“Emperor Napolean knew that French instincts were militaristic and domineering and he was resolved to gratify them.” – E. Lipson, Historian, writing on (Louis) Napolean III (1852-1870), the nephew of Napolean, the Great.
Sinhala-Buddhist instincts are somewhat similar to French instincts – supremacist and domineering , imbued with medieval Mahavansa ethos. The majoritarian leaders are resolved to gratify those instincts. In the process, Tamil people become disposables.
Proposed Constitutional reforms have afforded the context for the Rajapaksa acolytes to freak out.. Synchronizing with the Assembly debates, they have got into a fit of frenzy with racist ranting and fomenting ethnic tension.
Launching blistering attack on Tamil demand for a Federal State, Rajapaksas’ cohorts have embarked on a “propaganda blitz” via the media and public fora. The thematic contents are calculated to inflame the aggressive passion and chauvinist spirit of the nationalist Sinhala-Buddhist constituency.
The rhetoric dwells on ethnocentric matters as would excite the nationalist audience. Citing Nanthikadal episode, Rajapaksa advocates have been telling the Tamils, ad nauseum, that the Sinhalese are the “epic heroes” and the Tamils are a vanquished lot, not worthy of possessing any aspirations. Triumphalism and tribalism have been the substratum of majoritarian politics in post-war Sri Lanka.
Constriction of space does not allow me to quote extensively the unsavoury messages of the supremacists. Nonetheless, some extracts may be illustrative: Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka plays the lead role in this discourse. The thrust of his messages and the threat they convey are irksome, if not dark and foreboding. Do they not betray a morbid fascination with the horrors of the anti-Tamil holocaust of July 1983 (Black July)?.
“Non-peaceful revolt in South”
“…… But if there is an unabated drive for Constitutional replacement (inevitably, unalterably, perceived as the retreat or retrenchment of the Sri Lankan State from the North) there could be a non-peaceful revolt in the South…..”
“Having lost a bitterly fought, long war, by what logic do the Tamil nationalists believe that a new Constitution more reflective of their aspirations can be put in place?………..” (Colombo Telegraph, 26 Oct.2017 , “What Political Contract & Which Political Order for Sri Lanka?” – Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka ).
Dayan’s pugnacious postures resonate with the medieval instincts intrinsic to Mahavamsa culture. He seeks to rationalize the belligerency of the ultra-nationalists, which the likes of BBS practice, propagate, glorify and justify. Dayan underscores “Threat to the nation”. This has been the alarmist refrain sung by Sinhala nationalists, the saffron-robed sages and their lynch mob, to ignite orgies of organized violence and periodical pogroms perpetrated on the Tamil people – in 1956, 1958, 1961, 1977, 1981 and 1983.
“Threat to the nation”
“…….Four factors prove causative in the rise of majoritarian ethnic/ethno-religious nationalism……The second is a perceived threat to the nation or ethnic community concerned and/or an assault on the religio-cultural moorings and ethos of the people.”
“………………A touch of Transnational Justice from Geneva or overt Indian intrusion into Constitution-making and this joint is set to blow as in the late 1980s.”
“A unitary state, de jure and de facto, is a core strategic and security interest of the Sri Lanka majority, a redline for which they must and will fight “by any means necessary.” ( Colombo Telegraph, 9 Nov. 2017, ibid, “Crisis, Coalition, Constitution”)
Stranger than fiction:
Dayan’s fear-mongering tales about Tamil Nadu land- grab in North-East Sri Lanka etc. sound stranger than fiction – a figment of his fertile imagination. These incendiary stories are imperatives for “Restore Rajapaksa” campaign. However, one cannot call them funny, because the Sinhala patriotic segments may swallow the phantom stories and bay for Tamil blood. Elaborating on the implications of giving Land powers to the Provincial Councils, Dayan says:
“………(I)t would mean that the land in the North and East would be acquired by Tamil Nadu based and Tamil diaspora-driven front companies………”etc. ( Colombo Telegraph, 9 Nov. 2017, ibid, “Crisis, Coalition, Constitution”)
Rajapakses pining for LTTE revival:
As a matter of fact, Rajapaksa camp has been pining for signs of LTTE revival -for some evidence of LTTE remnants. For, it will facilitate Rajapakses’ own revival. They want trouble and turmoil – violence and volatile conditions – in the North-East. Also, that will gratify the militaristic instincts of the armed forces, and by extension, instincts of the ultra-nationalists as well. That will provide the pretext for keeping the Tamil areas militarized forever and accelerate the “Sinhalisation” and “Buddhistisation” of the Tamil habitats.
