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Srilanka - News And Discussion

Akhand Bharat is a good concept. I think Bangladeshis and Pakistanis are lost cause. But I think Sri Lankan people have great potential and it would be in their best interest to join Indian Union. Whether they have wisdom to realize this is another story.
<b>Prabhakaran warns of separatist war if talks don't begin quickly</b>
The LTTE Supremo, Velupillai Prabhakaran, has warned that he will resume the war for an independent "Tamil Eelam" if the Sri Lankan government does not quickly begin unconditional talks on his proposal for an Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA) for the Tamil-speaking North Eastern Province (NEP).

<i>India should not trust them, let this movement die on its on own</i>
Karuna wants India, not Norway to mediate in Lanka <!--emo&:mad--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/mad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='mad.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<b>LTTE deny Prabhakaran, Amman among tsunami casualties</b>
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Saturday, 08 January , 2005, 22:14
Colombo: Shortly after Sri Lanka's state-run radio reported that LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran and his intelligence chief Pottu Amman are among the dead or missing in the December 26 tsunami disaster, the rebels denied it and termed the report as "mischievous" and "fabricated". Killer wave hits Asia

Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation quoting Navy Chief Vice Admiral Daya Sandagiri had reported that Prabhakaran and Pottu Amman were among the tsunami casualties.

The LTTE in a statement posted on its website strongly denounced the report.

"The LTTE and the Tamil people wish to strongly protest against this mischievous act of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation, stooping down to such low level of broadcasting news that is fabricated by interested parties," the statement said.

"At a time of a national catastrophe of this magnitude, it is very regrettable that a responsible media of the government takes upon itself the job of spreading rumours and speculation that tend to create confusion in the minds of the people."

The privately-owned newspaper added to the speculation by reporting that a non-governmental organization had smuggled an expensive coffin "for a top LTTE leader", but did not give any names.

Over 30,000 people died in the tsunami devastation which affected almost three quarters of the Sri Lanka’s coast including the north and east where the LTTE had key military bases <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>THE TSUNAMI & THE LTTE </b> by B. Raman
LTTE launches TV channel
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->No end in sight for Muslim-Tamil conflict in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO DIARY | PK Balachandran

August 1, 2005

Sri Lankan Tamils and Muslims speak the same language and have lived cheek by jowl peacefully and harmoniously for centuries in most parts of the island, including the currently troubled Eastern districts. But since the early 20th century they have drifted apart and been at loggerheads for one reason or the other. And time, instead closing the gap, has only widened it. Sadly, as on date, there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

Basically, the Tamil-Muslim spat or stand off has been a product of identity movements and identity politics. The Muslims' demand for an identity of their own based on religion, culture and a supposedly Arab origin, has clashed with the Tamils' movement to unify all "Tamil-speaking people" of the Northern and Eastern districts to fight for their collective rights against Sinhala majoritarianism.

The demand for a separate Muslim identity arose at a time when the other two major communities in the island, namely, the Sinhalas and Tamils, had developed communal consciousness and were jockeying for power on the basis of a mixture of religion and ethnicity. The Muslims followed suit.

In the process, the Muslims clashed with the Tamils rather than the Sinhalas, despite the fact that two thirds of the Muslims lived among the Sinhalas in Sinhala-majority districts in South, Central, and Western Sri Lanka. This was because the Tamils, to expand their base and power in the country, had claimed that the Tamil-speaking Muslims were actually Tamils converted to Islam and that they were no different from Tamils who converted to Christianity, who saw themselves as being part of the Tamil community. This claim made by leading a Tamil personality, set off alarm bells among the Muslims who felt that they would lose their identity and get swamped by a more powerful, more influential and more numerous Tamil community. There was too much in common between the Muslims and the Tamils for the Muslims to feel secure from threats of absorption by the Tamils.

A move to get separate representation and separate schools began. The Sinhala majority community, which initially disliked the Muslims and even rioted against them in 1915, later began to support them in their efforts to distance themselves from the Tamils, as the latter were seen as the Sinhalas' principal political and economic rivals.

In the years that followed, the "Arabisation" of Sri Lankan Muslim life and culture further widened the gap between the Muslims and the Tamils as the many common threads began to vanish one by one, barring the Tamil language. But even Tamil language ceased to be considered the "mother tongue". It was designated as the "home language" instead!

