ceasefire agreement: Is it dead or alive?
By Chandani Kirinde, Our Lobby Correspondent
The future of the ceasefire agreement between the Government and
the LTTE loomed large during Thursday’s debate when parliament
was summoned by the President to approve the promulgation of emergency
regulations soon after the assassination of Foreign Minister Lakshman
MPs from Government, the JVP and the JHU directly blamed the LTTE
for the minister’s killing, the TNA denied it was the work
of the Tigers. The UNP MPs meanwhile stuck rigidly to the party’s
official statement issued soon after the minister was killed –
though the security forces say the LTTE did it let us wait till
the investigations are over and the perpetrators brought to justice
before blaming anyone.
amount of prodding by the SLFP and JVP MPs made the UNP speakers
to name the LTTE as those responsible for killing. The UNP kept
going back to the official statement issued by the party. Many UNP
MPs argued that when the likes of President Premadasa and Gamini
Disssanayke were killed the SLFP stuck to a similar stance and they
quoted enough speeches from the Hansard to recall how the SLFP too
avoided blaming the LTTE and adopted a let’s wait-and-see
though the Emergency was approved by an overwhelming majority --
124 for and 21 against the motion -- the reluctance of all parties
to speak up in one voice against terrorism was evident during the
Deputy Defence Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayke who introduced the
motion on behalf of the Government said the growing level of violence
in the country cannot be tolerated any longer and was against all
the norms of a “civilised” society.
a murder takes place we have to be bold enough to say it is a murder
and it is wrong. Everyone in this country should have the right
to live in freedom and it is this very right that is being eroded”,
Mr. Wickremanayake said.
added that emergency regulations were required to detain suspects
for a longer period till questioning was completed, especially those
arrested in connection with Mr. Kadirgarmar’s killing. Mr.
Wickremanayake said between February 2003 and June 2005, the LTTE
had violated the ceasefire 3,006 times as against 132 by government
forces. The LTTE violations included more than 1,600 cases of child
conscriptions and abductions of adults.
The Minister also voiced a veiled threat to the LTTE saying, “Come
to the negotiating table if you have problems and discuss them in
an honest and open manner otherwise the government will have to
look at other options.”
UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya while condemning the killing of
Mr. Kadirgamar said his party had provided security to Mr. Kadirgarmar
for two years while they were in Government and ensured that his
life was protected but the present government had failed in this
He said there was the need for proper security provided to VIPs
sans political interference.
Parliamentary group leader Wimal Weerawansa blamed the ceasefire
agreement under which the LTTE was hiding its fascist nature and
continuing to eliminate anyone voicing an opinion that was different
there is a true ceasefire why does Douglas Devananda have to live
in a fortress like a prisoner, why is any Tamil person who speaks
differently from the LTTE getting killed, and why intelligence officers
are being gunned down”, he asked.
Weerawansa alleged that the right-to-life under the ceasefire agreement
had been given only to those who were signatories to the agreement
and it was only helping the LTTE to carry out a one-sided war.
Mr.Weerawansa said the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation has been
de listed as a charitable organisation in the UK and urged the government
to follow suit.
late minister’s last piece of legislation to be passed in
the House was the Bill to prevent terrorism-financing. The Government
must use this to ban the TRO”, he said.
also launched a scathing attack on certain sections of the media
who he claimed had “assassinated his character before he was
assassinated by the sniper. These are not sniper guns but sniper
pens that were aimed at him”, he said. SLFP General Secretary
and Mahaweli Minister Maithripala Sirisena said there was no doubt
the LTTE was behind the minister’s killing.
ceasefire agreement says there will be no political assassinations
and this is a blatant violation of the agreement. It is not only
Mr. Kadirgarmar who has been killed but many others in the past
few weeks and we can no longer keep quite when these horrendous
murders are taking place”, he said.
fell on the Jaffna district TNA MP Mavai Senathirajah to speak on
behalf of his party in the absence of its parliamentary group leader
R. Sampanthan and with emotions running high in the House it was
not the easiest thing to do.
do not approve of any kind of killings. It is not only this but
no human being should be killed for what ever philosophy he believes
in”, Mr. Senathirajah said. He said the LTTE had denied involvement
in the killing and the Government had no evidence to prove the LTTE
had done it.
are trying to defame it in the international arena”, he alleged.
Mr. Senathirajah said the government was making a big mistake by
introducing the emergency as it would only be used to harass innocent
The JHU wanted the government to take steps to immediately proscribe
the LTTE. JHU MP Ellawala Medananda Thera said the Prevention of
terrorism Act which has been put into cold storage since the ceasefire
agreement was signed, should also be re activated and Norway and
other groups working in support of the LTTE be sent out of the country.
the LTTE is the sole representative of the Tamils why are they killing
their own people? It is time the armed forces came forward to protect
the country”, he said.
Minister Anura Bandranaike said the TNA had today become “a
pathetic apologist” for the LTTE, a terrorist organisation
condemned the world over as a brutal and repressive organisation.
TNA tried to whitewash the LTTE here today. I do not have 100 per
cent evidence to say the LTTE did it but from the way it was conducted
I firmly believe it was the work of the LTTE”, he said.
Bandaranaike said strangely the UNP and the TNA perspective on the
matter was similar and said he was yet to hear the UNP leadership
using one word to condemn the LTTE.
said despite the killing, the Government was committed to peace
and said the death of Mr. Kadirgarmar should be a beacon of light
for those who cannot see and a voice for those who cannot speak.
leader Ruff Hakeem who spoke of his sadness at the depth into which
the country had fallen where people celebrate a man’s death
by lighting crackers said it was this type of perverted culture
that had to be changed.
TNA MP Nadarajah Raviraj dismissed allegations that the TNA was
trying to whitewash the LTTE saying all what his party was trying
to do was bring about a peaceful settlement to the country’s
the JVP is trying to preach to us. But has it handed over any of
the weapons they had in 1988/89”, he asked. Leader of the
House Nimal Siripala De Silva who wound up the debate on behalf
of the government said the emergency was not being introduced only
because of Mr. Kadirgarmar's killing but because of the escalating
violence in the country and said it would not be used to curb civil
liberties – a fear expressed by many Opposition speakers.