Terrorism experts last week warned that the dismantling of the security installations in the North and the East sans proper prior security assessment, at a time when the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was still active internationally, could help dormant cells of the organization to re-emerge.
In response to recent incidents in Chavakachcheri and Mannar, where the Police seized suicide jackets and a stock of ammunition, events which raised concerns about threats to the national security, once again triggering speculation of LTTE resurgence in the country, the experts called on the Government to upgrade the provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism Act whilst taking measures to promote moderation, toleration and coexistence.
The government had also released certain areas which were previously demarcated as High Security Zones (HSZ) and had handed over lands back to the original owners.
However, international terrorism expert, Prof. Rohan Gunaratna said that it was too early for the government to relax security measures when the LTTE ideology was still prevalent.
The Defence Ministry, however, denied Gunaratna’s claims and said that every aspect pertaining to national security was assessed prior to dismantling security installments and before releasing lands to the owners.
A spokesperson for the Ministry said that special investigations had been conducted by the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) concerning the discovery of explosives and suicide jackets.
In addition, Gunaratna also voiced his opposition over calls to repeal the PTA, adding that calling for its removal would only invite trouble. He instead called for the upgrading of the PTA and to make it a criminal offense for anyone to advocate, support or participate in separatist activity at home, overseas, and in the cyber space.
“The Sri Lankan Government should pass a Harmony Act to promote moderation, toleration and coexistence; and empower the authorities to investigate charge and prosecute those who incite and spread hatred,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) had called on the Government to conduct proper investigations into the recovery of suicide jackets and ammunitions. “We need to find out if there are people who want to disrupt harmony and normalcy. We will not tolerate any moves that would create problems in this country,” General Secretary, TNA, Mavai Senathirajah said.