Colombo proposes to lift emergency but continue PTA

[TamilNet, Thursday, 25 August 2011, 18:36 GMT]
Mahinda Rajapaksa on Thursday proposed to lift emergency rule in the island, but said that the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) would continue. Even though Colombo’s supporters and media campaign were showcasing it as a significant development to rehabilitation of ‘democracy’ in the island, this doesn’t make much difference to Tamils, considering the extent of militarisation and Sinhalicisation of state in the island, political observers said. Colombo’s media brief denied that the decision was due to pressure from India or other outside forces. But, analysts said that the move was calculated to save Rajapaksa regime from a number of international situations. On Thursday, Indian Foreign Minister said that India would wait to take a stand on war crimes until the UN report comes to a UN forum. Meanwhile the US Asst Secretary of State plans visiting Colombo next week.

Speaking at the Cabinet Press Briefing last afternoon Minister of Environment Anura Priyadarshana Yapa stated that the President and Cabinet had taken the decision to lift emergency after months of consideration and not due to pressure from any external sources.

“We did not succumb to pressure from India; everyone knows that this government does not get pressurised by outside forces. The President realised that we did not need emergency rule in the country any longer and the decision to remove it was considered many months before,” he said, rejecting opinion that India was behind the removal of Emergency Regulation.

The Sri Lankan Minister, however, declined to comment on the status of those being held under emergency regulations.

Meanwhile, Colombo’s media campaign was projecting the move as a significant development to democracy in the island.

Associated Press correspondent Bharatha Mallawarachi, citing lawyers Jagath Liyanaarachi and Jehan Perera, reported that lifting emergency could facilitate release of detainees, removal of High Security Zones, replacement of the military by police, removal of military check points, freedom to engage in public political activity and delinking military from civil administration in the north.

But people who were familiar with realities in the island were skeptical. Sections that shielded Rajapaksa and his agenda during the war play the game again, they said.

Emergency was lifted even between 2002 and 2005, Tamil political circles pointed out.

The extent of SL militarization, involvement of military in the economic activities and Sinhalicisation of administration in the country of Eezham Tamils is enough for the subjugation. There is no need of emergency anymore to implement the structural genocide agenda of Colombo, they said, adding that militarization of foreign service would look after the international requirements.

Meanwhile, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake, Jr. will travel to Sri Lanka August 29-31, 2011 and he will meet with government officials, civil society representatives, university students and political leaders while in Sri Lanka, said a US State Department media note from Washington, Thursday.


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