26 November, 2020

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Champika Ranawaka: To Ignore And Suffer His Madness?

By Ratnajeevan H. Hoole –

Prof S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Ethnic Cleansing, Rio Ice Cream and Sinhalese Bread

Hon. Champika Ranawaka, our Minister of Power and Energy, has authored an op-ed piece (The Nation, Nov. 25) that is quite mad. Titled “Blatant attempt to justify ethnic cleansing in North,” it made me naturally think, given his extremist politics, that he wanted to rid the North of us Tamils – but no, he was alleging the North being cleansed of Sinhalese.

In arguing that Jaffna has been ethnically cleansed, he queries why Jaffna is still deprived of Sinhalese bakery food although, he avers, a sales outlet for Jaffna’s famous Rio ice-cream is in Colombo.

For an engineer running an organization raking in over Rs. 100 bn and managing some 800 engineers, his logic is faulty. For life is a lot more than bread and ice-cream. If he comes to Jaffna, he will see bread by Sinhalese at the supermarkets. Indeed, the supermarkets, the army, the navy, the police, luxury buses, the banks, the Moratuwa steel furniture and its hawkers, and the government itself – almost everything is from the South. At his Electricity Board, when the Tamil Deputy General Manager (North) retired, Ranawaka moved his Sinhalese replacement’s station out of Jaffna to Anuradhapura although his work is mainly in Jaffna.

We Tamils of the North are the only people in Sri Lanka without our own provincial government. All our ministers are from the South except for one man who is wanted for murder.

Living Anywhere in Sri Lanka

Ranawaka makes much of the 2012 census listing “231,318 Tamils in [the] Colombo district and 106,318 in [the] Colombo Municipal area alone.” He then argues that these figures “bear clear testimony to the fact that there is no ethnic problem in the southern part of Sri Lanka.” Obviously he has not heard of Tamils having to sign their statements in Sinhalese at Colombo Police Stations, the navy harassing fishermen in Nachikuda and tearing up their nets, and home-guards taking over Tamil lands in the East.

The most flawed is his argument where Ranawaka admits to traditional homelands which Urumayists do not let us claim: “Tamils can live in any part of Sri Lanka whilst the Sinhalese and Muslims are not allowed the basic right of settling down in their respective historical villages and townships.” Tamils and Muslims as peoples who have been subject to multiple persecutions, rampaging mobs, and wild armed forces of the state, need state protection. But the Sinhalese as the majority wielding all powers of state institutions need no protection. One cannot speak of the Sinhalese and the minorities as if we are equals.

Some Tamils do live in Colombo by choice because of its economic attractions. Many Sinhalese do not live in Jaffna because it is an economic wasteland, thanks to the army and LTTE, and the development policies of successive governments since independence. Indeed, no one today stops Sinhalese from living in Jaffna. Since the 2002 ceasefire the only ethnic cleansing there has been of Tamils from our lands for Buddhist temples, security zones, and the army and foreign companies to do business. In the Vanni abandoned lands alienated before the 50 acre reform limit and on which destitute Tamils have settled and lived for decades, are being reclaimed for southern and foreign companies, throwing out without any judicial process those living there with rightful claims. Even lands owned by Tamils with deeds have been sold by a beloved government MP.

When I was on the UGC there was a fundamental rights case that was conflict-ridden. The child of a prosecutor who had just moved to the apex court was involved and the AG had declined to defend the UGC, leaving that to the private bar. And when the Supreme Court ordered more medical admissions as expected, we had to send some to Jaffna for lack of any other place.

The Sinhalese on the UGC readily recognized that Sinhalese students would go there and within a year say they cannot live there and ask for a transfer to universities with better degree recognition. This would create problems at the already over-crowded southern medical faculties. So the UGC decided that if students subsequently transferred to other universities, their degrees would be issued by Jaffna using credit transfer. (The UGC was usurping Jaffna University’s powers; that is the nature of colonial governance). But that has not stopped students from lobbying. As I write, there are reports that the disturbances created by the Army at Jaffna University are being used by Sinhalese students there to leave!

