22 September, 2020

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Bringing Focus Back To National Security 

By Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

With bombs exploding in European capitals and other parts of the world, Sri Lanka finds itself in unique position in the world. It is a country that has not experienced a single act of terrorism in nearly seven years. The last of the terrorism ended in May 2009 when the three decade long internal war came to an end, albeit in a most violent way which has given rise to the international denunciation of war crimes. However, when comparing Sri Lanka to other parts of the world it is remarkable that following the end of the war there has been no act of terrorism. A part of the reason would be the years of experience gained in identifying and tracking down terrorist threats.

The only occasion in which the counter terrorism operations of the Sri Lankan security forces was put to active use in the post-war period was two years ago when a group of three alleged LTTE cadre were cornered in a patch of jungle by the security forces and shot dead. One of those killed was accused of having shot a policeman in the leg in an earlier getaway bid. But there was considerable suspicion at that time that the pre-emptive strike by the security forces to eliminate the three men was prompted by the government of the day for its own political purposes.

The previous government was adept at creating a securitization mindset in society. During the period of the war they justified the buildup of the security forces and the usage of political repression on the ground of meeting the security threat posed by the LTTE. Ironically after the end of the war they continued to recreate the securitization mindset by emphasizing the need to maintain preparedness in order to prevent the LTTE from resurrecting itself. It was like in the children’s movie Zootopia, now showing in cinemas in Sri Lanka, where the representatives of the majority purposefully provoked members of the minority so that the majority would remain unitedly with them.

Old Habits 

Habits appear to die hard with members of the former government who are now in the opposition. They have seized upon an incident in which an LTTE suicide jacket and explosives, which appear not to have been touched in over five years, have been found in the house of a former LTTE cadre in the North. The opposition now claims that national security is in a parlous state. They have even gone to the extent of claiming, apparently without evidence, that the arms cache was going to be transported to Colombo, and most notably to the Tamil precinct of Wellawatte.

Sicide kitUnless those in the opposition have evidence to back their claim, it is not responsible of them to identify the Tamil areas of Colombo city as places to which terrorist material will be sent, and which will be containing the sleeper cells that can be activated. This leaves room for extremists to take the law into their own hands, as occurred under the previous government. There was targeting of ethnic and religious minorities for violence on the basis that they were conduits of terrorism. There were also cordon and search operations that took place regularly in areas of where the ethnic minority lived. These served to increase inter-ethnic suspicions and widened the gaps between the communities.

There is no reason to doubt that there are many hidden caches of arms in the North and East of the country and even outside of the areas in which the war was fought. Some of it might have been stored for later recovery and for fighting purposes. On the other hand, LTTE cadre would also have hidden their weapons to safeguard themselves at the end of the war and claim to be civilians. This was not the first occasion on which a hidden cache of arms was found after the war. There have been several such discoveries, and as more abandoned land is returned to people and to agriculture more such caches are being discovered. Most of the discoveries may have had nothing to do with anyone trying to use those weapons which have been stumbled upon.

Maintaining Vigilance 

The need for the government to maintain vigilance stems from the still undiscovered caches of weapons that lie in various parts of the country. These can be used for criminal activities even if they are not used for purposes of staging another insurrection. Indeed, the person who has been arrested for having in his possession the suicide jacket and weapons was a former LTTE cadre who had successfully passed off as a civilian at the end of the war. He was apprehended because he had been having disagreements with his wife who reported him to the security forces for possessing intoxicating drugs and for having other wives.

On the other hand, there appears to be little desire on the part of the Tamil people to look upon the hidden caches of weapons as a future source of armaments. Much of the information about the hidden weapons has come from the people themselves. They know at firsthand how the use of those weapons by the LTTE destroyed their own lives. The autobiography of Thamilini, who headed the LTTE women’s wing, brings out the dark side of the LTTE and their own disregard of the interests of the Tamil people in their quest for their own survival.

It is also important that the government should ensure that the security forces act with restraint in ensuring national security. There is a possibility of overzealous officers harassing people by questioning them and searching them in a harsh manner. This will alienate the Tamil people, or any people subjected to ureasonable suspicion, from the government. The previous government lost the ethnic and religious minority voters due to their harsh treatment of them. Now when they are in the political opposition their over-focus on national security might make the same happen to the present government. There is a need for balance between national security and being reasonable.

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Latest comments

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    [Edited out]

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      [Edited out]

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    As a NGO [Edited out]you have no moral right to sit on judgement on statements made by the “opposition”. Your paid to give such views of eternally painting MR and his supporters as ‘extremists’ in order to drive a wedge between the Sinhalese and minorities. being a Sinhalese with a love for the country does not make one an extremist and a monitory hater. worrying about our security is natural in the light of the discovery of suicise vests and arms / explosives. Speculating it would be brought to Wellawatte is not extraordinary or a slur on the majority Tamils living in those areas since experience has shown enough discovery of safe houses and explosives being found in those areas simply because it’s safer to hide amongst your community without sticking out as a sore thumb. That’s reality and not a racist comment. Stop peddling racism to earn your living Jehan ! And stop hanging everything on MR’s door since the buck now stops at the door of Ranil and the president now !!

