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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Devolve police powers and face a situation as in Maldives – Gomin

Senior lawyer Gomin Dayasri yesterday warned that the role played by the Maldivian police in ousting democratically elected Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed, early this week, had highlighted the danger of giving in to the TNA’s demand for devolution of police powers.

“Vesting the Northern and Eastern Provinces with police powers will cause unprecedented chaos and such powers in the hands of the TNA may place the centre in an extremely vulnerable situation,” Dayasri told The Island yesterday.

Referring to TNA MP M. A. Sumanthiran’s article captioned Devolution of Police Powers, in the Feb. 10 issue of The Island, Dayasri urged the government to closely study the circumstances that led to the removal of Nasheed at gunpoint by a small but influential group of police and military officers. In fact, the UPFA had no right to pursue negotiations with the TNA or any other party leading to devolution of police powers, which could jeopardise post-war stability, he said.

“The Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) by the first and the only Chief Minister of the temporarily-merged Northern and Eastern Province, Varatharaja Perumal, in the run-up to the withdrawal of the IPKF in March 1990, highlighted the risk in placing armed units outside the control of the Centre.”Dayasri recalled how the so-called Citizens’ Volunteer Force (CVF) and the Tamil National Army (TNA) at the behest of Indian-backed Perumal had made an abortive bid to seize control of the Northern and Eastern Provinces. The then President Premadasa government would have faced a massive crisis if not for the LTTE taking on the CVF and the TNA, Dayasri said.

While regretting the deteriorating situation in the Maldives, Dayasri said that Nasheed’s plight should serve as an eye-opener. The situation here would be worse, he warned. “The government shouldn’t ignore the possibility of those who once fought for the LTTE joining a police force answerable to the Northern Provincial Council. Unlike the Maldivians, ex-LTTE fighting cadre will be a formidable force.”

Dayasri alleged that the TNA had never apologised for its role in defending the LTTE during Eelam war IV. The TNA was yet to condemn the LTTE for the forcible recruitment of child soldiers during the Norwegian-arranged CFA, he said. If the government was foolish enough to devolve powers, those rehabilitated LTTE fighting cadres could end up as members of the Northern and Eastern Provincial police forces.
Shamindra Ferdinando


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