peace process has arrived at a very critical crossroads. As US Assistant
Secretary of State Richard Armitage was quoted as saying in Washington
on Friday night, the LTTE appears to be straying from the peace
process. But he did not end without making an appeal to the LTTE
to stay on course as there is light for them at the end of
dangerous episode in Delft shows that the peace process is becoming
increasingly brittle as the first anniversary of the Memorandum
of Understanding between the LTTE and the government approaches.
The government, though practised by now, is finding that covering
up for the LTTE is becoming increasingly embarrassing.
Though the LTTEs
Anton Balasingham feigned surprise when the LTTE got nabbed smuggling
weapons near the island of Delft, he went to nearby Dusseldorf thereafter
and made a case for the LTTE. He derided Sri Lankan propagandists
for saying that the LTTE has given up the goal of Tamil Eelam -
this was said, mind you, by the Governments Chief Negotiator,
G.L. Peiris - and went on to quote from the Tiger leaders
Martyrs day speech, saying that the LTTE is for self-rule.
Balasingham is not gun-shy about saying that the interregnum that
is offered by the peace process is being used to reconstruct the
North, to win international legitimacy and rebuild their armed cadres.
To say it in
his own words, only violence can bring results,'' and that's
the LTTE credo. He says, the LTTE will never disarm. No force, diplomatically
or political, can force the LTTE to lay down arms, he insists from
Dusseldorf while accross the Atlantic, the Hon. Richard Armitage
clearly speaking for the international community says there is no
case for two armies in a united Sri Lanka.
the en masse resignation of elected local government representatives
of the people of Jaffna displays the LTTEs contempt for democracy.
The LTTE is
continuing to impose taxes on items brought to Jaffna while simultaneously
complaining about embargoes imposed on the people of Jaffna.
These are copious
crocodile tears then, about the welfare and well-being of the people
of Jaffna whom they claim to represent -- tears for their hardships,
their intellectual life, and their right to multi-party democratic
that arises is whether this government is about to hand over to
the people of Jaffna a fascist federal state led by the LTTE.
community has risen from its sleep resultng from the peace euphoria
of recent months, after the Delft incident, and the question now
is what does one do -- walk out of talks? Surely not.
And yet, though
the international community was in an unholy frenzy to embrace the
LTTE, there is now the slow realisation that the rebels are only
beginning to bare their fangs. Sometime back, when the ban on the
LTTE was lifted, we had occasion to ask the Prime Minister when
or under what conditions will the ban be reimposed. The PM responded
that he hopes he will not have to bring back the ban. The international
community is allowing for margins and wide berths and hoping against
hope, similarly. So are people of all communities. We all hope for
the best but must we not be ready for the worst?
repeat our earlier call that the Government consider a set of guidelines,
setting some conditions in the breach of which the LTTE will revert
to its former classification as a terrorist organisation. This is
how it is done in advanced democracies like the US and UK. Whether
the Government will have the courage to do this we cannot tell,
but the Government must not be afraid to tell the LTTE where to
draw the line.