By Malinda Seneviratne –
Kumaran Pathmanathan, KP that is, is a strange character and one that has become a ‘concept’ that is even amenable to inclusion in ideological lexicons, as in ‘KPism’.
For a long time, he was a key member of the LTTE. Indeed, some would argue, that he was as or more important than Velupillai Prabhakaran or Anton Balasingham to that much-feared and ruthless terrorist outfit. He was the LTTE’s main point-man internationally for all kinds of money-making rackets and arms procurement. After Prabhakaran and the entire military wing of the LTTE were defeated, KP was one of several pretenders to the terrorist throne, until he was captured by Army intelligence operatives and brought to Sri Lanka.
Since then, if there’s one (generous) word to describe what’s happened to him, it has to be ‘strange’. A top notch terrorist (some would say ‘THE top-notch LTTE operative) is not ‘rehabilitated’ or charged, unlike hundreds of others captured by or who had surrendered to the security forces. He was instead ‘detained’ and turned into ‘development partner’ cum ‘liaison officer with the “Tamil Diaspora (sic)”’.
Last week, Director, Media Centre for National Security, Lakshman Hulugalle said that there was no case against KP. ‘No evidence’ was part of the quote.
Now if KP was evidence-free and charge-less, then why arrest him and at such a high cost to boot? That question was dealt with at the weekly media briefing on Cabinet decisions by Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella who made it out that the man wasn’t free, really, just on a long leash. Hulugalle said it was a victory to have a top ranking LTTE operative working with the Government on post-conflict reconciliation and rehabilitation. He had to, because the arrest, the manner of arrest and the Interpol Arrest Warrant certainly don’t add up to ‘no case’ or ‘no evidence’. Such directives and actions are not birthed by whim and fancy but by solid evidence.
Some are calling for KP’s blood. Not all of them were exactly calling for KP’s blood or Prabhakaran’s blood before the latter lost all his blood in May 2009, though.
Some are saying ‘release all other LTTE suspects’ or ‘put them on a similarly long leash’. That makes sense as per the sauce for the goose-gander theory.
Forgive and forget is all sweet and warm, let us hasten to point out. We can talk of Angulimaala and we have whenever it made political sense to do so. Not just in the case of KP but in all kinds of people guilty of all kinds of transgressions, big and small, money-related and otherwise, bloody and bloodless. Parliamentarians on the wrong side of the house have on many occasions crossed over to the ‘right’ side if they risked being caught on the wrong side of the law.
What it all boils down to then is not whether you’ve abided by the law or violated it, but whether you are on the right side of ‘politics’, whether or not you are on the right side of the law. It all adds up to a mockery of the criminal justice system.
In a post conflict scenario, there can be situations where the long term reconciliation interests call for leniency, which too can be legally facilitated (Presidential pardons, crown-witnessing and so on). One can also point out that although they are certainly not pampered detainees like KP, all the LTTE cadres who surrendered or were arrested are enjoying a pretty comfy existence, compared to say the pickpocket picked in Nugegoda last week or the prostitute taken in from a brothel last night. Those who blew up buses and trains, abducted children and stuck bayonets in the bellies of pregnant mothers and infants are getting the kind of education and skill-training (free of charge, mind you) that thousands of others of the never-hurt-a-fly (relatively speaking) don’t have access to.
The ‘strangeness’ about KP is that the law has not been visited or referred to in the entire story. The people of this country are willing to forgive and forget, they can come to terms with ‘turned-over-a-new-leaf’ and ‘that-chapter-is-closed’. The JVP is a case in point. The UNP and SLFP and all their various avatars have benefitted from that forgiving and forgetting readiness of the Sri Lankan voter.
It’s still too vague for a society that depends on formal laws and things like constitutions. In the case of the JVP there was amnesty; in the case of ‘Karuna’, a non-prosecution. Files can be closed, true, but not in an ad hoc way. They have to be legally closed if you don’t want to open a legal can of worms that can lead to a situation where we have anarchy in everything but name.
