CURRENT AFFAIRS


 

LTTE - UNP Talks

Movement against Terrorism opposes talks with LTTE (Island : 16 Sept 1998)

The National Movement against Terrorism expressed their vehement opposition against talks with the LTTE at a press conference held in Colombo yesterday. The members of the organisation said that calling for talks with the LTTE under any circumstances would set the stage for the slaughter of the sons and daughters of Sri Lanka. The movement put it down simply as both the UNP and the PA playing one against the other to get minority votes. The members recalled that the previous talks with the LTTE was a ploy by the terrorists to rearm themselves. The National Movement against Terrorism is organising a series of protests against the statements made by the leading political parties.

The members of the organisation said that the UNP stance was more amazing as they had already rejected the political package of the government as unacceptable because it poses a threat to the unitary status of the country. They are now calling for talks.

The members also questioned the rational behind the sudden need for talks by the government that assured the country the war is going to end. The movement pointed out that opposition is mounting among the citizens of the country who had suffered in the hands of a merciless terrorist organisation and sacrificed their sons and daughters for a cause they believed in. They also said that the terrorists would only gain more propaganda and the interference of foreign countries that has no interest in the matter would further complicate matters .

The movement warned that history would repeat itself as in the Thimpu talks in 1985, Indo-Lanka talks, and the talks between the leader of the present government and the LTTE that resulted in disaster. (LS)

A protest against the proposed 'peace talks' with the LTTE

A protest against the proposed 'peace talks' with the LTTE, with particular reference to UNP leader Ranil WIckramasinghe's demand for unconditional talks, was held on Monday the 21st. This event was jointly organised by the following -

1) National Movement Against Terrorism
2) Sinhala Weera Vidahana
3) Jathika Sangha Sabha

A meeting was first held at the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress hall on Bauddhaloka Mawatha. It was addressed by Major-General Tilak Paranagama, Champika Ranawaka and the Ven. Ittapane Dhammalankara Thera.

Thereafter the people, with the clergy leading the way, went in procession to the Anagarika Dharmapala statue at Vihara Maha Devi Park, where the gathering was addressed by Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera, and then dispersed peacefully.

Several bus loads of people coming for this event from the Southern Province were harassed, apparently on the orders of the Southern Provincial Council. They had been stopped and fined for supposedly plying the buses outside the designated routes and so on. Some had been prevented from going for hours, and thus unable to arrive on time.

Aruna Batuvanthudave
National Movement Against Terrorism

NATIONAL MOVEMENT AGAINST TERRORISM

380, Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7, Sri Lanka.

OPEN LETTER TO THE HON. RANIL WICKRAMASINGHE

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

AND

LEADER OF THE UNITED NATIONAL PARTY

Dear Sir,

It was reported in the media of this country recently that you gave an interview to P. Gurunath, writer in a journal called ‘Sanjiv’ in the ‘Udayan’ newspaper published in Jaffna. It is no secret that ‘Udayan’ is in fact the voice of the LTTE. In that interview you have announced that talks should be re-opened with the Tigers without any conditions. You have further announced that a foreign third party could be employed to achieve this end. In addition you have announced that, should you come to power, you would quite definitely re-open negotiations with the Tigers.

A few days ago you expressed the same idea enthusiastically in the prescence of Prof. Fraser from Ireland. It has also been reported that at the end of this month you will have discussions with front organisations of the LTTE in Los Angeles, USA.

When we examine your recent past, this is indeed no surprise. When you signed the Chandrika-Ranil pact under the intervention of the British Foreign Secretary, you were not doing so in the national interest in opposition to the terrorists. You and the President signed that agreement in order to re-open negotiations with the terrorists. But the forces in this country who are opposed to the terrorists managed to push this conspiracy into the background. After that

when the terrorists bombed the pinnacle of Buddhist worship in this country, the Dalada Maligawa, the Government was forced to proscribe the LTTE because of the massive protests by the people. We have not forgotten how you shed tears on that occasion, saying that the door had been closed to the last opportunity for negotiations. So it is not surprising that you have demanded that the Fox-Chandrika-Ranil agreement be re-activated, and negotiations be held with the Tiger terrorists.

Nevertheless, the rank and file of the UNP and the ordinary people of this country who are opposed to the terrorists are thankful to you for removing your mask. We wish to refresh your memory about the history of peace negotiations with the Tigers from the time you were a Minister.

It is worth reminding you of what was in the UNP manifesto in 1977. "When we come to power we will hold a round-table conference." Your party came forward to hold this conference with none other than the TULF, which on June 14th 1976 vowed at Vaddukodai to divide Sri Lanka and establish a sovereign and independent Eelam.

In fact you did hold a round-table conference, and as a result of those discussions the District Development Council system was agreed upon. In 1981, by the time the DDCs were established, the Tamil terrorists had murdered 3 politicians, 15 ordinary citizens and 18 police officers – 36 in total. Among these there were only 4 Sinhalese. So along with these peace negotiations and a political settlement did the blood-letting stop? We ask you to search your conscience, and admit that the shedding of blood escalated as never before. While the Government in which you were a Minister established DDCs legally after discussions with the Tamils, the terrorists would have realised that if they could obtain DDCs by killing only 36 persons, they could obtain so much more by killing hundreds.

Many things happened after that. In 1984 the All Party Conference was held, and in 1985 negotiations were held with the Tamil parties in Thimpu, Butan. From June 18th onwards the army was sent back to barracks, and during that ceasefire the terrorists prepared for further hostilities. They laid landmines around the army camps apart from reinforcing themselves with arms, ammunition and new recruits. Your Government told us that peace was at hand. Now you propose further peace negotiations with the Tigers, without conditions. What you do not seem to realise, or refuse to remember, is that the Tigers and the so-called moderate Tamil parties have already put forward conditions which are inflexible and non-negotiable. These are –

1) The recognition of the ‘Tamil-speaking people’ as a distinct nation, possessed of the inalienable right of self-determination.
2) The recognition of the northern and eastern provinces as presently constituted, as the ‘homeland’ of the ‘Tamil-speaking people’.
3) The recognition of the Tamil secessionist groups represented at Thimpu as being the sole representatives of the ‘Tamil-speaking people’.
4) The grant of citizenship to all Tamils resident in Sri Lanka. (This would mean that the Tamils of the plantations in the hill country would be part and parcel of this ‘Tamil nation’ and cannot be separated from the state of Eelam.)

