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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2679

Time to act under Article 157A of the Constitution

By S. Akurugoda

President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing a group of newspaper editors and heads of electronic media institutions at Temple Trees last week has clearly expressed his determination to crush LTTE terrorism once and for all. No amount of terror strikes or “any other pressure” would stand in his way and the on-going military campaign would be conducted to a successful conclusion, he said asking the LTTE to target him and not innocent civilians.

Although the President’s call for ‘targeting his life’ appears to be somewhat sentimental, the expression is an indication of the gravity of the situation he is facing, as the Commander-in Chief-of the Armed Forces, when tackling the most ruthless terrorist group supported by many other pressure groups appeared in various forms.

Despite the fact that the President, the government and the security forces have determined to eradicate the LTTE, the LTTE is not a banned terrorist organisation in Sri Lanka. Ironically, the terror group is banned in several countries in the world and we continue to plead the rest of the world to ban the outfit. The terror outfit was not banned here, probably, to keep room for (im)possible negotiations and to make the so-called international community (who were parroting a negotiated settlement at all times) happy at any cost.

The present generation had to bear the legacies of the incorrect decisions made by the past leaderships. The LTTE was banned after the bombing of Dalada Maligawa, but the ban was lifted by the subsequent UNP government soon after the treacherous CFA was signed.

Under Article 157A, Prohibition against violation of territorial integrity of Sri Lanka, of the constitution of Sri Lanka, no person shall, directly or indirectly, in or outside Sri Lanka, support, espouse, promote, finance, encourage or advocate the establishment of a separate State within the territory of Sri Lanka.

Under the said Article, no political party or other association or organization shall have as one of its aims or objects the establishment of a separate State within the territory of Sri Lanka.

The Article 157A, among many other things, has clearly laid down the steps that have to be taken against those who violate the constitution including the Members of Parliament.

Yet, we have political parties, associations and organizations that directly or indirectly support, espouse, promote, finance, encourage and advocate the establishment of a separate State within the territory of Sri Lanka. Although the above Clauses were introduced as an amendment (6th amendment) to the constitution in 1983, quite surprisingly no action has been taken, as per the constitution, against those who violate the said article of the Constitution up to now. Thus it appears that Sri Lanka may be the only country in the world engaged in a war against terrorism while feeding the terrorists and keeping the doors open to those who provide amenities and justify terrorism within its own soil.

Since the LTTE is not banned, the personnel including parliamentarians, political parties, some media groups, NGOs and INGOS who support the outfit for personal, monetary and political gains, have established their positions both in and out side Sri Lanka. These groups are doing a great service to Prabhakaran at the expense of lives of the innocent civilians in the South and those of the security forces. There is no necessity to pinpoint each and every perpetrator on individual basis, since the general public is now fully aware of those promoters of separatism.

Publication of diversity of views is an essential factor when maintaining an unbiased media. However, some of the statements of personnel appearing in certain section of the local and electronic media are in violation of the above provision. A recent writing by a politician of a’ three wheeler party’, justifying separation and formation of Tamil Eelam, appeared in a local publication and repeated in several other websites is a case in point.

Incidentally, the so-called ‘ultra leftwing’ and ‘anti neo imperialist’ party leader called upon the Tamil Tigers to join hands with the working masses in the country and abroad to fight together to liberate the country from global capital and national oppression while addressing a public meeting in Eastham, last year, organised by the Tamil Information Centre, Tamil Community Forum and World Peace Organisation in East London.

According to military figures, The LTTE has targeted civilians on 21 occasions killing 149 persons and injuring 560 others since January 2008, Are not these people contributing indirectly, at a time when hundreds of lives are lost and wounded due to indiscriminate targeting of civilians by a blood thirsty separatist group, by justifying the separation of Tami Eelam?

The right decision at the right time without fear and prejudice will lead to right result. For example, prior to abrogation of the CFA, Sri Lanka appeared more or less as a colony of so-called Co-Chairs led by Norwegians and any attempt to abrogate the Agreement was seen by pressure groups as a negative step towards peace and declaration of war against Tamils.

The LTTE was considered by the CFA and the so-called Co-Chairs, including the US, as the sole representative of Tamils. Today, after abrogating CFA and the liberation of the East, even the controversial US ambassador Robert Blake in an interview with The Sunday Observer had to accept that the LTTE is not the sole representative of Tamils and the US government is not calling for negotiations with the LTTE. Above all, the getting rid of direct interference of Co-Chairs, biased Norwegians and Scadinavian Monitoring Mission etc could be considered as great achievements of abrogating CFA.

When fighting terrorism, the methods of the terrorists have to be matched and the terrorists haunted to their hideouts to minimise the loss of innocent lives and casualties, Thus, it is time to ban the LTTE and take necessary steps under the Article 157A of the Constitution in order to conduct the on-going military campaign to a successful conclusion since the President and his government have determined to eradicate terrorism.

- Asian Tribune -

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