Sampanthan's demand for 200 home guards
By S. L. Gunasekara
Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga is a lady with many faults.

An elaboration of those is unnecessary because stalwarts of the United National Front have regaled the Country, ad nauseam, with 'colourful' as well as 'coloured' accounts of the faults of this lady.

While regaling the Country with this litany of 'faults' of Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, these stalwarts of the UNF, heady with the drug of power, continuously maintained a deafening silence about the faults of the LTTE and their lackeys, the TNA/TULF.

By this conduct the UNF has shown itself to be a party that is ever willing to show strength against the weak and cowardice before the strong.

It is in this background that we must assess the demand of R.Sampanthan, the leader of the TULF that 200 armed Tamil Home Guards should be appointed in the Trincomalee District to prevent a recurrence of the troubles in which four Tamils were killed, allegedly by Sinhalese.

The TULF together with its predecessor, the TUF, is the creator of the Frankenstein monster called the LTTE. That monster later turned on the TULF and murdered a large number of its leading members including its leader Amirthalingam.

Those murders continued until 1999 when they murdered Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam on 29.7.99. Thereafter those murders ceased because the TULF became such a contemptible lackey of the LTTE that it is indeed doubtful whether there is any type of activity in which its members can engage, [apart perhaps from answering a call of nature], without the prior consent and approval of the LTTE.

Accordingly, the demand for 200 armed Tamil home guards for Trincomalee is indisputably nothing short of a demand that 200 armed terrorists of the LTTE should be allowed to operate freely in the Trincomalee District [for a start] as lawful home guards - for it is less than idle to even dream that the LTTE would countenance any Tamils who are not of its own cadres being armed.

Having regard to the manifest servility of the TULF to the LTTE, this demand must necessarily be the demand of the LTTE through the medium of the TULF. This demand of the TULF is but a repetition, in a different form, of a demand made by the LTTE of Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga during the so called 'Peace Talks' of 1994-5 that armed cadres of the LTTE should be allowed to move around the East freely. All her faults notwithstanding, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, to her eternal credit, had the good sense and the courage to refuse that demand. The question is does Ranil Wickremesinghe have similar good sense and courage ?

Mr. Sampanthan seeks to justify that demand on the ground that the communal composition of the Police is around 95% Sinhalese while that of the Army is about 99% Sinhalese and that there are hardly any Tamils in either of those Forces. Whether Mr. Sampanthan's arithmetic is correct or not, there is no gainsaying the fact that there are relatively few Tamils in the Police Force and even fewer in the Armed Forces.

This, however, does not complete the picture.

In the past, the Armed Forces and the Police Force never had a shortage of Tamils in any rank .

Today the position is different. Why is this ? Is it because deserving Tamils who applied were not recruited to the Armed Forces or to the Police because they were Tamils or simply because Tamils did not apply ?

Even Mr. Sampanthan does not claim that the shortage of Tamils in these forces was the result of undeserving Sinhalese who applied being recruited in preference to deserving Tamils who applied. If there was such discrimination that would be a matter capable of proof - yet no one has yet ventured to provide such proof. The cause of the shortage of Tamils in the Armed Forces and the Police is clearly because Tamils ceased applying for recruitment. Why did Tamils cease applying to join these forces ? The answer to this question is to be found in the treacherous activities of the TULF and its predecessor the TUF.

From and after the time they started their violent campaign for separation on the May 23, 1972, immediately after this country became a Republic, the TULF youth groups (and thereafter the TULF) which later became the LTTE, PLOTE, TELO, etc. began murdering Tamils in the Police Force. They murdered no Sinhalese or Muslim Police Officers for the first six years of that campaign but only Tamil Police Officers.

Among that vast number of Tamil Police Officers murdered by those acolytes of the TUF/TULF were Inspector Padmanadan, Police Constables Karunanidhi, Shanmuganathan [No.753], Shanmuganathan [No. 6105], Inspector Kumaru, Chief Inspector Bastiampillai, Sub-Inspector Perambalam and Police Constable Balasingham. No witnesses came forward in respect of any of these murders, though most of them were committed in broad daylight in the heart of the Jaffna Peninsula. The unmistakable message given to the Tamil people by these murders of law abiding Tamils by Tamil Terrorists was, "If you want to live, do not join the Police".

Sampanthan who purported to shed so many tears about the four deaths in Trincomalee did not even purport to shed even one tear about any of these murders of Tamil Police Officers.

