Wednesday, May 26, 2010

One of the most important aspects in Sri Lanka's successful war against LTTE terrorism has been its covert operations. In fact,clandestine operations!

5/17/2010 10:15:36 AM Role of Intelligence Services

One of the most important aspects in Sri Lanka's successful war against LTTE terrorism has been its covert operations. In fact, clandestine operations, undertaken by different branches of the state intelligence apparatus, particularly the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) and Naval Intelligence, gave the military a hitherto unavailable edge to the government, though the LTTE Intelligence, too, scored significant successes during the conflict.

The police also in their investigations into LTTE activity made major breakthroughs, thereby helping the overall military effort against the LTTE.

As the country celebrates the first anniversary of the armed forces' triumph over the LTTE with a series of events, culminating with an unprecedented military parade on May 20, it would be pertinent to discuss the contribution made by the intelligence services.

Intelligence services have never been the strongpoint of the Sri Lankan forces, though Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, after the eruption of major hostilities, pushed them to the limit. Although the LTTE had the initial advantage over the government, state intelligence services gradually turned the tables on the enemy. The LTTE almost succeeded in eliminating the then Army Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka (April 2006) and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa (December 2006). Had they succeeded the UPFA would have collapsed.

The then chief LTTE negotiator Anton Balasingham warned veteran lawyer Gomin Dayasri, who had been a member of the Sri Lankan delegation in Geneva in early 2006 for a meeting with the LTTE, that the Sri Lankan military had been infiltrated.

Balasingham revealed that there were many collaborators among the military. Although the government delegation at that time felt that this was part of Tigers' strategy to unsettle the government, subsequent events revealed the extent the LTTE Intelligence had infiltrated the armed forces.

The arrest of SP Lakshman Cooray following information elicited from an LTTE operative last year, revealed a plan to assassinate President Rajapaksa. Cooray is widely alleged to have helped the LTTE to assassinate the then Chief Government Whip Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle. Inquiries revealed how the LTTE had manipulated Cooray to gain access to VIPs. If they had succeeded, the LTTE would have assassinated President Rajapaksa, though they had lost the war in the Vanni.

Among the men in the LTTE payroll had been senior army officers, identities of some of whom would never be known.

The possibility of the LTTE having moles came to light way back in April 2006 when the government ordered retaliatory air strikes following an abortive bid to assassinate the then Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka. The LTTE had used a public address system to alert the civilians of an imminent air strike about 30 minutes before Kfirs approached the area. It had been the first air strike targeting the LTTE after several years and the LTTE could not have had any other way to receive a warning than through an informant.

The LTTE intelligence had help from some Army officers and the underworld to go after their colleagues. They assassinated Major Tuan Mutalif, Colonel Tuan Meedin both of the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) as well as Army's No 3 Maj Gen Parami Kulatunga at the initial stages of the eelam war IV. The LTTE Intelligence had caused irreparable damage to both political and military leaderships over the years by eliminating many important leaders.

State intelligence services took advantage of the split caused by one-time LTTE ground commander Karuna to their advantage. The dispute between Prabhakaran and Karuna had been one of the major plus points for the government as it exploited their hostility to sow dissention among the fighting cadre as well as its intelligence service.

Under Defence Secretary Rajapaksa's leadership, state intelligence services built-up a cohesive apparatus, which achieved significant success, including anti-LTTE operations abroad. The Defence Ministry posted several military officers overseas as part of its efforts to streamline covert operations targeting the enemy's international network. Their untiring efforts led to the arrest and extradition last year of Kumaran Padmanathan alias 'KP' widely believed to be chief of arms procurement.

The subsequent seizure of an LTTE vessel (Princess Chrishantha) in Indonesian territorial waters by an undercover squad of Navy personnel highlighted the importance of special operations. Although the full details of the operation cannot still be divulged, the country could be proud of their unprecedented achievement, perhaps the most difficult operation conducted in foreign territory. Had any one of them fell to government authorities, he would have had to serve a prison term. Over the past four years, intelligence services have displayed qualities of a professional service capable of handling major challenges.

Intelligence services of the Army and the Navy at some instances competed for glory. One such instance was the seizure of a truck loaded with over 1,000 kgs of high explosives by the latter in Trincomalee. Although some may have not approved of such rivalry, it may have contributed to the rapid collapse of the common enemy.

Although the Army never identified the body of LTTE intelligence chief Pottu Amman following the final battle on the banks of the Nanthikadal lagoon, he could not have survived the onslaught. Pottu Amman is widely believed to have stayed with LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran until the last 48 hours before the conclusion of the war.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity a senior official says a full picture of operations undertaken by intelligence service may never be made public. He said: "It was a difficult war due to many factors, including foreign interference and a section of the opposition playing politics." Responding to a query by The Island, he said that the recent assassination of a top Hamas commander allegedly by the Israeli Intelligence underscored the high level of commitment on the part of personnel engaged in such operations.

The LTTE intelligence brazenly used Sinhala youth and in some instances the underworld to their gain. They could not have sustained 'hit and run' attacks in the South without the help of locals. Despite early setbacks, investigators gradually rounded up LTTE operatives and their collaborators, including some police and security forces officers. A thorough investigation and appraisal of LTTE strategy is required to study their methods of recruitment. It would be interesting to know whether any security forces or police officer had been a victim of a 'honey trap.' Foreign intelligence services routinely use women to trap government officials and the possibility of some of our own personnel being victims of such operations could not be ruled out against the backdrop of a claim by Minister Dallas Alahapperuma that some of his UPFA colleagues may have been targeted by foreign prostitutes working for the 'enemy.'

To the credit of the LTTE, it had an organized network of intelligence operatives, who gathered information and infiltrated the defence establishment at the risk of their lives. But in the final analysis, security forces had the wherewithal to overwhelm the LTTE and the role played by intelligence services in that victory was SIGNIFICANT.

Courtesy : The Island

KP is working silently to bring the reconciliation between the two communities in Sri Lanka..!!!

KP is working for ethnic harmony in Sri Lanka, Indian report says

The detained chief arms dealer of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam is working towards ethnic harmony in Sri Lanka, an Indian media report said on Monday.

The Express News Service of India quoting the Singapore-based Sri Lankan terrorism expert Dr. Rohan Gunaratna reported that the detained former chief arms procurer and smuggler for the LTTE, Kumaran Pathmanathan alias ‘KP’ is currently making an immense contribution to peace in Sri Lanka by working for ethnic harmony.

"He is building bridges between the Tamils and other communities, both at home and overseas, and is striving for ethnic unity. He is contributing to peace immensely," Dr. Gunaratna has told the ENS over the phone from Singapore.

Sri Lankan authorities arrested KP in August 2009 from his hideout in a South Asian country and brought to Colombo. Since then he has been detained in an undisclosed location. Reportedly KP has given some valuable information on the structure and assets of the LTTE overseas establishments and has helped identifying escaped Tiger leaders.

KP was an international arms smuggler who procured massive loads of weapons worth billions of dollars for the terrorist organization that ravaged a deadly war for 30 years. He was wanted by the Interpol for arms smuggling operations across Asia, Canada, US, and the Europe.

According to the ENS report, Dr. Gunaratna has met KP and he believes that KP is working silently to bring the reconciliation between the two communities in Sri Lanka.

"KP has met many people, including Tamils from Sri Lanka’s North and East. He has been allowed to build unity among the various Sri Lankan communities, Tamils and others," Gunaratna has told ENS.

KP took the leadership of the LTTE after the death of its leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. Prabhakaran was killed by the Sri Lankan security forces in the final battle in May.


This time a year ago, the security forces were battling similar weather conditions, but under very different circumstances –as they confronted LTTE!!

Raining tears of heartbreak

Flood victims weep as they see their houses destroyed or disappearing under water. Many have been disappointed in the past by empty promises of help, they tell Damith Wickremasekara, Pix by M.A. Pushpa Kumara.
It was a heartbreaking sight – families gazing on helpless as their homes went under water and the floods washed away their belongings, while children saw their schools and classrooms being submerged. The recent rains have caused widespread havoc in at least seven districts.

Much of the widespread flooding and destruction has been attributed to unauthorised construction work, illegal land filling, blocked drains and unprotected areas where flood retention measurescould have been in place.

Preparing food for the displaced.
Residents in flooded areas said this year’s rains were unprecedented, and that areas that usually do not flooded have gone under water, with water levels remaining high for several days.

Twenty-seven-year-old carpenter M. P. Anthony, a resident of Vishaka Mawatha, Gampaha, saw his house being submerged overnight. He is now staying with hundreds of others in a temporary welfare centre put up by the local authorities.

Mr. Anthony said he and his family climbed onto the roof as the water level started rising during the night. “When the water reached roof level, the Fire Brigade came to our rescue,” he told the Sunday Times. “My wife, my four children and I were put in a boat and taken to safety, along with dozens of others who were also stranded on the roofs of their houses.

“Our worry now is what happens next. What kind of assistance can we expect? We are also worried about our schoolchildren and when they can get back to school.”

Geetha Kumari, a resident of the Namal Uyana in Gampaha town, says she has not been able to retrieve any of her belongings since she and her family and their neighbours abandoned their homes to the rains. She said the flooding was a complete surprise.

