COLOMBO: The accidental discovery of an arms cache, including three parcels of TNT and a suicide jacket, in a house at Chavakachcheri in Jaffna District on Wednesday, may hinder the demilitarization of the Northern Province which is one of the major post-war demands of Sri Lankan Tamils and which was promised to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) by the Lankan government headed by President Maithripala Sirisena.
Opponents of demilitarization like MP Namal Rajapaksa have already tweeted that the cache is a sign of the resurgence of the LTTE and that there is no case for lowering vigil.
Recently, President Sirisena himself said that the separatist “Eelam” mindset is still prevelant among the Tamils, but he was quick to add that the only way to neutralize it is the promotion of reconciliation.
The Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government is keen on demilitarization to the maximum extent, and has got the army, navy and air force to vacate hundreds of acres of land in favor of their former civilian owners.
But observers say that the military may not be entirely with the government in this.In fact, Maj Gen.Chaggi Gallage had an open spat with Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera at a meeting he had with troops at the army base in Palaly. He was transferred for “insubordination”.
After the war ended in 2009, and especially after the exit of President Mahinda Rajapaksa in January 2015, the military has lost much of its power and influence.Despite assurances by Sirisena and Wickremesinghe, the military top brass are not convinced that they will not be tried for war crimes by an international judicial mechanism set up by the UN.
In this context, incidents and discoveries showing resurgence of the LTTE, are expected to restore the relevance of the military in the affairs of the nation and prevent the government from bowing to the diktats of the West and the UNHRC.