Controversial weapon meant for genocide alleges MP

[TamilNet, Friday, 17 August 2001, 14:26 GMT]
"The Sri Lankan government is going to deploy chemical weapons against the Tamils in the island's north and east. The aim is to annihilate them totally. The use of this dangerous chemical weapon against the Tamil people should be strongly condemned," said Mr. Joseph Pararajasingham, Tamil United Liberation Front MP for Batticaloa, addressing legislators who gathered Friday in the Sri Lankan Parliament and decided to press ahead with the no confidence motion against President Kumaratunga's government.

Mr. Pararajasingham MP speaking at the meeting in Parliament Friday.
(Photo: TamilNet)
"The government's attempt to deploy chemical weapons against the Tamils is akin to the efforts of the Nazis to destroy the Jewish people," the MP charged.

Mr. Pararajasingham who read out a news story on the purchase of the RPO-A Shmel rocket launcher by the Sri Lanka army from the Friday issue of the Tamil daily, Virakesari, told the legislators: "The use of chemical weapons has been banned by international treaties. This assembly should condemn the purchase of this chemical weapon. I call on this assembly on behalf of the Tamil people and the Tamil parties present here to pass the following resolution -'The Sri Lankan government has purchased the chemical weapon with the sole aim of annihilating the Tamil people. Therefore this assembly strongly condemns it'.

However, the leader of the opposition Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe who chaired the meeting told Mr. Pararajasingham that as resolutions had already been passed the matter should be discussed with the other party leaders and be taken up at the next secession.

The MP said that he would be sending a detailed report on the toxic weapon to foreign missions in Colombo today.

Meanwhile the TULF Friday urged President Chandrika Kumaratunge to abandon the use of chemical weapons against the Tamils in the northeast to "suppress the legitimate aspirations of the Tamil people within the context of rapidly sinking economy."

The letter sent by Mr.Parajasingham to President Kumaratunge follows: -

"I am shocked and dismayed by news report that the defense Ministry has acquired a deadly weapon to counter the on going conflict in the northeast, which will eventually affect the civilian population in these areas.

"The technical name of the acquired weapon is described as RPO- A Shuel Rocket Launcher and it is reliably learnt that 1000 units have been purchased from a Russian firm which is said to be the only manufacturer purchased by the Defense Ministry through a British Company brought through a Ukraine Company from Russia.

"It is not surprising then that the Government had sought to deny the purchase of this deadly weapon even though there is ample evidence to prove its purchase".

"According to the United States Defense Intelligence Agency that weapon chemical warhead is toxic and hence it is described as dangerous even its fails to detonate. Hence, the United States had banned the use of this weapon, as it is a toxic chemical weapon

"It is said that this weapon utilizes advanced fuel air explosive technique when on detonation creates deflagration as the warhead clouds expand. When this weapon is fired against structures its effect is said to be equivalent to a 122 MM. Artillery Shell.

"In urban settings it is very difficult to limit the effect of this weapon to combatants and the nature of the explosions makes it virtually impossible for civilians to take shelter with their destructive effects.

"According to the United States Defense Agency in a report published in the year 1993, the blast mechanism of the weapon when used against human beings, the unpleasant victims will be severely burnt and probably will also inhale the burning fuel which is highly toxic and affects the lungs

"This particular weapon when used by Russian Government against Chechnya was condemned by the entire international human rights groups. The Human Rights Watch in February 2000 in a statement said the use of this weapon in Chechnya is one with important humanitarian implications.

"Hence there is no need for me to explain the ill effect of this deadly weapon to your Excellency as you would have been briefed about all these factors not only as the Head of State but also as the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.

"It may be sensible to recall that even the strongest power like the United States of America which was accused of using deadly toxic Defoliant (Agent Orange) in Vietnam gained international opprobrium and with no success. The United States over since regretted the unwise move she has made.

"Your Excellency is well aware that several attempts to settle Tamil conflict were abandoned midway by different governments including Your Excellency's government and instead more and more lethal weapons are being acquired to suppress the legitimate aspirations of the Tamil people within the context of rapidly sinking economy.

"The Tamil problem is a political problem as your late father realized it and it can only be settled politically but make no mistake in resolving this militarily. Conflicts can only be resolved by negotiations and not by the use of lethal and deadly weapons.

"It is my considered opinion that if this deadly step is taken by Your Excellency's government, it may cause untoward damage to the country which will result in making the country internationally outcaste.

"In the circumstances, it is prudent on Your Excellency's part to abandon the use of this sort of deadly and lethal weaponry against the Tamil people in the northeast to suppress their legitimate aspirations and instead pursue the Norwegian peace initiative, create a conducive climate in the northeast by declaring a ceasefire, lift the ban on the LTTE and commence immediate negotiations with the LTTE to end this war."

Meanwhile, the Alliance Eleven Tamil Parties (AETP) decided to meet Saturday to discuss the matter.


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