|Saturday, 19 July 2003|
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Time to end political killings
Despite the mounting public outcry against political killings in the North-East, attributed to the LTTE, they seem to be continuing with a relentless regularity. The most recent killing of this kind occurred a couple of days ago in Trincomalee. The victim was described as an army informant. Just prior to this incident, an office of an anti-LTTE group came under fire in the same area.
The growing magnitude of this problem of seemingly mysterious killings has compelled Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe to take up the issue with SLMM chief Tryggve Tellefsen at recent talks and we hope the parties concerned would from now on make a concerted effort to stamp out the problem. For, as pointed out by many, increasing killings of this nature would indeed prove a spoiling factor in the effort to work out a settlement to the conflict.
Sections of the LTTE leadership have repeatedly denied responsibility for these killings but the evidence at hand clearly points to an LTTE involvement. In the case of the cold-blooded murder of police officer Sunil Thabrew in Dehiwela recently, for instance, it is apparent that the killer has close links with the LTTE. Besides, it is mainly members of anti-LTTE groups, such as EPRLF, PLOTE and TELO, and others who have operated as intelligence operatives with the security forces, who have been thus hunted down and killed.
Some time back, the State announced plans to meet the security requirements of these operatives more substantially but we wonder whether this has taken place. Apparently, comprehensive security cover is yet to be provided to them and we urge the authorities to go about this task without further delay. However, we also wish to impress on the LTTE that a greater seriousness of purpose needs to be shown by it if it is in earnest when it says that it is intent on negotiating a durable peace. It clearly cannot go through the motions of negotiating peace while systematically eliminating its opponents.
Such schizophrenic conduct doesn't augur well for the peace process which would involve the exercise of tolerance by the LTTE and flexible accommodation on its part of opponents' viewpoints in the negotiation of a fair deal for the Tamil people. Moreover, it is a democratic dispensation in the North-East which would be in tune with the Tamil people's interests.
Some of these, however, are issues for the future and do not warrant any comment at present. Recurring political killings, however, would sour the atmosphere of any future peace negotiations and need to be ended in the short term. If the word of sections of the LTTE leadership is to be accepted on these killings, we are left to conclude that the LTTE leadership is not exercising sufficient, disciplinary control over the entirety of its cadres and following.
The question arises, for instance, whether there are renegade elements within the LTTE which are carrying out these murders in defiance of the LTTE leadership.The time is right, therefore, for a concerted attempt on the part of all relevant parties to end these killings. The LTTE should rid itself of renegade elements within its ranks, if there are any, or cooperate with the State in tracking down these killers.
Produced by Lake House