NATIONAL MOVEMENT AGAINST TERRORISM
380, Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7, Sri Lanka.
OPEN LETTER TO THE HON. RANIL WICKRAMASINGHE
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
LEADER OF THE UNITED NATIONAL PARTY
It was reported in the media of this country recently that you gave an interview to P. Gurunath, writer in a journal called Sanjiv in the Udayan newspaper published in Jaffna. It is no secret that Udayan is in fact the voice of the LTTE. In that interview you have announced that talks should be re-opened with the Tigers without any conditions. You have further announced that a foreign third party could be employed to achieve this end. In addition you have announced that, should you come to power, you would quite definitely re-open negotiations with the Tigers.
A few days ago you expressed the same idea enthusiastically in the prescence of Prof. Fraser from Ireland. It has also been reported that at the end of this month you will have discussions with front organisations of the LTTE in Los Angeles, USA.
When we examine your recent past, this is indeed no surprise. When you signed the Chandrika-Ranil pact under the intervention of the British Foreign Secretary, you were not doing so in the national interest in opposition to the terrorists. You and the President signed that agreement in order to re-open negotiations with the terrorists. But the forces in this country who are opposed to the terrorists managed to push this conspiracy into the background. After that
when the terrorists bombed the pinnacle of Buddhist worship in this country, the Dalada Maligawa, the Government was forced to proscribe the LTTE because of the massive protests by the people. We have not forgotten how you shed tears on that occasion, saying that the door had been closed to the last opportunity for negotiations. So it is not surprising that you have demanded that the Fox-Chandrika-Ranil agreement be re-activated, and negotiations be held with the Tiger terrorists.
Nevertheless, the rank and file of the UNP and the ordinary people of this country who are opposed to the terrorists are thankful to you for removing your mask. We wish to refresh your memory about the history of peace negotiations with the Tigers from the time you were a Minister.
It is worth reminding you of what was in the UNP manifesto in 1977. "When we come to power we will hold a round-table conference." Your party came forward to hold this conference with none other than the TULF, which on June 14th 1976 vowed at Vaddukodai to divide Sri Lanka and establish a sovereign and independent Eelam.
In fact you did hold a round-table conference, and as a result of those discussions the District Development Council system was agreed upon. In 1981, by the time the DDCs were established, the Tamil terrorists had murdered 3 politicians, 15 ordinary citizens and 18 police officers 36 in total. Among these there were only 4 Sinhalese. So along with these peace negotiations and a political settlement did the blood-letting stop? We ask you to search your conscience, and admit that the shedding of blood escalated as never before. While the Government in which you were a Minister established DDCs legally after discussions with the Tamils, the terrorists would have realised that if they could obtain DDCs by killing only 36 persons, they could obtain so much more by killing hundreds.
Many things happened after that. In 1984 the All Party Conference was held, and in 1985 negotiations were held with the Tamil parties in Thimpu, Butan. From June 18th onwards the army was sent back to barracks, and during that ceasefire the terrorists prepared for further hostilities. They laid landmines around the army camps apart from reinforcing themselves with arms, ammunition and new recruits. Your Government told us that peace was at hand. Now you propose further peace negotiations with the Tigers, without conditions. What you do not seem to realise, or refuse to remember, is that the Tigers and the so-called moderate Tamil parties have already put forward conditions which are inflexible and non-negotiable. These are
1) The recognition of the Tamil-speaking people as a distinct nation, possessed of the inalienable right of
2) The recognition of the northern and eastern provinces as presently constituted, as the homeland of the
3) The recognition of the Tamil secessionist groups represented at Thimpu as being the sole representatives
of the Tamil-speaking people.
4) The grant of citizenship to all Tamils resident in Sri Lanka. (This would mean that the Tamils of the
plantations in the hill country would be part and parcel of this Tamil nation and cannot be separated
from the state of Eelam.)
Neither the LTTE nor the so-called moderate Tamil parties have ever stated that they have withdrawn from this position or rejected these pre-conditions. In whatever light they may seem to you, it is quite clear to us that these proposed peace negotiations are the same ruse that the LTTE has used before to re-inforce themselves and further escalate the war.
