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Sunday, 12 June 2011

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Don’t repeal PTA, Emergency

Sri Lanka must maintain tight security and intelligence service at home and abroad and a much stronger law enforcement capability islandwide, international counter-terrorism expert Prof. Rohan Gunaratna said adding that Sri Lanka must not repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act or lift the Emergency until LTTE factions overseas are destroyed or dismantled.

In an interview with the Sunday Observer he said there have been attempts to revive the LTTE. As its activities are moving to the international arena, Sri Lanka must double the size of its foreign service and professionalize it with a proper foreign service school.

Prof. Gunaratna said most importantly Sri Lanka must build a mainstream Tamil political leadership, restore its relations with NGOs and the West, and improve its image by building a roubst information operations capability across government.

Commenting on the Tamil diaspora, he said the Government had done exceptionally well in engaging the diaspora and the government strategy was not limited only to engaging the ordinary diaspora but also the narrow segment of LTTE leaders, cadres, activists and helpers living overseas.

“Secretary of Defence Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had both the confidence and vision to reach out even to the senior most leaders of the LTTE living overseas. This included former LTTE leaders such as KP, the successor to Prabhakaran, and even the LTTE in-charge of branch offices such as Perimpanayagam Inpanayagam, the former LTTE leader in Canada.

The government should issue an amnesty to anyone who was active in the LTTE but is willing to return to Sri Lanka and participate in the national development of the country especially in the North and the East”, he said.

He said about 85-90 percent of the diaspora understands that the time for war is over and the time for peace has come.

“The challenge for the government is to work on that narrow segment of 10-15 percent of diaspora that is still worshipping Prabhakaran. To convince them that the future is not in extremism and violence, the government should reach out to them and work with them to rebuild the North and the East”, he said stressing the need for developing a media strategy to publicize success stories in the North through Tamil media.

 

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