Neither the LTTE nor the so-called moderate Tamil parties have ever stated that they have withdrawn from this position or rejected these pre-conditions. In whatever light they may seem to you, it is quite clear to us that these proposed peace negotiations are the same ruse that the LTTE has used before to re-inforce themselves and further escalate the war.

Next we have to remind you of the ‘Indo-Lanka Accord’. On April 12th 1987, when your Government declared a ceasefire, the terrorists responded appropriately. On April 17th they attacked a bus at Habarana and massacred 127 persons, of whom 31 were police and security personnel and the rest were civilians. They were hacked to death. On April 21st they exploded the bomb at the Pettah bus stand, killing 114 civilians and injuring 1052 others. Your Government then indicated that terrorism would be crushed.

Be that as it may, on July 29th 1987 your leader the late President Jayawardene addressed the nation and announced that peace had dawned, and that by the following Monday the militants would surrender their weapons. That Monday never dawned. As a result of this futile exercise, the south was plunged into anarchy as well. The JVP, taking advantage of the vehement opposition to the ‘Indo-Lanka Accord’, started an insurgency, which your Government crushed by extra-legal methods. We certainly cannot remember you preparing to talk unconditionally to the JVP. There are reports that the JVP massacred around 6,000 people, while your Govenment killed around 66,000.

The occasion when your Government entered into peace talks with the Tigers in June 1989 is particularly worth remembering. The Premadasa Government nominated a committee comprising of Ministers Ranil Wickramasinghe, Sirisena Cooray and A.C.S. Hameed to conduct these talks. So we must remind you that you too have to take responsibility for the consequences of these peace talks with the Tigers.

We ask you to refresh your memory about how those peace talks ended. On June 11th 1990 the Tiger terrorists carried out simultaneous attacks on the police stations in the Eastern Province. Your Government ordered 900 police officers to lay down their arms and surrender to the terrorists. Try to remember, Mr. Wickramasinghe, that these police personnel were massacred with the weapons donated to the terrorists by your Government. The responsibility for this lies with you as well.

Are you aware that while 1237 security services personnel had died up to the time of these peace talks, 2679 i.e. almost double that number had to lay down their lives for the country between Nov 1989 and 1994? Have you any idea what the parents, wives and children of these men think of you and your Government for having sacrificed them in the name of peace talks?

As another result of these peace talks, the Government of Sri Lanka lost control over most of the north. Apart from Palaly and Elephant Pass, the next army camp came to be Vavuniya. Puliyankulam, Mankulam, Kokkavil, Killinochchi were all abandoned by your Government to the Tigers. We have to remind you that the Jayasikuru operation, criticised by you, is an attempt to regain the territory lost to the terrorists during your Government.

Recently at a meeting in Colombo Central you made the statement that during your regime the war had been confined to the north. There is frequent bragging that the east was regained from the Tigers by your Government.

Could you tell us what war you were fighting during the period you were Prime Minister from May 1993 to Aug 1994?

The army was confined to barracks at Palaly and Elephant Pass after the other northern camps were abandoned, Prabhakaran ruled the unofficial state of Eelam with his police, courts, banks, and radio and TV. Nobody, not even the members of your UNP, have forgotten your ‘peace’ which was born of murder, blood and humiliation.

If you come to power, is it your intention to sacrifice again the recently re-captured territories of Jaffna, Killinochchi and Mannar through your so-called peace negotiations? Are you aware that 8,000 soldiers have laid down their lives to re-claim these areas of our country?

Have you forgotten that it was the Tigers who killed your former leader, the late President Premadasa? Have you forgotten that the Presidential candidate of your party was also killed by them? Are you aware that since 1977 a large number of ordinary UNP members have also been killed by the Tigers? We give below some of their names in order to refresh your memory –

  • R. Balasubramaniam UNP Organiser, Killinochchi killed 30.09.80
  • A. Thiagarajah UNP Candidate, DDC elections killed 24.05.81
  • V. Thambipillai UNP Organiser killed 15.11.82
  • K.V. Pulendran UNP Organiser, Vavuniya killed 19.01.83
  • S.J. Muttiah UNP Organiser, Chavakachcheri killed 24.04.83
  • K.V. Ratnasamy UNP Organiser, Point Pedro killed 29.04.83
  • V. Rajaratnam UNP Organiser, Jaffna killed 29.04.83
  • S. Thilakar UNP Organiser, Jaffna hospital killed 03.06.83
  • S. Sinnathamby UNP Organiser, Chunnakkam killed 04.08.83
  • A.J. Rajasuriyar UNP Organiser, Jaffna killed 02.08.83

Even if you have forgotten these people, others will not forget them, nor will their murderers be absolved.

We hoped that you would have learnt a lesson from the peace negotitiations conducted by the PA Government with the Tigers between Nov.1994 and April 1995. While these peace talks were going on, the Tigers brought in three shiploads of arms and ammunition. It is reported that among them were SAM-7 missiles bought in Cambodia. During this period, not only did the Tigers take control of the Eastern Province which they had lost earlier, but they also recruited around 3,000 new cadres. The consequences of the peace talks were written in blood thereafter. Until 1994, the number of security forces personnel killed was 3916, while 6408 went missing or were disabled. However, between 1994 and March 1998, the number of security forces personnel killed doubled to reach 7748. The number that went missing or were disabled reached 15,334. If you look at these statistics without prejudice, you should realise that the only consequence of peace talks has been the killing of more soldiers and civilians, and the progressive escalation of the war.

