LTTE ANTICS AND THE BRITISH POLICE
Posted on July 22nd, 2013

By Gamini Gunawardane Rtd.Snr. DIG

Although our national English media appears to have played down the incidents of harassment that had happened in UK during the Championship Trophy Tournament, the social media on the Internet gave us a fair idea of what happened there with visuals and other accounts. It appears that both the Sri Lanka players and the Sri Lankan expatriate spectators who turned up for the matches at Cardiff and London were considerably harassed by the brazen LTTE flag carrying supporters residing in that country where this organization is banned . Even more than the spectators, I suspect this would have affected the SL players, adversely affecting their concentration and mental freedom, when they were intensely engaged in those tight contests of 50 overs duration. Some photographs showed that the players were directly affected. And we know how much strong concentration on the field, especially at the crease, is needed at these critical moments. I do not know whether the mental disruptions caused by these incidents did not have an adverse effect on the final outcome of the semi-final at Cardiff against India.  Perhaps that too may have been one of the objectives of the miscreants.

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LTTE demonstrators did whatever they thought was right in their perception. I have no problem with that. But my problem is why were they allowed to achieve their illegal objectives by the Tournament organizers, the security organization that was entrusted with this task and the British Police? Needless to say that it is the responsibility of the Tournament organizers and the Police to provide a safe and a peaceful environment to the players and the spectators, conducive to the best display of cricketing talent of the players, to have a successful tournament.  I am sure they would have had enough information that the LTTE supporters in that country were making their usual preparations to disrupt the Sri Lanka matches? I do not know whether there was even an apology by the organizers for the indignities suffered by the Sri Lankan players leave alone the Sri Lankan supporters. I wonder whether SLC demanded an apology either.  No wonder.  We are used take things lying down. Imagine if such a thing happened to the English cricket team in Sri Lanka, in the prevailing context of anti-British sentiment here owing to the political reasons? The BBC, Channel 4 and the British Press would not have had anything else to talk about! Sri Lanka Police would have been massacred and vilified for the next two months!!

(When the Navy Commander, Clancy Fernando was killed in a bomb explosion at Galle Face Hotel Road junction, a New Zealand cricket team who were staying in a hotel nearby to paly Test cricket here, just packed their bags and vanished!)

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We too would have been quick to roundly condemn the SLC for their failure and the police of course, as we too are naturally inclined to run down our own things and are used to be made to think worse of everything that is ours though sometimes may be not without good reason. But my surprise is why the British Police which we do & like to believe, is a model police service in the world, allowed such a situation to come about as a professional organization and are not ashamed of what happened. It cannot be that they lack the necessary competence to prevent such incidents. It was over twenty five years ago that we, when following the Overseas’ Command Course at Police Staff College, Bram’s-hill, that they showed us how they handled foot-ball violence on their grounds, with minimum fuss. What they did was to have a closed circuit TV network fixed to cover all the stands of a stadium, divide them into sectors and have them monitored just by one or two persons manning the consoles. If they noticed any active trouble makers or potential trouble makers anywhere, the monitors would alert the men on duty at the relevant sectors with details of location. They would then keep a close watch on the person or persons concerned, pick them up with minimum fuss without disturbing other spectators and throw them into a mobile police cell, to cool off. And they got us to do simulated exercises giving different scenarios, on how to handle situations even such as, collapse of a spectators’ stand.  By now I am sure, they may be having more sophisticated methods in place.

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Back in Sri Lanka, I tried to be a little innovative at Asgirya, when I chose to use our Canine Division, then under Wije Seneviratne SP to deploy Police dogs in strategic positions around the grounds, to run after those who rush to the middle of the playing area. Up till then, it was the police officers who had to run after them, much to the amusement of the spectators. Now it was the turn of the police to have their laugh, when the miscreants ran all over for dear life, while the handler watched from the boundary lines! The secret was this. The average Sri Lankan is scared of Alsatians, while in Western countries, they pet them. In this case, the mere presence of the Canine officers and announcement of their purpose, did “cause the mob to desist” as stated in the Constable’s Manual, under the principle of minimum force, long before they came to teach us Human Rights. Besides this, I had the Mounted Division standing by to be seen by all, to be deployed if need arose, to augment in crowd control. I did not have the usual Riot Squad behind the scene. So everybody was in their best behaviour , peacefully enjoying the cricket. Police had no anxieties. The mounted men had a free chance to watch the match on horseback, form a vantage position!

A different approach was adopted years later at the Khettharama grounds, when several Western teams participating in the 1996 World Cup decided to give a miss to matches to be played in Colombo on security concerns.  India and Pakistan played a joint match with Sri Lanka to dispel the fears of other countries. I was then DIG in charge of the Ministers’ Security Division. The security of the teams, both on and off the field was the responsibility of the MSD. This was at the height of LTTE activity in the city, in Northern and Eastern Theatres and of course in Colombo . The challenge was to show the world that Sri Lanka Police was capable to run these matches incident free despite the LTTE threat, a situation similar to what was in England, but far worse.

