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Home > Tamil National ForumSelected Writings by Dharmeratnam Sivaram (Taraki) > LTTE’s law and order machinery: drawing the line

Selected Writings by Dharmeratnam Sivaram (Taraki)

LTTE’s law and order machinery: drawing the line

Northeastern Herald, 21 November 2002


The fundamental issues of the peace process are coming to the fore with the passing of each day of the longest period of peace the island has seen since 1983. The talks began with the full knowledge of the whole Sinhala polity that the Liberation Tigers control large tracts of territory in the northeast.

Even those Sinhalese who may have been unaware of the nature of this fact before the opening of the A9 would have seen at first hand that the LTTE controls and administers most of the Vanni region north of Vavuniya and the southern parts of the peninsula.

The US led coalition that is backing Norway in facilitating the peace talks are also well aware of this reality. It now appears that not only the President, the opposition and all and sundry critics of the peace talks but the Norwegians and the backers too are not to pleased with the LTTE doing whatever it wants to do within areas in the northeast that are under its control and recognised as such by the ceasefire agreement.

Here we are referring to the Norwegian Ambassador’s remark that the LTTE’s opening of police stations in the east could create difficulties for the UNF government and that it could pose a considerable threat to the peace process. The SLMC leader Rauf Hakeem also has raised serious concerns about the matter.

At the bottom of all this lies the apparent unease in the minds of all Sinhala and Muslims and now the Norwegians about the future of the parallel state structures built by the LTTE on its side of the current line of control that divides Sri Lanka.

The Norwegian ambassador, the UNF government, President Chandrika Kumaratunga, the opposition and all and sundry who are griping or scolding the LTTE for opening police stations and, in the coming weeks, law courts in the east have completely or conveniently forgotten the fundamental fact on which the ceasefire agreement stands. Everyone, including the extremist Sinhala Urumaya welcomes peace.

The peace they all accept as indispensable is not possible without the ceasefire agreement, whatever their criticisms are about its contents.

The ceasefire is not possible if the line of control is not recognised and accepted.

The Sri Lankan government fought the latter phase of Eelam War I and Eelam Wars II and III because it refused to accept the areas of control established by the leading Tamil militant groups and later by the LTTE.

The seven years of the PA’s costly military program against the Tigers, the Riviresa, Sathjeya, Jaya Sikurui, Rana Gosha, Rivi Bala, Agni Kheela and connected operations in the north, were all pursued with the strategic objective of erasing the line of control.

Therefore the ceasefire had to necessarily be based on the recognition of the line of control. There is no sophistry in this world that is good enough to argue round this fact. The moment you deny this fact (before reaching a mutually acceptable final settlement) you have declared war. So all those across the political spectrum who say they are for peace in Sri Lanka’s current context are automatically accepting the line of control.

If peace is thus inevitably and necessarily predicated on accepting the line of control in the northeast, then it means that the writ of the law and order machinery of the Sri Lankan state does not run beyond its pale. Therefore by accepting the line of control the Sri Lankan state also necessarily accepts the fact that it has no say over the law and order on the other side of the line of control.

Holding the line of control hence entails the LTTE to set up its own law and order machinery – a police, judiciary and a prison system.

All the objections raised by Sinhala nationalists, the Norwegian Ambassador and SLMC leader Rauf Hakeem against the LTTE’s law and order system in areas under its control are, in the final analysis, a challenge to the line of control.

If they are want the LTTE to stop expanding its law and order machinery in areas held by it then they are repudiating the line of control, little realising their position means war to regain those territories and establishing the writ of the government there. Given this fundamental reality of the peace that prevails in Sri Lanka today, griping and complaining about what the Liberation Tigers are doing on their side of the line of control will only pile up a thousand compelling but untenable reasons among the Sinhala people for breaking the ceasefire.

There are only four practical possibilities regarding the state structures the LTTE has established within the line of control.


1. The LTTE dismantles them voluntarily out of sheer deference to the concerns of the Sinhala polity, the SLMC, Norway and the US led group of western countries that are backing the peace process.

2. The Tigers agree in principle to a plan worked out mutually in the coming rounds of talks to incorporate these structures into the Sri Lankan state ‘remodelled’ in accordance with the settlement reached upon at the end of the negotiations and approved by a two third majority in Parliament and the people at a national referendum.

3. The Sri Lankan state goes to war again to militarily dismantle these structures by bringing all the LTTE held regions in the northeast under its control.

4. The Sri Lankan state solicits and obtains the aid of either India or the US led group of countries backing the negotiations to bash the LTTE into abject submission.

The LTTE for its part has stated in no uncertain terms that the reality of its ground forces, naval forces, Police and administrative and judicial systems has to be taken into account in any negotiated settlement to the conflict.

Dr. Balasingham has said that these structures would be in place until the final solution envisages how these could be incorporated into the federal or confederate state for the Tamils in the northeast.

The LTTE says it will stick to the peace track despite the legal obstacle thrown on it by the 200-year sentence on Pirpaharan. The Sea Tigers promised Wednesday not to do anything that could rock the peace boat.

The Tigers gave up the demand for an Interim Administrative Council, they gave up the demand for the Joint Task Force, and quite certainly they are not pushing for the immediate resettlement of those people driven out Valikamam North division.

And above all the LTTE has stated clearly that it is willing to give up the demand for a separate state and consider a reasonable alternative within Sri Lanka.

It has readily agreed, contrary to what all its detractors believed, to take up core issues for discussion. It has also readily accepted the Muslim question with all its complexities.

In fact the UNF government has been singularly successful in getting the LTTE to water down its position to quite an unprecedented level.

As the memory of the horrible war gets clouded with the passage of time, a tendency is on the rise to push for more compromises from the LTTE.

The opinion of many of those who currently pontificate on the peace process is driven by an inveterate hatred of the LTTE than by common sense. Hence they want the LTTE to ultimately deliver the pound of flesh.

They know not that their demands require that the line of control be negated. And there the line would be drawn.

 

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