Playing politics with uncompromisable national security

Recent discovery of two hauls of explosives – one in a cesspit in Mannar and another in a house in Chavakachcheri in Jaffna has raised some security concerns. The joint opposition tried to make out a huge issue by bloating it out of proportion giving the impression that terrorism was raising its head again amidst inabilities of the current government to keep it under control. Reacting to these allegations the Defence Secretary was seen trying to downplay the issue saying that such discoveries are quite normal after a war and that there is nothing to be alarmed.

The issue here is not who is right and who is wrong. In any event, we cannot afford to have terrorism again and both government and opposition must look at this type of issues in a serious and responsible manner and there need not be any politics in dealing with issues of national security.

Given the bitter history of war and terrorism in the country we all must appreciate that the country has been lucky to enjoy some peace when terrorism is playing havoc elsewhere even in once peaceful Europe, the latest countries to be disturbed being France and Belgium. The treat of IS terrorism is also looming large in the Middle East and the latest attack happened in Pakistan.

A two pronged attack may be necessary if the terrorism issue is to be dealt with in a comprehensive manner. On one side, improved security measures and a high level of intelligence have to be in place throughout the country with special emphasis on previously war torn areas, while on the other side, a reasonable level of power sharing has to be implemented at the same time resolving social and economic issues and eliminating causes that can lead to terrorism.

The mere discovery of ammunition anywhere in the north or east should not be cited as a reason to put the power devolution plans and other preventive methods of terrorism on a back burner. Similarly, any acts of terrorism that can threaten national security should also not be taken lightly.

What all that means is when there are incidents like discovery of arms or ammunition or occurrence of any suspected acts of terrorism particularly in the north and east they should be dealt with due seriousness. They need to be investigated to a conclusive end.  It is the duty of all political parties not to make political gain out of such issues while the duty of the government is to disclose true information to the country so that there will not be room for politicizing these issues.

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