TNA move upsets DPL community

* Govt. suspends talks


By Shamindra Ferdinando

A section of the Colombo-based diplomatic community, supportive of the TNA’s push for a substantial devolution package, has strongly opposed the release of statement highly critical of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) ahead of Indian External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna’s arrival.

Minister Krishna arrived in Colombo late yesterday afternoon.

Authoritative sources told The Island that the TNA had made available copies of the statement to diplomatic missions seeking their consent before releasing it to the media. The diplomatic community had advised the TNA that such a course of action would be detrimental to the ongoing national reconciliation efforts, sources said.

However, the TNA had gone ahead with its original plan, sources said. The TNA has dismissed the LLRC observations pertaining to accountability issues and reiterated its call for an international inquiry into war crimes allegations during the last phase of the conflict.

The government reacted angrily as it suspended further talks with the TNA until it named its representatives to the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on the national issue.

UPFA parliamentarian and a member of the government delegation for talks with the TNA, Sajin de Vass Gunawardena told The Island that talks wouldn’t resume until the TNA nominated its representatives for the PSC.

In a brief interview with The Island, MP Gunawardena said the TNA had conveniently forgotten that it refused to come before the LLRC, though it now blamed the representatives of victims denied an opportunity to testify. The LLRC headed by former Attorney General C. R. de Silva invited the Amnesty International, the International Crisis Group and the Human Rights Watch, too, to testify, though they turned down that request.

The MP alleged that the TNA was preparing the ground for an attack on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Commission sessions in Geneva late next month.

Responding to TNA MP Suresh Premachandran’s criticism of the government over accountability issues during the Vanni battle in yesterday’s issue of The Island, Gunawardena said the TNA should explain its position with regard to its role in the war.

The government challenged the TNA to justify its decision to recognise the LTTE as the sole representative of the Tamil speaking people in the run-up to April 2004 general elections, thereby setting the stage for eelam war IV.

Responding to a query, MP Gunawardena said that the government could release complaints received by the Norwegian-led Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission from families of children and adults abducted by the LTTE. The TNA never intervened on behalf of them, thereby gave tacit support to the LTTE. And the military at that time revealed how the TNA participated at military parades by child recruits.

MP Gunawardena said: "I believe the government should go further on this in ascertaining and identifying the fractions, groups, political parties, proxies etc that aided and abetted this cause. The innocent Tamil people who have suffered under the LTTE for over four decades will most definitely come forward to provide information as to the gruesome details of forcible recruitment by the LTTE. Recently a distinguished member of the TNA privately confided to me an incident where in one of the villages how a father was searching for his daughter. The LTTE during the last stages of the war had come to his residence wanting to forcibly recruit their only son. When the only son refused to go with the LTTE, they shot him in his own house in the presence of his father, mother and sister. The next day the LTTE came back and took the daughter and went. These are the gruesome incidents and experiences that the Tamil people have suffered at the hands of the LTTE. The very same people that speak about "accountability" were aiding and abetting these atrocious violations of human rights and murder.

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