|Monday, 27 September 2004|
Please forward your comments to the Editor, Daily News.
Email : email@example.com
Snail mail : Daily News, 35, D.R. Wijewardene Mawatha, Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Telephone : 94 11 2429429 / 94 11 2421181
Fax : 94 11 2429210
A question of credibility
The indications are that there is not going to be an easy let-up in the LTTE - inspired elimination of political rivals and dissidents. In the latest of such incidents, an EPDP member was gunned down in Wellawatte.
As the Government pointed out subsequently, this process of calculatedly silencing opponents through the deployment of terror, wouldn't help in inspiring confidence in the North-East people, in those parties who claim to represent their political interests.
More basically, a huge question mark hangs over the credibility of the LTTE, which claims to be for peace but engages in the most repressive of anti-democratic acts.
The government has made its position amply clear on the peace process. As President Kumaratunga disclosed during her UN address recently, the Government is seeking to induct the LTTE into the negotiatory process which would lead to a resolution of the conflict. Besides, the President was emphatic on the point that the Government wouldn't be getting back to war. In other words, peace would be established by peaceful means.
Thus has the Lankan public and the world been given a substantial prefigurement of how the Government of Sri Lanka proposes to move in the direction of resolving the conflict. The framework for evolving a solution would be a democratic one, with its norms and values forming the essential core of the solution.
There is no doubt that the emerging solution would feature democratic decision-making in the North-East and the empowerment of the North-East people as essentials for conflict-free living. All this would be lost, if one North-East party to the conflict insists on wielding power despotically and with no concern for the democratic aspirations of the people of the North-East.
Accordingly, a continuing terror spree to silence anti-LTTE opinion would only have a disillusioning impact on the North-East populace. How, then, could the LTTE claim to speak on behalf of the North-East public?
We are compelled - in the view of the foregoing - to call on the LTTE once again to refrain from violence and to help in creating a climate which would be conducive to negotiations. It needs to be remembered that the Lankan Government is representative of the State.
It is duty-bound to uphold the legitimate interests of all Lankans. Accordingly, it cannot think or act in ways which would betray these interests. Since one of these interests is democratic decision-making, it cannot compromise the core values of democracy in its dealings with the LTTE.
Produced by Lake House