Response by the Presidential Secretariat to the statement by Mr. Mano Ganeshan calling on the Tamil people of the north and east to stay away from Colombo
The attention of the Presidential Secretariat is drawn to a statement by Mr. Mano Ganeshan, of the Western People's Front, published in some sections of the media, calling on Tamil civilians in the north & east to keep out of Colombo as the Government and the LTTE are both acting irrationally.
This statement is not based on fact and appears to be intended to drive unwarranted fear among the Tamil people of the north and east, and also create a highly unfavourable impression of Sri Lanka abroad, in the prevailing context of the LTTE's repeated brutality.
Contrary to what Mr. Ganeshan states, the recent bomb blasts carried out by the LTTE have not triggered "hate and doubts" against Tamils coming to Colombo from the north & east.
It is evident that the LTTE, acting with deliberation, is trying to provoke people outside its area of control into acts of violence in reprisal for the repeated brutality carried out by it in the several attacks on public transport and other incidents targeting innocent civilians of all communities. The government's consistent endeavour is to prevent any acts of violence against the Tamil people, which has met with very a favourable response by the public.
Mr. Ganeshan makes another unfounded statement that "the state media is orchestrating this hate campaign on an hourly basis while rational behaviour cannot be assured by the security establishment authorized to maintain law and order." This is furthest from the truth. Far from orchestrating a hate campaign against Tamil citizens, the state media has given considerable prominence to the repeated calls to the people by President Mahinda Rajapaksa not to give in to provocation by the LTTE as it carries out this repeated act of brutality with the aim of fanning communal hatred for its own benefit. These institutions have played an important role in maintaining calm in the face of the LTTE's provocative acts. The security establishment too, has been consistent in preventing any backlash against the Tamil community in the south due to these deliberate provocations by the LTTE.
With regard to the arrest of persons under suspicion for alleged involvement in the recent violent acts of the LTTE, this has been done in accordance with the law and it is a gross distortion of truth to state it is difficult to differentiate between acts of abducting and arrests. The Ministry of Human Rights and Disaster Management that maintains a Help Desk regarding arrests and abductions confirms that there have been no complaints or inquiries received to date regarding the reported arrests following the recent bomb attacks in Colombo and its suburbs by the LTTE.
Mr. Ganeshan states that his position as the Colombo district's elected Tamil parliamentarian gives him legitimacy to warn the Tamil people of the north and east against coming to Colombo. It is necessary to note have that there is a security establishment that is in the best position to issue such a warning to the public, which has not thought the prevailing conditions merit such a warning.
It must be noted that a far larger proportion of Tamil speaking people live Colombo and the south compared to those in the north and east and that they do live in safety and harmony with the other communities.
It is regretted that Mr. Ganeshan, by this statement, has thought it fit to create unnecessary fear among the Tamil community, which by design or not, can only further the cause of those seeking to promote communal hatred.
June 09, 2008