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Time for terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna to think and change!

Will he?

by A Special Correspondent from Colombo

(July 18, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Subject to correction Wikipedia information about the controversial terrorism expert Rohan Guneratna confirms his position as international terrorism expert. It states: ‘Rohan Gunaratna (born 1961) is an international terrorism expert. He is the head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR)] at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.’ (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rohan_Gunaratna),

He had appeared in media interviews and write-ups as an international terrorism expert and is known to many. Whilst not disputing his credentials, his stand and comments on terrorism has come under international legal challenge recently and public scrutiny for many years.

I am not a stranger to Rohan Gunaratne, but unfortunately, I have my overwhelming reservations and criticisms about his unbalanced approach to terrorism that he has acclaimed proficiency. The tenacity in which he approaches his specialist field is very biased and it is incorrect to call him a specialist in his specialist field.

Rohan Gunaratne has spent lots of his time in targeting the LTTE terrorism, but failed to dissect the causes and manifestation of the so-called terrorism of the group and his work has been Sinhala clan based in covering up the state terrorism against the people. His writings never dealt with the brutalities of state terrorism that ravaged the country for many years and that gave birth to the so-called ferocious LTTE terrorism that he is heavily campaigning against.

Even his post war contribution on terrorism failed to touch on the much needed debate on state terrorism that is plaguing the country. He is only focussing and manufacturing stories of LTTE terrorism in the diaspora, as he has become a specialist in to the extent that he has lost his senses to relate any of his arguments with hard evidence.

Born a Sinhalese and lived with the Sinhalese, Rohan Gunaratne is well aware of the state terrorism against the JVP in 1971 and in the late 1990’s. The brutality inflicted by the state forces is international war crimes and these were never international agenda due to the culture of the polarised international politics then. In many instances JVP’ers and those who had some links to the group were lined up and shot and buried, like what Nazi’s did to the Jews. Not a word was written about these crimes of the state and Rohan by his silence upheld the state terrorism throughout his work on his specialist terrorism subject.

The present day state terrorism of the government grew further from the JVP massacres. It was multi-prong. No one from institutions to individuals was spared. Media and the NGO’s faced the impact of the war. Many were killed by the state machinery or the agents of the state. But the expert Rohan maintained his silence on these killings. For example, he did not have the guts or tenacity to take the foulest murder of the Sunday Leader Lasantha Wickramatunga and use his expertise knowledge to investigate and expose the whole scandal behind the brutal murder, instead, had taken the comfort to be the bedfellow of the state intelligence and terrorism mechanism.

On the war itself, the President’s and government’s position is zero civilian casualties. This gave an opportunity to the international terrorism expert of questionable repute to investigate and present his independent observations, but he reduced himself to a pathetic foul analyst and is maintaining silence to extend his anti-Tamil agenda of bashing the Tamil Diaspora organisations as terror fronts.

In my write ups, I have exposed the clandestine units of the military that carried out heinous crimes against Tamil civilian population. I cited the gang rape and murder of Mrs Anita Annalingam by the head of the army’s surreptitious Ranjith Unit in Jaffna, headed by one Mohammed that directly comes under the management of the Army Intelligence Unit. This young mother was kidnapped in the broad day light in the Jaffna town, taken to the camp, gang raped, murdered and then dumped in a derelict house in the Osmania Road in Jaffna. I am the only monotonous drum beater on this single most incident that even experts like Rohan shows no interest, as it is not beneficial for his ulterior agenda of espousing anti-Tamil hatred.

I met two victims of Ranjith group, who were severely tortured by Mohammed himself and by his Ranjith group. Their wounds are so gruesome and their experience in the hands of the army was so torturous that their asylum claims in the UK were accepted immediately. I have in my possession photographic evidence of the injuries sustained by one of the victim and if and when the terrorism expert visit London next, I can meet and show him the graphic evidence of the injuries including burns on the victims private organs. My only worry is whether Rohan will twist the story and say it is the work of the LTTE and not the army. If circumstances permit he can meet this victim. On the second thought, I too feel I must be cautious with Rohan, until he publishes his insight knowledge of state terrorism that is rocking the very fabric of the state of Sri Lanka.

Terrorism comes in many forms and shapes. It has no single attribute. A state that produces terrorism must come under equal and proportionate criticism and scrutiny like the individuals and group terrorism. Unless the mother of terrorism is defeated, terror babies will be born in some form. There is a new terror baby post LTTE defeat that is groomed by the state and these are the Tamil paramilitaries and the mammoth state military machinery that is throttling the very fabric of the civil society, in particular the Tamil civilians.

Rohan has written about Al Qaeda terrorism but his expertise failed to recognise that Al Qaeda leader Bin Laden was resting in bed with the Pakistani government when he was assassinated by the American intelligence service. The very same Pakistan government that is honeymooning with the government of Sri Lanka to extend its state terror expertise is trying to turn our country into a new Rajapakistan!

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