ER and PTA
The LTTE has been
vanquished for certain but as is often the case one cannot rule
out a residue of terrorism that may still lurk in our midst.
Hence it is only to be expected that the military will not drop
its guard at this point of time. Troops are still continuing
mopping up operations and media reports of surrenders by more
LTTE cadres coming out of their jungle hideouts only shows the
existence of remnants even though at a subterranean level.
Beside the country has only just come out of the three decade
long war and one cannot be complacent just yet that the threat
is no more. For there is always the unknown and the possibility
of a surprise element which has to be factored into the
Therefore, while rejoicing and celebrations are in order in
the aftermath of the elimination of Velupillai Prabhakaran it
would be advisable if things are not taken for granted just yet.
Although the LTTE's ability to make a comeback is nil with the
elimination of all its top leaders there is still the
possibility of fleeing cadres who have escaped the military
onslaught being manipulated, if not to revive the organisation,
but to settle a score with the Government for inflicting such a
humiliating and irreversible defeat on the outfit.
For one there is the shadowy figure K. Pathmanathan or KP who
it is alleged is billed to assume the leadership of an
emasculated LTTE. The man wanted by Interpol for his arms
procurement activities for the LTTE and sought by India in
connection with the Rajiv Gandhi killing is said to be the
choice of the Diaspora. The President no less had sought the
assistance of visiting UN Secretary General Ban-Ki- Moon for the
arrest and deportation of KP.
True, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has vowed to
finish off all residue of the LTTE and nip any nascent terrorism
in the bud. But a terrorist organisation that had been honed as
a killing machine for over three decades of fighting may well
have some residue which could pose a threat to the hard won
peace. Besides even though the LTTE has been annihilated its
agents may still be around posing an equal danger.
The Government is aware of this threat, hence its decision
not to do away with the Anti-terrorism laws just yet until the
creation of a conducive climate that warrants the dismantling of
Therefore, the demand made by the main Opposition UNP for the
relaxation of the Emergency and the Prevention of terrorism Act
(PTA) is premature and uncalled for at this stage. As Leader of
the House Nimal Siripala de Silva responding to this request
told Parliament; "Does he (Opposition Leader) want to see the
revival of terrorism?".
The Minister further went on to state "the Government is
answerable to the people. We have to ensure that there will be
no chance for terrorism again. For that purpose we need to
conduct mopping up operations and we'll have to arrest more
persons who aided and abetted LTTE terrorists".
This statement shows that the Government is not in the mood
to take any chances and it would go even deeper to apprehend
those who are even remotely connected to the LTTE. The President
has said he would leave no room for terrorism to raise its ugly
head again on Lankan soil. Hence the determination of the
Government to probe all possibilities and avenues that might see
a resurgence of this evil.
It is determined to go all out to ensure no vestige of
terrorism grows once again in this country. For this, the
Government will have to make use of the existing Anti-terrorism
laws further in order to ferret out any lurking agents of
terror, bent on destabilising the country once again and
undermining the hard won victory by the military.
The UNP which calls for the removal of anti-terrorism laws
abused them during their tenure to silence political opponents.
On the contrary President Rajapaksa has ensured that these laws
are used for the sole purpose of dealing with terrorism. One
recalls how Vijaya Kumaratunga was incarcerated on an unfounded
naxalite plot using these very laws. Had these laws been used
for the purpose they were intended at the time, the LTTE problem
would not have assumed such proportion over the years.
On the contrary it went on to release terrorist suspects such
as the woman accused of being behind the Maradana bomb which
killed scores of innocent people.
The Opposition need not harbour any fears or misgivings that
they will receive their comeuppance. Emergency regulations have
never been abused by this Government to stifle political