Military Lingers in Tamil Areas Years After Sri Lanka’s Civil War
Posted on August 23rd, 2012

Ira de Silva London, Canada

The Editor
Christian Science Monitor

Dear Sir:
Reference Alaina Varvaloucas’ article dated August 14, 2012, the very heading of the article provides an insight into the erroneous assumptions made by the writer and the article  indicates that it is but one more article written in the same vein as many others which  are based on the false propaganda of the LTTE without any attempt at verification or investigation. Broad statements are made without any substantiation. Perhaps it is the hope of those who support the thinking of the LTTE that repetition of the same inaccuracies and fabrications  would somehow make them “fact’s and be acceptable. Most of the information in this article is what is available on the LTTE propaganda websites. That it is carried by your publication is strange because it is not factual, makes unsubstantiated allegations and illustrates the superficial knowledge of the writer. It is neither Christian (which implies truth/forgiveness), scientific nor does it indicate that there has been “monitoring”. To illustrate this observation I would like to provide you with a few examples which I trust you will use to correct the information you are providing on Sri Lanka to  your readers.

The statement that it was a “war for Tamil independence against a majority-Sinhalese national government”. The Sinhalese are the majority and with one person one vote it is only natural that the majority in the government would be Sinhalese. However there are members elected from the Tamil and Muslim minorities and several cabinet ministers are from these minorities. They are also represented in the parties that form the opposition. Therefore there is adequate representation in Parliament of the minorities which disproves the statement “Sinhalese national government”.

Re – “three years after the national Army defeated the LTTE in a 2009 offensive that left 40,000 civilians dead, military camps still mark the landscape in the predominantly Tamil north. The Sinhalese-controlled government justifies the militarization by citing national security concerns”. The number of 40,000 dead has never been substantiated.  When the original number of 7,000 was claimed by a U.N. employee in Sri Lanka the U.N. stated clearly that the 7,000 figure was not official and could not be substantiated by their representatives in the field.  The U.N. employee, on leaving the U.N., later claimed that the number was 40,000. However when he was asked to substantiate this number at an open meeting in Canada, he said maybe it was more like 10,000. Other LTTE propagandists in the U.K. increased to 70,000 and even 100,000! Obviously your writer decided that 40,000 would suit the purpose.

Re – military camps still mark the landscape in the predominantly Tamil north. What the writer seems to be unaware of is the fact that there have been military camps all over the country including the north and east long before the Tamil terrorist movement began. These camps in the north were to prevent illicit smuggling from India and the constant flow of illegal’s from Tamil Nadu, India, a problem which has plagued Sri Lanka for thousands of years.

Re – The Sinhalese-controlled government justifies the militarization by citing national security concerns. It is the Government of Sri Lanka that is responsible for the security of the country and has every right to carry out programs in the interest of the country. After the extreme terrorism that the people were subjected to by the LTTE for so many years and the fact that the supporters of the LTTE overseas have a stated objective to continue to divide the country, the constant threats from the leaders of Tamil Nadu to invade Sri Lanka, divide the country by force and the unfriendly actions of the Central Government of India is it not an obligation of the Sri Lankan Government to take any and all actions to safeguard the territorial integrity of the country? Governments of every sovereign country has this obligation to protect it’s territory and people. To state that Sri Lanka needs to “justify” the deployment of it’s security forces anywhere on it’s own territory illustrates the ignorance or bias of the writer.

Re –  many Tamil civilians worry that the increased security is a cover to exert control over the Tamil minority. It is ironic that just today when I decided to write to you there is a news item that the Tamil residents of Karaveddy (town in the north) had walked, holding placards, to hand a document signed by 200 people to the army commander requesting that it be handed to the Commander Security Forces in Jaffna for early action. The document states that thefts, sexual abuses on school children, anti social behaviour of drunkards and stealing of animals in the area have increased after removal of the Army Camp. Please note that these are actions of the criminal elements in the civil society. Writers of many articles such as yours always imply that actions such as these are the actions of the Sri Lankan security forces. This camp was removed on August 7,2012 to reduce the military presence in the Jaffna peninsula. As for the statement by P. Saravanamuttu that “there is a perception amongst people that the military are there  to restrict the rights of the people” the actions the people of Karaveddy clearly indicate that it is only his “perception”. It is not the reality.

There are many other statements that could be examined an  shown to be “perceptions” but one final example that “Adhi” is asked to sign her husband’s death certificate can not be ignored. This is a task of an official not of a family member. Obviously the writer has overlooked common practice in reporting this and it underlines the effort to just be critical of the Sri Lankan authorities without any understanding of the ground realities.

It is a fact that Sri Lanka needs time and space to rebuild after such a long drawn out period of terrorism. It is a fact that what Sri Lanka has achieved in three short years have not been seen in other countries with much shorter periods of internal conflict. It is a pity that your journal has chosen to be critical of the country based on perceptions, LTTE propaganda and without regard to facts. In this regard I would refer you to the statements by the Government of  Japan August 21 “Military Presence in the North should not be judged” Daily Mirror, August 21,2012 (http://www.dailymirror.lk/news/21287-military-presence-in-north-should-not-be-judged-japan.html), the Canadian High Commissioner “Canada taken up by N-E development (http://www.dailynews.lk/2012/08/18/main_News.asp) and the video “Towards Lasting Peace and Stability” presented at the Defence Seminar in August 2012, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmYVk52VxAI&feature=youtube_gdata. which provides a different point of view to that expressed in this article.

It is my hope that your journal will make the effort to correct the inaccuracies and make every effort to not publish biased, uninformed opinion in future.

Yours truly,

Ira de Silva

London, Canada

One Response to “Military Lingers in Tamil Areas Years After Sri Lanka’s Civil War”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    There are NO Tamil areas in SL!!

    If there are any, SLAF should target them until they turn into mixed areas.

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