“This area never goes under water,” she said. “Food is not a problem, but we are worried about getting clean drinking water. Our house has been damaged, and we don’t know where to get help to rebuild our home.”According to Ms. Kumari, there are 35 families being housed in the Gampaha Community Centre. Up to the time of speaking the newspaper, no government officials or politicians had turned up to look into the situation or see to their needs.

Mrs. K. A. Chamila is a 25-year-old mother of three, also a resident in the Gampaha town area. She told the Sunday Times that she and her family fled their home with their clothes bundled in their arms when the flood waters suddenly started rising. She says her house is now completely under water.

“We are in a terrible situation, but I am especially worried about my children getting back to school. We will need help, but I don’t know where that help will come from.”

R. Dayani, 40 years, a resident of Maviyagama, Ja-Ela, told the Sudnay Times that her residential area had never been this badly affected by rains in the past, and that this was the worst case of flooding in her experience. “At first, we did not thing the water level would rise, but by 4 pm the water level suddenly shot up, forcing us to take refuge in the church,” she said.

She said that on the first day the displaced persons were sent food parcels from Minister, but that was the only stage assistance they have received so far. “The church has been looking after us,” she said.
GCE Ordinary-Level student Iresha Madushani says her Ja-Ela house, which was built of wood, has been completely destroyed by the floods. She worries about how she can get back to her studies in preparation for her examination later this year.

“I don’t have a house to go back to,” she said. “I have lost my school books, my school bag and my uniform. My father is a fisherman. I don’t know what we will do.”

T. Sudharshani, a fisherman’s wife and the mother of two, told the Sunday Time that last time the area was hit by floods a minister had visited them and promised compensation, tin sheets, and assistance to rebuild the house. Nothing happened.

“This time too we have been given promises, but we are not sure we will get them,” she added. “The flooding is the result of not maintaining the canals and illegal land filling. The government should take the blame.”

While the authorities struggle to provide immediate relief to flood victims, the victims wonder whether they will be adequately compensated, and how long they will have to wait for assistance.

Security forces to the rescue

This time a year ago, the security forces were battling similar weather conditions, but under very different circumstances – as they confronted the Tamil Tigers in the closing weeks of the war in the North and the East.

Helping to push a lorry stuck in the waters

The Navy and the Army using dinghies and boats to take flood victims to safety
This year, they are helping flood victims, and the action is taking place largely in the Western Province.

Army, Navy and Air Force personnel, joined by Special Task Force (STF) and Police officers, have plunged into rescue operations in heavy rain and flood waters to provide relief to flood victims, clear canals, salvage vehicles, rescue stranded persons and facilitate passengers heading to the Katunayake International Airport.

The Navy and the Army are using dinghies and boats to take flood victims to safety and help them retrieve valuables, including jewellery, from their flooded and submerge homes, before looters and thieves come on the scene.

Along the road leading to the airport, soldiers have formed human chains to help passengers reach the airport. Motorcycles and bicycles are being loaded onto Army trucks, along with their riders, and taken through flooded stretches of the road. Vehicles that have stalled in the water are being towed by the Army.

A team of 45 STF personnel has been deployed near the Dadugama Bridge on the Colombo-Negombo road to facilitate passengers on their way to the airport.

“We are facilitating road movements and also distributing food in the area,”,said Inspector of Police S. K. Abeysinghe, who is in charge of the STF-supported relief effort. “We are using our trucks to ferry passengers including across the flood waters.”

The Army ha deployed more than 2,000 soldiers to clear canals and roads, using heavy Army equipment.

SF: Lack of political freedom and deterioration of democratic rights in the country...!!! No measures have been taken to create communal harmony.!!!



One year after: Fonseka jailed but not jolted
By Chandani Kirinde
One year ago, General Sarath Fonseka was the country's Army Commander and was being feted as the leading hero of the war victory against the LTTE. But today he has gone from hero to enemy number one of the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration.

He spends much of his days, after his dramatic arrest on February 8 this year, in near solitary confinement, facing two courts martial inquiries for alleged malpractice while in the army and conspiring against the government. He also faces cases in civil courts. Since being elected a Member of Parliament (MP) from the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) in the April 8 general elections, respite from his restricted lifestyle comes in the form of attending parliamentary sittings.

War winning Army Commander during a battlefront tour
Seated in the room allocated to his party on the third floor of the parliament complex in Kotte, Retd. Gen. Fonseka looks relaxed. It is so different from the picture and scene of May 19, 2009, the day on which the war against the LTTE was officially ended with President Rajapaksa addressing Parliament to make the announcement.

Within hours of that speech, General Fonseka was on state television confirming the death of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, the news of which he had received while heading back to his office after attending Parliament to listen to the President.

In a way he stole the thunder from the President's speech that day by being the man to announce the death of the dreaded LTTE leader and he believes it is his popularity after the war ended that has led to his present plight.

"I only wanted to be a professional army officer and I did my job as the Commander. But these people (President Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa) started listening to the sneakers. They started suspecting me and they also became jealous of me because I was becoming a little too popular in the country." That was how General (retd.)Fonseka describes the rift between him and the members of the First family.

But was it not his political ambition that really alienated him from the President and his brother?
"Only when they removed me from the post of Army Commander and put me into a place with little authority (Chief of Defense Staff) ,I realized there was no point wasting my time there and I must do something for the country. It was they who pushed me into this. I was also fed up and disgusted with their conduct and behavior by that time," he says.

Among the allegations that have been levelled against the former Army Commander is that he was planning to stage a coup to seize power, a charge he says is "baseless and cooked up to fix him."
"They arrested more than 50 retired soldiers and officers including, major generals and brigadiers but have they been able to prove anything or find any clues? These are bogus allegations to keep me confined and prevent me from going ahead with my political work," he says.

Hitting back, General Fonseka says it was the Government that was planning the coup against him on the night of the presidential election on January 26 this year. He claims he has in his possession maps that were sent to him from the Operational Branch of the of the Army Headquarters after the plans were discussed at the Security Council meeting. "They surrounded the hotel when we went there for our security. They were trying to arrest and assassinate the Opposition Leader and me. They planned and led the plot against me in violation of the constitution."

He seems hesitant to share credit with the President and the Defence Secretary when asked to comment on their support to the military efforts. "They had no choice but to back me because I was doing the job well from the beginning."

Asked if it was not intervention by the Defence Secretary that actually secured him the post of Army Commander, General Fonseka say that here too they had little choice but to appoint him. "The LTTE was getting stronger by the day and they knew the only way to overcome that was to make me the Army Commander because previous ones could not do that job. They did not make me the Commander because they were in love with me."

It's his pride that seems to have been hurt by what he sees as the lack of appreciation for the services he and other service commanders rendered during the war. One case in point he recollects is how the universities of Sri Jayewardenepura, Kelaniya and Colombo offered honorary doctorates to the three commanders but while the President and the Defence Secretary were the beneficiaries of the doctorates, the Commanders were left seated in the audience cheering them on.

Asked about the alleged hit squads that operated with his knowledge that targeted journalists who were seen as "traitors," General Fonseka says he had nothing to do with the covert operations that were taking place in Colombo and that the army only engaged in professional work in the operational areas.
He also fears for the future of the military in the country saying that a government that was not courageous to even send a soldier home during the war is today sacking major generals and brigadiers and putting an Army Commander in jail.

"Such things have not happened anywhere in the world. Today the Defence Secretary is the de facto Army Commander making change as he wants,"

For General Fonseka, the hope of May, 2009 created by the end of a three decade old civil war has turned to despair due to the inability of the government to seize the opportunity to convert the war victory into a victory for the people; He laments the lack of political freedom and deterioration of democratic rights in the country. "I have a feeling if they go on like this, terrorism will come up again in the north and east. No measures have been taken to create communal harmony and the mistrust can start to grow again," he warns.

Sinhala govt has sanctioned the clearing of 3,920 ac of jungle in Tamil Mullaitivu district to make way for large-scale Sinhala settlement programme!

Thousands of valuable trees being felled for Mullaitivu resettlement project

The government has sanctioned the clearing of 3,920 acres of jungle in the Mullaitivu district to make way for a large-scale resettlement programme, under the Uthuru Wasanthaya (Northern Spring) programme.

Resettlement Minister Milroy Fernando said the land had been set aside for 1,500 Mullaitivu families who were forced to leave the area because of the conflict, going back to 1985.

“The government is responding to appeals from people who fled the area and who now want to return to their original homes,” he said.

Meanwhile, the large-scale forest clearing operation is ringing alarm bells in environmental circles.
More than 250 acres of forest land have already been cleared, according to State Timber Corporation General Manager, P. G. Kumarasinghe, who says the corporation is acting on the instructions of the Mahaweli Authority.

Hundreds of valuable trees, including ebony, satinwood, teak, palu and weera, have been felled to clear land in the Halambawewa area, close to the Kokilai Lagoon.

Environmentalists say the tree-felling is illegal, pointing out that the Central Environmental Authority has not issued an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on a project that requires the clearing of thousands of acres of virgin forest.

The State Timber Corporation’s Mr. Kumarasinghe, however, says the Mahaweli Authority has the power, under the Mahaweli Authority Act, to go ahead with the project. Environmentalists also say the felling of trees is being conducted in an irregular way, and that valuable timber is being sold at “firewood prices.”

