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Home > Tamil National Forum > Selected Writings - Victor Rajakulendran > An open letter to the President & the Opposition Leader of Sri Lanka
Selected Writings - Dr. Victor Rajakulendran
An open letter to the President & the Opposition Leader of Sri Lanka
12 July 2004
Her Excellency, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga
The President of Sri Lanka
His Excellency, Ranil Wickramasinghe
The Opposition Leader of Sri Lanka
Re: The current impasse in the peace process
The long awaited, and often sighted reason for the government not willing to take forward the peace process, the Provincial Council elections, are over now. As usual the case in Sri Lanka, the ruling party has won these elections. Your Excellency the President, the poor voter turnout at this election (less than 50%, the lowest ever for the country) would have been a disappointment for you because you asked the people to give you a larger mandate than what they gave you in the last parliamentary elections.
Your Excellency the Opposition Leader, although it is very seldom it happens in Sri Lanka that an opposition party winning a Provincial Council election, your party has failed once again to get an endorsement from the majority of the citizens. All these point to the fact that the people are not interested in party politics any more. Their priority is peace and prosperity through that peace. However, your Excellency the President, your coalition partner the Janatha Vimukthy Peramuna (JVP) fielded 73 candidates in all the 6 provinces and 72 of them have been elected. The JVP is opposed to your policy of negotiating with the LTTE as the sole representatives of Tamils to establish an Interim Self-Governing Authority (ISGA) for the North East of the country. In fact, they have just started a poster campaign against the negotiations with LTTE. Therefore, if you try to boast about the election results as a fresh mandate for your policies, you will be only fooling yourself and the public.
Your Excellency the President, you sacked prematurely the stable government of Ranil Wickramasinghe, pretending that you were concerned about the national security and ended up installing a minority government in power. Now 3 months have passed since this minority government came into power and it has yet to prove its majority in parliament. All what the members of this minority government has done so far in parliament is to convert the parliament house, during the few sittings that were held, into a house full of fist fight. Although you wanted to restart the stalled peace process, you are held hostage by the coalition partner in your government, JVP, preventing you from doing so.
Your Excellencies, both of you have further complicated the peace process by the way both of you have handled the LTTE renegade commander “Karuna”. Whenever a security forces member accidentally or deliberately crossed into the LTTE controlled area or surrendered to the LTTE during the cease-fire period, LTTE has always informed the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM). Then, SLMM has secured the release of these people in all these occasions. Both of you seem to know, when this character “Karuna” fled from the East and entered Colombo. One of the Member of Parliament from the Opposition leader’s party, has accepted that he helped "Karuna" to flee to Colombo. Karuna himself has accepted now that he has stayed in Colombo for some time. One of the senior ministers has publicly acknowledged that the Sri Lankan security forces have harboured "Karuna" in Colombo.
This could not have happened without the knowledge of the head of state and the Commander in Chief of the armed forces, the President. If any one of you were interested in taking the peace process forward, you would have informed the SLMM like the LTTE has done. Then SLMM could have consulted the LTTE and provided “Karuna” a safe passage to any destination outside Sri Lanka. Your Excellency the President, instead of this, you not only allowed the security forces to harbour “Karuna” but also continued and still continues to deny that your government has anything to do with “Karuna”. However, your trusted Minister, Douglas Devanantha has now embarrassed you by publicly demonstrating that he has been and still be in touch with “Karuna”. At least the Opposition Leader has tried to demonstrate to the LTTE that he did not have any thing to do with “Karuna” by making the MP who took “Karuna” to Colombo to resign. Your Excellency the President, in that case will you now sack your Minister Duglas Devanantha and demonstrate what you have been saying is true?
