Of victories, defeats and
raised by President Mahinda Rajapaksa of a conspiracy to
undermine the unprecedented victories of the Security Forces
cannot be dismissed off hand. Nor the attempts to divert the
peoples' attention from the military gains.
The fall of Kilinochchi, the epicentre of LTTE power brought
the nation as one in spontaneous celebration. All segments of
the population shed their party colours and other differences to
rejoice in the event. This no doubt would have been galling to
some who had all along been challenging the capability of the
forces to wrest control of the Tiger citadel.
Now the valiant forces have also captured Elephant Pass
another Tiger bastion and reopened the A9 Road after 23 long
But these twin victories no doubt were marred by the attack
on the Sirasa Studios and the assassination of Sunday Leader
editor Lasantha Wickrematunge. Coming as they did hot on the
heels of these victories they naturally gave rise to suspicion.
Addressing the nation following the liberation of Elephant
Pass on Friday President Rajapaksa cited many such instances
from the past where attempts were made to dilute the victories
of Armed Forces by similar diversionary tactics. One was the
attack on the Udayan Newspaper office on World Press Freedom
Day. Another was the abduction of journalist Keith Noyar that
coincided with the capture of Thoppigala.
The President cannot be faulted for seeing a similar design
in the current attack on the Sirasa office and the slaying of
Lasantha Wickrematunge. Only this time the gravity of the crimes
were more heinous perhaps in proportion to the significance of
the latest victories.
We are not pointing the finger at any one party. But even to
the man on the street a question mark would linger as to the
timing of these attacks. The Sirasa studios were attacked two
days after the capture of Kilinochchi known as the Tiger
Headquarters, and when the country was still in the grip of the
euphoria of that victory.
The slaying of Wickrematunge was done when the forces were
poised to capture the strategic Elephant Pass which was bound to
have evoked another wave of celebrations countrywide. The
President also referred to similar attacks on the media
personnel and media institutions earlier too when the troops
pulled off decisive victories. No doubt he has noticed a trend
in this regard which has fuelled his suspicion of a conspiracy
both by local and international agencies, to rob the forces of
the honour and glory of their unprecedented achievements and to
blot the image of the country.
That is why the Government should redouble it's efforts in
getting after the culprits so as to clear the air in this
regard. As the President has already noted unfounded
alleagations have been made against the Army Commander by these
conspirators. This is all the more reason to get at the bottom
of these incidents. For, the perpetrators of these foul deeds
know that no bigger damage could be done to the image of the
forces in their successful march to victory than by sullying the
reputation of the military leadership. This way they hope to
deal a huge dent in the morale of the troops and stymie the
final thrust against a cornered enemy while at the same time
bringing international opprobrium on a highly disciplined armed
Through this means the conspirators no doubt hope to besmirch
the good name of the forces in the eyes of the public. It may
also hope to bring international pressure to bear on the
Government to reverse the forward march. Therefore it is
incumbent on the Government to deploy it's full might to uncover
this conspiracy and unmask the persons behind the plot. The
public would expect nothing more at a time the country is poised
to witness lasting peace after decades of bloodletting. Those
power-hungry elements should not be allowed to exploit the
current situation to ride their fortunes.
The public for their part should be vigilant against these
conspirators and not buy into their craftily engineered
publicity stunts lest they be lured away into missing the wood
for the trees. They should be constantly aware of the campaign
being waged to belittle the victories of the Security Forces and
stymie the current military thrust to annihilate the terrorists.
Because sinister forces are today busy to dampen the buoyant
spirits of the public following the capture of Kilinochchi and
redress the balance in favour of the enemy.