Political killings -A retrospective - Uthayan- Australia ( (Mon Aug 25, 2003

In the backdrop of political killings taking place in the North and East and beyond, it appears that old scores are settled in cold-blooded fashion. T.Subaithiran's killing by the LTTE has alerted the free thinking Sri Lankans; irrespective of their political convictions, to rise against the brutal murders committed in the name of one man politics. Despite a three men committee being appointed by the government, to probe into the politically motivated killings it is also essential that the MOU between the government and LTTE should be amended to safeguard those who fear repercussion during the time of peace.

 It should also be ensured that the monitoring mechanism in place is empowered to investigate and report to the authorities any complaints that receive in regard to political intimidation and killings. During the period of peace or cessation of hostilities it has been widely seen that " peace as violence by another name" ( The title of the key note speech delivered by Dr.Arjuna Parakrama on 7th February 2003. at the Cornell University , Itahca USA ). Does peace give the so-called sole representatives a "licence to kill" their political opponents. It is contemptible that the SLMM has been impotent in its duties of keeping peace, especially during the racial violence in Mutur and Valaichchenai, let alone the assassinations. The political killings and racial violence were rife even during the time of IPKF that was more or less an aggressive force rather a peace keeping force. In the context of political killings in Sri Lanka , we can not simply rule out the allegation that the late leader of the SLMC , Mr. M.H.M. Ashroff could have been killed by the LTTE. It has also surfaced that how Mr. Segu Dawood Basheer introduced people like Periyathamby to Mr.Ashroff when Mr. Ashroff had apparent threat from the LTTE. Mr.Segu Dawood Basheer had been one time the EROS leader for Eravur. He tucked his pistol under his shirt and sarong when he started his politics with EROS. I recall how I bumped into Segu Dawood's former leader of EROS Mr.V. Balakumar (presently confidante of LTTE leader, Mr.V.Priphaharan ) when I got past his house in Eravur. It was the time Mr.Segu Dawood Basheer vowed to defeat the SLMC by all means as it was a dire threat to the struggle of the "Tamil speaking people". Despite being defeated in the general elections in 1989, he later became an EROS M.P under Mr. Sanger Raj's EROS, who later became a prisoner of Indian Government for kind of money laundering. Mr.Segu Dawood Basheer also alleged that the Chandrika government was responsible for the killing of Mr.Ashroff when he addressed election meetings during the last general elections. Given the history of the LTTE one can not also rule out any possible conspiracy theory implicating the LTTE in political killings, such as that of Mr.Ashroff. There could have perhaps been some "self-donors"( LTTE's nomenclature) to scarify their lives for the death of their sworn enemy in order to destabilise the party of one powerful man who wittingly or unwittingly contributed to the resolute identity of the North East Muslims. No body would have forgotten as to how Gen.Zia Ul Hag , the former President of Pakistan was killed in the air; leaving minimal impact on his supporters to react violently on his death. I tend to look back at the time where the high profile and young Muslim politicians were ruthlessly targeted and eliminated by the Tamil militants in the North and East. Since the emergence of Tamil militarism in the North and East , the first Muslim politician who was killed was Mr. Ramlan , the former Commissioner of Eravur Town Council. He was killed in or about 1986, allegedly by the Tamil militant group who had their Muslim members in Eravur. It was the time the EROS local Muslim gangs pitched in forming a group under the leadership of Segu Dawood Basheer. One fateful morning Mr.Ramlan was killed at the Eravur General Hospital whilst being treated for some illness. It was the most gruesome murder that ever happened in Eravur until the LTTE's massacre in Eravur in August 1990. I still recall how my friend Dr.Ajward who was the then Medical Officer (MO) at the Eravur hospital, was perturbed about the murder in the hospital bed. Later it was the history that the small EROS Muslim gang rapidly entered the mainstream politics and had their leader become a MP in or about 1990 following the resignation of all other EROS Tamil MP's. Some years later it was alleged that the LTTE also killed Dr.M.B.M.Ajward's father Mr. Buhari (Known as Buhari Vithanai) as he interacted with the IPKF on behalf of the Muslims of his town, Oddamavadi. Then the SLMC entered politics amidst the hostility of Tamil militant organisations that started playing their own role in the killings of prominent Muslim politicians. The first victim of SLMC politicians in office was Ali Uthman , a member of the North East provincial Councillor .According to the reports, he was gunned down by the ENDLF on 1st August 1989 .Around the time of the LTTE threatened the SLMC stalwarts and virtually made them flee from the North and East .The threat followed by action. Mr.M.Y.M Mansoor , a SLMC Council member of the North East Provincial council, was kidnapped and killed by the LTTE on or about 31.01.1990. The irony was that the culture of assassinating political opponents might have had some influence on the peaceful Muslim community. Mr.A.L.M Majeed , former deputy minister , known as "Mutur Majeed " and A.L Ahmad Lebbe (Former Chairman of Town Council , Kattankudy) were mysteriously gunned down after the LTTE commenced war against the IPKF in October 1987. It was said that they apparently had no problem with the LTTE. But some sources still accuse that it was the LTTE 's job. Although the fingers were pointed at the LTTE some sources alleged it was an " inside job", a fraternal killing. Nevertheless, more than a decade later the mystery remains as to who would have killed those high profile mature politicians. ? Whether the assassins were Muslims or Tamils?. What was the motive behind the killings? Will they never be brought to justice? These are the questions that still haunt us. All what we look for is the truth not  lie. 25 Aug 2003 (Uthayan -Australia)

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