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Sunday, 11 August 2013

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Northerners should not fall prey to sinister forces

There was a time when almost the entire Northern Province was held by LTTE terrorists and not a single politician or official dared to visit the area. The LTTE not only held those areas forcibly but ran a virtual de facto state with its jungle law. The LTTE had its own Tiger courts, police force, administrative set up, currency and even an air wing with small fixed-wing aircraft under the direction of LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran, which even bombed strategic locations in the South.

None of the extremist Tamil politicians who now weep buckets of crocodile tears over the fate of people in the North uttered a word of consolation when the Northerners were forcibly held by the LTTE as a human shield, subjecting them to untold misery.

Those horrendous days are now a thing of the past after the entire country was liberated from the clutches of LTTE terror following the 2006-2009 battle against terrorism, during which over half a million people in the North and the East had been liberated during the world's largest human rescue operation.

No sooner the entire country was liberated, the Government embarked on numerous mega development projects in the North and the East to develop infrastructure facilities in the two provinces. Simultaneously, LTTE landmines were cleared and displaced persons were resettled in their original homes.

Thanks to the Government's untiring efforts and the contribution of the Security Forces, displaced persons were resettled much earlier than anticipated, thereby setting new world standards.

The Government has given preferential treatment to the Northern and the Eastern Provinces - more than the other seven provinces in a determined bid to re-establish all what the LTTE had destroyed during its three decades of terror. The Government has achieved significant milestones during the past four years as President Mahinda Rajapaksa was determined to provide people in the North almost everything what they had lost due to barbaric LTTE terrorism.

Moreover, the Government also held Local Government elections in those areas. Now that the demining and resettlement of displaced persons have been successfully completed, the Government is keen to set up the Northern Provincial Council, for which elections would be held next month.

Those who point an accusing finger at the Government, including those international nosey parkers, must first and foremost see for themselves the incredible transformation that had taken place since May, 2009.

An area which was at one time under the complete control of a bunch of barbaric terrorists has now been liberated. Thousands of hapless civilians who had been subjected to untold hardships have not only breathed a sigh of relief but also given a new lease of life. People who spent many a sleepless night and sought refuge in the jungles to protect themselves from the Tiger terrorists, are now living in peace and harmony with enhanced facilities. Their purchasing power too had gone up considerably, making a tangible contribution to the national coffers.

On the other hand, over 21 million people who lived in mortal fear not knowing when the next LTTE bomb would explode are now enjoying the dividends of peace. These are indeed landmark achievements which no other country could be proud of.

President Rajapaksa has gone that extra mile by offering the people in the North an opportunity to elect representatives of their choice to run the provincial administration. Though many had expressed reservations that the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) elections would not see the light of day, the President is confident that it would be an important milestone in national reconciliation.

There are fears in certain quarters that the NPC power may go into the wrong hands. But this is purely a matter for the people in the North to decide on. They have a bounden duty to ensure that the hard-earned peace is not disrupted under any circumstances.

Certain sinister elements, remote-controlled by some extraneous international forces, are making a subtle attempt to capture power in the NPC through LTTE cohorts. They are perhaps under a delusion that they could democratically achieve what Prabhakaran had failed through his armed struggle.

In the event these LTTE cohorts, with the blessings of the former Tiger-proxy party TNA, feel that they could turn the ballots into bullets, they are sadly mistaken. The Government would never leave any room whatsoever for any force on earth to derail the country's hard-earned peace. The peace people enjoy today did not come on a platter, but rather through the immense sacrifices by the true sons of our soil. The Security Forces sacrificed their life and limb to liberate over half a million Tamils from the jaws of LTTE terror and unite the country. The Government would by no means let those sacrifices be in vain by exposing the North to a group of LTTE cohorts.

The biggest responsibility devolves on the people in the North as they have been given the freedom to exercise their franchise. Hence, they have to weigh the pros and cons before casting their vote at the forthcoming NPC elections.

The people alone should take a firm decision regarding their future, a decision that would not boomerang on them and relegate them to that dark era again. They should not be carried away by radical racists of the LTTE and dig their own graves.

The manner in which some TNA leaders are conducting themselves is highly questionable, to say the least. The NPC elections could well be treated as a referendum, at which Northerners would have to decide whether they wish to revert to those dark days again. Hence, the forthcoming NPC election is not merely an opportunity to elect representatives of one's choice but a landmark decision that determines their fate in the future.

The TNA's sinister moves are already evident by its leader R. Sampanthan's statement that the selection of T. Vigneshwaran was due to pressure by two foreign countries. It is anybody's guess who these interested parties are.

As the President has said time and again, foreigners and other countries could not have a greater concern for the people in Sri Lanka than its own leaders. Hence, the hidden agenda of those, which coerced the TNA to field Vigneshwaran as the Tiger-proxy's chief ministerial candidate for the NPC, is crystal clear. People in the North should take into consideration these factors before they cast their precious votes at the NPC elections.

People in the North should give a better meaning to the efforts of the Security Forces who had rescued them in their time of need.

The Government has afforded the people in the North an opportunity to exercise their democratic right and it's their supreme duty to take a wise decision in this regard.

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