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Imelda's comment hurtful and unacceptable

Imelda's comment hurtful and unacceptable

2010 Nov 10

The Government Agent (GA) Mrs Imelda Sugumar of Jaffna deserves the praise for her hard work under trying circumstances in the war ravaged north. When good governance in Sri Lanka overall is on the declining scale, the situation in the war ravaged and military controlled north is expected in addition to reflect the degeneration that inflicted the troubled area for three decades in a much greater scale.

Mrs Imelda Sugumar recently gave evidence before the Lesson Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC). It was widely reported that: ‘The Government Agent, Imelda Sukumar who was the Mullaitivu GA during the war, …. vehemently denied claims that those who crossed over from LTTE controlled areas to Government controlled areas carrying white flags were fired at by the army during the height of the war.’

As the agent of the government, Mrs Imelda Sugumar went out of the way to assert that ‘no one’ carrying white flags was killed by the army. In the article of Pearl Thevasagayam published in the Sri Lanka Guardian titled ‘Imelda Sukumar: victim of a propagandist media’ the statement of the GA was quoted as ‘no civilians carrying white flag was shot’ thus qualifying and limiting the issue to civilians not being killed. From Pearl Thevasagayam’s quotation, one can adduce some killings of white flags carrying persons other than the civilians had taken place in the war front. Verbatim of the LLRC evidence of the GA only can reveal which of the above statements is correct. Until such time, reliance must made on the wider reporting of the GA’s statement in the media that ‘no one’ carrying white flag was killed by the army.

There is hard evidence available that unarmed men and women of LTTE’s political and civilian administration and some civilians went forward under international arrangement with the white flags to surrender before the army. They were requested by President’s Basil Rajapakse to take extra care before an agitated army when surrendering. But these men and women were massacred by the soldiers waiting for their arrival with the white flags. All what is transpiring at the Trial at Bar hearing against the Sunday Leader newspaper is further evidence about the white flag massacre reported in that media.

The parties involved in the white flag surrender effort were the the President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapakse who had given the okay to his brother Basil Rajapakse as Commander in Chief of the state forces for the surrender, UN’s Nambiar, US embassy in Colombo, Norwegians, a senior journalist of the UK Times newspaper, President’s brother Basil Rajapakse, a Sri Lankan MP and a Tamil from London who acted as go-between to execute the peaceful white flag surrender of the desperate persons. There were multi-link telephone talks between the parties when safety assurance was obtained from Basil Rajapakse that the white flag surrender could take place.

I was in touch with the go-between person concerned when negotiations were taking place and am fully aware of all what transpired and to the extent how the international effort for peaceful surrender was shot in the face by the politically motivated blatant murders of the white flags carrying men and women by the trigger happy army.

The white flag killings cannot be brushed aside like other killings, as it has definite involved parties as witnesses. This single most event has exposed Sri Lanka to open its horrendous war crimes agenda against civilians, the non armed and non state actors.

Mrs Imelda Sugumar should have been careful in her utterances if what was widely reported of being said by her is accurate. Forgetting the sensitivities, she blatantly acted as a mouth-piece of the government that is trying very hard to beat about the bush to circumvent the truth of white flag murders. The GA cannot claim of her ignorance, when circumstantial and tangible evidences are stacked up on the white flag killings.

Having failed to measure her comments, she cannot be defended for her irresponsible and insensitive outburst at the LLRC.

She has in fact opened a can of worms by her irresponsible comments that lead for the need to critically look in to her administration of Jaffna. If is not a hidden fact that the Jaffna administrative office Kachcheri is the money laundering centre of the government minister and the paramilitary leader Douglas Devananda and some of the government backed questionable businessmen.

The GA must seriously streamline her administration and remove the influence of the corrupt politicians and businessmen who are able to extend their influence without any fear. It is widely known that the Land Registry office is a money machine for those who tamper with the deeds of innocent owners of properties and further the GA appears to be unwilling to ban the unlawful tax collection on (building) sand removed from sea side by a paramilitary group.

We all know the GA was not given a first class administration to execute her ability, but it is clear that she will be singing for the beans without duly dealing with the burgeoning issues faced by the people.

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