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July 09, 2002

 

2857 Lawrence Avenue East, Unit # 21

Scarborough
Ontario.
M1P 2S9

 

Hon. Bill Graham, QC, MP
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ottawa.

 

Threat to Peace Process in Sri Lanka

Dear Hon. Minister,

You have rightly denounced the suicide bombing that took place in Colombo on July 7, 2004 in which 5 policemen were killed and about a dozen others injured. 

In a civilized society violence in any form is reprehensible and deserves condemnation.  But so is the killing of LTTE cadres and prominent civilians in the Batticaloa district in the east. 

We regret the fact the Hon. Minister has not condemned these dastardly killings, which pose a real threat to the peace process and a  clear violation of the cease-fire agreement signed between the GOSL and the LTTE.

For the information of the Hon. Minister, we list below the killings that took place during the last two months largely in government-controlled areas in the Batticaloa district.

On April 25, 2004 seven LTTE cadres were shot dead   in Batticaloa district by gunmen belonging to renegade Karuna group. The assassins came in a vehicle   from the direction of the Sri Lanka army camp in Vavunathivu.   Three LTTE sentries were killed at Vavunathivu-Aayithiyamalai Road about 1.5 kilometres from the Sri Lanka army's point northwest of Batticaloa town. The rest were killed at Mullamunai. Four of the murdered LTTE cadres were invalids. 

On May 01, 2004 one LTTE political activist was shot dead while riding a motorbike at Pondukalchenai, 5 km from Kiran north of Batticaloa.  Kiran is situated in government-controlled area.

On May 06, 2004 Sivanathan Murali alias Pahalavan and. Vathanan, two unarmed LTTE political activists were shot dead at Thannamunai. This village is located 9 kilometers northwest of Batticaloa town and comes within Sri Lanka Army-controlled area. At the time of the incident the Sri Lanka Army was patrolling the area.

On May 20, 2004 a LTTE political activist was killed in an explosion in Aalankerni, 42 kilometres north of Batticaloa.  Aalankerni is close to the Batticaloa-Polannaruwa Road, which is controlled by the Sri Lanka Army.

On May 24, 2004   Kumaravel Thambaiah (48) a senior lecturer in the Eastern University was shot dead by unidentified gunmen at his home in Batticaloa.  He was the head of the economics department of the Eastern University and hailed from the village of Aasikulam north of Vavuniya. 

On May 31, 2004 a prominent BBC journalist G.Nadesan was shot and killed by two unidentified gunmen in government controlled Batticaloa town in broad daylight.  

On July 05, 2004 one LTTE cadre was killed and 3 others seriously injured in two separate shooting incidents in a single day. The LTTE political head and another activist was shot in Batticaloa town.  The other shooting took place in Vantharumulai in SLA controlled area.    

It is obvious that renegade Karuna’s group carried out these killings with the active assistance and connivance of the SL armed forces.

There is irrefutable and reliable evidence that the Sri Lanka army is using Karuna as a charade to murder and to create mayhem in Batticaloa.  There is indubitable proof that Karuna is working with the Sri Lankan military intelligence.

The political head of the LTTE has bluntly declared that “If the Sri Lankan president and government are serious about the ceasefire agreement and peace talks they should stop sheltering Karuna and backing the murder and mayhem in which some of the henchmen are indulging in Batticaloa... If this situation is allowed to continue it will jeopardize the ceasefire and the entire peace process.”

Meantime, the LTTE has said that it will not recommence meetings with the Sri Lanka army while the Sri Lankan government and its military continue to harbour Karuna and continue to instigate murder and sow confusion in Batticaloa.

While the Hon. Minister is quick to condemn the bombing in Colombo, he turns a blind eye to the numerous killings in Batticaloa district committed by Karuna’s group. We consider this unfair and a feeble attempt on the part of the Hon. Minister to gloss over state supported terror.

We also take the opportunity to inform the Hon. Minister that efforts by the Liberal government ‘ in support of a sustainable political solution to the long-standing conflict ‘ are both half-hearted and lopsided.   The funding by Canada of an observer group to monitor Sri Lanka's parliamentary elections, which took place on April 2, 2004, has no connection with the peace process. 

When the Hon. Minister went to Sri Lanka, he failed to visit Vanni to meet LTTE leaders to learn at first hand the political and economic situation in the Northeast.

Financial assistance by the Canadian government for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Northeast is almost nil or just a pittance. And to add insult to injury the Canadian government  is refusing to allow  TRO functionaries, not to speak of LTTE cadres,  to visit Canada. The application for a visa by K.P. Reggie, Coordinator TRO (Sri Lanka),  has been rejected by the Canadian visa office in Colombo.

We wonder how Canada can sell federalism to the LTTE and help in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of war devastated Northeast, if entry is denied to Thamil leaders to visit Canada and study it at first hand.

Inside Canada, the CSIS and RCMP personnel, armed with the newly minted anti-Terrorism Act, are routinely harassing and threatening members of the Thamil Canadian community. Meetings are videotaped and officers barge in without permission and question people while the function is in progress. 

We have said it before, and we repeat now, that despite the Hon. Minister’s best of intensions and his closeness to the Thamil Canadian community, the Liberal party government continue to follow a sterile and unimaginative foreign policy. This is in sharp contrast to countries like Japan, Norway, Switzerland and the European Union.

While Canada considers the LTTE as a terrorist organization (a hang-over from Mulroney’s government) the Swiss government has afforded the LTTE diplomatic recognition on par with the Sri Lankan government.

We finally appeal to the Hon. Minister to adopt an even-handed and pragmatic approach to advance the current peace process. After the UPFA came to power, the peace process has virtually collapsed due to the refusal of the government to discuss the ISGA proposals.

Yours truly,

 

 

 V.Thangavelu
 President

Inquiries: Tel. No. 416 281 1165; 416 261 9099; 416  447 6314
                Email: athangav@sympatico.ca