Acting on a tip-off from one environmental group, the Forest Conservation Department seized five lorries transporting timber out of the area. The drivers were produced before the Kebithigollewa Magistrate and fined Rs. 10,000 each. The Magistrate has ordered the suspension of the felling of trees until investigations are completed.

Meanwhile, the Central Environmental Authority chairman Charitha Herath said the CEA has received no complaints so far about forest clearing in the North.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Not only the children, but, my daughter also cried when they departed. But I am happy because this is a beginning of a new era for these children.!!!

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Wednesday, 26 May 2010









Child soldiers return home
Given opportunity to resume normal lives:

Lakshmi DE SILVA

The last batch of rehabilitated LTTE child soldiers, 108 boys and 90 girls were handed over to their parents yesterday by the Rehabilitation Authority, Commissioner General of Rehabilitation Brigadier Sudantha Ranasinghe told Daily News yesterday.

They were minors between the ages of 12 years to 17 years. So we had to hand them over to their parents legally through the legal court procedure. Government child probation officers, Social Services Department officers and relevant Divisional Secretaries were also present at the Vavuniya Magistrate’s Courts when the children were handed back to their parents. All the children were given certificates, he explained.

“It was the wish of President Mahinda Rajapaksa that all ex-child soldiers of the terrorist group should be rehabilitated and given the opportunity to go back to their parents to resume normal lives,” he noted. “These children were rehabilitated at the Hindu College, Ratmalana and they enjoyed life with us. These innocent children were forcibly conscripted to the terrorist movement by the terrorist leaders but now they are reformed as normal children again,” he said.

“They played cricket, participated in camp fires, did scouting and learned a lot of other skills like any other child would learn in a Colombo school. They even went to the Mc Donalds and enjoyed meals,” Brigadier Ranasinghe added.

These helpless victims of the war were pardoned by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and given all the facilities to train them and bring them back to the normal civil life. Even after they go back to their native places they would go back to their schools and continue studies, like other children of their hometowns or villages,” he explained.

“We had a farewell party for the children. Not only the children, but, my daughter also cried when they departed. But I am happy because this is a beginning of a new era for these children who have now much hope for the future,” he noted.

There were 294 child soldiers and we had released 96 children back to their parents earlier,” he said.

Tamil Diaspora shd pay their attention towards their own people in the motherland. They should give priority for humanitarian activities.!!!

LTTE’s collapse, a sigh of relief for Tamils - MP Chandrakumar

Murugesu Chandrakumar, the Deputy Chairman of Committees of the seventh Parliament is an exemplary figure in Tamil politics.

He was one of the senior militant commanders of the Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF). Later another EPRLF stalwart Douglas Devananda formed the Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP). Subsequently, Chandrakumar and several others denounced militancy in the late eighties and decided to help restore peace and democracy in the North and the East.

He says that his party had to pay a heavy price in facing the challenges posed by the LTTE. The organisation had lost more than one hundred cadres. The Party leader Douglas Devananda narrowly escaped more than 10 assassination attempts on his life.

Chandrakumar first entered Parliament from electorate, Jaffna, in 1994.

He said that being elected Deputy Chairman of Committees is boost for him to serve his constituency and the country at large.

Here are excerpts from the interview with the Sunday Observer.

Q: What is your view after one year of the collapse of the LTTE?

A: Well, the LTTE was one of the most ruthless terrorist outfits in the world. It had put the entire island nation in mayhem for three decades. It remained the biggest threat in the areas where it originated. Democracy, human rights and the socio-economic structure of the people in the North and the East and the country at large had been thwarted. Therefore, the collapse of the LTTE brings a sigh of relief to the people in the country to look to the future with confidence.

However, the root cause of the three-decades old civil strife should be identified properly and measures should be taken to ensure a trouble free country with all citizens irrespective of race, religion or region living in peace and dignity.

Q: What is your comment on the rehabilitation and its activities carried out so far since the conflict came to an end in May last year?

A: Vavuniya, Mannar, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu, the four districts in the Vanni region were worst affected during the last lap of the operations carried out against the LTTE. Exodus of Internally Displaced People in a mega scale had taken place in the four districts.

Two-third of the resettlement of IDPs have been completed. As the Vanni remained a region of pitched battle, de-mining has to be done extensively. Therefore, the unearthing of mines is still in progress in various parts of Vanni.

The Vanni under the clutches of the LTTE remained a `ghost region’ for several years. Innocent civilians in the region suffered. The Government has worked out several rehabilitation plans for the IDPs. But what we expect is that the resettlement of IDPs should be expedited. They had suffered and even after the end of the conflict they had to come across difficulties in the IDP centres in Vavuniya.

The Government is spending heavily on rehabilitation, reconstruction and in the resettlement process. Therefore, the International community should also come forward to share the burden and expedite the resettlement programs.

Q: There is information on the pro-LTTE activists becoming more active overseas. What is your view?

A: They are active without realising the ground realities in the North and the East in Sri Lanka. Those LTTE sympathisers are talking of various things including Trans National Government for their own survival and nothing else. When the conflict was in progress the LTTE sympathizers abroad were up on the deal in collecting and even extorting funds from expatriate Tamils. Therefore, even after the end of the conflict they are doing everything for their survival. But they should realise that their kith and kin are now happy with the end of the three decade old conflict. So they are all out to attract the international attention for their ulterior motives. But I am certain that the Tamil expatriates or the people affected by war in the country will not dance to their tunes in future.

Q: You were in the United Kingdom for the past several years What are your observations on the pro-LTTE activities in the west ?

A: There was a time the people in the west and their governments were curious about the LTTE. But with the breakdown of the peace process in 2006 the foreigners understood the true intents of the LTTE. During the last lap of the conflict last year the LTTE supporters made desperate attempts to attract the world attention in support of the outfit with rallies and demonstrations. But the sympathy surfaced only for the innocent civilians affected by the conflict and not for the LTTE.

The foreign governments were aware that the LTTE did not have any political agenda or meaningful diplomacy to find solutions for the political aspirations of its own people.

The LTTE sympathizers planned events to mourn the first year death anniversary of Prabhakaran. But there was hardly anyone present at those events. Earlier if there was an event organised by the LTTE the people had gathered in large numbers. However, this time the majority of Tamil expatriates showed a very little interest in sympathising with the LTTE.

Q: Your party, Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) has been playing a supportive role to the governments in power since 1991 in facing the challenges posed by the LTTE and establishing peace in the North and the East. How do you see the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa?

A: The EPDP was established with the intention of creating peace and democracy in the North and the East. Our party had to pay a very heavy price for its role in creating peace in the North and the East. We lost more than hundreds of our comrades. Our leader Douglas Devananda escaped attempts on his life more than ten times. He narrowly escaped some of the attacks by the LTTE. Despite the challenges our party served our people in the North and the East at its best. If we had not established a good rapport with the Governments in power there would have been hardly any party to address the grievances of our people particularly in the North during the darker days.

Other political parties from the North and East were talking politics when the innocent people were starving sans food, medicine and fuel. The EPDP was in the forefront in ensuring the steady supply of essential items when the Jaffna peninsula was cut off from the rest of the country.

The EPDP supported President Rajapaksa during the Presidential poll and at the Parliamentary polls. We appreciate the manner he dealt with the LTTE without giving room for its dirty tricks. Unlike his predecessors he played his part cautiously in defeating the LTTE. Therefore, we believe that he would even take bold initiatives in finding a solution to the political aspirations of Tamils. If a constructive solution is prepared the EPDP will definitely support to see the peaceful conditions in the country become more meaningful.

Q: How do you compare the post-conflict and the pre-conflict Jaffna Peninsula?

A: There were fears and uncertainty prevailed in the peninsula for three decades. It was virtually like the wartime Vietnam: Killing fields, death traps,bombings, shelling and Kangaroo courts and economic hardships!

Several attempts to make peace had failed. Whenever there was a peace initiative the people in the North and the East viewed it with great expectations. But the LTTE did not live upto the expectations of the people in the North and the East and finally the outfit dug its own grave.

The post-conflict North is now peaceful. The people are happy with all essential items reaching the North without any obstacle. Even the Jaffna Tamils who found shelter in Colombo and other parts of the country when the conflict was in progress are now returning to their own places.

Fishing, agriculture, and various other forms of economic activities have returned to normal. Many people are showing an interest in investments.

With no curfew at all in the region, festivals in the temples are taking place for long hours in the night. So I could say the post-conflict North is progressing steadily with the expectation of more and more constructive things to happen.

Q: There are complaints of anti social activities such as abductions, extortions, killings and robberies that are on the rise in Jaffna. What are your comments?

A: There are some elements trying to bring discredit to the Government and the EPDP. The EPDP played a key role along with the Security Forces and the Police in establishing law and order in the peninsula. Our party had even sorted out several disputes in the North. But the elements which are unable to digest the goodwill we enjoy with the people are trying to mess around with the peaceful atmosphere in the peninsula.

Some of the recent abductions were found to be due to some family problems. But certain irresponsible media institutions in Jaffna have used those incidents to tarnish the image of the EPDP.

Q: As an ally of the UPFA what sort of a settlement do you expect for the Tamil question?

A: Our country had gone through a bad patch with regard to the ethnic conflict. The attempts which were made with constructive treaties to settle the ethnic question had failed miserably in the past. The EPDP is for a solution based on the Indo-Lanka Accord.

