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Abduction of KP shows state terrorism goes on unabated

[MISC, Friday, 14 August 2009 07:57 One Comment]

By Satheesan Kumaaran

The Sri Lankan government came out last week with its own military intelligence agents to Malaysia to kidnap the head of LTTE’s International Relations Department. They escorted him in a plane to Colombo and his whereabouts and his destiny are still unknown. Even though Selvarasa Pathmanathan, better known as KP, announced, after LTTE officially declared that they silenced their guns in May 2009, that he would lead the LTTE in a peaceful manner using democratic and diplomatic means to end the Tamils’ grievances. Growing fear among Tamils in Sri Lanka is that their three decades of military campaign and earlier three decades of peaceful struggle since the island gained independence from Britain will be silenced using state terrorism.

The arrest of KP shows that the Sri Lankan government will not go easy with anyone although they speak out in support of Tamils and are giving assurances that they will bring the Tamils’ grievances to an end through peaceful means. But its actions are not matched with words. The government seems to be more anti-Tamil now and determined to suppress Tamils at any cost.

Even Tamil parliamentarians are afraid to speak in favour of Tamils as the Sri Lankan State has already, through its paramilitaries, killed elected MPs, while denying any associations to the killings and the State has to bring the perpetrators to justice.

The state-sponsored terrorism in Sri Lanka has grown its deep roots over the last couple of years. Sri Lanka has a notorious track record, inter-alia, with state-sanctioned murders of elected Tamil MPs, journalists, and aid-workers. Eleven journalists, of whom nine are Tamils, have been killed while fifty have been abducted from 2005 up to now. Another 50 journalists have left the country due to fear of persecution. Many Tamil businessmen have been abducted for ransom and killed. One Tamil parliamentarian from the North, five Tamil doctors, and Government Agent of Kilinochchi have been arrested and imprisoned merely because they happened to be Tamils.

This dishonourable track record of human rights abuses and suppression of free speech and their failure to protect the Tamil MPs show that Sri Lanka is a failed state and they have no qualms about their genocidal agenda toward the Tamils. Even KP himself announced that he would lead the LTTE as a political movement to represent the Tamils on the island denouncing violence, and even KP is not a wanted person in Sri Lanka for any criminal activity on its soil. Sri Lanka had no right to kidnap him and extradite him to Colombo on August 5 as he is a Thai citizen and according to UN conventions, he should be produced in a court in the country where he was kidnapped.

His kidnapping and extradition to Colombo violates international jurisdictions. Sri Lanka fears that he would mobilize Tamils around the world and he would demand that Sri Lanka fulfill the demands of Tamils through diplomatic and political means.

Sinhala majority will never recognize Tamils

Although KP is a wanted man by Interpol for gun running charges, he was not on the list of India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with the assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. But it was speculated that KP would be a better person to provide clues in finding out the LTTE’s plot in the murder. However, they took little action to extradite him from his adopted country. Sri Lanka, which has no charges on KP, arrested him and detained him in an undisclosed location in Sri Lanka.

KP spent his most time talking to his diplomatic contacts to get all the displaced people, who languish in military-run barbed wired camps, released. These innocent civilians have broken no laws, but are being treated like criminals. Their conditions are worse than animals. There are reports of torture, rape, and starvation inside the camps. Food and medicine are regularly denied to Tamils, forcing them to die of starvation and diseases. Red Cross, a lone international humanitarian presence on the war’s last battlefield, was last month forbidden access to most internment camps and forced to close four offices in the east on the orders of the all powerful Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

Further, KP was acting fast to get international aid to the affected people in the North. So, he was not doing anything illegal, but he was mobilizing resources to help the Tamil victims of the war. In spite of the Tamils hardships, the Sri Lankan State drums its chest in the South and receives enormous support from the majority of Sinhala people over the winning of a war with the LTTE and now the capture of KP. This shows from the recently held urban council elections. The ruling government managed to sweep the votes among the Sinhala voters.

On various occasions, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has made claim that he was elected by the Sinhalese-Buddhist constituency and, therefore, he will not betray their mandate. In keeping with his “Mahinda Chinthana” he has said no to Tamil homeland, no to Tamil people’s right to self determination, and no to Tamil nation.

