Sri Lanka: Criminalization of Northern Politics

by Lenin Benedict

(July 06, Toronto, Sri Lanka Guardian) World renowned LTTE mafia boss and The Interpol wanted Kumaran Pathmanapan alias K.P getting more importance in the Northern politics and backing of the Government very much shows the criminalization of politics in the North. It raises the question of honor and respect to our beloved armed forces that sacrificed themselves to destroy Terrorist forces from Srilankan soil. Does the Government of Srilanka (GOSL) dishonor those sacrifices made by our brave men and women, by bringing back the same LTTE leadership into the Government? Are we Srilankans going to accept this to happen?

The Terrorist separatist war in Srilanka that existed for three decades ended just before a year after heavy loss of civilian causalities from all communities, including brave men and women of our armed forces and loss to the economy, which brought utter destruction to our motherland. It all happened due to the powerful mafia network of LTTE that was controlled by a criminal and mastermind called K.P who was all powerful and an independent authority of the clandestine operations, the man who supplied arms and ammunition to continue the war for decades. Is it the weapon or man behind the weapon? It was Mr. Mafia boss the K.P who was behind the clandestine operations to procure arms and ammunition, raised money and controlled the wealth accrued by money laundering and by other means of illegal businesses. He was the one in charge of their vessels and smuggled weapons to Srilanka for LTTE to continue this war. If such people were allowed into politics, will it not criminalize the Tamil politics, which has already manifested a gun culture deep rooted in its own?

Under general amnesty in 1987, all the political leaders of various organization of that time got a blanket amnesty and accepted to abide by the constitution of Srilanka and will not support separatism. Every organization surrendered their weapons including LTTE and made a way to democratic politics. Later LTTE took up arms since it was not accepted as a sole single party in the conflict. It was then President Premadasa, who armed LTTE and made the Terrorist organization a come back. Anything happened after 1987, cannot be pardoned, until otherwise the Government announces a decree. It has not been done so far and therefore Mr. K.P the Mafia Boss is still considered a wanted man according to Srilankan justice system. He is also a wanted person still by the Interpol in Rajiv Gandhi’s murder case. Yet he is able to travel to Malaysia for an event to collect money for rehabilitation according to media reports. If then, has the Government of Srilanka withdrawn the case against Mr. Mafia? Recently, the GOSL has announced that the case against K.P will not be dismissed and will take it own course. If the case is such, how can the government allow a criminal to do the rehabilitation work in the north?

Victory over the Terrorist brought a great relief to the country and peace has been established in all walks of lives in Srilanka. Democracy to a greater extent has been restored in the North and East and it is a pre-condition to yield the fruits of political freedom. The Presidential and the general elections has been successfully carried out in Tamil areas without any violence and threats from LTTE in a very peaceful manner ever in the history of Srilanka. It was the first time the Tamil community voted on its own will without any intimidations form LTTE. Instead of strengthening the hands of democratic institutions in the North and East and support the moderate Tamil politicians, the decision of GOSL to engage with criminals and allowing such people to take part in the process of rehabilitations will not only criminalize our democratic institutions in the North and East, but will also encourage the separatist forces within Tamil community a upper hand and will strengthen their positions in Tamil politics. Already the so called LTTE sympathizers and their supporters the TNA, has won the majority seats in the parliament sowing and spreading the Tamil Nationalism all over again in Tamil politics. Allowing Mr. K.P the Mafia Boss freely in the country to roam would also undermine our judicial system and the confidence we have in our legal system.

On the other hand, the welcoming of criminal person like K.P will only again strengthen the LTTE supporters in the Tamil Diasporas which will ultimately weaken the voice of the moderate Tamils of the Srilankan Diasporas. In the days of Pirabaharan, even to the peak days of Terrorist activities, it was LTTE that has been recognized as a party in the conflict by UNP regime and by successive governments. Even after Pirabaharan’s death and defeat of separatism, the LTTE holds the power in a Government that declared victory over Terrorism and crushed the separatist movement in Srilanka. Will the SLFP leaders be able to criticizes or put the blame on UNP that it should take the responsibility of aiding the LTTE and strengthening the movement when they themselves repeat the same old mistakes what the previous UNP regime did. If GoSL wants to give a chance to LTTE supporters and sympathizers, enabling them to change themselves, it is most welcome. Everyone who really wants to be a part of the Srilankan family should be encouraged and made to rejoin the national stream. But assigning criminals in the rehabilitation programmers and opening investments opportunities to them would not be the right thing to do. The safety and security of the country will be jeopardized, if those investments are made in our coastal areas, in fishing sector and in areas of strategic and of military importance. Who knows what Mr. Mafia and his associates have in their minds? It could be a tactic of the LTTE to regain the political strength in the country by infiltrating the Government bodies.

