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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 82

Teaching dissidence to LTTE

[b]Teaching dissidence to LTTE[/b]

Teaching dissidence to LTTE After four agonising years, the Sri Lankan peace process has boiled down to a single issue that has nothing to do with the rights of Tamils. It is the survival of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which has centre-staged the bizarre demand that the Sri Lankan Government should guarantee its welfare by disarming Karuna, the breakaway LTTE leader. Immediately after the March 2004 rebellion, the LTTE declared it to be an "internal matter," which it would resolve on its own. Facilitator Norway, the ceasefire monitors, and the Sri Lankan Government all stood by, as the Vanni leadership launched a mini-war against the Karuna faction in eastern Sri Lanka. Unable to quell the revolt, V. Prabakaran's organisation has since changed tack — and made the "internal matter" the responsibility of the Government.

This was the burden of the Tiger song at the Geneva talks in February, the first time the former combatants met after 2003. The issue could determine whether the next round of talks, scheduled for April 19, will be held at all. That Norway and the international ceasefire monitors parrot the LTTE's demand on this issue is deplorable. For a start, such a stance insinuates that the Sri Lankan Government maintains and supports the Karuna faction. The outgoing head of the ceasefire monitors, Hagrup Haukland, has conceded in a recent interview to a Sri Lankan newspaper that there is no evidence to back such an assumption. The ceasefire monitors need to be reminded that the `absence of evidence' is the ostensible reason for their reluctance to hold the LTTE responsible for outrageous ceasefire violations, notably the killings of political opponents as well as Sri Lankan soldiers and sailors.

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