15 August, 2020

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Establishing Accountability Is The Path To Reconciliation In Sri Lanka

By G K Nathan

Dr. G K Nathan

Dr. G K Nathan

The pressure from world leaders on President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka, during his last term in office, to conduct an investigation on what happened during the last phase of the military conflict that ended in May 2009, was getting too hot to face and his claims that army fought an “anti-terrorists war” with “zero civilian casualties”, did not hold water with the world leaders nor with independent organizations. Rather than working cooperatively with the world leaders and the United Nation affiliated organizations, the ex-President Rajapaksa took the biggest gamble of his political career and called for a Presidential election two years ahead of the scheduled date, to meet the challenge from the world bodies with the mandate from the people. Timing of the election was determined by his astrologer and his hope of appealing to Sinhala Buddhist chauvinists to carry him over the line for a third victory in the last Presidential election; but his gamble failed and was voted out of office. The majority of people voted against him because they disapproved, setting up of a totalitarian regime and establishing a family dynasty in Sri Lanka; also big majority of multilingual, multireligious and multiethnic people of Sri Lanka wanted to live in harmony and in a free democracy showed their disapproval by voting against him and vent their revenge for their plight. This has happened in Sri Lanka at an election for the second time in the post independence era of Sri Lanka, where all the people joined hands and installed Mr Maithripala Sirisena as the new President of Sri Lanka. President Sirisena has promised to abolish the authoritarian Presidential system of government in Sri Lanka and said he will be only President for one term, which him more freedom to act; contrary to what ex-President Rajapaksa was trying to establish a life time presidency leading to family dynasty, like in North Korea. President Sirisena has many challenges to face and the hope of the country, but he was able to gain the confidence of the world leaders because of his humility, honesty and dignity shown, which led to acceptance in the world, in the shortest period after his election to the office of presidency. This was made possible with support coming from the immediate neighbour India and others like, the United States of America, the United Kingdom etc happened in the hope the situation in Sri Lanka will positively change for the good of the country and its people. Initial success arose from the efforts of new External Affairs Ministers Mangala Samaraweera who visited the key capitals of the world, in support of President Sirisena and conveyed a convincing message to the world leaders that determined the initial success. Now the onus is on the new National government to carry out all the “unknown promises” made to the world leaders that will be a challenge to President Sirisena. In Sri Lanka, President has said nothing publicly about resolving the long standing demands for recognition of Tamils’ rights nor responded to the call for accountability for what occurred during the military conflict, though agreed for an internal inquiry, the evidence from his election manifesto and the inaugural Presidential address given by him is less than convincing to bring about reconciliation. People have given the benefit of doubt to President Sirisena in the hope that he will be recognized as the President of Sri Lanka, who had brought unity among people?

Maithri Modi 2015The first time all the people of Sri Lanka joined together and made a similar election outcome was at the 1977 Parliamentary election in which Mr JR Jayewardene was elected as the Prime Minister with more than a two third majority. Unfortunately, Mr JR Jayewardene failed to usher in unity among people, instead grabbed power for himself as the President of Sri Lanka by proclamation of a new Presidential constitution at the expense of Parliamentary democracy. Under his Presidency two worst pogroms mostly against Tamils occurred in 1977 and 1983, no inquiry was conducted for 1983 pogrom; since then this practice has become the norm in Sri Lanka this explains why cooperation is not forthcoming from Sri Lanka leaders. Under J R Jayawardene authoritarian rule, the Tamil militancy became a force in Sri Lanka and India intervened and persuaded President Jayawardene to sign the Indo-Lanka pact in 1987. Following the accord, the 13th Amendment to devolve power to the Provinces was passed; unfortunately that remains partially fulfilled to date and successive governments too failed to fully implement the 13th Amendment. Looking back at the Presidential system of government for almost 38 years and what happened during this period, it can be said that this was the worst period, since independence in 1948. President Sirisena’s election and the promise to replace the Presidential system with a Parliamentary system was welcomed by many, especially after how the presidential system was exploited by ex-President Rajapaksa, which bestowed “pariah status” to his regime and he became unwelcome in International capitals. In contrast, the welcome carpet is being laid out to the new President Sirisena; which started with visit to India that was followed by to the UK and others countries are too waiting to welcome him, perhaps as the saviour of the country from Rajapaksa’s authoritarianism which was looked down by other countries. Many Tamil people are looking forward and welcoming the changes taking place in Sri Lanka, but more than six decades of deceptions and unimplemented political agreements to recognize Tamils rights’ have left many Sri Lankan Tamils living within and in foreign land as Diaspora, very uncomfortable to fully or openly support the new regime. President Sirisena has many challenges that will be posed by ultra-nationalists’ parties in Sri Lanka, but the National government that was formed with both major parties Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and United National Party (UNP), as main partners, together with other minor parties give hope of possible good outcome after six decades of suffering and uncertainty.