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      I think these bombs were to be used in fishing because Indians are catching our fish and without upsetting India this is a good way of catching fish. I would like to know whether NGOs are teaching them how to catch fish using bombs.Or may be he wanted to use them for celebrating T20 if we won!!!Hey Jeha the Tiger what do you do when you do not write rubbish for a living?

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        [Edited out]

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    “It is also important that the government should ensure that the security forces act with restraint in ensuring national security. There is a possibility of overzealous officers harassing people by questioning them and searching them in a harsh manner”. Well said Jehan. GL Pieris given to frequently wetting his pants for the slightest apprehension should exercise control and be circumspect in his statements in the interests of the Sri lankan nation. Bensen

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    No sweat mate,

    Mr Pirahaparan and Mr Pottuamman never set off C4 in Wellala Gardens, although they used it for warehousing and other logistical needs.

    Besides, our Yhapalana Pm Batalanda Ranil now says the Cache was part of the explosives kit which was meant for his minerals exploration plan.

    This was in the Island today.

    And Batalanda,s CiID now even wants to grill Wimale and Namal to find out how they could spin such a bad story about bombs coming to explode in YAHAPALANA Megapolis.

    One sticking point though.

    Mr Sivagilingam a heavy weight MP of the Tamil Vellala Party TNA assures the Yahapalana suckers that the Suicide West , 12 kg of C4 AK 47s and the detonators are definitely not From the LTTE assets register.

    Wonder how he knows it?

    Did the CID brief him or Was it Batalanda P M?”

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    ”it is remarkable that following the end of the war there has been no act of terrorism”
    – nearly all rebels were wiped out – thus no more rebel terrorism

    But state-terrorism-post-1948 didn’t stop at Nanthikadal: compulsory detention for IDPs, blocking aid agents from helping IDPs, increased power for armed forces in the North, appointment of ”Presidential Task Force for Northern Development”, regular signatures at Army checkpoints by released Tiger cadres, postponement of NPC election till CHOGM 2013, stipulated/delegated expenditure by NPC, economic activities of army etc……

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    Thamilini’s book has created grave doubts among its readers on its accuracy. Has it been published as it was written by Thamilini or not ? Alternatively has it been written to please the Army under whose custody she was kept?

    Noel Nadesan of Australia, a well known anti LTTEr and an ardent supporter of Mahinda Rajapakse, has been in contact with Thamilini when she was alive. Noel has confirmed this in his article appeared in ” Thenee” an anti LTTE website. After her death I understand that Noel was instrumental in publishing her book through ” Kalachchuvadu” publishing house in south India. No one knows whether anyone altered the script or substituted some pages but most of the readers suspect foul play. Kannan of Kalachuvadu says he has published the script as it was given to him. I am not suggesting Noel or Thamilini’s husband were involved in foul play but they are the one placed in a better position to clear the doubts.

    I was told that Bashir , another anti LTTEr , has released the book in a meeting in London recently.

    It is very interesting to see that anti LTTE persons are now involved in promoting Thamilini.

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      Several years before Thamilini, an account of the LTTE’s political history by Iyer, once a close comrade of VP, was serialized on Inioru.
      It was essentially factual except that it suffered an anti-left bias.

      I do not think that Thamilini has added much that is harmful.
      Who celebrates Thamilini is irrelevant.
      Rather than denounce or discredit her personally, why cannot people attempt to correct falsehoods if any?

      The LTTE was as responsible as the armed forces for any wanton killing of innocents in the last stages of the war, since people were deceived or forced into following the LTTE into a death trap.

      There are several more accounts of the negative conduct of the LTTE in its late years.
      What hurts LTTE loyalists is that this comes from Thamilni.

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    “when comparing Sri Lanka to other parts of the world it is remarkable that following the end of the war there has been no act of terrorism”.
    The above statement is correct only in reference to LTTE terrorism. What about the Velu Pillai Mahinda’s state sponsored terrorism against the Muslims, Tamils, Christians after the war? The pogrom against the Muslims and destruction of their business, militarization of the North and East, bulldozing the poor 9mainly minorities) in the Colombo and suburbs in the guise of development was all to gerrymander the voting demographics to suit Mahinda’a Gestapo government. Thank whomever that we managed to destroy both these demons in short span since May 2009.

