ban: Step towards law and order in regained areas
But doors to talks not
The Government of Sri Lanka while extending its military
victories to strategically important Elephant Pass last week,
took another crucial decision to declare the Liberation Tigers
of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) a banned organisation.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa had earlier warned the LTTE to free
the innocent civilians in areas where there were intense battles
with the Security Forces or to face a possible ban. Although,
several other countries including India, United States and the
EU had proscribed the LTTE in their countries, the Sri Lankan
government waited for a long period, before doing the same in
order to get the LTTE to the negotiating table to reach a
peaceful solution to the north east problem.
The long wait came to an end last week with the government
announcing the decision to ban the LTTE under Chapter 40 of the
Public Security Ordinance. Continuous armed conflict against
Security Forces to establish a separate state in the North and
East, acts of terror including destruction of civilian lives and
property, illegal procurement and smuggling of arms, forcible
use of child soldiers, and the threat to international and
regional peace, have been among reasons for the Sri Lankan
government to ban the LTTE for a second time.
the LTTE had been committing acts of terrorism since early 1980
to win Eelam, the terror outfit was first banned only in 1998
following its heinous bomb attack on the sacred Dalada Maligawa.
However, the ban was lifted in September 2002, as the then
government considered it essential for peace talks after the two
parties signed a Ceasefire Agreement.
The present government following a successful battle to free the
Eastern province issued repeated warnings to the LTTE to
surrender and enter the democratic process. When the government
launched its military action to free the north, the LTTE
continued to use civilians as a human shield, and also prevented
humanitarian relief reaching the population. Some
representatives of political parties and academics who spoke to
The Nation said that the LTTE’s act of keeping innocent
civilians hostage prompted the government to reintroduce the
Talks with LTTE still possible – Jathika Hela Urumaya
Udaya Gammanpila of the Jathika Hela Urumaya, responding to
criticism by certain parties that the decision to ban the LTTE
could close the door on any future peace talks, said that the
government’s decision did not take away the possibility of
talking to the LTTE.
“Anybody can have talks with the LTTE with the government’s
consent. We must not forget that the UNP government entered into
a Ceasefire Agreement with the LTTE when it was a banned
organisation. The question some are raising is: why is it
necessary to ban it at this juncture? We as the Jathika Hela
Urumaya believe that this is the ideal time to ban the LTTE,
while the government Forces have been able to break its backbone
through successful military action.
The ban will also help curtail pro LTTE activities in any part
of the country by those groups that are indirectly and directly
supporting their cause. It is crucial that we defeat those
elements which help the terrorists financially and
ideologically,” Gammanpila said.
He said that the LTTE’s use of civilians as a human shield could
be the biggest obstacle for the government in capturing
Mullaitivu where the terrorists are cornered now.
“The capture of Paranthan some time ago was actually the
beginning of the end for the LTTE. The fall of Kilinochchi,
Palali, and Elephant Pass was just a matter of time. But when it
comes to capturing Mullaitivu, the government has to think of
the innocent civilians too. That was why the government
repeatedly warned the LTTE against using civilians as a human
shield or else to face a possible ban,” Gammanpila said.
Ban closes only avenue for negotiations – UNP
UNP MP John Amaratunga however said that the banning of the LTTE
would close the only avenue to bring the LTTE to the negotiating
“We know that the LTTE had been banned by several countries. But
in Sri Lanka it was not proscribed, with the objective of
getting the LTTE to participate in peace talks. But what we see
is that the government has only kept faith in a military
solution,” Amaratunga said.
Set up Police Stations in re-captured areas- Attorney-at law
Gomin Dayasiri, Attorney at law said that the banning of the
LTTE will be instrumental in establishing law and order in the
areas captured by security forces.
“Under the CFA, the LTTE was given the right to carry out
political activities in all parts of the country. They used the
provision to open political offices in several parts of the
north and the east. But, instead of political activities these
offices became places of military activities of the LTTE. That
enabled the terrorists to disguise themselves in the form of
political activists, while campaigning for a separate state.
