as a whole

In theory, human rights are guaranteed under the Sri Lankan constitution. However, given the national fabric has been torn apart since the 1980's by one of the world's most vicious terrorist groups, the LTTE, human rights in some cases have fallen into the cracks. That is no excuse and an independent judiciary, Attorney General, Police and elected leaders must ensure that human rights are guarded while also ensuring the rights of society as whole.

Take the example of a terrorist who has parked a truck bomb. The only information available is that the bomb will detonate in one hour and that it is designed to kill about a thousand people. The terrorist has been apprehended. Injection of a 'truth serum' has not worked. Physical punishment meted out will elicit the required information. How are the authorities to balance the rights of the terrorist, against the right to life of the 1000 people? There are no easy answers to human rights issues and the only solution is to make an honest attempt each and every time to consider the balance of rights.

Developed western countries, that are fighting a dirty war against the Al Qaeda under difficult circumstances, require our understanding. They must equally understand the problems facing Sri Lanka, a small developing country, as it struggles to find that balance while fighting an enemy with a worldwide network and organization. Sri Lanka's legal, governing and other institutions have not had the time to establish the traditions, just 50 years after 500 years of colonial rule, that, for example, a UK will have.

The future of Sri Lanka

In a forthcoming article, the writer will explore a possible future for Sri Lanka with ideas about a unitary country, active National language rights, new idea about Provincial language rights with asymmetry, Provinces with new rights as the unit of devolution, the key aspects to be controlled by the National Government, the Presidency, the military defeat of the LTTE, a renewed commitment to human rights, a truth and reconciliation commission, support for reasonable aspirations of Tamils, and a true multi ethnic armed force.

By S.C.WIRASINGHE, BSc (Ceylon), PhD (Berkeley), DSc Honoris Causa (Moratuwa)

Home guards to protect key highways in border villages

More than one thousand Sinhalese youths are to be recruited as home guards to protect key highways in the north central province. Habarana- Minneriya, Polonnaruwa-Punaani, Polonnaruwa- Alangahavilla, Habarana- Kanthalaai and Kebittigollwa- Padaviya roads, are included in the list of high priority highways to be safeguarded in the first phase of the new security measures taken by Sri Lanka Government, sources said.

Interviews are being held in several Sinhala villages to recruit suitable youths as home guards.


"Centre concerned over LTTE activities"

With the series of recent arrests of LTTE cadres from Tamil Nadu, the concern over LTTE spreading its network across Tamil Nadu, Kerala and the rest of the country has become a major cause of concern for the Indian government.

Reiterating the concern, the National Security Advisor -- M K Narayanan -- has expressed worry over LTTE activities both in Tamil Nadu and the rest of the country. He has said that India is closely monitoring the LTTE and is maintaining round-the-clock vigil along the coastline.

Shockingly, in the past fourteen months, around eleven LTTE cadres were arrested from Tamil Nadu in the past fourteen months. Recently, three men were arrested with high tech communication equipments just before being shipped to the Tigers in Sri Lanka.

Moreover, increased arrests and seizures along the Tamil Nadu coastline have renewed worries about the deep links that the tigers have entrenched in the region.

The LTTE spreading wings to neighbouring Kerala has also raised profound concern. A concern that was echoed by the National Security Advisor -- M K Narayanan -- after meeting with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on Monday (Dec 17).

However, despite the serious crackdown on the LTTE in Tamil Nadu, the Tigers still enjoy a wide political and emotional support in the state with many political parties openly supporting them.

The National Security Advisor is also burdened with the delicate job of placating the Congress's biggest ally- the DMK - which like other Dravidian political parties has opposed any military aid to Sri Lanka including joint naval patrolling.

It is going to be a long drawn out battle before the government can effectively clamp down on the LTTE with several political forces in Tamil Nadu proudly flaunting their links to the Tigers.

Sri Lanka may ban rebels if attacks continue

Sri Lanka may outlaw the Tamil Tigers if the rebels continue to mount large scale attacks, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said on Monday, a move that would put any hope of renewed peace talks even further out of reach.

"One or two more attacks, we have no option," Rajapaksa told reporters after hosting a gala of Christmas song and dance in the capital Colombo. "(We will) have to ban."