More ingredients could be added to the accord to make it a success. Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna even had talks with President Rajapaksa on a political solution based on the Indo-Lanka Accord.

What the EPDP wants is a constructive political solution which could address the political aspirations of the Tamils. We cannot afford to make the same mistakes committed in the past.

The countries around us are progressing steadily. So to be on par with those countries we have to shed our petty differences. We believe the UPFA Government will take bold initiatives to solve the national question.

Q: What is your message to the expatriate Tamils?

A: The Tamils from the North and East sought shelter abroad when the situation began to aggravate in the early eighties. Now the people who have migrated to the west and to various other countries have established themselves extensively in their chosen fields.

Therefore, now they have to pay their attention towards their own people in the motherland. They should give priority for humanitarian activities.

Q: How do you see yourself as the Deputy Chairman of Committees?

A: It is another feather in my cap. While serving my constituency, I will do my best to uphold the democratic values in the country.

Floods affected more than 600,000 people...!!!

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Accelerated program to mitigate flood disaster

Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa along with Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Yang Xiuping observed the current flood situation in the Gamapaha district yesterday

* Floods affected more than 600,000 people

* Over 20 deaths due to flood related incidents

* 466 houses fully damaged

* Seven districts affected

* Gampaha, the worst hit

* Displaced sheltered in 77 centres

* Government allocates Rs. 34 million for people affected

* Immediate measures to remove unauthorised structures

blocking the flow of water

* President orders all relevant agencies to act together to meet the challenge

* Security Forces take the lead in assisting those affected

Just two weeks back the whole country was complaining about the unbearable heat. Occasional showers that lashed many parts of the country could not beat the heat even at midnight.

But things have changed so fast taking a U turn within a week. The same people who complained about the heat a week ago are now affected by floods that had displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

The number of people affected exceeded 600,000 on Friday evening creating a major disaster situation. The majority affected in the floods are from the Western Province itself and highest affected from the Gampaha district.

Over 20 persons lost their lives due to bad weather conditions and floods. The causes for these deaths range from electrocution, drowning and fall of trees.

On May 13 and 14, flash floods were reported from many parts of the Western province especially in Colombo and Gampaha districts. Even Matara and Galle districts were also affected due to heavy rains causing floods in some parts of the Southern province.The pause in the rainfall over the last weekend was a sigh of relief for people. But a sudden depression in the lower atmosphere around the island coupled with pre-monsoonal rains once again caused heavy rains on May 17 causing severe floods in many parts of the country including Gampaha, Colombo, Kalutara, Ratnapura, Kegalle, Puttalam and Nuwara Eliya districts.Water levels of Kelani River, Kalu Ganga and Gin Ganga rose up to flood levels causing severe floods in many districts.

The Worst situation was reported from Gampaha and Kalutara districts with many roads going under water crippling the day today lives of hundreds of thousands of people as many were displaced due to floods.Attendance at schools was reported below 40 per cent and many office workers got struck in heavy traffic and flood waters on their way to work.

Train services were affected severely with two tracks damaged due to floods leaving only one track operational in the Hunupitiya area.

According to Gamini Hettiarachchi, Director General of the Disaster Management Centre, floods reported during the week was the biggest flood situation that has been reported in decades as 606,072 people from 141,586 families have affected.

“In the recent past, such a large number of families were not affected in floods”, Hettiarachchi added. Therefore this is a major flood situation, he added.

The Government reacted to the situation smoothly with all Government mechanisms put in place to cater to the needs of the flood affected people and speedy action taken to create a better drainage and canal system for the smooth flow of rain water.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa had an emergency meeting on Tuesday with all relevant agencies to discuss the situation.

He instructed all Local authorities, The Home Affairs Ministry and the Divisional Secretaries to act together to cater to the needs of flood victims.The situation got worse as pre-monsoonal rains continued to lash many parts of the country including the hydro-catchment areas.

The Victory Day parade that was scheduled for May 20 to mark the first anniversary of the victory over terrorism was postponed in view of the bad weather.

Although, heavy rains are a good news for the Ceylon Electricity Board, they too were affected severely as some of the grid substations in Kelaniya and Colombo North had to switched off after going under water.

Even the Bandaranaike International Airport got affected as access roads to the Katunayake airport from Minuwangoda went under water, due to overflow of the Attanagalu Oya and Ja-Ela.

Ja-Ela-Ekala and Ja-Ela-Minuwangoda Roads also went under water severely affecting transport services.

Many roads in the Kalutara district including Horana-Kalutara, Horana-Anguruwathota and Horana-Mathugama Roads went under water. Even the roads in Ratnapura and Kegalle districts were rendered impassable due to floods.

The number of families affected in the Gampaha district alone was 47,303 as at Friday noon and the number increased yesterday. Katana, Kelaniya, Wattala and Ja-Ela were the worst affected areas. In Wattala alone 51,624 people belonging to 11,651 families were affected.

In Kalutara district 88,344 people belonging to 20,569 families were affected. The worst affected in the Kalutara district was the Panadura Divisional Secretariat area with 27,914 people got affected due to floods.

Kolonnawa, Moratuwa, Thimbirigasyaya and Colombo Divisional Secretariat were the worst affected from the Colombo district - 8,375 families in the Kolonnawa, 3,790 families in Moratuwa, 4,113 in Thimbirigasyaya and 10,553 families in Colombo have been affected. Altogether 142,450 people have been affected in the Colombo district, according to the Disaster Management Centre.In the Galle district 86,484 families have been affected with the highest number 46,200 reported from the Hikkaduwa Divisional Secretariat area.

“To meet the immediate requirement of the affected people the Disaster Management Centre issued Rs. 2.5 million to all flood affected districts,” the Director General of DMC, Hettiarachchi said.Apart from this the Government has already allocated Rs. 34 million for the affected districts. According to Hettiarachchi Rs. 13 million for Colombo, Rs. 5.8 million for Galle, Rs. 5 million for Gampaha, Rs. 7 million for Kalutara, Rs. 300,000 for Kegalle, Rs. 1.5 million for the Ratnapura and Rs 1 million for Puttalam have been allocated to meet the requirements of the displaced people.

They have been sheltered at 77 schools and other public places.

Ministers, MPs and Government officials were seen among the flood affected. Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, Social Services Minister Felix Perera, were among the first to visit the flood affected people in Gampaha to find the root cause for the floods.

“The Security Forces and the Police also deployed their teams to evacuate and rescue the marooned people”, Hettiarachchi added.

The Sri Lanka Navy deployed 30 Naval teams in Minuwangoda, Ja-Ela, Seeduva, Kotugoda, Kimbulapitiya, Gampaha, Katana, Kelaniya, Biyagama and Kolonnawa areas to support the flood affected people along with 30 Naval boats, Navy Spokesman Captain Athula Senerath said.

In addition Navy teams were also deployed in Lunuwila in Puttalama district and in Kalutara and Ratnapura districts.The Navy also did a great job helping the Airport bound people from Minuwangoda to reach the airport as the road was flooded in Naiwala area.

“The SLN supported the people to go to the airport through the flooded roads and also for the passengers arriving from the airport to reach their destinations crossing the floods throughout the week,” Captain Senerath added.

Navy Commander Vice Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe visited the flood affected areas in Gampaha on May 17 and 20 to inspect the Navy personnel helping the flood affected people.

The Sri Lanka Army also deployed 2000 personnel to assist the flood affected people in Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara districts.

“The Sri Lanka Army also assisted to widen the estuaries at Keravalapitiya and Kalutara to speed the smooth flow of flood water to the sea”, a spokesman for the Army said.

Director General of the Disaster Management Centre, Hettiarachchi said discussions are now on to mitigate the flood situation.

“The current situation is due to heavy rains caused by the depression and cyclonic weather conditions. But we are also taking steps to evolve an efficient drainage system to streamline the flow of rain water during the rainy season,” he added.

The relevant ministries and the local government authorities are now working together to achieve this task under the directives of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, he added.

“It was due to the shortsighted acts of the people through unauthorised construction, invasion of water retention areas by filling those lands and the blockade of canals and drains through dumping solid garbage, caused immeasurable damages to the people during floods.

So we must act fast to remedy this situation to minimise floods in the future”, Hettiarachchi added.Although the situation was improving slightly yesterday the warning issued by the National Building Research Organisation about possible landslides in Ratnapura, Kalutara districts and a few other districts in the hilly areas still stand.

As an active monsoonal rain period has been predicted by the Meterological Department alarm bells are ringing about worse disasters if precautionary measures are not taken to mitigate disasters of this nature.
Produced by Lake House Copyright © 2010 The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I would love to be doing something which involves eradicating the poverty with the poor nations..!!!

Newly-elected Lankan Councilor for Newham Borough, UK says
Politicians can make the world a better place for everybody

By Sujeeva Nivunhella

Mrs.s Shah, a Sri Lankan was elected a Councillor for Newham Borough for the second successive time.

"It gives me a great happiness to be in politics because as a politician I have an opportunity, through whatever means available, to change the world to become a better place", she beamed.

"The decisions we make enable to better the lives of citizens. The vital characteristic of a politician should be to place the community before self-interest. I see my constituents every Saturday to find out their needs and how I can help them to solve their problems", she said in an interview with The Sunday Island.

