By Arun Kumaresan –
This incident and subsequent reaction on media needs scrutiny. The issues involved are;
- Related to Protocol
- CM abusing navy office
- Role of the Governor
- The reaction of the media and,
- Response by the Tri Forces.
Protocol – In an event attended by the Chief Minister Nazeer Ahamed (CM) in his own province he should be afforded due recognition and courtesies. In a similar event happened in a province outside North and East and, were – CM not being allowed on the stage – we may have witnessed responses anything between similar to the words used in the parliament or a walkout in protest by the said CM.
CM abusing navy officer – Totally unwarranted but he still could have maintained his stand and remained on stage whilst maintaining the decorum and take it up subsequently or showing his displeasure to the governor for the latter’s intervention. If he has done this and not used the word ‘idiot’, he would have stamped the authority of a Chief Minister not only in his province but the province adjacent to him. CM should not shy away saying sorry to the Navy Officer for using the word ‘idiot’, whilst maintaining his stand and escalate his concerns for arbitration by the relevant authority who have privy to all facts.
A military officer in uniform at a civilian function with politician on stage – Civilian rule has returned and there is no role for military. They should not be allowed to compere or sell vegetables; a Yahapalanaya promise. In peace time they should sharpen their core competencies and should only come out in aid to civil power or during calamities. If the Navy officer was thrust into this job or an event organised by Navy and he was the Master of Ceremony; he should have pre briefed the CM of the program and told his position in this function. If CM was a non invitee then situation should more cautiously handled to a avoid embarrassment.
The general reaction – The reaction revolves around to the ethnicity of the CM and capitalise nationalistic emotions making military as scapegoats. Unfortunately, in a nation where politicians assault and use of filth of barbaric nature and where politicians protect rapists and murderers, the CM’s act is nowhere close to what we have seen both in the parliament and outside. MP Harin Fernando after making a barbaric comment remains as an honourable member in the parliament. If it had been any other CM from other seven provinces we would have seen a section of clergy and laity justifying the stand of our beloved Hon. Chief Minister. ( Garu Mahaa Ameti Thuma!!!).
Role of Governor – We never hear the very existence of the Governor in the seven provinces outside North and East. This may be due to the period of transition and hope not for the showmanship of the remaining two. The resultant effect is the public sector, Police and Military are having greater dealing with the Governor than the elected Chief Ministers. This counters the Government’s efforts towards reconciliation and building foundations of partnerships. By Governors own admission he had given the green light for him to come by road. In such an event Governor too has to take the major blame as he should have gracefully invited the CM on stage. At least when CM protested at first instance he should have promptly responded and called the CM to be his side or have the guts tell him please go and sit down. What appears on the clip appears to indicate Governor preferred to be alone with the US Ambassador.
Responses by Tri Forces – In this incident the responses by Tri Forces is an overreaction. It only adds fuel to the anti ethnic and anti government forces. Navy Commander too should take some blame for exposing his officer to such environment. But he has the right to escalate the issue of abuse for further investigation by the civilian authority who will tackle the issue in hand and resolve and give due guidelines to prevent recurrence. The arbitrary announcements such as Tri Forces To Boycott Eastern Province Chief Minister ‘‘is not called for. As the constitution of Sri Lanka – the control of military is exercised by the civilian authority – not vice versa.
Military uniform should be given the same sanctity as the robes of the clergy. The day clergy forgot this and entered parliament we saw what happened. Without even giving the respect to men in robes our elected political thugs assaulted and squeezed the genitals of a priest on the floor of the parliament and sent him to hospital. The robe was disgraced by the very priest who thought it fit to hold a political office. Hope, the same fate does not befall the military uniform. Communiqués on this issue purported by Secretary Defence; and the stand taken by Tri Forces has been pre judgmental. This only aided fuelling ethnic centric emotions by persons with vested interests. Since then the Secretary Defence has backtracked and reworded his stance – in the best interests of both sides decisions were taken in not taking part in events attended by CM. Prime Minister too, has advised both parties to remain silent until the return of the President.