Influence of Colombo-based leaders

The Tamils attribute the widening of the gap to the leaders of the Muslims who were then drawn mainly from the elite classes living in the Sinhala-majority areas of Sri Lanka. The essentially Colombo-based leaders did not want anything to do with the post-independence Tamil movement for autonomy/independence in the North Eastern districts. Since two thirds of the Muslims of the island lived peacefully in the Sinhala majority areas, they felt that joining such a movement would not be in their interest. Furthermore, they had obtained some concessions in education and other spheres which would be lost if they merged with the Tamils. As a United National Party MP, Azwer, once said, separate "Muslim" schools or places in the administration secured on the basis of religion would have gone.

However, at least initially, the Muslims living in the Tamil majority North Eastern districts did cast their lot with the Tamils, and many Muslims were active participants in the Tamil parties fighting for autonomy for the Tamil-speaking North East. This was because the Muslims too had lost out in the state-sponsored colonization schemes in the newly irrigated areas, which had brought in Sinhala settlers from outside. The government's Sinhala-Only language policy affected them too. The Muslims and the Tamils were also economically dependent on each other in the agricultural economy of the East. The settlement and land holding patterns made communal cooperation imperative. Unlike the Western Sri Lankan Muslims, the Eastern Muslims were not just traders at a remove from the environment.

Divide and rule

The Tamils allege that the Sinhala political leaders, in collusion with the then leaders of the Muslims, drove a wedge between the Muslims and Tamils in the East by luring the Muslim leaders from the East with loaves and fishes of office. They encouraged Muslims to defect from Tamil parties to mainstream Sinhala-oriented parties like the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United National Party (UNP).

With the result, the primary concern of most Muslim leaders centred round securing state offices for themselves and some concessions for their community. They showed no interest in broader and deeper issues like autonomy, federalism and self-determination, which were the core concerns of the Tamil struggle. While the Tamils kept off offices of the state, the Muslims actively sought them. In the process, the Muslims developed a symbiotic and pragmatic relationship with the Sinhala majoritarian parties and the Tamils got farther and farther away from them. Often, the Muslim-Sinhala symbiotic relationship seemed like "collusion" to the Tamils.

When total independence for a Tamil Eelam became the official creed of the Tamil movement in 1976, the Muslims began to fall out completely with the Tamils. The Tamil leader SJV Chelvanayakam's efforts to unify the "Tamil-speaking" people of the North East, including Muslims, had failed to strike a chord among the Muslims.

War and terrorism sharpen divide

The contradiction between the Tamils and Muslims in the North East became sharper with the rise of Tamil militant groups, the start of a series of Sri Lankan military operations, and the use of the Muslims as a state fifth column in the Tamil areas. This resulted in a number of anti-Muslim actions from the Tamil side, including the wholesale expulsion of Muslims from the Jaffna peninsula, and the massacre of Muslims in Kattankudy in 1990.

Political epicentre shifts to East

Since the trouble was in the North East, there was a change in Muslim politics too. The Colombo and West districts-based leadership began to yield place to a new leadership from the East, particularly, the South Eastern districts of Amparai and Batticaloa, where the Muslims were concentrated. The East-based Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) emerged under the leadership of MHM Ashraff.

This was also the time when a constitutional settlement was being talked about to end the war and the ethnic conflict. The Muslims found that in these discussions, only the Tamil case was being talked about. The India-Sri Lanka Accord of 1987 and the 13th amendment, which stemmed from it, had nothing for the Muslims as such. Then came President Chandrika Kumaratunga's constitutional proposals of 2000. By then, Ashraff had managed to get recognition for his demand for a Muslim majority South Eastern Council in the corridors of power in Colombo.

However, the LTTE, and most other Tamil parties, rejected Kumaratunga's proposals, which had included a provision for a Muslim-majority South Eastern Council.

Attempt to divide Tamil Homeland

The Tamils looked upon the South Eastern Council idea as an unwarranted attempt to divide the North Eastern "Tamil Homeland" or the "Homeland of the Tamil-speaking people". They had to oppose the move tooth and nail.

A common Tamil argument against giving in to the Muslims' demand is that while the Tamils had struggled for decades and shed blood and made great sacrifices towards getting a Tamil Homeland, the Muslims had not. The Tamils also point out that the Muslims keep quiet and even collaborate with the government when the Tamils are struggling, but when the cake is about to be given to the Tamils, the Muslims appear on the scene with a demand for a share. "The Muslims can't have the cake and eat it too," said a Tamil journalist.