Provincial Elections Promised: So Cancel Provincial Councils

Ranawaka further argues against holding provincial council elections in the North on the grounds that “Without re-establishing the ethnic composition and the demographic balance that prevailed in 1971, to hold such an election will constitute a great injustice towards the Sinhalese and Muslims.”

Provincial Council elections having been promised for September, Ranawaka is making the case for not having a Tamil chief minister: he has already argued that the 13th amendment should be nullified (so that there will be no provincial council to hold elections to) and now he is arguing that such elections, if held, would be an injustice.

By his argument any election in Sri Lanka without the return of the estimated 300,000 Tamils who fled to Canada, 200,000 to the UK and lakhs to India and other parts of Europe would be a great injustice. The UPFA which has broken all democratic norms – most heinously by scaring judges from rendering independent judgments – can stay on in power forever without elections.

Presidents Andrew Jackson and Mahinda Rajapaksa

With the impeachment of our Chief Justice and the need to enforce and obey the judiciary’s rulings being denied in parliament, we are reaching the point where US President Andrew Jackson’s acerbic allusion to the separation of powers between the judiciary and the executive no longer seems funny. Jackson was a crude military man to whom is wrongly but easily attributed the word OK by his detractors. It is said he would minute papers put to him by his aides with OK, thinking that “All Correct” is “Ole Kurrect.”

Early in nineteenth century US, the lands of Native Americans were being eroded by land-hungry Whites, just like Tamil lands today. Jackson used the army to throw out the Indians and take over millions of acres. Like in Mullivaikal, Jackson’s time was characterized by murder and pillage of powerless minorities.

The crisis came to a head in Georgia when the legislature claimed jurisdiction over the Indian tribes and their lands, and the Indians were forbidden from bringing suits against Whites. Similarly if our President has his way, soon our Supreme Court would routinely refuse leave to proceed on many fundamental rights cases. The government has got so arrogant that, according to the Daily Mirror (Dec. 4), it asked the Speaker to take action against UNP MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe for legally challenging the parliamentary process to impeach the Chief Justice.

In landmark judgements in 1831 and 1832, US Chief Justice John Marshall held that the relevant Georgia laws were “repugnant to the constitution.” But with Jackson’s blessings Georgians defied the Supreme Court decisions as in our parliament today.

This was when Jackson issued his defiant comment in constitutional thuggery: “John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it.” Here Parliament ignores requests of the Supreme Court which has no executive authority to enforce anything!

Living in twenty first century Sri Lanka, we are cruder than Jackson’s nineteenth century America. A murderous, pillaging government is making sophisticated use of the law in an utterly unethical but lawful misuse of constitutional provisions. With both presidents, despite their sanguinary records, their citizens are sanguinely defensive of them.

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Latest comments

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    What rubbish is he talking ?

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      Whis is talking Rabbish? Prof or Ranawakka?

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      A lot of sense Kumudini. in case you have not heard of what is happening in Sri Lanka read the Colombo Telegraph. They have taken on the mantle ofUNBOWED AND UNAFRAID !

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      Well Kumudini, it’s beyond you. Better be the frog in the well. I am sure all is well in your world

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      Kumudini – it may sound like “rubbish” to you, probably because you don’t have the intelligence to comprehend what Mr. Hoole is writing about. If you have some objection to what is being discussed feel free to let us know what you consider “rubbish” and give us your views. If not, spare us your meaningless bullshit.

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      kumudini,
      Hoole is a dangerous and a raciest man trying to lead ordinary Tamils once again along the garden path.

      Professor Hoole was the keynote speaker at a meeting organized by Canadians for Peace in Toronto, on August 17, 2008. He is said to have said; “Simply implement the thirteenth amendment and the reasonable use of Tamil law, and the cry for Elam will for the large part vanish”.

