By S. Ratnajeevan Hoole -
The President virtually exploded a bomb on Independence Day when he said there will be no devolution but “equal rights to all communities.”
An example of his equal rights regime is the shocks he delivered to the Tamil community just this past week. The damaged Hindu temple in Kokkilai-Muhathuvaaram under a bo-tree is being demolished to make way for a Buddhist temple. Originally displaced from Kokkilai-Muhathuvaaram in 1984 and in minority now, Tamils can only watch as their houses and lands are seized.
In Valigamam North the armed forces are erecting a security fence stretching from Valalai to Maviddapuram. To make a path by the fence, houses in the so called high security zone are being demolished. Subsequent to complaints that these demolitions have been halted, GA Sundaram Aruminayagam confirmed these allegations.
Having taken over the Tamil village of Kokilai, attempts are being made to colonize Puthumadalan in the Mullaitheevu District. Sinhalese settlers hidden away in the army camp were brought out, settled, and provided with an army guard just after the Tamil fishermen had sailed out to work.
In Navatkuli just out of Jaffna town, it is reported that 135 Sinhalese families are being settled under the command and protection of the Navatkuli Army Camp Commander without the necessary permissions from the Chavakachcheri Local Government Authority.
Tamil village names are being given Sinhalese names. Indeed, in the name of reclaiming European street names, even Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatte is being renamed “Nelum Pokuna Mawatha” as if he was not a Tamil. It is pandering to vanity to draw attention to the Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Performing Arts Theatre which was established down the street.
War Crimes Inquiry for Hope
Tamils generally have no confidence in this President who uses ethnic chauvinism and the name of equal rights to practice narrow self-interests . His actions have led to a strong case for Sri Lanka will be investigated for war-crimes.
Vasudeva Nanayakkara, the Minister of National Languages, Ethnic Affairs and Social Integration, in an interview with Chamitha Kuruppu (31.01.2013) makes a key point: Certain exercises in military conflict are not desirable. Therefore, we must not let them go un-investigated, and we need to take steps arising out of such investigations.
Here Nanayakkara was clearly arguing for war crimes investigations. It is not a happy thing to call for outsiders to police us and I do not do it lightly. But it really is time.
But what of our sovereignty? Although many Sinhalese like Nanayakkara have their heads on their shoulders, and know what is wrong with this country and that war crimes inquiries are necessary at least for closure if not vengeance, they do not matter.
Going along with this regime for so long has made them effete and ineffective. After expressing themselves, as the impeachment saga shows, they will fall in line with the regime. They will continue. Tamils will die off.
What is left of our Sovereignty?
As thinking persons, our LSSP and CP friends lying in bed with this regime must be asking how our politicians have the money to buy Pajeros and Intercoolers on their salaries. Even if given a permit, most of us would not have the cash to buy one. But our President on his government salary has the money to send his sons to St. Thomas’ and one to Cardiff and City University London.
The most ingenious arrangement is Namal Rajapaksa’s and his brother Yoshitha’s NGO, “A Tomorrow for Youth,” established as their father became President. According to Transparency International this youth organization received large sums from the Bank of Ceylon and the Lotteries Board, both under the control of their father, following which this organization pumped back Rs. 172 million promoting their father and the UPFA during the 2010 elections.
No wonder some MPs can afford five star hotels and racing cars. Surely our Leftist elders must be asking why China gave an unrestricted grant of US$200 mn to the President. Not out of goodwill, surely? Did they ask if there was a connexion between that and two occurrences this past fortnight? First President Rajapaksa as Minister of Finance waived two key provisions of the Finance Act applying to the purchase of 122 perches of land by the Chinese in Horton Place. Accordingly they may purchase the land below the value specified by the Chief Valuer and the 100% tax applicable to purchases by foreigners would be waived. And second, Rajapaksa as Minister of Ports and Highways awarded the contract to build the third phase of the Colombo Outer Circular Highway, consisting of 9.2 km from Kadawatha to Kerawalapitiya, to China’s Metallurgical Group for Rs. 66.69 billion. Reports did not mention tendering. (Xinhua datelined Feb. 1 speaks of the entire project being handed over).
Challenge to Leftists in Government
By Leftists I do not mean the new fangled communalists in red shirts but the old guard of the CP and LSSP whom many respect. You have ministerships, directorships and chairmanships. I know that you live within your means; at most you get a government salary and a car for official use. Except for you almost everyone in your government is a crook or at best of questionable character. As such your presence gives respectability to the others and to cabinet decisions like for the Chinese award. This creates a blot on all that is good in the Left movement.
My challenge to you is this: either quit your positions so that you do not serve as the laundry machine for white-washing these unsavoury characters or explain to us in public how these life styles – e.g., using your positions to donate to NGOs outside the purview of the Auditor General and then using it for personal use, getting unrestricted money from China and then using government power to do favours to China, opulent lifestyles on a government salary etc. – are legitimate.
Call for Foreign Inquiry by UN and Commonwealth
Any hope for Tamils and indeed for Sri Lanka is for international players to take over where we are powerless to help ourselves. We have no sovereignty as a people when crooks are in charge. So let us not speak of sovereignty. Let the UN and the Commonwealth do whatever is necessary to make ours the blessed land it once was, before we messed it up.
It is especially important for Tamils at this important time that our own commitment to justice and human rights is unwavering and exemplary.