The Island Editorial - 02/08/04
The gross betrayal is on?
While Sri Lankas political leaders and the international
community are crying aloud for peace and resumption of talks
with the LTTE, the LTTE continues with their murder sprees.
Eight drugged persons were shot dead while asleep at Kottawa last
week but neither the government nor the international community dare
accuse the murderers, the LTTE, even though every Sri Lankan knows
it has been on the orders of the man who is to be the kingpin of an
interim administration that is expected to bring about peace. On Saturday
another alleged informant of the government, a Tamil, was shot dead
in a busy street in Colombo. But who dares name the killers? It will
harm the peace process we are told! When will such ghastly slaughter
of human beings come to a stop? That is anybodys guess.
Meanwhile, our President Chandrika Kumaratunga has pledged along
with leaders of six Asian nations at Bangkok to fight terrorism. For
twenty years, we Sri Lankans have been treated to peace talks, signing
of anti-terrorist treaties and conventions, pledging ourselves to
the Global War on Terrorism but Sri Lankan blood is being spilt every
day despite these hosannas and commitment to anti-terrorist pledges.
Do the Americans, British and other western powers and their allies
who have sent their soldiers to Iraq to fight terrorism sincerely
care about the carnage caused by terrorists in this island for 20
years? Do they shed tears when Sri Lankan innocents are killed? Do
they not despise the well identified killers as they despise the killers
of their people like bin Laden? Or are we Sri Lankans pawns in a great
global game they are playing?
As predicted by The Island last week, the SLFP appears to be doing
a hideous somersault on peace negotiations. President Chandrika Kumaratunga
after staging a Joan dArc posture of saving the nation from
LTTE terrorism, destroying the UNF government and apparently taken
the entire nation for a ride, now appears to be prepared to negotiate
with the LTTE on their terms for an Interim Self Governing Authority.
If she does so, it will be the greatest betrayal of the people, both
Sinhalese and Tamil.
Instead of mouthing platitudes on curbing international terrorism
in Bangkok she might as well have stayed at home and declared whether
she had caved into the demand of the terrorists or not.
The Island is opposing this LTTE proposal not because it comes from
the despicable terrorist group but because it is the framework for
the division of the country. Let President Kumaratunga and her Foreign
Minister Lakshman Kadirgama refresh their minds on what they said
about these proposals when they were released in November last year.
* The ISGA proposals are the legal foundation for a future separate,
* The SLFP welcomes and supports the position of the Government of
India that any interim administration should be an integral part of
the final settlement and be in the framework of the unity and integrity
of Sri Lanka. [This is in contrast to the LTTE demand to negotiate
only on the ISGA proposals.]
* The SLFP will never be a party to robbing the people of Sri Lanka
of their sovereignty. It will not allow any international consortium
or safety net in the name of a spurious, unjust peace
to foist on the people of Sri Lanka any extra constitutional arrangement
that is not acceptable to all the people of Sri Lanka.
* The ISGA seeks plenary powers for the governance of the North-Eastwhich
are absolute and unqualified powers including in security and defence.
* There is no reference whatsoever to parliament in the proposals.
* Powers to control marine and off-shore resources of adjacent seas.
The SLFP detailed other provisions of the ISGA that would lead to
the creation of a separate state.
Now it appears that under foreign influence, the SLFP is caving in.
The attitude of the donor nations seems to be that negotiations
must commence, not matter what. This is indeed a peculiar position
for nations that profess to be friends of Sri Lanka to take. It is
quite obvious that no Government of Sri Lanka can give into these
ISGA proposals. There also appears to be a noticeable shift in the
attitude of the US government. Perhaps this is due to influence of
their trusted Norwegian friends who appear to have a fixation on LTTE
It could be argued that the demands are negotiable but those who
know the LTTE, know it best. Already in the Vanni their infrastructure
is in place and nothing short of military conquest can remove them.
When this proposed infrastructure is put in place for the entire north
and east which will apply to Sinhalese and Tamil and Muslim communities,
only those incorrigible optimists of the West will believe that they
can be made to act in accordance with the wishes of the people.
The donor nations are in a great hurry to begin negotiations to reach
a settlement. So is the rest of the country but we cannot jeopardise
the long-term interests of the nation.
With some UNP MPs openly supporting the ISGA proposalsprobably
in the hope of setting a trap for the governmentonly the JVP
and the monks of the JHU seem to be the bulwark to prevent this calamity.
The UPFA government received a mandate against the ISGA proposals
and it will be a gross betrayal of their supporters to back it behind
The Island Editorial - 02/08/04