1 December, 2020

Blog

An Appeal To Minister Champika Ranawaka

By Ratna Bala

Dr Ratna Bala

Dr Ratna Bala

Honourable Minister Mr. Patali Champika Ranawaka,

Media have recently reported that you have had expressed significant objection for giving common presidential pardon to release all Tamil prisoners arrested under PTA. Hence I would like to make this appeal to reconsider your decision regarding these prisoners.

We are talking about prisoners who have been detained for many years without appropriate and timely legal proceedings for crime of innocence to involving in crimes under LTTE leaders orders. These prisoners for one reason or the other get caught in this ordeal have spend important part of their lives in jail. Their family members who have not committed any crimes have also suffered enormous hardship. They possibly have wasted significant amount of time, money and other resources to get their children released might have failed miserably in their life too.

With the end of war our people are struggling to come together in every way including in emotional and spiritual senses to forget the past and/or learn lessons and move on for a collective srilankan identity with consensus and cooperation while promoting and protecting valuable diversity. This can only be done by winning hearts and minds of people with greater mutual trust. Only very courageous initiatives with trust will take us in this new path.

You have placed yourself as the epitome of this difficult but desperately essential path. After winning the war our previous president took a wrong path which fail to make any dividends of peace to ordinary people. (I do appreciate him for releasing more than 10,000 taken into custody without undue delay after rehabilitation). By joining the new government you have selected to stay in the correct path to keep the country in the democratic world.

Now we need bold measures to move forward. Strategic interest of West/US, India, China and Russia in the region make our country more vulnerable to significant foreign manipulation. We can resist their self interest doing any harm only by all srilankan people remain united and determined to protect our country. I believe in your heart you have genuine interest in protecting our country and its people. You can play a leading role to unite the country with consensus and cooperation.

Releasing these political prisoners immediately will relief them and their families many years of sufferings. This will immensely help to build trust between communities. These people will not cause any threat to the country than those outside. You can be confident that our country have enough security, knowledge and expertise to deal effectively if any minimal doubt ever looming in your mind.
I am writing this to highlight the significance and positive impact county can feel by releasing them soon. You can contribute constructively to build positive climate of compassion and hope. Any further delay in building trust and hope will seriously damage morale, motivation and momentum for reconciliation.

There is so much to gain from this act of compassion and moral recognition of their plight. All peace loving people of Srilanka belong to different groups have appealed for their release without delay. This deed would definitely build trust and hope. This could also contribute to prevent more foreign infestation and catastrophic consequences.

I am looking forward to hear your whole hearted endorsement for common presidential pardon to release these prisoners soon. I would very much appreciate if you could also encourage the government to provide enough assistance to rebuild their life.

Thank You.

Dr. Ratna Bala

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Latest comments

  • 5
    0

    I am a peace-loving citizen. I agree that all political prisoners must be freed without delay. But that cannot be “immediately”. That the majority are innocent I think is clear. However, it is possible that just 2 or 3 may have been guilty of serious crimes, and maybe are still unrepentant.

    Why not ask for release in a month’s time? During that month, let us ensure that they receive kindly treatment, and special food. That will cost us little, we are not going to be faced with a major security issue, and the Sinhalese electorate will not be upset.

    Certain compromises are necessary. However, the next thing on the agenda should be investigating the most reprehensible war crimes by the Sinhalese.

  • 1
    0

    Must be released as early as possible.

    May be rearrested later along with the other 12,000 surrendees depending on the outcome of the pending UN trials. UN may decide that they are “accountabile”. Alternatively, UN may confine themselves to the activities of only one side leaving this side to tackle the other side.

    Soma

  • 2
    0

    Here is a man (Champika) who only last year called Muslims “outsiders” and defended BBS.
    His past pronouncements against Tamils and Muslims does not bode well for this appeal.

  • 0
    0

    There are many suicide bombers who could not blow up and now there are innocent tamil political prisoners. There are many black tigers who did not want to bite the cyanide capsule because Pabakaran was killed before that.

    Now, they are political prisoners.

    Some are hard core.

  • 1
    0

    Prejudice on the Sinhala side is so deep-rooted and blind to reason, one is reminded of what Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam noted, viz:- “Any (concession) granted to the Tamil side, even the most reasonable, long due and justifiable, is viewed as a sell-out of Sinhala interests” This quote is not ad verbatim – but the substance remains the same. This question of releasing these political prisoners is by no means a concession. It arises from the more liberal environment arising from better understanding of the Sinhala and Tamil sides in recent times.Both sides were at each others throats, if you will, for over 40 years and the living standards of people on both side of the divide suffered. It arises from the acknowledgement the conflict has devoured much of the country’s resources, if, spent in developmental schemes would have brought all our people a better condition and quality of life. But sadly, extremism
    and prejudice among those who shape the future of the country, prevails.
    And hardliners like Ranawake, Gammanpila, Dinesh Gunawardena and the lot continue to lead the Sinhala majority to gradual doom.

    Pandaranayagam

    • 0
      0

      Mr P

      I have been wondering always how HELA Urumaya is racal outfit while TAMIL National Alliance and MUSLIM Congress are not.

      We must have a constitutional ban on party names with race, religion identities being registered at the Election Commissioner’s.

      Soma

      • 2
        0

        soma

        “We must have a constitutional ban on party names with race, religion identities being registered at the Election Commissioner’s.”

        Brilliant idea.

        Lets start with

        Buddhist People’s Front

        Sinhala Maha Sabha

        Sinhala Heritage

        Buddhist Republican Party

        New Sinhala Heritage

        Pivithuru Hela Urumaya

        Jathika Hela Urumaya

        …….

        ………

  • 0
    0

    Dear Dr Bala,

    What the Tamils can do now? simply powerless since 2009!!!!
    SJV Sevanayakam apparently said GOD ONLY CAN HELP Tamils? Hope for the best! but what would be interesting to see is would there be enough sinhalese to understand the plight of Tamils? Had that been there would have been any LTTE!? Still it is not clear for many Tamilian that there would not be any justice from sinhala majority. All they can do is what you are trying to do now. many ”pandits” did before
    There would not be enough places in prisons if the srilankan armed forces are put in trial for the crimes committed against Tamils?
    Wish you good luck for your effort and your optimistic approach.
    But only way Tamils is to have some negotiating /bargaining power.
    Tamils can just look at the sky and pray? or do SOMETHING

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