The LTTE's plank (as articulated by Kariklalan, a former Batticaloa leader in 2002) has been that the Muslims have special cultural and religious rights but no special political rights as distinct from the Tamils.

Tamil leaders like Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP, R Sampanthan, wonder why the Muslims want safeguards and special rights in the Tamil-majority areas only, and never in the Sinhala-majority areas? The Muslims counter this by pointing out that in the Sinhala-dominated areas, the Muslims don't face armed terrorist groups and are not chased out and persecuted as they are in the North East.

However, the Tamils see collusion between the majority Sinhala polity and the Muslim leadership in denying them their "Traditional Homeland". The Sinhala majoritarian polity has a vested interest in breaking the unity of the North East. Indeed, the merger of the Northern and Eastern districts to form a predominantly Tamil North Eastern Province, brought about by the India-Sri Lanka Accord of 1987, is opposed by both the Sinhalas and the Muslims. They want the merger to be annulled. This is a major point of conflict between the Tamils, on the one hand, and the Muslims and Sinhalas on the other. While, the demand for a unified Tamil Homeland in the North and East is a cardinal principle of the Tamil movement, its annulment is seen by the Muslims as a condition for their survival, and by the Sinhalas as a requirement to weaken the Tamils' separatist movement.

Peace process: LTTE says no to separate Muslim representation

When the war between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE formally ceased in February 2002 (with a Ceasefire Agreement and a MOU being signed) the Muslims, represented by the SLMC, wanted to open its own dialogue with the LTTE because the displaced Muslims had to go back to their homes, lands grabbed by the LTTE/Tamils had to be returned, and extortion and harassment had to be stopped. The LTTE was also keen to make up with the Muslims to consolidate its hold on the North East. In April 2002, LTTE Supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran and the SLMC chief Rauff Hakeem signed a MOU, which undertook to resolve most of the Muslim grievances. But significantly, the political demands were not mentioned.

As peace talks between the government and the LTTE were to start, the Muslims, led by the SLMC, demanded that they be deemed an independent third party at the talks. But the LTTE would not agree, saying that the peace talks were bi-partisan and that the Muslims could join only when their problems were taken up. Clearly, the LTTE did not want the Tamil political agenda to be diluted by the presence of the Muslims as a third political group.

The then Wickremesinghe government supported the Muslim demand, but eventually it persuaded the SLMC leader to accept a compromise, which was that he would attend the talks, although only as a member of the government delegation.

As it happened, the Muslim issue was not taken up in any significant manner in the six rounds of talks, which were held, till the LTTE walked out in 2003 complaining of lack of progress in material terms.

Demand for share in ISGA

In October-November 2003, the LTTE presented a proposal for an Interim Self-Governing Authority (ISGA) in the North Eastern province. But besides being very radical, it did not mention the Muslims as a special category deserving autonomy within the North East. Like the majority Sinhalas, the Muslims too totally rejected the ISGA proposal.

Meanwhile, the Prabhakaran-Hakeem MOU had become a dead letter. Grabbed Muslims lands in the East were not returned. Nor were there any guarantees given to displaced Muslims wanting to return to the Jaffna peninsula. But the Tamils said that the LTTE could not be held responsible for this. As TNA MP R Sampanthan put it, Jaffna peninsula had got back to government control, and therefore, it was the government, which should be held responsible for not re-settling the Muslims. "The government has not resettled the Tamils either," he pointed out.

Another TNA MP, Suresh Premachandran, said that the Muslim leaders were not serious about resettlement of the Muslim refugees or attending to their other problems, and that their main aim was only to secure places in power structures.

Deeply divided

Though the community's grievances were well known and every Muslim leader would voice it vociferously, there was no unity in action. The SLMC had split, and two factions of the party were in the government. More time was spent in in fighting than in upholding the common Muslim cause. The Muslim leaders based in the Sinhala areas and those with the mainstream Sinhala parties did not bother about the North Eastern Muslims, because the latter were with the SLMC and its splinter groups. All this only helped the LTTE get its way.

Aftermath of tsunami

When the tsunami hit the Sri Lankan coast in December 2004, the worst affected were the North Eastern coastline, especially, the largely Muslim South Eastern coastline. More Muslims died in the disaster. The community accounted for more property loss as compared to the Tamils or Sinhalas. But the Muslims did not ask for a Joint Mechanism with the government to do reconstruction work in their areas. As before, the Tamils, or rather the LTTE, took the initiative, and sought a Joint Mechanism with the government for reconstruction work in the North East, including the Muslim areas. The international community backed this scheme as it felt that this would be the best way to reach aid to LTTE-controlled areas and also to bring the LTTE into the mainstream and pave the way for the resumption of peace talks. The Kumaratunga government concurred.

