Archive for November 18th, 2007

The above matters apart, it is to the writer, inconceivable, how any person with an iota of commonsense or decency, can even dream of sharing governmental power in our land, with a gang of criminals led by a convict, whose crimes against humanity include mass murder, genocide and training youth to commit suicide, inter alia, by detonating explosives strapped to their persons and indiscriminately murdering and/or maiming all who happen to be in the vicinity. Who, among those who advocate “power sharing”, including Kumaratunga, would be prepared to be ruled by these inhuman scoundrels ???

Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, while addressing the Universal Forum of Cultures in Monterrrey, Mexico, has once again uttered the oft repeated myth that the “only effective option to solve the Sri Lankan ethnic crisis was to provide effective power sharing” [Daily Mirror 13.11.2007]. Since this statement follows the ritual sentiment that “terrorism must be defeated”, it must follow that by the term “ethnic crisis” Kumaratunga meant the separatist terrorist problem that has plagued our country for the past 35 years.

There is nothing at all that is `original’ about Kumaratunga’s inane utterance – for it is a myth that has, for many years been uttered at various times and continues to be uttered in various combinations of words, by many, including herself, fools, knaves, the gullible, enemies of our country, some foreign diplomats and functionaries of foreign governments, paid mouthpieces of INGOs and self-seeking politicians. The utterance of this hoary myth, immediately, confers on the `utterer’, in the eyes of `Alms Merchants’ in the form of foreign NGOs and other sources of `handouts’, the mantle of a “peace dove”, and never fails to win the applause and plaudits of those sources and the gullible.

However, the harm done to our country, by this kind of utterance, particularly, when it comes from a supposedly knowledgeable and responsible source such as our `immediate past President’ [who, believe it or not, is still taken seriously by some !!] is incalculable – for, it conveys to all the world that the military operations being conducted against the LTTE are unnecessary, and that the sole reason for the continuance of the violence in Sri Lanka, is the obdurate and irrational refusal of the State to `share power’, and thereby, not only lends credence to the propaganda of the LTTE but also, tends to make foreign States which give us aid and sell us military hardware, desist from doing so. It is, therefore, necessary, to analyse this myth, frankly and objectively.
Before embarking on such analysis, however, it must be stated that, while the proponents of the myth of peace through “power sharing” rarely, if ever, articulate what exactly they mean by the term “power sharing”, or what exactly are the `powers’ that in their view should be `shared’, it follows from their several utterances that they do not purport to advocate “power sharing” by the vivisection of Sri Lanka into more than one sovereign State, but the adoption of a federal form of government, with extensive devolution of powers and functions of government, to the proposed federated units.

Thus, what Kumaratunga and others of her ilk propound is, that the path to the restoration of peace, lies not in military operations but, in “power sharing” through the adoption of a `federal constitution.’ The writer has been and continues to be steadfast in his opposition to the adoption of a `federal constitution’, because, in his considered view, that would sound the `death knell’ of our country. However, the question of the desirability or otherwise, of the adoption of such a constitution, is not discussed in this article, where the sole question addressed is whether peace could be restored in our land by “power sharing” through a `federal constitution.’

It is clearly indisputable [even by Kumaratunga and others with a similar mindset] that the key to the restoration of peace, is the disarming of the LTTE – for other things apart, there can never be peace in this or any other country, while there is in it, in addition to the legal armed forces of the State, an illegal set of `armed forces’ [by whatever name they are called] under the command of and loyal to another person/organization, which is independent of and/or hostile to the State. Even the most gullible of optimists could not conceive of the peaceful co-existence of such forces or of peace prevailing in such a situation.

Since the restoration of peace is primarily dependant on Prabhakaran and the LTTE which he leads, being disarmed [whether voluntarily or otherwise], the questions that arises from Kumaratunga’s above statement are:-

a) whether Prabhakaran/the LTTE will accept “power sharing” under a Federal Constitution as a viable and sufficient alternative to their demand for a separate State; and,

b) whether the LTTE will disarm itself by surrendering all arms, ammunition, explosives and military equipment at its disposal and disband its terrorist cadres, if such a Federal Constitution is adopted and implemented.

Question `b’, of course, will not even arise for consideration if the answer to question `a’ is in the negative.
Prabhakaran/the LTTE proved at a very early stage, that “power sharing” under any circumstances was anathema to them. This fact was manifested beyond any doubt in the immediate aftermath of the `Thimphu Talks’ of July/August 1985, in which the LTTE participated in purported brotherhood with four other separatist terrorist groups, namely, TELO, PLOTE, EPRLF and EROS and the hypocritical separatist TULF, which then nurtured, encouraged and supported the separatist terrorists, while fraudulently proclaiming a commitment to `non violence’ !! [see the Report of the Sansoni Commission]

