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Thursday, 13 August 2009

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Vigilance pays

It is wishful thinking to imagine that any terrorist outfit to be vanquished in toto with the elimination of all its top leaders. The LTTE is no exception. Even the Nazis did not cease to exit all at once with the demise of Hitler. There were cells of the underground SS which emerged from time to time to cause havoc and destruction in German cities. Similarly pro- Nazi organizations started mushrooming outside Germany and engineered many acts of destruction.

Though the LTTE by no means could be equated to the Third Reich there are similarities between the two ordinations that cannot be dismissed off hand. For one thing the global network of the LTTE is largely intact despite the arrest of its self styled leader K.P. There is a remote possibility that it has some form of contact with the residue in Sri Lanka and that hit squads are awaiting orders. The LTTE had been too big a terrorist organization not have its tentacles spread far and wide.

Therefore, we cannot afford to drop our guard, however remote the chances of an attack are. True, the LTTE as an organization has been decapitated with the elimination of Prabhakaran and now the capture of KP. But like the Nazis there is always the possibility of a residue - a committed band of terrorists who would be ready to take the plunge. Though the danger is nowhere near to what it was in the hay day of the organization there is, however, a school of thought that there could still be a small posse among the residue with a highly destructive capacity that could cause massive devastation so as to undermine the Government's military gains.

This thinking has now been reinforced with the capture on Monday of a lorry laden with powerful claymore mines in Mannar. According to reports, the Vehicle was destined for Colombo or a target in the South on a suicide mission. The detection was made by the chance arrest of three LTTE suspects in Colombo through which the plot was unravelled.

The very fact that the LTTE suspects keep getting arrested in the South also goes to show that we are not entirely free of the terrorist threat notwithstanding the destruction of the outfit as a fighting force. President Mahinda Rajapaksa no less has warned his Ministers not to take chances and to avoid exposing themselves unnecessarily. This shows that even the upper echelons of power have taken this hidden threat seriously.

We Sri Lankans are notorious for our short memories sometimes at great cost to our well-being. No doubt the scenes of carnage in the city not very long ago may already be a distant memory to most of us. Correspondingly, we also see that security checks have been relaxed - all part of the syndrome we are afflicted with. On top of this, there are also pleas to release the IDPs pronto while screening is being done to weed out the hardcore terrorists still lurking within the welfare centres.

It is time that we learn to wean ourselves out of this laid-back attitude and treat the looming threat with the seriousness it deserves. We say this because there is a likelihood of the remnants of the LTTE attempting a fresh attack to make a point so to speak and also announce to its foreign backers that it still has some fight left. Whoever has now taken over the organization may also want to ensure its coffers don't dry out with the danger now of the diaspora backing out especially with the capture of KP who apparently was the last link with the slain Tiger leadership and holding the torch of the movement. Hence the need to carry out an attack to ensure there is no dent in the funding.

The Government should be alive to this possibility and take every precaution to avert a catastrophe. It should keep in tact it's tight security apparatus that blocked terrorist inroads into the city and also continue search operations with the same intensity as in the past. Eternal vigilance should be the buzzword lest we repeat past mistakes by dropping our guard.

Local Government laws to undergo reform in Sri Lanka

The local government system in Sri Lanka has a long history, extending to the period of Sinhalese kings, dating back to the fourth century. The most famous chronicle of Sri Lanka, Mahawamsa (sixth century) cites that local administration was carried out by the Nagara Guttika (city Mayor).

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In the years gone by

When the news of the assassination of President Kennedy broke out it was well past 1.30 a.m. local time. Fortune however favoured us when Ira Ameresekera rang me up at about midnight and requested me to instruct the caretaker to keep the Editorial entrance gate unlatched as he was working late on an important assignment.

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Role of Pakistan to counter global terrorism

The international community feels constantly threatened over growing menace of terrorism, extremism and militancy. The community maintains that the terrorists have openly declared war on the world and humanity at large in the name of Islam.

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