Colombo, May 15 – Sri Lanka’s Defence Ministry announced the tightening of security across the island nation after reports emerged in the Indian media that the former cadres of the now-defunct Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) militant group are planning to carry out attacks during the Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day on May 18.
The Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day, also known as Mullivaikkal Remembrance Day, is marked annually by the Sri Lankan Tamils on May 18, the date on which the over 25-year-old Civil War in the island nation ended in 2009 after the killing of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.
Responding to a report carried by India’s ‘The Hindu’ newspaper on May 13, the Defence Ministry said: “After inquiring about the information, Indian intelligence agencies told Sri Lanka that the information was given out as general information, adding that investigations will be carried out in this regard and action will be taken to inform Sri Lanka about it.”
The said information received by the intelligence and security forces in connection with national security will be duly investigated and all further steps are taken to strengthen the security while informing the respective security forces on the same, the Ministry added.
As Sri Lanka is undergoing its worst economic crisis since it gained independence in 1948, intelligence agencies warned that the LTTE cadres were grouping to launch attacks in the island nation taking advantage of the situation.
As the island nation has declared emergency twice amid violent protests, some sections of the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora, with multinational links, were trying to make their presence “felt” in the clashes that took place between protesters and security forces later, police sources said on May 13.
Initially, Sri Lanka’s Defence Ministry was quick to deny the The Hindu newspaper’s report saying: “The article is completely baseless. We have received no intelligence warning of such a security threat,” .
In the political circle too, the news was criticised.
Marxist National People’s Power politician Bimal Ratnayake questioned the authenticity of the news and asked is this a true news or planted one to protect the Rajapaksas by distracting the attention and to justify President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s draconian emergency laws and military mania or to ignite ethnic tension.
After toppling the government lead by Mahinda Rajapaksa with a spate of violent street fights lead by non-political youth protesters, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa replaced his elder brother with Ranil Wickremesinghe, a six-time Prime Minister, who is now struggling to form a fresh government with just him as the only MP in his party.