21 August, 2019

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Afghan Refugees Face Jaffna’s Hostility: Post Script

By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole –

Prof. S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Today 20 May, Jaffna’s Headquarters Inspector Prasad Fernando (who on the 19th had asked us detailed questions on the religion of every member of the Ahmadi family) asked us to return to the Police Station. Forms I had filled up to register the Ahmadis were returned to us and we were told they cannot stay because according to their intelligence reports Hindu nationalists were planning to attack them and they wanted no Muslim refugees in Jaffna. He said he had been ordered by his superiors to ask the Ahmadis to leave Jaffna. He let it slip that he wants no trouble by having Muslim refugees in Jaffna. I protested and  told him that I have the fundamental right to host any family at my home and asked who had told him to deny us registration. “I do not know about that” he said and stood up signalling us thereby to leave.

I appealed to persons in Colombo. The Speaker spoke to DIG/Jaffna and told me to call DIG/Jaffna. When I did, he told us that the Governor wants no refugee in Jaffna and wanted the Ahmadis to report at Poonthoddam Camp in Vavuniya. Inquiries revealed that some 35 refugees were there, all men. How could children be sent there?It was strange indeed that the DIG was overridden by the Governor on security matters.

Father Ponniah and I were called to meet the Governor at 4:00 pm. It was clear to me that the Governor was all out to please the President by showing his Poonthoddam solution was a great achievement. To this end I believe that he is cooking up this threat from Hindu nationalists using the Valampuri Editor’s writings. He was visibly angry that I contacted the Speaker. I responded that the Speaker is a neutral, widely respected elected official and the Chairman of the Constitutional Council that recommended my appointment; whereas meeting him the Governor is a lot worse because he is not elected and is acting on powers usurped from Provincial Councils by avoiding elections. He went on to quote his powers from the Thirteenth Amendment.

He said this argument confirms reports he has that I fight everywhere. I responded that I fight only when people break the law as he is doing, and that he is taking us back to Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s eviction of Tamils from Colombo in 2007. After he raised the fact I am a US-Sri Lanka dual citizen and that as a Marxist he does not like America, I told him he is acting just like what the Americans did in locking up Japanese during WWII. .He accused me of being a follower of Billy Graham which I have never been, forcing me to respond that he is the one who was once working for (the American) Youth for Christ in Jaffna.

He insisted that the Ahmadis should go to his Poonthoddam. I said I need time to consult legal opinion on whether my rights are being violated. He gave me till Friday and assured me at my request that no soldier or policeman would come home till Friday. He then told Father Ponniah that the he is aware that Father Ponniah is also having a family of 4. The Ahmadis in coming to Jaffna had stopped at his place and he had joined them to my home. Obviously we are already a police state with spies watching even the Archdeacon of Jaffna.

Alas, at 8:50 pm a police jeep parked outside my home. By the time my children reported it to me, and I came out, they had taken off. A priest suggested that the police and were not beyond getting goons to assault the Ahmadis and claiming that Hindu fanatics had done it.

The Ahmadis are in panic. They decided they are leaving immediately to an unnamed place out of Jaffna. They did not even care to pick up their water filter and other things they had bought for their use in Jaffna. At 9:10 pm as they left 2 more policemen came and waited at our gate till the Ahmadis left. The police had got their way by planting imagined threats of assault by Hindu nationalists.

Such is the worth of our Northern Governor’s solemn word!

Related posts:

Afghan Refugees Face Jaffna’s Hostility: These Sri Lankans Are Crazy

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Latest comments

  • 19
    5

    Jeevan,
    .
    Glad to note your realization now “To this end I believe that he (Governor) is cooking up this threat from Hindu nationalists.” Lesson learned: Before you run around like Henny-Penny crying “the sky is falling, the sky is falling” take a deep breath and study the issue with an open mind, not one that is convenient to you. If the PhD didn’t teach that discipline, at least the DSc should have!
    .
    Incidentally, in the previous article you made a hue-and-cry about the stupidity of the Valampuri Editor in stating that Christians should be converted to Hindus. For one thing, if you really understand Hinduism, you would have realized that real Hindus don’t have the need and would not resort to conversion — You can be of any faith and still be a “Hindu” too!
    .
    Also, why is the editor any more guilty than the Missionaries who spread themselves across the entire globe for the overtly declared purpose of converting as much of the inhabitants as possible to Christianity? Ever think of that?!

