Archive for June 26th, 2008

The Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) has attacked more than 4 LTTE positions in the north during yesterday (25th) and today (26th).

The first air attack of yesterday was on a LTTE bunker line around 2km ahead of the Weli Oya forward defence line. Air Force used helicopter gunships to attack the target in this instance. Around half an hour later, SLAF bombers attacked 3 LTTE artillery positions south of Muhamalai FDL. Intelligence sources indicated that an LTTE artillery expert identified as “Iniyawan” has suffered injuries in this air raid.

Two more aerial attacks on LTTE positions in the northern front was launched today (26th) morning. Helicopter gunships attacked a small LTTE based located North of Andankulam at around 6am while bombers raided an LTTE training facility north of Vedithalaithivu. LTTE casualty details are not available as of this moment.

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The TNA’s long-pending request to visit India to present the Tamils’ viewpoint for resolving the 25-year-old ethnic strife has been accepted by New Delhi, sources said.

“This has been a long-standing demand of the TNA (Tamil National Alliance) and it was finally conceded by the three-member high-level Indian delegation led by National Security Adviser M K Narayanan that held talks with the party functionaries on Friday,” sources said.

However, no dates were fixed for the meeting in India, they said, adding the TNA had been demanding for talks with India for some time to resolve the LTTE issue.

Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and Defence Secretary Vijay Singh were part of the 3 member Indian delegation which was in Colombo on a two-day closely-guarded visit recently.

A pro-LTTE website also said the Indian delegation, after listening to the TNA Parliament group chief, R Sampanthan, “invited him and his party members to visit Delhi for further talks.” Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) leader and Sri Lankan Cabinet Minister Douglas Devananda earlier had a breakfast discussion with the delegation. On Friday night, Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) leader, Minister Arumugam Thondaman paid a courtesy call on the Indian delegation.

The all-important meeting the top Indian officials had with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday lasted for about an hour.

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In most or every way, India is more resilient, professional and organized than us, Sri Lankan. Or else, they would not be the big brother in the region. The geographical size and the population alone would not give that ability. They gained that respect over centuries with many prosperous civilizations behind them that have left them with a very rich culture. Perhaps that has permitted for an uncompromising ego to play a negative role every time the Indians decide to intervene in Sri Lankan politics.

Their sad intervention in covertly strengthening the Tamil armed groups to contain the Jayewardene regime in early 1980’s was by any standard an unwise decision. It wasn’t that India did not have more decent options in engaging the Jayewardene regime. Diplomatic channels were open, including that of the Commonwealth Membership, but never stretched to its full. That is why the decision to militarily support Sri Lankan Tamil youth groups in the 80’s becomes principally wrong. A society never alien and could very easily strike a historic chord stretching up to the Chola Empire, with the Tamil polity of India, thus letting off a synergy that would lead to a more complicated armed presence on either side of the Palk Straits.

That in fact was what subsequently developed. Apart from the support and assistance afforded by Delhi, Tamil leaders in Madras moved in to support both politically and financially. The biggest star then in Tamil Nadu politics, MGR, was in close supportive contact personally. The Centre in New Delhi could not ignore the pressures of Tamil Nadu fired by the Tamil spirit of these new and militant youth groups. India was thus trapped in its own snare and had dragged in Sri Lanka fast that would have any way got entangled in an armed rebellion in the North, the way the government was treating the political issues of the Tamil polity.

