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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2673

No Tiger ban but tough, new anti-terrorist laws will hit Tigers

Colombo, 06 December, ( Despite mounting pressures to ban the Tamil Tigers the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) decided today not to ban the terrorist outfit, even after the Defence Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapakse, was targeted by one of its suicide bombers.

Instead the GoSL decided to re-activate the suspended Prevention of Terrorism ACT (PTA) which will give wide powers of search and arrest to the authorities combating terrorism. The new measures aim to punish all terrorist activities, including those who help the terrorists in any way. GoSL sources said that the new measures will be in conformity with the UN laws on terrorism.

The PTA was put on hold after Ranil Wickremesinghe signed the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) in February 2002. Article 2.13 of this agreement states: "The Parties agree that search operations and arrests under the Prevention of Terrorism Act shall not take place. Arrests shall be conducted under due process of law in accordance with Criminal Procedure Code."

Police and military authorities say that this article tied their hands but gave ample room for the Tamil Tigers to infiltrate anywhere without any effective monitoring of their terrorist activities. Wickremesinghe signed the CFA without informing his party, his Cabinet, Parliament or the President. Constitutional lawyers argue that it was a secret agreement signed without processing it through the normal legitimizing channels.

Police sources argue that the Tamil Tigers crept through this loophole to violate 95% of the terms and conditions laid down in the CFA. GoSL told media personnel that Velupillai Prabhakaran has already announced in his annual policy speech that the "CFA is defunct." Political sources agree that there is nothing left in the CFA to determine the actions of both parties except the name.

Tamil Tiger sources claim that the re-introduction of the PTA will be a violation of the CFA. But GoSL sources argue that Tamil Tigers had reduced the CFA to worthless piece of paper which had been violated by them repeatedly in killing its own Tamil people, non-Tamil civilians, in launching provocative attacks on military targets and, most of all, sending suicide bombers to target key military personnel, from the Defence Secretary to the Army Commander.

Political analysts say that the Tamil Tigers has once again shot themselves in the foot by using excessive violence. The new tough measures are expected to curb their activities. Tigers have also infiltrated key areas and their agents helping them will be also under surveillance.

- Asian Tribune -

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