The cease-fire implemented by the Government, consequent to the Thimphu Talks, enabled the LTTE to gain such a stranglehold on the Jaffna Peninsula, that after sabotaging those talks, in unison with their then `brothers’, they conceived the ridiculous notion that the `golden fleece’ they sought, namely the proposed State of Tamil Eelam was virtually theirs, and being totally unwilling to share any vestige of power with any of their erstwhile `brothers’, murdered the leader of TELO `Tall Sri Sabaratnam’ and about 150 of its members, as well as about 70 members of EPRLF, in early 1986. Thereafter, they turned their guns on PLOTE, whose members wisely fled to Colombo and secured State Protection. However, the LTTE succeeded in hunting and murdering its leader Uma Maheswaran in Wellawatte. The EPRLF were not safe from the LTTE even in India, for they murdered the entire politbureau of the EPRLF but one, including its leader Padmanabah and Yogashangari M.P. in Madras on the June19, 1990. The only member of that Politbureau, who escaped, was the current acolyte of the LTTE, Suresh Premachandran MP, [presently of the so called TNA] who was, providentially, not present, when the thugs of his present masters, set about their grisly trade of cold blooded murder.

Their next victims were those of the very party that succoured, nurtured, nourished, hid behind and encouraged them in their treasonous campaign of murder and mayhem, namely, the TULF. Thus, they wantonly murdered the then leader of the TULF, Amirthalingam, former MP Yogeswaran, Sarojini Yogeswaran [who was not only his wife but also the Mayoress of Jaffna and a near peerless heroine], Sam Tambimuttu MP and his wife, Dr Neelan Tiruchelvam MP, A Thangadurai MP and countless others.
The murders of other Tamil political leaders and activists of Tamil political parties not servile to the LTTE, such as the TNA, is another activity in which the LTTE engaged with alacrity. Thus, particularly, after they were disarmed in terms of the treacherous CFA and rendered defenceless, the LTTE engaged in a veritable carnival of bloodshed, murdering scores of unarmed members and followers of the EPDP and PLOTE, and even dispatched a suicide bomber to murder EPDP leader Devananda in Colombo. Anandasangari, the highly respected septuagenarian leader of the TULF continues to live today, only because of the security provided to him by the State.

Does one need to be a genius to realise from these indisputable facts that “power sharing” even with other Tamils, is anathema to Prabhakaran and the LTTE, who would even resort to mass murder of Tamils to avoid it ???

Though Kumaratunga waxes eloquent about “power sharing” as a recipe for peace, she is one who has had first hand experience about the incurable allergy of Prabhakaran and the LTTE to “power sharing”. It would be recalled that in 2000, the government of which she was the head, presented to Parliament, a disastrous Bill, to replace the existing Constitution with as extreme a Federal Constitution as one could visualize. The adoption of that proposed Constitution [which could only have been drafted by some malevolent maniac] conceived of dividing our country into nine autonomous `Regions’ [corresponding to the nine Provinces], with each `Region’ exercising “exclusive” legislative and executive powers over virtually every subject that touches the lives of the People most closely, such as Law and Order, including the exercise of Police Powers; State Land, its Use and Alienation; the Acquisition and Requisition of privately owned property; Health; Regional Policy on Education, Administration of Education including National Schools; Education Services; Agriculture; Fisheries and Aquatic Resources; Environment; Industries; Internal Trade and Commerce; Cooperatives; Supply and Distribution of Food; Transport excluding Railways etc. The grant of such exclusive legislative and executive powers to the Regions, it must be remembered, necessarily connotes the total abdication of every vestige of power the Central Government now has in respect of each of those subjects in favour of the Regions.

This draft Constitution also provided that the Northern and Eastern Regions should be administered as one Region, by a single Regional Council for 10 years, after which, a referendum would be held to determine whether they should be administered separately or not; that no provision of the draft Constitution pertaining to the devolution of power, in respect of any Region, could be amended [even with the approval of all the People at a referendum] unless such amendment is expressly approved by the relevant Regional Council, and that, no State of Emergency which had existed for 60 consecutive days in any Region, could be further extended in respect of that Region [regardless of security considerations of the State], unless such extension is approved by the relevant Regional Council.

Unbelievably, wide and extreme though these proposals for “power sharing” [or rather `abdication of power’] were, Prabhakaran and the LTTE rejected them with contempt. The position of the LTTE was articulated by Prabhakaran’s former mouthpiece Balasingham, as follows:-
“It is a well known fact that we have already rejected the constitutional proposals as being limited and inadequate, failing to address the political aspirations of our People” [Weekend Express – 17/18. 2.2001]

What is manifest from the foregoing is the fundamental fact that Kumaratunga & Co. do not see or choose not to see, namely, that Prabhakaran and the LTTE do not want to `share’ even a lot of power [however much that `lot’ may be], but want instead, the lot of power for themselves and themselves alone, rendering thoughts of restoring peace through power sharing nonsensical.

The above matters apart, it is to the writer, inconceivable, how any person with an iota of commonsense or decency, can even dream of sharing governmental power in our land, with a gang of criminals led by a convict, whose crimes against humanity include mass murder, genocide and training youth to commit suicide, inter alia, by detonating explosives strapped to their persons and indiscriminately murdering and/or maiming all who happen to be in the vicinity. Who, among those who advocate “power sharing”, including Kumaratunga, would be prepared to be ruled by these inhuman scoundrels ???