Rajiv in a way was more pragmatic than his mother in trying to resolve the issue; his mother was party to, in creating. Where Rajiv’s intervention as PM lapsed was in calculating for a political consensus in the Sri Lankan society to push through the PC package. His whole proposal was very Indian weighted. There was no responsibility given with adequate time for President Jayewardene to win his constituency to what was proposed as a solution. The Indian leadership was making use of Jayewardene’s limitations in dealing with the escalation of the conflict and his fissures in government. According to J.N. Dixit in his book “Assignment Colombo” the whole process of agreeing, developing and signing the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord had been shuttled in between 25th May and 27th July, 1987. Again, this macho Indian intervention had its own repercussions in the Sinhala South, in the Tamil North-East and on India itself. First, it paved the way for a very independent LTTE that thereafter did not depend on official Indian sympathies or assistance. Two, it politically instigated the savage uprising in the South led by the JVP and helped to register a social ideology against devolution of power. And the third was the tragic death of PM Rajiv Gandhi that there -after altered the stance of Indian politics towards the Sri Lankan conflict.

This altered stance of India was evident even during the Norwegian brokered CFA from February, 2002. India then did not want to give its full co-operation to work out a negotiated solution to the protracted conflict they were also responsible for. They in fact turned down the invitation to be a participant to the 2003 Brussels Aid Forum, a donor platform that was initiated on the basis of the CFA signed between the GOSL and the LTTE. India did not at that time want to be even an “observer” at that forum. The only reason being that India would not sit with the LTTE they have banned as a terrorist organization. Meanwhile, for the first time, the JVP was a very prominent presence in every Indian function. It was seen as an Indian effort to give the JVP a credible acceptance. The political assumption thus was, India once again was covertly supporting the opposition to stall the peace process they perceived if successful would bring the LTTE into the mainstream. For the Indians, it was said, any conclusion of the conflict in Sri Lanka should be without the LTTE as a player.

This seems the hardened stand now, with India. After the N-E PC elections India pledged total support for the development of the East. None would say don’t, if it is possible to develop that area within a peaceful atmosphere. It is evident now the East is not going to be peaceful at all and there are serious concerns about its Chief Ministera’s capacity to function as an elected democratic politician. It would be an area that would be run by an armed group, backed by State security. There would thus be no role for the ordinary people to play in the administration. Worst is that the elections have further widened the gap between Muslims and the government ally in the PC.

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On a tip-off given by the Western Provincial Council (WPC), JVP member Eraj Krishantha de Alwis, the Intelligence Division was able to round up four hard core LTTE terrorists on Friday, June 13. They were planning to cause two major bus bomb explosions in the City of Colombo. The detection was made just three days prior to the intended date of the launch of the attacks. Police also recovered a large haul of explosives following the arrest.

Meanwhile, the JVP member of the Western Provincial Council, Eraj Krishantha de Alwis, who was puzzled over the delay of his prospective tenant from whom he had already received six months rent in advance alerted the police of his suspicion and consequently, police initiated investigations. The story unfolded as a result of the police probe.

Krishantha owned premises No.20, Paranawatta Road, Kelawarapitiya, Wattala, and intended to rent it out. He affixed a ‘to let’ board at the entrance with his mobile number on it. This was about two to three months ago.


At the same time another person published a newspaper advertisement to let out some other premises in the same locality and Shanmugam Suresh of No.30/07 Vivekananda Road, Colombo 14 was among many others who came as a would-be tenant. Shanmugam Suresh having spotted the ‘to let’ board contacted Krishantha on the given mobile phone number and negotiated with him to take the house concerned on a monthly rental of Rs.14,000.

But even after the lapse of two and a half weeks, Suresh and his wife and two children did not come into occupation, instead Krishantha came to know that some other Tamil youth was occupying the house. A few days later, Krishantha came to know that another young Tamil couple with an infant about one and a half years old had occupied the house. The new developments roused the Provincial Councillor’s suspicion. Accordingly, he took steps to bring this situation to the notice of the intelligence unit of the Police and Army.

Investigations revealed that the young couple were a cover for their nefarious activities. This couple had been enticed by Suresh and Anandarasa to be sent to Korea for foreign employment. They were waiting to get their travel documents prepared in Colombo.