It has been reported that the UNP will present proposals for power sharing at the centre, along with alternate proposals for devolution of power to the periphery. In fact, the present terrorism came into existence due to Tamil racism. The Tamil racists first tried between 1911 and 1931 to take over the rule of the whole country after the end of colonial rule. When this failed they tried to take over legislative control at the centre with their 50/50 demand. When this attempt failed as well, they turned their efforts towards the establishment of a seperate state. It is these efforts which are continuing even today.

First the District, then the Province, and finally the merged Provinces. Your Government conceded these demands in 1981 and 1988. What is left is the establishment of a Federal Government. The PA Government’s ‘package’ amounts to that. Next will be power sharing at the centre. That eventuality is in your ‘alternate proposals’. It is left only for the Tamil racists to take over the Government of the entire country.

It is reported that a LTTE leader called Rudrakumaran presented proposals for the devolution of power to the periphery and the sharing of power at the centre, at aconference abroad. Since one of your MPs participated at that conference, we are sure you have those proposals in your possession. Your ‘alternate proposals’, we believe, are simply Rudrakumaran’s proposals.

Finally, we have a message for the members of the UNP, the PA, and the ordinary people of this country. The announcement made by you is not merely a ruse to win Tamil votes. As soon as the SAARC conference was over,

President Kumaratunge said that the Government was willing to open negotiations with the Tigers under certain conditions. Meanwhile Minister G.L. Pieris said at about the same time in Chennai that the Government was prepared to talk to the Tigers. Nelson Mandela, leader of the African National Congress which is heavily influenced by Tamil racists, has said that he is prepared to act as mediator in peace talks with the Tigers.

What the Tigers, confined to the Mankulam area at present, need most of all is a ceasefire. The western arms-producing nations do not wish to see the Tigers wiped out as they would then lose one of their markets. Furthermore, Tiger terrorism provides an opportunity for western nations to interfere in the South Asian region in the pursuit of their political, economic and cultural agenda. The noises for peace made by the NGOs are the voices of their

donor masters abroad. What all these forces want now is to rescue the LTTE from its present plight through peace negotiations, and the UNP and the PA are competing with each other to oblige them.

But the Sinhala Buddhists of this country do not want peace talks with the Tigers who attacked worshippers

at the Sri Maha Bodhi, bombed the Dalada Maligawa, killed the Dimbulagala bhikku and massacred Buddhist monks at

Arantalawa. The Muslims of this country do not want peace talks with the Tigers who slaughtered worshippers in their mosques at Kattankudy. The Catholics of this country do not want peace talks with the Tigers who burnt down churches and slaughtered Catholic fishermen and their families at Kokilai and Nayaru. The Tamils of this country do not want peace talks with the Tigers who have killed 3,000 Tamils for opposing them and displaced 70,000 from their homes. The members of the security forces do not want peace talks with the Tigers when they have already sacrificed 12,000 of their comrades in the defense of the country. Peace talks are wanted only by those people who live comfortably in Colombo and feed off the scraps which fall off the NGO table.

What is imperative now is to wipe out the Tiger terrorists and ensure justice and equality for all the people in this country.

We give notice hereby to the UNP, the PA, and to all power-hungry politicians in general, that should peace negotiations with the Tigers be initiated, we will take whatever steps are necessary on behalf of all the people of this country who have suffered at their hands.

Aruna Batuvanthudave

on behalf of the National Movement Against Terrorism

 

LTTE Tamil Tigers exploded a bomb in Sri Lanka's Jaffna, killing Jaffna Mayor Mr P Sivapalan (Tamil), several military officials and a number of innocent Tamil civilians

Mr Sivapalan was the second mayor of Jaffna to be killed in four months. Mrs Sarojini Yogeswaran was gunned down by the LTTE in her home in Jaffna in May this year.

This is the Tamil Tigers democracy.

Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels exploded a bomb in northern Sri Lanka on Friday, killing and wounding about 19 people, military officials said. Between 15 to 20 people were hospitalised.``There was a blast at the Jaffna municipality office while a meeting was in progress where a number of senior military and police officials were present'' .

Initial reports said the Jaffna Mayor P. Sivapalan and the town military commander Brigadier Susantha Mendis were among those who were caught in the blast. Several civilians and police officials were also said to have been present when the bomb went off about 11.15 a.m (0515 GMT) . The explosion destroyed much of the mayor's office, flinging parts of the roof 100 meters away. Among the victims was a Tamil woman architect, Mallika Rajaratnam, who was attending the meeting called to streamline the city's traffic system.

There was no way we could have seen it. It was concealed very carefully between the ceiling and the roof,'' Major General Lionel Balagalla, the military commander in charge of Jaffna peninsula, told reporters. He said there were two bombs believed to have been planted several months ago, but only one had exploded.

In May, the earlier mayor of Jaffna, Sarojini Yogeswaran, was shot dead at her home in the northern peninsula by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels. Mrs Yogeswaran's assassination followed the shock killing of a top army commander, Brigadier Larry Wijeratne, in a suicide attack at Point Pedro on the Jaffna peninsula days earlier. In May, LTTE rebels shot dead mayor Sarojini Yogeswaran at her home in Jaffna. She was the widow of an assassinated moderate Tamil politician

Read more details about the assassination of the democratically elected Jaffna Mayor Mr P Sivapalan (Tamil) by the Tamil Tigers

EPRLF condemns LTTE barbarism

Leader Suresh Premachandran EPRLF (leading Tamil political party) commenting on the recent Jaffna (Nallur) bomb blast said that this barbarism of LTTE has to be condemned in no uncertain terms by the Tamil people.

Click here for the full text of Premachandran's statement issued

Norway condemns Jaffna killings
From Sisira Wijesinghe in Oslo (Island : 13 Sept 1998)

Norway condemns the brutal murder of Jaffna’s Mayor P. Sivapalan and other officials with noreservations, and calls upon those responsible for this gruesome terrorist act to give up violence immediately and return to the negotiating table.

