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Will EPDP be allowed to carry arms? Devananda hopes so!

 By V. Thangavelu


Whichever Sinhalese government comes to power, for Douglas Devananda and his mercenary outfit EPDP, it is business as usual.  Devananda merely changes track and sings praises of his new masters/mistresses. In this art there is none to beat him.  He conveniently raises the bogey of Tamil Tigers to curry favour with Sinhala government(s) in order to bear arms and get paid.  But the weapons are not used against the Tigers, but against innocent Tamil civilians.  

 Devananda and /or his cadres are the prime suspects in the murder of Mylvaganam Nimalarajan, Jaffna correspondent of the BBC Tamil and Sinhala Service, London. The killing took place during curfew hours in a high security zone in the heart of Jaffna town. There was an army check post just a few metres away from Nimalarajan house. Devananda is also rumoured to be behind the shooting of Nadarajah Atputharajah alias Ramesh, editor of ThinaMurasu. He was gunned down in Colombo during broad day light while travelling in his jeep and the assassins are still at large. Devananda did not attend Ramesh funeral held in Colombo, though the latter was a fellow EPDP M.P.  

Mrs.Sarathambal Saravanbavananthakurukal, 29, of Punkudutivu, near Jaffna Peninsula, was gang-raped and murdered by Navy (according to President Chandrika there was only one case of rape during her 7 years rule!) personnel in December 1999.  Her body was found the following day under the bushes near Kannaki Amman Temple close to her home. The perpetrators of this ghastly crime were never arrested or brought to justice though Punkudutivu is under the diktat of the EPDP.  

Last month EPDP cadres killed two people and injured 17 others, including candidates of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA). The candidates and supporters were attacked by EPDP armed mob at Kayts Island with guns, swords and knives. The two dead were identified as supporters of the TNA. One of them was an employee of Jaffna University.    Mavai Senathirajah and. K. Shivajilingam were warded in the Jaffna hospital.  Senathirajah sustained head injuries, while Mr. Shivajilingam suffered bullet wounds in his legs. This is a glaring instance of EPDP taking the law into its hands and carrying out summary executions. Unfortunately murder, thuggery, intimidation and physical threats were the stock in trade of the EPDP during President Chandrika’s rule.   

During the Ponku Tamil campaign, effigies of Devananda and Chandrika were burnt by the University Students Union in front of the Jaffna Kachcheri.  

The arts faculty students of the Jaffna University performed a street play in which Devananda was portrayed as a heinous oppressor of civilians in the north. Hundreds of students and people watched the play named "that which is not spoken of" (Pesaapporul). The performance was staged inside the campus. The play ended with the likeness of Devananda being torn to pieces by the people of Jaffna. The following slogans adorned the stage. 

"Do not see oppression, do not speak of oppression, do not hear oppression, do not feel oppression"
"Condemnation after murder, relief after displacement"
"We salute he who gave clothes to the lady who was exposed in Chemmani"

 "Who knows how I ached to sit in that chair" (The chair is the symbol of the People's Alliance)
"Tears like those of the crocodile, a tail like that of the dog, talons like those of the vulture, a mouth like that of a ghost - this is their form". [Tamil Net, December 04, 2000]

That is the type and scale of popularity Quislings like Devananda enjoys among the people of Jaffna and University students.  Yet during election campaign Devananda told the BBC Tamil Oosai a brazen lie that people of Jaffna were rallying behind the EPDP and his rivals were envy of his popularity! 

Here is a typical excerpt from an interview to the Island newspaper (flagship of Sinhala racism) given by Devananda not long ago which no doubt was intended to please his paymasters or pay mistresses in Colombo! “This war has not been started by the Government, but by the LTTE. The Tamil people do not want the LTTE to comeback to Jaffna. When the LTTE captures a place, people run to Government controlled areas, to the Army. It means the people want the LTTE to be defeated.”  

President Chandrika too repeatedly claims that people of Jaffna are appealing to her to save them from the clutches of the LTTE!  And that Tamil people run to army controlled areas at the sight of the Tigers. It is not difficult to guess the source of her wild tales! 

Despite all the, bluffing, tomfoolery and gimmicks, Devananda’s EPDP got a thorough drubbing at the recently concluded elections.  The number of seats won was reduced from 4 to 2 this time, in spite of wholesale rigging and bribing of Jaffna district voters with their own money!   President Chandrika allocated to Devananda on the eve of the elections Rs.750 million for ‘Rehabilitation and Reconstruction’ with which to buy votes.  She also facilitated a cash gift to Devananda in the sum of Rs.35 million disguised as a loan from the government-owned Bank of Ceylon. It is a story of rubber slippers to Johnson shoes, albeit by questionable means and slavishly selling his soul. According to a columnist in a Sunday Newspaper  “Devananda arrived in Colombo with two comrades from Chennai (then Madras). He was wearing rubber slippers and had only a knapsack carrying some clothes and documents.”    

Since the victims of EPDP are all Tamils, the Sinhala government (s) turns a blind eye. The TNA should immediately demand from the UNP government to disarm all Tamil armed groups, including EPDP.  Both Maheswaran and TULF’s Anandasangari were “ranting and raving that they will not allow Devananda to join a UNP dispensation after the elections,” but according to news reports Devananda has already met the new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on invitation.  Like his predecessors (Premadasa, Wijetunga and Chandrika) does Ranil Wickremesinghe also intend to use Tamil Quislings to serve as dogs of war? And is Devananda going to have the last laugh one more time? These are questions troubling those Tamils who voted against him.  (Homeland -January 2002)