Paranoia or paid diaspora media witch-hunt
| by Pearl Thevanayagam
(April 15, 2014, Bradford UK, Sri Lanka Guardian) People, look at the face of Gopi who was killed brutally by the army shooting him point-blank in Nedunkerni jungles during a confrontation, according to media reports emanating from official channels as well as some private websites. Is this the face of a terrorist or is it that of a youth in his prime who had endured the ravages of war? A face showing the scars of enduring untold hardship and deprivations in jungles of Wanni caught perhaps in the ideology of the LTTE or a target manufactured by the State and its diaspora media moles to prove the LTTE is re-grouping.
Apart from government information there are no tangible proofs from eye-witnesses or independent intelligence that Gopi and two others who were killed were indeed part of an international plot to resurrect the LTTE.
Whoever shot Gopi and the other two must have had a most enjoyable New Year since he would certainly have been rewarded handsomely by Defence Secretary Gotabhaya. While the Tamil mothers are weeping over the loss of their sons, the soldier must be pushing his children on the onchilla, eating kavun and kokis and getting blessings from his own mother. Would he be having nightmares of the incident? It is doubtful.
Gopi and the other two had no recourse to trial or legal representation since under PTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act) of 1971 - the outrageous anti-terrorism law - which is still in force five years after terrorism was declared wiped out, enables the government to shoot on sight and he was hunted down like an animal and brutally killed. He became a terrorist by default.
The look on his face is that of a frightened and wounded animal unlike the smarmy looks of former LTTE hierarchy and financier K. Pathmanathan, former LTTE Eastern Commander Muralitharan alias Karuna and Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan who are enjoying the benevolence of the State.
Then there is the big question of identity and the reported attempt to kill a police officer by firing at him when confronted in a widow’s house Gopi was found hiding under a bed. At the time the widow Balendran Jeyakumari was living alone with her daughter, 13 year old Vibushika, in Wanni. The former is incarcerated in Boosa Prison and the latter in a children’s home in Wanni. Both these females are vociferous human rights activists and only a complete ignoramus and idiot would seek to hide in their house.
The defence sector was quick to defend itself and send out dubious reports the LTTE had infiltrated the island and was plotting a come-back. Mostly media in the diaspora fed fuel to the paranoia by systematically branding youth the government made scapegoat of in their websites as LTTE re-groupers.
It is most unfortunate the mainstream media do not monitor what the media in North and East report. Thenee, Veerakesari and Uthayan are carrying reports that the army is being unleashed in the North in their thousands and nightly search and cordon operations are under way with hundreds of youth taken in for questioning.
While we have diaspora websites fuelling rumours that the LTTE is re-grouping the media in the South are making their own conjectures with political pundits throwing in their bit of imaginary analysis of how the LTTE is surfacing. How much blood money is paid to these diaspora website owners by the State? Is it funding their nostalgic holidays to the island from which they left seeking refugee status in Western countries?
The police, TID and security forces are reported to be entering homes without permission in the darkness of night by climbing over walls, intimidating householders and breaking down doors in unoccupied houses looking for LTTE suspects. Jaffna MP E. Saravanapavan has intervened and requested military and intelligence unit to get the arrested youth released immediately if they are not found guilty.
The people in the North are living in panic that the North is regressing back to war time hysteria and fear psychosis once more. Those in the security forces who are fluent in Tamil are reportedly mingling with the public and gathering intelligence as a result of which people have chosen to keep mum.
The LTTE does not need the help of the diaspora to re-group. The government is paving the way for it to re-surface by its puerile and vicious attempts at targeting Tamil youth. The bleeding of the nation has not ended in Nanthikadal. There is every sign the war is not over.
(The writer has been a journalist for 25 years and worked in national newspapers as sub-editor, news reporter and news editor. She was Colombo Correspondent for Times of India and has contributed to Wall Street Journal where she was on work experience from The Graduate School of Journalism, UC Berkeley, California. Currently residing in UK she is also co-founder of EJN (Exiled Journalists Network) UK in 2005 the membership of which is 200 from 40 countries. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)