CLASSIFIED | POLITICS | TERRORISM | OPINION | VIEWS





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THERE IS NO OBLIGATION TO PROVIDE AIR TRANSPORT TO TERRORISTS AND
THEIR CRONIES.

A.A.M.NIZAM MATARA

The burden of providing air transport to Wanni terrorists have increased tremendously. This is a severe drain on the national economy at a time the country is facing enormous economic hardship. Sri Lanka is the only country that provides many facilities and shamelessly yielding to the demands of a terrorist group that is determined and striving to destroy the country economically, disintegrate it and establish a separate State. The government should put an immediate stop to this practice as it is another absurd precedent created by the previous treacherous government although there was no such obligation embedded in the conditions stipulated in the deceitful MOU signed by late Prabhakaran and blindly endorsed by Ranil Gorbachev almost 4 years ago. The MOU covers only the combatants and there is no provision in the MOU or there is no other written agreement to provide protection or passage for the terrorist leadership.

In the year 2002 alone Sri Lankan Air Force was forced to transport terrorists and their sponsors for more than 1270 hours incurring a cost of Rs. 150 million to the country. As per Air Force, it costs Rs. 115,000 per hour to keep a helicopter airborne. Based on these figures anyone can imagine the amount of money and fuel wasted to please the terrorists for the last four years under this purpose alone. According to an arrangement set by the government these expenses are being deceitfully recorded as “Flying Training Cost”.

Under the treacherous MOU, movement of combatant is covered in clauses 1.9 to 1.13 under the heading “Freedom of Movement”. Clause 1.9 states initially combatants belonging to both sides will remain in areas under their control. 1.10 allows unarmed Sri Lankan soldiers to travel between Jaffna and Vavuniya on the Jaffna-Kandy road after 60 days of the D-day. 1.11 allows for individuals of both parties, under the recommendation of the respective area commanders to visit their families, unarmed and in plain cloth, for a maximum period of six days once in every two months.

Claue 1.12 allows visits in the events of funeral or weddings of immediate family members notwithstanding with conditions of clause 1.11, but the condition of such movement unarmed and in plain clothes remains. Under 1.13 for 50 terrorist cadres after 60 days from D-day and for 100 cadres after 90 days from D-day, can visit areas in the North and East for political work. Here, the stipulation that such visits should be unarmed applies but there is no condition that such visits should be in plain cloth. The modalities for these movements should be worked out with the Monitoring Mission. However, the government forces can deny permission of entry to specified military locations.

These conditions have become totally obsolete, as we never find the terrorists acceding to these conditions. Violation of these conditions by terrorist Kaushalyan and his gang is only one such instance. Despite failing to accede even to certain agreed conditions stipulated by the white tiger Norwegians totally in their favour, the terrorist gang continues to blame the government and the Sri Lankan community without any basis. They never acknowledge the enormous bounties they enjoy as the only terrorist group in the world tolerated by the government of the very country they are resolute in destroying. They continue to blame the government merely for garnering international support and the continued backing extended to them by the white tiger Norwegians give legitimacy to these malicious allegations.

If the terrorists are truly representing the Tamil community and they are true leaders of the Tamils as they claim, they should be able to move freely in areas they illegitimately occupy since there could be no threat to them by the so-called Sinhala enemy forces of Sri Lanka in those areas. Why they move around fully armed and with extra protection? Even Tamilchelvam had to be armed with a pistol when he visited to pay last respect to Kaushalyan’s body at his residence. This shows that despite their leadership claims they are not safe even in the residences of their own high-ranking personalities.

Let us allow them to solve their own problems but not at the cost of the government or not allowing them to blame the government for their insecurity from the very people they profess to represent and lead. The government need not be so generous and get unnecessarily subjected to wild allegations, and earn disrepute from the ignorant international community. Tamilchelvam is reported to be visiting the hill country on the 25th of this month, at the invitation of the pro- LTTE Chandrasekaran. The government should deny any request for air transport or protection for this visit as the government is not bound to extend any of these facilities under any agreement. Let the international community understand the non-obligatory facilities extended by the government all these years despite continued baseless criticism.


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