Vidya Rape & Murder
Dayan has been quite frank and forthright in seeking the restoration of Rajapaksas’ regime. In his desire to do something substantial to advance the “Restore Rajapaksa” campaign, Dayan had been rooting around and rummaging through the Tamil terrain, looking for evidence of an “Intifada”- an insurrection – signs of LTTE revival. And eventually, he found the evidence. It was rooted in a huge tragedy in Jaffna – the grim events surrounding the gruesome gang-rape and murder of 18-year-old schoolgirl Vidya Sivaloganathan at Pungudutivu-There was a police attempt to cover up the crime. Sensing police attempt to cover-up and help the criminals to escape, the grief-stricken Jaffna community demonstrated outside the Jaffna magistrate’s court where some suspects were to be produced. Even as the protesters turned violent and pelted stones, the police used teargas and brought the situation under control. Some of the protesters were arrested. There were spontaneous protests and demonstrations by students in the East and (Sinhala) students in the South as well.
Cover up & Outrage
Evidently, the members of the community were outraged and they had every reason to vent their anger. They had emotionally reacted as any humans would do in the circumstances. Recent media reports show that the allegation of cover up was true and that a senior DIG involved in the cover-up has been lately arrested:
“CID arrests senior DIG over Vidya rape and murder cover up” “The Criminal Investigations Department yesterday arrested Senior Deputy Inspector General Lalith Jayasinghe on a charge of obstructing justice and helping suspects in a rape and murder case escape.” “Jayasinghe was the senior most police officer when 18-year-old Vidya Sivaloganathan was gang raped and murdered at Punkuduthivu, off Kayts island in the Jaffna peninsula in May 2015.” ( The Island, 15 July 2017).
Dubious assumptions – “Intifada”
Dayan had misconstrued facts to make out that an insurrection was taking shape in Jaffna. His assumptions and assertions had been found baseless – and were made with mala fide intentions. “Do we not need Mahinda Rajapaksa as PM to restore strength, political will, purpose, direction and self-respect to the Sri Lankan State; to reinstall an erect spine as it were, and stop the dangerous drift in the North?” “Isn’t the return of Mahinda imperative to prevent Yahapalanaya from degenerating or drifting into Yaalpalanaya?” (Colombo Telegraph, 22 May 2015, “Northern Demonstrations: Creating A Kashmir?” ).
Now, what is the Kashmir analogy this gentleman is alluding to?. What is the “dangerous drift in the North” that he fears and fulminates against? A schoolgirl had been savaged and brutally killed and there was an outpouring of grief from an outraged community. But Dayan had perceived an incipient insurrection – an incendiary (Palestinian-type) “Intifada” or a Kashmiri kamikaze in the making – LTTE footprints and Eelamists’ fingerprints! Dayan’s holy horror is articulated through a volley of questions:
Volley of Questions :
“Are the latest demonstrations the beginning or the testing out, of an Intifada strategy?”
“Is it the beginning or the test run of a Kashmir scenario in which there is daily violence by stone throwing mobs against Police and armed forces personnel?”
“Was there any incitement by the pro-LTTE or more broadly, the pro-Tamil Eelam segment of the Tamil Diaspora, operating through the radical wing of the TNA?”
“President Rapajapksa reopened democratic space in the North and East by defeating the Tigers……The security net was in place. Nothing of the kind of demonstrations we’ve just seen could happen during his tenure.”
“Today the security net has been rolled back by the Government. It is in that context…….that violent and radical demonstrations can take place in the North.”
(CT, 22 May 2015, “Northern Demonstrations: Creating A Kashmir?”- Extracts ).
Does Dayan want Jaffna to remain forever a garrisoned ghetto under the repressive jackboots of the marauding military?.
Homagama incidents – an “Intifada”?
In January 2016, eight months after the ostensible “intifada” erupted and promptly ended in the Jaffna court premises, another “intifada” (just copying Dayan’s jargon) of more serious proportions erupted at Homagama court premises in the South. The unseemly scenario included, inter alia, the following incidents:
*Large number of protesters including around 200 Buddhist monks gathered in the Court premises shouting slogans against the arrest of BBS Gnanasara Thera, who was arrested on charges of contempt of Court, obstructing Court proceedings and intimidation of public official.
*Pandemoniam prevailed in the premises.
* Some monks slept on the road blocking the movement of prisons bus which was to transport Ven. Gnanasara Thera to the prisons.
*Several monks jumped over the wall and entered the court premises.
*Three Buddhist monks threatened to self-immolate.
*Around 300 police officers and the riot police with water cannon vehicles arrived at the Court premises to control the situation.
( Daily News, 27 Jan. 2016 – “Mayhem as monks go on the rampage”).
Nary a word or whisper from Dayan on this incident. So much for
Dayan’s objectivity and fairness!