The Coalition of Muslims and Tamils for Peace and Coexistence in the East joins all champions of democracy, human rights and social justice in condemning the cowardly act of the murder of Kethesh Loganathan by the LTTE. We call upon all peace activists to raise their voices in unison in the condemnation of this champion of peace and human rights. As we all know Kethesh Loganathan had for a long time campaigned for the rights of Tamil people in the north and east and in Sri Lanka as a whole. Kethesh stood for the principles of democracy so critical today in our war ravaged country. A long-standing activist, Kethesh was a founder member of the EPRLF and spearheaded the first ever peace talks on the national question in Sri Lanka at Thimpu in 1985. While he distanced himself from militant Tamil politics and narrow Tamil nationalism, he continued to fight for the rights of the marginalized and the minorities. In reevaluating Tamil militancy of the 80s and 90s, he also held the view that the ethno-nationalism of the militants marginalized and alienated the Muslims of the north and east.
For us, Tamils and Muslims of the north and east, the space for dialogue is becoming more and more constricted. At the mercy of the armed forces, becoming increasingly vicious and brutal, and the military fanaticism of the LTTE, seemingly actualizing their rhetorical claim to fight to the last Tamil alive, on north-eastern soil, and elsewhere, the minorities have no space for dialogue, action, even in the sphere of the everyday.. We live in a deeply militarized culture of activism. All civil action is being squeezed out of our lives in the east and in the north. There are small and large groups acting out agendas of peace. But there is no concerted action for democracy anywhere. In this climate of collapse of civil society Kethesh Loganathan stood out as a beacon of hope, He longed for peace, he longed for a just solution for the Tamils and the Tamil-speaking peoples. But he also longed for justice for all people in the north and east, not just Tamils and Muslims. He never wavered from that vision of justice that made him found the EPRLF with leaders like Pathmanabha and others. It is this same impetus for a negotiated settlement that pushed him to make that ultimate move to join the Peace Secretariat at the beginning of this year; his yearning for a peaceful settlement. The LTTE feared just that; that Loganathan’s involvement in the peace negotiations might take it in the direction of a just solution, lending it credibility and acceptance by the battle weary Tamil populace of Sri Lanka. Kethesh might just infuse the failed peace talks with a dynamism that would undermine the suicidal politics of the LTTE. There is no room for peace loving persons like Kethesh Loganathan within the culture of politics promoted by the sui LTTE.
The murder of Kethesh Loganathan is a victory for the militarism of the LTTE and for those who see militarism as an alternative to a negotiated settlement. Muttur and the surrounding areas in the east continue to simmer; Killings and harthals mark the lives of the people in Batticaloa; Armies on both sides battle one another, bombing and counter bombing civilian settlements, schools and hospitals, in the north and in the east, and slaying aid workers; Bombs explode in the streets of Colombo as regularly as motor vehicle accidents. In the midst of such bleakness, the action of leaders like Kethesh expressed some hope and future for a build up towards democracy. There is a task that awaits us today, in the name of Kethesh Loganathan.
''We urge all people of this country and the international community to cry out against this murder of this political figure who rose above sectarianism and narrow nationalism. In the name of peace and justice among Muslims and Tamils, we urge all Tamils and Muslims to express their solidarity with the cause for democracy that Kethesh so tragically but also heroically espoused."