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    Mr.Jehan Perera

    Your article itself vibrates a divide between the Sinhalese and the Tamils in Sri Lanka. This divide exists for a long period of time and will go on for ever and ever until such time the problems of the Tamils are solved with goodwill from the Majority. The National security of the country, the government fears and the hard-line propagates is not definitely from foreign sources but from the minority community. Terrorism is not the word that has to be used when the LTTE was fighting the Armed forces. It was the way the fighting took place to achieve the demands of the Tamils. The tactics used by the armed forces could also be categorised as terrorism. Why cannot the Sinhalese learn from countries like Switzerland, England, Canada and several other advanced countries, how they have set up their governments’ administration giving equal rights to all their citizens.

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      Tamils have the same rights as everybody else in Sri Lanka. If they don’t list specific instances where Tamils are denied of rights.

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    National Security Is For All People In The Country……..From The Time YMAPALANAYA Came To Power They Have Been Talking About Reconciliation…………But During the Previous Era Without Talking we were truly enjoying Peace …All Of us…….But Now Looking at these incidents …..It is very likely we are all again have asked for trouble……….Sri Lankas’Security is In Danger……WE CAN VERY WELL SAY THAT ‘YAMAPALANAYA’IS PLAYING WITH FIRE

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    Correction in my above comment. It was not Bashir but Fowzer released the book in London.

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    Palayang Yakko, You will again get to fly First class or Business class after this essay. How do you know if this is old explosives? IT IS A KNOWN FACT Ranil is waiting to get rid of the Army Commander, and 15 other top battle hardened senior officers who wiped out Tiger Tamil facists. He will not extend their terms or give them their promotions. He is afraid of the army. He hired Sarath Fonseka who was not even on the national list on his party but a totally defunct useless party which could not get even 100,000 votes into his cabinet to attack the opposition.

    FM Fonseka hated people like RW and Mangy back then. He was desperately trying to get his extension under Chandrika madam. He was angry that Ranil and his Treasury Secy did not give him enough funds to buy helmets, boots and ammunition for his troops in Jaffna. He provided all this information to Chandrika madam but Chandrika madam was too foolish to not to recognize this amazing field commander’s brilliance. So he then went after his Nalanda classmate Gotabaya; rest they say is history.

    So Jehan, palayang yakko pandithayek wenney nathuwa. You never got it right about anything. Everyone knows LTTE wants to kill MR. Ranil destroyed LRRP last time he was paranoid. They are putting so much pressure on the Army commander now. Ranil is now getting dutch courage from Sarath Fonseka; except that Fonseka wants to be the ruler and dictator.

    Stop being a propaganda bile duct for the LTTE rump like you were. You and CPA Saravanamuttu always got it wrong; you both said LTTE cannot be beaten militarily. Speak to Fonseka now and apologize. I am hoping one day Fonseka will be the President of Sri Lanka. Then you will see what it means.

    How do you know if these are old explosives?
    How do you know if LTTE unreformed cadre are not regrouping?
    How do you know if they do not have cadre hiding even in the US embassy as servants to the diplomats like the anti Sinhala Andrew Mann the openly gay diplomat?
    How do you know if they are not in the US and UK government ranks now?
    How do you know for sure there are no LTTE groups in Colombo waiting for an opportunity?
    It seems like you are disappointed that there are no bombs.

    Thank you MR, GR and SF for wiping out the militants.

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    Jeyakumari Balendran and daughter (both led demonstration demanding production of relatives ‘disappeared after arrest’ when UK PM Cameron visited) were arrested and jailed without any proof of involvement with LTTE – daughter later released into ‘care’, and “Gopi” who was alleged to have been sheltered by Jeyekumari was killed along with two others by police/army.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-26984716

    The three killed were civilian Tamil minor employees of the army, it was later revealed, and had “searched for buried LTTE weapons caches using “stolen mine detectors”.

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      Gobi’s pregnant wife aborted in the prison by torture of the army. When she got visa and about to goto Swiss, she was stopped and her passport was taken back by Yahapalanaya government. But not charged with any crime for all these by the Yahapalanaya government. Jehan is hiding activists Ruki Fernando and Father Praveen were arrested as helped Jayakumari. When Jeyakumari was released Police withdraw all all the charges it filed against her. Now, will Jehan explain, if Jeyakumari didn’t do anything wrong, what about the police finding Gobi hiding in her house? Will Jehan explain why Police went to Jeyakumari house. Will Jehan PhD tell an estimate of how much civil damages the army has to pay for these all four people when police could not file a case but had arrested and tortured them? If the army is not paying that amount, will Jehan PhD use his good NGO office and raise the money and pay for them whatever he recommend for them?

      Jehan PhD is the master cook of Lankawe.

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    Dear sir,

    Thank you for the article.

    A minor error: I think you refer to Zootropolis, and not Zootopia. I have not seen the movie myself but your comment has piqued my interest.

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    There is absence of terrorism because it has become difficult to find scapegoats. creating some is in the process. scapegoats are in high demand in the market. Bring it for sale.

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