21st June 1998
47, W. A. D. Ramanayake Mawatha Colombo 2. P.O. Box: 1136, Colombo 2.
The Government is seeking support from the UNP and other opposition parties for a postponement of the Provincial Council elections for security reasons.
Through the Information Department, the Mahanayake Theras of the four main Chapters have also issued a statement calling for the postponement of elections until the the military offensive against the LTTE is successful.
If the Government values the prelates' advice so much on the question of elections or no elections, shouldn't it also listen to them on the devolution package.
We suspect the Government is getting a little worried about its standing in the electorate. It seems as if the Government does not want to lose an election.
The point we wish to make today is that as much as we are in support of devolution in principle — as a system of administration — we find that the provincial councils have not performed the task of making government more efficient.
However, under the law, elections are due. For the Government to say it cannot hold elections because of Operation Jayasikuru is in a sense a victory for the LTTE. It is a confirmation that the security forces are stretched.
It is the duty of the Government to hold elections with adequate security.
Most of the threats generally come from the ruling party. So if the Government can control its own cadres much of the violence could be prevented.
On May 1, this year a group of per sons opened fire at the vehicle of the brother of the PA deputy mayor of Kotte. The Sunday Times reported that the persons involved belonged to the President's Security Division. One and a half months later, there have been no arrests and no interest in apprehending them either.
On June 17, an unknown group sprayed T-56 fire at the residence of Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunga.
Earlier in February a gun was held at the head of Sunday Times Consultant Editor and Defence Correspondent Iqbal Athas, while his wife and little daughter were terrorised by an armed gang of raiders in their own home.
Last year well-known businessman S.S. Kumar was shot dead.at the Golf Links in a plot allegedly involving a police officer.
We hear of kudu karayas on the rampage and petty robberies by the thousands.
How do the leaders of this country feel ruling a nation that has become like Chicago in the days of Al Capone. As the thugs may say, "Come or go, Chicago."
Are the leaders of Sri Lanka proud that underworld elements in cahoots with terrorists and government politicians are running the show in this paradise isle?
VVIPs don't feel the heat because they have the protection they want. But what about the ordinary citizen? Or are these all "Occupational hazards"?
It seems as if freedom of expression is not only under siege in the face of T-56 bullets in this country, but also from foreigners who are trying to poke their soiled hands into our miseries.
Frederica Jansz, local representative of International Alert, wrote an unbiased, accurate account of LTTE activities in Norway and IA has the temerity to sack her for telling the truth. We are happy that Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar has taken the stand he has, in siding with Ms. Jansz for telling the truth about the LTTE. And let us warn IA and like-minded NGOs: "You are not welcome to do as you please with either your kroners or your cronies in Sri Lanka."
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