Those murders were not merely condoned but approved of by the party of which he was then a member and is now the leader.

Not content with committing those foul murders and preventing witnesses from coming forward to aid the course of justice, the TULF extolled those murders by abusing the Police and the Armed Forces, both in their speeches and in their posters, calling them "Police Dogs", "Army of Occupation", "Traitors to the Tamils" and so on. The result was that hardly any Tamils applied to join the Police or the Armed Forces. The Tamil people realized that with the terrorism promoted by the TULF, neither they, nor their kith or kin would be safe if they joined the Police or the Armed Forces. Thus, there are almost no Tamils in the Armed Forces and very few in the Police because and only because of the terrorism cultivated, created and promoted by the TUF/TULF and executed by the LTTE and its former comrades-in-arms whom they now oppose.

Thus, the TULF, having by such criminal conduct prevented Tamils from applying to join the Armed Forces and the Police, now has the impertinence to complain of the necessary result of its action which is a shortage of Tamils in those Forces, and to found on that result of its own outrageous conduct, an even more outrageous demand that 200 terrorists be allowed to roam about the East with arms. One could understand this kind of stupid demand being made by some under-educated thug like Prabhakaran.

However, it is difficult to understand how such a demand could come from a very senior Attorney-at-Law who is supposed to be schooled in the principles of justice.

Another significant fact about this demand of Mr. Sampanthan is his deafening silence about the plethora of crimes of murder, kidnapping, abduction and extortion committed by Tamils against Tamils. How is it that Mr. Sampanthan never wanted Tamil Home Guards to guard Tamils against the LTTE when his own colleagues like Amirthalingam, Yogeswaran, Alalasunderam, Tambi-muttu, Yogasangari, Dharmalingam, Sarojini Yogeswaran, Thangathurai, Neelan Thiruchelvam and Pon Sivapalan were murdered?

How is it that Mr. Sampanthan never demanded Tamil Home Guards to safeguard the little children of Tamils [one trusts that Mr. Sampanthan has at least some human feelings for children] were being kidnapped ad nauseam by the LTTE for slave labour in their terrorist cadres ?

How is that Mr. Sampanthan never wanted Tamil home guards to save Tamils from extortion when the LTTE continuously committed the crime of extortion against the Tamil People?

How is it that Mr. Sampanthan never wanted Tamil home guards to guard the Tamils against the abduction of Tamils for ransom by the LTTE? How is it that the leaders of the TULF gladly accepted the security provided to them by the Armed Forces and the Police while the LTTE was still 'hunting' them ?

To Mr. Sampanthan today, the LTTE which murdered both his own leader and his fellow MPs and colleagues can do no wrong, and for the survival of himself and his party he has got to lick the toes of the LTTE and to help them to gain their demand to let armed terrorists of the LTTE roam freely around the East.

The questions that Mr. Sampanthan avoids addressing and has never addressed is what will be the fate of the Tamils, the Muslims and the Sinhalese in the East if 200 armed cadres of the LTTE are to be allowed to operate freely in those areas as home guards ? Would the spate of kidnappings, abductions and acts of extortion that have been occurring with increasing frequency in the Eastern Province after the signing of the MuU increase or decrease with 200 or more armed cadres of the LTTE being given a free run of the East?

Would law and order in the Eastern Province be enhanced or destroyed by armed terrorists being given such a free run?

Mr. Sampanthan, the Attorney-at-Law is oblivious to all these things. He only hears, his master's voice - that master being the thug Prabhakaran at whose behestSampanthan's own leader Amirthalingam, among so many of his colleagues, was foully murdered. Let not the Government forget that the one community that suffered death and destruction more than any other in the Trincomalee District throughout the period of Separatist Terrorism was the Sinhalese community.

Mr. Sampanthan, as leader of the TULF now wants either the very murderers or the brothers-in-arms of the murderers of those Sinhalese, Muslims and Tamils in Trincomalee and in other parts of the East who were butchered by the LTTE to be officially armed and given governmental authority to function as home guards. Will Ranil Wickremesinghe have the good sense and the courage to reject this demand? If he does not, many are those who will suffer for his folly - and they will mainly be the poor; and their sons and daughters.
The writer is the President of the
Sinhala Jathika Sangamaya

TNA calls for restraint by Tamil people
TULF General Secretary R. Sampanthan has appealed to the Tamil people to act with restraint and not do anything that might even slightly disturb the peace process. In an interview with The Sunday Times Mr. Sampanthan said he believed recent events in the East could in no way overturn the peace process which had a solid foundation. Excerpts:

By Shelani Perera
What's happening in the East?
Some elements there want to maintain the tension. But I believe a majority of the people in the East - Tamils, Sinhalese and Muslims support the peace process. They believe it is the only way to justice and harmony.

