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“The APRC does not seem to address the core issues of the conflict”

“While the military operations may contain violence in the short term ; the long term effects of continuous and sustained operations have not been encouraging wherever they have been used in the past. A political solution has to be worked out soon enough to restore normalcy and to outline the sincerity of the govt to find lasting solutions for the people."
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by Nilantha Ilangamuwa with Dr. Geeta Madhavan

(March 11, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Sri Lankan government on the one hand is constrained form any any option that will divide the island nation and destroy its sovereignty , on the other however, it also fails in putting forth any form of package to firmly and truly deal with the ethnic Tamil issue, Dr. Geeta Madhavan said in an interview with Sri Lanka Guardian.

Dr Geeta Madhavan is an Attorney with specialisation in International Law. She is a consultant on International Law offering her expertise to the academic departments that feature International Relations programmes. She was Visiting Fellow at the Department of International and Constitutional Law, University of Madras as well as the Department of Defense and Strategic Studies, University of Madras. Currently she is Visiting Faculty handling International Law at the Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University.

According to Dr. Geeta, “The APRC proposal has been seen per se as a political solution. However, it does not seem to address the core issues of the conflict and therefore seems to lack the very support it sought to garner. The LTTE has come out vehemently against it .It also raises the question as to how far it is compatible with the envisaged quasi federal devolution package?”

Dr. Geeta associated research interests are International Drug Trafficking and Control, Terrorism and International Extradition, International Law and Human Rights, International Law and Refugees and International Trade Law.

Her most recent presentations have been in Terrorism and International Extradition, International Protection of Human Rights, International Law, Refugees and Human Rights, Trade and Terrorism, Terrorism and Human Rights, Counter Terrorism and National Security of India, South Asia's Encounter with Cross Border Terrorism, and Media and Terrorism. She has published several articles on issues of strategic security matters.

Here full text of the Interview

Q. How would you identify the concept of terrorism in South Asia?

A: The major areas of continuous terrorist activities in south Asia are concentrated in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India .The other areas however are not immune to terrorist violence and their activities extend to are Bangladesh , Sri Lanka and Nepal and several other areas in the region . Undoubtedly there are links between the various Islamic terrorist groups in this region and they operate from other states in the region as well viz Indonesia and the Philippines. That the influence is far reaching and that their cells operate under different guises in all these regions is undisputed .The stability of the region is greatly threatened by the numerous organisations that work at tandem in this region.

Q. Please comment on the crisis in Sri Lanka. Who in your opinion is behind it? Why have we been unable to find out a sustainable solution during the last three decades?

A: Sri Lanka has been ravaged for three decades by the events that have led to the present crisis . The crisis in Sri Lanka which has not found a solution due to the inability of the parties in conflict to choose a pragmatic solution acceptable to all has further deepened the issue and has now led to the escalation of the to the extent that it now viewed as full scale war . the cease fire agreement that existed merely in name and the resurgence of a desire for military solution has actually sent the nation spiraling towards destruction of the fabric of civil society and caused untold suffering for all the people .the main reason that no solution has been found is that no absolute solution has been sought by any of the parties. The Sri Lankan government on the one hand is constrained form any any option that will divide the island nation and destroy its sovereignty, on the other however, it also fails in putting forth any form of package to firmly and truly deal with the ethnic Tamil issue. Similarly, the LTTE is adamant in its demand for a separate Tamil nation and has passed up the earlier opportunities to reach an amicable settlement of the ethnic conflict with its all or nothing attitude. The military strategy that has been projected as great success by the Sri Lanka government is questionable but what is more distressing is the condition of the people who are caught between the LTTE, the Srilankan military and the paramilitary group.

Q. What do you think, decision took by Government of Sri Lanka for annul the Cease fore Agreement singed between the Government and LTTE?

A: although there were violations of the CFA by both sides consistently - official announcement of the annulment has exacerbated the situation and has also underlined for the international community the stand that the government has taken on the ethnic issue.

Q. Please comment on the APRC proposal for the United Sri Lanka?

A. The APRC proposal has been seen per se as a political solution. However, it does not seem to address the core issues of the conflict and therefore seems to lack the very support it sought to garner. The LTTE has come out vehemently against it .It also raises the question as to how far it is compatible with the envisaged quasi federal devolution package? India has been categorical in stating that any settlement should be acceptable to all the communities within Sri Lanka as well as be within the framework of united Sri Lanka and should emerge from within the nation itself.

Q. What do you think of the current military operations against the LTTE by the security forces in Sri Lanka?

A:
While the military operations may contain violence in the short term ; the long term effects of continuous and sustained operations have not been encouraging wherever they have been used in the past. A political solution has to be worked out soon enough to restore normalcy and to outline the sincerity of the govt to find lasting solutions for the people.

Q. More than 20 terrorist organisations have been activating in South Asia. Thousands of people were victims in this conflict every year. Please explain what should be done by the governments of South Asia to wipe out terrorism?

A: Sustained efforts can combat terrorism although wiping out terrorism completely in the present geo political situation is near impossible. The action has to be multi pronged- coordination among agencies dealing with terrorism at the national and international level, heightened security systems, intelligence- sharing, and above all strengthening international legal systems in dealing with the accused under the law.

- Sri Lanka Guardian

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