    • 2
      9

      This is truly an idiotic comment: The historical moments when Christians wanted to convert others to their religion and the today’s moments are different. Today no one tries to convert people.
      The last sentence in Kumar’s comment makes no sense:If Hinduism is
      accomodative that one can be “of any faith and still be “Hindu” ” then is that fool of an editor talking of “conversion”

    • 4
      7

      Kumar,
      The fate of the refugees is far too serious for your repetitive jibes against an individual without addressing the issue at hand. Please don’t abuse this forum to pour out your animus. Attacks of this kind from anonymity is in bad taste.

  • 13
    11

    This is really very sad. These poor, poor people.

    Some Marxist this Governor! What’s his name?

    • 6
      4

      Gestapo Brigadier General Suren Raghavan

  • 5
    3

    Dr Hoole

    Is the Governor Suren Raghavan? I have just seen a speech he has made, probably yesterday. I wish I knew a bit about this man

  • 3
    1

    Suren Raghavan — for anyone who might be interested, he has written a number of articles to Groundviews (online), one of which, some years ago, speaks of possible Buddhist/Muslim conflict like the 19th c one.

  • 1
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 8
    2

    Our friend Hoole, never free of controversies. If there are any objection for these poor people then it may be because they view Hoole with suspicion. As Kumar says he is quite out of step to say that Hindus are trying to convert Christians. Hoole himself is a hindu convert to christianity. Crusaders, present day opportunistic conversions in SL and India are part of this long term plan of christian conversion scheme. Why do Buddhists attack churches, all because of the same reason. Hinduism is the most tolerant religion of all. Buddhism, Jainism, Sikism, Vaisnavam, all arose from Hinduism. Hindus can freely condemn their religion. They dont say that non-christians will be roasted in fire in hell.So if hoole avoids these unwanted controversies and conflict and confine to his activities then he can do better. He sees ghosts every where and that is a problem with him.

  • 6
    2

    Professor,
    It is a sad event indeed.

    But, If I may, I have a bit of advice for you.

    This matter of housing Afghani refugees in your home is a magnanimous gesture on your part. I commend you and your family for that noble Christian quality following Matthew 25:35, “..For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,..”

    But professor, we are living in a highly politically charged environment.

    First, you should not have written the first article and publicized the fact that you were providing sanctuary to the Afghanis.
    Second, the old adage, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. A little (no, a LOT) of diplomacy could have diffused the situation and you may have achieved what you wanted – providing sanctuary to the Afghanis.

    Please don’t get me wrong. I will be the first to stand right behind you and fight – when our rights are violated. I truly believe a little restraint and tactful negotiation may have saved the day.

    Sadly, it is a loss for the Afghanis.

    • 5
      1

      ugly american

      “First, you should not have written the first article and publicized the fact that you were providing sanctuary to the Afghanis.”

      yep.It shows that hoole was never really interested in their welfare.I think from his first article i gleaned that he had visited them in afghanistan.When they were in trouble here he might have felt oblighed to help them,because he had enjoyed their hospitality.However if they were close to his heart he would not have written that article.Hoole seems a guy who wants publicity to further a cause,whatever it is.

  • 15
    2

    Dear Dr. Hoole

    Once again, your BIG mouth has gotten you (and those much more vulnerable than you) into trouble.

    When will you learn? Not everything that is unfair or unjust in this world, and in Sri Lanka can be attributed to the sinhalese. You may be an accomplished engineer, but your mental facilities seem to fail you at basic logic, when you discuss (and I suspect think) of race relations.