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It was easier to do this at Khettharama than elsewhere as that venue was a compact place than others. All spectators were body frisked on entry, they were not allowed to bring in things like cigarette lighters and boxes of matches or any things that could be used as missiles. No liquor was allowed. The boundary lines were closely manned. As close circuit TV was rare and expensive at that time, I used a pair of binoculars, seated in the Control Room, both to detect potential trouble makers, LTTE activists as well as alertness of my own men on duty. Importance of identity checking in English venues is now shown, since it is now revealed that an Ex LTTE carder who is wanted and gazette for Terrorist offences had been among the demonstrators at Cardiff. He was the type of person who may not hesitate to cause physical harm to or intimidate a Sri Lankan player. Given the liberal traditions of the British it is not advocated that all spectators were body frisked at these venues, but the LTTE activists and sympathizers were easily identifiable and their conduct were observable by enforcement authorities as they were either dressed in clothes indicative of their sympathy with LTTE or were displaying/wearing LTTE emblems and also by their behavior. The enforcers had only to either prevent them from entering and or watched their behavior closely and reacted . That was legitimate action because, LTTE is a proscribed Terrorist organization in Britain. In some of the photographs available, we could see the way the security/police personnel who were on duty were indifferent in their approach and where they acted, how slovenly they were. Is this the British Police that is supposed to be the model police service in the world?

 There was information of at least one incident where, outside the venue, a Sri Lankan Expatriate lady and her daughter were harassed and intimidated. Here in Sri Lanka we secure the venue, its precincts and the neighbourhoods with three rings of police foot patrols superimposed with mobile patrols equipped with radio communications thrown round the larger area to be “ƒ”¹…”sanitized’. That is in addition to civil clothed surveillance & Intelligence network coverage. Why did not the British Police do these things when it was fairly obvious by previous experience alone that such activity at Cricket venues where Sri Lanka figures? This is especially in the back ground in the paradox that Britain is harbouring LTTE activists in their midst despite their own ban that it is a banned terrorist organization. I thought lack of accountability is only a feature in countries like Sri Lanka. Where is accountability of Britain which is demanding accountability from Sri Lanka and are said to come here to participate in the forthcoming CHOGM  hoping to drive home to us the importance of such values? Isn’t this a case where we are justified in demanding, “ƒ”¹…”physician, heal thyself’?

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True, some seven of the offenders are reported to have been prosecuted and punished. The question yet remains why no satisfactory arrangements were made to ensure that those offences did not happen when there was every opportunity to prevent such incidents?

I am stuck by the slovenly way the security personnel/police were trying to arrest these miscreants on field. I am further struck by the way police personnel are watching the behavior of the LTTE activists, with resignation, in folded arms. All this is an indication of an attitudinal problem, either their lack of resolve or apathy. Is this the British Police that we knew?

I recall that sometime ago, when our President was invited to address Oxford Union, that the British  Police had informed the organizers that they could not ensure the safety of our President there and advised against holding such event. Even at that time I told myself, “ƒ”¹…”Is that a tenable admission by a law enforcement authority who is giving the impression that they are the model police in the world? Can a law enforcement agency with any professional pride afford to make such an admission of inefficiency? This is contrary to basic principles of VIP security.  Our police, are held to be no good by our own people who despise them. Have they (police), ever said by public admission that they were unable to handle any task despite having to handle even militarized tasks during the past 30 years’ of armed terrorist conflict? Has the models turned the other way round?! I begin to wonder.

Unlike the Sri Lanka Police, which is under the thumb of the political party in power under an Executive Presidential system, I believe the police in Britain are more independent  to the extent that a mere traffic cop there could charge Princess Margaret for a traffic offence as matter of routine police work. In such a country why do the police adopt an emasculated attitude when it comes to enforcement of their law against the LTTE and in providing security to the Sri Lankan Cricket Team and the President himself ? As a rational person, one could think of two possibilities. One is that the British Police is massively bribed at decision making levels, by the unlimited illegal funds of the LTTE. I am thinking of the recent Kerry Packer scandal in England. The other possibility is that despite their avowed independence, British Police establishment is influenced by the negative policy of the British government pressurized again, by Tamil diaspora electorate, and brainwashed by their skewed propaganda.

3 Responses to “LTTE ANTICS AND THE BRITISH POLICE”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Who brought these Tamilians from Endia to SL in 1800s and 1900s?

    The British!

    The answer is in that.

  2. Sooriarachi Says:

    Tamil terrorists are a bunch of desperate people, who are lucky enough to inherit the vast ill-gotten funds and investments, left behind by the Tamil Hitler Prabakaran.
    England is a joke not willing to or not able to implement its own laws and allowing terrorists like the Tigers, banned in England, to operate with impunity. Could this be because of the huge amount of funds available with Tigers to distribute to influential persons willing to do their dirty work and/or also, look the other way, when the Tigers engaged in unlawful acts even leading to violence.
    This being the case, the British Police might be feeling it would be a waste of their time to enforce the law against these wealthy terrorists, when already many politicians and journalists ignore or support Tamil terrorist activities in the UK. Adele Balasingham and her late husband Anton are classic cases exposing England’s double standards to law and order. Is UK therefore, a failed state?

    However, the Sri Lankan Cricket Board and the High Commission should, even belatedly, should take action against the pitch invaders for threatening the cricketers and spectators with bodily harm. Just charging and fining them for pitch invasion is a joke. They should be in jail.
    This and similar lack of security for Sri Lankans in India should also be taken up at the forthcoming CHOGAM.

  3. AnuD Says:

    Why do we have to worry, then jump and down when these Lunatics are screwing up themselves ?

    When we give attention they jump a lot more.

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