Click here for details


Read more about atrocities of Tamil Tigers

  • Massacre of Sinhala Villagers
  • Serial Killings of some of the Parliamentarians by Tamil Tiger Terrorists .........
  • Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy (World Heritage Centre)
  • Maradana Bomb
  • Central Bank, Colombo
  • Rajiv Gandhi
  • Galadhari Hotel Bomb
  • Army Headquarters
  • Aluthgama Train Blast
  • Bomb Blast in Galle on 28 December 1997
  • Slave Island Bomb on 6 February 1998
  • Awakening the Weli Oya Villagers
  • LTTE Plot to assassinate President of Sri Lanka
  • LTTE may shift HQ from UK to South Africa

    Unconfirmed reports say that the LTTE may be shifting its international headquarters from the UK to South Africa, following the passage of a tough anti-terrorist law by British Parliament last Friday.

    Lankan troops the best anti guerilla fighters in the world

    When the IPKF could not defeat the Tiger terrorists in Sri Lanka in three years - 1987 to 1989 - the LTTE boasted that they beat the world's 4th largest army. The world media then believed that the Tiger terrorists were the most fierce and best guerilla fighters in the world. But the Sri Lankan Security Forces drove them out of the Jaffna peninsula like a herd of goats, with least effort.

     

    The Sri Lankan Conflict - Myths and Misconceptions

    Sri Lanka is at present faced with a threat, on an unprecendented scale, to its continued existence as a nation. This threat is posed by Tamil separatism, the most extreme manifestation of which is the terrorism unleashed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

    Click here for details

     

    RANIL'S VISIT TO USA
    Police to question Dr. Jayalath on visit to Wanni

     

    There was a news article on ....
    ALP candidate defends link to Tamil Tigers
    Sun Herald (Page 10): 6 September 1998

    The Labor candidate for a Federal Sydney seat is an open supporter of the Sri Lankan guerilla terrorists, the Tamil Tigers. ............(details in the near future).

    The Sun - Herald
    GPO Box 506
    Sydney, Australia
    Fax: (02) 9282 2151 Email: letters@shd.fairfax.com.au

    Please send your letter of protest to Labour Party leaders:

    Hon Hon Kim Beazley
    1/18 Council Avenue, Rockingham WA 6168
    Tel: (08) 9527 9377, (02 6277 4022 Fax: (08) 9592 1361, (02) 6277 8495 Email : Kim.Beazley.MP@aph.gov.au
     
    Hon Garath Evans
    Suite 1 (PO Box 1076), Princes Highway, Dandenong VIC 3175
    Tel: (03) 9791 4040, (02) 6277 4045 Fax: (03) 9794 0348, (020 6277 2307 Email: G.Evans.MP@aph.gov.au
     
    Hon Simon Crean
    401, Clayton Road (PO Box 5295), Clayton, VIC 3168
    Tel: (03) 9545 6211, (02) 6277 4803 Fax: (030 9545 6299, (02) 6277 8496 Email: S.Crean.MP@aph.gov.au

    Please bring this matter to the attention of the leaders of the other political parties:

    Hon Alxander Downer
    76 Mount Barker Road, Stirling SA 5152
    Tel: (08) 8370 9288, (02) 6277 7500 Fax: (08) 8370 8166, (02) 6273 4112 Email : A.Downer.MP@aph.gov.au
     
    Hon Dr Brendon Nelson
    Suite 8, 12-16 Tryon Road, Lindfield, NSW 2070
    Tel: (02) 9416 4044, (02) 6277 4940 Fax: (020 9416 4274, (02) 4940

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    Hon Peter Slipper (MP for Fisher)" <P.Slipper.MP@aph.gov.au>,
    Hon Petro Georgiou (MP for Kooyong)" <P.Georgiou.MP@aph.gov.au>,
    Hon Phillip Anthony Barresi (MP for Deakin)" <Phil.Barresi.MP@aph.gov.au>,
    Hon Richard Evans (MP for Cowan)" <Richard.Evans.MP@aph.gov.au>,
    Hon Ricky Johnston (MP for Canning)" <R.Johnston.MP@aph.gov.au>,
    Hon Robert Brown (MP for Charlton)" <R.Brown.MP@aph.gov.au>,
    Hon Robert McClelland (MP for Barton)" <R.McClelland.MP@aph.gov.au>,
    Hon Rodney Sawford (MP for Port Adelaide)" <R.Sawford.MP@aph.gov.au>,
    Hon Roger Price (MP for Chifely)" <R.Price.MP@aph.gov.au>,
    Hon Sharman Stone (MP for Murray)" <S.Stone.MP@aph.gov.au>,
    Hon Simon Crean.(MP for Hotham)" <S.Crean.MP@aph.gov.au>,
    Hon Stephen Martin (MP for Cunningham)" <S.Martin.MP@aph.gov.au>,
    Hon Stephen Mutch (MP for Cook)" <Stephen.Mutch.MP@aph.gov.au>,
    Hon Stephen Smith (MP for Perth)" <Stephen.Smith.MP@aph.gov.au>,
    Hon Stevan Dargavel (MP for Fraser)" <Steve.Dargavel.MP@aph.gov.au>,
    Hon Tony Smith (MP for Dickson)" <Tony.Smith.MP@aph.gov.au>,
    Hon TRish Worth (MP for Adelaide)" <T.Worth.MP@aph.gov.au>,
    Hon Warren Truss (MP for Wide Bay)" <W.Truss.MP@aph.gov.au>,
    Hon Wilson Tuckey (MP for O'Connor)" <W.Tuckey.MP@aph.gov.au>

     

    SPUR condemns Aussie MPs call for mediation
    Daily News : 8 September 1998

    A call made by two Australian MPs for the expulsion of Sri Lanka from the Commonwealth and a halt to all Australian aid while at the same time offering their services as mediators to the conflict between the Government of Sri Lanka and Tamil Tigers has been roundly condemned as a misinformed and biased appeal by the society for Peace, Unity and Human
    Rights for Sri Lanka (SPUR) based in Melbourne, Australia.

    Will the Sri Lanka government ever dream of having these two MPs as mediators when they have prejudiced the case and asked for the expulsion of the Sri Lanka government from the Commonwealth? SPUR has asked.