This whole episode however miniscule it may be in the conduct of affairs of a nation epitomises emotions, passions, currents and under currents, which needs serious attention by the Government. If we believe in the provincial council system as a viable model we have to gracefully hand over the reins to CM without pulling it from another direction. Here it is clearly evident there has been smoke under the carpet in the working relationship between both the Governor and the CM. Central Government cannot encourage such situations and has to address the issues as and when it occurs.
Social media has shown overwhelming support to the concerned Navy Officer and the use of the word idiot is seen as a grave unpardonable crime. Unfortunately, filth spoken by legislators in parliament is forgotten with an apology and it had lukewarm response on the social media.
Military should re posture itself to be a viable entity in peace times. They are professionals and they do not require sympathy or empathy from anyone; may it be the politicians, clergy or the general public. Military should shun events of this nature including so called ‘Upahara Ulelas’ politicians organise to promote themselves. This will make the commemoration day held once a year more meaningful where the entire nation joins in saluting those who made the supreme sacrifice.
May this episode help the political authority to give direction and resources to re posture Sri Lankan Military to face future challenges both nationally and globally.
Plato. / May 27, 2016
A cogent and clear analysis of this whole saga.Easily,the best presentation so far,on the underlying issues.
I just wish to quote to two of your lines…
—As per the Constitution of Srilanka the control of the Military is exercised by the civilian authority and not vice versa.
—Communiques on this issue purported by Sec/Defence and the stand taken by Triforces has been pre judgmental
You have hit the nail on its head Arun!
In this context the Chief Ministers cantankerous behaviour pales into insignificance!
dingiri / May 27, 2016
Remember how Wimal Weerawanse got an army officer in the Vanni transferred merely because he mentioned the names of the donor countries (India in this case) who proivided funds for reconstruction work in the Vanni at some meeting in Vavunia.
NGO basher Weerawansa’s point was that the funds from the donor the country comes direct to the government and that it was the government’s decision to use it for reconstruction work in the Vanni. Therefore the credit should be given solely to the then government instead of the Donor country! Of course Gota agreed and transferred the officer immediately.
Stungun / May 27, 2016
Arun Kumaresan – Air Vice Marshal (Ret’d),
Trying to groom in the lines of used elastoplast Hari and the rest across the palk straits?
“”May this episode help the political authority to give direction and resources to re posture Sri Lankan Military to face future challenges both nationally and globally.””
Creeping Pakistan heeling Dance.
The new Lanka watte’s for patriotism,faith and loot.
The villagers who run the country started it first – military in civil affairs- doom of death.
international is not your for you who cannot manufacture a gun or without copy but yet putting hand in every other nations pocket-
The Pickpockets. who the sinhala military and fostering ethnic divide, international divide.
Can you militarily wage war with giant neighbour? They are at service south china sea for the IC Keep off the B.Sh*t. there are no heroes at war that you started within.
Yehiya / May 27, 2016
Lot of things to learn from this article.
sach / May 27, 2016
The author raises very important points and agree with most of them. That is why I said government should rethink about the governer, CM and give priority towards protocol
proudman / May 27, 2016
“Social media has shown overwhelming support to the concerned Navy Officer and the use of the word idiot is seen as a grave unpardonable crime”
SOCIAL MEDIA HAS TAKEN an interest in this case to tghis extent simply because they see it an insult to a sinhala officer by a muslim politician.
They simply do not consider the protocol. The CM was elected by the people of EP and any official function in that province should give priority to the CM of the province.
The Navy has no business to be a compere for that event. It should have been a civilian who can converse in Tamil as the school concernd is a Tamil school.
The social media did not mind how wimal weeravansa insulted police officer in front of th UN office in colombo Nor were they cared how he insulted and got transferred an army officer from vavuniya.
Rob / May 27, 2016
Well said Sir !