The Muslims wanted to participate in the formulation of the Joint Mechanism and be a third signatory to it, but the LTTE objected, and the government and the Norwegian facilitators led them up the garden path. The structure that was finalised gave more power to the LTTE than to the Muslims. The power to sanction and to authorise spending was vested in a "Regional Committee" based in Kilinochchi, the LTTE's headquarters. In the Regional Committee, the LTTE was given the casting vote too. The LTTE felt that the safeguards contained in the structure for the minorities like the Muslims were enough. Clearly, the LTTE did not want its plan to dominate the North East diluted by a third party.

An angry SLMC declared that it would boycott the Joint Mechanism, forcing the others to do the same. Meanwhile, the Sinhala-majoritarian Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) challenged some of the provisions (largely unrelated to the Muslims) in the Supreme Court. The court virtually outlawed the Regional Committee.

The Joint Mechanism episode resulted in a stand off between the LTTE and the government/Sinhala nationalist parties, and also between the LTTE and the Muslim political parties. Now, the Colombo-based Council of Muslims of Sri Lanka wants armed security for the Muslims in the East. All Muslim groups want an annulment of the unification of the North and East. The LTTE, for its part, is organising a series of public rallies to demand a unified and "sovereign" Tamil Homeland embracing two thirds of the Sri Lankan coast and a third of the island's land mass.

By-passing parties, LTTE cultivates Muslim civil society

However, in spite of all this, the LTTE is keen on getting the Muslims on board its bandwagon. The Muslims ( who are about a third of the population in the East and who are now getting some international sympathy) are too big to be ignored forever. Since it sees the present political leaders of the Muslims as being in cahoots with the Sinhala majoritarian polity, and being mainly interested in ministerships and the loaves and fishes of office, the LTTE does not want to have anything to do with them. It wants to cultivate the non-political Muslims.

It has had meetings with religious leaders and mosque committee members. In the recent rally in Vavuniya to seek "sovereignty" for the Tamil Homeland, there were Muslim delegates from all the districts in the North and they spoke for Muslim-Tamil unity under the leadership of the LTTE.

"There is no problem at all between the Tamils and the Muslims in the North East. It is the Muslim leadership, which is misleading the Muslims and creating a rift with the Tamils. There is some confusion in Muslim minds about loss of some privileges. But these issues can be addressed," says R Sampanthan TNA MP.

But a Muslim-Tamil rapprochement is contingent on the continuation and consolidation of peace and the peace process. If the peace process gets stalled as a result of political and military developments, and if war breaks out, Muslim-Tamil relations will only get worse. The past will catch up to smother the present and the future.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Kadirgamar undergoing emergency operation 

Bandula Jayasekara in Colombo, SLT 12.44 A.M Saturday 13 August 2005. The Foreign Minister who was shot by suspected LTTE snipers at his private residence is undergoing an emergency operation and his situation is reported to be crtical. President Kumaratunga has rushed to the hospital the minister is undergoing the operation.

It means truce is over and Peace process in dustbin.

<b>Lankan Foreign Minister Kadirgamar shot dead</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar was shot dead by a suspected sniper in his private residence in Colombo early Saturday.

A National Hospital official said that the minister was pronounced dead at 12.15 am.

<b>The minister was in his swimming pool when the sniper, a crackshot, got him</b>. He was apparently hit in the head and chest.

Kadirgamar was rushed to the National Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery to no avail.

The incident took place at his private residence in the high security Buller's Lane in the heart of Colombo. He was in the habit of swimming a lap of 1000 metres in his private swimming pool every evening before retiring.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Top Sri Lankan minister shot dead

Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar has been assassinated in a gun attack in the capital, Colombo.

The murder was being blamed by a senior police officer on the Tamil Tigers separatist rebels, who have been observing a ceasefire since 2002.

But the ceasefire has been under recent growing strain, amid rebel claims that the government was continuing to conduct a covert war against them.

Mr Kadirgamar, 73, was shot near his heavily-guarded home in Colombo.

Reports said he was hit several times and was rushed to hospital in a critical condition. He died later despite undergoing emergency surgery.

