"Emergency Laws: Death-knell to co-existence" – Sampanthan

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 21 September 2005, 17:23 GMT]
"The government must end the emergency rule, if it wishes peace to prevail in the country," insisted Mr. R. Sampanthan, leader of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentary group Wednesday, during the debate in parliament on extending the Emergency Regulations. Sri Lanka Parliament approved the extension of State emergency for another month. It won the approval of 118 members, while 24 voted against.

Mr. R. Sampanthan
Mr. Sampanthan pointed out to a long list of atrocities and violations of human dignity and individual rights perpetrated on the Tamils all over Sri Lanka by the security forces, and charged they were being intensified under the guise of the draconian emergency regulations.

"If Tamil speaking people are going to be trampled under the fascist boot of the emergency rule it, must inevitably lead to a situation where co-existence among different nationalities that inhabit this country would indeed become impossible, untenable. Therefore I seriously recommend to the government to end the Emergency laws forthwith," insisted Sampanthan, during his speech on the floor of the House.

Excerpts from the speech made by Mr.R.Sampanthan follow: -

"The proclamation of State of Emergency was first made in the immediate aftermath of the assassination of Mr.Lakshman Kadirgamar. It would be my submission that his assassination was attributable to an absolute and shameful failure of intelligence. The collapse of intelligence was so complete that Mr.Lakshman Kadirgamar had virtually become a sitting duck. Whether the assassination of Mr.Kadirgamar in these circumstances, necessitated the proclamation of an emergency, I would submit, is high questionable. I would also say that it is the unwarranted resort to emergency provisions that has resulted in the paralysis of the law and order enforcementmachinery and the investigative processes into crimes in this country," Sampanthan argued.

Recalling from the past experiences the Tamil people suffered under the Emergency Laws, Sampanthan referred to the filling of forms and registration enforced on the Tamils whenever they entered a city like Colombo.

"We all know that the emergency provisions have been largely used against the Tamil people in all parts of the country. The manner in which the emergency powers are exercised is an assault on the dignity and self-respect of the Tamil nationality. Intimidation, insult and humiliation are the order of the day. It has led in the past to torture, cruel and inhuman treatment of Tamil people and we have no doubt that will also lead to such situations in the future. That has been our experience in the past and we do not have the slightest doubt that the same will be repeated if the emergency is continued," Sampanthan stressed in his address.

The TNA leader raised alarm that the implementation of the Emergency Regulations has already infringed the CFA. "New checkpoints are being set up in Tamil areas in Tamil districts, predominantly Tamil speaking districts in violation of the ceasefire agreement. In fact the ceasefire agreement contemplated that in due course of time checkpoints set up in densely populated areas would be removed to facilitate the free movement of people and to enable not to undergo any inconvenience in the matter of their movement. But today we find new checkpoints are being established violating the ceasefire agreement," warned Sampanthan.

"This is an intolerable situation and we are sorry to say that with the proclamation of the State of Emergency the situation can only get worse. Persons at lower level in the security services, who take the law into their own hands, would be at liberty in view of the Emergency to behave arbitrarily, capriciously and they cannot be called into question. As every one knows in this country, it is the Tamil people who will be the sufferers, in particular the tamil people more so in the North and the East but also in all other parts of the country," said Sampanthan.

"Tamil people have been insulted and humiliated in Sri Lanka, which in the fifty years since independence has been ruled more under the emergency than under normal laws and it must be accepted by any fair-minded person. The victims of the emergency have been the Tamil people and no other community has suffered as much as we, the Tamil people have suffered. In fact I would say that the inconvenience or the suffering caused for instance to the majority Sinhala people is minimal and negligible compared to the suffering, the humiliation, the assault on dignity and self-respect that is continuously and perpetually committed against tamil people. We would therefore urge that the emergency must be ended," Sampanthan concluded.


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