Image: MP Sumanthiran.
By P K Balachandran | Express News Service |
KILINOCHCHI: The Terrorist Investigation Department (TID) of the Sri Lankan police has so far arrested four former cadres of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for allegedly plotting to assassinate the moderate Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP, M.A.Sumanthiran, in Marudankeni in Jaffna district on January 13.
The arrests, which were made on January 14, came to public notice only on January 28, as both the government and Sumanthiran had chosen to keep the episode under wraps.
As per information so far available, the Jaffna district MP was to have been killed by a claymore mine placed on the road to Marudankeni in Vadamarachchi to which he was to go for a discussion on setting up a desalinization plant.
But the Presidential Secretariat called him up and asked him to cancel the trip.
“I cancelled the trip not because of the warning, but for another reason,” Sumanthiran told Express on Sunday.
However, he has been taking precautions since then.
On January 14, three “rehabilitated” ex-cadres of the LTTE were arrested.One of them was a trishaw driver in Marudankeni, two were from Kilinochchi and one from Trincomalee.
Since rehabilitation and release, these ex-cadres had been dealing in the sale of “ganja” apart from doing other “jobs”, Sumanthiran said.
As hardened LTTE cadres they were capable of handling claymore mines Sumanthiran said.
However, Sumanthiran feels that they are not capable of doing things by themselves, but are tools in the hands of others. The suspicion now is that their handlers are known LTTE activists in Australia, Malaysia and France.
However, he does not rule out the hand of other agencies or groups in the plot, as investigations are still on.
Being a moderate Tamil politician who wants a solution to the Tamil problem within a united Sri Lanka with the consent of Tamils, Sinhalese and Muslims, and who has said that the LTTE too had committed war crimes and that it was wrong to have expelled the Muslims from the North Sri Lanka en masse, Sumanthiran has been unpopular in the Tamil Diaspora and among extremist Tamils.
He has been heckled and even “gheroed” at Diaspora meetings abroad.
The Sri Lankan government had been aware of a threat to Sumanthiran’s life even during the parliamentary elections in August 2015.It had provided him with Special Task Force security. But Sumanthiran did not want an outward display of security which would sully his public image.