Don't drive Tamil people into the LTTE

Raja Collure, Socialist Alliance (Sri Lanka)

The Socialist Alliance comprising the LSSP, CP, SLMP, DVJP and DPF is deeply disturbed by the recent incidence of violence in the Eastern Province, particularly the Muttur area of the Trincomalee district. We extend our deepest sympathies to all those who have lost relatives and friends and also been injured, displaced and suffered in various ways as a consequence of this violence. The closing of the Mavilaru water supply to the cultivators and residents which led to the deprivation of an essential requirement for life and cultivation is a gross violation of the human rights of the affected people. While strongly condemning this action of the LTTE, which forced the hand of the Government we also condemn the role of certain groups that contributed to the deterioration of the situation through provocative acts.

Repeat of the violence that shook Mutur area if unchecked could lead to a situation in which Muslims and Sinhalese will be forced out of the area creating a demographic change that disturbs communal amity and endangering the security of the area around. It is therefore important that peace and racial harmony be restored so that people are able to return to their houses as quickly as possible.

In its bid for international recognition to a separate state the LTTE strives to show to the World that the Sri Lankan government is at fault to restore peace and communal harmony in Mutur and the adjacent areas would accrue to the advantage of the LTTE in its separatist drive.

The only way to achieve this objective is by not increasing conflict between the LTTE and the Armed Forces that leads more and more civilian deaths and disruption of normal daily life. This would also drive the Tamil people into the arms of the LTTE. It would also help the LTTE to regain the support of the break-away groups. Without the active support of the Tamil people the LTTE would find it difficult to survive, leave alone achieving a separate state.

To the extent that Tamil fears are increased Tamil racism can be roused, and the task of the LTTE becomes easier. The shipping up of Sinhala racism by chauvinist forces in the South helps to generate more fear among the Tamil people. the LTTE can then make maximal use of Tamil racism to achieve its objectives. In fact Sinhala racism and Tamil racism complement each other and they are the two sides of the same coin.

The Sinhala racists are also contributing to the LTTE cause by promoting the excessive use of force and retaliation by the Armed Forces to the provocations of the LTTE on the false assessment of the relative strengths of the Armed Forces and the LTTE.

Both sections of racists, even without their knowledge, are furthering the cause of warmongers within and outside the country. There are international producers of armaments who make maximal profits by fomenting wars in various parts of the world. Their governments support these moves. They have their agents within all our countries. During the period of the war of the last 20 years many people in Sri Lanka too benefited and this includes speculators, traders and even some officials. This Third Force was intensified as operating in other conflict situations, like South Africa. It is this Third Force that will really benefit from an escalation of the conflict and open warfare. The racist elements on both sides are unknowingly contributing to its cause.

Now that oil and gas have been found in the sea around Sri Lanka there is a great desire to gain control of this precious commodity. Imperialism has always used the divide and rule policy to access our raw materials in the past. What has happened in Iraq is a clear indication that these same policies prevail today. A division of Sri Lanka would be to their advantage. In the interest of the people of Sri Lanka and future generations not only must the division of our country be prevented but a speedy return to a no-conflict situation and a resumption of peace talks is essential. We welcome the stand of India which respects our sovereignty as a united Sri Lanka while sharing concern for the safety and rights of the Tamil people.

Everyone must accept that there is no military solution to the ethnic problem in Sri Lanka and the only way forward is through dialogue among representatives of the people, Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslims and others. The All Party Conference (APC) and the All Party Representatives Committee (APRC) must be broadened and strengthened for this purpose. The presentation of a common set of proposals that is acceptable to the Tamil people will help to weaken their support for any moves towards a war by the LTTE, and force the latter to come into the peace process in a serious manner.

This does not mean that the military has to be weakened. On the contrary the Armed Forces should be properly equipped and given all necessary facilities and support so that they can protect the people and ensure their safety. But they must act with discipline and restraint safeguarding all the people of Sri Lanka; Muslims, Tamils and Sinhalese. Then the Government's hand will be strengthened in dealing with the LTTE, both at the Conference table and outside.

The Socialist Alliance appeals to all the people of Sri Lanka to act with restraint, and in particular to the working class, and all progressive and democratic forces to take the lead in uniting the people through peace committees and in every way possible to create a peaceful environment that is conducive to the resumption of peace talks. We must defeat the maneuvers of the war-mongers and the racists to fan flames of war, that can only lead to destruction and disaster for our country and our people forward to a peaceful united

Sri Lanka in which all citizens can live in safety and enjoy equal rights!



August 2006

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