Your Excellency the President, the killings of LTTE cadres, journalists and academics by armed Tamil militants in Baticaloa and Amparai districts in the security forces controlled areas, after “Karuna” left the area, could not have been carried out by any one without the security forces' knowledge and help. This has been proved beyond doubt during the shooting incident that took place on Monday the 5th of July at Bar road in Baticaloa where the LTTE’s Baticaloa political leader and sports leader were shot and seriously wounded. At the place where this incident had taken place, the gunman who fired the shots had been standing across the road from where there were police personal on duty. There are 3 police stations around this area within 50 meters from the place where the attack took place. The police officers present at the seen had not attempted to shoot or even stop the person who fired the shots or even give a chase and apprehend the culprit. Your Excellency, have you even made any attempt to take any action against these police officers?
Your Excellency the President, now this character “Karuna” is trying to save you by declaring in his radio interview that he is operating from the East. If he could stay in the east now, why he had to flee the east when the LTTE forces marched into his territory to catch him? None of the senior military leaders of the LTTE remained with him after he rebelled. All of them went to Wanni. Even his older brother did not join him when he fled. Now, even after his infamous spokesman “Varathan” has deserted him, he wants us to believe that he has come back from Colombo into the East again.
Your Excellency the President, your government, by allowing the pro-"Karuna" Tamil Broadcast from London, the Tamil Broadcasting Corporation, to be relayed by the State owned Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation after "Karuna" fled to Colombo, have demonstrated clearly that it is taking "Karuna's" side. Now, after the LTTE has expressed their anger about it, your minister Mangala Samaraweera is offering equal time for LTTE on the State radio. This offer itself demonstrates that your government still wants to make use of this "Karuna" factor to create confusion among the Tamil people. If your government is sincere about negotiating with the LTTE an amicable settlement, it should immediately stop these underhand tactics.
Your Excellencies, we all know "Karuna" is a big fish for you all not to make use of, to achieve your desire of destabilising the East and then de-merge the North East province to demolish the Tamil Homeland concept itself. But, you all also know that LTTE is not going to come for peace talks without settling "Karuna" issue. Your Excellency the President, your government and the LTTE are talking about "Karuna" issue only through the media and the Norwegians. I do not think this issue could be solved without both sides siting across the table and have a heart to heart discussion. You also know that when "Karuna" rebelled against the LTTE leader, the leader offered to let him live a normal family life within the country or outside the country. Therefore the only way out for you now from this quagmire is to seek the Norwegians' help to take "Karuna" and his family out of the country and let him live in Oslo until a final settlement is reached.
Your Excellency the President, if and when "Karuna" issue is settled you still needs to restart the peace negotiations. Now the Provincial council elections are over and you are gloating that you have got the mandate to restart the negotiations with the LTTE based on the ISGA proposal. This is not the time to make political rhetoric. The major challenge to you is from within your government rather than from outside the government. Your coalition partner JVP has already started a poster campaign against negotiating with LTTE. They are doing it because all that they are interested in is to swell their ranks further in parliament, through another election soon.
The only way out for you from this trap is to invite all the political parties represented in parliament to form a Government of National Unity and thereby marginalise the importance of JVP. The longer the JVP hold on to the control of the parliament, the chances of keeping the country undivided become slimmer. Your Excellency the Opposition Leader, will you put the country before yourself and respond to such a call if such a call comes from the President? Your Excellency the President, will you consider offering the Opposition Leader, who controls the majority in parliament, the Prime Ministership in such a National Unity Government?
Your Excellencies, time is running out and if the last week violence in the East and Colombo are allowed to develop as the beginning of a new process of low-intensity war, chances of making this process reversible is very slim. Therefore this is the little window of opportunity for both of you to come to a political compromise and save your country from getting partitioned.
Dr. Victor Rajakulendran
Hon. Jan Peterson, State Secretary, Norway
Hon. Jack Straw, Foreign Secretary, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London
Hon. Javier Solana, Secretary General, EU
Mr. Colin L. Powell, Secretary of State, US Department of State, Washington DC
Ms. Yoriko Kavaguchi, Foreign Minister, Japan
Hon. Alexander Downer, Minister Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia
Mr. Yasusi Akashi, Japan Special Peace Envoy to Sri Lanka, Japan