      And an NGO activist took up that section of the speech and gave it a wide publicity in ‘Sunday Lankadeepa’ date line December 25, 2008 and portrayed Hoole as a person who would promote Tamils to settle for 13A. It seems he wouldn’t even demand federal. Indeed somebody made someone in the government gullible. Hoole was offered the job of the Coordinator Engineering Faculty of Jaffna University in March 2011. And few months later unsuccessful though he applied for the Vice Chancellor’s job. But Hoole is a man who cannot keep out of extreme politics. So after some political wrangles with Minister Devananda, Hoole had left Sri Lanka in August 2011 without even telling his pillow.

      Actually what ‘Sunday Lankadeepa’ published is a facade for he also said at the same meeting; “It is clear to me that some form of separation is the only answer,” And “We need our own territories where we can decide our matters by ourselves. Such territorial division is good for all of us, be it through federalism or outright separation.”

      Throughout his sermon, Hoole had propagated nothing but double talk. He just could not hide his hatred towards Sinhala Buddhists. “The Sinhalese ruling clique’s mood is to crush the LTTE. Then, upon crushing the LTTE, they say, that all will be right and we Tamils will enjoy democracy. The kind of democracy we will enjoy can be seen in what is happening in the East – more colonization, new Buddhist temples sprouting up everywhere, vote-rigging, more Sinhalesization, etc.”

      Hoole didn’t forget to hit at JHU as well. He said that some ‘good people’ (he named them and most of them were who oppose impeachment now) told him that he had been targeted by ‘Urumaya’ meaning JHU and SU. He moaned; “But of what good are ‘good people’ when they are powerless against ‘evil’?” Hoole dare name one person maimed or killed by Urumaya yet he put JHU and SU side by side with LTTE.

      No wonder Hoole attacks Minister Ranawake even now.
      Leela

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    Typical tiger. Hei, Gnanam was Tamil, right? Wasn’t he?

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    Kumudini:
    I take it that you are refering to Ranawake’s “talk”?

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    champika ranawaka is an ignorant idiot. he should be sent to kudankulam to organise protest marches against the nucleas plant. majority of the protesters there are converts lead by catholic and christian clergy.

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    Every word of Hoole is on the dot,correct.
    Ranawake is a man living the sinhala hegemonist ideology.
    He knows the atrocities and land grabs happening in the north but ignores them.
    All business tourism & other livelihoods are controlled by the army.
    Latest are poor tamil girls hijacked with false promises to the army,to form a Slave Corps.
    Already,19 are in hospital with depression and fear.
    Hoole was issued with summons for a criminal trial by Magistrate Joy Mahadeva at Kayts,though he had only bared election malpractices of EPDP – but his lawyer friends warned him and he fled abroad before being sent to Jail without Bail – ‘remand’ in common parlance.
    Hoole is the most qualified Science Teacher in the university fraternity in sri lanka.
    He was denied the Vice Chancellor post by Devananda, who controls the Jaffana University administration, and is blind to the unauthorised arrests, assaults and beatings of the students by the army.
    Gota has ordered unwarranted PTA arrests of students.
    EPDP goons who are uneducated and unemployable prey on the thousands of widows and citizens for their existence.

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    Ranawaka started of with Environment and now Power and Energy. As an engineer he has failed to have any impact on either of these two sectors.

    He tries to infuse a flavour of religon with Engineering when he extolls the green concepts and holds bodhi poojas when it doesnt rain. At the same time he uses his position to influence govt policy in favour of majority rule. Despite his education he is similiar to Modawanse when it comes to talking about international plots, NGO’s and the West.

    The weak point is that he fails as an engineer given the technical failures of Norochchalai and CEB and also as a buddhist by ignoring the blatant violations of human rights in the north and south by the government. To remain silent and hide the truth is not becoming of those who profess to follow the highest standards of humanity and compassion. He expresses his concern about the demographic balance in the country mainly to rouse the emotions of the majority against the minorities.

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