16th September 2001

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Vajpayee: must strike roots of terrorism

Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has called on the world to join hands to overwhelm terrorists militarily and to neutralise their 'poison.'

He has also called on every Indian to be a part of this global war on terrorism.

Addressing the nation after the terrorist attack on the United States, Mr.Vajpayee sought to paint India as a decade long victim of the kind of terrorism that had manifested itself viciously in New York and Washington, Hindu newspaper said.

He noted that "what happens in Mumbai one day is bound to happen elsewhere tomorrow, that the poison that propels mercenaries and terrorists to kill and maim in Jammu and Kashmir will impel the same sort to blow up people elsewhere."

Without mentioning Pakistan, he virtually invited the international comunity to recognise Islamabad's role in aiding and abetting terrorism.

"We must strike at the roots of the system that breeds terrorism. We must stamp out the infrastructure that imparts the perverse ideological poison by which the terorist is fired up. We must hold governments wholly accountable for the terrorism that originates from other countries. In other words to get at the terrorists, the world community must get at their organisations, all those who condition, finance, train, equip and protect them."

Making his message clear, Mr Vajpayee aserted that "to get at the organisations, the world community must isolate, and thus compel the States that nurture and support them to desist from doing so." Though Mr. Vajpayee stopped short of offering assistance in any military steps the US might be planning, he did tell the nation that he had told US President George Bush that India was not only prepared to help in the investigations but also "to strengthen our partnerhip in leading international efforts to ensure that terrorism never succeeds again."

At the same time he warned against any invocation of any religious animosity in the fight against terrorism.

"It is necessary that we bear in mind that no religion preaches terrorism. The fringe elements of society which seek to cloak terrorism in a religious garb, do grave injustice to both their faith and its followers."

Meanwhile, the Indian Express on Friday reported that the Indian investigating ageneces have handed over to the FBI crucial documents, including video tapes, highlighting the role played by Taliban and Osama Bin Laden-trained militants in Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir.

Children to voice their priorities

In a historic event more than 100 child representatives from different parts of the country will present their priorities for the decade to the political leaders at the first ever Children's Parliament to be convened on Tuesday, September 18 at the BMICH.

Titled "Sri Lankan Children's Challenge" the children's parliament is aimed at giving an opportunity for children to voice their opinions to local decision-makers and to global leaders.

Champika bares JVP's double standards

By Nilika de Silva

Sihala Urumaya national leader and parliamentarian Champika Ranawaka in an interview with the Sunday Times charged that the United States never wanted to suppress terrorism until the World Trade Centre was smashed up and American ego was blasted. He also took the JVP to task for taking a dubious role in the north-east conflict. Excerpts:

Q - What is the Sihala Urumaya stand on the terrorist attack in the US?

A: We condemn the attack on the US. However, the US military strategy is wrong. The US never tried to eliminate terrorism. It always tried to manipulate terrorists. For instance, the CIA initially helped Gadaffi. Later he broke away. Then it helped Saddam Hussein when the Iran - Iraq war broke out. But the US did not want to destroy Hussein fearing the American Army would be ordered out of Saudi Arabia.

Then bin Laden made his appearance during the Somalia campaign. The US wanted to contain Mohamed Fara Idich. At that time bin Laden was a businessman in America. The US grew suspicious of Saudi Arabia helping Fara Idich. Then the US helped bin Laden to oust the Saudi King. Bin Laden went to Sudan, got close to Thurabi and finally turned against America. It is America that pushed a businessman to a military mindset.

Today terrorism has become globalised. Networking is the need of the hour. To fight this menace, the US must realise that its strategy is wrong because with one terrorist attack the country has gone back several centuries. It can happen again in the future. The Americans cannot stop the Muslim fundamentalists or any other terrorists all alone. Those who help terrorists anywhere in the world must realise one day they will have to pay a heavy price.

Q: The JVP has asked the government not to devolve power for a year until all sections of society have been properly consulted and their approval obtained. Is this in conformity with the SU policy ?

A: The issue is not devolution of power but halting the LTTE from gaining a military victory. The memorandum of understanding signed by the PA and the JVP is silent on this. The LTTE is not bothered about the devolution of power. However, the government is trying to reach a negotiated solution. Therefore, we feel that the JVP has ignored the main issue.

Q: The JVP appears to have shed its Marxist theory by adopting a quasi nationalist or populist ideology. How does this affect the SU's nationalist / populist policy?

A: The JVP issued a statement in 1982 as regards the Tamil issue. Party secretary Lionel Bopage clearly said the Sinhala speaking people had exerted pressure on the Tamil speaking people to engage in a liberation struggle. The JVP then expressed solidarity with the Tamil speaking people who were demanding the right to self rule. This was evident during the presidential election campaign in Jaffna. When the Sinhala nationalist movement gathered momentum in 1985 JVP leader Rohana Wijeweera totally rejected the self rule concept.