Next we have to remind you of the Indo-Lanka Accord. On April 12th 1987, when your Government declared a ceasefire, the terrorists responded appropriately. On April 17th they attacked a bus at Habarana and massacred 127 persons, of whom 31 were police and security personnel and the rest were civilians. They were hacked to death. On April 21st they exploded the bomb at the Pettah bus stand, killing 114 civilians and injuring 1052 others. Your Government then indicated that terrorism would be crushed.
Be that as it may, on July 29th 1987 your leader the late President Jayawardene addressed the nation and announced that peace had dawned, and that by the following Monday the militants would surrender their weapons. That Monday never dawned. As a result of this futile exercise, the south was plunged into anarchy as well. The JVP, taking advantage of the vehement opposition to the Indo-Lanka Accord, started an insurgency, which your Government crushed by extra-legal methods. We certainly cannot remember you preparing to talk unconditionally to the JVP. There are reports that the JVP massacred around 6,000 people, while your Govenment killed around 66,000.
The occasion when your Government entered into peace talks with the Tigers in June 1989 is particularly worth remembering. The Premadasa Government nominated a committee comprising of Ministers Ranil Wickramasinghe, Sirisena Cooray and A.C.S. Hameed to conduct these talks. So we must remind you that you too have to take responsibility for the consequences of these peace talks with the Tigers.
We ask you to refresh your memory about how those peace talks ended. On June 11th 1990 the Tiger terrorists carried out simultaneous attacks on the police stations in the Eastern Province. Your Government ordered 900 police officers to lay down their arms and surrender to the terrorists. Try to remember, Mr. Wickramasinghe, that these police personnel were massacred with the weapons donated to the terrorists by your Government. The responsibility for this lies with you as well.
Are you aware that while 1237 security services personnel had died up to the time of these peace talks, 2679 i.e. almost double that number had to lay down their lives for the country between Nov 1989 and 1994? Have you any idea what the parents, wives and children of these men think of you and your Government for having sacrificed them in the name of peace talks?
As another result of these peace talks, the Government of Sri Lanka lost control over most of the north. Apart from Palaly and Elephant Pass, the next army camp came to be Vavuniya. Puliyankulam, Mankulam, Kokkavil, Killinochchi were all abandoned by your Government to the Tigers. We have to remind you that the Jayasikuru operation, criticised by you, is an attempt to regain the territory lost to the terrorists during your Government.
Recently at a meeting in Colombo Central you made the statement that during your regime the war had been confined to the north. There is frequent bragging that the east was regained from the Tigers by your Government.
Could you tell us what war you were fighting during the period you were Prime Minister from May 1993 to Aug 1994?
The army was confined to barracks at Palaly and Elephant Pass after the other northern camps were abandoned, Prabhakaran ruled the unofficial state of Eelam with his police, courts, banks, and radio and TV. Nobody, not even the members of your UNP, have forgotten your peace which was born of murder, blood and humiliation.
If you come to power, is it your intention to sacrifice again the recently re-captured territories of Jaffna, Killinochchi and Mannar through your so-called peace negotiations? Are you aware that 8,000 soldiers have laid down their lives to re-claim these areas of our country?
Have you forgotten that it was the Tigers who killed your former leader, the late President Premadasa? Have you forgotten that the Presidential candidate of your party was also killed by them? Are you aware that since 1977 a large number of ordinary UNP members have also been killed by the Tigers? We give below some of their names in order to refresh your memory
R. Balasubramaniam UNP Organiser, Killinochchi killed 30.09.80
A. Thiagarajah UNP Candidate, DDC elections killed 24.05.81
V. Thambipillai UNP Organiser killed 15.11.82
K.V. Pulendran UNP Organiser, Vavuniya killed 19.01.83
S.J. Muttiah UNP Organiser, Chavakachcheri killed 24.04.83
K.V. Ratnasamy UNP Organiser, Point Pedro killed 29.04.83
V. Rajaratnam UNP Organiser, Jaffna killed 29.04.83
S. Thilakar UNP Organiser, Jaffna hospital killed 03.06.83
S. Sinnathamby UNP Organiser, Chunnakkam killed 04.08.83
A.J. Rajasuriyar UNP Organiser, Jaffna killed 02.08.83
Even if you have forgotten these people, others will not forget them, nor will their murderers be absolved.