There is another school of alleged thought to which my friend Veerasingham Anandasangari belongs, who proclaim the fanciful proposition that if the government implements a Federal Constitution or a Constitution on the lines of the Indian Constitution, the Tamil People would flock round democratic Tamil politicians such as Anandasangari [who do not pay obeisance to the LTTE like the TNA] and turn against the LTTE.

This proposition does not bear examination. The atrocities committed by the LTTE on the Tamil People in the North and East, are legion.
The LTTE has kidnapped their children and used them as slave labour or as cannon fodder; extorted money from them, in the guise of collecting `taxes’; deprived them of their right of self-determination, by insisting that the LTTE and the LTTE alone, are the representatives of the Tamil People; murdered and/or abducted and held in barbarous captivity, any Tamil who dared express dissent or any criticism of them by word or deed; used every endeavour to prevent the Government from supplying essential food, fuel and drugs to the Tamil People of the North; and deprived the Tamil students of the Jaffna University of the services of Professor Ratnajeevan Hoole as Vice Chancellor, though Proferssor Hoole is undeniably, a renowned academic imbued with an admirably independent spirit, who never feared to speak his mind, regardless of whom he would offend, and a person whom any University should have counted itself fortunate to have as its Vice Chancellor, solely for the reason that he was not prepared to be a lackey of the LTTE.

When the Tamil People did not rise against Prabhakaran or the LTTE, despite all these atrocities, is it not patently clear that there is no possibility of their closing ranks with the likes of Anandasangari and rising against the LTTE, because of the adoption of a Federal Constitution – unless, of course, the Tamil People are more concerned about securing constitutional reform and a resultant proliferation of the already over-abundant number of political functionaries and their hangers on, than about their children, which again, is an impossibility.

There are two other questions that arise for consideration in this context, namely:-
a) How can even a Federal Constitution be implemented in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, while the LTTE remains armed ?
It would be remembered that, though all candidates of the EPDP for the Puthukudyrippu Pradeshiya Sabha were elected uncontested, they have yet been unable to take office and function according to law, because of the armed might of the LTTE.

b) Even if a Federal Constitution could be adopted and implemented, what would the result be, if such new Constitution does not bring about the desired result of restoring peace but only aggravates the existing situation?

Once power is devolved under a Federal Constitution, it would be as impossible to revert to a Unitary Constitution, as it would be to unscramble a scrambled egg.

All this leads to but one conclusion, however unpleasant it may be, and that is that the only path to peace lies in the total defeat and/or annihilation of the LTTE by military means, and that, visions of restoring peace through negotiations or “power sharing”, are meaningless dreams and stupid fantasies. Let us even now realise that the only meaningful `peace-process’ is the conduct of military operations against the LTTE and that the only `peace-makers’ are those engaged in such operations.

In conclusion, one must be alive to the fact that, while many pose the question whether we can afford the human and economic cost of defeating the LTTE, the question that is pertinent is not that, but, the questions, whether we can afford the human and economic cost of not defeating the LTTE and whether our country can survive without defeating the LTTE.

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Ranminithenna, the village hamlet that waits in sullen silence
There is a saying that there is no such thing as bad publicity, but villagers in Ranminithenna in Tissamaharamaya might disagree. It was a village that no one had heard about a few weeks back. But the LTTE attacks on villagers that led to the death of five, have suddenly elevated it to a household name.

State of shock and bewilderment
The whole area was in a state of shock and bewilderment when we visited them last week. Surrounded by the Yala National Park, the village of 750 families waits, fearing another attack. The small road that runs in the middle of the village was empty except for the patrolling Police officers and grama arakshakayas. Scores of visibly alarmed villagers told us how they packed their belongings, and along with their families, headed down the road away from the village, when they heard about the LTTE attacks. “We are living in fear. When we first heard the news that the LTTE has killed several villagers we were in shock. Some of us left the village for good. The rest of us got into small groups at night and walked to the main road several kilometres away” said Shantha Perera, a resident. “Even now no one leaves their homes after 6 o’clock in the evening, because we still hear unfamiliar noises.”

It is easy to understand why they are so afraid to leave their houses when the sun goes down. Ranminithenna borders the Yala National Park and the houses are surrounded by trees; that can easily provide cover and protection for terrorists. “The whole village is surrounded by the forest and the terrorists can hide in our own backyards, literally. Although the army says they have Special Forces operatives stationed in the forest, we still hear odd noises at night and our dogs bark throughout the night. So 3 or 4 families stick together in one house and hope for the best. Suddenly this has become a border village” he said. “But the biggest problem is that we are afraid to go to our farms”

Livelihood lost
People are scared and so, no-one works in the fields and landowners have let go of their cattle that graze on the unattended farms. There are billboards put up by the army that urge the cattle owners to gather their cattle, but no one is brave or stupid enough to go into the forest.
“I’m not afraid to die; I’m more concerned about the future. I have not gone to my banana plantation for weeks and I don’t know what has happened” said Jamis Appuhamy, better known as ‘Mathara Seeya.’ According to this senior citizen, there are many wild animals that maraud their plantations and he told us about rumours that claim the LTTE cadres are hiding in their plantations.
“There is a rumour that says LTTE cadres are living in our farms. We found several empty coconut shells in one of the farms. Since food is scarce in Yala, I believe they are finding it extremely difficult to live, that’s why they have taken food that was with the slain” he added.

