Is the Cease-fire Agreement Coming apart?

By S.Chandrasekharan

With the attack on the Sri Lankan Army Chief by a suspected LTTE suicide bomber on the 25th , followed by attack on the Naval crafts of Sri Lankan Navy and the retaliatory air strikes in the Sampoor area off Trincomalee by the Sri Lankan Air force, the question arises whether the Cease-fire agreement brokered by Norway four years ago is coming apart?

It looks to be, unless the international donor body, India and other well meaning countries urge both the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government to go back to the negotiating table and resume the talks in Geneva that has been indefinitely postponed.

It is said that in any militant movement, cold logic and analysis defy some of the actions of the militants. The recent suicide attack in Colombo which had all the signatures of LTTE’s involvement in the attack on the Sri Lankan Army Commander is one such example that defies all logic. At one stroke, all efforts made by the LTTE to legitimise itself internationally have gone up in smoke and it is a question of time before others like the European Union follows Canada which not only declared the LTTE a terrorist outfit but followed it up quickly with raids by the Royal Canadian Police on some of the offices of Sri Lankan Tamil expatriates.

These developments have come at a very inconvenient time for India, where the elections to the state assembly in May in Tamil Nadu are due. Besides a call of support to President Rajapakse, the immediate response of the Indian government was to condemn the attack and a formal carefully worded statement that said “violence is not the answer to any problem and that political dialogue is the way to resolve outstanding issues.”

The Incident:

On 25th April, a female suicide bomber dressing herself as a pregnant woman managed to enter the high security area of Army Headquarters and waited at the gate of the Army Hospital where many others were also waiting to attend the clinic. When the Army commander’s convoy passed the gate of the hospital, the suicide bomber threw herself on to the convoy. Eight persons including an Army major and two army motor cycle riders died in the blast and over 27 persons including many civilians were injured.

The Army Commander who was critically injured in the attack is said to be out of danger now after being operated for many hours.

It is said that a few hours after the incident, a naval craft was attacked near Sampoor area in Trincomalee area by suspected militants. This is however being denied by the LTTE.

The same evening, Sampoor area including Mutur was bombarded by Kfir fighters of Sri Lankan Air force on suspected LTTE positions. Mutur has also been hit by artillery fire and Naval gunboats. There are no reports of LTTE casualties, but independent sources say that at least ten civilians have been killed.

While Sri Lanka has declared that the air strikes would continue as a deterrent, it is the Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission which has been placed in a difficult situation. The Swedish Major. Gen. Ulf Henricsson of SLMM has said that if air strikes continued, peace talks would become difficult.

It looks that the Sri Lankan President had no choice but to go ahead with retaliatory action. What is important is that he ensures that there is no Sinhala backlash as is already happening in Trincomalee. In his nation wide broadcast, President Rajapakse said “This country belongs to all its citizens….. who live here. Today’s crisis cannot be resolved by dividing this country.” It is not only his party, but also the JVP and the JHU that need to go an extra length to prevent attacks on Tamils. In the aftermath of a blast at the market place in Trincomalee, over 100 houses and business establishments of the Tamils have been destroyed leaving 3000 persons home less. This is just the beginning but more could follow if the situation is not brought under control.

It is unclear what made the LTTE choose a high level target which they knew would jeopardize not only the peace talks but the cease fire agreement itself. On their behalf it is said that the Govt. of Sri Lanka has been engaging in activities to put a noose round the LTTE, by openly going round the capitals of the world to prosecute the LTTE and stop their fund raising and that President Rajapakse has embarked on punitive measures against the Tamil community to bolster his own political position with other extreme forces in the south.

The attack on the Army chief would have required meticulous preparations and would have taken months to prepare. It is just a chance that the Chief survived. It is also likely that the LTTE has many more such projects and it is only hoped that it desists from such acts which would not only bring international wrath, but would make other few countries that are left to declare them as a “terrorist outfit”.

The LTTE has not yet understood that reviving the hostilities will not take them anywhere. There is no doubt that they have nothing to show to the people as peace dividend after almost four years of cease-fire. There is also the potential danger of more Karunas emerging. It looks that east is lost to the LTTE and any revival of hostility would only confirm that position!