    There are 17 elected Tamil MPs in the Sri Lanka Parliament all of whom support the present Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga Government. But none of them have ever demanded that Sri Lanka should be expelled from the Commonwealth because they know it is counter productive, SPUR has said in a press release.

    The SPUR release further said:

    Paul Zammit, Federal MP for Lowe and John Bradford, Federal MP for McPherson have issued a press release calling for the expulsion of Sri Lanka from the Commonwealth.

    This press release was issued on July 22, 1998. In this press release Hon. Zammit and Hon. Bradford have offered to act as "mediators" in the 14-year-old conflict between the Sri Lankan Government and the Tamil Tigers. The Tamil Tigers are demanding 60% of the coastline including the hinterland for 12% of the Tamils in an island smaller than Tasmania.

    Consider the tone and the aggressive trust in the following demands put by the "mediators":

    "I call on the Australian government to undertake immediate bans on financial aid, sporting, cultural exchanges as well as a ban on all imports into Australia of Sri Lankan goods and services and the same is to apply to Sri Lankan sporting teams," says Hon. Zammit.

    In the same tone they add: "Our proposals to the High Commissioner included: 1. Cessation of military action 2. Feed, clothe and provide medical assistance to the people 3. Lift the media blockade, 4. Come to the negotiating table through the intermediaries of a third party.

    In a last ditch attempt to resolve the issue, John Bradford MP, Federal Member for McPherson and I have met with the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Australia to act as mediators."

    Whatever chances they had of acting as "mediators" would have gone out of the window the moment any sensible diplomat in the Sri Lankan Foreign Office read their press release. The touch of arrogance in it smacks of the insensitive approach to a very complex issue in which even the regional super-power, India, has failed to resolve with the backing of the superior Indian Forces who intervened to mediate in 1988.

    Last week when a no-confidence motion was moved against the Minister of Telecommunications it was the Tamil parties that rose to his defence. They thanked the Minister for his valiant and progressive efforts to reconstruct Jaffna and refused to vote against him. But, Mr. Zammit, and Mr. Bradford, from the other end of the Indian Ocean, are demanding that the Sri Lankan government should be expelled from the Commonwealth. By making such unrealistic demands they have lowered their credibility not only as potential "mediators" but even as spokespersons for the cause which they seek to espouse. If these two MPs could pursue the moderate line of their Tamil counterparts in the Sri Lankan Parliament they might qualify to be considered as "mediators".

    Consider also the four proposals put to the Sri Lankan High Commissioner in Canberra.

    1. Cessation of military action

    Presumably this refers to the "military action" of the Sri Lankan government and not to the "terrorist" activities of the Tamil Tigers. The non-partisan approach of these two Honourable Members would have been made clear if they stated categorically that both sides should ceasefire. The text does not make this clear and points directly to the "military action" of the Sri Lankan government. The first requirement of any mediator in a conflict situation is to demand that there should be a cessation of hostilities from both sides. The British government, for instance, went as far as demanding the disarming of the IRA before any talks began. That is the norm. But these two gentlemen only insist on halting the "military action". No member of the international community will yield to such a one-sided demand. It is totally unrealistic, therefore, for the Sri Lankan government to even respond to such partisan demand. This is precisely the demand made by the Tamil Tigers each time they are cornered and it is apparent that these two gentlemen are repeating the demands of the Tamil Tigers on the run.

    Having said that, it must be emphasised that there should be an end to the unwanted war in Sri Lanka. Three times negotiations were opened to bring the Tamil Tigers to the negotiating table. The last time was when the current President Chandrika Kumaratunga initiated a new dialogue on January 8, 1995 with the Tamil Tigers. On April 19, 1995 the Tamil Tigers once again unilaterally broke off negotiations and opened fire leading to the current situation.

    The SAARC summit, which was held last week in Colombo, indicates clearly the response of the regional and international community. There are 17 Tamil MPs in Parliament who met the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Atari Vajpayee, and made representations on the Sri Lankan crisis. The Indian Prime Minister listened to them politely and did not utter a word for two main reasons: 1) India's failure to implement the Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement resulted finally in the Gujral Doctrine which said that India would not interfere in the affairs of its small neighbours and 2) India regards the Tamil Tigers as an unreliable group of terrorists who must be restrained militarily as a lesson to the separatist groups threatening India's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

    Besides, the entire international community is behind the efforts of the Sri Lankan government's efforts to start negotiations. But the Tamil Tigers refuse to end the war, which has caused untold suffering to all communities - Muslims, Sinhalese and Tamils. In fact, the Australian government too has joined the international community and refused to talk to the agents of Tamil Tiger terrorism in Australia unless they renounce violence. The press release of Mr. Zammit does not mention the violence and the intransigence of the Tamil Tigers, which has been the main cause of prolonging this unwanted war.

    As regards the excesses of the Sri Lankan Security Forces, we join the rest of the human rights activits in condemning such violence. The two gentlemen refer to mass graves in Jaffna. A Human Rights Commission appointed by the government has just initiated investigations into it. It is only fair that genuine human rights activists, as opposed to partisan propagandists, must await the outcome of the findings of this Commission before commenting on it. We welcome the appointment of a Commission of Inquiry by the government.

    It is a matter of deep concern that the two Australian MPs have not mentioned one word about the violations of the human rights by the deadliest group of terrorists who have been branded as the latest "Pol Pot" of Asia by the prestigious and independent newspaper The New York Times (May 26, 1995). The Indian Express (January 13, 1997), the leading independent daily in India, echoed similar opinions when it wrote: "But democracy itself is anathema to the LTTE. Prabhakaran has no time for niceties of pluralism and dissent, the reason why more Tamils have been killed by the LTTE than the Sri Lanka army does. The LTTE cannot countenance a situation where it will have compete with other groups for the affection of the Tamil community."

    2. Feed, clothe and provide medical assistance to the people

    From the press release, it is safe to assume that the two MPs have been briefed by the former vicar General of Jaffna, Fr. S. J. Emmanuel. Each of the four demands put to the High Commissioner comes from the political agenda of Fr. Emmanuel.