With the ban lifted, the LTTE was in a position to do so as they
were protected by the fundamental right to engage in political
Now that the present government has taken the decision to
re-impose the ban, it is vital to establish law and order in the
areas captured by our Forces by setting up Police Stations. Then
only will the banning of the LTTE become a meaningful exercise.
The government with the institutions to uphold law and order in
these areas, will be in a position to enforce order against any
separatist activity,” Dayasiri said.
Banning can hamper solution efforts – CWC
R. Yogarajan, the General Secretary of the Ceylon Workers
Congress said that the banning of the LTTE could hamper the
efforts towards finding a solution to the north east problem
through peaceful means.
“The CWC as a party has not met and discussed this issue. But
the question is, whether it would serve any purpose at this
moment. I am concerned about the civilians trapped in the war
torn areas, and the banning of the LTTE could aggravate the
situation. There were organisations which were ready to talk to
the LTTE to get those civilians freed. It could also make it
difficult to solve other humanitarian issues in the areas where
the war is taking place,” Yogarajan said.
No efforts by humanitarian agencies to free civilians – JVP
However, Anura Kumara Dissanayake (MP) Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna
said that such an issue would not arise due to the banning of
“Earlier, there weren’t any attempts by those so called
humanitarian agencies to free innocent civilians by talking to
the LTTE. There is no reason as to why they would try to do so
now,” Dissanayake said.
Dialogue only solution to national problem – UPFA
Minister D. M Jayaratne said that the LTTE did not listen to the
President’s request to lay down arms and surrender, and
therefore there was no alternative other than to ban the
“Since the Thimpu talks, the LTTE was using the negotiating
table whenever they wanted to. Therefore, various governments
had to keep that door open for peace talks. But today the
government has been able to weaken them militarily, and now they
have no other option but to surrender. It is important that we
won Elephant Pass back last Friday. It will be useful for the
government in gaining full control of the North. The banning of
the LTTE will also be useful in this effort,” the Minister said.
However, Minister Jayaratne said, that he believed that the
solution to the national problem would also depend on an
effective dialogue among the political parties to address the
issues of the people.
Language main problem – Govt. Peace Secretariat
Rohantha Athukorala, Director (Economic Affairs) of the
government Peace Secretariat said that one of the issues of the
people in the North and the East, was the language problem.
“It is vital for all the communities to have effective
communication with each other, in order to avoid
misunderstandings. Language plays a key role in this regard and
it can also help bridge the gap between the communities. While
taking military action against the ruthless terrorist
organisation, we need to focus on these areas in order to
strengthen the people’s victory,” Athukorala said.
Athukorala said that his last visit to Jaffna for the Future
Minds exhibition helped him realise that the people of Jaffna
were keen to communicate as well as to use modern communication
“There is a lot of demand for new technology in Jaffna and
people are willing to see an environment of peace to enjoy this
new technology. So while banning the LTTE and defeating them
militarily we should address such needs,” Athukorala said.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has briefed the
diplomatic corps based in Colombo on the decision to ban the
According to reports, he had said that the acts of terrorism by
the LTTE and its orchestrated campaign to collect funds to
commit acts of terrorism, and its activities relating to the
procurement or smuggling of arms, ammunition and explosives, had
the potential of adversely affecting international and regional
peace and the security, and law and order of other sovereign
nations. He also had told the diplomats that the decision by
India to proscribe the LTTE and renew the ban periodically, also
stems from the threat that the LTTE poses to the territorial
integrity of India.
The Minister had also referred to the repeated calls by
President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the LTTE to renounce terrorism
and come to the negotiating table.
Minister Bogollagama, commending the statement of the U.S.
Embassy in Colombo issued in the aftermath of the fall of
Kilinochchi, pointed out that the U.S. government does not
advocate that the government of Sri Lanka negotiate with the
LTTE, a group which has been designated by the U.S. since 1997
as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation.
The European Union which has declared the LTTE a banned
organisation referring to the recent military and political
events of the country, called upon all parties to work
vigorously towards a political solution which addresses the
legitimate concerns of all communities in Sri Lanka.
The EU Heads of Mission also called upon the government and
other parties to minimise the impact of the conflict on the
civilian population and civil society, in particular by ensuring
that humanitarian needs in the north are properly assessed and
met, and by ensuring that civil society is able to operate