There is no military solution for the LTTE and there could be none either for the Sri Lankan government. The Cease fire has to be continued. Sooner or later both sides will have to go into substantive talks. They will have to step back from their rigid positions and help Norway continue with the cease fire process.
[Source: SAAG]

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6 Comments

  1. TRO Press statement – Summary:

    The Sri Lankan Government onslaught on the Tamils and Muslims in the villages surrounding Trincomalee continues unabated. The International Community that hastened to condemn the bomb-blast involving the Army Commander inside the Army Headquarters in Colombo, has not said a word against Sri Lanka attack on Tamil civilians continuing for the second day in Trincomalee. Deaths of more than thirteen civilians, including a Muslim religious dignitary and a two-year old child, have been reported so far. Thousands of persons from Ralkuli, Kadakaraichchenai, Senaiyoor, Sampoor, Ilakkanthai, Sudaikuda, Paddalipuram and Upparu in the Trincomalee district have been displaced due to the ongoing air, sea, and ground attacks by the Security Forces of Government of Sri Lanka. The IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) affected by the previous week’s communal violence are also streaming into LTTE controlled areas from the government controlled areas. The number of IDPs has passed the 30,000 mark and continues to rise.

    Access to, and procurement of, these items is severally hampered as these items are not available in the LTTE controlled areas and transportation from government controlled areas is impossible. There are two co-op shops in these affected areas and neither have adequate stock to deal with the current and anticipated needs. Small shops that were previously open for business have all been closed due to the security situation. There are also no hospitals in the area and the two available medical centres and dispensaries are staffed by visiting doctors and nurses. Thus far these medical personnel have been unable to report for work due to the continuing shelling.

  2. “suspected LTTE suicide bomber”

    “bombarded by Kfir fighters of Sri Lankan Air force on suspected LTTE positions”

    “no doubt that they have nothing to show to the people as peace dividend after almost four years of cease-fire”

    “The LTTE has not yet understood that reviving the hostilities will not take them anywhere.”

    Is Mr Chandrasekharan lost in space?

  3. Is it not time to ask the International Community to declare the Sri Lankan Government as a Terrorist State and put their leaders on trial for genocidal attack and killing of innocent tamils in Trincomalee because the Occupying Army and their Commander were attacked by LTTE.

    What is the difference between Sudan Government and Sri Lankan Government nothing much, Both are commiting unpardonable crimes against their own people. I do not see any diffirence between what is happening in Darfur and Trincomalee its a pure etnic cleansing by the respective Governments.

    After all this how can the stupid Mangala Samaraveera ask EEC to ban the LTTE. He must be very thick.

    Read the following. Irony here is Daily News edited by that racist who used to write for that racist and fascist website TLA has cheek to publish an editorial to criticise the foreign news organisations specially the venerable BBC. It is well known Island is very racist newspaper and but they are very thick if they think they can teach Americans, Europeans and others a few things about impartial reporting. You take the newspapers Daily News and Island they are very well known for supporting racist sinhalese view and very anti Tamil and do not want give anything to Tamil. Take the future pages of those papers full of articles by the racists. You would expect if the government want to build up some goodwill they will order their newspapaers to tone down their virtioloc and racist attacks.

    You could write volume about the stupdity of the undiplomatic Foreign Minister The Pinko. First think he should know is hi is not Lakshman Kathirgamar (That’s another story leave it for the time being). This man is very anti-tamil cannot even recognise the troubles Norway is undergoing to keep peace and avoid innocents being killed.

    Rajapakse’s story is like playing fiddle while the Rome is burning. He has no Leadership, no Statesmenship but only have dim Brithership. When International Peace Negotiator come to the Country he won’t meet them may be he was planning to bomb and ethnic cleanse the Trincomalee. Bunch of amateurs running the country this what you will expect if you rely on brothers, borthers JHU, brothers JVP. God save the Country. Read the following news on the hysterical editorials from those fountains of hate, racisms Daily News and Island.

    Sri Lanka is facing a propaganda war more dangerous than the recent violence in the country, the president said, as newspapers accused foreign journalists of biased coverage.

    “The LTTE said 40,000 people were fleeing and some of the Colombo-based foreign journalists swallowed the lie, hook, line and sinker,” The Island newspaper said in a front-page editorial Saturday headlined: “Call girls and call boys of Fourth Estate.”
    It singled out the BBC and wondered why “irresponsible swashbucklers” are allowed to cover such sensitive matters.

