SU: Army must ‘stick to its guns’

by Dilanthi Jayamanne
Sihala Urumaya (SU) Leader Thilak Karunaratne said the fourth round of peace talks failed as the government and the LTTE were unable to sort out the dispute over High Security Zones (HSZ) in the Jaffna peninsula. He maintained that the army should "stick to its guns," until the LTTE laid down their arms before considering any form of withdrawal in the HSZ.

"We would rally together all Sinhalese nationalist parties to fight against the traitors," he stressed claiming that there were discussions being held between the Sihala Urumaya and other nationalist parties at present.

Karunaratne alleged that the government was concealing the truth to the people. Stating that the LTTE was bent on destroying the cultural heritage of the Sinhala people, the Sihala Urumaya leader claimed that such news items of national interest were not revealed to the people. "Fifteen minutes of the ‘Asia News,’ on BBC is given to the north and east of Sri Lanka, and even in our own print and electronic media the truth of the matter is not revealed to the Sinhala nation," he said.

Education in the east is also being carried out by the LTTE. They have even emphasised as to how teachers should work, advocating two extra hours of teaching.

The SU leader said the government should give them a FM frequency in order to give the true picture to the Tamil and Sinhala communities. The government has imposed an unofficial censorship and even the private media organisations find it difficult to carry out their duty because of this, he said. "We have decided to break the unofficial barriers imposed by the government and give the true picture to the Sinhala community through an FM radio service."

The government has already given high-tech radio equipment to the LTTE through the Norwegian Ambassador without customs duty. Karunaratne said the SU would pay customs duty for the radio equipment but that the government should give them a radio frequency.

Sihala Urumaya National Organiser, Patali Champika Ranawaka said the LTTE was not prepared to go into a federal system as the government claimed, but was merely hoodwinking it. "They promised to view the concept of federalism during the last round of talks merely to be able to approach the countries which have banned them. He said the LTTE had assets worth US $ 4 billion and that this had been a ploy of theirs to re-enter those countries.

"They would agree to a federal system which would only allow them to carry on their army, police, judiciary and banks," Ranawaka claimed, challenging the government to prove the SU claim otherwise.

The SU National Organiser reiterated the allegation that the government had formed a pact with the LTTE before coming into power. "The government representatives had only reiterated their pledges in Oslo to the LTTE to settle Tamil civilians in HSZs. But, it is apparent that they had not requested the opinions of the army chiefs."

Ranawaka called upon the government forces not to accept every thing that the LTTE said till it laid down its arms.

"The government has already betrayed the mandate given to it by the people. The premier and his cabinet have broken the law of the land and violated the constitution." He said the government had come into power on the pledge that they would not divide the country. "But they have violated section 157 of the constitution by failing to do so."

"According to section 209 of the penal code they have been harbouring criminals in their official residences," Ranawaka alleged, pointing out that Karuna, Thamil Chelvam and Anton Balasingham were those who knew the whereabouts of LTTE Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran who received a 200 year prison sentence. But the premier and his cabinet have been harbouring them in their homes.

"They should be denied their civic rights for seven years," he said.

The SU National Organiser claimed there was strong evidence to say that the LTTE had connections with the terrorist group al Queda, however much they denied.

Former Senior DIG H. N. D. B. Kotakadeniya claimed that the government had jeopardised the safety of Colombo, the capital city, by removing the barriers. The safety of the capital is interspersed with the rest of the country, he said.

He said it was a military tactic to weaken the enemy and that is exactly what will happen if the HSZs are removed from the north and east. The LTTE has always considered the Sri Lankan government its enemy.

Kotakadeniya warned that the LTTE had its sight set on all places of importance including the Kandy Dalada Maligawa, the Anuradhapura Sri Maha Bodiya and several other places.