"I have a team of officers who helps me in this process. In my last four years in office, I was appointed by the Mayor as the lead councillor for East Ham which has nine council seats. I was leading on all the issues which mattered for East Ham. Mayoral appointments are happening on the May 27, 2010 and hope to be reappointed", she noted.

The following are excerpts of the interview with Mrs. Shah:

Q: What’s your family background in Sri Lanka?

A: My mother is Indrani Palliyaguru from Hambantota and my father is P. M. Dissanayake Lenagala of Kegalle. I was born in Hamabantota. I am grateful to my parents for what they have done for me. Their unconditional commitment and love made me an unselfish human being. Therefore, it enabled me to enter British politics. Words cannot express the gratitude that I have for them. I studied at Ladies College in Colombo up to A/L. Then I studied in Russia and came to London thereafter. Subsequently, I studied at UEL and completed PGCE in Education to become a teacher in London. I have worked with British Gas for a long time.

Q: When did you migrate to London and how did you meet your husband?

A: Early 1991. I met him in London when I was on holiday in 1986. He works for TFL as a manager My Husband- is Ash Shah. By origin he is a North Indian but he has never been to India. He loves Sri Lanka and travels to Sri Lanka quite often. He plays a major part in my political life and has always been my political advisor. He is a great father. Therefore I am quite relaxed and I depend on him to do the children’s homework, picking and dropping kids etc.

I have three children, (a daughter and two sons). Dinakshi, Sachin and Vishan. I think even though my children live in London they have very minimum luxuries in life. They do not have any computerised toys. Televisions are not allowed in bedrooms. The internet connection for the computer is in my bedroom. I believe in children having relationships with human beings than with modern technology. I have taught my children the lesson of ‘Give more than you receive’. I spend quality time with my children. I only go to places where I can take my children and enjoy as a family. I enjoy the responsibility of being a mother. I have put many career opportunities on hold because of my commitment to my children. I hope my kids will grow up to be responsible and respected citizens in this world. I think this is the only personal self desire that I have.

Q: How did you enter politics?

A: The first time I was elected to the London local government as councillor in 2006 May. I am a councillor for Newham Borough which is in East London. I managed to win my seat for the second time and got re-elected last week.

Q: What are your views on British politics?

A: As a Sri Lankan woman it gives me a great happiness to be active in British politics. I have learnt many things by being in the political arena in London. The relationship that a politician has with the constituent is a two way deal. We perform a monthly walkabout to find out the burning issues of the residents while keeping the promises that we made before the elections. While I was campaigning for the elections, I had to go to every house to talk to the people. I had a team of thirty people to help me. I was not allowed to even buy them a cup of tea as this could be construed as corruption. I had to declare even a cup of tea in to my election expenses. I would describe politics as a power with a purpose.. My personal greed and desires have become minimal, while the desire of serving others and making their lives better have become a priority. Commitment is very high in the agenda. My personal contact details and telephone numbers are in the public domain so that people can access me easily. If someone leaves me a message on my phone I always make sure to reply. I always reply to my e-mails within 48 hours.

Q: Are you happy in politics?

A: According to my Buddhist beliefs, I thinks I am on the right path of life. It is about giving more than I receive and this gives me a personal satisfaction. I never thought that politics will go in hand in hand with Buddhism, but it certainly does. If you want to be a public servant I think the person need to be unselfish and not greedy.

Q: What are your future plans?

A: I want to climb the political ladder. I do have some plans to go forward in my political career. I want to work for developing countries. I think there is so much to be done in the developing countries. I think in the developed world, the citizens are well fed and looked after by their leaders. There are great strategies in place for the citizens. The social system is geared up to support the disadvantaged residents. I think my experiences and knowledge could be used to work in projects where it involves poor countries. I would love to be doing something which involves eradicating the poverty with the poor nations.


The regime cannot offer real devolution to the Tamils, even if it wanted to, and that’s the secret..!!!

Rajapakse can’t, not won’t, devolve power
The limits of scorched earth strategies

by Kumar David

What do Poltava (1709), Borodino (1812) and Stalingrad (1943) have in common? They are the three celebrated instances when the cruel Russian winter spreading across its vast expanses conspired with an unrelenting scorched earth strategy to starve, dispirit and conquer invading armies. Charles XII was the greatest soldier of Sweden’s then mighty Northern European Empire and never lost a battle till nature, the scorched countryside and Peter the Great conspired together at the Battle of Poltava. The retreat of the Grand Army from Moscow is legend; the aged and indolent General Kutuzov did not quite win the Battle of Borodino but winter and hunger wore out, exhausted and broke the spirit of Napoleon’s army. When Friedrich von Paulus (the first German Field Marshal ever taken prisoner), 12 generals and 91,000 men (all that remained of nearly 400,000) surrendered at Stalingrad in the bitter cold and without supplies, it was the turning point of WW2.

Why do I bother you with all this? Well on the smaller scale that befits our island, the LTTE twice resorted to something not entirely different from scorched earth – well not exactly, but it drove the whole population with it and left ghost towns to invading armies. The first time it achieved a long and uneasy standoff, which however carried in its womb a catastrophe; the second time was that catastrophe. Last week I wrote about Prabaharan’s place as a military leader; today I want to look at some broader issues. Lanka’s military historians are silent, so let’s see if my amateurish foray yields insights. No, I am not a nutty story telling professor; there is a method in my madness; there is always a contemporary political event or movement I am trying to influence.

The Vanni mini-state

When the LTTE was expelled from the Jaffna Peninsula in 1995, it herded the people out with it, overnight, into the Vanni wilderness – the Muslims had been kicked out in 1991. It did not want to leave behind any Tamils for the Sinhala government to administer; the Tamils were its property! Most Jaffna folk eventually drifted back, but the exodus and in 1996 the flattening of the army garrison at Mullaitivu (1,200 soldiers died here, more than at Elephant Pass), allowed it to consolidate a separate state of sorts, a mini-state in about 15% of the Island’s territory. The mini-state was focussed in the Vanni but its partial remit spread into the Eastern Province and the Jaffna Peninsula. This was territorial dual power.

[Lanka experienced dual power twice in quick succession. In 1989-91 it was state-type conventional dual power – the government, initially a bit on the run, and in parallel a punchi anduva (small government) – a condition which could end only in the revolutionary overthrow of the state or the eradication of the ‘revolutionaries’. Dual power always has to end in decisive transformation of state or obliteration of challenger].

The Vanni was a well administered mini-state with efficient departments, competent ‘civil servants’ and a functional police force. Irrigation, agriculture, forestry and road development were actively pursued. A customs service collected, I think well over Rs 100 million a month, from taxes on goods carried by trucks on the A9 and levies imposed on shops and businesses, mainly in Jaffna town. It was not a wowser ethos either; my dissolute friends and I had no difficulty, on the couple of occasions we drove through, in locating bars serving the stuff that cheers, a few steps off the A9, in Kilinochchi.

Three years ago in the Sunday Island of April 1, 2007, in the context of the LTTE’s fledgling air-force, I drew attention to the technology base emerging in the mini-state: "In a modern knowledge-based world the true measure of progress is the sophistication of human resources capital; technology is not things, not machines, gadgets and electronics, rather technology is the knowledge and ability inside people’s heads."

Nevertheless, and you may find this hard to believe, it was a shy administration. Oh yes the LTTE had no problem confronting philistine Sinhala chauvinists. Who would, they are primitive and bigoted? It was shy of meeting real critics who could take its ideology and practice apart, component by component. Let me illustrate with a personal anecdote.

I knew Nadesan (LTTE IGP) quite well from his time in the LSSP and from when he was with us in the pre-NSSP Vama group in the 1970s; he was Mahendran then. After 2000 whenever we drove through the Vannie, or when in Jaffna during the interregnum, I tried to contact him to ask about my nephew on my wife’s side, Sanjeeva Goonewardene. Sanjeeva, an air-force pilot, was shot down over the sea by LTTE gunners when approaching to land at Pallali. There had been sightings, and rumours that he was held prisoner were rife; I was desperate to find out more. Nadesan, unaware of what I was after, consistently avoided me, fearing political criticism and an inquisition; or perhaps his handlers prohibited him. I have found the same in the diaspora LTTE, even former Peradeniya students, even the best and the brightest. They know they are wrong; they can’t face the Marxist left.

To get back to my theme, the mini-state carried with it the seeds of glory or of obliteration. Its remit on many fronts was very limited; there was only a joker of a judiciary, no formal body of law, central bank, banking system, or currency – farcically, Colombo paid many of the bills. But that was not the problem. Had Thamil Eelam emerged out of the Vanni crucible, these things would have worked themselves out.

The crucial point is this; the corollary to territorial dual power is that the armed forces of a state (even mini) mutate with an unstoppable logic into formal armies, navies and an emergent air-force. The guerrilla force fades away – once formalised it cannot turn back the clock and revert to its former self. Thereafter, conventional war becomes inevitable, a war which the mini-state is fated to lose. Demographics, resources and international balances make this an eventual certainty, sans a political settlement of the national question. And that, as has now become clear, will not happen without a revolutionary transformation in the Sinhala South. As dark a Greek tragedy as Euripides ever wrote!