Military deployments cause alarm
The deployment of military units on both sides of the border in Yala, has not decreased concern amongst the local people. While some say that they don’t have much faith in the police, others say that the current military presence is not sufficient.
“We see police and army scanning the area but this is a vast area. Not only is it the rainy season, but the foliage is dense. It is difficult to detect the movement of the terrorists from the air. Even foot patrols are useless until the dry season” said W. K Niroshani.

A police officer, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Nation that the officers are trying to reassure the people by putting extra security in place. “We have many police officers, and we are patrolling round the clock just in case anything happens.” He added that the police are also trying to persuade people to stay. “We try to persuade the people so that they can stay on. We will resolve this problem as soon as possible. We are recruiting Gramasewakayas, so that the villagers can handle this scenario in the future”

A sentiment shared by many youth in Ranminithenna, who have responded eagerly to the call for arms, is that “Yala is a big area that extends to Panama, and the army and police can’t stay here forever. With proper training and equipment we can defend the village we were born in” said P. Suranga, who had joined the Gramasewaka corps.

Kataragama: the ghost city
It is the season at Kataragama. Normally, it’s the time that the Yala National Park is reopened to the public. It is also the time when pilgrims start coming into Kataragama, filling it’s 400 odd hotels. But this time around, the streets are deserted and the hotels empty.
“There is virtually no trouble in Kataragama; but people think this is a war zone. H. G Gunesena, Manager of People’s Bank holiday resort, said several clients called him during the week-end and asked “What is going on in Kataragama?” He had told them nothing was happening, “but several cancelled their bookings. In December normally all hotels are full, but I really don’t think that it will be the case this time. Just look at the streets” he added.
Yes, the streets are empty, not only in Kataragama but also in Tissamaharamaya. There are no vendors of flowers and fruits and the familiar sight of ice cream sellers that throng near the Tissamahrama Temple are no longer there.
“Business is bad. No one comes. There were hundreds of street vendors and all of them have lost their jobs” said Ranjith Pushpakumara, a fruit seller.

Yala National Park
Another tourist destination that has been adversely affected by the recent LTTE activity is the Yala National Park; one of the best parks in the world, to observe and photograph leopards in the wild. Although the park was meant to be reopened a few weeks ago, the area was restricted to the public indefinitely, following the claymore explosion and several other incidents. Therefore, we were not greeted with the familiar sight of tourists in jeeps queuing to enter the National Park, but with the sound of silence.
“The Yala National Park has been closed to the public for nearly 2 months. Although we were planning to reopen the park a month back, these incidents forced us to close the park to the public until we can secure the area” said Park Ranger B. S Sumanarathne. “There are 65 permanent staffers and 18 volunteers, but right now their activities are restricted to the perimeters of the office.”

Park Ranger B. S Sumanarathne showed us the newly built Park Museum. It was meant to be a big attraction but now the doors are locked, open only to be swept and cleaned.

Jeep Safaris
The jeep safari is a well-known attraction in Yala and, on any given day, there are more than 300 jeeps operating in the area, providing jobs for more than 2000 people. But now most of the vehicles are in garages while the drivers try to find jobs elsewhere.
“Since Yala is closed business is very low. Some of us manage by taking tourists to Bundala. But only a few people like to go there and we have to charge less. Because of this, most of us are in deep trouble. Most of us spent a lot on the vehicles, some of us even rented out new vehicles” said Vijayadasa Jayasinghe, owner of Leopard Jeep Safari. “Now we can’t even pay the interest. Normally, at this time, I earn more than 80,000 rupees, but now I can hardly buy petrol” he added. The 300 jeeps that operate; provide more than 2000 direct and indirect jobs to the people in the area and most of these people are the bread winners of the family. Therefore, the closure of Yala is affecting thousands of people.

“Most people think about drivers when they think about jobs provided by jeep safaris. But there are mechanics; there are motor spare part shops, service stations and cleaners. A lot of people are in trouble but the government has taken no steps to help us” said Chaminda Keerthi, a committee member of the Jeep Owners and Drivers Association. He added that they are not looking for charity.

“We do not want money or food. We just want the government to resolve this issue as soon as possible, so that we could go back to our jobs” he said. According to Chaminda Keerthi, they can offer their services to various development projects in the area.