Two countries that are directly interested and willing to take a lead role to bring about harmony in Sri Lanka are India our immediate neighbour with common heritage and the UK as the former colonial power both have moral responsibility for the welfare and prosperity of people of Sri Lanka, in particular Tamils who have been victims since independence. The first time external intervention occurred was in 1987 with signing of Indo-Lanka accord and it is an unfinished initiative for India. The uncertain current situation in Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka, following the end of military conflict and unfinished effort to advance amicable settlement, has attracted their attention of leaders of India and the UK to visit Jaffna. The first head of government to visit the North was Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom to Jaffna on 16th November 2013 that occurred on the eve of CHOGM 2013 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The second foreign head of government to go to the North was the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi in Jaffna on 14 March 2015. Both Prime Ministers were warmly welcome by the people of Jaffna and the assurances from them left the Tamil people of Sri Lanka with hope. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to Sri Lankans at Sri Lanka Parliament, will that make the parliamentarians to seek to build a united, peaceful, equitable and prosperous Sri Lanka recognizing the rights of all people? Foreign heads of government visit to the North give the people hope, but so far nothing to date has restored their normal livelihood. Hopefully, some of the current initiatives by Prime Minister Modi in the North will lay the foundation for the future. Prime Minister Modi’s speech in the Sri Lanka Parliament gives a glimmer of hope to the people of Sri Lanka to build a United Sri Lanka sharing power with all the people within the country, following the path followed by of our immediate neighbour India and other countries like Australia, Switzerland, the UK, the USA, small and big countries, all have successfully established a system of government that can be adapted by Sri Lanka to bring peace and prosperity to all. The first opportunity came our way in 1948 at the time of independence, but that was missed and led to more than six decades of suffering of people in Sri Lanka. If the people of Sri Lanka have learnt a lesson, the second opportunity under the new President Sirisena and the proposed National government could easily bring an end to the conflict which began with independence in 1948. Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India in Sri Lankan Parliament, the Secretary of State John Kerry of the USA via indirect communication and the Prime Minister David Cameron of the UK meeting with President Sirisena in London have all emphasized the need for “ethnic reconciliation”. The search for a solution must be preceded by knowing the truth and understanding of what happened to all the victims to date in the country, which will bring an end to waiting for many thousands of people not knowing what had happened to their loved ones?

Accountability is Knowing the Truth

During and at the end of the military conflict, there were repeated calls from world leaders and International Human Rights Organizations emphasizing the importance of knowing the truth, then President Mahinda Rajapaksa as Commander in Chief of the armed forces and his sibling Gotabaya Rajapaksa as then Defence Secretary refused to cooperate with the international organizations and also, prevented an internal inquiry that meets International standards. The United Nation Secretary General to meet the demand from the world leaders, unilaterally without the cooperation of Sri Lanka appointed two committees: Panel of Experts to look into the military actions of the combating forces and a Review Panel to look into the role played by United Nation officials on the ground and as well as at higher levels during the conflict. Summary of preliminary findings was that both combatants were in breach of International Human Rights Law (IHRL) and International Humanitarian Law (IHL); the first committee estimated the death at 40,000 and the second committee put the number at 70,000; the UN was also found to have failed in their role during the conflict.