The hopeless exodus

Oft in these columns I have echoed Mercutio, "a plague on both your houses", meaning, damn the LTTE for driving three hundred thousand people into the wilderness for its own selfish benefit, and damn the government and the armed forces for dastardly bombing and shelling of civilians. To a degree this is now past history; the LTTE leaders are all dead, and a massive mandate at two elections has shielded government leaders from the trepidation of war crimes investigation for the time being. (An electoral landslide in Sudan has had a similar effect on The Hague’s charges against Omar Hassan al-Bashir).

I don’t know anybody who sold the LTTE short, politically, in 2008 and gained fat credibility in May 2009; yes, I too was selling, but selling long (if you remember so was Sarath Fonseka with his forecast of prolonged guerrilla war after the conventional phase). Foolishly, many Tamils in the diaspora were buying, and buying long at that, till quite late in the day. The reasons for the debacle were what every intelligent person knew would eventually prevail (demographics, state power, resources and international balances); the surprise was the speed and drama of the collapse. The transformation of the guerrilla into the brass and buttons of soldier, colonel and commander in chief, accelerated the catastrophe immanent in the womb of the mini-state, more than had been foreseen.

And what about the scorched earth, the exodus? After the fall of Kilinochchi the LTTE leadership knew it was finished; dragging the people along was a desperate attempt to construct a human shield for its own preservation. (Yes many Vanni Tamils did go along voluntarily; they feared state brutality more than the LTTE). The exodus tactic may have worked if Delhi had a different take from Colombo on Tamil civilians, but it did not. Both had the same take: ‘Bomb the bastards (the leaders) into oblivion and hang civilian casualties’. Moral of story; because it works invariably in Russia and once here in 1995, does not mean it will work again when trapped with back to India and to the Indian Ocean.

The odds against a settlement

I do not know whether the government will trot out something that the TNA, standing on the quicksand of post-war gloom, can be coerced into accepting at Indian prodding; that remains to be seen. What I do believe is that the Rajapakse government will rule out meaningful devolution and self-administration. The problem is the way in which the regime is stabilised within Sinhala polity. This has often been said in recent years but last week I came across a striking way of putting it across. Paraphrasing Tisaranee; the dynastic ambitions of the family will be tolerated by Sinhala polity only so long as it stands as the champion of Sinhala nationalism. Snap that thread and it will be the end of dynastic ambitions; the Rajapakse family lives and feeds on this quintessential symbiosis.

The regime cannot offer real devolution to the Tamils, even if it wanted to, and that’s the secret. Sensible liberals, Indian commentators and even William Blake are on record: "OK now, the LTTE is finished, the government is strong and stable; no problem, devolve and settle the national question". Unfortunately they are only counting events, but not accounting for the aforesaid symbiosis. I think the Cassandras have it right, but we will see within months, if not weeks, when the constitutional draft is unveiled.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

The way to go forward through a process of reconciliation will help to heal the wounds and "implies a process, that of restoring the shattered ..!!!

The way to go forward is reconciliation,
the way to go backward is to hark back to the past

Gnana Moonesinghe

The way to go forward through a process of reconciliation will help to heal the wounds and "implies a process, that of restoring the shattered relationship between the two actors." Harking back to the past can only result in creating further distrust and hostility especially in the immediate period following the end of the war "where memories of the violence perpetrated by the warring groups are still fresh and the social vestiges of destruction still quite visible".

One thing one learns early in life is to get on with it. This is even more urgent in the post conflict environment where there is no time to wait and watch; there is no time to keep looking back; the only option left is to move forward and look to making a better future. When the unending harking to the end of the war is bleated ever so frequently, fear enters the minds of the people especially those affected by the conflict. They begin to wonder if they are once again getting into a vacuum where ideas for forward thinking are drying up.

There is no other substitute but to advance forward to enjoy the peace that has been earned at great cost to the finances of our country, to the men and women who fought in the war and died fighting and to those who are left behind with permanent scars from the war. Every day since May 19 we give thanks to the peace we enjoy, and give thanks to all those who made it become a reality. There is no need to have numerous commemorations of an event that is already deeply etched in the minds of everyone lest it be misunderstood to be triumphalism.

Since the fight was within the country amongst those who have claims to ownership of the country, it is time plans are formulated to heal the wounds of the war; the traumas of the war.

Are getting about the process of peace making in the right way? The people in all walks of life are relieved that the threat that hung over their lives and kept them under conditions of siege, made the place seem a fortified country, and had people cowering behind security is no more.

The forces and the planners and strategists who gave leadership to end this war possible can never be forgotten by all peace loving people. They need no plaques or monuments to be remembered. They will live in people’s memories for ever.

The task for the government now is to initiate the building of peace structures that will encourage dialogue to overcome the bitterness of the past. As demonstrated in the peace processes in the past in other countries, the building of ‘social reconciliation strategies’ involve the establishment of Truth Commissions, workshops organized by competent personnel for conflict resolution and the incorporation of grassroots in peace commissions to consciously create a channel for mutual understanding and through interaction among groups to work out "mutual needs, rights and obligations". This can only happen if groups engaged in conflict interact among themselves and with the government.

It is said that the purpose of a Truth Commission is "restitution and not revenge". The President has appointed a "Lessons learnt and reconciliation commission". How relevant is this body to the task of reconciliation in the country? The mandate ( as reported in the press) is to investigate the ceasefire and "the sequence of events that followed thereafter up to 2009"; pin responsibility for the events related to the above and ensure that such course of actions will not be repeated; the methodology by which any person or persons affected by this can be effected; the institutional administrative and legislative measures to be taken to prevent recurrence of such concerns and to promote further national unity and reconciliation among communities and to make any such other recommendations with reference to any of the matters that have been inquired into under the terms of this Warrant.

The relevance of any findings from this may or may not bear on the requirements for the march forward. Regardless of this observation there can be no faulting on the selection made to steer this commission. They are all men and women of impeccable professionalism, integrity and are not known to have any agendas of their own. Such a body should be able to steer their investigations to be more meaningful for future strategies to be followed for the people of the North and East. Skeptics have had misgivings, and not without cause either as to whether this would be yet another commission sans results or a report. Given the past record of performance in public life of the members of this commission, they will in all probability give the country some directives for the ‘restitution’ and reconciliation that we are looking for. Otherwise it will be a sterile exercise.

Quite apart from the government at this point there is an emerging and obvious responsibility for the Tamil leadership to take the onus on themselves and make plans to heal the wounds of the community. The people in the North and the East have faced day in and day out the mortars and the shelling and the privations of war over these thirty long years. Let it not be forgotten that the Tamils were also under stress from their many saviours who did not brook any individual who failed to fall in line to their drill, mentally or physically. They too have earned their peace though they are living today in privation, deprived of amenities that no one in the 21st century should be without.

What then should be assigned as the priority number one for these people? It has to be privacy and time to think in the space now available. They have also shown in no uncertain way that this is their choice as well (the majority), by abstaining from voting at both the recently held polls. If some among the Tamils voted for the parties working with the government it is because there is general fatigue after warring with the government over five to six decades. It must also be because the government avenues are going to be the sources from whom homes, schools, hospitals , law and order, roads, buses and railways and above all employment opportunities are going to reach them. The Jaffna man has been known for hard work and for his practical approach to life. The choices he has made and is making will demonstrate his mindset and the adjustment made to accommodate to the options available.

It is therefore incumbent upon all who can have any impact to give them the peace they so deserve. There is no need to have them agitated by celebrations for war heroes’ day in the North which again ends in only stirring up the ghosts of the past. In any case to some it may not have the same meaning it does to the politicians who are whipping up emotions that better be not given expression again. What good can come of the exercise to commemorate heroes’ day except to try and revive the memory of Prabhakaran who should at best be forgotten, a mirage that failed because he failed the Tamils.

There is much talk and many demands for a political solution. Most people forget that the 13th Amendment that was passed in parliament was to do just that. Practical politics demand that concentration is laid on working what is already available in good faith. It is true that some clauses of the Amendment have not been implemented, some objectionable intrusions take place in the provincial council terrain by the centre, and equally seriously there are military personnel where there should have been civilians manning some of the important government posts. But there is enough space to give an effective participatory element in local government if there is a will. No doubt this should not be the case but working within systems of imperfections, compromise is the only available instrument within grasp. If what is available is worked with diligence and in a way that the centre no longer fears the Provincial Council as an institution that will endanger the unitary character of the country much more can be achieved. Whether one likes it or not there is a majority and minority in this country. The sooner that accommodation is practiced as a quality to be adopted for securing the needs of the people, the better will it be for everyone. Perhaps it is necessary to remind ourselves that what is already in the Constitution need not be touted as if this provision is not available. Working with the ‘deficiencies’ and looking to fix them at a later date will be the only available alternative. This will be the Machiavellian option for future success.

Livelihood is what the people in the North and the East need. If they can get their income generation projects activated homes will come up, houses will be repaired and made habitable, and people can finally put their heads down under their roofs to savour the peace they have got.

Children will begin to laugh and play, go to school and look forward to happier times. When children laugh it will find an echo in the hearts of the parents who will true to their characteristic nature become innovative and find ways of ensuring their children’s welfare. This certainly cannot come from harking to the old and lost causes that will only create divisiveness creating once again anger and despair. If any of this is whipped up again it is the duty of civil society to try and find ways of removing the source for such emotions.

This is why when South Africa had to deal with the issues of the post apartheid period they consciously made several moves to bring about the healing process. Not only was the Truth and Reconciliation Commission established with the blessings of the politicians, the religious leaders and of the larger international community, many strategies were set up to smoothen the process. It is to be hoped our Commission of eminent people will finally hit the ball to the boundary to win our own match.