“There are hundreds of jeeps and drivers. The government can use us in the major development projects in the area. We do not want driver jobs, we are willing to do anything so that we can live without being a burden to anyone” he added

It is nearly a month, since LTTE activity began in Yala but there is no solution in sight. Not only the region, but the whole country has lost a lot of revenue and will continue to do so, because almost all excursions to Yala in the tourist season have been cancelled. Although the terrorist problem can be resolved soon, the emotional scars of people in the area will linger on for a long time.

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In a series of news releases made over a pro-LTTE radio station, the International Broadcasting Corporation (IBC), on 10th, 12th and 15th November 2007, LTTE has, for the first time, admitted that they lost 13 cadres including several senior leaders when the Sri Lanka Navy destroyed their cargo ship, “Kyoi” in the southern seas of Sri Lanka off Dondra on the 28th February 2007.

The names of the killed LTTE cadres released are self-styled Lieutenant Colonel Thennawan, Lieutenant Colonel Kokulan, Lieutenant Colonel Eelamurugan (the captain of the destroyed ship), Lieutenant Colonel Kumanan, Lieutenant Colonel Anbuwendan, Major Sudarmani, Major Selvam alias Amudan, Major Paralawan, Captain Kurumaran, Captain Shankar alias Thendalmaran, Captain Thamilranjan, Captain Wetri Nambi and Captain Wadwal. It has been a common tactic devised by the LTTE to confer self style military ranks posthumously on its cadres who get killed, in order to lure others in the self-destructive path adopted by their predecessors.

Sri Lanka Navy destroyed the LTTE ship, “Kyoi” 185 nautical miles off Dondra on the 28th February 2007. The 75 meter long ship was carrying military hardware for the LTTE at the time of its detection in the southern seas of Sri Lanka. The naval personnel had warned the ship to stop for inspection since it was carrying neither a flag nor bearing any port of registration sign. However, the LTTE cadres on board the ship had opened fire with medium caliber weapons in defiance of the Navy’s orders. In the subsequent gun battle that ensued, the LTTE ship sunk in heavy flames due to the Navy’s retaliatory fire. A series of explosions had been observed on board the sinking LTTE ship confirming the fact that it carried military hardware including artillery shells. The Navy recovered a number of boxes containing 120 mm, 130 mm, 152 mm cartridges and shells floating in the sea after the incident.

Denial of military defeat of any sort has been the norm de guerre of the terror outfit throughout its blood-stained existence. They make a huge hue and cry at the slightest military advantage they muster with scant regards to losses incurred in the process for value of human lives is secondary to achieve their sinister motives. Humane obligations are discarded and little thought is spared on anyone who happens to be the victim of the consequences of their heinous crimes.

This, however, should be an eye opener to those who blindly swallows everything the terror outfit dishes out at the expense of the true facts and evidence which are readily available, if one makes the effort.

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Police was tipped off of the presence of the Black Tigers hours before the pre dawn attack on the Anuradhapura Air Force Base, but failed to track down the attackers.Police, North Central, Jayantha Jayasinghe had received a telephone call at 8 pm on Sunday night (21) from an alert villager who alerted him of the presence of an unidentified group in the vicinity of Nuwara Wewa.

In the absence of timely reaction by the police, the caller rang him for the second time, thirty minutes later and asked for an urgent dispatch of a police team to the area.
The DIG had dispatched a team of police officers, but they could not find any suspicious elements in the area. Hours later, a 21 member Black Tiger Squad raided the Anuradhapura Air Force Base, destroying a fleet of air craft. Earlier on August 20, a caller has alerted the Police Emergency Number (119) of the presence of a team of men clad in fatigues similar to those worn by Air Force personnel. However, no follow up action had not been taken.

According to some information, the Black Tiger attackers were believed to have taken refuge in an abandoned house in an estate of a senior military official located in close proximity to the airbase. The estate and the abandoned house had not been adequately guarded despite its close proximity to the camp.Meanwhile, glaring lapses of the security of the Air Base have been highlighted by certain military sources. The outer perimeter of the camp, which was a vital base of forward operations of the security forces, had not been protected. No specialized troops had been assigned to secure vital air assets of the camp in contravention of the standard practice adopted since a previous Black Tiger attack on the Katunayake Air Force Base, and the adjacent international air Port. It is also learnt that within the first thirty minutes of the attack, the Tigers had neutralized the air defence system in the camp, by capturing one of the main anti air craft guns there while preventing the parked helicopters from executing emergency take off.

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Sri Lanka enters into an uncertain political future as crossovers of Members of Parliament from both sides totally unnerves an unassuming public .
The political tug- of- war between the Government and the Opposition hovers over the battle front. The Government’s ally, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, has set four conditions for its support to the budget. Strange enough non of the four conditions —which included abrogation of the Ceasefire Agreement, Abolishing the All Party Representative Committee and complete rejection of an UN human rights monitoring mechanism – are related to the budget. Yet, the government’s temptation as indicated by the pronouncements of senior government Ministers is to secure the support of the Red Comrades. However, a public announcement of the abrogation of the CFA, though the agreement is already a dead letter and the dissolution of the APRC are bound to create drastic changes in the government policy. That would further complicate the military strategy of a government which is already taking a greater deal of international flak for its one- track military drive.

