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Re-Opening The Theatre Of War Against The Tamils

"In war, truth is the first casualty”
 Aeschylus the Greek dramatist of tragedy (525 to 456 BCE)

( May 7, 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Rajapaksa regime having celebrated the victory over the Tamil militants and having basqued in its victory for more than five years has now reopened their theatre of war with a brand new dimension where truth suffers mutilation beyond recognition and is one sided.

Having unilaterally declared that Tamil terrorism has reappeared and having arbitrarily banned Diaspora organizations the Sri Lankan State has ushered in a new era of terrorism , repression and fear into the community of the Tamil speaking peoples instilling undiluted terror and fear. Destroying any dissent, his clearly is another war without witnesses for there is no real military confrontation except what is based on the imagination of those in the ministry of defence.

The recent unwanted and unnecessary killings of Kopi (the supposed new LTTE leader), Theviyan , Appan and the army soldier Selvaraja Kamalaraja were cold blooded murders committed by the Rajapaksa regime based on a canard to make the point that that the LTTE had regrouped and was making war on the Sri Lankan state. The theatre of war rapidly moves from place to place, montaging as it were, convenient to the Rajapaksa regime, in the instant case from Nedunkerny to Mullaitivu to Kokkavil to Padaviya, Puliyankulam and even Kurunegala in the south.

Originally, it was stated that Kopi the purported leader of the LTTE by a strange coincidence was hiding under a bed in the home Jeyakumari of Nedunkerny, having attempted to kill a police officer, whose name has not been divulged. Soon after, Kopi, Theviyan, Appan and the soldier Selvaraja Kamalaraja are said to have confronted the Sri Lankan army in an attempt to wage war against the Sri Lankan State. This also provided them an opportunity to arrest Jeyakumari.

Jeyakumari, it would be recalled played a prominent part in desperation to locate her son who had disappeared during the war of 2009, has now been by design linked to the Kopi conspiracy. Now Jeyakumari who was living alone with her daughter, 13 year old Vibushika, in Wanni is incarcerated in the Boosa Prison, based in the deep southern Sri Lanka, infamous for the torture and ill treatment of its inmates, Vibushika is said to be at a home in the Wanni.

It is now revealed from reliable sources that in actual fact Kopi, was a mess boy in the Kokavil army camp in Killinochchi engaged in cooking, and the other two were doing labour jobs. When the war ended, all these three individuals surrendered to the forces claiming that they were forcibly made members of the LTTE, and later were assisting the forces. These individuals were under Kamala Raja, a Tamil, of the intelligence division of the Sri Lankan army. However for the last one and half months before killings the four of them had not been seen and it was learnt that they had been transferred to another camp. It is revealed that the three so called LTTE leaders who have been killed in the jungles of Nedunkerni were in the custody of the army three days prior to the killing. The mode of the killing of Kamala Raja, is however not similar to that of the other three "LTTE leaders”. He is said to have died of multiple injuries. These who were killed could have been potential witnesses to war crimes of the Rajapaksa regime. It was believed that these individuals would have been key witnesses in an investigation on the massacre of the Tamil people in 2009.

Further, it is in the interests of the Rajapaksa regime to keep the war between the Sri Lankan State and the "LTTE” alive. The imaginary war declared by the Tamils against the Sri Lankan State is actually in the sick mind of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

In a recent report captioned "Continuing Detention of Tamil Women and a Girl Child under the Prevention of Terrorism Act” the "Womens Action Network” has reported thus: "……..This has become convenient to take persons including women and children into custody on the pretext of being linked to Tamil terrorists and kept incommunicado. Even after nearly five years after the end of the armed conflict children can’t live with their mothers, mothers are searching for their children, wives are looking for their missing husbands and women are interrogated and held on behalf of their family members. Women are going through so much of pain and continuous suffering…..The arrests of these women and children comes in this context where they are detained under the PTA due to the suspicion regarding the alleged illegal actions of their male family members, which has been openly stated by the government officials……”

What is more, it has become convenient to tell the international community that the threat of Tamil terrorism is still real and measures bordering on human rights abuses are justified and that it is necessary to keep the Tamil homelands fully militarized and fortified without any reduction of the military personnel. Further, it also provides the regime the opportunity to cast derogatory aspersions on key persons of the Tamil Diasporas as being linked to terrorism and make "personae not grata” of them. Strangely enough, Gotabahaya Rajapaksa the architect of the idea of the LTTE regrouping and the killing of the four "LTTE terrorists,” who made war on the State had only this to say at the most recent seminar of the Malaysians that he on 16 April 2014 addressed: "….At the same time, the network’s operatives, most of whom are trained terrorists, remain involved in various illegal activities, and are constantly seeking ways to revive terrorist activities in Sri Lanka…”. Cautiously though, no mention was made of the LTTE waging war and the killing of the four persons for the apparent reason that he would be asked questions on the details of the episode.

There is also the impending international investigation into war crimes and human rights abuses that the Rajapaksa regime is trying to avoid at any cost and this story of having to combat Tamil terrorism that refuses to go away would come in handy, and further, it is likely that with the dwindling popularity of the Rajapaksas the sooner the President Rajapaksa faces his last chance to be elected the better. So that keeping the story of the LTTE menace to the Sinhala polity will be of vital importance. It should be remembered that keeping Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism alive and kicking at the peril of the minorities is immensely important for the continuing existence of the Rajapaksa regime. The idea is also to isolate the Tamils living within Sri Lanka from their relatives and friends abroad and in many cases for those who are financially dependent on their relatives abroad for their livelihood and to reduce them to penury.

The short sighted and brutal actions of the Rajapaksa regime will only rebound to the detriment of the Sinhala- Tamil reconciliation which is important not in the short term to help the Rajapaksa dynasty to rule unhindered and to win elections but to the permanent Sinhala Tamil unity in the distant future towards which end many Diaspora organisations are were trying to lay the foundations for.

( The writer is the editor of the Eelam nation, an online journal)

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