    “They have mistaken their mission here for heightening the conflict by lionising Tigers,” the privately-owned Island wrote.

    The state-owned Daily News headlined its editorial: “The truth slaughtered for Mammon” and accused foreign news agencies and broadcast media of inaccurate coverage in order to make more money.
    “Is life in poor countries so cheap that these Western media organizations would not think twice about flouting every conceivable, time-honoured norm in journalism?” the newspaper asked.

    In his Friday speech to the political parties, Rajapakse did not directly accuse the media but he said: “LTTE and their sympathizers are launching a large-scale propaganda war to tarnish our image.”

  4. There is a saying which goes as ” You can fool some of the people for some of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

    This is the situation that the GOSL had landed themselves in.

    They do not want the LTTE banned in their own backyard but they want the entire world to ban them.

    What proof have they got so far, that connects the LTTE to this lady bomber.

    Should they not try to identify & arrest the traitors within their own ranks.

    Is it not a fact that this Army chief, is a low life with a penchant weakness for the opposite sex. Can this 21 year old be one of his victims, who was carrying his virile seed within her ?.

    The killings in the East & the North on a hourly basis of civilians, is this not the brainchild of Sarath Fonseka ?.

    The biggest mistake Mahinda Rajapakse made is to appoint the stupid moron Gothabaya the goat as the defense secretary. What does this idiot know other than being a petty racist.

    A bomb explodes at Army HQ, the only way to react is to bomb Sampoor. Why was Killinoichi spared ?.

    This is a definite violation of the CFA.

    They kill & maim the innocent with impunity & then come & come in their pants wailing ” We are being prejudiced, the foreign media is against us.

    Five students being shot through the ears, then the would be MP being assasinated, then the bomb exploding in the market, aided by the supersonic arrival of the looters & the thugs in the Army & Navy trucks, helped by the Police, who all of a sudden became selectively blind.

    Soldiers are meeting their maker on a daily basis, no one gives a damn & a hoot, but when the bomb explodes at the feet of the Army Commander, it is time to hit back.

    A childish act, even the children in pre school, will never never contemplate on.

    If Rajapakse is a honourable man, he will implement the deal he did with the LTTE to sit on the bidets of Temple Trees, to cleanse himself. He must keep to his part of the bargain.

    The LTTE, should also give it’s best shot to a seek a resolution to this cancer, the people have suffered enough, let there be light, should be the primary objective of all parties concerned.

  5. Dear Mr Chandrasekaran

    You are talented writer. How come that you praise Karuna a lot. You have a lot of regards for the General Sarath Fonseka. I think you would be having a lot to say about Kotagadeniya too. Even Colonel Ratwatte.
    How did you lost sight of your people Joseph Pararajasingam, the five children murdered in Trincomalee and all that.
    What is your suggestion? Go behind Douglas or follow the footsteps of the foreign Minister Kadirgamar.

    Just suggest to us a way to survive .

    Regards

    Sri

  6. I am a Tamil, and I salute to you Mr. Chandrasekaran for your unbiased analysis and candid opinion about the MURDEROUS, FACIST, BARBARIC LTTE.

    This whole issue is not about Army Chief Fonseka or President Rajapaksha or his brother Gothabaya. It is about the Megalomaniac Pirapaharan, who is obsessed with weapons and WAR. He continues to recruit Tamil children forcefully and tie a cynide capsule around their neck and throw them in to the battle field with explosives trapped on to their bellies. But, did he tie a cynide capsule around his own son and daughter??? No, they are leading comfortable lives in Europe, attending universities. WHAT A LEADER, A LIBERATOR OF TAMILS!!! Don’t the Tamil morons who wrote ahead of me in this column know about this. They know, but they don’t have a backbone or guts to criticize the Vanni Demon, who has terrorized not only the Sinhalese and Muslims, but also his own Tamils, like me.

    Only the Tamils who got steely guts like Karuna will criticise the Demon and fight him locally and internationally to bring him and his ruthless terrorist outfit down. Until the Demon’s death there will be no peace for the Tamils. As it happened in Angola, only after the death of UNITA rebel leader Jonas Savimbi did peace dawn in Angola. The same will happen in Sri Lanka. Until then all of us must fight against the Vanni Demon and his COOLIE terrorists and supporters, in whatever way we can.

    –Neelakanthan

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