    What a pity. I hope the refugees will find safety with another host, who is not going to parade them all over the internet, to make a point about “sinhala chauvinism”.

    Peace dear sir. Tighten your lips, and open your mind.

    • 8
      1

      Well Said, SB!

      I couldn’t have said it better.

  • 4
    1

    OOh; Refugees from Afghanistan?

    @ a time our own Muslim people are held in doubt?

    How can we trust them? Very sad, how can we help them?

    Come in the guise of refugees today & try to Islamanize Jaffna tomorrow.

    Advising Jaffna people, never fall into his trap.

    Remember the only good thing the LTTE did for Jaffna people; chasing out of Muslims from Jaffna.

    Please accept not, even refugees.

    Only if refugees are ready to swear that they don’t have faith in Islam & P. Mohamad, they deserve some attention.

  • 3
    4

    The real face of Lord Buddha.

    • 4
      8

      I am sorry that several of the commentators do not see the issue or deliberately distort it. How could Tamils, several lakhs of whom have gone as refugees to countries where they take equal rights for granted or demand them, justify the LTTE chasing out Muslims from Jaffna? When a family is given facilities we mostly take for granted, at no expense to the State, who are we to stand in the way. We should resist a government that has become as brainless as it is heartless. It will not be long before we are all treated the same way.

  • 2
    2

    ” And if a stranger dwells among you in your land, you shall.not mistreat him…
    I AM the LORD your God’.
    (Holy Bible)

  • 4
    3

    Suren Raghavan is smart, arrogant and professional. Professor Hoole is an engineer. Engineers speak plain, black and white. In the US engineers are avoided in jury selections for the same reason. As a senior public official, the governor should note only the plain facts and respond like a public servant as is their training.

    When the Norther Province unemployed graduates went to meet him he said he is not giving jobs to arts graduates when he is a sociology graduate. One female, who does not have the 6 lakhs bribe money given to get employment told him, had she topped with my ALs she would have been employed and now supporting her aged parents. He asked her”then why didn’t you”? -faulting her for going to the university. Suren Raghavan, acts like he is the last word on uppity.

    YFC people usually think themselves superior to other Christians. He will never tell you whether he is of his Father’s religion or mother’s in which he did his Ph. D.

    Where is his humanity?

    Any public official must have sensitivity towards humans.

  • 4
    2

    I see Governor Suren Raghavan also accompanied the President in his recent trip to China.

    A vital trip for both of them at this time, no doubt.

  • 5
    1

    Could it be that other scores being settled with the Governor for whom not long ago it was all praise from the writer?

  • 2
    1

    What was the Governor’s reply to the Archdeacon, Jaffna who went in his cassock to plead on behalf of this family? Did the Governor refuse the Archdeacon permission to keep these poor people? Where will they sleep tonight? Will the children fall sick with all this wandering in the sun?

    What happens to the other Muslim families with children another Anglican family has agreed to host?

    Does this mean no non-Hindu refugees will be allowed in the North?

    Is it not my fundamental right to host refugees approved by the UNHCR. I myself with my nangi in 1983 came with just a school bag to Jaffna as refugees. Should one have been a refugee once to want to protect refugee children?

    Poonthottam is a men-only camp. How can a young girl and young mother sleep there?
    Government and Governor pretending to the UN to help the UN refugees are preventing these people being taken in by other countries.

    Will not Sirisena’s granddaughter share her cake with refugee children younger than her?