War drumming by the failed Sri Lankan State with the support of the Sinhala majority will never grant autonomy for the Tamils. This reminds us what the father of Tamils, Chelvanayagam, said — that no one other than the god will save the Tamils from the Sinhalese. Although Chelvanayagam is no more, his wise words remain valid.

Despite knowing the facts, the global community, too, supports the oppressor rather than the oppressed because they care too little about the Tamils on the island. Even when many western European countries raised their strongest voices while tens of thousands of people were butchered by the Sri Lankan army, Sri Lanka ignored them. Instead of taking actions against Sri Lanka, these powerful countries held press conferences and released statements. They did nothing to bring the terrorist Sri Lankan State to book.

The value of democracy is for the majority to embrace the minority and although Sri Lanka claims it is a democratic socialist republic, they oppress the minority through violence. This shows that the majority Sinhalese will never embrace Tamils. The Tamils will have no option but to recognize themselves and when the time is ripe, they will support Tamil militants leading to another phase of war with the Sri Lankan State.

KP arrest a symbolic threat to others

KP’s arrest further disappoints the Tamils. Sri Lanka should realize that no one should suppress others through violence. Sri Lanka should recognize the Tamils’ political grievances and end the conflict through peaceful means rather than sending army to kill and abduct peace doves.

While Sri Lanka celebrates the abduction of KP, the Sri Lankan State remonstrates with Tamil activists, warning that they will not abide free speech concerning Tamils rights. The State, however, failed to realize that it cannot bring the millions of Tamils to its knees unless the State accommodates the demands of Tamils. Tamils are not begging the Sri Lankan State for power. However, international jurisdictions make it difficult for the Tamils to secede from a recognized State.

However, the kidnapping and removal of KP in Kuala Lumpur to Colombo violates international jurisdiction. Without informing the family or close relatives, kidnapping and relocating him to another country is not acceptable to the UN conventions. It is a gross violation of international rules and regulations. There is no doubt that some influential and powerful countries contributed behind the scenes in his kidnapping, even though the Sri Lankan authorities issued statements to the contrary. Even the Thailand Prime Minister said that KP was not arrested on his soil. The LTTE’s legal advisor, Viswanathan Rudrakumaran, who is a resident of the U.S. as well as U.S citizen, strongly urged the Malaysian government to clarify on the abduction of KP and he urged the Malaysian government to order a full investigation on the KP arrest episode.

The Malaysian Prime Minister said he was not aware exactly what happened and he did not admit that he would launch a full investigation as demanded by Rudrakumaran. However, it is a sensitive matter and Malaysia is home to nearly two million Tamils who embraced the country as their home. However, they remain a forgotten community in the country. Despite all this, the present situation over the arrest of KP will further anger the Tamils towards the Malaysian government.

Sri Lanka, who is drumming its victories over military success and now over the capture of KP, will definitely boost Colombo politically and will help Colombo to extend hands to arrest and bring any others who speak in favour of Eealm Tamils to Sri Lanka. But Colombo should realize that it would not get the support from the global community always as it did in South East Asia.

In arresting KP, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has lost an historic opportunity to heal the ethnic wounds between the majority Sinhalese and the long brutalized Tamils. This is further proof the Sinhala government is out to crush Tamils’ demand for equal rights and freedom regardless of the means of resistance.

Killing, abducting, and torturing a community will not bring stability to the country. Further, all these will add fuel to divisions and enable the oppressed to come out stronger than before to fight the oppressor. Daydreaming will never become a reality, but independent Tamil Eelam will definitely become a reality as justice always will triumph at the end. However, people like KP and tens of thousands of others belonging to a nation should sacrifice for the liberation of their community as freedom will not come into birth without sweating. In spite of Sri Lanka’s not-so-clandestine attempts to silence the Tamils, the Tamils still struggle mightily for their rights and freedoms and will continue to do that until their rights are established.

(The author can be reached at e-mail: satheesan_kumaaran@yahoo.com)

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One Comment »

  • Nirooshan said:

    Canada, Us and all the other countries have to step in. Every one knows that the Sri Lankan goverment is a Terrorist of capturing KP! We need to help the poor tamils in camp and without their parents! Tamils need help and PLEASE STEP IN!