Bomb blasts and Tamil media - Sri Lanka Guardian

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Bomb blasts and Tamil media


"This, they say is in sharp contrast to the massive coverage given to the acts of violence unleashed by the LTTE in these parts with graphic footage and in such an impressive manner that even the wail of ambulance sirens is projected into the drawing rooms of persons living in places far removed from the scene of disaster!"
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by C. Sugumar

(June 29, Kandy, Sri Lanka Guardian) There has been a spate of bombings targeting civilians in Colombo, its suburbs and other areas during the course of the past six months or so. These bombs have been placed in crowded buses and trains on most occasions. The perception that many people have of these bombings is that they are mindless acts of terrorism perpetrated by a desperate terrorist group unable to withstand the onslaught of the government's mighty armed forces on the battlefield.

Certain persons in the government declare that the objective of these bombings is to provoke a backlash against the Tamils living in the south like in July, 1983 in the hope that it would destroy the economy and lead to foreign intervention. But what has to be said is that even without these bomb blasts the economy has already been destroyed anyway.

The Tamil newspapers however paint an entirely different picture. According to them most of the bus and train bombings of the recent past have been in the nature of retaliatory attacks triggered by the deaths or serious injuries caused to innocent civilians in the north by the government's armed forces who oddly enough are portrayed as benevolent persons in a series of state sponsored television advertisements.

It is being reported that each incident relating to a bus or train bombing here was connected to some specific earlier event that occurred in the conflict areas resulting in civilian deaths and injuries. Some of these incidents are blamed on the Deep Penetration Units (DPUs) of the army which are deployed to carry out search and destroy missions in enemy territory.

They are supposed to attack strategic targets and also eliminate key personnel in the LTTE hierarchy whenever possible. Apparently the DPUs have a propensity to pick on civilian targets when they are unable to zero in on any hard target. This inevitably results in a very prompt 'tit for tat' bombing in the south.

Aerial bombings and heavy calibre machine guns fired from aircraft also cause a large number of civilian deaths, serious injuries and property damage in the north regularly. If the damage is heavy, swift retribution is meted out in some other place by way of a bus or train bombing. It would seem that every time there is an explosion or blast in the north its echo is heard in the south within two, three days.

The Tamil newspapers also state that little or no information is presented in the Colombo based Sinhala and English media about the regular massacres and mayhem inflicted on Tamil civilians in the conflict areas by the army, air force and other special forces. At most there may be a passing reference to some incident and that too after it is no longer newsworthy.

This, they say is in sharp contrast to the massive coverage given to the acts of violence unleashed by the LTTE in these parts with graphic footage and in such an impressive manner that even the wail of ambulance sirens is projected into the drawing rooms of persons living in places far removed from the scene of disaster!

As the Tamil newspapers continue to carry on in this vein, I just thought I should draw attention to these rather divergent views for the benefit of those who cannot or do not read these newspapers.
- Sri Lanka Guardian

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