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Sri Lanka's Genocidal War - '95 to '01
"Political Package" - a peace mask for Sri Lanka's war face
One month after the launch of the intensified genocidal attack on the Tamil people, on 9 July 1995, President Kumaratunga announced, on 3 August 1995, a so called 'political package' to resolve the conflict in the island.
Significantly, two days before the official unveiling of the 'political package' President Kumaratunga met with the Buddhist High Priests in Kandy and promised that the package will not be finalised until the war against the LTTE is won.
As for the so called 'package', itself the Sinhala owned Sri Lanka Sunday Times reported on 20 August 1995:
"Defending the devolution package, (President Kumaratunga) said in no way would it erode the supremacy of (the central) parliament... The President said that since Policy Planning was a subject for the centre, the central government had a hold in every subject a region handled... the President said, even if a Regional Council opposes, the centre has the power to go ahead and allocate land for its purposes. The President also moved to allay fears of a North-East merger saying that the government did not have any idea of merging the North with the East."
But, predictably even the original devolution package announced by President Kumaratunga on 4 August was further watered down and eventually, the presentation of the draft legislation spelling out the specifics of the 'devolution package' to the Parliamentary Select Committee was also deferred.
The response of the Liberation Tigers to the 'political package' was a measured one. LTTE spokesman, Mr.Anton Balasingham addressing a Press Conference in Jaffna on 11 August 1995 said:
"The so called political package is a mask to conceal the government's military intentions. President Chandrika Kumaratunga has already promised the Buddhist Maha Nayakas that she would not finalise the proposals until the Liberation Tigers are militarily defeated and the war brought to a finish. Under these conditions, how can she resolve the conflict through political means or bring durable peace to the country?... (However) even today when the Chandrika government has closed its doors on peace, we have not given up hopes of exploring a peaceful settlement if the government halts its military operations and creates the necessary atmosphere for peace by showing concern for the day to day living needs of the Tamil people, we are still prepared for political negotiations "
In the same way as President Kumaratunga used the 'peace process' as a 'tactical episode' and then the collapse of the 'peace process' to justify her genocidal attack on the Tamil homeland in July, she used the 'political package' as a cover for her renewed onslaught on the Tamil people.
This time round, President Kumaratunga was concerned to prevent adverse reactions to attacks such as the one on Navaly Church in July. The Sri Lanka government imposed an island wide press censorship on 21 September 1995. ...continued...