Who are those disruptive elements?
Extremist groups which are against the peace process. The government must act firmly and ensure that the security forces are impartial. Some urgent restructuring of the security forces is also needed.

It is widely believed that the attack on the Kanchanakuda STF camp was instigated by the LTTE. How do you see it?
In the morning that day there was apparently an attack on some LTTE cadres by some STF personnel. If this was true it was unwarranted. That was the reason for the demonstration in the evening around the camp. Perhaps some in the crowd went out of control and any stone throwing cannot be condoned. But the fact that seven people were killed and about 14 injured indicates that the reaction by the STF also was unwarranted or excessive.

Are such incidents affecting the peace process?
No. Neither these or any others can overturn the peace process which is based on solid facts - a ceasefire is in force, the war has virtually ended, lacks of displaced people are returning to their homes, the two main parties are committed to a dialogue and the international community is supporting us to the hilt. Yet we also have to take further measures to sustain and strengthen the peace process. I believe the LTTE is sincerely and seriously committed to peace.

But there are wide spread reports that the LTTE is instigating violence?
I don't agree. We can't isolate the LTTE from the Tamil people or the Tamil people from the LTTE, especially when there is no war and the LTTE cadres mingle freely with the Tamil people.

So no one could have any solid proof that the LTTE was instigating protests or violence. I believe that in the current situation the Tamil people should act with more restrain because the peace process is vital for them. A peaceful resolution of the whole ethnic conflict is much more important than any piecemeal demonstration.
I appeal to the Tamil people to avoid any action that might even slightly disturb the peace process.

But what about Trinco? Most reports say the LTTE instigated the violence?
Such reports lack solid evidence. What happened in Trinco? Three Tamil people were killed and more than 50 injured. Was the LTTE responsible for those? Most Tamil people believe the attacks were carried out by some police personnel and homeguards.

You are calling for restraint but did not the LTTE and even the TNA call for protests?
A hartal is a democratic way of protest and I understand the feelings of the Tamil people who had been suppressed for so long. But in the current situation I insist that any protest must be totally peaceful. I also ask for an urgent restructuring of the security forces which are now 99% Sinhala.

Some reports also say the TNA is instigated or under the whip of the LTTE?
I don't agree. There is no evidence for such claims.

n Would you then accept other reports that some sections in the LTTE are instigating the violence?

No again. I don't think the LTTE is divided in that way.

What are these continuing abductions reported from the East?
I cant answer specific reports. I would only say the overall situation is much better today.

Are you aware of reports that the LTTE is bringing in armed shipments to the East?
I am not aware and don't want to comment.

At one time the Army or the STF was guarding you from the LTTE. Now you are criticising those guardians ?
Security was provided to us not as a favour but because we were political leaders. We were not voiceless or speechless because they were guarding us in those days.
Thus even now we speak out when we see any excesses by the security forces.

As for the political scene at the centre what is the TNA's view on the possibility of a snap general election?
If a third general election is held in three years the people might lose faith in elections.

If the government goes ahead with a snap poll would it affect the peace process?
I don't know.

Grade 1 school admissions in double deadlock
By Nilika de Silva
Although by this time of the year parents should have been informed regarding school admissions, principals of schools managed by the Provincial Councils are facing severe problems and have yet not released their admissions lists.

A principal of a Western Province managed Colombo school who wished to remain anonymous said, "We are looking at two contradictory circulars and are at a loss which to obey".

The Ministry of Education released a circular directing that Appeals Boards be dissolved and principals take over the entire responsibility of school admissions, but the Western Provincial Council countered this with a circular opposing this move.

Even without admission lists posted on school notice boards, appeals from disappointed parents have started flooding in.

While many national schools announced their admissions lists this week they too are being flooded with appeals regarding grade 1 admissions, but no mechanism is in place to ensure that these appeals are dealt with speedily.

While the post of the Ombudsman to look into problems in the education sector remains unfilled, the earlier mechanism to deal with grade 1 admissions - the Appeals Boards process - has been dissolved, putting the full responsibility on to the shoulders of the principal and other school authorities.

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