"There is a limit to our patience," he added.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam have been outlawed as a terrorist group by a host of nations, including the United States, Britain and the European Union. But a ban by the Sri Lankan state would further polarize the foes as the death toll from renewed civil war climbs inexorably.

Envoy ticked off over visit to rebel area

Sri Lanka summoned the head of Unicef operations here and expressed Colombo’s “concern” over his visit to rebel-held territory in the island’s north, the foreign ministry said.

Philippe Duamelle of the United Nations Children’s Fund was told that his visit to the Tiger guerrilla political capital of Kilinochchi was unacceptable to the government, the ministry said.

“Mr Philippe Duamelle ... was called in to the ministry of Foreign Affairs today to express concern over his recent visit to Kilinochchi and his meeting with LTTE (Tamil Tiger) leaders,” the statement said.

It quoted Duamelle as saying that he was new in the job and was unaware of foreign ministry guidelines, but had cleared his visit with the defence ministry. There was no immediate comment from Unicef.

Sri Lanka does not allow journalists free access to rebel-held areas of the island’s north and is also opposed to top-level diplomats holding talks with the leadership of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Last week, the government here hauled in the envoys of countries calling for UN human rights monitoring of the island’s increasingly dirty war with Tamil separatists.
Sri Lanka has categorically rejected calls for foreign monitoring of its human rights record despite toughening international criticism.

A truce between the government and the Tamil Tigers was brokered by Norway in 2002, but both sides in the long-running conflict have since returned to all-out war and have been accused of gross human rights violations.
Local and international rights groups have accused government forces and paramilitaries of thousands of disappearances and murders, a charge vehemently denied by the authorities.

The government insists it is working on a political package aimed at addressing the demands of ethnic Tamils, but at the same time says it wants to totally “eliminate” the LTTE and seize their mini-state in the north.

A country for 80 million Tamils

LTTE leader, Vellupillai wants a country exclusively for 80 millions Tamils, now living, spread all over the world. He, of course, would be the self-elected President and Prime Minister of that country! Before proceeding any further, I am reminded of what Lewis Mumford wrote in 1961 in his book City in History: "... each historic civilisation begins with a living, urban core, the polis, and ends in a common graveyard of dust and bones, a Necropolis or a city of the dead; fire-scorched ruins, shattered buildings, empty workshops, heaps of meaningless refuse, the population massacred or driven into a slavery." This is almost the present spectacle of the Wanni gangland, over which Velu reigns supreme, and that, too would be the fate of his greater Eelam with 80 million Tamils, if he does manage to establish such a country.

Velu, is, to my mind, a socially dangerous freak of the universe. His malignant aggression, evinced by his destructiveness and cruelty, is not merely a defence against a threat, but is characteristic of this man. Killing and cruelty have become to him pleasurable activities by themselves needing no external stimuli. He pays homage to death by exercising absolute control over the minds and bodies of his cadres, and by daily dispatching them to certain death either as suicide cadres of frontline combatants. He is incessantly seeking to transform living humans into corpses and destroy for the sake of destruction. How can such a man rule over others except by bullet and terror? An appropriate appellation for his death dealing organisation should be "LTTE Murderers Inc.."

This absolute control over his cadres and other hapless Tamils under him appears to have infused in him the delusion of omnipotence. This is the reason for his demand for an unattainable greater Eelam for 80 million Tamils. He would next "want the moon" like Caligula in Albert Camus' play. The figure, 80 million is a figment of his mind. He could not prove this figure.

There are nearly 60 of his 80 million––Tamils living in their own country under their own leaders exercising their semi-autonomous political life together with their language rights and enjoying their cultural life in Tamil Nadu.

He wants them all to live under his jackboot owing absolute allegiance and obedience to him. Would any of the Tamils now living in Tamil Nadu want Velu as their undisputed leader? Perhaps, only a few like Vaiko would want Velu and the greater Tamil Eelam. Other present democratic leaders of Tamil Nadu would not want Velu. The powerful Tamil Brahmins would reject him wholesale. The fact, however, is that Velu is so ambitious in his own mind and maniacally egotistical in his thinking that he is calling on all these people to come under his absolutely oppressive suzerainty.