CALIPH / May 27, 2016
Very sensible article by Arun Kumaresan – Air Vice Marshal (Ret’d)
Under the 13th Amendment of the Lankan constitution, elected provincial governments of the North and East have very little power. The provincial public service is in the hands of the Governor. The people elected Provincial CM has to get the sanction of the Governor before tabling it in the Provincial Council. Provincial Governors, as representatives of the Central government, have their way over an elected CMs. This rule is only for North and Eastern province
But this is not the case for the other provincial CMs, though it has been an issue in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, where the Tamils and Muslims are in a majority.
However the way the Eastern province CM reacted on the Navy Officer wasn’t right. Rather he should have called the governor an Idiot.
Analyst / May 27, 2016
Idiotic .. Bull sh…t Media is at it again.
They are the cause for creating Racial intolerance , and causing disharmony. The Yahapalanaya has allowed it to erode to this level.
At the moment the media is not helping the country in anyway ! They tend to spread Lies, Concocted stories, Playing for the majority of Racists and the EX Bullsh…t Illiterate Rowdy who ruled our country until 2015.
The Media is waiting to bury all the corruptions and the Loots till the number one Crook comes back to power.
In their dreams and Dream on stupid ,gutless Srilankan Media.
Sinhalaya / May 27, 2016
“Governor too has to take the major blame as he should have gracefully invited the CM on stage.” On the CM’s voluntary admission it was the Governor who had invited him on stage, likely after finding the breakdown of protocol. It is graciousness and hence the blame alleged on te Governor is erased!
old codger / May 27, 2016
AVM Kumaresan has written a very sensible article. The media is in a frenzy over this incident. There are racial undertones. But what is most apparent is that the military is expected by the media to be treated as some kind of sacred cow, not to be criticized in any way, rather like the Sangha, who cannot be criticized even when they shoot Prime Ministers. Not I am ascribing blame to the Navy officer.Personally, I think he deserves an apology from the CM, and no more.
Furthermore, has the Navy the authority to boycott anyone, politician or not? Have the Forces taken on an independent existence, sans civilian control? This is a very dangerous precedent.
Pygmalion / May 27, 2016
My gut feeling why this whole incident is blown out of proportion is due to the fact that a Muslim has called a Sinhalese an IDIOT IN PUBLIC!
Analyst / May 28, 2016
Spot on , the whole lot of them are idiotic Modayas. Infested with IDIOTIC EGO.
Analyst / May 28, 2016
What do you get when you Cross a JUNGLE IDIOTIC MODAYA WITH A JUNGLE SINHALE HANNIBAL??
YOU GET A TAILESS MULE.!!!
NEH!! Neh!! Neh!!
jim softy / May 28, 2016
If forces people did not liberate the country from LTTE, this cheap minister still would be in his home hiding.
Now big mouth.
Nimal / May 28, 2016
Very logically written. Lot to learn from. Many thanks Arun.
T Wickramaratna / May 28, 2016
Governor has invited the CM to the stage. So why blame him for some one
else s lapse
Afzal / May 28, 2016
The disgusting mentality of majority community of Sri Lanka is at display once again. Every time an incident happens involving a community from minorities no matter how insignificant the issue is, the majority ensure that the issue is blown out of proportion. No matter how hard you try to reconcile with the majority, they will never fail to spit out their venom on minorities any given opportunity. A bitter truth learnt.
sinhala_voice / May 28, 2016
priyangika / May 28, 2016
A well written unbiased article. From what he has written, the governor being a former high ranking official who really knew that he was coming, he should have provided him a place on the stage. As CM is a political human being, he may be furious but as the writer says he shouldnt have burst into tantrums. But what hasn’t the politicians done in the past as the writer points out. Ethnicity also plays a role here
Ajith / May 28, 2016
Ceylon did not have the problems that we have gone throgh during the past seven decades period under a merged Sinhalese lead governments in the name of democracy. The country was in peace for nearly seven centuries under foregin occupation or even before that when the country was ruled by kings with three kingdoms. What does it imply? I am not going to answer this question. I really don’t know the answer for this question. It is open for a discussion!
jim softy / May 29, 2016
The event was funded by the Navy, organized by the navy.
but, according to this author, Navuy can not be their.
