A deplorable attack
The Sri Lankan
public was rudely awakened yesterday by yet another bomb
explosion in the heart of the City which claimed the lives of
four persons including two schoolchildren.
The claymore mine set off at the busy Slave Island bazaar
somewhat close to the Army Headquarters also injured 25 others,
including soldiers, women and children. An Army bus was the
target of the attack.
Coming a day after the assassination of Parliamentarian T.
Maheshwaran yesterday's incident no doubt is an unsettling
prospect for the public. It is also a chilling reminder of the
brutality of the LTTE.
It is the third such attack within the City in the course of
one month following the bomb attack at the Nugegoda No Limit
store and the explosion at the office of the EPDP leader Douglas
If past experience is anything to go by then the public will
have to brace themselves for similar bomb attacks particularly
at a time when the LTTE is on the retreat in their strongholds
and is bound to cause mayhem in other parts of the country.
The Tigers, by all accounts, are on their last legs. There is
also the likelihood of the LTTE carrying out more such attacks
in the City and also in other parts of the South so as to take
the heat off the military thrust in the Wanni and also shore up
morale of its rapidly depleting cadres.
It may also have in its sights the country's premier economic
targets in a bid to scare off investors. With the battles
intensifying the Tigers would now have no compunction about
taking on soft targets - as seen from the Nugegoda incident -
something it shied away from in the recent times not wishing to
raise the opprobrium of the international community.
It must be borne in mind that the Tigers generally view
civilian casualties as collateral damage. They do not care about
the community or religion of persons killed or maimed by their
Therefore it is time the Defence authorities reassess
security plans and put in motion an effective mechanism to meet
the emerging threat. Yesterday's incident is certainly not an
ideal start for the nation which ushered in the New Year with
much expectation for peace, unity and brotherhood.
The LTTE may step up attacks in the city in the run up to the
Diamond Jubilee Independence celebrations and the security
establishment should be alert to this possibility.
Inquiries should be made whether security has been
compromised in the wake of the dismantling of some checkpoints.
If so alternative methods should be devised to ensure the
security within the City is brought to the same level and
intensity as when these checkpoints were in place.
The need for public vigilance too has to be constantly
reiterated. It is to the credit of the majority community that
they have not reacted to the continuous provocative acts by the
LTTE after that unfortunate blot in July 1983 and President
Rajapaksa should be commended for always reiterating the
sentiments of brotherhood in his speeches concerning the Tamil
It has always been the President's refrain that the ordinary
Tamils should not be equated with the LTTE.
The public have to a duty to inform the Police or the Armed
Forces of they come across suspicious parcels, vehicles or
persons. Several tragedies have been prevented recently due to
the alertness of civilians.
Some security measures may also inconvenience civilians, but
we have to realise that extraordinary steps are called for to
deal with extraordinary situations. The greatest good of the
greatest number must be the guiding principle in this case.
It is doubly important at this stage to have a viable
political solution ready to accommodate the aspirations of the
majority of the Tamils to coincide with the anticipated return
The political process through the APRC must be given a fresh
lease of life so that all grievances and aspirations of the
minorities are resolved and a climate created for a peaceful
co-existence between all communities.