Following the above findings, the United Nation Secretary General referred the matter to the United Nation Human Rights Council (UNHRC); successive resolutions were passed in UNHRC, the session number and the year of passing resolutions are: 19th (March 2012), 22nd (March 2013) and 25th (March 2014), but Rajapaksa regime steadfastly refused to cooperate nor set up any internal mechanism. Finally based on the resolution at the 25th session the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) set up an Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL), the OISL report to be released at the 28th Session in March 2015, but was deferred to session 28th (September 2015) based on the undertaking of the new government of President Sirisena. President Rajapaksa after his military victory failed to take actions against perpetrators who went on attack on places of worships of Hindus, Muslims and Christians. Sri Lanka President Rajapaksa had the distinction of being a head of “a Pariah state” and being shunned by the democratic countries like India, the UK, the USA etc, but continued by to be received by totalitarian heads of government.

A comprehensive study titled The Social Architects numbers never lie was based on an independent investigation and a survey covering the period from September 2008 to May 2009 in the seven districts of North East Sri Lanka and concluded that 118,036 people died, the report was released on 14 March 2013. The period of investigation covers from the unilateral abrogation in January 2008 of the internationally sponsored Cease Fire Agreement (supported by the USA, EU, Japan and Norway) by then President Rajapaksa, to the end of the military conflict in May 2009. There is more than one reason why President Sirisena should engage the expertise available within the country to come out with a new report as to what really happened in the country. This initiative will get the support of all the International leaders and the United Nation which is well disposed to provide useful data, especially with the work done by the OISL, is well placed to play a key role.     Knowing the truth will make reconciliation a reality in Sri Lanka that will be most appropriate response to the call from the world leaders.

Challenges facing President Sirisena

A day after the Presidential election, results were officially announced and Mr Maithripala Sirisena of SLFP was sworn in as the President of Sri Lanka, in the presence of Justice Sri Pavan who was later appointed as the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka; contrary to practises of the former regime where nepotism played a key role in determining the appointment to higher offices. On the same day, Mr Ranil Wickremasinghe of UNP took oath as the Prime Minister and the cabinet was formed with members of political parties representing all ethnic, lingual and religious groups. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) decided to stay outside the government, but to support the National government from outside. Both main political parties the SLFP and the UNP coming together to form a National government, after six decades of competitive or adversarial politics between both major parties to gain power, often on the basis of communal politics at the expense of minority rights’, offers the best opportunity for the future. The new government announced a 100 day program, which is very ambitious and mainly focuses on: the restoration of democracy by abolishing of authoritarian presidential system of government which has brought Sri Lanka under very close International scrutiny; restoration of all independent commissions to increase transparency in governance, hopefully will tackle corruption and nepotism that peaked in the previous regime; re-establishment of democratic practices and good governance; introduction of right to information bill and a promise to dissolve Parliament on 23rd April 2015, followed by a Parliamentary election. It is unfortunate that the main reason for the current predicament of Sri Lanka resulting from Sinhala-Tamil conflict that began with “1956 Sinhala only bill”, has been set aside to be considered after the Parliamentary election, middle of this year; also nothing is said about the accountability and reconciliation between communities in Sri Lanka in the 100 day program. The slow progress and partial implementation of the 100 day program may have not met the expectation of all, but the good relationship that has been established with foreign countries welcoming the new President Sirisena and willing to engage with Sri Lanka; in particular, India, the UK and the USA their stand will greatly influence the final outcome and people of Sri Lanka should put to good use the new bond President Sirisena has established.

The new government has to re-examine their stand to hold the General election, prematurely while the 100 day program is only partially implemented and accountability for corruption, nepotism, human rights violation has not been fully examined and culprits identified. President Sirisena’s commendable efforts have unshackled Sri Lanka as “a Pariah state” named after actions of previous Rajapaksa regime. The regained recognition in the International arena has to be consolidated by cooperating with the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights to establish Accountability for past contraventions of human rights and for committing punishable acts in Sri Lanka, which will enhance Sri Lanka as the beacon of human rights in the world. President Sirisena, is in an enviable position to achieve this height, as he has already declared that he will be only a one term President, the question that arises is should he take accountability seriously at all levels that will bring all the sufferers together, which will lead to reconciliation of all. On the contrary rushing to a General election, which is not constitutionally due for another year will undo all the good work that has been started by the National government. Premature election before the culprits are identified may put the wrong people in the seat of power and premature end to good work that began under President Sirisena.