Trump card

The war against the LTTE has been the government’s trump card. As one senior military official quipped “the security forces depend on the President and the President in turn depends on the security forces”. That was not said in bad faith either. The government’s military drive, though not always correct, has been largely successful. It has succeeded in putting the Tigers on the defensive since the Mavil Aru Operation. However, the government’s obsession with a one- track military drive and the absence of a parallel political process to formulate a political solution are likely to impact, obviously adversely, on the government’s military strategy.
Yet, for the time being, the government and President Rajapaksa, in particular, ride high on a wave of recent military victories. It is against this background of euphoria of a seemingly jubilant Southern population, that the recent Tiger incursions into the Yala National Park came as an absolute shock.
The LTTE strategy at work is amply clear. The LTTE has signaled that it has brought the war to the President’s pocket burrow. The Tiger incursion into Yala is more of a psychological war fare. Though the security threat and the operational capabilities of a small team of LTTE cadres are minimal, the psychological impact on the local population is immense. Political dimension has further aggravated the situation.
Yet, its military consequences are far more subtle. The LTTE strategy is to force the troops to divert a substantial number of soldiers from the Wanni and Northern front to the remote hamlets in Tissamaharama.
About thousand troops, i.e. three battalions are expected to be deployed in the Yala area, of which five hundred troops have already been dispatched. This is in addition to the deployment of thousand -strong police force and a thousand five hundred Civil Defence Forces, who will be recruited from the area.
The irony is that these numbers are being deployed to fend off a small team of Tiger cadres, which certain reports say, could be a maximum of 30.
An Overall Operations Command for the Hambantota District headed by Brigadier Sudantha Ranasinghe was set up last week.
However, Tiger incursions into Yala come as no surprise. Logistical and replenishment requirements of a small team of Tiger cadres are minimum. They have been sent on a sabotage mission as it was observed in the recent events. They take extreme care to avoid direct confrontation with the troops. That is to avoid the tiresome task of evacuation of the wounded via the jungle. It was later found that Tiger cadres had robbed the food rations of the Thalgasmankada military detachment, which was attacked a month ago.


In another incident, three gunmen had stormed a house in Ridithenna and demanded tea and biscuits before they abducted the landlord who was later found dead.
The large number of security forces and police personnel dispatched to the Yala area, are indicative of the political sensitivity of the LTTE incursion in the Southern backyard.
Meanwhile, an uneasy calm prevailed in the main battle fronts in the North and the Wanni. It was only ten days ago, that the troops fought pitched battles against the Tigers , when the Air Mobile Brigade and Special Infantry Troops struck the LTTE’s Forward Defence Line in a major frontal attack.
Fierce fighting ahead of the security forces defence localities in Muhamalai, Killali and Nagar Kovil left a heavy toll on both sides. Ground Intelligence sources have confirmed that at least 35 Tiger cadres were killed in the battle. The LTTE is reported to have transported 60 cadres from Kilinochchi to the Muhamalai Forward Defence Lie to replenish its losses from the November 7 security forces offensive. The LTTE reserve is kept in Kilinochchi from where reinforcements could be dispatched faster to both the Northern and Wanni fronts.
After the Muhamalai offensive on November 07, troops continued with small team operations head of their forward defence localities.
At the crack of dawn on November 15, a small team of infantry soldiers sneaked into Tiger territory. Armed to with Light Machine Guns, Rocket Propelled Grenades, T 56 and grenade launchers, they took on five bunkers of the LTTE in a lightening raid.
Hours later on the same day, troops fought back an attempt by the LTTE to re-occupy the bunkers destroyed by the forces. One Tiger cadre was killed when troops retaliated. According to the ground troops, the primary bunker line of the LTTE is said to be sparsely occupied. That is a measure to fend off repeated raids by Special Infantry Operation (SIO) teams who have been immensely successful in keeping a check on the LTTE FDL’s.
After the last week’s heavy pounding of artillery and MBRL, the Tigers would concentrate on fortifying the forward bunker line, which was destroyed by the troops during the November 07 Operation. Indeed, one unit breached the secondary bunker line of the LTTE and advanced four Km into Tiger territory. Troops were in control of the primary bunker line of the LTTE, before they were forced to pull back due to heavy indirect fire.
Fighting flared up in the Wanni front as Special Infantry Operation teams continued with limited operations against the Tigers. In Palaimoddai, soldiers attacked three Tiger bunkers on Wednesday. On the same day, Special Infantry troops operating ahead of their defence lines in Kallikulam clashed with a group of LTTE cadres. On Tuesday, Special Force commandos ambushed a convoy of LTTE vehicles killing a senior Tiger cadre of its support arms unit identified as Pullawar Annan alias Thuiyyawan Master. Meanwhile, the LTTE last week released the name of the crew of an arms smuggling vessel, MV Kiyoyi which was intercepted and destroyed by the Navy, 185 nautical miles off the Point Dondra on February 28 this year.
The pro- LTTE radio station IBC has announced the list of 13 LTTE cadres, including eight senior cadres on 10th and 12 November. The list included five self -styled Tiger colonels and three Majors and Five Captains. The list of crew as announced by the IBC are Lt Col Ilamurugan (The captain of the ship),Lt Col Kokulan, Lt Col Thennawan, Lt Col Kumanan, Lt Col Anguvendan, Major Sudarmani, Major Chelvam, Major Paralawan, Captain Vetrithambi, Captain Vidiwilly, Captain Kurumaran, Captain Shankar and Captain Thamilaranjan.
Meanwhile, at the crack of dawn on Wednesday, radars positioned in Vavuniya detected a suspected aircraft. Power was cut off in Colombo and troops were put on alert. Senior military official said the radar traced the movement of the unidentified object up to 25 km. However, it was not clear whether it was a defect of the radar, said a military official.
Some sources said an international flight has been detected on the radar screen. These claims could not be verified. However, the government which was concerned of the impending budget sprung into action. However, its explanation fell short of reality. Defence spokesman, Keheliya Rambukwella said the troops conducted an air defence rehearsal. However, no mention was made of the detection of the aircraft on the radar screen. He said the power cut was part of the rehearsal.

