Democracy Vs terrorism

Yesterday’s savage attack by the LTTE in Fort should serve as a warning to all those who are engaged in a blind scramble for power. The government is embroiled in trouble over the appointment of the chief minister of the newly constituted Eastern Provincial Council. The UNP is on the warpath. The backers of Pillaiyan and Hisbullah have turned the tussle over the chief minister’s post into an ethnic cold war of sorts much to the detriment of racial amity essential for the working of the new council. Most of all, the UPFA cannot afford to lose numbers in the new council in case of a split, as the Opposition has 17 as opposed to its 20. In the 37-member council, the ruling party has to have at least 19 members.

If Hisbullah sits with the Opposition in protest with three members as speculated, the UPFA is likely to lose its majority. But the question is whether Hisbullah will be able to hold out against a government that specialises in engineering crossovers. It is not only money that talks; ministerial portfolios also do! A ministerial post in a PC is a stepping stone to Parliament. So, Hisbullah will have his work cut out in trying to prevent his followers from defecting sooner or later.

Parliament stands prorogued and battles that were to be fought inside it are happening on the streets. The right of the Opposition to stage democratic protests against alleged malpractices at a crucial election cannot be impugned but in taking to the streets, it only aggravates an already bad security situation and exposes its leaders to danger. The LTTE hardly differentiates between the Opposition and the government so long as its purpose is served.

That the LTTE has taken advantage of the situation is evident. It needs more and more trouble in the East and the southern parts at a time it is trapped in the Wanni. It is likely to step up attacks on economic, political and civilian targets, as it is in a desperate situation where it doesn’t care a damn about international opinion.

The suicide attack in question could be considered a protest by the LTTE against the appointment of the new chief minister of the East rather than an attempt to account for Pillaiyan. The LTTE couldn’t have been so naïve as to be unaware that a suicide bomber on a motorcycle couldn’t get anywhere near a well protected Pillaiyan. The loss of the East is too devastating for the LTTE to come to terms with. And Pillaiyan’s appointment as Chief Minister is the last thing that the LTTE needs at this juncture. With that end the LTTE’s Eelam dream and its claim to be the sole representative of Tamils. Prabhakaran does not control at least a Pradeshiya Sabha. Pillaiyan is not likely to run away fearing the LTTE unlike former Chief Minister of the merged North-East Province Vardharaja Perumal, who was at the mercy of the Indian army and had no backing from the Premadasa government to stand his ground and fight the LTTE after the IPKF left.

Tigers are fishing in troubled waters and won’t baulk at anything to overcome the loss of the East and avoid a disastrous defeat in the Wanni. No one is safe from them anywhere. They don’t have permanent friends or foes. They only have a permanent goal, however unachievable it may be. Therefore, it is imperative that those in the political mainstream not lose sight of the crouching Tigers and their diabolical plans.














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