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The Karuna Syndrome

by S.L.Gunasekara

(August 11, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Once upon a time, not so many years ago, Muralitharan Vinayagamoorthy alias Karuna was not only a self confessed member of the LTTE and the undisputed leader of that gang of terrorists in the East, but also their principal `killing machine’ who led most of their major campaigns to the great detriment of our Republic. That, however was only until the 2nd/3rd March 2004 when he, together with his followers who included Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillaiyan, [the present elected Chief Minister of the Eastern Province] broke away from the LTTE because of the discrimination constantly practiced by Prabhakaran against the Eastern Tamils in favour of the Northern Tamils, and became the sworn enemy of his former comrades in treason and genocide.

Karuna having been the undisputed leader of the LTTE terrorists in the East, he, together with those under his command must necessarily take responsibility for the horrendous crimes against humanity committed by the LTTE in that Province which, by comparison, make the two horrible crimes presently being investigated by the Commission of Inquiry, namely, the murders of 5 youth in Trincomalee and 17 in Muttur, fade into relative insignificance.

These crimes committed in the East include the murders of about 678 helpless Sinhalese and Muslim policemen who had laid down arms and surrendered to the LTTE at Thirukkovil, Batticaloa and Trincomalee; the murders of about 140 devout Muslims praying in the Meera Jumma and Husseiniya Mosques at Kathankudy; 127 Muslim civilians while sleeping in their homes at Saddam Hussein Village, Poovaikadu and Kalavaichanai at Eravur; 30 Pupil Buddhist Monks and 4 civilian laymen while traveling in a Bus at Arantalawa; 62 Muslim civilians at Nintavur and 40 at Akkarapattu, 57 Sinhalese civilians while sleeping in their huts at Gonagala, another 25 at Bogamuyaya and another 42 Sinhalese at Galwaraya [also called Kallarawa]; and 25 Sinhalese civilian bus travelers at Pottuvil and another 25 at Pulmoddai. Apart from these ghastly murders they committed countless murders of members of the three services.

Despite the indescribably horrendous nature of these crimes and their total repugnance to all known concepts of “International Humanitarian Law”, no foreign countries or so called `Peace Activists’ saw fit to demand that Karuna and his followers [now Karuna, Pillaiyan and their followers] be disarmed. No purported shock and horror even remotely resembling that displayed by them in respect of the above-mentioned Trincomalee and Muttur Murders were displayed by them in respect of these crimes of mind-boggling proportions.

Today, things are different. Since breaking ranks with the LTTE, the followers of Karuna/Pillaiyan [called the TMVP for convenience] do not engage in genocidal attacks on Sinhalese or Muslims; they do not murder members of our Armed Forces or Police. However, they have turned their guns on the excrescence called the LTTE, and it is alleged [probably with considerable truth] that they continue to extort money from, abduct and kidnap civilians as they did while they were part and parcel of the LTTE.

It was only after these TMVP cadres ceased their genocidal attacks on civilians and on our Armed Forces and Police, and turned their guns on the LTTE, that various foreigners, so called `Peace Activists’ and even the UNP demanded that they be disarmed !! To this cacophony of treacherous voices was added that of the LTTE with a similar demand!What is even more significant is that none of the self appointed guardians of International Humanitarian Law whether local or foreign ever demanded the disarming of the LTTE though they continue to launch genocidal attacks on Sinhalese and Muslim civilians; murder our troops; train youth of both genders to commit suicide by strapping explosives to their persons and exploding them so as to murder selected persons and any others who happen to be in the vicinity; and not only abduct and kidnap civilians but also use kidnapped children and other children duped into joining them as cannon fodder, thereby destroying future generations and the continued existence of the Tamil race in Sri Lanka.

It would thus appear that these purported `do gooders’:-

n have no objection to the LTTE remaining armed and see no reason why they should be disarmed;

n had no objection to Karuna and his followers being armed and saw no reason why they should be disarmed so long as they were part and parcel of the LTTE and committed mass murders, extortion, kidnapping and abduction at the behest of the LTTE;

n but see every reason why Karuna and his followers [now the TMVP] should be disarmed because they have stopped committing such crimes on behalf of the LTTE and have turned their guns on the LTTE and hence contributed to the restoration of peace !

