Is Sampanthan a national security threat to Sri Lanka?

Arulmozhi.T.N.K  28/4/16

Over the last few days Hon.R.Sampanthan, the opposition leader of Sri Lanka has been caught in a whirlwind of controversies not of his own making but as a result of a deliberate campaign to demonise Sampanthan and misinform the general public. This scare mongering tactic is nothing new to Sri Lankan politics, but this overreaction by a few Sinhala nationalist groups (Nawa Sihela Urumaya, Ape Sri Lanka Nidahas Peramuna, Eksath Lanka Maha Sabhawa, Janasetha Peramuna and Desha Vimukthi Janatha Peramuna) puts the entire political discourse in an undesirable position over the subject of militarisation. How did Sampanthan's visit to the private lands "illegally occupied" by the military become a threat to the soverignity of Sri Lanka and the security of the armed forces as being claimed by certain Sinhala nationalist groups in the South? 
The military camp that  Sampanthan is said to have "forcefully entered" is situated in Paravipanjan at the center of Kilinochchi town. Paripanjan was home to around 84 Tamil families until the military brought the entire area under its control after the war ended.  According to TNA member M.A.Sumanthiran so far around "34 families were able to return to their original homes while the remaining families are still not able to return because of the army's "forcible and illegal occupation of private property"

The members of the 54 families that are still waiting to return to their lands and houses in Paripanjan met the Opposition Leader and complained to the Mr. Sampanthan about the military's illegal occupation. They had then asked the Opposition Leader to visit the area and he has obliged.

According to M.A.Sumanthiran  "Upon seeing Mr Sampanthans vehicle, the person who was at the sentry point at the entrance barricade at Paripanjan opened the barricade without any question and the vehicles drove in and the people also followed him and they went around and saw all the houses," 

MP Sumanthiran said he had checked the records on the extent of land occupied by the Army and found that most of the area is private property. There is a very small area of about 5 acres that the army had wanted acquired and certain acquisition steps had been taken in respect of those 5 acres, he said.
"But much larger, over 25 acres of private land still remains in the legal ownership of private citizens of the country, and they are being prevented illegally by the Sri Lanka Army from occupying that area," he said.


“It is the Army that is forcibly occupying private lands of the people. If any action is to be taken for forcefully entering or illegal presence, it has to be taken against the Sri Lankan Army,” - M.A.Sumanthiran
A new report published by People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL) provides details of ongoing militarization and harassment amongst the Tamil population of the North-East of Sri Lanka. The report states that

"Militarization has significant implications for developing transitional justice mechanisms. In an environment where Tamils collectively feel intimidated by what many consider an ongoing military occupation, the possibility of meaningfully and safely engaging with any accountability mechanism is questionable."

If the opposition leader himself is subject to such intimidation then what does it mean to the ordinary citizens of Sri Lanka? 


Over 4000 acres of land in Kilinochi is still under the control of the military. The military occupies around 40% of the land in the Kilinochi town center alone. -
​S.Shritharan Member of Parliament of Sri Lanka 

Militarisation is a serious problem in the North and East of Sri Lanka and challenging it should not be seen as a threat to the national security of Sri Lanka. This scaremongering tactics employed by extremists groups in the South will only further alienate the Sri Lankan Tamils from the rest of the nation. Meanwhile, one of the leaders Mr. Sarath Manamendhira from Nawa Sihela Urumaya who staged a protest against Sampanthan in Colombo is on record saying that if he was present in that camp when Sampanthan had visited it "Sampanthan wouldn't have left that camp alive".   

So who is the real threat to the national security of Sri Lanka? 

An 83 year old Sampanthan who visited the private lands of the people upon their request or Mr.Sarath Manamendhira who threatens that "Sampanthan wouldn't have left the camp alive if he(Sarath) was present there"?