Kadirgamar’s crime

Former Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar PC has posed a serious threat to national security. The government is furious and some ruling party politicians are wondering whether a person guilty of such a ‘crime’ deserves to enjoy the facilities provided by the state.

What is the threat that Mr. Kadirgamar is posing? Is he planning to attack the airport or the Kolonnawa oil installations or is he aiding and abetting separatism? No!

Then what’s the cause of the government’s grave concern?

He has exposed an LTTE build-up around Trincomalee and warned against a possible LTTE attack on this strategic town, which is the declared capital of LTTE’s Eelam.

According to the SLBC news report which announced the government’s concern yesterday, some ministers have also faulted Mr. Kadirgamar for ‘wrongful use’ of special facilities provided to him, for this kind of purpose and are demanding that action be taken against his source, who they claim, is a member of the Security Forces.

The reaction of the government, if one goes by these reports, smacks of an attempt to discredit Mr. Kadirgamar and a witch-hunt for his source.

Mr. Kadirgamar, being the eminent lawyer and responsible politician that he is, knows what he is talking about. That the LTTE is poised to lay siege to Trinco, on the other hand, is public knowledge as we pointed out a few days ago. He has only reiterated what is already in the public domain.

The million-dollar question is how on earth disclosure of information on an LTTE build-up could pose a threat to national security? Mr. Kadirgamar should have come under fire for this not from the government but from the LTTE whose plans he is said to have exposed.

The reference some ministers are said to have made about special security arrangements and other facilities provided to him is uncalled for. A person of Mr. Kadirgamar’s calibre, who has contributed to the country’s battle against terrorism in no small measure, deserves much more than a house and special security. The proscription of the LTTE in some countries of the west is attributable to the relentless and fearless efforts of Mr. Kadirgamar. He is also among the first few persons on the LTTE hit list and has human bombs following him. He is, to begin with, a special person and must be treated as such. Funds for his facilities, on the other hand, do not come from the UNF; they come from the state coffers.

After all, he did not ask for any special treatment. He was given it. Is it the government position that because of what he has got, he has to remain mum?

The LTTE, which stands accused of heinous crimes against humanity enjoys far more concessions and facilities than Mr. Kadirgamar, at public expense such as free VVIP chopper rides, duty waivers and a free run in the government-held areas. This is in addition to the expenses the government incurs to maintain the whole caboodle of ministers who are given houses, personal staff, vehicles and other perks.

The LTTE has stalled the peace talks unilaterally and is abusing the courtesy of the government, but nary a word against them from the ministers who are faulting Mr. Kadirgamar. Why is it?

If the government believes that Mr. Kadirgamar has got his facts wrong, all what it should do, is to contest what he says and tell the public what it claims to be the real situation.

This, the government could easily do by answering the following questions:

Is there an LTTE build up around Trincomalee?

Has the LTTE built 13 camps south of Trinco since the MoU was signed?

Has the LTTE moved artillery guns to these camps?

In 1995, it should be recalled, the LTTE resumed hostilities by sinking two naval gunships in the refuge of the Trinco harbour. The PA government, which was preoccupied with a war on the critics of the peace process, was taken unawares. And the rest is history, which, it is hoped, is not repeating itself.

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