    This priest raised each of these four demands at a lecture he gave to a group of Sri Lankans at the Monash University on July 13, 1998. When Fr. Emmanuel stated that food was not provided to the north he was confronted with the fact that the UN itself has commended the unique efforts of the Sri Lankan governments to feed, clothe and provide medical assistance
    to the Tamils of the north. Fr. Emmanuel had no answer. At a time when food supplies, under the UN flag, are blocked in Bosnia, Somalia, or Rwanda etc, Sri Lanka is the only country, which sends supplies to a rebel-held territory. Fr. Emmanuel also had no answer when he was told that it was the Tamil Tigers who had obstructed non-military essentials shipped to the predominantly Tamil north of Sri Lanka. Even the Red Cross ship was attacked by the Tamil Tigers and this neutral organisation pretested against blocking the supply of food as a means of destabilising Jaffna for the political gain of the Tamil Tigers. As members of the international community, the Australian parliamentarians have a duty to promote peace in the region and the first step towards that is to get the facts straight.

    3. Lift the media blockade

    This again is another complaint made by Fr. Emmanuel at the lecture given at the Monash University. It is apparent that Hon. Zammit and Hon. Bradford have picked it up from him. If both these MPs have been following the Sri Lankan media they would realise that it is one of the most open wars covered in minute details - including the corruption in the high ranks of the Security Forces. Whatever is missed by the local media, is covered by the international media, particularly the Tamil Tiger propaganda machine based in London. This is not to say that media personnel are given a free run in the war zones. Monitoring the flow of information from a war zone is the common practice even in the wars conducted by the Western democracies. For instance, the coverage of the Gulf War, in which Australia was an active partner, was conducted behind the lines. Every evening a high-ranking officer would brief the journalists covering the war. Peter Arnott was the exception reporting directly from Baghdad. But that is done by the Tamil Tigers reporting their side on the Internet. In fact, when Fr. Emmanuel made this complaint about media coverage one Australian Executive of a leading company investing in Sri Lanka asked: "Did Churchill conduct World War II without a censorship?" Fr. Emmanuel's silence was deafening.

    4. Come to the negotiating table through intermediaries of a third party

    This is another political line plugged by Fr. Emmanuel, who is noted as a pro-separatist activist. This aspect was dealt earlier and needs no further elaboration. However, it is necessary to emphasise that President Chandrika Kumaratunga has agreed to accept a "Facilitator" (not a "mediator') to initiate negotiations. The international community and the Sri Lankan government are very wary of the Tamil Tigers, having burnt their hands three times. The agents of Tamil Tigers are now running round the world trying to drum up support for (a) the cessation of the war and (b) third party negotiations without giving any guarantees that the Tamil Tigers will not break off negotiations at a convenient time of their choosing, after they recover from the battering they've been getting from the Sri Lankan Security Forces.

    Clearly, the war must end and negotiations must begin. But the big question is: How do you shake hands with a clenched fist gripping a hand grenade?

    Beware of gifts from Norway - By Susantha Goonatilaka

    The Norwegian connection has surfaced again. First the Norwegian funded International Alert fiasco, now the Norwegian human rights activist Asbjorn Eide who denounced the LTTE.

    Let me seek answers to this incongruency via a personal detour. I have known Asbjorn Eide and his wife Wenke Barth-Eide for nearly 20 years from a time when I had strong connections with Norwegian academia. I was teaching at Trondheim University on academic colonialism, and at Wenke’s invitation gave a lecture series at Oslo University. The focus of the lectures’ which were published, was the distortion of knowledge in our countries. My views showing the other side of notions internalised by whites were well received. I was asked to address other fora, including one packed audience of leading politicians and academics. Once in a lecture at PRIO, partly in humour, I mentioned that Sri Lankan parents would warn sons leaving for Britain not to bring home a white bride. My wife in a study at PRIO found Norwegian women’s organisations’ attitudes to the Third World very much a Christian oriented paternalism.

    Later, I advised the Eides on non-exploitative relationships with Sri Lankan academia. I helped Wenke do non-colonial research with the present Chairman of the University Grants Commission, Professor Sirisena Tillekeratne, I introduced her to nutritional groups resulting in a course on the subject at Kelaniya University. Although these were funded by Norwegians, the aim was academic equality.

    The introductions to Asbjorn included various human rights activists as well as Kumar Rupesinghe. This led to Rupesinghe attending a conference I was organising with the Eides in Norway for a book Food as a Human Right. This introduction eventually led to Rupesinghe leaving his job as an assistant lecturer at Peradeniya University and his subsequent career both
    at PRIO and International Alert.

    During the awful 1983 riots, when Asbjorn telephoned (as did so many overseas friends) he caught me in a frenzy rescuing friends and cursing J.R. Jayewardene. I gave an emotional description of the carnage. Asbjorn later moved his resolution against Sri Lanka in Geneva. Five years later, with worse carnage under Premadasa, I tried to show Asbjorn the widespread
    misreporting. He then showed a draft report on the violence in the South. Incensed at its bias and falsity, I wrote out a detailed comment on its propagandist nature. The report was associated with Kumar Rupasinghe.

    But Norwegian distortions on Sri Lanka are many. Thus a Norwegian newspaper covering the activities of one Arne Pjiertoff said that he was as well known as the Buddha or Marx. Thor Hyedahl the explorer of Kon Tiki fame, likewise debased the Sinhala heritage in a series of TV programmes and a book the Maldivian Mystery, by creating the fiction that Maldivian Buddha statues wore "Long Ears" from Easter Islands. (These recent events are however not Buddhists’ earliest connections with the Nordic. The oldest artefact of a high religion in Scandinavia is a sixth century Buddha statue found under its oldest church).

    But still, Norwegians (and others) continue to see us colonially, and help aggression.

