'Minister’s argument feeble' - Thamilselvan
[TamilNet, Saturday, 15 March 2003, 17:27 GMT]
“We wish to express our great displeasure and dispute the feeble argument you advanced to justify and legitimize the unwarranted and impulsive action taken by the Sri Lanka Navy in attacking and destroying our merchant vessel on the international waters,” said Mr.S.P.Thamilselvan, political head of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, in a letter to the Defence Minister Mr.Tilak Marapane Saturday.
The full text of the letter follows:
“I received your letter dated 11th March, 2003. We wish to express our great displeasure and dispute the feeble argument you advanced to justify and legitimize the unwarranted and impulsive action taken by the Sri Lanka Navy in attacking and destroying our merchant vessel on the international waters.
“Your proposition that the LTTE vessel was carrying “ war like material’ either imaginary conjecture based on the false and distorted version of the report presented to you by the naval authorities. The destruction of the vessel and all its crew members have given the navy the golden opportunity to frame charges as they wish since the victims (both the sailors and ship) have no voice and are buried deep in the bottom of the sea.
“We wish to point out that the captain of the unfortunate vessel reported to us that the SLN gunship opened offensive fire and set the tanker on fire without any provocation on their part.
“We are surprised to note that your response to our protest over the incident failed to mention the location of the incident. This is a crucial factor since the incident took place 220 nautical miles off Trincomalee. There is notable discrepancy over the version of the SLN with regard to the location of the incident.
“Finally the navy has concocted the location within the economic zone of 185 nautical miles. Surprisingly you government failed to recognize the fact that there is a ceasefire agreement and that Clause 1:3 of the MoU forbids the SLN to enter into combat with the LTTE.
“Furthermore the SLN has also failed to solicit the assistance of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) in handling this affair.
“We consider the incident as a grave violation of the truce agreement by the SLN and are awaiting the final determination of the SLMM”.
Copies of the letter have been sent to the head of the SLMM and the Norwegian Ambassador in Colombo.