KP is ‘reformed’, we are supposed to think. His LTTE friends in Canada, though, haven’t dropped Eelam or burnt the LTTE flag, though. They still work with groups that are rabidly anti Sri Lanka and are hell bent on harvesting regime change by hook or by crook.
Fighting the war was tough. When wars end, mine fields, political and otherwise, are not automatically de-mined. KP is a mine that appears to be deactivated but may not have been. Even if he is not a mine or one that has been deactivated, KP is a ‘strangeness’ that needs a legal frame, not a media one.
The Government seems to be at a loss for words. And metaphors. And legal legs. Maybe that’s the KP-strangeness.
*Malinda Seneviratne is the Chief Editor of ‘The Nation and his articles can be found at www.malindawords.blogspot.com .
gamini / October 23, 2012
To quote Malinda Seneviratne,’ KP was one of several pretenders to the terrorist throne, until he was captured by Army intelligence operatives and brought to Sri Lanka’. Does he realy believe that our sleuths can just walk into any country and capture and bring them here as done in KP’s case, from Malaysia to Bangkok to Sri Lanka? Were their Immigration Officials sleeping on the job? Are there no extradition treaties between these countries and ours? Why is Malinga shy to admit the truth that KP was provided escort and brought in as a VIP guest? and housed at Visunpaya with all the comforts and protection?
Brian de Bois Guilbert / October 24, 2012
I noticed that despite your tiresome cacophony in several articles penned by Malinda, he has not get back to you.
Probably he knows that third rate hecklers without grey matter like you, who are doing menial jobs in the West to eke out a living , are not worthy of a comment from a Harvard grad like himself :)
Same goes to that fellow rama
How very pathetic :)
gamini / October 24, 2012
Brian, Malinda might be a colossus as a Harvard Graduate in your eyes. For that matter even inefectice Manamohan Singh is also one. There are dime a dozen of such Harvard qualified today, which has become an Institute to establish contact in the third world countries for fulfilling their agendas. I have addressed him on a very pertinent issue, reference KP’s arrival and only fools and gullible will believe and if that is the standard of erudition of harvard qualified, I can only pity them and yourself being a stoog. Looks like there are many working in MR’s Laundery than we thought.
shankar / October 24, 2012
Gamini,i agree with you,somthing fishy about the way KP was ‘kidnapped’.He said he got a call on his mobile while visitors were with him at his apartment,and he went out to the corridor outside and was arrested and bundled out.Now any person under normal circumstances,let alone a fugitive like KP won’t go out but will go into a room and close the door if a call came and if he did not want the visitors to hear what he was speaking.
Subsequently the way he was treated by Gota also makes it clear that a deal was made by him and he was as you say escorted out of malaysia.
Whether he made the deal before or after the elimination of prabha is the question,not whether he made the deal itself.After speaking to KP during the final stages i think prabha was suspicious and had mentioned that even KP seems to have become a traitor.
I of course support KP because i think he made the correct decision,because Prabha just like Hitler would have wanted to take down the tamil people with him,and just like Albert Speer did not want to destroy germany as per hitler’s orders, KP also is trying to salvage something for the tamil people out of all this carnage created by Prabha.
gamini / October 24, 2012
Shanker, you obviously read what D.B.S. Jeyaraj wrote of this fiasco living thousands of miles away with minute details, that appeared in the local dailies. Did you ever ask your self or DBSJ who gave him the story? From the moment I read, I knew it was a plant and KP, DBSJ et al are all in it together in this Drama directed by the Americans and Produced by the Indians. KP knew exactly the plight of VP and the whatever number of the LTTE that was decimated when they tried to surrender after allowing the Tamil civilians to escape. This massacre obviously happened with the full knowledge and consent of the Americans. Indians may or may not have known, but was too late to do anything anyway. Shanker International intrigue at its best. I believe KP felt he was safer with MR’s protection as he would have feared being bumped off by any remaining LTTE living outside who now knows what happened.
