By Tilak Karunaratne (Leader and General Secretary, Sihala Urumaya)

With the declaration of a month long cease-fire effective from 24th December, 2002 by the LTTE, the so-called peace process has been proceeding at a furious pace. Therefore, the time is opportune to take stock of the "progress" so far. The LTTE, except for the month long cease-fire, has not made any concessions what-so-ever to show their genuine commitment to find a permanent solution to the problem described variously as "the ethnic", "the north east" and the "national" problem.

The problem is so described by LTTE sympathisers, such as the free media moment, the NGO mafia, the so called "international community" and of course, by the main political parties whose leaders are mere puppets in the hands of such organisations. In fact the problem is just a rebellion launched by the murderous LTTE against this country and it's people.

However, assuming for a moment that this problem is of a political nature, it is a disgrace to see how the present government has gone out of its way to placate the LTTE. Since the announcement of the LTTE cease-fire the government has removed the checkpoints, the roadblocks and other security measures throughout the areas under its control, thereby allowing full freedom to the terrorists to move its cadres, equipment, explosive etc, has lifted the embargo on the movement of people and goods to LTTE controlled areas, has turned a blind eye to smuggling of weapons and explosives by the LTTE into the country and many other such blatantly dangerous acts that all strengthen the LTTE.

And now, worst of all, incredibly, they have blown the cover of the unit of elite commandos of the army. They were engaged in covert operations in LTTE controlled areas at great risk to their lives, in an effort to assassinate some LTTE high rankers.

A similar rush to appease the Tigers was also shown by the Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga government when they come to power in 1994. President Kumaratunga, in her address at the ceremonial opening of Parliament on 6th. January, 1995, stated thus:

"The Ethnic Question, the other crucial matter which calls for mention, relates to the ethnic problem and the war in progress in the North-East region of the Republic. My Government was elected on a major platform of initiatives directed towards the achievement of peace. The results of successive elections during the last year leave no room for doubt as to the country's deep and genuine desire for the advent of peace. The cost of the war in terms of loss of precious lives and resources is incalculable. The scale of our victory at the Presidential election, against the backdrop of an undisguised appeal to chauvinistic emotions by the United National Party, testifies to the conviction and wisdom of our people in their desire for peace. It is remarkable that, for the first time in independent Sri Lanka, all sections of our people throughout, the length and breadth of our land, have expressed this desire in one firm and clear voice.

It is in this spirit that we undertook the peace process within days of taking over the government. In this regard we set in motion some carefully structured negotiations with the LTTE. I am happy to announce to this House today that we have successfully negotiated with the LTTE a cessation of hostilities due to commence from the 8th. of January - two days from now, as we commemorate the 96th birth anniversary of my father, who is the founder of the political party to which I belong. We hope that this cessation of hostilities would usher in a new era of peace, justice and equality, enlightened by the humane values of brotherhood and harmony amongst all communities.

I must reiterate here that our Government sees this cessation of hostilities as a prelude to peace talks which would address the substantive issues underlying the armed conflict and the ethnic problem. We shall shortly present to the LTTE, a package of proposals with regard to the devolution of power. This will form the basis for a negotiated political settlement."

- President C. B. Kumaratunga, 6th. January, 1995


What hopes!

Not only did the Kumaratunga administration go ahead with negotiations with the LTTE but also offered terrorist Prabahakaran the North and East for 10 years with his own cadres as the police force for the area. Like Ranil Wickramasinghe today, Kumaratunga bent over her back then to placate the LTTE; but all that was to no avail and Ealam War No. III broke out on the 19th of April 1995. The rest is history.

Kumaratunga also tried to get the support of the so-called moderate Tamils by offering a political package. The chief architects of the package were late Neelan Thiruchelwam and G.L.Peiris. The irony is that Peiris is now with the UNF! The LTTE rejected this package (which gave immense powers devolved to the regions -far greater devolution of powers than in any other country- which in effect would result in the creation of an independent state) outright and even the so-called moderate Tamils said it was not enough.

They will not be satisfied with anything less than the Eelam. To the credit of the majority Sinhalese, in spite of six years of brain washing by the PA government with the Norwegian funded programs (under the direction of minister G.L. Peiris) such as the "Sudu Nelum movement", "Thawalama movement" etc., they overwhelmingly rejected this package and the government had to withdraw it under pressure. Ranil Wickramasinghe and the United National Front seem not to have learned from all this and all the other attempts to offer the LTTE (and the so called moderates) a 'peace' package. Not only have they not learned from past mistakes, they are repeating the same mistakes with even greater vigour!

Upon gaining power, the Prime Minister, Ranil Wickramasinghe, rushed to India to pay his respects to the Indian leaders even before he paid his respects to the Sacred Truth Relic in Kandy and to the most venerable Buddhist Mahanayakas living there; but his Indian trip was an utter failure. It was made clear to him by the Indians that they do not want any role to play in the negotiations with the LTTE. It was also made clear to him that they do not want a country such as Norway, which has a strongly Protestant Christian Constitution, to act as a facilitator in the new, so-called peace process.

Unlike the self-centered and submissive "leaders" of ours, India is blessed with leaders who are deeply patriotic and who dutifully put their country before themselves. They can never forget that the LTTE assassinated their Prime Minister who was a much loved leader of their country. It is pathetic the way Ranil has forgotten that the LTTE has assassinated a President of this country, the Leader of the Opposition (if he lived most certainly a President of the country), ministers and ex-ministers, service commanders, thousands of innocent civilians of all communities and thousands of heroic soldiers of Sri Lanka.

It is now clear that Ranil is controlled by the NGO mafia, the so-called 'free media movement' and all the anti-Buddhist forces, all of whom seem, incredibly, to be under the control of the LTTE. He has embarked on a most dangerous journey which, like Kumaratunga, will end up in another disaster, this time perhaps, of unimaginable consequences.

The UNF-LTTE talks will surely fail because, as past experience has abundantly shown, Prabahakaran is not interested in anything less than Eelam. Inevitably, when the talks fail Eelam War No. IV will breakout. Whether our heroic armed forces, whose morale is being progressively weakened by the government, will be able to withstand the new LTTE onslaught is the big question. One can only hope against hope that they will be able to do so; otherwise the country is doomed. The "leaders" who are responsible for this situation would have been summarily dealt with for treason if it happened in any other country.

Our fervent hope is that even at this eleventh hour the government and the main opposition parties will see the danger and co-operate with each other to maintain our defences and then turn to the serious matter of destroying the LTTE cancer. It must be said that, in our view, only this can usher in peace and prosperity to our beloved motherland.


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