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Should the Government revoke PTA as demanded by LTTE proxy TNA?

by Malin Abeyatunge

(September 06, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) Sri Lanka is not a fantasy island the TNA seems to think. We have a strong president elected twice with an absolute majority in the Parliament where no one can dictate terms to the Government and for that matter definitely not TNA who represents only a small percentage of the Tamil population in the North and East.

TNA MPs call on President
The LTTE proxy TNA has made two demands on the governments and they are (i) that the government should immediately revoke the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and (ii) grant a general amnesty to all the political prisoners and the detained ex-LTTE cadres. Suffice to reiterate the fact that no sooner the Darusman report was emerged, TNA immediately accepted and endorsed fully the findings of the biased Darusman Report thus damaging the reconciliation process the Govt has undertaken. Now they are looking for a scapegoat to scuttle the Government’s reconciliation attempts and has come out with the above demands. It appears that TNA’s demands come as some sort of threat to the government and what if the Govt takes no notice of their threat? Do they want to go back to LTTE era? Though TNA who is not the sole representative of the Tamils as claimed by the other Tamil political parties (albeit TNA claims they are like the dead Prabhakaran claimed ) , they act as so by trying to dictate to terms to the Government.?

TNA says as reported that PTA in operation is an hindrance to the reconciliation process. I cannot fathom how reconciliation process would hinder with PTA in operation as long as one obeys the rule of law in the country. PTA is not applicable not only to North and East or Tamils, it applies to whole of Sri Lanka irrespective of ethnicity. Unfortunately, the successive Governments have been naïve for not suspending them from Parliament sittings when they were speaking and supporting LTTE openly in and out of the Parliament. The Govt therefore should not bow down to TNA’s threats and lift the PTA at this juncture which would bring the country back to square one.

The demand to revoke the PTA comes from two political quarters one from the TNA the unchallenged proxy of LTTE and the other from the JVP an insurgent group at one stage. If these two parties don’t have an iota of intention to start another insurgency against the state, why do they fear of PTA? With the ex-LTTE cadres released (some rehabilitated and some not), can we rule out that TNA(like TULF used Prabhakaran in the past) would not use them to revive LTTE ideology through terrorism at a latter stage against the state.

The other demand by TNA to give amnesty to the political prisoners and ex LTTE cadres is hilarious. Firstly, the hardcore LTTE cadres under arrest or to be charged are not political prisoners but raw terrorists and criminals. They may have some stage involved in killing innocent civilians, destroying and bombing public structures, planting land mines and claymore mines and attacking civilian targets using suicide bombers etc. Imagine a set of terrorists given amnesty and they end up forming another terrorist outfit like LTTE. We should not forget that LTTE started with a rag tag gang with handful of criminals which finally became the most notorious and brutal terrorist outfit in the world. What guarantee that given amnesty to the hard core ex-LTTE terrorists that they will lead a normal civil life or that they will not form another terrorist outfit to continue what is left by LTTE. Already we see criminals operating in the East and North just as much as the underworld in the South mostly manned by deserters from the forces. How are we going to deal with these criminals without PTA now that the Emergency Regulations have been withdrawn by the Government? Specially with the LTTE rump becoming hyper active than ever before to carve out a separate monolithic state for Tamils in Sri Lanka with the blessings of some countries in the western world including Australia, and that is exactly what TNA is now clamoring for. As the US State Department reveals in its latest country report (2010), that the LTTE’s overseas network is still intact despite its defeat at the hands of the Sri Lankan military in 2009 is a matter to be concerned.

JVP knows that their political life is in the last stages of survival and the death is imitable as they are unable muster any support from the ordinary Southerners as was in the past. Their demand to revoke the PTA may have some ulterior motive. Who knows that they will go underground as in the past to create chaos and calamity and launch another insurgency. Some may think that the writer may be living in a fantasy world but can’t it be a possibility?

Saturday Island editorial raised a very pertinent question. It says though Al Qaeda number one and two were killed, the US Patriotic Act has been extended by Barrack Obama till 2015. Similarly, though the LTTE is militarily defeated, there remnants are still alive both here and overseas.

As long as the active LTTE rump among the Tamil Diaspora continues to destabilize Sri Lanka through their international political connections, through print and electronic media bought with their funds like Killing Fields and Channel 4, the government should not repeal the PTA. In fact, we should further pass laws similar to the PATRIOTIC ACT of the USA government for check and monitor so that another terrorist group like LTTE will not emerge in Sri Lanka ever again.

May be PTA can be revoked in a couple of years time, when the State is fully convinced that there will not be any terrorist threat from the remnants of LTTE or any other terrorist outfit and until the activities of LTTE rump among the Tamil Diaspora becomes futile.
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