The Inaugural Sessions of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE)

Saturday, May 22, 2010 Press Release
The Inaugural Sessions of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE)

The first gathering of elected members of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) took place on May 17-19 at the historic National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where the Constitution of the United States of America was adopted in 1787. The delegates came from Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Switzerland UK and USA. These delegates were also joined via video conference with their counter parts located at venues in London and Geneva. These delegates came from France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and UK.

The sessions started with a moving tribute to those who were massacred by the armed forces of the Government of Sri Lanka last year. Francis Boyle, Professor of International Law and Advisory Committee member, and Ms. Janani Jannanyagam representing Tamils Against Genocide were the guest speakers in the first session. They highlighted the war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan Government and the genocide suffered by the Tamil people. In his address to the Assembly Prof. Boyle said that the Tamils, who are subjected to genocide, have the right to establish an independent state as a remedial measure.

The Secretary General of the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) in the United States, Mr. Domach Rauch, observed the similarities between the liberation struggles of the two peoples. He noted that the TGTE, being a democratic exercise, was a step in the right direction towards independence.

Mr. Ramsey Clark, a former United States Attorney General, commented that the drafting of the US constitution by the founding fathers took place in Philadelphia and therefore that this was an appropriate place to hold the inaugural event of the TGTE. He further emphasized unity amongst the Tamils.

One elected delegate from each country represented in the Assembly and the Coordinator for the Formation Committee for the TGTE, Mr Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, also delivered speeches in the inaugural sessions.

In the second day sessions, following speeches by the elected members of the TGTE, Ms. Karen Parker, a Human Rights activist and Humanitarian Law attorney as well as an Advisory Committee member, addressed the Assembly on the ways, means and functions of a Constituent Assembly.

The delegates then met to elect an interim chief executive of the TGTE. Mr. V. Rudrakumaran was elected as the first chief executive of the TGTE. Following the election of Mr. Rudrakumarn, the delegates selected seven additional members to the Interim Executive Committee. The members of the committee are Mahinthan Sivasubramanium; Sam Sangarasivam; Gerard Francis; Selva Selvanathan; Vithya Jeyashanker; Sasithar Maheswaran and Janarthanan Pulendran

The elected members of the legislative body then transformed themselves into a Constituent Assembly. The Assembly then formed a Constitutional Affairs Committee to draft the constitution of the TGTE. In addition to the Constitutional Affairs Committee, the Assembly also formed the following committees: the Committee for Education, Heritage, Health and Sports; the Committee for Trade and Commerce; the Committee for International Support (media, lobbying, advocacy); the Committee for Internally Displaced People and Human rights (Refugees); the Committee for the Welfare of the Families of Martyrs and Cadres; the Committee for the Protection of Resources; the Committee for the Release of Prisoners of War; the Committee for Economic Affairs; the Committee for the Investigation of War Crimes; and the Committee for Women and At Risk Groups (children and elderly). The Assembly also decided to appoint an expert panel to provide assistance to the above committees.

The Assembly had named Mr. Pon Balendran as the Speaker for the first Assembly of the TGTE.

Professor Peter Schalk, member of the Advisory Committee, and Mr. Elaventhan, an elected member of the TGTE from Canada, addressed the Assembly during the closing ceremony.

The Assembly also formally invited the remaining members of the Advisory Committee to continue to serve until the constitution was adopted. Before concluding the Assembly recognized and thanked Professor Sriskandarajah for his invaluable help in facilitating the first meeting of the Assembly.

The convening of the First Assembly was seen as culmination of a year-long effort of the Eelam Tamil Diaspora. Delegates also took a Declaration of Commitment in which they pledged, that until the Constitution drafting is completed, they will carry out the TGTE’s functions through the Interim Executive mechanism and that the process of constitution drafting for the TGTE will be in accordance with the Guiding Principles of Advisory Committee report in order to work for an independent and sovereign state of Tamil Eelam.

© Copyright 2009

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

MOURNING? OR CELEBRATIONS? SINHALA ARMY ORDERED TO ALL Offices, Schools, Shops, Public Markets & People of Jaffna to hoist SINHALA-SL-FLAG!

SLA instructs public on celebrating its Mu’l’l’ivaaikkal victory in Jaffna peninsula
[TamilNet, Monday, 17 May 2010, 20:18 GMT]

Sri Lanka Army (SLA) high command in Palaali military head quarters released Monday a media directive to Jaffna dailies calling all government offices, schools, shops, public markets and people, in Jaffna peninsula to hoist the Sri Lanka National flag in their places Tuesday, celebrating the first anniversary of SLA Mu’l’livaaikkal victory, sources in Jaffna said. Meanwhile, SLA has also announced that more than 600 young women held in Thellippazhai SLA Special Rehabilitation Camp and Kaithadi SLA detention camp are to be released in an event to be held in Jaffna Veeraisngham Hall Tuesday, the sources added.

SLA, however, did not reveal the particulars of the young women to be released Tuesday.

It is learnt that a similar event is to be held in Vavuniyaa Tuesday.

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FINAL WAR: LTTE succeeded in causing chaos on the front and forcing the Army to retreat about 2 km..!!!

Killed, cremated and ashes thrown to the sea
By Shamindra Ferdinando

When did LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran die on the banks of the Nanthikadal lagoon during its last attempt to break through an army cordon? What happened to LTTE Intelligence Wing leader Shanmugaligam Sivashanker alias Pottu Amman, whose body was never found among several hundred bodies recovered following the last battle?

The Army finished off LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran on the banks of the Nanthikadal lagoon on the morning of May 19, 2009, though a section of the security establishment and the media say the terrorist leader was killed on the 18th.

Army headquarters credited officers and men of the 4VIR (Fourth Battalion of Vijayaba Infantry Regiment) for Prabhakaran’s demise along with dozens of his trusted cadres in a fire fight at about 7 am. The then Army Commander Gen. Sarath Fonseka came on Rupavahini to announce the recovery of Prabhakaran’s body by the 4 VIR, while the SLAF flew his erstwhile friend,

Vinayagamoorthy Muralidaran alias Karuna to identify the body. The announcement was made close on the heels of pro-LTTE Tamilnet declaring that the LTTE leader was safe. Ironically, the Tamilnet based its news item on a statement attributed to chief LTTE procurement agent Kumaran Padmanathan alias ‘KP’, who ended up in Sri Lankan custody a few months later.

The VIR battalion had been attached to the 53 Division, which had moved from the Jaffna peninsula southwards and fought its way to the final battle.

A source said Prabhakaran had a fresh wound on his head at the time of the recovery of his body. That was evidence Prabhakaran was shot during the May 19 battle. Had he being shot on the previous day, the Army would have known it, he said, adding he appeared to have had a shave within hours of the final confrontation.

Inclement weather forced the government to cancel a Victory Day parade by tri-services and the police scheduled for May 20 to celebrate the first anniversary of the conclusion of the war.

Prabhakaran’s son Charles Anthony was killed on May 18 while fleeing in an army bus seized by the LTTE during confrontations on the Vanni front. The LTTE launched attacks on several positions held by the Army with suicide cadres targeting the first line of defences at a point vulnerable to a raid. The LTTE succeeded in causing chaos on the front and forcing the Army to retreat about 2 km, but they never managed to penetrate the next cordon. Charles Anthony’s group had commandeered a bus and an ambulance belonging to the Army but the two vehicles had taken two different directions in an obvious bid to confuse the Army. One terrorist travelling in the ambulance had sent out a radio message indicating the LTTE leader was with him, thereby drawing the attention of the forces to the ambulance.

An official said: "They tried to confuse ground forces and create a situation in which Prabhakaran and Pottu Amman could fight their way to the dense jungles. But troops intercepted and annihilated all three groups, including that of Sea Tiger leader Soosai."

Some captured LTTE cadres had claimed that Pottu Amman took cyanide after being wounded. His wife too had taken cyanide, though her body was never found.

Contrary to reports at that time, the LTTE never tried to escape through a naval cordon in place. The elite Special Boat Squadron, Rapid Action Boat Squadron (RABS) and Fast Attack Craft (FACs) threw their full weight behind the blockade, which forced the enemy to fight its way through the Army and take refuge in the jungle. The LTTE never had an opportunity to evacuate the LTTE leadership by air, though some believed an attempt was possible. But as part of the overall security measures to meet such an eventuality, the SLAF had stationed a pair of jets at China Bay.

Had Prabhakaran, his family and top lieutenants escaped to the jungles, the Navy would have been blamed for the lapse, sources said. To the credit of the Navy, the units deployed at sea captured Soosai’s wife, while fleeing in a boat manned by an LTTE intelligence wing cadre. They were on their way to India.

Within 24 hours after the final battle, the Army cremated several hundred bodies, including that of Prabhakaran and his family and threw their ashes to sea.

A senior officer told The Island that the Army wanted to finish the job as quickly as possible. Gen. Fonseka in an interview with the ITN, declared that the offensives to liberate the East (August 2006-August 2007) and Vanni/North (March 2007-May 2009) could be named tsunami I and tsunami II.