The reader will, no doubt, draw his own conclusions from these indisputable facts.

Notwithstanding what I have said above, I do not, for a moment contend that the TMVP should be permitted to remain armed as a permanent measure. The Rule of Law, the maintenance of which is a sine qua non for good governance demands loud and clear that only the armed forces and the police force of the state should bear arms.

In an `ideal situation’, both the LTTE and the TMVP should have been disarmed. The situation that prevails, however, is anything but ideal. The Republic is, on the one hand engaged in a `battle to the finish’ with the LTTE and, has, on the other hand to contend with the presence in the Eastern Province and parts of the North Central Province, of the illegally armed TMVP.

The TMVP, however, has proven its hostility to the LTTE [I will not go so far as to say loyalty to the Republic] by turning its guns on the LTTE, and assisting our Forces to cleanse the East of the polluting presence of the LTTE. Its current activities too do not, at least at present, indicate that it poses or will pose a threat to the Republic as the LTTE does, and has always done. In these circumstances, reason and commonsense demand that our forces should complete the job at hand, namely, annihilating the LTTE with all its resources without diluting that effort by diverting any of its resources to disarming the TMVP – for if they do not complete that `job at hand’, the damage to the Republic and the avoidable loss of life, limb and property will be incalculable.

The TMVP itself claims a purported `right’ to remain armed on the basis that they need arms to protect themselves against the LTTE. The periodic murders of members of the TMVP by the LTTE add credence, though not legality to that claim. The TMVP has also, at various times undertaken to surrender arms once the LTTE is defeated and disarmed. Thus, after the defeat of the LTTE, the TMVP will have no ground or basis whatsoever, on which to claim a right to carry arms, and if they do not surrender them, our forces which will then not have to contend with the LTTE would be totally justified in disarming the TMVP – indeed it would be their duty to do so.

Of all the medley of anti-national voices demanding the disarming of the TMVP, the strangest is that of the UNP – for it was the UNP which, by the disastrous Ceasefire Agreement with the LTTE agreed to disarm all Tamil `paramilitary groups’ – [i.e. those former terrorist groups who were then fighting the LTTE] and permitted the LTTE to continue to possess arms ammunition, explosives and military equipment to their hearts content. In doing so, the UNP committed the manifest outrage of agreeing to disarm our `friends’ while permitting the enemy to remain armed. Many of our `friends’ who were so disarmed paid with their lives for that act of perfidy of the UNP.

In committing this act of perfidy, the UNP was only being `consistent’ in their `policy’ of pandering to the LTTE. Can we ever forget the disastrous period of President Premadasa’s purported `peace talks’ with the LTTE in 1990 ? Then, the LTTE was given a licence to remain armed, re-arm [indeed the Premadasa Government gifted arms to the LTTE with the tax-payers’ money as the Wickremesinghe Government gifted them with sophisticated Radio Transmitting Equipment] to kill, kidnap and abduct whom they liked and to extort money from helpless citizens to replenish their `war chest’ with absolute `impunity. At the same time, that Government engaged in a relentless military campaign together with various `para-military’ groups such as PRAA, to annihilate the JVP and murdered any Sinhalese youth found in possession of even a locally manufactured fire-arm [a `Galkatas’] while the LTTE terrorists were permitted to carry and even use automatics !!!

No doubt, two `wrongs’ do not make a `right’. However, the `wrong’ of not disarming the TMVP is in no way comparable to the those treacherous `wrongs’ committed by the Premadasa and Wickremesinghe Governments. The TMVP does not appear to pose or to be likely to pose a threat to the Republic, while the LTTE always posed and continues to pose such a threat.

Permitting the TMVP to remain armed is a practical necessity in order to eliminate the LTTE while permitting the LTTE to remain armed only strengthened the LTTE and increased the threat to the Republic.

How, in these circumstances does the UNP have the gall to demand the disarming of the TMVP? Has it forgotten its recent malodorous past so soon ? Or is it so totally without shame as to make a `street-walker’ seem a `vestal virgin’ ?
- Sri Lanka Guardian

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