A senior police officer quoted by Reuters news agency blamed the rebels, who want an independent state in the north, for carrying out the attack.

"It's the Tigers," Inspector General of Police Chandra Fernando told reporters, the agency said.

Mr Kadirgamar had considered himself to be a potential target of the group, reports said.

Mr Kadirgamar, who was himself from the South Asian island's minority Tamil community, was a close aide of President Chandrika Kumaratunga.

Mr Kadirgamar was appointed foreign minister in April 2004, but had previously held the position from 1994 to 2001.

"He worked tirelessly for peace throughout his career. It is a great loss," Justice Minister John Senevirathne told reporters who had gathered outside the National Hospital in Colombo.

A large security operation was launched after the shooting.

Armed police began searching the area of Colombo where Mr Kadirgamar was shot, as helicopters circled overhead.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->LTTE denies involvement in Kadirgamar killing

[TamilNet, August 13, 2005 06:15 GMT]

Denying any involvement in the assassination of Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Mr. Lakshman Kadirgamar, LTTE's Political Head, Mr. S. P. Thamilchelvan Saturday condemned Colombo for hastily blaming the Liberation Tigers for the killing. Thamilchelvan said that there are several forces opposed to the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) in the South. "We also know that there are sections within the Sri Lankan Armed forces operating with a hidden agenda to sabotage the CFA," he said and urged Colombo to conduct a thorough investigation to identify the assassins.

LTTE's Political Head, when contacted by TamilNet Saturday morning, further said that Colombo, ridden with internal rifts and power struggles, should look inwards for culprits of the assassination. He added that there is a growing trend in the South to blame the Liberation Tigers for all killings.

Meanwhile, traffic along A9 entering Sri Lanka Government controlled region were held up at the Muhamalai and Omanthai checkpoints for several hours Saturday morning, civil sources said. Situation is back to normal at these checkpoints, travellers said.

Similar restrictions are also reported in several Sri Lanka Army checkpoints in the east.

Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Mr. Kadirgamar was shot Friday by unidentified sniper at his residence, which is guarded by more than a hundred armed security personnel.

The SL Government has declared a state of emergency following the assasination of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar on Friday night.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->THE LTTE: BACK TO 9/10
By B.Raman

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Kadirgamar's killing: Emergency imposed in Sri Lanka

Agencies / Colombo

Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga has imposed a state of emergency in the country after Friday night's assassination of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar.

The minister was shot in the head between 10 pm and 11 pm local time and succumbed to his injuries at 12.15 am.

According to reports, he was shot by a sniper from long distance at his highly guarded residence in Colombo.

The LTTE are the prime suspects in the assassination, but authorities say they are working with an open mind.

Defence Ministry spokesperson Daya Ratnayake asked Colombo residents to remain indoors today to allow a major search operation to go ahead.
Fragile peace process

Kadirgamar's assassination has the potential to derail the three-year-old peace process in Sri Lanka and push the country back into civil war.

In an interview put on the LTTE's official website, the organisation's chief negotiator Anton Balasingham had warned of a return to armed confrontation if the Sri Lankan government did not stop its alleged support to rebel Tamil groups in the east.

The LTTE has always accused the government of supporting the breakaway rebel group headed by its former commander of the eastern areas, Vinayagamurthy Muralitharan, also known as Colonel Karuna.

Over the past few months, this breakaway faction of the LTTE is believed to be responsible for a spate of attacks on LTTE cadres and operatives in the Tamil majority eastern districts.

The LTTE claims that the breakaway group was operating with the full support of the Sri Lankan Army – a claim denied by the Sri Lankan government.

But as the attacks on the LTTE operatives mounted in the east, there were counter attacks targetting key military intelligence personnel, Sri Lankan soldiers and cadres of the breakaway group.

Stern warning

It is in this context that LTTE's chief negotiator issued his warning through an interview published on the outfit's official website.

"It is a well established fact that there are five Tamil para-military armed groups, including the Karuna group, who are paid and provided with logistic support by the Sri Lankan security forces in this covert military campaign to destabilise the eastern province and to paralyse the LTTE's political engagement in the region," Balasingham said.

"The Colombo regime is fully aware of the situation. Yet, the government attempts to distort this violent phenomenon as an internal conflict within the LTTE arising from the split by the Karuna group," he said further in his statement.