    Thus the Norwegian University of Tromso has an agreement with the University of Jaffna for "the development of the Tamil Eelam-areas". In Norway, the University of Jaffna had declared Independence. An American book (How to Get a Green Card) illustrates a refugee application by giving the following Sri Lankan Tamil example. The applicant is a "TIGER [member] demanding a separate state from the Sinhalese government,... [was] responsible for publishing Tigers’ position papers,...[was] in a mass demonstration on June 6, 1992, arrested, detained, interrogated, tortured..... and had to get an exit visa to leave the country by bribery." This whole story is fiction, in 1992 Jaffna was under Tiger control and no exit visa was required.

    The respected left wing US journal "Nation" (Feb 14, 1994) says that learning Sinhala was compulsory for Tamils in schools and necessary for public employment. Lies again. No Tamils were required to learn Sinhalese and Sinhala was not a requirement for entry into government jobs. The report also ignores the use of only English in colonial times as well as the provision for the reasonable use of Tamil and the current provisions for all three languages.

    One of the most important distinctions in human rights is between what the American Noam Chomsky said were "worthy" and "unworthy" victims. A US university MA thesis estimated the deaths among Sinhalese and Tamils and divided these figures by the words devoted to each group by a US rights organisation.

    One Tamil death, it was found was equal to eighty (80) Sinhalese deaths. A Sinhalese-life was worth only one eightieth the life of a Tamil-life. A researcher in Japan found similar tendencies in international media coverage. This is best illustrated by a personal incident. I wrote to the Sri Lankan Human Rights Commission wanting to give evidence (and in turn to be questioned). Unfortunately I was only asked to give a written submission from which the following extract is taken.

    Mangala Samaraweera as the Co-ordinator of the Mothers’ Front and Prins Gunasekera were my guests in New York in 1992 and 1993. My wife arranged interviews with the National Public Radio (NPR), the major public radio in the US. Mr.Samaraweera appeared in two programmes "Behind the News" and "Undercurrents" and Prins Gunasekera appeared in another. Mr.Samaraweera’s interviewer was under the impression that he was talking about the "ethnic conflict". When Mr. Samaraweera tried to correct this, the interviewer said "as we understand, [the violations] emerged as a conflict between the Tamils and the rest of the country". The interviewer then went on to say specifically "in the West, the conflict is seen only in terms of ethnic violations". Mr.Samaraweera then tried to correct this impression mentioning that "60,000 people had ‘disappeared’ in the South, not in the North".

    When Prins Gunasekera was interviewed, as a human rights activist, the interviewer’s response was, "You are Sinhalese. How did you end up being a human rights activist?" Then after Mr. Gunasekera had detailed the killings in the South, back came the following query: "Is it unusual for there to be progressive Sinhalese in the country and not part of the right wing party?" To this Mr. Gunasekera replied "There is a strong left wing in the country". Back came the interviewer to this with "That includes Sinhalese?" Now, Norway has a dark side. Before World War II, it took part in Hitler-type racist breeding programmes. In World War II, a segment of its population under Quisling proclaimed a pro-Nazi regime. More recently, although seemingly environment-friendly, where its own interests have been at stake as in whaling, its principles have been "flexible". The war against Hitler’s racist disciple Prabhakaran is like World War II, fought on military and propaganda fronts. Norway is aiding our Hitler by allowing Tiger sympathisers to collect funds for arms and aiding research at Tromso for Eelam’s economics.

    Norway’s money for alleged "peace efforts", estimated at hundreds of millions of rupees, could turn out to be a not-so-subtle effort - like International Alert - to blunt local opposition to the Tigers. Norway could be funding local Quislings. The Norwegian embassy must immediately make public this aid, to whom, how much and for what. In Norway such transparency would be required. If the Norwegian embassy does not, we should assume that they may be fronting for the Tigers. As I had some responsibility for the Norwegian connection, to ease my conscience, may I suggest the following:

    In human rights fora at Geneva, various Christian groups back the Tamil terrorist hoax of traditional homelands. This is reminiscent of Hitler claiming Lebensraum from other territories. If Eide is a real friend of Sri Lanka, he should move in Geneva to completely reverse these Hitlerian propaganda.

    In addition, he should get the churches to apologise for their past atrocities in Sri Lanka, the church having recently apologised for their involvement in the Holocaust and the Inquisition. Wenke should use her contacts to get Tromso university to suspend Eelam aid to Jaffna University. I also urge my friend, the UGC Chairman, to immediately cancel the Tromso University agreement and invite the security organs to enquire into it. A war that has cost thousands cannot afford any lesser action. War time Norway would have understood.

    The writer is an academic specialising in knowledge systems. He has written several books and conducted lectures and research in institutes and universities in Asia, Europe and America.

     

    Bomb journey for office train
    (Sunday Times : 6 September 1998)

    A crowded peak hour office train from Colombo to Puttalam narrowly escaped a disastrous bomb explosion on Friday evening. Police said railway security officers who carried out a routine check after the train reached Puttalam around 9.30 p.m. found a parcel bomb under the seat.

    They summoned the bomb disposal squad to defuse it. Railway Chief K. B. Weragama said he believed terrorists had planted the bomb on the train which had left Colombo Fort at 5 p.m. carrying hundreds of office workers and others.

     

    The growing influence of the LTTE in South Africa is worrying the Sri Lankan Government.

    The Sri Lankan President, Mrs Chandrika Kumaratunga, is expected to appeal to Mr Nelson Mandela to keep a watch on the activities of the LTTE in the country.

    The LTTE seems to have struck roots among the South Indian segment of the Indian community in South Africa. The LTTE had cultivated the ANC earlier, when the latter was a liberation organisation.

    The LTTE has written to the South African President , Mr. Nelson Mandela , in his capacity as the chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) " to impress upon the Government of Sri Lanka to abandon its aggressive military policy and seek a negotiated settlement based on the principles enunciated at the Thimpu talks."

    We urge you to write to South African President Nelson Mandela to proscribe the most vicious terrorist organisation in the world, the LTTE in the South Africa

     

    PRESIDENT KUMARATUNGA SAYS ALL STATES SHOULD ENDEAVOUR TO ELIMINATE TERRORISM
    Sri Lanka News : 4 September 1998

     

    British, Irish parliaments approved anti-terrorist bill

    The British and Irish Parliaments this week approved a British proposal to adopt emergency measures against both local and international terrorism. The British government last week proposed to enact legislation to make it for the first time, a specific offence to conspire in the UK to commit terrorist and other offences abroad.