Today the JVP says agitation for devolution occurs due to economic reasons. JVP leaders say as the northern and eastern provinces are poor people tend to rebel. We don't agree with this line of thinking. For instance, Quebec the most prosperous province of Canada is demanding self rule. The same can be said of the Basque people in Spain and Corsica in France. Ireland is another example. Therefore, the view that the need to separate arises due to poverty is not tenable.

What is more, today the JVP says there is no ethnic problem in Sri Lanka. However, in 1982 the JVP said there was an ethnic problem here. In 1989 the party thinking was that both sides were racist. Today JVP leaders say there is no ethnic problem but racial inequality in Sri Lanka.

Q: Do you think the JVP is in the process of evolving its policies?

A: It appears to be so. In 1989 the JVP changed its slogan from "motherland or death" to "communism or death."

Q: Will the PA-JVP coalition last long?

A: Despite the PA-JVP coalition the flour price has gone up. The JVP called a halt to privatisation of state ventures. But there is a move to sell Telecom shares to the private sector.

The ministers were not sworn in on the appointed date. The excuses provided are ludicrous. Do revolutionary parties believe in auspicious times?

Again the referendum was never meant to be held. It was only brought to shift the focus from the no-confidence motion. If the referendum was held the PA would have lost it. Then the JVP helped the President to get over the difficulty by signing the MoU. It would have been a people's victory if the JVP signed an MoU compelling the President to pay up from her private funds the expenditure incurred on the referendum. On the other hand, the JVP too spent hundreds of thousands rupees on colour posters asking the people to vote for the pot. The party could have channelled the funds to help drought victims in Hambantota.

Q: SLMC leader Rauf Hakeem met the President this week. What do think will be the outcome?

A:The UNP by giving hopes to the SLMC made its political future bleak. As a result the SLMC is likely to join the PA once again.

Where to send drought relief

A high-level committee has been set up to coordinate drought relief work.

The committee will also mobilise assistance from the private sector, international and local NGOs, donor communities, the UN agencies and individual donors.

The Foreign Affairs, Social Services, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Ministries will represent the Government with Minister Mahinda Rajapakse being the chairman.

Well wishers could make their contributions to the Coordinating Secretariat at the Ministry of Fisheries, New Secretariat, Maligawatte, Colombo 10 or contact Sunimal Fernando (coordinator) on 077-888777 or email–

Fax – 01 – 478652. Donations could also be sent to A/C NO: 004530802774 at any Bank of Ceylon branch .

Meanwhile, about 5,000 drought-stricken families in the Hambantota and Moneragala districts have been distributed dry ration and other relief aid by the New Zealand Milk Lanka Pvt. LTD.(Anchor).

A company official said Rs. 1.5 million worth relief aid had already been distributed among the people in the remote villages of these two districts.

Cuban medicine for mosquitoes

In a move to combat the mosquito menace, the Public Health Department is now treating the canal system with a biological agent – Bacillus Sphaericus, imported from Cuba.

The prevailing drought has increased mosquito-breeding places in many canals with no flow of water, the Department said.

The dumping of garbage has created small islands of vegetation in the canals over the years, aggravating the problem, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam said. He said garbage dumping had resulted in the blockage of canals in the north of Colombo.

"There should be no stagnation of water in the open drains and underground drains during droughts," Dr. Kariyawasam said adding, "however, in several areas there is stagnation of water in the drains, posing a health hazard".

The department has identified the diversion of waste water drains into storm water drains as another cause of the problem. Dr. Kariyawasam said that for the past two months 200 cases had been filed in this regard.

More talks on constitutional council tomorrow

By Shelani de Silva

The JVP will meet PA and UNP leaders for further talks tomorrow in a bid to sort out a controversy over the composition of the Constitutional Council.

According to an earlier draft, the Council which would later appoint members of the proposed independent commissions was to consist of eight members — the Speaker, the Prime Minister, the Opposition Leader and five eminent persons appointed jointly by the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader.

But at PA-JVP talks on Friday, the premier proposed amendments whereby the President could appoint three members.

The UNP at talks with the JVP later rejected this amendment.

UNP deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya told The Sunday Times that allowing presidential nominees to come in might endanger the full independence of the proposed commissions for the police, elections, public service and the judiciary.

DMs given specific jobs

The newly appointed Deputy Ministers, most of them former cabinet ministers, would be directly responsible for certain subjects in ministries, official sources said yesterday.

The gazette outlining the functions of the respective ministries is expected within the next few days. The Sunday Time learns that assigning of subjects to deputy ministers is to be done on an internal arrangement. Meanwhile, secretaries to ministries and heads of corporations and other state institutions are to be changed within the next few days.

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