The decision by the Government to list a host of organisations that largely mushroomed after the LTTE (Tamil Tigers) was liquidated has set a new poser. Is the ghost of the Tigers emerging? Or are we merely chasing dragons and phantoms? These organisations dared not exist when the LTTE was around. For the LTTE claimed [...]



The ghosts of the LTTE


The decision by the Government to list a host of organisations that largely mushroomed after the LTTE (Tamil Tigers) was liquidated has set a new poser. Is the ghost of the Tigers emerging? Or are we merely chasing dragons and phantoms?
These organisations dared not exist when the LTTE was around. For the LTTE claimed that it was the “sole representative of the Tamil-speaking people of Sri Lanka” and brooked no other contenders. Since 2009, however, many organisations spread around the world have taken the mantle to keep up the international pressure against the Government, lobbying as they have done their legislative representatives abroad.

Activating Western governments to sponsor the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Resolution against Sri Lanka was due to their collective efforts — and they continue to be a thorn in the flesh of Sri Lanka’s national security apparatus.
With the UNHRC Resolution and the Northern Provincial Council’s support for an international probe into allegations of war crimes — and its persistence in whipping up communal passions, there are ominous clouds hovering over the North once again.
The UNHRC Resolution calls for the de-militarisation of the North. On the other hand, the military speaks of the discovery of secret plans to reignite militancy in the North.

Back in the early 1970s, a Police Superintendent, R. Sunderalingam (later DIG and Interpol) sent a report to Colombo warning of the upsurge of militancy in the Northern Jaffna Peninsula. That report was ignored by the powers-that-be as being too far-fetched. The rest is history.

The Government says it is only complying with the UN Security Council Resolution 1373 that refers to organisations promoting terrorism in Sri Lanka, and that it has already dealt with Resolution 1267 that pertains to international terrorist organisations like al-Qaeda. The Defence Secretary says the Government has been compiling this exhaustive list for the past eight months.
There could be additions to the list if more persons are verified in future as being involved in fundraising for the purpose of financing acts of terrorism in Sri Lanka. National Intelligence is continuing work in this regard, the Defence Ministry said. The Government’s position is that it is obliged to act. The alternative would be a blacklisting for not following through on Security Council Resolutions.

The substantial effect of an order under Regulation 1373 is that the funds, assets and economic resources belonging to or owned by the designated persons or entities remain frozen until they are removed from the designated list. Moving, transferring or dealing with frozen assets without the permission of the Competent Authority is prohibited. In terms of the Regulation, any person who fails to comply with an order to freeze assets is liable for heavy penalties.

But it is clear that the main objective of the exercise is to cut the umbilical cord between these Sri Lankan Diaspora organisations and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and like-minded entities that continue to hitch their political star to the communal wagon.
The fact that the spectre of terrorism has raised its ugly head again, especially in the North of Sri Lanka, and the danger of history repeating itself comes out clearly from the Government’s latest pre-emptive move.

Our Political Editor and a news item on Page 1 have more on the subject. There is some concern that the banning of some of those on the list may scuttle whatever ‘negotiated settlement’ is in store to what are outstanding post-war issues. Taken as a whole, however, these Diaspora organisations have not displayed a genuine interest in the development of the North and the upliftment of its people. Instead, their constant refrain has been to open up old wounds.

Surely, they cannot justify an ethnic enclave in the Northern Province while demanding the rest of the country be a secular State? Nor to re-start an insurgency. Not even the vast majority of the North would want the clock put back and go back to the bad old days of not so long ago.

Wrong signals to the Navy

The Presidential pardon for Tamil Nadu fishermen caught poaching in Sri Lankan waters as a present to India for abstaining during the vote on the UNHRC resolution in Geneva last week, we said, was premature.

No doubt the Government was overjoyed that India did not vote for a lesser resolution as it did the last time. However, it was well known that India had a hand in the drafting of the resolution. It was just that an interim Government in New Delhi was advised that it should not compromise a future government by voting for the resolution that could have been a precedent for intrusive international action of a similar nature in India’s disputed Kashmir region.

The result at this end of the Palk Strait has been a demoralised Navy that has been tasked with apprehending the regular armadas of Indian fishing boats that keep intruding into Sri Lankan waters with impunity to steal the fish and destroy the maritime environment.

The sailors are out at sea at night trying to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka, and then this. The question anyone might well ask is whether the Pakistani drug traffickers using Sri Lanka will also be released in appreciation of Pakistan’s support for Sri Lanka at the UNHRC.

Such political gimmickry by the Sri Lankan Government is understandable if there had been a diplomatic follow-up — to stabilise fractured relations with India and its southern state of Tamil Nadu. There was none. Otherwise, the wrong signals seem to be given out from the Government to those trying to arrest the continuing intrusions into Sri Lanka’s territory. It is economic warfare in that part of Sri Lanka and the Government doesn’t seem to be sensitive enough to the cause.

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