Conspiracy theory getting credible

Ceylon Today Editorial

The emergence of a gang in the Northern Peninsula, so far armed only with swords and machetes, according to reports in sections of the media, instilled apparently serious security fears in Northern Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran. This reportedly is because among the suspected gang members arrested by a special force sent to the North on the specific orders of President Maithripala Sirisena to nip AAVA in the bud, has been a member of Wigneswaran’s own Tamil People’s Council(TPC).

If that is true, it means the gang’s handlers have successfully infiltrated perhaps even the TNA but has certainly come as close to Wigneswaran as the bogus cameraman who approached President Sirisena at Pandit Amaradeva’s funeral, having given the PSD, CID, ordinary Policemen and Army intelligence men who were at the venue the slip.

That would be as unnerving and worrisome to the President and Prime Minister as the arrest of a TPC man as a suspected AAVA group member.

Almost in immediate succession came the attempt by disabled soldiers to gate crash the Presidential Secretariat. Therein hangs a mystery. Surely the BBS monks who were egging on the soldiers were fully aware – as the rest of the country was – of the fact that President Sirisena was in India at that time.

That being the case, who in the Police Department deployed a sizable number of Policemen to wade into the soldiers and why were BBS monks playing a pivotal role in that obvious affront to, and contempt of, the law pertaining to legitimate security concerns in a declared High Security area such as the Presidential Secretariat precincts.

What’s comical is that the photographer who gave top security the slip to gradually wend his way close to the President and Premier could well have been armed with a gun or bomb. Was that a dry run? If that had been a real attempt on the President’s and Premier’s lives, it would have succeeded and plunged the nation into a national crisis demanding more than a State of Emergency. And should that have been the scenario, in the absence of the President and Premier, the situation would have not been better for a total services coup to have been pulled off.

That’s how seriously the so-called top Presidential and Premier’s security apparatus fell down on their job.

Take the approach of the soldiers to the Presidential Secretariat. Why were they not stopped in their tracks a safe distance away from the premises? The answer blows in the wind! Another dry run? Apparently that’s how the President saw it because even before he returned to Colombo from India the Secretariat released a statement to the media defining it as a conspiracy against the government. Whether the President knew about the release of that statement or whether he directed it from Delhi one does not know. But on his arrival he reiterated what the statement said about the political conspiracy against the government masquerading behind the soldiers’ demonstration.

The PM checked out some facts and told Parliament on Friday that should a probe turn up evidence of mala fide intent, the Policemen involved in the attack would be kicked out of service. The President has not yet deemed it necessary to convene a Security Council meeting to discuss the allegation of a conspiracy that he made and review the national security apparatus. That could mean one or more of many things. The IGP has been mum on the Premier’s statement. That has fuelled more public speculation about the conspiracy theory that we know was birthed when the government withdrew Army security from the former President and former Defence Secretary, seen in many quarters as a protectionist move rather than an administrative change.

Now we have the Northern Chief Minister reportedly appealing to the visiting Baroness Anelay to persuade the Commonwealth body to move the United Nations to send a Peace Keeping Force to the North on the basis that the Lankan Government has been proved incapable of securing the peace and security of the people and Tamil leaders in the North.

The UN Charter provides for such an appeal but there has been no indication of what Baroness Anelay’s reception was to Wigneswaran’s appeal. Obviously she will not accede to his appeal because going by her post-visit media statement it would seem that her response was noncommittal.

That however could change should AAVA trigger a security scenario that buttresses Wigneswaran’s appeal and justify his fears.

On the one hand we saw the week ending on a sombre note with heightened national security fears, conspiracy theories, apparently legitimate personal security fears by Wigneswaran and somehow the beginnings of a socio-political trans-current fault in the making, that could, unless the government takes immediate pre-emptive measures, rip the fabric of the tenuous peace apart, from North to South.