Prevention of Terrorism Act
Posted on December 5th, 2015

Gamini Gunawardane Courtesy Island

In your editorial of 1st December you referred to the Prevention of Terrorism Act. That set me thinking with the question why it was proposed to our government and acceded to by us, to do away with the Prevention of Terrorism Act? Curiously, it is proposed by some of the main proponents of UN Resolution such as the US and UK and supported by India, while themselves having in their law, anti terrorist enactments such as the Patriots Law etc. in the US which are even more intrusive than our terrorism law, all intended to preserve their democracies and uphold the Human Rights of their people. On the other hand, countries like France who interceded with Sri Lanka government to have spared the Terrorists here, are now gearing themselves to go all guns blazing against ISIS Terrorism. In such circumstances why is it that they are insisting that Sri Lanka should do away with this law, while warning other countries of the possibility of Terrorism spilling over to other parts of the world too?

I see an ulterior motive in this. Once the Prevention of Terrorism Act is lifted all persons so far convicted of all offences and others who are held under the same Act to be charged, will be released as the law under which they were convicted and are to be charged no longer exists! Then the question arises, to satisfy whom is this measure?

This move has precedence. When J. R. Jayewardena came to office in 1977, there were two kinds of offenders convicted under the Criminal Justice (Special Provisions) Commission Act. One group was those convicted for large scale violations of Exchange Control offences and the others were those convicted for the ’71 Insurgency led by Rohana Wijeweera. JR openly said that among the former group were some of his friends whom he thought were convicted under some provisions of an unfair law. He then went on to abolish the Criminal Justice (Special Provisions) Commission Act.Accordingly JR’s friends were released. Perhaps, may be as an unintended outcome, JVP Terrorists including Wijeweera too were released, as the law under which they were convicted no longer existed. As an adverse consequence of this ill-motivated action of JR, he and the country were confronted with the same dragon in 1988-90 in the form of the 2nd JVP Terrorist Insurrection. It resulted in the violent deaths of estimated 60,000 people besides extensive damage to government property such as electrical installations, buses and agricultural offices etc. To my recollection, at least one MP was killed and also SSP Terrance Perera (posthumously promoted DIG) and so many other police and army personnel. (Strangely, there was no outrage by the ‘International community’ regarding violation of Human rights of these 60,000 odd people including Wijeweera himself, at that time or after). The bigger issue was that this uprising was so strong that it nearly toppled the government.

I recounted this incident to illustrate the dangers of such short sighted self serving acts of governments. Such governmental decisions should be made with great circumspection. It brings to mind the old Sinhala saying, ‘Do not throw away the green leaves you picked merely on seeing some runaway deer’. This is a caution not to be carried away by current comfort zone, and imagining that it will continue to be so.

What are the possible outcomes of doing away with the Prevention of Terrorism Act? Chief among the many adverse possibilities is that the state will be in a defenceless position in the event of an outbreak of organized political/ the Criminal Justice (Special Provisions) Commission Act, the Criminal Justice (Special Provisions) Commission Act,- The Criminal Justice (Special Provisions) Commission Act. terrorist violence in the future, not necessarily a resurrection of the LTTE. It will weaken the state. It will become vulnerable to destabilization. Destabilized nation becomes a weak state. A weak state becomes manipulable both by internal and external powers. Thus our sovereignty is threatened. This is how the external powers, especially the Western Powers will like to have, a nation easily pliable by them.

Gamini Gunawardane

3 Responses to “Prevention of Terrorism Act”

  1. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    TERRANCE PERERAs NAME BRINGS NOSTALGIC MEMORIES OF HIS BRAVERY. SOMEWHERE IN SRI LANKA WHERE TERRANCE WAS STATIONED, THERE WAS AN UNDER-WORLD THUG WHO WAS COMING TO TERRANCEs HOUSE TO KILL HIM. SOMEBODY CONVEYED THE MESSAGE TO HIM. HE TOOK HIS FIREARM WITH SEVERAL ROUNDS OF AMMUNITION, AND WENT OUT TO MEET HIM. THERE WAS A GUNFIGHT AND TERRANCE MANAGED TO SHOOT HIM DOWN. THE LAST TIME I MET TERRANCE WAS IN POLONNARUWA, I THINK.

    RE-THE TEXT OF THIS ARTICLE, I FERVANTLY BELIEVE, THAT THOSE WHO RELEASE THESE CONVICTED TERRORISTS, WILL BE THEIR FIRST VICTIMS IN THE FUTURE.

    I HAD A CLASS-MATE RONALD STEINWALL WHO REARED SNAKES, AS PETS. VERY SADLY, ONE OF HIS PETS BIT HIM. THAT WAS HIS END. SO WILL SOME RELEASED LTTE CADRE WILL BITE ANY ONE OF THOSE WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE TO DO AWAY WITH PTA. GOOD LUCK.

  2. LANKAPUTHRA Says:

    Gamini, thanks for presenting the past correctly and not insulting JRJ. We Sri Lankans got a republic and a constitution because of him. What do we have today? There is no constitution today but there is a government with a person who is above the LAW. RANIL PUNK is above the law. Do you agree. He was not elected by the people or by the MPs. Obama the MUSLIM wanted it that way. It was suggested by Erik Soliderhiem in 2005 and Obama the Muslim collected set of individuals or set of vagrants who would have never been elected by the people. So as you state it created a weak state. Now every comedy actor under the sun including the money launderer Carl Icon can come and create Bank accounts any one like Mangala Samraweera who starches his loot in a bank in Bahamas so no one can find it.

  3. LANKAPUTHRA Says:

    Garmini, you correctly analyze it. The situation that exists at different time lines. When JRJ released Rohana WEEREWANSE 1988-1990 This time line is different from the pervious one. People can say they are friends of JRJ, but did you double check? Example is MR had a buddy. Vass Gunawadena, the Compliance Minister. See what is happening now? He and his wife jumped to the other side and giving evidence against him and Mangala Samraweera is protecting them with ministerial security. No one knows where they live! I hope average reader understands what you have written, because dis-information by the government is to take away the focus of money laundering by the Present ministers.

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