We hoped that you would have learnt a lesson from the peace negotitiations conducted by the PA Government with the Tigers between Nov.1994 and April 1995. While these peace talks were going on, the Tigers brought in three shiploads of arms and ammunition. It is reported that among them were SAM-7 missiles bought in Cambodia. During this period, not only did the Tigers take control of the Eastern Province which they had lost earlier, but they also recruited around 3,000 new cadres. The consequences of the peace talks were written in blood thereafter. Until 1994, the number of security forces personnel killed was 3916, while 6408 went missing or were disabled. However, between 1994 and March 1998, the number of security forces personnel killed doubled to reach 7748. The number that went missing or were disabled reached 15,334. If you look at these statistics without prejudice, you should realise that the only consequence of peace talks has been the killing of more soldiers and civilians, and the progressive escalation of the war.
It has been reported that the UNP will present proposals for power sharing at the centre, along with alternate proposals for devolution of power to the periphery. In fact, the present terrorism came into existence due to Tamil racism. The Tamil racists first tried between 1911 and 1931 to take over the rule of the whole country after the end of colonial rule. When this failed they tried to take over legislative control at the centre with their 50/50 demand. When this attempt failed as well, they turned their efforts towards the establishment of a seperate state. It is these efforts which are continuing even today.
First the District, then the Province, and finally the merged Provinces. Your Government conceded these demands in 1981 and 1988. What is left is the establishment of a Federal Government. The PA Governments package amounts to that. Next will be power sharing at the centre. That eventuality is in your alternate proposals. It is left only for the Tamil racists to take over the Government of the entire country.
It is reported that a LTTE leader called Rudrakumaran presented proposals for the devolution of power to the periphery and the sharing of power at the centre, at aconference abroad. Since one of your MPs participated at that conference, we are sure you have those proposals in your possession. Your alternate proposals, we believe, are simply Rudrakumarans proposals.
Finally, we have a message for the members of the UNP, the PA, and the ordinary people of this country. The announcement made by you is not merely a ruse to win Tamil votes. As soon as the SAARC conference was over,
President Kumaratunge said that the Government was willing to open negotiations with the Tigers under certain conditions. Meanwhile Minister G.L. Pieris said at about the same time in Chennai that the Government was prepared to talk to the Tigers. Nelson Mandela, leader of the African National Congress which is heavily influenced by Tamil racists, has said that he is prepared to act as mediator in peace talks with the Tigers.
What the Tigers, confined to the Mankulam area at present, need most of all is a ceasefire. The western arms-producing nations do not wish to see the Tigers wiped out as they would then lose one of their markets. Furthermore, Tiger terrorism provides an opportunity for western nations to interfere in the South Asian region in the pursuit of their political, economic and cultural agenda. The noises for peace made by the NGOs are the voices of their
donor masters abroad. What all these forces want now is to rescue the LTTE from its present plight through peace negotiations, and the UNP and the PA are competing with each other to oblige them.
But the Sinhala Buddhists of this country do not want peace talks with the Tigers who attacked worshippers
at the Sri Maha Bodhi, bombed the Dalada Maligawa, killed the Dimbulagala bhikku and massacred Buddhist monks at
Arantalawa. The Muslims of this country do not want peace talks with the Tigers who slaughtered worshippers in their mosques at Kattankudy. The Catholics of this country do not want peace talks with the Tigers who burnt down churches and slaughtered Catholic fishermen and their families at Kokilai and Nayaru. The Tamils of this country do not want peace talks with the Tigers who have killed 3,000 Tamils for opposing them and displaced 70,000 from their homes. The members of the security forces do not want peace talks with the Tigers when they have already sacrificed 12,000 of their comrades in the defense of the country. Peace talks are wanted only by those people who live comfortably in Colombo and feed off the scraps which fall off the NGO table.
What is imperative now is to wipe out the Tiger terrorists and ensure justice and equality for all the people in this country.
We give notice hereby to the UNP, the PA, and to all power-hungry politicians in general, that should peace negotiations with the Tigers be initiated, we will take whatever steps are necessary on behalf of all the people of this country who have suffered at their hands.
on behalf of the National Movement Against Terrorism