UNP’ Leaders Dumb Founded: Their “No Security Mantra” Evaporates after Minister Dassanayaka’s Death

Philip Fernando in Los Angeles (Former Deputy Editor Sunday Observer)

UNP leaders shamelessly sported black saatakas at M P Maheswaran’s final journey last week and turned it into an anti-government protest for not providing adequate security. Their “no security mantra” evaporated overnight when the well protected Minister D M Dassanayaka succumbed to the bomb detonated by the LTTE. It is not the security stupid but the ruthless and wanton terrorism that is the root cause of violence in Sri Lanka, said a noted political analyst. UNP’s obscene obsession with high security or lack of it blew up in their face so fast that they dare not foul-mouth the current well-planned attack on the Tigers being waged by Sri Lanka.
UNP’s favourite theme song of security as the panacea for all ills appeared in their belated defence of the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) just abrogated by the Rajapaksa government. The four main points presented by the UNP are not only indefensible but also an exercise in muddled thinking.

The crux of their opposition to the CFA abrogation was based on false claims. For example, to state that security measures will eradicate terrorism is a myth. Even under the most stringent security measures imaginable, the LTTE either assassinated or tried to harm many people such as Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadiragama, President R Premadasa, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Defiance Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Army Commander Sarath Fonseka, etc. Also, UNP seemed to have forgotten that democracy and elections are anathema to Prabhakaran. The UNP’s defence of the CFA is examined in detailed below.

The UNP also claimed that they brought near normalcy and economic boom. This is wishful thinking and refutes reality. CFA provided a safe haven to the LTTE to build bunkers and prepare for a deadly assault paving the way for EELAM as the Sri Lankan army had to vacate strategic points of utmost importance. That was the normalcy desired by Prabhakaran. In thirty days the armed forces had to vacate buildings and other sites completely negating all that had been achieved by the military for years. Normalcy was nothing but surrendering territory to the LTTE.

UNP talks of new bonds of friendship and lasting ties established between the north and south due to the CFA. While such delusionary scenario erupted with a vengeance, the LTTE was bent on carrying out thousands of violations against the CFA, including mass murder through suicide bombers and land mines.

Sri Lankan businessmen trying to establish new ventures in Jaffna were rudely shocked to know that they were not welcome and turned away-Seylan Bank branch opening was a good example. Three were furniture dealers trying to open new stores in Jaffna as furniture was a hot item there. They returned no sooner they landed there. LTTE did not want anyone from the south to do business there. They had done the ethnic cleansing and quite happy about it. Even a few retail traders and vendors trying to make a quick buck were driven away. Instances of normalcy that the UNP now boasts about are sheer nonsense. The state of war existed for the LTTE at all times and they were thriving under the freedom provided by the CFA but the government was strictly prohibited from even trying any defensive moves. The people were so enamoured by UNP’s normalcy and economic resurgence that they have kept its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe in political wilderness for over a decade. Two dozen of his trusted followers have joined the government.

The UNP claimed that terrorism could be wiped out by imposing security measures is a pathetic disregard of LTTE’s acumen and deadly unhindered outreach. The budgetary allocations by the Sri Lankan governments from 2002 to present day to tighten security was over 5 percent of the Sri Lankan annual budget. The LTTE rode rough shod over that with the greatest of ease. Security, my foot is what thalaivar Velupillai said. While the UNP talks of security measures, the CFA gave LTTE unrestricted access to do whatever it wanted. They did it with the greatest of ease. The CFA specifically mentioned cement and iron rods as urgently needed items to be sent to the north. It is not food, clothing and medical supplies that are vital but cement and iron rods. Today the armed forces and the air force are destroying the very bunkers that Prabhakaran built with the help of Ranil Wickremesinghe's CFA. Already two dozen have bit the dust.

The mind-set of the UNP leader embodied in the CFA was glaringly apparent during the victory march of the armed forces that took Mavil Aru and Thoppigala, which were characterized as “Thoppigala is a jungle” or “ any donkey can wage a war” in contrast to the heroic efforts of the Sri Lankan armed forces. The same folks, who belittled the victories in the east, did not see through Prabhakaran's demand that "a new railway line be constructed from Kilinochchi to Welikanda." Prabhakaran knew the strategic importance of Welikanda. That area was the real Ruhuna in ancient times, the granary of the east. Without that area it is impossible for the LTTE to even think of a separate state-built on the arid desolate northern province. Ranil Wickremesinghe was totally oblivious to what went into the CFA.

It is one thing to make generalized statements to sooth the gullible supporters of your own party with yarns lessoning the importance of the war that the people of Sri Lanka are now claiming as their own path to a terror free country, but it is down right vicious and unacceptable that such narratives be allowed to go as the unadulterated truth as described the UNP leaders.

Finally the two claims that only a negotiated settlement and democracy can solve the terrorist problem is baloney when in fact there are many paths to that goal. Even UNP’s own attempts to negotiate ended in failure as the LTTE walked out when Ranil Wickremesinghe was the Prime Minister. Poor Ranil, even the LTTE had given up on him totally when Prabhakaran prevented the people in the north from voting at the presidential election of 2005. Those with short memories are usually made to re-live these things.

The ruthlessly executed battle front to wipe out all remnants of the parasitic terrorism must be accompanied by negotiations with the moderate Tamils who are showing that they totally distrust the LTTE unlike the UNP leaders. Talking democracy with an avowed apostle of unmitigated terror can only come from those incapable of standing up to these deadly disseminators of the poisonous doctrine of hate.

There is nothing that President Rajapaksa or anyone else should be apologetic about. Taking the war to the enemy who had captured a vast territory owned by Sri Lanka and threatened to establish a separate state covering nearly two-thirds of the coastal area of the country is nothing to be shamed of but the birth right of every Sri Lankan who heard the battle cry of LTTE leader on November 26th 2007 when he posed the question "where is the Tamil nation for 80 million Tamils?" Ranil Wickremesinghe seems does not get his cue. Neither will his followers.

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