Sri Lanka press polarised over European ban on Tigers

May 31, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s media Wednesday reacted to the European ban on Tamil Tiger rebels largely along ethnic lines, but all agreed that the proscription should not lead to renewed war. Newspapers intended mainly for the island’s majority Sinhalese community welcomed the European Union ban Monday on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) while the minority Tamil press lamented the move.

“The government must be happy that the Tigers are stewing in their own juice,” the Island newspaper said. “However, it should not make the mistake of trying to make a bludgeon of the EU ban to beat the Tigers with.”

The English-language Island, which has a considerable Sinhalese readership, said the Tigers had suffered “the worst setback” following the EU-wide ban.

The state-run Daily News hoped that the proscription would encourage the rebels to return to the peace negotiating table they left in April 2003.

“The government fully realises the costly, catastrophic consequences which would befall the country by going for the military option,” the Daily News said.

The pro-rebel Sudaroli Tamil daily saw the EU ban as an insult to the island’s Tamil minority.

“It is not going to