Stop violence, enter talks, Anti-war group tells GoSL, LTTE

[TamilNet, Thursday, 18 May 2006, 11:29 GMT]
Condemning the increasing levels of violence committed by Liberation Tigers and by the "armed groups and forces within and outside" Sri Lanka's Military, Kumar Rupesinghe, chairman of National Anti War Front, in a press release issued Thursday in Colombo urged the LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka to "implement the agreements reached in the High Table in Geneva," and to "immediately resume the talks which were initiated in Geneva."

Full text of the press release follows:

We call upon the President and Prabhakaran to meet immediately.

STATEMENT BY THE NATIONAL ANTI WAR FRONT.

The specter of war hangs across the country. The people are fearful that a full scale war is being planned by both sides. Violence haunts the country and daily we hear of killings, abductions and bombs being blasted.. The LTTE explodes claymore bombs against soldiers and over 100 have been killed. Civilians bear the brunt of this escalating violence. On the other hand armed groups and forces within and outside the military are engaged in retaliatory killings. Political leaders in the east, young people and civilians in the North as well as East have been murdered in cold blood. Pogroms have been organized and unleashed against innocent people in Trincomalee. The Tamils in Colombo live in fear that large scale attacks may be unleashed on them like what happened in 1983. The Ceasefire Agreement which provided a temporary respite to a war ravaged society is being blatantly undermined by both sides. Today we watch the escalation of violence based on the philosophy of tit for tat strikes, the philosophy of an eye for eye. We are engaged in a dangerous game of revenge and attrition.

We condemn unreservedly the killings encouraged and perpetrated by the LTTE. The Rajapakse Presidency was installed a few weeks before violence was unleashed on soldiers and civilians. The Leader of the LTTE in his hero’s day speech had threatened a violent struggle to win their demands in the year 2006. In his speech he had stated that he does not trust any of the leaders in the South. The government on the other hand has appointed people to high positions who are known for their antipathy for peace and who seek war as the only solution to the conflict. Deaths squads are now on a rampage causing death and destruction.

The President has stated repeatedly he will not tolerate a culture of impunity and that all crimes committed against humanity will be investigated and the perpetrators punished. In Parliament Minister Nimal Srirpala Silva read out a statement by the President where he promised that the perpetrators of the killing of Joseph Pararajasingham, the killings of Wigneswaran, the killing of 5 Tamil youth in Tricomolaee, the beheading of 5 Tamils in Colombo, the killing of people in Vavuniya, and Jaffna, including the killing of 13 people in Kayts will be investigated and justice meted out. So far no investigations have started. We urge the President to instigate a Commission of inquiry into these killings as a matter of priority.

It is our view that violence begets violence. Violence is like a cancer which has spread to all parts of our island. We condemn all forms of violence. We also state that violence will not resolve the problems that are with us here in Sri Lanka. Proxy wars or selective wars will eventually lead to a total war and devastate the entire country. The consequences of such a war are unthinkable. Let us all take a leaf from India and learn from the great teacher of non violence Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi with his philosophy of Ahimsa threatened the very basis of the British Empire. Another example that we much cherish is the example of Nelson Mandela, who after 27 years in prison was able to extend the hand of friendship and reconciliation towards De Klerk his arch enemy. The greatest example of all is the teachings of the Lord Buddha who was in his teachings and actions the quintessential symbol and teacher of non violence.

We demand that all parties honor the Ceasefire Agreement to the letter. We demand that the LTTE refrains from all acts of violence. We urge the Government of Sri Lanka to refrain from violence and not to encourage a culture of impunity.

Today when many parts of the world are moving into the 21st century with pride and hope for the future our country must transcend this vicious cycle of hatred. Today we are moving into a higher level of civilization and moving away from the barbarism of the past. .There are world bodies monitoring our actions, and many judicial tribunals which looks into crimes against humanity. We are no longer an Island to ourselves. We are accountable to our citizens and to the international community. Many war criminals are tried in the International Criminal Court and more will be tried in the future.

We are aware that extremist parties are urging the President to go to war. They are the JVP, the JHU, and the front organizations which they encourage such as the National Patriotic Front.

The JVP for instance waged war against the newly established United Front Government.

in 1971 and sacrificed the most brilliant of our young people and devastated the country. Again in 1988-89, in the guise of apposing the Indo Sri Lanka Accord they went on the rampage and killed large numbers of people where they again failed leaving the country devastated.

Today the JVP once again calls for war to realize its political objectives and turn back the country into a dark and primitive state. We urge them to desist from preaching violence and hatred.

The President in his election campaign promised to bring a dignified peace to our country. He wished to follow the path of dialogue and stated that he was prepared to meet the LTTE leader and have face to face talks. We urge the President and the leader of the LTTE leader to talk to each other. We are a small country and the two leaders are a telephone call away. We urge that this happens soon. For everything else seems to have failed.

We urge the LTTE to transform itself into a political party and get involved in the political process. We urge you to commit yourself to a united Sri Lanka where both sides can achieve a win win solution. We urge the LTTE to make a statement assuring minorities and other political entities full representation and democracy in the North and East.

We urge the President to propose a political solution to the conflict. Many of the previous President have tried, too little too late. Sharing power with the national minorities is an absolute necessity. We are confident that the large majority of people are ready for it. We urge the President to request the Minister of Constitutional Affairs to immediately draft a new constitution stating what we can offer to the North East. We have the Indo Sri Lanka Accord and the 13th Amendment which was introduced to this country with much blood shed. We also have the proposals for a new constitution presented by the former President Chandrika Kumaratunge. The President must give his highest consideration to present a solution acceptable to the Tamil people. Many have tried to by-pass the LTTE and to present a constitutional over their heads. These efforts have failed. We urge the government to address this urgent issue and present a solution to the LTTE. We congratulate the President for having successfully convened the all party conference. We urge him to make the all party conference a venue for dialogue for a solution and to deliberate on what the South can offer to the Tamil people.

We urge that the Government and the LTTE immediately resume the talks which were initiated in Geneva. However difficult the talks may have been, it gave inspiration and hope to all our people.

We urge the Government and the LTTE to implement the agreements reached in the High Table in Geneva. Implementing agreements is the only way that we can build trust and confidence.

Finally we call upon the people in all walks of life not to be by- standers but play an active role in securing the rights won by the people,. We all upon all peace loving peoples to join us in the broadest possible movement against another war.

Kumar Rupesinghe
Chairman.
On behalf of the National Anti War Front.

 

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