[It is said that the event was organized by the Navy to declare open a computer unit and a science lab at the Sampur Mahavidyalayam to the benefit of the students. This is commendable. On the Navy initiative, they were the donations of the David Pieris Group and the incident has happened when some school bags were being distributed to the students on the stage. As the organizers of the event, it may be the prerogative of the Navy to choose the chief guest for the event although they could have invited both the Governor and the CM as chief guests or one as the guest of honour. ]
Probably this guy is one who gave information to LTTE movements about air force movements
Arun / May 29, 2016
Thanks jim softy for the interesting comments. By your last sentence you insult our Sri Lankan Intelligence Services who have a proud record of annihilating two insurgencies and the separatist movment. I am a proud Sri Lankan who served the nation from 1981 to 2011.
Hope you too are an able bodied person and would have done the same thing to serve the nation in the hour of need.
I have come across many people from all communities living in Sri Lanka and abroad stay in the side line as spectators cheering and clapping their hand for other mothers’ sons to fight it. This is not a cricket match. Blood burnt the grass on the field. All types of conflicts 1971, 1977 – 2007 and 1989/90 100,000 plus men women and chlidren died from all sides. I think we should not spread hatred in our country thrice visited by Lord Buddha
‘Na hi verena verāni sammantīdha kudācanaṃ
Averena ca sammanti esa dhammo sanantano.’
jim softy / May 29, 2016
I mistook your name and I thought you are a retd. Tamil officer and he is preparing to preach about homeland.
Arun / May 29, 2016
One a point jim s. The contents within brackets the information you and SL Navy have privy may help the people who are inquiring into this. My comment was based on the points on the opening para and trust your rational mind has power to comprehend which is not in relation to the facts you have stated.
My question to you is, if my name was AVM Aruna Kumarasena, how you have worded the last para?!!!!!!!
Arun / May 30, 2016
Hi Jim S,
Nothing to feel sorry. These are mature discussions. I will not elobrate now but please watch out for another article (if editor permits) to further discuss your posts vis a vis mine.
I absoultly respect your right to express your openions. Have a great day.
The Croc / May 29, 2016
A balance article about an issue that was blown out of propotions to pease the gallery. The publicity given for such issue indicates the itellectual power of the common mass. We as a nation loves to hear the BS than the reality. Our perception on reality is restricted only to Reality Shows in media. Our media is promoting what they think best for us. Not what is realy best for us.
The role of military during peace time is obviously to sharpen the core competencies. However given the cicumstances there isnt any slightest indication on the technological transformation of our military forces to face the realities of the 21st century. Once we lose expertise in combatting terrorism, it is inevitable that the military to fall back to the ceromonial status representing sporting arena and independence day parades.
In a nation where the ideology of success is based on racism, the COLLEGE, ability on english language and the area that you represent; the real development of an intelligent human being is remained to be in the same level at least for another 50 years. By that time the world would have started migrating to MARS whilst we will try to migrate to Aussie or somewhere else.
Jim Softy representation indicates his class. A product that has never developed intelligence and instead hate, lack of respect, indicipline and exploitation being inculcated from day one througout his upbringing..
Edward Anandarajah / May 30, 2016
You have analysed this matter thoroughly and beautifully covering all aspects.
I totally agree with your analysis and comments.
The behaviour of the CM cannot be condoned.
At the same time, the core reason and the background to this incident should be looked into by the Government.
sam / May 30, 2016
the writer is an A class [Edited out] I am sure he was nevery involved in the war or played an active role in it. Hence his letting down of the forces imbecile
Arun / June 1, 2016
Thank every one for enriching the reader with their points of view. Thoughts of those with differed openion is much respected. That’s what everyone of us dream – to have room and space for a democratic platform to exchange ideas without fear.