    • 3
      3

      Anglican,
      .
      Jeevan has answered your question “Does this mean no non-Hindu refugees will be allowed in the North?” The decision to not let Muslim refugees settle is Jaffna is neither a Hindu nationalist issue nor any indication of Tamil intolerance.
      .
      It is merely a command by the President that his lacky the Governor has to fulfill, and the Governor is only cooking up disingenuous stories to hide behind for his cruel actions.
      .
      Glad that Jeevan was able to self-correct within a day his initial hasty and foolish conclusions blaming and condemning the Tamils, Hindus in particular. He owes an apology for his thoughtless accusations, if only cowardice does not stand in the way.
      .
      Hope Jeevan learned a useful lesson, especially after the many comments here on how Jeevan is now held directly responsible for putting the desperate Afgan refugees in Governor’s cross-hairs, in Jeevan effort to self-promote his “altruism”!

  • 4
    1

    Hoole was naming Jaffna Hindus deliberately in his first article to portray them as inhumane and ugly against the anglicans including himself picturing as caring loving super humans. It appears that his sole aim was to bring bad name to the Hindus, as he does always in his several articles. Now he is all out to attack the Governor who is a Hindu or Buddhist I do not know, but definitely not a Christian.

    Hoole has conveniently forgotten the meeting held by Tilak Marapana in Vavunia two weeks ago, when TM wanted to accommodate all the refugees at cooperative school building in Vavuniya, which is under the control of the Army now. The entire attendees gathered at the meeting, irrespective of their religion race and political opinion objected to TM’s suggestion. No one wanted the refugees to come to Vavunia because they themselves are undergoing severe hardship, scrounging for food, for the last ten years, with no help from the govt. Every one knows that poverty is endemic in Vanni. In spite of the objections from locals, TM and his govt have brought the refugees to Vavuniya and dumbed them at the co – op building. Their responsibility is over, leaving the locals to suffer more. At no time bringing the refugees to Jaffna was discussed. Then why did Anglican Bishop and Hoole brought them to Jaffna ? Do they think that the local people living in Jaffna are financially well off like them? Is there any hidden plan?

  • 1
    0

    It is clear now — not that it was ever hidden–that bigotry and intolerance — are the monopoly of the Sinhalese.

    • 2
      2

      I meant to say that bigotry and intolerance are NOT the monopolies of the Sinhalese. One only has to read the comments of Tamil ideologues here to realize this..First they expelled the Muslims and now want to convert the Christians.I suppose if they don’t convert they will be expelled too!

  • 1
    0

    Who or what is Ahmadi?
    Mohammad Abdus Salam was a Pakistani theoretical physicist. He shared the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics with Sheldon Glashow and Steven Weinberg for his contribution to the electroweak unification theory. He was the first Pakistani to receive a Nobel Prize in science and the second from an Islamic country to receive any Nobel Prize (after Nobel Peace Prize winner Anwar Sadat of Egypt).
    Abdus was Ahmadi Muslim. He humbly attributed his sharp mind to the daily prayer.
    In 1974, the Pakistan parliament made a constitutional amendment that declared Ahmadi as non-Muslims. To show his protest, Abdus Salam relocated to UK but his heart was in Pakistan.
    Abdus Salam died peacefully on 21 November 1996. He wanted the remains to be buried, next to his parents’ graves in a cemetery established by the Ahmadiyya Community at Rabwah, Punjab, Pakistan.
    The epitaph on his tomb initially read “First Muslim Nobel Laureate”.
    The word “Muslim” was initially obscured on the orders of a local magistrate and the then Pakistan government upheld it!
    .
    Has SRH H made it worse for the Ahmadi?
    .
    Please SRH H, research and tell us as to whether Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) is a terrorist organisation.

  • 2
    2

    Ratnajeevan has every authority under ethics to help refugees. This has to be done observing the legal arrangements exiting there. He shouldn’t try legal inventions with refugees in his home forcing them to defy, Police & Governor’s orders. UNHRC has an agreement on this matter with Aanduwa, nothing with Ratnajeevan. Ratnajeevan is being as much as impediment as the protestors against the refugees if he was blocking law officials taking care of refugees by he starting a quarrel with law officials. As acceptance of a refugee in any host country is depended on how much that one obeys to that country law, Ratnajeevan must be helping them to properly discharge their duties under the host country laws. He can try his extent of the fundamental rights under the Sinhala Buddhist government. But that should not force refugees to part take in that. Beyond everything, he allowing them to stay at his home is a big deal. Playing cricket with refugees after the Buddhist Monks protested is the game of Aanduwa staged. Buddhist Monks should have interfered in refugees going to North. Period.

