End of war can spark instability in Sri Lanka’s Tamil areas: CSM

May 28th, 2009 - 1:40 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, May 28 (ANI): Tamil activists say that the end of the 26-year war for a separate state for Sri Lanka’s ethnic Tamil minority should allow more moderate voices to emerge, but it could also spark instability in Tamil areas like Jaffna and among the population displaced by the war.

The presence of armed groups loyal to Tamil politicians and often in league with security forces adds to the combustible mix.

Tamil politicians are jockeying to fill a power vacuum left by the LTTE. Separately, the government says it will keep the state of emergency, The Christian Science Monitor reported.

“The LTTE has always said it was the sole representative of the Tamil people. So who speaks for Tamils now?” asks a social activist in Colombo.

Even among ordinary Tamils who have resented the LTTE’s militancy and intransigence, its dogged resistance against an overwhelmingly Sinhalese majority evokes pride. Gauging the level of support, however, is difficult, as Tamils fear persecution.

On Wednesday, the Sri Lankan officials said the government would continue its state of emergency, which includes police powers such as searches of private homes and 18-month detention of suspects without a trial.

It said the restrictions are necessary to prevent a resurgence of the rebel movement. Sri Lankan officials also say they are holding some 9,100 rebel prisoners and will release many for “rehabilitation.”

Until now, Tamil intellectuals have treaded a wary line between a wartime government that was intolerant of dissent and a militant group that was equally repressive. Almost all speak only on condition of anonymity.

Veerasingham Anandasangaree, an opposition Tamil lawmaker, says voters in the north are wary of a rigged poll that installs a pro-government candidate.

Like other Tamil politicians in Colombo, Anandasangaree is under round-the-clock protection by Sri Lankan security forces. The LTTE had a long history of assassinating Tamil moderates and reserved its fiercest hatred for defectors like Devananda.

Also under close guard is Vinyagamoorthi Muralitharan, a former LTTE military commander in the east known as Colonel Karuna who defected in 2004. (ANI)

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