Recovery of explosives

When the Intelligence Unit probed Devarasa Anandarasa on the night of April 13, Suresh was not in the house. He had gone to a friend’s place for a party. Following interrogation of Anandarasa police recovered 2850 grams of C4 high explosives buried under a mango tree at the front entrance to the house. They were concealed in polythene bags. Buried near the front wall of the premises the police recovered two time bombs and three detonator capsules and a large quantity of other implements. Anandarasa confessed that these explosives were intended for two passenger bus bombs and that he was waiting for instructions to carry out the blasts. He also confessed that they were responsible for the bus bomb planted in the Colombo Fort- passenger bus that was found on May 24 and did not explode due to a technical hitch.

Under further interrogation, Anandarasa revealed information relating to a number of other Tiger terrorists who were in hiding in Colombo. Suresh returned to the rented out house towards the close of the police probe into Anandarasa. He came after liquor and the time was 3.00 am. He did not know that police were in the house awaiting his return. Police arrested him. Under intense interrogation of the two suspects, police arrested two more suspects, Nadarasa Shivaraj of Sumithrarama Road, Colombo 13 and Arumai Raja who was in a lodge at Central Park, Colombo. Arumai Raja had been posing off as a mason.

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Malaysia’s former Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohammad is of the view the LTTE is inflicting death and destruction on Sri Lanka and does not want to see similar groups which propagate violent racist politics operating in his country.He commented on the LTTE while expressing strong views about HINDRAF, a group operating in Malaysia and whose members have been detained under the Internal Security Act of the country.

Ethnic Indian leader, Samy Velu has called for the release of the detained members but the former prime minister said by calling for the release of HINDRAF leaders, Samy Velu was supporting a group who represented racist Tamils who still looked to their old master – Britain – to protect them, and didn’t believe in Malaysian institutions.

Seeing the death and destruction inflicted on  Sri Lanka by the Tamil Tigers, they threaten to bring this kind of violent racial politics to Malaysia,” The Malaysian Star quoted Dr. Mahathir as saying in a posting on his blog www.chedet.com.

Meanwhile, MIC deputy president G. Palanivel said HINDRAF did not only represent Tamils but included many non-Tamils and even non-Hindus.

Palanivel said Mahathir should not make statements that would further fan racial sentiments and hatred. He should remember his own roots.

His most recent statement on HINDRAF as Tamil racists will only further drive away Indian votes from the ruling Barisan National to the opposition alliance, Bernama quoted him as saying.

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The Government has no information yet that Malaysians are involved in a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) planned bomb attack in Colombo, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar.

He said the Government was currently seeking co-operation from Sri Lanka to find out who were the Malaysians allegedly involved in such a plot.

“We have no problems working with the Sri Lankan Government on this because Malaysia opposes any form of terrorism or any terrorist act,” he told reporters yesterday after opening the 8th Asean senior officials meeting on transnational crime.

He said there had always been allegations in the past that Malaysians were involved in LTTE activities but there was no proof.

Syed Hamid was commenting on a recent report in a Sri Lankan newspaper, The Daily Mirror, that the police had arrested six people, including a woman with 2.7kg of explosives, who were waiting for instructions from “certain quarters in Malaysia” to carry out a bomb attack in Colombo.

He said he had checked after getting word of the news “but up to now we have found no Malaysians involved”.

The LTTE has been waging a war against the Singhalese-majority Sri Lankan Government for more than 30 years for an independent Tamil homeland.

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Policies of Sri Lankan politicians and their parties are like the weather. They change in an unpredictable manner. In nothing else is this trait more pronounced than in their stand on terrorism. There have been governments that came into power promising jaw-jaw and not war-war. But, soon after being ensconced in power, they found themselves fighting the very war that they had described as being ‘unwinnable’. Others promised an honourable peace but resorted to despicable appeasement upon being elected. The present government vowed to make mincemeat of the Tigers before the 2005 Presidential Election but later bent over backwards to carry forward a peace process it had condemned as a threat to national security and the country’s sovereignty. Unless Prabhakaran had blundered by killing police and armed forces personnel, scuttling talks on the then prevailing CFA and finally capturing the Mavil Aru reservoir, the appeasement process would have continued till the cows came home.

