Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe,
Hon. Prime Minister,
De-proscription of tigers
It has been disclosed that you have taken a decision to lift the ban on tiger organization which is in force in Sri Lanka 10 days before the discussions your government hopes to have with that organization. This was announced by Minister G.L.Peiris at a media meeting held to announce cabinet decisions recently.
The tiger organization was proscribed in Sri Lanka when the Temple of the Tooth, the most Venerable Shrine of the Buddhists and a World Heritage was attacked. Though this was the immediate reason for the proscription of the tigers we shouldn't forget that even when this occurred there were more than enough reasons to proscribe it. We need not emphasize that the declared attempt of the tiger movement to divide Sri Lanka and establish a separate Elam State, assassinations of Tamil political leaders, leaders of Sri Lankan State, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi of India, many Muslim devotees at Kaththankudi Mosque, many Buddhist devotees near Sri Maha Bodhi at Anuradhapura and hundreds of villagers in Sinhala villages in the North and the East and all infamous terrorist activities that this movement had committed were the direct reasons for proscribing this movement.
When the facts are such you have decided, without considering any of those, to lift the ban on the tiger movement 10 days before the discussions. A question that arises is the contradictory nature of this decision and what you yourself had said about this issue in the near past.
Hon Prime Minister,
What was the headline of the issue of `Lakbima` on 27th of last month? It was ``LTTE ban will not be lifted before discussions says Prime Minister!`` The news item also read `` The Prime Minister had stated that until the LTTE come to the proposed discussion table and inform the agenda of the discussions LTTE ban would not be considered.``
A statement you made to a journalist in a hotel at Benthota immediately before the discussions you had with Mr. Vidar Hegerson, Foreign Minister of Norway also was published in `Lakbima.` This is how `Lakbima` of April 16 reports that statement.
``Prime Minister Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe said yesterday (16th) that a decision about lifting the ban on the LTTE could be taken after discussing about it in the Parliament. He made this statement answering a question asked by a media person in a hotel at Benthota before taking part at a discussion with Mr. Vidar Hegerson, Foreign Minister of Norway. The Prime Minister also stated that lifting the ban on the LTTE is a fact that should be given a lot of thought.
What we quote here are facts that you have stated and published in a media that has a very cosy attitude towards your government. Though in other media too many such similar facts regarding the tiger proscription were published we need not go into all these.
Hon. Prime Minister,
You have turned back on the stance you yourself had only a month ago taken about the proscription of the tigers. You, who said to the country a month ago that the lifting of the ban on the tigers would not be considered until an agenda for the discussions is informed, now say if the tiger organization names the date for discussions the ban would be lifted 10 days before the agreed date. Only you could explain why within a single month you had to take two contradictory stands on a single fact!
Only a month ago you stated that the ban on the tiger movement would be discussed before a decision was taken. But now when you state that the ban would be lifted 10 days before the discussions begin, you haven't at least discussed it with the parliamentary group of your own party besides discussing in the Parliament. This too is turning your back to the stand you had taken earlier.
Hon Prime Minister,
In governance we should be honest. We must abstain from deceiving people. People of Sri Lanka should not be deceived to please the tigers. You have changed what you had said a month ago. In such a condition how can the people in this country believe that your government wouldn't do anything different and more dangerous in the future?
As such we would like to request you to reconsider the decision taken to lift the tiger proscription which had been imposed for clear reasons. We request you to accept, at least at this late hour, the fact that peace doesn't mean doing everything the way the LTTE wants.
We also like to emphasize that lifting the ban on the tigers before they withdraw their call for Elam, give up armed struggle and enter the democratic process would be creating a grave precedent.
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