The ceasefire agreement of 2002 is almost thrown in to the trash bin in practical sense, with both sides engaging in military activities of considerable magnitude. The LTTE while talking peace has been killing state intelligence officers, informants of the security forces and opponents individually and since December last year they have been launching military attacks against the security forces.
Smuggling arms shipments, opening of new Tiger police stations, courts, and a law college and upgrading the Eelam TV and radio were continued in the meantime.
In short they have been building the apparatus of their state, Thamil Eelam gradually.
On the other hand Government too has been bombing LTTE targets first in retaliation to LTTE attacks and later even without provocation to weaken the LTTE war machine, while All Party Representative Committee proceedings and an Experts` Panel discussions aimed at reaching a negotiated settlement to the conflict, were still going on.
The JVP`s move with or without the blessings of the Government to de-merge the northern and the eastern provinces through legal means is also can be considered as an extension of this process.
The newly de-merged provinces are going to have two provincial secretariats and the Governor of the formerly merged northern and eastern provinces Rear Admiral Mohan Wijewikrama will be the Governor for the eastern province. He is expected to be the acting Governor for the Northern Province as well.
The JVP`s move is contradictory to their own policies, since the merger or de-merger matters only when the devolution of powers is concerned, and the JVP is against devolution .
But it is irrelevant now, the two provinces were separated.
However the events that led to JVP`s resignation from the APRC raise few questions pertaining to the mechanism of APRC and its expert`s panel. Should the APRC accept the proposals drafted by the expert`s panel or can it alter them? If it can make adjustments to the panel`s proposals why should the JVP resign? If the committee can not make changes in the panel proposals what is the purpose of meeting or for that matter having an all party committee?
Whatever the mechanism may be, any solution to the ethnic problem should be saleable to the LTTE as long as it remains a protagonist of the conflict. But the south seems to think that once the solution is sold to the Tamil people, LTTE would be compelled to accept it. This notion was born in the eighties and carried forward by successive governments and the peace activists each time the LTTE turned its back to the negotiating table, making the governments desperate in search of a peaceful settlement to the crises.
But the reality is that the LTTE did not follow the people, it was the people who followed the LTTE, first for many reasons, love, fear, compulsion and ignorance and later they were carried away by circumstances and supported the Tigers almost wholeheartedly. And also the fact that the Tamil media is mostly pro-LTTE makes the assumption that anything that can be sold to Tamils could be sold to the LTTE, unrealistic. This is what Lenin said a century ago that the people do not create their political knowledge, but their leaders do it for them.
The best example so far the history has produced to prove that the Tamils follow the LTTE and not otherwise was the process in which the provincial council system came in to being. When it was first proposed at the round table conference in 1984 the then proscribed JVP charged that the JR Jayawardene Government was trying to sell out one third of the land and two thirds of the shore to the Eelamists as tribute.
And the opposition to the provincial council system when it was legalized through the Indo- Lanka accord was such that hundreds were killed by the security forces in the south. President Jayawardene camped all his party MPs in a Colombo hotel, on the day prior to the 13th amendment to the constitution and the provincial councils bill was debated in the parliament, apparently for fear of abduction or defection of MPs.
Almost all leftists other than the JVP, peace activists- real or otherwise- and the majority of the Tamils and the Muslims believed that the PC system would bring an end to the war. But Tamils started changing their minds with the sight of the blood of the first LTTE cadre killed by the IPKF in Mannar on September 23rd in 1987. With clashes between the LTTE and the IPKF turning in to a full scale war the support for PC system among Tamils withered away.
Even the leaders of the EPRLF and the ENDLF who ruled the North eastern Provincial council until March 1990 and the SLMC which was the main opposition in the council began to seek alternative solutions to the crisis. They considered from Swiss cantons to confederation of two states, but never succeeded in convincing the Tamil people and thereby the LTTE. Currently the only group that supports the PC system is Douglas Devananda`s EPDP.
The fact that the Tamil people ideologically follow the LTTE for whatever reasons was apparent throughout the UNF sponsored peace process as well. They wholeheartedly supported the agreement between the LTTE and the UNF government on a federal settlement within a united country and when the LTTE drifted away from federalism no dissenting voices were heard. Therefore any government that seeks solutions to the ethnic problem cannot totally exclude the LTTE from the process and has to deal with it in some way or the other.