|Wednesday, 3 March 2004|
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With characteristic ruthlessness, the LTTE has gunned-down yet another of its political opponents in the East, close on the heels of the killing of a would-have-been UNP candidate at the April 2 general election. The victim, this time around, is said to have been a supporter of the EPDP.
While the EPDP has complained that it was a target of LTTE violence, the UNP has tried to give the impression that the LTTE will not attack it, that the Tigers will go to war with the Freedom Alliance.
With the cold blooded murder of the UNP candidate for Batticaloa shot dead while lying on a hospital bed, also with gunshot injuries, the scales must certainly have fallen from Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's eyes.
The indications are that the LTTE is gearing to paint the North-East 'red' in the run-up to the poll in another of its gruesome killing orgies. Its aim, of course, is to paralyse its opponents into inaction, to enable its diktat to hold sway in the North-East.
Through this reign of terror it also hopes to ensure the victory of those political forces which easily bend to its will. Accordingly, the LTTE hopes to wield power through its docile proxies and the current killings are designed to pave the way for the enactment of this tragedy.
We vehemently condemn these acts of naked terror by the LTTE and call on the organisation to adhere strictly to the norms of democracy. We demand that the Tamil people be allowed to use their franchise freely, in accordance with their wishes.
Besides their dastardly, inhuman nature, these political killings by the LTTE expose the hollowness of the terror group's claim to be the 'sole representative of the Tamil people'. If it is indeed what it boastfully claims to be, why is it repelled by the very thought of the Tamil people freely using their vote?
These current terror tactics of the LTTE are a continuation of the chilling, bloody vendetta campaign it conducted against army intelligence operatives and rival political activists not so long ago.
While the LTTE is engaged in the elimination of its rivals in the North-East, in the South political goon squads allegedly led by senior UNP minister S.B. Dissanayake is holding in a state of terror, the hill country electorate of Hanguranketha. Complaints by the inhabitants of this plantation electorate range from torture, assault and arson, to threat, intimidation and harrassment.
The police have reportedly not taken any action on this two years of unbridled lawlessness and brutal terror which began in the aftermath of the December 2001 general election and has continued unabated.
Residents of Hanguranketha have said they have complained to the IGP and the Police Commission which is responsible for police transfers, but no effort has been made, no action has been taken to halt this horrific wave of crime, of lawlessness.
We learn that the terror unleashed is of such proportions that, UPFA activists in the district have requested the President to take strong remedial measures to curb the polls-related violence.
Not surprisingly, the current wave of violence has been sweeping Hanguranketha from December 2001, when the UNF came to power in the country.
More than 50 serious cases of political violence have been witnessed in Hanguranketha. Thus it has transformed into a terror enclave in the hills.
Surprisingly, the terror has raged both in the North-East and in areas like Hanguranketha, while the Government looked helplessly on. Before the current terror wave turns into a bloodbath, we call for stringent action by the authorities to wipe it out.
All this and more has been happening while responsible parties, such as the election monitors, like Paffrel and CMEV have been up and about. Along with the Government they, too, need to act quickly before further blood is shed. Runaway terror could bring the country to naught.
Victims of this massive wave of political violence allegedly unleashed by the goon squads have made a desperate appeal to the President to have immediate steps taken to end the reign of terror.
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