It is with shock and dismay that we note the killing of TNA MP K. Sivanesan on Thursday. With his tragic end, the number of the slain members of the present Parliament has risen to six. Sivanesan was travelling through an LTTE-held area when a claymore mine hit his vehicle. The kneejerk reaction of the LTTE was to blame it on the army long rangers. The government lost no time in holding the LTTE responsible for the blast.
If the LTTE s claim is true, then what has become of its impregnable defences? Is it being beaten at its own game? And where have all its shadow warriors gone? Is it that the LTTE has come to such a pass that it cannot at least ensure the safety of its proxies in a terrain that it claims to be its separate state?
The government claims the LTTE deliberately targeted Sivanesan to tarnish its image internationally. So, who really killed him? Whoever the perpetrators may be, the fact remains that what took his life was a shameless cowardly attack and that crime must be condemned unreservedly.
Sivanesan s killing is ample proof that no one is safe anywhere in this country. If the army commander is not safe in the army headquarters, the vulnerability of others to attacks goes without saying. The advocates of Prabhakaran s terrorism should realize that the genie is now out of the bottle. If they thought the LTTE would be able to coerce the State into capitulating to its demands by exploding claymore mines, they thought wrong. Their strategy has proved to be counter-productive.
Those who turned UNP MP T. Maheswaran s funeral into a protest and blamed his killing on the government s failure to provide him with adequate security, must now go North and ask the LTTE why it failed to protect Sivanesan in an area under its control. Where are the anti-war activists who hijacked TNA MP Raviraj s funeral, abandoned his coffin and slithered away after TV crews left? Will they hold a similar protest in the Wanni against Sivanesan s killing? They must not be selective in condemning killers or holding protests.
Sivanesan, like all others who died violent deaths at the hands of shadow killers, was a victim of the prevalent culture of killing which got a new lease of life from Prabhakaran in 2005, when he launched his claymore mine spree, which has snowballed into the present unmanageable conflict churning out death and devastation. Unfortunately, at that time, the TNA chose to back the LTTE to the hilt in Parliament and the anti-war activists looked the other way only to make their presence felt from time to time in the refuge of Colombo.
At least at this late hour, we see no serious attempt by anyone to obviate the culture of violence. Peace activists are engaged in a blatantly lopsided campaign against the State without bringing pressure to bear on the LTTE, the party that resumed atrocities despite a truce, to eschew violence. The international community is, true to form, barking up the wrong tree. Little does it seem to realize that conflict resolution means an impartial intervention to settle a dispute first by de-escalating it and then rooting out causative factors through a dialogue. In this country what is being done in the name of conflict resolution is to try to undermine national sovereignty, pillory the government in power and prevent it from responding to threats while the freedom of the other party to unleash violence is taken for granted, if not recognized.
Little wonder that violence is on the march and politicians like Sivanesan and civilians who are no party to the conflict are perishing in their numbers.