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Government Gazette

There’s no unwinnable war:

Only a mission to crush terrorism


S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike


Gotabhaya Rajapaksa


V. Anandasangaree


Robert O’Blake

The LTTE’s so called Senior Editor of Viduthalaipuligal, identified as Ravi from the official media organ of the Tiger organization was quoted in a newspaper last week as saying the Government troops were fighting an unwinnable war.

This is a wrong notion that is being believed even at international level that a war has been declared by the Sri Lankan Government.

I would say the notion is misleading and false in belief. Since Independence, no Sri Lankan Government has declared war on its people for sixty long years.

Time and again, we’ve seen extremist elements and armed Tamil groups declaring war on legitimately elected Governments in this country. The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna(JVP) declared guerilla type war twice in 1971 and 1988. Armed Tamil groups began to declare war from 1976.

The JVP entered the mainstream of politics in the final decade of the previous century. Many other armed Tamil groups too gave up violence and entered the democratic stream towards that period.

The only armed Tamil terrorist group which had declared war against all Governments from 1976 and continues the war is the LTTE.No Sri Lankan Government had declared war against even on the LTTE.

It is the LTTE which forced successive Governments to resort to defensive action. Do the world and the LTTE want a legitimately elected Government to turn a blind eye when it declares war against it, time and again, moving away from peace talks? Peace talks were used by the LTTE to strengthen it militarily and to use passage for arms.

A Government is vested with the responsibility to protect its’ people and the territory. Therefore, it is compelled to take defensive action against any enemy who threatens the people and the territory of the nation.

The LTTE’s so called Senior Editor, Ravi was quoted from an interview on a Tamil Radio (Radio not named) as saying the Sri Lankan troops would be foolish to approach Jaffna as they would fall prey to the LTTE fighters.

The question that arises is whether Ravi, the so called senior editor, is a journalist or a fighter of the LTTE to make such a statement. Do not this Ravi know that the Sri Lankan armed forces liberated the East from the LTTE, according to a deadline set by the Commander-in-Chief, President Mahinda Rajapaksa?

In July 2006 President Rajapaksa,as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, ordered his troops to liberate the East within a year. That was accomplished before the deadline.

Ravi claims that Prabhakaran was guiding all the deployed units of the LTTE to meet battalions of the Sri Lankan armed forces in the event Government troops entered Jaffna. If that statement is true, then where was Prabhakaran, and what was he doing with his so called units when the armed forces liberated the East?

In the same breath, Ravi admits in that Radio interview that the Sri Lankan Armed Forces have added new brigades to launch surprise attacks on LTTE fighters. Ravi also claims that the Sri Lankan troops were trying to create dissension between the LTTE and the Tamils. The armed forces engaged in a battle have no time to play games between the LTTE and the Tamil people.

It is a known fact that the Tamils living outside the LTTE held areas dissent the LTTE. This was amply demonstrated during the liberation of the East. Hundreds of innocent Tamils held hostage crossed borders without fear when the East was being liberated.

This is even witnessed today in some parts of the Wanni. Not only Tamil civilians but young LTTE cadres too have surrendered to the troops stating they were forcibly kept in the battlefront by the LTTE. Even women Tiger cadres in bunkers have sent letters to their parents expressing disgust over the way they are being held and treated by the LTTE.

West

The International Human Rights bodies should bear in mind that terrorism is trying to over take democracy even in powerful nations in the West. Even the mightiest nations have been struck by terrorism. Big Brothers like the United States and Great Britain have not been spared.

The danger of terrorism was felt only when they came under attack. The US then chose to chase behind the Al Qaeda, the dreaded terror outfit of Bin Laden. There’s hardly any difference between the Al Qaeda and the LTTE. If these Human Rights bodies conduct a proper evaluation, the dreaded terror acts of LTTE terrorism over the past three decades, will prove that the LTTE is deadlier than the Al Qaeda.

World leaders who realized the threat of terrorism after being attacked in their respective nations, called for global support to eliminate terrorism. They banned several terror organizations as a move in that direction. But, did it achieve any fruitful results?

Many terrorist organizations turned into Rehabilitation Units on those soils to fund terrorism. These lapses have led to the increase of terrorist activity worldwide. Even the almighty super powers now look incapable of uniting democracies to battle terrorism. Why?