The military said that the LTTE had made a desperate attempt to facilitate at least a section of its leadership to escape by having Prabhakaran, his son and Soosai in separate groups, while attaching Pottu Amman to the leader’s unit.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

UNICEF Rep in Sri Lanka Philippe Duamelle: The innovative program had been successful in helping some of Sri Lanka's most marginalized children..!!!

Willow replaces gun for former child soldiers

Gopi, 16, makes a dash and lunges to take the catch. "You're out!" she yells. Elated, with her short hair bobbing from under her cap, she joins the rest of her team to celebrate the victory.

A former child soldier, Gopi is part of an innovative sport-for-development program in conflict-torn Sri Lanka. Through the vehicle of cricket, partners including UNICEF, the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Government of Sri Lanka are working to help rehabilitate former combatants like Gopi.

Child recruitment

LTTE child soldiers

Life was quite different a year ago, when Gopi was abducted by the military group known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and taken to one of their training camps in Sri Lanka's Northern Province.

Forced to work as a driver for the LTTE, Gopi would have to transport those killed or wounded in Sri Lanka's long civil conflict. Twice she tried to escape, but her cropped hair - typical for a LTTE girl combatant - made her easily identifiable and she was caught.

Throughout almost three decades of civil strife, many Sri Lankan children were abducted and recruited by armed groups. Since 2002, UNICEF has registered some 7,000 of them - likely only a fraction of the real number of child soldiers throughout the country.

Gopi did finally manage to escape. Just before the close of the war in May 2009, she surrendered to the government forces.

"We were registered by UNICEF and were taken to a special rehabilitation centre in [the capital] Colombo," she said. "I started studying again and made lots of friends."

'Beyond the boundaries' of sport

Since the end of the conflict, nearly 600 children formerly associated with armed groups have benefited from UNICEF-supported education, vocational, recreational and psycho-social activities.

A key aspect of rehabilitation is 'Cricket Peer Leader' training - a unique sport-for-development partnership with the ICC, UNICEF, the Government of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Cricket and the non-governmental organization Cricket for Change UK.

"Cricket can be rightly proud of helping to develop a project which goes beyond the boundaries of our great sport," said ICC Chief Executive Haroon Logart.

Gopi was among the first children to benefit from a week-long training on 'Street 20', an accessible version of cricket involving limited equipment. "I really enjoyed myself and especially learned about team work and leadership," she said.

Leaders off the field

Beyond helping children learn the sport, the Cricket Peer Leader program also helps children appreciate the values of trust, respect and fair-play off the cricket field.

UNICEF Representative in Sri Lanka Philippe Duamelle said that the program had been successful in helping some of Sri Lanka's most marginalized children. "We are using the power of sport through this great partnership to reach out to vulnerable children and help them realize their full potential," he said.

With the support of Sri Lanka Cricket and UNICEF, the Cricket Peer Leaders will return to their homes and run their own cricket programs, reaching out to other disadvantaged children. "Now, I want to teach others what I have learned," said Gopi.

Source: United Nations

Children's Fund (UNICEF)

NESL have a very heavy military presence that is nearly totally drawn from the ethnic majority Sinhala community...!!!

Indigenous reality and prospect of reconciliation without devolution
by Jehan Perera

The government appears to have made a hard headed assessment about the need to address local and international concerns about the human rights situation and the ethnic conflict by taking steps to form a Commission on Reconciliation. In its statement regarding the appointment of this Commission the government stated that it was due to the overriding interest in the need for restorative justice by the Sri Lankan people. Its findings, it said, would seek to take the Sri Lankan nation towards the common goals of a multi-ethnic polity, in a spirit of cooperation, partnership and friendship, learning the lessons from recent history to ensure that there will be no recurrence of such tragic conflict in the future.

The government also stated that recommendations would be sought on the nature of compensation to be granted to the victims and their dependents who had suffered from the conflict situation. The commission will also look for institutional, administrative and welfare measures relating to the post conflict phase and would look into the issues of reconstruction, rehabilitation and reconciliation. However, government spokespersons have been categorical in stating that they will not copy alien foreign models such as South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, but will look to an indigenous approach to the issue of reconciliation and lessons learned in terms of the recent conflict.

The appointment of this commission will be particularly helpful to the Sri Lankan government in dealing with issues of human rights in the last phase of the war and good governance in the post-war phase about which several international organizations and governments have been expressing their concerns. The appointment of a Reconciliation Commission could prove to be a suitable governmental response to ease the pressures on this issue. The international community is generally respectful of national initiatives that are taken with regard to internal issues of governance. They would generally prefer to give the government the benefit of the doubt rather than to pre-judge the issue.

The government’s track record with regard to the establishment of commissions of inquiry has been controversial. The international eminent group of persons who came to assist the national commission of inquiry into serious human rights violations in the course of the war left unceremoniously when their mandate was not extended. The report of the commission itself was not publicized. The findings of other commissions of inquiry have been criticized by human rights groups as being inadequate with no punitive or deterrent actions of significance following upon their findings. However, the changed circumstances in the country after the Presidential and General elections may work in the government’s favour.

International Acceptance

In countries such as South Africa and Northern Ireland the appointment of reconciliation commissions have followed or accompanied major shifts in political power that were negotiated by the parties to the conflict. This is not the case in Sri Lanka, where there has been no such shift of power or negotiations. Instead the Sri Lankan government won the war totally and virtually on its own and so is able to stand firm to the point of being able to impose its will upon other parties. Those who have disagreed and sought to compete with the government have been thoroughly defeated politically, such as the mainstream opposition parties, or politically eliminated as a threat, as in the case of the defeated joint opposition presidential candidate retired General Sarath Fonseka.

The international community will be loath to alienate a government that has been so recently voted into power for a further six years or apply sanctions against it, as these are likely to only hurt the people of the country. International actors, such as the European Union, may decide that the power and longevity of the government merit constructive engagement with it rather than disengagement. The partial relaxation of some of the Emergency Regulations and the presidential pardon given to convicted journalist J. S. Tissainayagam may be seen as the fruits of such continuing engagement, small though they may be. The Sri Lankan government has also shown itself to have other options and other countries willing to step in and work with it.

However, it is unfortunate that the government’s actions with regard to those worst affected by the war continue to leave much to be desired. Most of the people of the Wanni region who were trapped till the very end in the battle zones of the North remain in destitute conditions. The fact that many of these people prefer to remain in government welfare centres where conditions are rudimentary gives an indication of the non-availability of acceptable alternatives to them. Vast tracts of the North and East where they once lived are in different stages of destruction and need billions of rupees to be reconstructed. There is also a continuing breakdown of law and order with people in those parts of the country feeling themselves to be vulnerable to unlawful abduction, ransom taking and killings.

The inadequacy of ethnic reconciliation on the ground is also borne out by the sharply differing stances taken by the government and TNA on the issue of the end of the war, and the first year anniversary celebrations being undertaken by the government. The TNA, which won most of the seats in Parliament from the Tamil majority parts of the North and East has urged the Tamil people to mourn and hold silent prayers to mark the event. They pointed out that a large number of people were forced out of their homes and rendered refugees in this and other countries, and that during the height of the war several thousand Tamils were killed and hundreds of thousands of others suffered heavy losses. There could be no more potent expression of absence of reconciliation than the diametrically opposed stances taken.

Political Soluiton

In these circumstances, it is unlikely that the mere appointment of a Reconciliation Commission by the government can by itself change the ethnic polarization in the country. A real change requires a change in the actions on the ground that improves the lives of those who have been affected by the conflict in the past and present. These actions are unlikely to come about in the absence of a political solution that would share political power with the elected representatives of the Tamil people. If indigenous experience is taken into consideration, there cannot be a denial of the need for the devolution of power. Unfortunately, all indications are that the government’s high priority plans for political reforms are to further strengthen the concentration of power in the Presidency rather than to share that power with any other institution.

It is reported that the government’s main concern with regard to political reform is to abolish the two term limit on the Presidency, which would benefit President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is in his second and final term President. A further political reform is reported to be to give back to the President the power to make appointments to high offices of state. This was a power that was taken away from the President by the 17th Amendment which was approved unanimously by Parliament a decade ago. It is unfortunate that this latter reform will further reduce the influence of ethnic minorities in governance, as the 17th Amendment gave them a say in the selection of high state officials.

The consequences of the ongoing centralization of power in an already over centralised system of government is not conducive to either democracy or to ethnic reconciliation. One root cause of the ethnic conflict was the frustration of ethnic minorities that they had no say or power to decide even on matters that affected them in the areas in which they are a majority. Recently a representative group of community leaders, academics and religious leaders from the North wrote to the President complaining about the destruction of historical sites in the course of road construction. This shows that the much spoken about Northern development programme of the government is taking place without the consent of the local authorities and is causing further ethnic polarisation.

Another example of the continuing polarization between the ethnic communities lies in the nature of the security apparatus. At present the North and East of the country have a very heavy military presence that is nearly totally drawn from the ethnic majority community. The people in whose midst this security force is located are unlikely to feel that it is their own, but would more likely see it as an alien force. The fact that even a year after the war there are abductions, ransom-taking and killings taking place would make the people of those areas lay the blame on the government. By way of contrast if the local law and order machinery were under their own supervision, they would have no reason to blame the government. The devolution of power remains the core necessity for indigenous reconciliation. Until and unless the ground situation improves, the Reconciliation Commission runs the risk of being seen as a thing apart.