National War Heroes Front written to US Ambassador on OMP Bill
The “National War Heroes Front”, a group formed to ensure proper welfare of the Armed Forces Personnel who were wounded in action, family members of the persons who were killed in action and all the servicemen who have served to safeguard the Territorial integrity of the country has written to the Ambassador of USA in Sri Lanka about the most controversial parliament Bill passed by the pro-Minority Government lead by Ranil and Sirisena with backing of the Americans, pro-LTTE TNA and JVP.
The National War Heroes Front, questioning from America that would America allow to set up a similar office in the USA to investigate such incidents occurred in various countries where Americans and its allied forces were in operations.
The full text of the letter sent by the National War Heroes Front is as follows;
National War Heroes Front
24th August 2016
His Excellency Atul Keshap
U S Ambassador to Sri Lanka
U S Embassy
The Office of Missing Persons Act (OMP)
The above act was passed controversially in the Sri Lankan Parliament amidst huge public protest. However, it was observed that Your Excellency was the first person representing the United States of America, to congratulate the Ranil Wickramasinghe government, stating that it was an historic milestone in the path towards national reconciliation for all in Sri Lanka. The next one to congratulate was, the Global Tamil Forum, which was banned under UN charter 1373 for directly supporting the LTTE terrorist organization.
The “National War Heroes Front” was formed to ensure proper welfare of the Armed Forces Personnel who were wounded in action, family members of the persons who were killed in action and all the servicemen who have served to safeguard the Territorial integrity of the country.
Another important objective of our Front is to ensure the Unitary Stature of the country for which, our servicemen have made their supreme sacrifice. As you may be aware, 29,000 servicemen died and 14,000 were fatally wounded/disabled in fighting the LTTE terrorist organization, which your country, the USA, has categorized as the most ruthless terrorist organization in the world and remains banned by your country since 1997.
The LTTE was fighting for a separate state in the North and resorted to brutal atrocities against innocent civilians including Tamils. Thus, the victory over 3 decades of Terrorism was welcomed by all the communities in the country except of course those who had been indirectly/directly supporting LTTE.
The USA has also experienced terrorism. Terrorism comes in all forms. However, massacre of innocent civilians to achieve political aim is unjustifiable. The US declared ‘War on Terror’ following 9/11 massacre of innocent civilians. Just like the US troops were ordered to eliminate Al Qaeda and its leader Osama bin Laden, Sri Lanka’s forces were commanded to end LTTE and leader Prabakaran.
Against the unproven and unsubstantiated claims of 40,000 to 100,000 or more being killed by the Sri Lankan Troops, the Sri Lankan Troops can showcase how they physically saved close to 300,000 Tamils some of whom were LTTE cadres in civil. Twelve thousand LTTE cadres in civilian clothing also surrendered and subsequently rehabilitated and released. . In spite of a Presidential Commission of Missing Persons being established none of those making the allegations of 40,000 being killed have lodged names or details of the supposed dead.
Your Excellency, it is wrong to put terrorists on par with a nation’s army. Would the US military like to be placed on par and treated equally with Al Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram terrorists? Is it correct to give compensation to the very people who took up arms to kill and caused so much suffering, pain when the victims are still nursing their injuries? Would it not be a slap to all US servicemen who sacrificed their lives if US were to allow the Al Qaeda to commemorate their dead and hold memorials for Osama bin Laden and other jihadists in the United States?
Will US Congress submit a Bill allowing an Office of Missing Persons wherein those that have links to Al Qaeda NGOs will sit as officials and manipulate evidence to incriminate US service personnel via documentaries/reports/videos and anonymous witness accounts which denies cross examination by the US service personnel? Can you just imagine a situation where a powerful country’s Ambassador to USA bringing a medical team from his country and trying to medically examine some of the terrorists detained in alleged to have poisoned by the US troops whilst in the camp? US Servicemen & their families do not like to be humiliated. Sri Lanka’s Armed Forces & their families do not like to be humiliated either.
Your Excellency, the Sri Lankan troops fought LTTE terrorists just as the US troops fighting terrorism now. If there have been excesses, there are prevailing laws in the country to charge individual soldiers just as is being done in the US.
The OMP Bill, on the pretext of finding the ‘missing’, is in reality placing terrorists on par with a nation’s armed forces whilst giving sweeping powers to the office which cannot be questioned even by Right to Information Act or the country’s judiciary.
Your Excellency, please remember terrorism is no more local or regional but global and transnational. My terrorist today may be your terrorist tomorrow. For this reason there has to be a concise and a concerted effort on the part of the international community to address this menace.
Hence, in that spirit, I very respectfully request your Excellency to relook at the OMP Bill. The US Government claims to uphold the wishes of the populace. Public opinion is against the OMP Bill for the reasons mentioned above and it is the US Government that must resonate the wishes of the People of Sri Lanka and not those of terrorists.
Rear Admiral ( Dr.) Sarath Weerasekera VSV, RWP, USP