"It is deeply disappointing to note that President Kumaratunga's government, which claims serious commitment to peace and negotiated settlement to the ethnic conflict, has allowed its armed forces to support and sustain a shadow war of the Tamil para-militaries in grave violation of the truce agreement that could rekindle the civil war," he added.

'Govt under no obligation'

Chief of the Sri Lankan government's peace secretariat Jayantha Dhanapala and other top leaders have been denying these allegations and have called it a matter between two LTTE groups.

They have also said that the Sri Lankan government was under no obligation to disarm groups that came into the picture after the peace deal was signed three years ago.

Balasingam had this to say: "Karuna's group is not functioning from deep jungles of the east as Mr Dhanapala fantasizes. They are often operating from Sri Lanka military camps and their hideouts are well protected by the armed forces."

"By providing sanctuary and support to Karuna and his group, the Sri Lankan military should assume direct responsibility for the bloody internecine warfare that is threatening the current peace process," he added.

The peace talks brokered in 2002 by Norwegian negotiators have been stalled for about two years and the failure to implement the deal to share $3 billion in foreign aid for tsunami relief has also added to the friction.

Prime suspects

Sri Lankan police say they had arrested two LTTE cadres earlier this month from outside Kadirgamar's official residence while they were allegedly videotaping the area.

The minister's assassination at his private residence, just meters away from where these arrests were made, have made the LTTE the prime suspect.

LTTE however, has denied any involvement in the killing of Kadirgamar.

Radical right wing Sinhala groups can also not escape suspicion. They have been very aggressive about their opposition to the peace process with the LTTE and the recent tsunami aid sharing deal.

However, it is clear now that with this assassination, three years of fragile peace could very well come to an end. The tireless Norwegian mediators are the only hope and their diplomatic skills will be once again put to test.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->In true Tiger colour

K Venkataramanan

News analysis------- To call the assassination of Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar a ceasefire violation would be a criminal understatement. The agreement signed between the Lankan Government and the Liberation Tigers of amil Eelam (LTTE) in February 2002 specifically prohibited political assassinations. 

The brazenness with which LTTE took out Kadirgamar through a sniper in the midst of a functional truce is nothing short of an abrogation of the truce. Though none in Lankan establishment or the peace-oriented international community will admit it, the LTTE has virtually declared a return to war with this high profile assassination.

For the record, the group denied responsibility, but the Tigers are known for such monumental deception, made with an eye on preserving their 'legitimacy' in the eyes of the Western world, where their bottomless war chest is filled with donations and extortions from the expatriate Tamil community.

The late-night killing has the Tigers' signatures through and through even though it was not a suicide bombing. They had obviously avoided sending a suicide bomber as that would have given them away. More importantly, human bombs have started failing spectacularly because of access control and, as it turned out last year in an attempt on the life of Minister Douglas Devananda, they eventually end up killing cops rather than their intended targets.

The manner in which the assassin had positioned himself in a room in a neighbouring building close to Kadirgamar's residence, the recovery of pieces of evidence that suggest that he had used an 8.3 mm gun with night zoom vision and a seven-foot steel stand to take his position close to a bathroom window and a rocket launcher in the vicinity of the house indicate a level of meticulous planning, reconnaissance and surveillance that only the deadly Tigers are capable of. '

Kadirgamar's killing is not just a terrible blow to the peace process, which was floundering anyway, it also removes from the scene the island's most alert mind that knew every bit of treachery that the Tigers are capable of. He was Lanka's most articulate spokesman and commanded respect in diplomatic circles globally. Many considered him a 'hardliner' where the LTTE was concerned, but few foreign ministry establishments in the world could refute his assessment of the Tigers.

With this assassination, the LTTE has yet again demonstrated that it is sticking to the ceasefire in the military sense only because it gives them ample space and resources to take out its political opponents - more than 200 of its declared enemies, mostly members of rival political parties, former militants who had worked against them in times of war and some of the best Intelligence operatives of the State have been slain in the last three years - with impunity.

One must remember that Tiger politics will forever overshadow any peace initiative and that its terror politics demands that it eliminate its perceived enemies before it can think of participating in a finding a workable solution.

The Tigers are sending out a clear message that they want the ceasefire to end, but they don't want to be seen as doing it themselves. Instead, they set off a chain of events that they hope will compel the Sri Lankan State to go to war. For the present, the Government is not taking the bait.

