Editorial - Innocent by default

21 October 2012 06:30 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The citizens of this country are no aliens to the magnitude of the atrocities committed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) during the darkest thirty years in history. They remember the Tiger heads who led the terror behind the curtains, here and abroad; they even remember whether they are dead or alive.

On Wednesday, the government shocked its citizenry with the announcement that there were no charges against Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP to conduct legal proceedings against him. For those who have conveniently forgotten the past, KP was the head of the LTTE’s international network who raised funds and procured arms. After the death of Vellupillai Prabhakaran, KP was appointed the leader of the terror outfit. He was also wanted by the Indian law enforcement authorities in connection with the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi.

Hence, the drama that preceded KP’s arrest would hardly give the impression that he was devoid of charges. Arrested in a South-East Asian country in August 2009 after a tedious chase, he was under house arrest until he was officially released on October 17 this year. In fact, he was one of the few people who had sufficient freedom of movement even while being under arrest.
If there were no charges against him, as Mr. Hulugalle says, what made the government exhaust its resources to arrest him in the first place? Does he mean to say that the hullabaloo was for nothing?



Though the facts are stubborn, the government seems to be more stubborn about setting him free. If its explanation is that it was a move to silence the diaspora, the high-heads must be daydreaming. For their information, KP ceased to be a bigwig in the eyes of the vociferous diaspora the day he started singing praises to the government. He changed his loyalties for his own good and survival; of course, he has been rewarded.
Besides, if the government thinks, a reformed Tiger chief could bring any luck for us in Geneva; it is still on the wrong track. The truth is that his shadow is too small to cover the core problems of the post war Sri Lanka, unheeded by the government. After all, Geneva does not require storytelling with illustrations, but solid action.

But not all are as lucky as KP. When asked about the other LTTE cadres currently behind bars, Mr. Hulugalle said they have been charged with damaging of state property. The question as to who provided arms to damage these properties needs to be answered.
The government in its desperate mission to claim the sole ownership of the war victory should not take arbitrary action to hurt the feelings of those who fought the war in the front lines. Aiding terrorism is the worst offence one could commit against the country; the fact that KP is a soft-spoken diplomatic man should not change stark facts.
The same government that has labelled KP a free man has made everyone else prisoners.
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