The UNP under its present leadership has been contesting elections on an anti-war platform. And its string of defeats, the latest being the loss in the Eastern Province has come to be blamed on its appeasement policy. The on-going internal strife of the party which is likely to cause another split of the magnitude of the breakaway of 17 rebels led by UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya has also stemmed from the conviction of some prominent UNPers that their party has alienated the majority community without taking a tough stand on terrorism. They fear that the UNP is doomed to lose at future elections as well, if its present policy on terrorism is to be continued. The need for the UNP to win over the Sinhala constituency was pointed out by none other than the late Tamil MP T. Maheswaran at a number of intra party fora.

Now that UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is mired in a crisis with pressure mounting on him to step down to avoid further defeats, he seems to have heeded the call from the UNP stalwarts and rank and file for changing the image of the party and restoring it to its pristine position as a patriotic outfit. This may have been the reason why he decided to field a retired major general with a proven track record as the UNP’s chief ministerial candidate in the North Central Province. Janaka Perera is his name.

Gen. Perera’s dilemma will be whether to continue to be the hawk that he is said to be so as to exploit his successful military career at the upcoming election or to conform to the UNP’s policy on terrorism and present himself to the people as yet another UNP candidate. The only way he can eat into the UPFA vote bank is to sound as anti-LTTE as or more ‘patriotic’ than the government worthies. If he does so, he will only be making a mockery of the UNP’s anti-war credentials.

If Janaka Perera becomes a conformist and begins to coo, he won’t be able to market himself to the NCP, which has borne the brunt of the LTTE terrorism over the past two and a half decades and is therefore well disposed towards the government’s military campaign against the outfit.

Gen. Perera is sure to lay out his CV during the campaign and tell the people how he valiantly fought so many battles and defeated the LTTE in most of them. His credentials as a good soldier are fairly well known but his biggest liability will be that the UNP has belittled the victories that the security forces, especially the army, have scored against the LTTE during the past two years. He will have to make a stand on the war effort of the present government, where defence is handled by one of his former colleagues, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, who, too, has an excellent service record as a soldier who took part in almost all key battles including Operation Liberation (1987). If Gen. Perera seeks to deride the operations against the LTTE and pooh-pooh the performance of the troops, the image he has built over the years as a soldier will crumble overnight. For, even the LTTE has admitted, as manifest in its desperate appeals to the international community that it cannot face the military onslaught it has come under. Very few will believe Gen. Perera, if he says the present military campaign is ineffectual.

It is doubtful whether the UNP will be able to change its image by roping in a single general. Before Janaka, there was Gen. Lucky Algama, another veteran soldier, who was assassinated by the LTTE by using a suicide bomber at a UNP rally in 1999, as Prabhakaran feared he would be the UNP’s Defence Secretary in the event of UNP Presidential Candidate Ranil Wickremesinghe’s election, which he sought to facilitate by making an attempt on President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s life on the eve of the presidential election held in that year. Algama had evidently failed to shape the UNP’s policy on the LTTE. What would have been his position on the LTTE under a UNF government, if he had not been felled by the LTTE? He would have had to endorse the appeasement of the LTTE or part company with the government. The tail, they say, cannot wag the dog.

Gen. Perera today finds himself in the same predicament as Minister Prof. Tissa Vitharana. Both have become square pegs in round holes. The former is a hawk in the appeasement camp and the latter a pacifist among hawks. Both of them are surrounded by strange bedfellows brought together by their greed for power.

Whether Gen. Perera is destined to be an ordinary provincial councilor or a chief minister remains to be seen. Our only worry is that another good soldier, irrespective of the party of his choice, has chosen to plunge into the cesspit of politics.


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