  • 2
    2

    By criticising and denigrating those with a charitable inclination, we can excuse and forgive our own lack of sympathy and concern, our own inaction. Those who criticise Prof. S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole here must be individuals of a lesser humanity. They fail to face up to that realisation and so must hurl insults and epithets, and therefore believe that they hold the moral high ground. Having followed Dr Hoole’s career through the print media, I do not think it would matter to him if he was born into any one of the hundreds of religions in the world. Or if he believed he was going to heaven or hell. He would still be able to identify right from wrong, kindness from wickedness; still be able to extend a hand to the needy. We must hold him up at as an example and see in him an understanding that we must all aspire to, if we are to be better human beings. And to those readers interested in knowing what my own religious beliefs are – I have none. Just a belief in humanity.

    • 1
      1

      Dyonisus,
      .
      You obviously lack the ability to understand Jeevan’s implied retraction of his malicious non-sensical title “Jaffna’s hostility” – belatedly realizing that the Afgan refugee issue had nothing to do with Tamils’ or Hindus’ lack of humanity, but rather a result of a Presidential command implemented by the lacky Governor under false pretenses!
      .
      Just as much as the reported moronic 30% of US population cannot be dissuaded in their trust on the proven narcissistic Trump, I fully understand your clan mentality blinding you guys (yes Erasmus, Chundukullies, Karl, the famously non-anonymous Jaffna Citizen, et al) as you adoringly stare at your never-can-do-wrong champion, notwithstanding your hasty attempt to pretend-disown faith!
      .
      What career record are you talking about – getting booted from Pera, rolling from state to state Universities in the US finally getting relegated as a mere adjunct teaching ethics (by a DSc in electrical engineering!) or lacking legitimate academic support even for a junior appointment in Jaffna and seeking political intervention, horse-trading with MR, willy-nelly compromising own community’s critical livelihood concerns (“humanity”, did you say!) or accepting MR’s life-saving temporary mercey-appointment at the Elections and stretching it as far as it would go?
      .
      As for Karl’s comment, why do the Christian missions still practice discriminatory fee schedule for school admissions (bank-breaking donations from non-Christians and next to nothing for those of the flock) if “conversion” is not the intent even now? Forced or persuasive conversion with economic baiting is wrong now and was just as much wrong then!
      .
      As for Jaffna Citizen, the bitter pill of reality of losing the argument will not just taste bad but would be really and truly bitter! The hypocrisy of the “non-Anonymous” Jaffna Citizen complaining about “anonymity” in Kumar R. is quite a feat! ‘Nuf said about that brain wave!!

      • 0
        0

        You obviously lack the ability to understand Jeevan’s implied retraction of his malicious non-sensical title “Jaffna’s hostility” –”

        Why attack the commentors because you are dumb?

        In your oft exhibited hatred of the author not only do you totally misinterpret him always. Now you also attack someone who heart of hearts is able to identify with this human crisis.

        YouI have only proved beyond any doubt, that you utterly lack discretion like the proverbial ” kandiruntha vaa kozhi” exhibiting its ignorance
        .
        We know you are in another country with a religion or culture not your own. You just wanted to keep up with the Jones’s and needed refuge. So you rebounced Sri Lanka.

        If you have understanding you would have seen that Prof. Says that it was Governor Raghavan who insulted and charged the Tamil people saying they will terrorize the refugees.

        Hoole returned to live with his people. He identifies with Jaffna and fights for the rights.

