Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: President's response to JVP

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President Chandrika Kumaratunga advised the membership of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna one of the partners of the ruling alliance to cooperate and not obstruct the practical steps being taken by the government. In a reply to his letter dated 6th June the President told the JVP's General Secretary Mr. Tilvin Silva that his party's decision to leave the Alliance was based on misconceptions and lacked justification.
Excerpts from letter to Mr.Tilvin Silva dated June 14th [Original in Sinhala]

"First let me thank you for your letter under reference and at the same time express my regrets for pointing out certain contradictions, serious misgivings and distortions contained in your letter."

"You have stated that other than the Norwegian Embassy, the LTTE and the President herself, the general public, the Cabinet of Ministers or the Parliament are unaware of any of the contents of the proposed tsunami relief mechanism. This means that you are yourself unaware of its contents.

Then the question remains unanswered that you are opposing a document the contents of which are allegedly of extremely serious nature that are not known to you. When things are not known it is always reasonable to ascertain facts and come to conclusions instead of misleading and provoking the public."

"You have on one hand stated that you or the JVP were not made aware of anything pertaining to this subject while on the other hand you have in the second page of your letter acknowledged that I invited you on May 06 and in the course of the discussion I referred to a few limited facts relating to the structure, powers, and political and organizational formation of the proposed mechanism."

"Accordingly, you have admitted that on that occasion I explained to you only the facts that were available at the moment pertaining to the tsunami relief mechanism.

Not only by then, even by today a final document has relating to the mechanism not been formulated. I have never hesitated to disclose to the constituent parties of the UPFA all the multiple developments relating to the concept of relief mechanism as they occurred. You ought to understand that until a final consensus is arrived at on a matter of this nature it is not diplomatically prudent to discuss everything in public."

"Before I proceed to make a clarification on the eleven fold faults as described by you I wish to categorically state that a date has not been fixed yet to sign the pact of Tsunami Relief Council."

Now, let us analyze the eleven "violent political faults" alleged in your letter:

1. Provision of an opportunity for the Liberation Tigers Tamil Eelam Organization which is an illegal Terrorist organization with no public mandate to sit with a properly mandated legitimate Government to perform a function which should be done by the Freedom Alliance Government.

"By this you mean that the LTTE will have the chance to jointly act with the Government. Is this certainly a matter to be frightened of or matter for rejoice? We have to think about it.

The LTTE as an armed terrorist organization during a certain period ignored the Government and waged war against the Government. It has now come to terms to work with the Government.

Many countries in the world including Africa, Ireland, Palestine and India took long years to bring terrorist organizations to this level. Is this not a victory for the Government? Is it not a matter of joy for the people? I am unable to imagine why the JVP which has won the public confidence as a broad minded political party now prone to this narrow concept.

2. Devolution of power vested in the Government on some other organization.

Nothing of the sort has taken place. Tsunami Relief has no constitutional powers. It is only an administrative programme for the limited purpose of rehabilitating the tsunami affected areas. Its operations under Government Officials and funds received as foreign aid are subjected to Treasury supervision. This would be legitimate expenditure under the control of the Government officials.

3. It is a reaffirmation of the claim that North and East are the homeland of the Tamils?

This is a joke designed to mislead the people. How can a strip of coastal belt limited to 02 kilometers and a mechanism limited to about one year and represented by all parties reaffirm a concept of Tamil homeland in the North and East?

4. Denial of democratic rights of the innocent

Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim people of the North and East by recognizing the so called un-liberated areas brought under the control of the murderous tigers by virtue of the illegal pact created by Ranil Wickremesinghe.

In short, the proposed mechanism does not go beyond the Ceasefire Agreement signed by Ranil Wickremesinghe. Under the Cease Fire Agreement, the Army and the State officials can enter of the LTTE controlled areas only under difficult circumstances. But the tsunami mechanism enables the Government Officials to be active in areas under LTTE control. Therefore, to describe this situation as a denial of democratic rights of the people is a complete misnomer.

5. Affirmation of the claim of the LTTE as the only representative of the Tamil people.

The Tsunami Relief Council does not give any recognition to the LTTE as the only representative of the Tamil People. It admits the LTTE as a party who should play a role as the only armed group who wage war and control certain areas affected by the tsunami catastrophe. This position will not imply that the LTTE is the only representative of the Tamil People.

6. The Tsunami Relief Council is a subjugation of the Tsunami traumatized Muslim and Sinhala people in the North and East to the despotic hands of the LTTE.

This is an utter distortion of facts. Tsunami Relief Council consists of three committees. Its National Committee has representatives from all the parties, the Government, the LTTE and the Muslims. The District Committees are consisting of members from all the three communities.

As it stands, the Eastern District Committee will have more number of Muslim representatives. The Provincial Committees will have 5 Tamil members, 5 non-Tamil members, and two nominees by the Government. They will include Sinhala representatives too.

7. The LTTE organization is receiving a joint hand in government activity without any assurance of its joining the democratic political stream.

The answer to your first question provides the answer to this question as well. Has not the LTTE accepted the Government of Sri Lanka as the Government with which to some degree they agree to work in collaboration? Is this not preponderance towards the democratic process.

8. This is an unconditional violation of Administrative Regulations and the Establishment Code.

Nothing of this sort can take place. Allocations of funds are done on clear criteria. The projects are implemented by State and Provincial institutions. Expenditure is handled by the Treasury. All these activities will take place in compliance with Administrative and Financial Regulations.

9. Subjugation of the people of the North and East to Terrorist forces.

This is another distortion. Tsunami Relief Council consists of people's representatives and government officials. We are aware of the reality that in these areas the influence of the LTTE overrides political representation. The Tsunami Relief Council will become an important turning point to change this condition.

10. The Tsunami Relief Council will be another strong testimony to establish a claim that the North and East of Sri Lanka has a parallel administration run by the LTTE.

No more chronicles are warranted to describe LTTE murderous administration. That is a well-known fact throughout the globe. But their joint action in the process of tsunami relief will mitigate the intensity of their disrepute. We need not feel jealous about it. It is our duty and responsibility to help them to gain access to the democratic process.

11. It is a violation of the Independence, Sovereignty, Unity and Territorial integrity of Sri Lanka?

The Tsunami Relief Council is purely an administrative mechanism to rehabilitate the tsunami devastated areas in the North and East coastal belt. Its activity extends only up to 2 kilometers from the beach. That too is in the Districts of Jaffna, Mullativu, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Ampara and Kilinochchi. It is not devolution of political power. It will not be signed by the President or a Minister but by a Ministry official.

Such a document will not in any way jeopardize the sovereignty or integrity of the country.