Mahasen Rajakaruna / October 23, 2012
Malinda, for all your faults you are genuinely a racist and a nationalist..while these may not be desirable traits in a modern civilized society at least you genuinely feel that the Tamils/ NGO’s/LTTE/ Norway/ KP etc were/are one and the same. Your political masters on the other hand my friend are genuine nothing. They are opportunist. So there lies the strange incompatibility between the rhetoric and action. They jailed the army commander who won the war (the same man the likes of you championed in his hay day hammering journalist)..They pamper KP while the likes of you went to town about how Ranil is pro-LTTE because he signed the CFA (Ranil is a Kotiya but Karuna and KP are somehow not??) They cut a deal with the LTTE to win an election..at least that one you managed to console yourself by arguing that was a Machiavellian strategy of screwing with the enemy. I feel sorry for you. You are like a child refusing to let go on Santa Clause and the tooth fairy. Time to grow up. Your masters are just a bunch of corrupt opportunists. Time to find some genuine racist to back old boy!
Beyond surprised / October 24, 2012
Very interesting take on this monumental sycophant of our New Monarchy.
However, a word of caution is indicated here: Malinda has proved himself a “survivor” thanks to his opportunism so don’t underestimate him in that regard!
These are truly unbelievable creatures, my friend, and will never cease to amaze you or me!
Native Vedda / October 24, 2012
” Malinda has proved himself a “survivor” thanks to his opportunism so don’t underestimate him in that regard!”
You mean he is just like Dr Dayan.
Dayan’s recent comments show that he already has planned to jump ship. How do these people know when the ship is going to sink? They have a very good antennae. I envy them.
PresiDunce Bean / October 23, 2012
Well said gamini and Mahasen Rajakaruna. Maybe Malinda might someday back the”Sinhalaye Mahasammatha Bhoomiputhra Pakshaya” led by Dr. Harischandra Wijayatunga. In the 1994 presidential elections, Mr.Wijayatunga only polled 32,651 votes (0.43%) as the SMBP candidate. But since the war victory in 2009, a considerable number of Sinhala supremacist’s and racist have crawled out of the wood work and the SMBP party would be a good option for the likes of Malinda once the Rajapaksas’ lose their attraction. ;)
Justice / October 23, 2012
In similar vein,one can say that those who massacred groups of citizens periodically,on ethnic grounds and no other, commencing soon after independence,are now in top rungs of the armed forces and police by sheer seniority, and enjoy the plums of political and deplomatic appointments.
Many of them,later too, massacred unarmed youth of their own ethnicity,in 1971 & 1987/88/89 with impunity.
So, why not KP?
India wanting him for involvement in the Rajiv Ghandi assassination is a different issue.
Bedrock Barney / October 23, 2012
I agree with Malinda. It is indeed a strange case. KP remains a pragmatist. He had the right idea post conflict, changing the mode of the struggle. The GOSL scored big time with the ‘KP rendition’. The old boys and girls association of the tigers(TGTE), are not a patch on the organizational and diplomatic know how, that KP possesses. The tiger rump would have been a different animal altogether under KP. Perhaps the GOSL is using KP to taunt the rump, who seem to be in completed disarray. KP played the hand that was dealt to him so well that GOSL spokesman are tripping over each other with contradicting statements. Regarding his legal position… well what’s the legal postion of Duminda Silva or Malaka Silva or Sarath Fonseka the thousands of LTTE comabatants in custody. Like Dick Chaney once said these are ‘Known Unknowns’.
Merril / October 23, 2012
Everything is strange here, no wonder they call Sri Lanka is a Miracle, obviously these events are miracles.
Rama / October 23, 2012
malinda, you are a weirdo. it appears that you walk about with a chip on your shoulder.
Sivaram / October 23, 2012
When KP was arrested overseas and brought to Srilanka he was in Control of enormous LTTE assets (Ships,Bank balances,etc). What happened to these assets which should have been accounted as Govt. Property?
Beyond surprised / October 24, 2012
Come on man, you should know to whom those assets were transferred as are all assets of the Sri Lankan state!
gamini / October 24, 2012
In the same manner how the LTTE assets were transfered to the Rajapaksas, the assets of Ceylinco too has been transfered to the Rajapaksas. Hence no interest to persue Scicily or Lalith furhter and their man as the head of the Bank, the Group owned.
Rama / November 1, 2012
arap chingala [Edited out] Malinda ….
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