|Deproscription of the LTTE
When the MoU regarding the cessation of hostilities was signed, it was unconditional, though it was a prelude to peace talks. Now that the ceasefire is effective and many of the restrictions have been removed, the LTTE is adding on conditions such as the lifting of the proscription before talks commence as well as taking up the question of the merger of the Northern and Eastern provinces at the very outset as a priority.
The Govt. should categorically state that the MoU was signed without any pre-conditions and as such the question of the temporary deproscription of the LTTE can only be considered if there is initial progress at the talks. If the proscription is removed before talks commenced, what would be the position if the talks were to fail at the very beginning? Hence, lifting of the proscription too should be a part of the preliminary talks.
The LTTE alone cannot bring fresh conditions before talks commence. If they insist on their pre-conditions, the GOSL too should request the LTTE to give a solemn undertaking to the international community that it will not resort to arms in the future, as a quid pro quo. The ban on the LTTE can then be suspended, not lifted, until the talks progress smoothly. Actually there is no necessity to lift the ban before talks commence. There has to be some useful return for lifting the proscription.
Further, the GOSL and the terrorist LTTE cannot by any stretch of the imagination be considered equals.As for the temporary linkage of the Northern and Eastern provinces, it was done under severe pressure of the Indian Govt. and not because it was desired by the GOSL. After so many years of bloodshed and the conditions of the merger having not been fulfilled, the necessity to continue with it does not arise. I believe, the validity of the merger has to be maintained by an annual Gazette notification since the stipulated referendum was not held in the East. Accordingly, if the Gazette notification was stopped, the two provinces will revert to their original status.
It is totally unfair to link the Eastern province with the North as the East has a more or less equally balanced population between the Sinhalese, Muslims and Tamils resulting in 2/3 of the East being non-Tamil, whereas the Northern province is almost totally Tamil. At the same time, there are no separate political parties in the North except for the LTTE which has coerced all the other parties and the people to accept them as the sole representative of the Tamil people.
This position is unacceptable in that the average Tamil person has been forced to accept the LTTE as their sole political representative with no choice, whatever their personal views may be.
As all three races are more or less equally represented in the Eastern province and as the Sinhalese and the Muslims together outnumber the Tamils, a properly conducted referendums should be held in the Eastern province to ascertain whether they like to be linked to the northern province and come under the total control of the LTTE with their Tamil majority.
Merely linking the two provinces for convenience of governance or to overcome a thorny problem is incorrect and unfair by the people of the Eastern Province.
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