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The New York based Human Rights Watch (HRW) yesterday reiterated their request demanding that British authorities open a criminal investigation into Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan, known as Colonel Karuna Amman, a former Tamil Tiger leader in immigration detention.

In a statement issued late Friday, HRW noted that British law permits the prosecution of individuals for serious violations of international law, including torture and war crimes, committed abroad. For example, in 2005, UK courts convicted a former Afghan warlord, Faryadi Sarwar Zardad, for acts of torture and hostage-taking in Afghanistan.

“The British government has shown that it can successfully prosecute those who have committed serious abuses abroad,” said Brad Adams, Asia Director at Human Rights Watch, in his statement. “Karuna is one of the worst human rights abusers ever to end up in custody in the UK. We expect the government to fully explore all legal possibilities for prosecuting Karuna,” Adams noted.

According to HRW, Karuna’s case is important for bringing justice for international crimes. “Karuna has a long and horrific record of abuse that demands justice. His arrest in the UK is a golden opportunity to bring justice for the victims of his many atrocities,” Adams said.

The statement noted that the British government should open a criminal investigation into a former Tamil Tiger leader in immigration detention, Human Rights Watch said today. Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan, known as Colonel Karuna Amman, was a leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) until he split to form his own group.
Human Rights Watch said the case provides an important opportunity for justice for victims of human rights abuses in Sri Lanka.
On November 2, 2007, UK immigration authorities arrested Karuna, a rebel military commander who has long been linked to the summary execution and torture of civilians and the use of children as soldiers. Until leaving the LTTE in March 2004, Karuna was the Tigers’ top commander in eastern Sri Lanka, and the reputed number two in the LTTE hierarchy. Because he had been given a de facto amnesty by the Sri Lankan government and his armed group fought against the LTTE in recent years, it is unlikely the Sri Lankan government would prosecute him.

Tamil Tiger forces under Karuna’s command were directly involved in some of the worst crimes of Sri Lanka’s ongoing civil war. In June 1990, some 400 to 600 police officers in the east who surrendered to the LTTE were bound, gagged and beaten. The Tamil Tigers, including forces under Karuna’s control, then executed the Sinhalese and Muslims among them. In July 1990, Karuna’s forces stopped a convoy of Muslims traveling in Batticaloa district and executed about 75 people, including women and children. In August 1990, Karuna’s forces killed more than 200 civilians in two incidents in the Batticaloa district.
In 2004, Human Rights Watch investigated the Tamil Tigers’ recruitment and use of children as soldiers. Karuna’s forces played a prominent role, routinely visiting Tamil homes to tell parents to provide a child for the ‘movement.’ The LTTE harassed and threatened families that resisted, and children were abducted from their homes at night or while walking to school.
After Karuna broke away from the Tamil Tigers, his armed group operated with the complicity of the Sri Lankan security forces. The Karuna group, as it was known, engaged in abduction of children for use as soldiers in Sri Lanka’s eastern districts, taking boys from their homes, work places, temples, playground, public roads, camps for the internally displaced, and even a wedding. These abuses are documented in the Human Rights Watch report “Complicit in Crime: State Collusion in Abductions and Child Recruitment by the Karuna Group,” published in January 2007.

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A Memorial Service organised by the so-called ‘Tamil Youth Organisation’ at the Harrow Leisure Centre, on 5 November in London, (as reported in the Sunday Island) where more than 3000 Tamils participated, to transfer merit to the departed soul of S.P. Thamilselvan, the two faced terrorist, ‘who had the strength of meeting the opposition with a smiling face’ and hypocrite, posthumously promoted as Brigadier and re-christened as ‘Dove of Peace’ by the Terrorist Leader Velupillai Prabahakaran, who perished under SLAF gunfire can only be taken as a thundering slap across the face of British authorities.

