Massacre against Muslims in Sri Lanka


by Dr Vickramabahu Karunarathne, 21. 05. 2003

Recent violent incident in Muttur region revealed the complex problem within the Tamil National question. Muslims were at the receiving end and it is claimed that the Tamil armed groups backed by the LTTE were responsible. LTTE has rejected this accusation and has indicated that it is a law and order problem outside the area under their control. Irrespective of this claim and counter claims what is evident is that terror has been unleashed on Muslim dewellers in government controlled area, resulting hundreds of refugees. So the question arises why the police and the government security forces did not intervene to stop these attacks? Why did not they open fire on these intruders attacking innocent women and children? One paper says when Muslims informed the security forces, they have replied that they are unable to do any thing as they are not issued with firing orders! If this is true it is an extremely pathetic situation: If the state is incapable of controlling large scale violence in the state controlled areas, then the government is not fit to rule. MoU has divided the country into two specific domains: one controlled by the rebels others by the state. It is the duty of the government to protect people and property in the region under its control: Any intruders, whether LTTE backed or otherwise, who resort to violence against innocent citizens should be dealt with as criminals. It is no point claiming the LTTE has broken the MoU after grossly failing to take action against the criminals.

Of course one cannot rule out, under cover operations by the LTTE in the government controlled areas. In the context that racist agitations in the South are working with the blessings of President Chandirka, Tamil leaders must prepare for any eventualty. If the government is counter balanced by Anura-Wimal collaboration, then peace process may stall half way. LTTE, in preparation for such a situation, could be making under cover operations in the South. Police and armed forces, claim that LTTE has hunt down and eliminated twenty three (23) Tamil informers in Colombo suburbs. This may be true though LTTE has not accepted the responsibility of any of these actions. The question is why did the government security arrangement fail to protect its loyal informers? What have they done to trace the murderers of these 25 killings? Instead of coming out with facts and figures, making guess work does not do any good to the peace process.

It was reported that Muslim religious leaders have come to an agreement with the LTTE about the safety of Muslims. This is a shot on the face of the Muslim political leaders. These leaders are, one way or the other, pleading government to take actions while enjoying the benefits given by the government. Muslim Religious leaders of the Majlis Al Shura have taken a pragmatic approach by dealing directly with the LTTE. However it is necessary to make the LTTE understand, what the Sinhala Capitalist leaders learned the hardway. There is no freedom or democracy unless minority nationalities are given their right of self-determination.