In making this demand, Velu is launching a frontal onslaught on the Union Government in New Delhi and the present Constitution of India. He wants the dismantling of present-day India. Given the many active separatist forces in India, this mischievous and ominous call should be taken seriously by India. India needs to revisit its 16th Constitutional Amendment passed by Nehru (in 1963) against the DMK separatists. Velu has also attacked India on other grounds including the Indo-Lanka Accord in his 27th Nov. speech. Mighty India knows what should be done. But, will it move a finger?

Most Tamils now living in the western world would not abandon their newly acquired life styles to return to Velu's Eelam. Both materially and socially all these people are well-off beyond their dreams. Would any of them swap their affluent life for a miserable life of slavery and destitution with no freedoms and Human Rights of any kind? Perhaps, Velu is dreaming of a situation where the international community would promulgate a present-day Balfour Declaration (which created the modern day Israel) creating the greater Eelam centred in Sri Lanka. His expectation is that the Diapora Tamils will then flood his country to make it the newest country to join the UN with a flag full of bullets and a snarling tiger's head. This is the impossible dream for which he has sacrificed hundreds of innocent humans and is determined to continue this obscene violent oblation. His bloated ego needs "an object of devotion to be the focal point of all his strivings and the basis of all his effective - and not only proclaimed - values (Erich Fromm: The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness). This is his brand new country - the greater Eelam. He would not lay down his life for it, rather, he would kill others or have others killed for it.

In Sri Lanka itself, Velu is now restricted to a very small area of the country with hardly any natural resources. It is mainly a parched area in the north of Sri Lanka full of thorny shrub jungle, where the people eke out a meagre existence from dry land. He has direct control over 3 to 4 lakhs of people, most of whom are dependent on government handouts for their daily sustenance. This population is diminishing at accelerated velocity due both to emigration to government controlled areas, and unforgivable deaths due to his war with the GoSL. A few others live on the salaries and pensions paid by the government. Almost all of them are dependent on the government for their medical needs. The education of their children, too, is directly dependent on the government to the extent permitted by Velu and his cadres. For, Velu requires these children to fight his war rather than grow up as educated valuable citizens of the country. In short, if the government so wishes, it could throttle the life in Velu's tiny Eelam by withdrawing all support it now gives to the people living there. The state has not done so because it knows they live there under coercion and that they are not all supporters of the LTTE. They are citizens of this country in dire need. Given this precarious predicament Velu's vision of a greater Eelam smacks of a brain gone mad beyond redemption. The most suitable remedy for this malignity is a swift regime change in this renegade part of the country. Any GoSL pursuing this policy should be supported wholeheartedly.

There are quite a few lakhs of Tamils living outside Velu's control in the areas south of Sri Lanka. Once greater Eelamis founded, Velu expects them to return to this greater Eelam. Any straw poll of Tamils taken any time any day on any street on Colombo will drive a missile through this unfounded grand vision. In spite of the occasional difficulties and confrontations these Tamils have with the security forces, they will not abandon their comparatively comfortable lives to return to indigent hell hole of Velu. These Tamils are economically, socially and politically well-off. They can get their children educated without sacrificing them to the Sun God. They can protest without fear against the government whenever necessary. They can take their grievances to the Supreme Court and obtain relief. They can get their politicians to stage protest campaigns in the well of the Parliament itself whenever necessary. They can also marshal sympathetic press and electronic media and other civil and religious organisations on their behalf to obtain relief for any unmitigated grievances. All these actions are neither possible nor allowed under Velu in his tribal land. Therefore, these Tamils will not give up their present lives. Moreover, quite many of them did abandon their native north decades before the present armed conflict and their roots are firmly established in the south of the country. To them greater Eelam is a hollow meaningless vision not an attractive proposition beckoning them to prosperity and peace. This is the reason for the vast investment in buildings by Tamils all over the main towns in the south Sri Lanka.

It is quite clear that Velu wants to tear off Tamil Nadu from India and join it to the Northern and Eastern province of Sri Lanka to found his greater Eelam. If the Malaysian authorities are correct that their Tamil troublemakers have connection with LTTE, he must also be eyeing a portion of that country too, so that his present-day "Wijenagar empire" would be his undisputed domain. This is truly an unattainable dream of a mad man, and could have been left as idle prattle, but for the fact that this mad man has got arms, ammunition, death-dealing fanatical cadres and suicidal Black Tigers to pursue his dream.

He has to be halted by dealing with him in the same way he deals with others. He is as dangerous to Asia as Hitler was to Europe.