UNP, JVP react to Kadirgamar slaying
[TamilNet, Saturday, 13 August 2005, 20:44 GMT]
In the wake of the assassination Friday of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, Sri Lanka’s main opposition United National Party, whilst condemning the killing, accused the government of being lax in providing him with security, particularly amid reports he was close to the renegade LTTE commander who defected to the Army, Karuna. And in its vehement reaction, the ultra-nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Perumana (JVP) mourned Mr. Kadirgamar as one of their own and launched a bitter tirade against the LTTE.
"Unfortunately, our VIP security system is not geared to protect the lives of dignitaries. The authorities keep blaming the assassins whenever they fail in their task of protecting the lives of VIPs," the UNP said in a statement Saturday.
"The threat on Mr. Kadirgamar's life has demanded the highest level of security for him since the mid 1990s [and] the UNP in its government of two years gave priority to accord protection to [him]," the statement said.
"Even after the UPFA government was formed [in April 2004], the threat on Mr Kadirgamar's life continued. Recently there was also a strong perception among a section hostile to the government that he was sympathetic towards the Karuna group," the UNP said.
The Karuna Group is a paramilitary outfit named after the renegade LTTE commander, Karuna, who defected to the Army in April 2004 when his six week rebellion against the LTTE was crushed by a Tiger offensive over the Easter weekend.
"Irrespective of the truth or otherwise of this perception, there was an urgent need to strengthen his security. It is obvious that this has not happened and the serious lapse by his security enabled a sniper to kill Mr Kadirgamar," the UNP said.
The UNP said it “joins the President and the Government in sharing the deep sense of grief the people of Sri Lanka feel at this tragic loss of a leader of great achievement and promise."
"The UNP therefore while acknowledging that this murder is a blow to the ceasefire trusts that a negotiated peace which is so vital for our people will be ensured by the government, the ceasefire maintained and all steps taken to prevent a return to war."
But the UNP stopped short, as did President Chandrika Kumaratunga earlier, of naming the LTTE as the perpetrators of the attack.
"Security sources have already gone on record to the media that the LTTE is responsible for this killing. Mr. Kadirgamar has been long identified as being under LTTE threat. Unless the perpetrators are identified quickly it will have a serious impact on the already fragile Ceasefire Agreement," the UNP warned.
However, the right wing JVP, which was close to Mr. Kadirgamar and had unsuccessfully backed him for the post of Prime Minister against the SLFP choice, Mahinda Rajapakse, after the UPFA victory in April 2004, was scathing in its condemnation.
"Kadirgamar was a decent man without the guile, the double-speak and the political treachery of the average main stream Sri Lanka politician. The JVP and he came from different histories and different backgrounds. But we developed a strong bond based on his transparent decency and love of the country," the Sinhala nationalist party said.
"We of the JVP have lost a friend; the country has lost a true patriot," it said.
The JVP’s statement, titled 'Our Salute' and emailed to TamilNet by its political bureau, eulogised Mr. Kadirgamar and demonised LTTE leader Mr. Pirapaharan.
"Friend and patriot, you died as you lived. You died for our common ideals. Your death however will not be in vain. As we mourn your death, we of the JVP double our resoluteness in fighting for the honest values you stood for," it said.