On one hand they call for unity to eliminate terrorism and, on the other they scream for human rights violations ignoring such violations committed by the terrorists. Do not these double standards promote terrorism?

The LTTE virtually operates its’ network from the West. And mostly from countries from where they have been banned. Those nations are well aware that LTTE leaders live and operate from their soil under the guise of asylum seekers.

The West should not adopt double standards when it comes to terrorism in poor or developing nations. Where did the so called LTTE Theoretician Anton Balasingham live till the time of death? He lived in Great Britain, a country where the LTTE is still banned. Balasingham flew to the terror stronghold of Wanni and peace talks from London.

Did the British authorities try Balasingham in the way they have tried and jailed Karuna? Britain itself is a nation inflicted by terrorism. LTTE cadres have openly flouted British laws. But Balasingham lived a free life in Britain. A ban on terrorism should not be limited to mere words or paper.

Human Rights

The international Human Rights Bodies and Country Reports prepared by nations hit by terrorism, scream about human rights violations here. What have they done about the child combatants recruited by Prabhakaran? Isn’t recruitment of under aged children a human rights violation? When Olara Otunu of the United Nations came here, Prabhakaran promised to stop child conscription.

In contrast, the LTTE leader began to recruit more and more children to his terror outfit. The UN just turned a blind eye. From Otunu to Allen Rock and Kofi Annan to Louise Arbour, the LTTE leader had conscripted thousands and thousands of innocent Tamil children. The tragedy is that all Human Rights Organizations are blind towards such a dastardly crime that destroys future generations of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka.

Then what about the countless bomb explosions caused by the LTTE which killed thousands of men, women and children in all parts of Sri Lanka? Then the number of Tamil and Sinhala political leaders killed by the ruthless LTTE? Is the world blind or has it forgotten history?

Apart from tragedies caused in Sri Lanka, what about the killing of the former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi? How many Indian troops have been killed and how many have been maimed for life by the LTTE? Have the LTTE not targeted the Diplomats living in Colombo?

Has the international bodies which cry for human rights forgotten the deadly attack on the aircraft that carried Diplomats to the East last year?

The German Diplomat was wounded and the US Ambassador, Robert O’Blake had a miraculous escape.

Following that attack, Robert O’Blake, then new to Sri Lanka, said the LTTE may have been unaware of his presence in the aircraft. Certainly being a “Super Boy” from the world’s “Super Power” Blake, may have been prompted by nature to make such a statement.

But, for the LTTE there’s hardly any difference between Rajiv Gandhi and Robert O’Blake when it comes to launch attacks. Aren’t such attacks on Diplomats human rights violations ? The modus operandi on how human rights bodies assess or evaluate human rights violations seems to be a method better known to them.

Mission

In the backdrop of a history of thirty years of terrorism, the Government is engaged on a mission to free the nation of that menace. Considering the past, torn apart by LTTE violence, Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, himself a battle hardened soldier who fought the LTTE for many years in the past, assured the nation and the people that the present regime would not pass on the terrorist war to the future generations of this country. President Mahinda Rajapaksa had asserted that his determination was to establish permanent peace through a political dialogue to end the ethnic strife.

The terrorism of the LTTE and a resolution to the ethnic problem are two different entities today. Earlier, the majority of the Tamil community saw and linked terrorism also as a part of the ethnic problem.

But, today, after many Tamil armed groups have entered the democratic process, the Tamils at large have realized that terrorism and a peace process are two different entities. Because they do believe today that the LTTE is the stumbling block towards a peaceful resolution to Tamil grievances.

EPDP leader Douglas Devananda and TULF leader V. Anandasangaree have substantiated this position with Devananda stating that peace was a distant dream as long as Prabhakaran was allowed to live. Anandasangaree too had expressed similar sentiments in a different tone.

Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa who has seen the ruthless terrorism of the LTTE to his naked eyes and experienced it on the battle front has expressed a sincere sentiment to save future generations from the clutches of extremist LTTE terrorism. The people and the nation have been yearning for such an expression in the form of a pledge over the past three decades. The Defence Secretary believes that the LTTE must be defeated at all costs to pave the way for a peaceful resolution to the ethnic crisis. Contrary to the belief of the so called senior editor of the LTTE Ravi, the security forces are confident of defeating the LTTE. Today, the people and the nation too want LTTE terrorism uprooted to protect the future generation of all communities living in this country.

