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Gen. Kalupahana at the LLRC

by K. Godage

(November 07, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The evidence of Major General Devinda Kalupahana at the LLRC as reported, repeat as reported, would no doubt have surprised those who followed closely the progress of the so-called Peace process of 2002. I am happy and relieved that he has clarified matters but we do need however to comment on his statements.

Gen. K was known to be a compassionate general and one of a kind and what he said is quite revealing at the time that RW himself was pursuing his Norwegian sponsored, CFA based, Peace Process with the LTTE. He seems to have been involved in a parallel peace process with NGO friends, with the knowledge of Ranil Wickremasinghe. Referring to this initiative he has stated that the "ambitious reconciliation process launched by the then PM Ranil Wickremasinghe collapsed due to President Kumaratunge’s decision to take over three ministries including of course the Defence Ministry".

CBK who had virtually abdicated executive authority was compelled not only to take over the Defence Ministry but also to dissolve Parliament for the policy of appeasement of the LTTE had led to a situation where the country’s security and territorial integrity was precariously perched. Whilst the government was pursuing its Ceasefire Agreement and the peaceniks were working on an action plan for reconciliation, the LTTE had entrenched themselves well on land.

They had taken over the Vanni and thereafter Elephant Pass and with their control of parts of the sea and with their Air Wing were planning to declare Eelam with their foreign friends preparing to recognize this state in the same manner that they recognized Kosovo. Had the North and East not been separated and had PTOMS, which Chandrika was prepared to concede perhaps to win her Nobel prize, not been declared null and void, this country would have been divided and even the hill country would have been annexed.

Whilst the ‘Peaceniks’ were working on their reconciliation plan, the LTTE finished off our military intelligence including its chief, Muthalib, after the Millennium City raid; the LTTE also killed off many servicemen and other Tamil political parties at this time. The LTTE also kept bringing in arms shipments at a time when Wickremasinghe’s government was not providing the military even with bullets besides other needs of the armed forces.

Thank God we had generals such as Janaka Perera, Sarath Fonseka, ‘Lucky’ Algama, (who was also considered a threat by the LTTE and disposed of in the same manner as they disposed of Janaka - a revenge killing because of what he achieved in Jaffna) and General Neil Dias. Does the naive not know how the LTTE reneged on every undertaking they gave and the number (over 3,500 ) violations of the Ceasefire Agreement? Did the peaceniks not realize that the LTTE had a one point agenda and that was Eelam and that Prabhakaran stated publicly "If I don’t deliver Eelam, kill me".

Prabhakaran was never interested in peace and reconciliation. Did they not know that Prabhakaran almost killed Anton Balasingham for having agreed to "explore a federal solution within a united Sri Lanka" at the second round of talks and of how they refused to discuss core issues or the matter of the reduction in the size of High Security Zones on the basis of the Nambiar report. This is indeed painful.

Yes Chandrika too like President Premadasa dived in without thinking or learning from our previous forays with Prabhakaran. She thought that she could come to a settlement with Prabhakaran and did try to reach out to the LTTE but was rebuffed as they had no interest in peace or reconciliation. They considered her to be naïve.

Ranil had a different approach, he sought to trap the LTTE and make them compromise with the help of the Co-Chairs and the rest of the international community. Whilst RW appeared to give with one hand, with his appeasement brigade, he was squeezing their vital parts with the other. Nevertheless RW’s appeasement policy had gone too far - it had given space for the LTTE to strengthen itself and entrench themselves as never before.

The LTTE however soon caught on to RW’s game, particularly after the Tokyo Conference and the pledging of 4.5 Billion USD. Prabhakaran was put on the alert by the pledging conference in Oslo earlier where 170 million USD was pledged for urgent rehabilitation work (to repair schools, hospitals, places of worship, roads, homes and irrigation works in the north and east). He realized that if this reconstruction and rehabilitation programme was allowed to go on the people would have given up the armed conflict. Prabhakaran concluded that RW was duplicitous and a supreme master of deception and this was why he denied him the presidency by not allowing the Tamil community to vote for him.

Asked about the role of NGOs, Kalupahana had given the names of all the western funded local NGOs and their well paid chiefs (some of them well meaning while to others it was a source of good income) and also stated that the LTTE had declined to participate in their project to formulate ‘Action Plan." Need one say more? Surely these peaceniks should and would have known of the LTTE’s own action plan and agenda, or were they more interested in the money (not Gen K of course) they were receiving from their western donors?

It was also reported that Gen. K had paid "a glowing tribute to President Premadasa for having made a genuine effort to settle differences among the communities on a three pronged strategy based on security, development and reconciliation". It must also be recalled that President JR kept his Prime Minister away from his efforts to settle the LTTE issue; he worked with Gamini Dissanayake and Lalith Athulathmudali and hence when the PM became President he did not know of the perfidy of the LTTE. He thought that he could settle the problem where JR had failed.

He reunited Prabhakaran with his family who were brought back from a Scandinavian country. He requested the IPKF to leave the country – he gave arms and money to the LTTE and what did he not do to appease them? He thought he could do a deal with Prabhakaran. To Prabhakaran Premadasa was an enemy and there was no question of gratitude – that was alien to him and that was why he had him blown up. Why I mention this is only to make the point that not only do-gooders but even Presidents were naïve in dealing with the LTTE. Tell a Friend

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