        • 0
          0

          Oh the brilliant Jaffanese,
          .
          “Prof. Says that it was Governor Raghavan who insulted and charged the Tamil people saying they will terrorize the refugees.” No, the Prof said Ragavan cooked up the story that Tamils objected.
          .
          I don’t want to dignify any other of your other similarly “intelligent” observations, except to suggest that you should not give up your day job on the strength of your sleuthing abilities!

  • 0
    0

    The Governor says he is a Marxist and does not like USA. Then why did he attend the Easter service in a Methodist church(with Western Christian roots) in Jaffna with high security and receive Holy communion.
    Is his story of Tamil Temple planned to be attacked and putting Road blocks around the temple is a cooked up story ?

  • 1
    0

    Parkistan, Catholic, was changed by a Jaffna, Priest, he from Jaffna: and he( Priest) had sent by British Government to Parkistan, to change muslims/ Hindus to , Catholic, bei this this Tamil priest Records , Freiberg/ Kölin Universität / Germany, still habe it, but in Deutsch, this priest was well educated , (64. languages) can read / writ, , but British Priests not so educated, why Americans priest, also not so educated, So Jaffna Tamils must give their houses to this poor people. What your priest done them, ( see the world was round, / what Jaffna People done , it have come frount of their eye) , now the Tamils living in foreign countries, they had Empty house in Jaffna, so that can help.

    • 0
      0

      Dear. Anan

      All the empty house were not even given to the Internally displaced when they needed it before the war was ended/after the war ended to date. They will not even sell the homes and lands to the ‘low caste’ people when they can afford to pay too.

      It was left to the GOSL to solve all the problems/Indian government to provide housing??? a nation who can even provide basic to her citizens/then the UN and other donor countries…………..give..give…give a fly got exposed at the worst form of an expense our children life.

      Do not expect a lot…..there is no diaspora unless otherwise something in it for them…………….no Tamil/Sinhala divisions here when it come to money money and money. This is a well established fact………now the whole sale of the Nation underway in the form Indi Pacific security etc.

      Yep we build temple after temples no one has questioned……..but diverted the whole attentions to vicars and mosques…….nothing has changed.

  • 0
    0

    Dear Sir RH

    Thank you for taking care of the ‘refugees’ who came to us the Sri Lankans for help. Just as the rest of the world did for all our Lankan refugees (except one country never given citizenship to our people after 30-40 years) we too have space for everyone else too.

    I am not sure why we name the family a “Muslim refugee” when a simple term ‘refugee’ is good enough?

    I am sure they still be ok wherever they are specially with their fellow countrymen in other camps. Nothing to suggest all others have been ill treated etc correct? We need to present fair sharing/hearing of our National treatment without our local politics/conflicts attached otherwise we will continue to compound our problems with everything comes our ways…further muddying the water.

    We are all eager to learn how they will be allowed to integrate into the society/given a sense of permanent status/equal opporunity to employment until their cases are heard/solved by UN/GOSL? we really want to learn this without the political bias etc please. We Sri Lankans have mastered how to work through the world system for refugee status and will be interested to learn our system without prejudice please.

    We also have Jaffna Muslim community and am sure they love to help too??

  • 1
    0

    I agree with what Mr Venugopal says. I am not sure about the underlying politics, bias and concerns. But looking as a human being these poor people’s plight is extremely sad and if there is anyway people can help them they have to do so. It is sad when people play politics with the lives of these helpless people. Tamils have ample experience being refugees and so it will be easy to appreciate their plights too. As Venugopal rightly says why call them Muslim refugees instead of calling them refugees. As mentioned elsewhere, Dr Hoole has made it more complicated by his out of turn talk and publicity stunt and antagonism. Let us be humans first before thinking of caste, race or religion. In the meantime I may not understand or appreciate the sensitivities of the people of the north and what is bothering them? Morally we have to provide shelter to these people if we can and it is sad they are being pushed from pillar to post. We have experienced similar plight so many times in SL itself and being herded into ships and buses and sent to safe places from 1958 on wards on a regular basis. So let us think humanely leaving politics aside.

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