By Dr. Siri Gamage
On paper at least, it seems that all political players are for peace, patience, political solutions and safeguarding civilian lives. On the ground, the picture emerging from Sri Lanka, particularly in the north and eastern provinces as well as border areas is quite different. Media reports civilian abductions, disappearances, killings, claymore mines, sniffer fire, and other hardships faced by the people. Latest attack on a civilian bus with a very high casualty rate in a government controlled area and return attacks by government jets on LTTE controlled areas imply a 'hidden preference' for further engagement between those who carry arms-there seem to be no lack of these figures- in the two provinces. It is possible that the armed conflict can extend beyond the two provinces in the north and east and much more innocent civilian causalty occur in coming weeks and months unless the trend is reversed via diplomatic and political processes - locally and internationally.