Presenting the Motion to extend the State of Emergency in Parliament yesterday (4), Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake said the LTTE had in the past month attempted to penetrate the army`s forward defence lines in the North and had inflicted casualties on the police, the armed forces and the civilians. There was an even more dangerous attempt by the LTTE to use chemicals in warfare. The Asian Tribune Website had revealed the intentions of the LTTE. In addition, recently the police were able to seize a lorry load of chemicals that were being transported to the North and other intelligence reports also point to the fact that the LTTE was preparing for such a destructive course in violation of the international agreements on warfare.
During the past one month, 27 members of the armed forces and the police and 21 civilians were killed in LTTE attacks, and 190 security personnel were injured.
The army and police were getting information from the civilians of the North and East and during the past month alone 269,000 T56 bullets, 1000 anti personnel mines, 500 explosive devices were found in the Eastern Province by the armed forces. In addition, army was also able to find 607 T56 guns, 42,431 rounds of ammunition, 200 kilograms of explosives and another 331 T56 guns and 4200 mortar propeller guns in the areas around Thoppigala hidden by the LTTE. All these weapons and explosives were found on information given by civilians of the area. The extension of emergency for one more month is proposed and the members are requested to vote for it the Premier said.
Lakshman Kiriella UNP Kandy District said the UNP also did not oppose attacks on terrorists but government troops were not attacking the centre where the terrorists are strong but is only the periphery. If the government wants to defeat terrorism it should attack Kilinochchi without going round it attacking other places.
However the UNP position was that terrorism cannot be defeated by war without offering a political solution but the government does not have one. It was also blaming the international organizations alleging they are supporting the LTTE. But during the last UNP government led by Ranil Wickremesinghe, he got the international community to propose peace talks with the LTTE and if the LTTE had refused to accept a solution offered by the international community, they would have supported the government of Sri Lanka to defeat the LTTE, but unfortunately the UNP was defeated, Kiriella said.
He said the government should find a political solution. The government was alienating everyone including countries and organizations. Even the political solution suggested by Tissa Vitharana was not supported by the partners of the UPFA coalition and the JVP but the UNP was prepared to support it and if the government wants to defeat the LTTE, it should first offer the solution suggested by the Tissa Vitharana committee and the UNP too would cooperate.
Ven. Ellawala Medhananda Nayaka Thera (JHU) said that for over two decades public life, development and the economy had been ruined by the LTTE. There was a need to find solution to this problem but the LTTE from the Thimpu talks up to now had not agreed to any of the solutions proposed by successive governments. The policy of the LTTE was to kill civilians irrespective of whether they were Sinhalese, Tamil or Muslim and even yesterday they had attacked the Ethavetunawewa village. The armed forces and the police however had not put the civilians to distress.
It was essential that the morale of the troops who are fighting terrorists should be boosted. Prabhakaran was not an elected representative of any community but an enemy of the Tamil people too.
People of the North told us to prevent the A9 road being reopened, he said.
He said Thoppigala and Sillvaturai were areas of historic importance and we should all be happy they were liberated by the armed forces and express our gratitude to the troops that defeated the LTTE.
Bimal Ratnayake JVP Kurunegala District said the armed forces were not SLFP branches and their victories should not be politicized. Some NGOs and certain foreigners are trying to make our country another Dafur. The victory at Thoppigala is an example that the terrorists could be defeated if a good leadership is provided. No one should be allowed to defraud funds like in Mavil Aru.
Without breaking the military back of the LTTE terrorists it is not possible to achieve peace in the country and the solution is not segregate the three communities Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim but to create a society where all three communities could meet on the streets as friends. The Ministry of Constitutional Affairs was opposed to the mandate given by the people. It is trying to use government resources to work for a federal constitution.
N. Sivasaktheey Ananthan (TNA) Vanni District said the government is using the armed forces to chase the people out of their lands. It could not find a solution under the All Party Committee of Tissa Vitharana during the past 15 months. The government did not have a clear policy and it cannot go on deceiving people for ever. The LTTE withdrawals will not give you a victory. It is a part of their military strategy and the extension of the state of emergency will not help anyone.
Naveen Dissanayake UNP (rebel group) said the Eelam dream of LTTE leader is becoming an illusion day by day with the victories achieved by the armed forces. Gnanakone had offered one million US dollars to a senior member of the rebel group that left the government and this was the conspiracy hatched to defeat the government when the armed forces were gaining victories. He had said in a telephone message to the senior member that Gnanakone was prepared to spend on 20 members who could defect from the government.
He said the only leader who would not betray the people was President Mahinda Rajapakse. When he went to India he held talks with Tamil leaders there who said a political solution should be found. Even the US and the EU have banned the LTTE.
The UNP is repeatedly asking the government to come up with a political solution but from the time of the Indo-Lanka agreement in the 1987 signed by J. R. Jayewardene the LTTE was not prepared to accept any political solution. Even the UNP cabinet was divided over the Indo-Lanka agreement at that time. J. R. Jayewardene signed the agreement but his cabinet was divided over it and the Ceasefire Agreement signed by the present UNP leader was also done without informing his cabinet or his parliamentary group. You cannot satisfy the LTTE by such deals. All political parties should agree on a solution to the problem. But the UNP members like Kiriella are only trying to demoralize the armed forces.
P. Harrison UNP Anuradhapura District said the UNP was opposed to the government using the victory of the armed forces for political purposes but Gnanakone who was taken into custody during the Chandrika Kumaratunga`s regime was released after 13 days of Mahinda Rajapakse becoming President.
He said the security road block at Irattaperiyakulam, Vavunia set up 20 years has been moved to Medawachchiya in Anuradhapura District but it has become a problem to the people of the area and people cannot go about their daily tasks because of the security checkpoint.
Sripathy Sooriayarachchi SLFP(M) said they had complained to the bribery commission on the purchase of arms by the present government. The offshore oil resource of the country has been sold the USA for a sum of 4 million US dollars while it should have been preserved for the nation without giving it away for an amount like that.
The MiG 27 deal has become an international disgrace to the country as even the Ukraine was holding an inquiry about the deal.
At the Hingurana 75,000 teak trees had been felled and someone was making a deal and a sixteen acre land in Colombo was sold a person for only 4 million rupees and someone in the government was behind all these corrupt deals, he said.
T. Maheswaran (UNP) Colombo District said he was opposed to the extension of the emergency and the Tamil people face untold misery due to the emergency laws. They are movements are restricted and innocent people are detained at Boossa camp but parents do not like to come to see them as they are questioned on the way, he said.
Chief Government Whip Jeyaraj Fernandopulle told Parliament yesterday that President Mahinda Rajapakse was unable come to Parliament to attend Parliamentary Consultative Committee meetings of the Finance Ministry for security reasons. `However we are aware that there was a move to get the President to come to the Parliament but we cannot allow it,` he said.
He said the consultative committee meetings of the ministries held by the President will be held at Temple Trees and members of the JVP and UNP had attended those meetings. They could continue to do so even now.
UNP and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe: All matters need not be taken to the President. According to Standing Orders the committees could be chaired either by a deputy minister or the Prime Minister but there was no problem in holding talks with the President on special matters at Temple Trees. However any member of Parliament who is in a committee not going to Temple Trees to attend a committee meeting should not be marked absent as the meeting was a committee of Parliament and the member had to attend the meeting in Parliament and not at Temple Trees, he said.
Speaker W. J. M. Lokubandara said it was a very complex problem needing a careful examination as even previous Presidents who held ministries could summon meetings at the residence of the President. Under the constitution the President can hold ministries he had not assigned to others. Standing Orders could be amended but that should be done only after examining all aspects carefully.