    For details, Click here

     
    National Movement Against Terrorism replies to Paul Zammit
    National Movement Against Terrorism, replies to press release of Hon Paul Zammit, Federal MP
    for Lowe calling for the expulsion of Sri Lanka from the Commonwealth.This Press Release was
    issued on July 22, 1998.
    LTTE influence in South Africa worries Lankans (Hindustan Times : 3 September 1998)
    Chelvanayakam and his Tamil nation
    By Nalin de Silva
    The Island : 2 September 1998)
    Sri Lanka's Ethnic Crisis and National Security

    We publish excerpts of 'Sri Lanka's Ethnic Crisis and National Security' by Rohan Gunaratna, which sheds fresh light on the LTTE domestic and international organisation. Stating that the LTTE rate of recruitment is higher than its fatalities, the author argues that the government can win against the LTTE only by adopting unconventional military concepts and restructuring its current political posture towards the Tamils. The book's foreword is by General Richard Clutterbuck, Britain's foremost authority on counter-insurgency. The 428-paged illustrated book is available in Colombo.

    Sabotage suspected in Mirigama train crash

    Sri Lankan expatriates write to UK PM Blair
    From Sujeeva Nivunhella, our London Correspondent
    Sunday Island : 30 August 1998

    Two Sri Lankan expatriate groups have written to Prime Minister Tony Blair, following the bomb explosion in Omagh, Northern Ireland, reminding him that the British government is still allowing the LTTE branch in London to operate and to collect funds for the LTTE.

    The full text of two letters, one written by SPUR of Victoria, are as follows.

    The Sinhala Bala Mandalaya in the United Kingdom writes:

    "At a time when your government, the British and Irish people mourn the death of innocent civilians
    brought about by a bomb exploded by faceless cowardly terrorists in Omagh (Northern Ireland) the
    Irish Prime Minister has unveiled draconian anti-terrorist measures designed to crush the faceless
    cowards. We sincerely believe that you and your government will take similar steps to crush not only
    terrorism in the UK but in other parts of the world as well.

    "We in Sri Lanka have been battling against terrorism for over twenty years. Over 90,000 innocent
    civilians, including 31 Buddhist monks have been massacred by LTTE terrorists. Places of worship
    have been bombed, damaged or destroyed. Ethnic cleansings have been successfully carried out by
    these terrorists in the North and East of Sri Lanka.

    "Whilst all this is happening the super powers and the European countries wittingly or unwittingly,
    turned a Nelsonian eye to the whole affair. To our pleas of help, they turned a deaf ear. At times
    when it appeared that the Sri Lanka government was winning the fight against the terrorists, there was
    economic and political pressure applied by interfering foreign powers and NGOs. It is a well known
    fact that the terrorist wars in developing countries provide a lucrative business for arms dealers and a
    testing ground for new weapons for arms manufacturing countries.

    "Our government has time after time pointed out to your government and the governments before you
    that Britain has become a haven for LTTE support groups, and that as long as Britain tolerate these
    people and permit them to have their international headquarters here terrorism in Sri Lanka will never
    cease.

    "The lame excuse given by successive Home Secretaries that it is 'hard to differentiate between Tamil
    refugees collecting money for humanitarian purposes or for financing terrorism' must now come to an
    end. Money collected for genuine humanitarian purposes should be channelled through legitimate
    means. This will prevent the abuse of the foreign exchange system and the money getting into the
    wrong hands.

    "The American President has vowed that there will be no sanctuary for terrorists and has condemned
    countries harbouring terrorists. We applaud you for backing President Clinton in every action he has
    taken so far and intends to take to eradicate terrorism. A wolf is still a wolf even in sheep's clothing
    and therefore known terrorists in pinstripe suits, roaming the streets of western capitals should not be
    afforded the protection of refugee status, and allowed to collect funds for terrorist activities in another
    country.

    "We once again request you and your government to proscribe the LTTE and close down their
    headquarters in London."

    The letter sent by the Sri Lankan organisation called SPUR in Victoria, Australia, reads :

    "We wish to convey our deepest sympathies on the killing of civilians in Northern Ireland on account
    of terrorist bombings. We hope that the British government will take all necessary steps to protect the
    democratic way of life and punish the despicable offenders.

    "The horror of terrorism is deeply felt by all when the terrorists kill and injure innocent civilians
    without any rhyme or reason. One of the most important tasks of a responsible government is to be
    vigilant and take effective measures to weaken and eradicate anti-social forces.

    "The Sri Lankan government and her people had been urging you to impose restrictions on Tamil
    Tigers who are considered as one of the most violent terrorist groups in the world. Yet, to the dismay
    of the democratically elected Sri Lankan government and her people, Tamil Tigers operate in the
    very centre of London. From this well known, well established centre, all anti-Sri Lankan activities
    are planned in addition to fund raising to purchase bombs and ammunition to kill Sri Lankans and
    create havoc and unrest in Sri Lanka. At this moment, when all eyes are on the tragedy of Omagh,
    we earnestly hope that the British government will take effective measures against domestic and
    international terrorism."

    LTTE headquarters in UK may shut down soon (Daily News : 29 /08/1998)

    Media Release by SPUR on the Media Release of Hon Paul Zammit, Federal MP for Lowe and Hon. John Bradford, Federal MP for McPherson calling for the expulsion of Sri Lanka from the Commonwealth.

    Press Release of Mr Paul Zammit MP, Federal Member for Lowe in Australia

    Please send your letter of protest to Paul Zammit, Federal MP in Australia;

    • email: P.Zammit.MP@aph.gov.au
    • Snail mail: 4, Railway Parade (PO Box 1306), Burwood NSW 2134 Australia
    • Fax : +61 2 9745 2825
    • Telephone : +61 2 9745 4433

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