EPDP slams SLMM over fishing trawler verdict

Apr 2 (InfoLanka) The Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP) yesterday expressed its great disappointment at the way the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) had handled the Chinese fishing trawler incident, adding that the conclusion arrived at by the SLMM and the speculative remarks would further embolden and encourage the LTTE to engage in many more terrorist acts in the future with impunity.

EPDP Secretary General Douglas Devananda in a letter to the SLMM Head Trygve Telefsen said that, 'the SLMM is handicapped by the lack of access to the LTTE controlled areas, which we have brought to the notice of all concerned on numerous occasions, even for the purpose of questioning witnesses. The SLMM has no access to the ports controlled by the LTTE. But such handicaps cannot be a reason for giving an 'open verdict' on the incident. According to the conclusion of the SLMM, it was difficult to verify the facts provided by the survivors, and the incident was a serious crime and a terrorist act carried out by unidentified armed elements. The conclusion indirectly absolves the LTTE of the crime and suggests the possibility of a terrorist act committed by some other 'armed groups' belonging to Sri Lanka.'

The letter states that the conclusion of the SLMM indicates that the attack could have been carried out by some armed group other than the LTTE. Everyone's experience over the past one year would have shown that there is one and only one armed group in Sri Lanka, that is, the LTTE. Further, it is well known, that besides the Sri Lanka Navy, it is only the LTTE that posses fast moving boats in Sri Lanka. Besides the Navy, it is only the LTTE, which could move about freely in the sea around Sri Lanka.

'It is only the LTTE which could move about with impunity in the sea off Mullaitivu. Besides the Sri Lankan armed forces, it is only the LTTE that posses automatic weapons. Besides members of the Sri Lankan armed forces, it is only the LTTE, which has female cadres capable of using automatic weapons, and the Sea Tigers unit of the LTTE has many women,' Mr. Devananda stated.

'It is our intention that the SLMM had not conducted a full and impartial inquiry. Perhaps the SLMM was disadvantaged with no access to the LTTE controlled Mullaitivu area to speak and record statements of probable witnesses. We are certain that a comprehensive inquiry would have clearly pointed to the LTTE as the perpetrators of the terrorist act. The fact that the affected party was not the government of Sri Lanka does not mean that the issue could be dealt with lightly and swept under the carpet with an 'open verdict'. The killing of civilians, be they Sri Lankan nationals or Chinese nationals, is a clear violation of the cease-fire agreement,' the letter said.

Adding that the attack on Lanka Muditha on Monday night carrying Sri Lankan soldiers in the sea of Trincomalee is another daring example. 'In this instant too we are alarmed by the speculative remarks made by the SLMM Spokesperson, that other Tamil groups could have been responsible for this. We view this comment with utmost seriousness, because, he cast unfounded aspersions on Tamil groups other than LTTE.'