Peace and India

For the Government to embark on a mission to establish peace by the people and the nation, it needs the support and cooperation of all sections of the society.

The people are ready to support the Government in that direction as they did when the East was liberated. They peoples support alone for a Government cannot exercise the process into a reality. Aren’t 225 people’s representatives cast with that responsibility to turn peace into reality? If these people’s representatives are genuinely interested to bring peace to the people, they should join hands leaving aside petty politics.

In fact, all these men and women in that August Assembly have witnessed how much the people and the nation have bled and yet bleed. The question they should ask themselves now is-”Should they indeed bleed?” The time is not opportune to dredge up the past to live eternally in the past debating shortcomings which have led to the present crisis. Instead, they should draw their attention to the urgent task of seeking peace to this island torn by LTTE terrorism. Political parties representing Parliament should bear in mind that good neighbourliness with our immediate neighbours is an essential component in the pathway to find a peaceful settlement to the crisis here.

Today, we see some political parties and their leaders making statements against our immediate neighbour India when it comes to discussion over the 13th Amendment, which is proposed as a base towards a resolution to the crisis. It must be recalled that all fears about an Indian plan to integrate then Ceylon with India was eradicated in 1951 when it was proposed by Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramayya, President of the Indian National Congress. Dr.Sitaramayya elucidating his statement in a speech in Bombay said-”India must sooner or later enter into a treaty with Ceylonese people so that Ceylon may become an organic part of the Indian body politic”. He also added that he considered India and Ceylon are one and recalled that in his Memorandum on redistribution of Provinces in India in 1916, he suggested that Ceylon should be integrated with India while Burma may be separated. But, in 1951,Dr.Sitaramayya confessed that he did not wish to suggest any such opinion unless Ceylon suggested it.

When Dr. Sitaramayya made his confessional type statement in 1951,the late SWRD Bandaranaike who later founded the SLFP claimed that such a suggestion by Dr.Sitaramayya was neither desirable nor necessary.Mr.Bandaranaike told the President of the Indian National Congress that India and Ceylon were the best friends and added:-”Although Ceylon is a small country, its’ people have always been jealous of their sovereign rights for which in the long history of this country they have always fought and striven. Having once again regained our freedom and sovereignty it is not at all likely that the majority of the people of this country will submit to the type of subordination which obviously Dr.Sitaramayya has in mind”.

Our politicians who represent the people should read history concerning our neighbourly nations. India upheld the position taken by the late SWRD Bandaranaike with due respect. It has recognized Sri Lanka as an Independent sovereign nation.

Therefore, the issue of Indian domination on our soil does not arise. Political parties and their leaders should make statements with responsibility to prevent damage that would be caused to good neighbourliness with India, the ‘Big Brother’ in the region.

Challenge

The challenge to restore peace must be met by all political parties inside and outside Parliament. A correct decision towards such a concrete direction should be met with confirmation to start a stable negotiation process to achieve peace. All political parties are bound to honour its’ loyalty to the nation and the people.

The common vision is the need to build a non-racist society, a stable nation with peace and normality. Democracy could only be strengthened by such moves. Then the definition of good governance could effectively be visible. Such a society and a nation could only be built by a protracted process and not by a confrontational system in politics.

The time has come for all politicians and the people to decide between self and the nation. What the country needs is a balance of sacrifices to survive.

The LTTE terrorism has increased defence expenditure many a fold over thirty long years. Political party leaders must realize that the rise in defence expenditure had caused harm and disparity to the distribution of wealth, employment opportunities, expansion of health and education facilities of the society and the people at large. Political party leaders should learn from the past. Experience is the best Teacher to rectify errors of the past.

Unity among all politicians will herald hope for a better Sri Lanka. It is only then we will not leave the LTTE terrorist war to our future generations as stated by Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.When Dr. Sitaramayya made his confessional type statement in 1951,the late SWRD Bandaranaike who later founded the SLFP claimed that such a suggestion by Dr.Sitaramayya was neither desirable nor necessary.Mr.Bandaranaike told the President of the Indian National Congress that India and Ceylon were the best friends and added:-”Although Ceylon is a small country, its’ people have always been jealous of their sovereign rights for which in the long history of this country they have always fought and striven. Having once again regained our freedom and sovereignty it is not at all likely that the majority of the people of this country will submit to the type of subordination which obviously Dr.Sitaramayya has in mind”.

 

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