President Chandrika Kumaratunga is now one of the last remaining Sri Lankan leaders who understand the LTTE in and out, and she has already survived a heinous assassination attempt herself. She has few options at hand except to pursue the pitiless logic of the one-sided peace process kicked off by her political rival Ranil Wickremesinghe three years ago.

Any punitive action can push the peace process, or what is left of it, over the brink and neither the State nor the people are ready for war. There is no hope of support from the international community, as early condemnations from world leaders are invariably accompanied by appeals for saving the peace process, indicating that saving the truce is more important than punishing the Tigers. She has no option but to ask her Ministers and supporters to scramble for cover the next time an assassin comes calling.


<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The manner in which the assassin had positioned himself in a room in a neighbouring building close to Kadirgamar's residence, the recovery of pieces of evidence that suggest that he had used an 8.3 mm gun with night zoom vision and a seven-foot steel stand to take his position close to a bathroom window and a rocket launcher in the vicinity of the house indicate a level of meticulous planning, reconnaissance and surveillance that only the deadly Tigers are capable of. '
Why to commit suicide? I don't understand this logic? He could have used his skill again. This action only tells either they are completely brainwashed by some ideological theory which is not based on winning war or territory but something else.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Seven arrested in Sri Lanka during search ops

August 13, 2005 13:16 IST

Atleast seven persons were arrested in Colombo on Saturday during search operations following the assassination of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, a senior army commander said.

Five men travelling in a van and two others were taken into custody separately as they were unable to prove their identity, he said.

The Army commander said they had no direct evidence to link the men to the last night's assassination of Kadirgamar, but they were being questioned to establish their identities.

President Chandrika Kumaratunga declared a state of Emergency on Saturday, giving sweeping powers to the security forces to arrest and detain suspects. Police and troops were conducting search operations for two snipers, who are believed to have carried out the assassination.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Top Indian ministers for Lanka minister's funeral

August 13, 2005 23:08 IST

Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee and External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh will represent India at Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar's funeral in Colombo on Monday.

The high-level delegation will also include Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran and other senior officials, an external affairs ministry spokesman said.

The delegation will leave for Sri Lanka on Monday morning, he said.

Earlier, India strongly condemned Kadirgamar's assassination, describing it as a "heinous act" of terrorism by those seeking to undermine the Island nation's unity and political stability.

Maintaining that India's support for unity and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka remained "constant and undiluted", the spokesman said New Delhi will always extend its full support to the friendly neighbour in its hour of need.

I myself sympathise with the Tamils especially since majority of them are Hindus, we should have liberated them a long time back but we didn't, time we did that, I only sympathise with Hindus who fight and Tamil Hindus did fight and have shed their blood and sweat for their eelam for more than 20 yrs now, Hindus who don't fight and accept their fate like Kashmiri Hindus and West Bengali Hindus deserve what they get.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Police arrest 12 Tamils in connection with minister's slaying

August 14, 2005 17:07 IST

Sri Lankan security forces arrested 12 minority Tamils in connection with the assassination of the island's foreign minister, the Defence Ministry said on Sunday, as a Tamil lawmaker said only a peace deal could stop such killings in a country many feared was sliding back to war.

A state of emergency went into effect within hours of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar's slaying late Friday.

Top Sri Lankan officials warned that the killing was a major setback to the fragile peace process -- and cast doubt on the rebel Tamil Tiger's insistence that they were not behind the attack.

The overnight arrests came during raids by police and soldiers deployed to search the capital for suspects, Defence Ministry spokesman Brig. Daya Ratnayake said on Sunday.

The 11 Tamil men and one woman arrested were 'being interrogated, but at this moment of time we don't want to say anything', he said.

Ratnayake said a three-year-old cease-fire with the rebel Tamil Tigers was holding. "From our side there is no change. We are honouring the cease-fire," he said.

Sri Lanka leader 'to seek peace'
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The Sri Lankan president has vowed to redouble efforts to reach a peace deal in the first TV speech since a minister was shot dead.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The killing of the minister, who led a campaign to have the Tamil Tigers outlawed in other countries, will, it is feared, create a major hurdle along the already difficult peace process. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
In future other outlaw organisation may opt such route.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The Muslims, who suffered heavily in the tsunami, were not a signatory to the deal, and many in the community are angry because they feel they were marginalised.

The Muslims' exclusion from the signing was ostensibly at the insistence of the Tamil rebels. The divided Muslim politicians could not influence the president's decision.
These two reasons may be behind this killing

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