Mr. Mafia might even use his influence in the Government to get the pardon for few LTTE leaders who are left behind bars and who are not so far identified in the camps by our authorities. The Government should not commit any blunder in this regard, which could ultimately strengthen the separatist elements remaining still under the hands of the Government authorities. Allowing such criminals to visit refugee camps freely and in rehabilitation work on the other hand might help this criminal gang to recognize themselves that are still alive and might lead to regrouping of these separatists. If the Government of Srilanka plans an inflow of LTTE money and wealth to the country with the assistance of Mr. Mafia, it can be done through legal means in accordance with existing domestic and international laws by confiscating the assets of the Terrorist organization, since LTTE is already proscribed as a Terrorist outfit in many countries. Even if it is not possible, we cannot sell the dignity of the country for a few million dollars, which Mr. Mafia has in his possession. SORRY, SRILANKA IS NOT FOR SALE. The impact of the loss of morale amongst our soldiers and civilians on national security and social welfare could have adverse effects. Thus, we would loose the morale worth billions and billions.

We should remember the capabilities of trained LTTE cadres who live abroad and are still active. There are more than 25,000 estimated LTTE members or sympathizers living in North America and in Europe according to intelligence reports. According to Canadian intelligence the RCMP, it is estimated that there are around 8000 cadres live in Canada alone. They may be used in future to land in Srilankan territorial waters to strike against the state of Srilanka and its people. As an example, I would say that the LTTE has carried out assassinations on EPRLF leader and former. Prime Minister of India, Shri Rajiv Gandhi as a result of conspiracies waged outside Indian soil. Most lately, before their defeat, the foreign trained pilots of the TTE carried out attacks on Colombo civilian targets and our defense establishments, which is a clear indication of their capabilities.
The LTTE global network and their huge wealth behind them as well as their cadres’ strength will be an advantage to its organization, which will not hinder their capabilities and strength to strike. The support of the Tamil Diasporas will be an added advantage and the political backing of some western powers might make them a come back. In this situation, it is not advisable to strengthen the mussels of former LTTE rankers by any means. One may argue that how could people like Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman and Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillaiyan have been absorbed into the government’s political stream. Both these men courageously broke their rank with Pirabaharan and fought against him when the LTTE supreme leader was alive and the organization was very much powerful and finally they both joined the government. They were not cowards but risked their lives and gave up the highest rank, which they were holding at that time. Karuna Amman was second in command and had almost equal respect within the organization and more than Pirapaharan in the Eastern province.

When there were few other political prisoners still in custody and been refused to be freed by the authorities under emergency regulations and other existing laws to safe guard the interest of the Nation, how come a worst criminal and a top ranking Terrorist is being allowed to move freely in the country? There were incidents that some of the LTTE sympathizers who came to Srilanka on a holiday were sent back by immigration authorities and in one incident a women from Germany had been detained and still under custody for the reason that she had participated in a protest demonstration waving LTTE flag. If for such petty reasons they were deported and detained, how much more we have to do for Mr. K.P the Mafia, who is the worst criminal of all in the world? Further to the humiliation of the Srilanakan Diasporas,

And to the sacrifice of victory, Mr. Mafia boss invited his most loyal Mafia gang from North America, Europe and rest of the world to visit the country, which received a red carpet welcome and allowed to visit freely the refugee and rehabilitation camps. Does the victory made us blind to see the right thing?

Imagine the criminal crowd the LTTE network that raised money, procured arms and ammunition, propagated against Sovereign state of Srilanka and our people, protested all over the world, brought ill fame to the nation, trained pilots, aided Terrorism given a red carpet welcome and allowed freely into the country. This is not just a humiliation to the lives lost in combating Terrorism but a disgrace to the entire Nation. Disgrace to each and every patriotic soul of the country. Disgrace ever to the brave soldiers of our armed forces and to their families. It’s the duty of the state to answer the patriotic community, which once said there were only two communities, which is Patriotic Srilankans and Unpatriotic Srilankans. The soul of Patriotic Srilankans has begun to bleed and only rectifying the faults could heal their wounds.