Britain is one of the many countries to proscribe the LTTE as a ruthless terrorist organisation in the world long time ago. With that perspective, London Metropolitan Police have established a special anti-terror unit purely to monitor the LTTE activities and atrocities taking place within the metropolis of London.

Prior to holding any public meeting, rally or social occasion it is compulsory for the relevant organisations to obtain prior approval from the Metropolitan Police. In such a dilemma how the supporters of the LTTE Terrorist outfit managed to hoodwink the British authorities and sieve through, under the pretext of a Tamil Youth Organisation, to attract 3000 people including three Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarians, Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, Mrs. Pathmini Sithambaranathan and Vino Nogarathlingam, along with Adelede Balasingham, the widow of the late LTTE theoretician Anton Balasingham and Dr. N. Sathiyamoorthy of the White Pigeon Charity, a LTTE fund raising arm in England, in organising such an open Memorial Service in the midst of world wide publicity about the LTTE terrorist organisation will not only show how deviously and strategically the terrorist plan and execute to gain advantage and publicity but certainly would reflect appallingly on the British as doing only a lip service when they failed to see what was happening in their own backyard.

How long can the British afford to play a dumb game when it comes to help Sri Lanka in their promises of rooting out terrorism from the whole world? Anton Balasingham prior to his demise was based in London under the protection of a British Passport. When openly he represented the LTTE terrorist organisation and issued statements quoting ‘LTTE Secretariat in London’ and quite unhesitatingly took part openly in peace negotiations with the Sri Lanka government representing the LTTE, British were tongue tied and could only come out with the lame excuse that Balasingham was a British citizen and he had not committed any criminal activities in the UK to be prosecuted! Such were the excuses given by Britain; a country which is hell bent and boasts about their attempts to eliminate international terrorism!

Only a few months ago the President of the British Tamil Association, Arnulachalam Krishanthakumar (50) known as A. C. Shanthan was arrested by the British police under the UK Terrorism Act 2000, for helping the terrorist organisation.

He was charged for organising an anti Sri Lankan rally in Hyde park in July last year, for collecting œ1500/= (Rs.300,000) for terrorist activities in January 2005, being a member of the LTTE terrorist organisation from June 2006 in England, and possessing manuals of war machinery such as under water warfare systems, explosives, Naval weaponry systems, six trenching spades, 39 compasses and a piece of ballistic body armour. Arnulachalam Krishanthakumar appeared before Magistrates’ courts only days prior to the memorial service. In such a backdrop terrorists holding ‘requiem’ masses for their dead from London, the centre hub of international activities, will go down as adding more fuel by the British to diminishing ambers of the LTTE terrorist activities to gain international sympathy.

A latest report in the Sri Lankan media revealed how the LTTE is attempting to appoint Adelede Balasingham, the widow of the late Anton Balasingham as the new spokesperson for the LTTE since the demise of Thamilchelvam. This in some quarters is seen as the inability of the once Narahenpita Cop who has taken the reins of the dead Brigadier to stand up to expected standards of the terrorist outfit or due to the lack of his charisma for such responsibilities. But how would the British going to react to such an appointment if Adelede Balasingham takes over the new role as LTTE spokesperson?

It would be interesting to watch as Adelade, an Australian citizen, who has obtained a British passport is now living in the UK. Will the British allow her to remain in the UK, arrest her for being a member of a terrorist organisation or cancel her citizenship and pack her back to Australia, again a country which has to proscribed the LTTE as a ruthless organisation.

The very latest information from London is that the British Tamil Forum, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) front organization has reserved the Hall ExCel, One Western Gateway, Royal Victoria Dock, London E16 1XL to hold Heroes day of the LTTE on 27 November 2007 with an agenda to: (a) To commemorate birthday of Veluppillai Prabhakaran, leader of the LTTE. (b)To remember and glorify LTTE suicide cadres died in terrorist attacks, (c)To propagate and promote the separatist scheme of the LTTE and raise funds for terrorist activities in Sri Lanka.

Heroes day event of the LTTE is a violation of UK Terrorism Act as the LTTE is a proscribed terrorist organization in the UK. Last year LTTE’s Hero’s day to be held in the ExCel was banned by the British authorities after strong representations made by the Sri Lankan diaspora in the UK.

As a repetitive measure Sri Lankan expatriates in the UK have made strong protests already this year too, to the Scotland Yard Anti-Terrorism Unit in London, Home, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Crown Prosecution Service, Managing Director/Conference and Events at the ExCel and the Head of Sales at ExCel.

One wonders why Sri Lankan expatriates have to remind and brief the British authorities, the ‘Chamipions of anti terrorism’, on every occasion when the LTTE organises such illegal activities to promote terrorism in Sri Lanka when they are fully aware of the size, extent and the level of LTTE operations from the British isles.

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