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    G K Nathan

    RE: Establishing Accountability Is The Path To Reconciliation In Sri Lanka

    Yes, they are accounting and counting. It is in the billions in money and thousands in lives,,.

    The Robbers, the Crooks, the Robbers and the Criminals, called CRS’s are keeping the money. Have you heard of IRCs?

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    It is disappointing but not surprising that the west and India have backed off on the war crimes International investigation now that they have a ‘friendly’ government in place in Colombo. It is now up to the UNHRC Chief to uphold the principles his organisation promotes.

    From past record of the Sri Lankan state, Tamils know that a domestic investigation will be a whitewash, a mechanism to protect powerful criminals. Not a single person was held responsible for all the past anti-Tamil pogroms which then allowed the state to murder Tamils with impunity. Why do we punish criminals? why do we lock up murderers? to ensure they cannot and do not commit crimes again.

    Holding the war criminals accountable is not only needed for reconciliation but is also a must to protect Tamils from state violence in the future.

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    The problem with the demands is that everybody wants to know the truth as they believe it. Unless information is found to substantiate their individual beliefs or if not political agenda they wish to promote, absolute truth (i.e. events as it happened and the natural causes for them) would not be accepted by them.

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    Activities of racist TNA for abetting aiding terrorism must also be accounted! We do not XXXXing want to be beacon of human rights! We want our people to stand on their feet, have a good education jobs houses and etc, Human rights will come when Kuhaka society learns to follow principles of lord Buddha!

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    Truth shall set the Tamil people free from oppression in the hands of the Sinhala-Buddhist racist state, its agents, and handlers.

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      Can you please tell me : WHY TAMIL NATIONALISM IS NOT RACIST ?
      Is it not based on Tamil Ethnicity and world view ?

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        sinhala_voice

        “Is it not based on Tamil Ethnicity and world view ?”

        Please read this letter and learn from it something that you have never had the fortune of learning.

        Letter from Gandhi to the Viceroy, Lord Irwin
        Enlarge Enlarge
        2 March 1930

        Dear Friends

        Before embarking on Civil Disobedience and taking the risk I have dreaded to take all three years, I would again approach you and find a way out.

        My personal faith is absolutely clear. I cannot intentionally hurt anything that lives, much less fellow human beings, even though they may do the greatest wrong to me and mine. Whilst, therefore, I hold the British rule to be a curse, I do not intend harm to a single Englishman or to any legitimate interest he may have in India.

        I must not be misunderstood. Though I hold the British rule in India to be a curse, I do not, therefore, consider Englishmen in general to be worse than any other people on earth. I have the privilege of claiming many Englishmen as dearest friends. Indeed much that I have learnt of the evil of British rule is due to the writings of frank and courageous Englishmen who have not hesitated to tell the unpalatable truth about that rule.

        And why do I regard the British rule as a curse?

        It has impoverished the dumb millions by a system of progressive exploitation and by a ruinously expensive military and civil administration which the country can never afford.
        It has reduced us politically to serfdom. It has sapped the foundations of our culture. And, by the policy of disarmament, it has degraded us spiritually. Lacking the inward strength, we have been reduced, by all but universal disarmament, to a State bordering on cowardly helplessness.

        In common with many of my countrymen, I had hugged the fond hope that the proposed Round Table Conference might furnish a solution. But when you said plainly that you could not give any assurance that you or the British Cabinet would pledge yourselves to support a scheme of full Dominion Status, the Round Table Conference could not possibly furnish the solution for which vocal India is consciously, and the dumb millions are unconsciously, thirsting. Needless to say there never was any question of Parliament’s verdict being anticipated. Instances are not wanting of the British Cabinet, in anticipation of the Parliamentary verdict, having pledged itself to a particular policy.

        The Delhi interview having miscarried, there was no option for Pandit Motilal Nehru and me but to take steps to carry out the solemn resolution of the Congress arrived at in Calcutta at its session in 1928.

        But the resolution of Independence should cause no alarm, if the word Dominion Status mentioned in your announcement had been used in its accepted sense. For, has it not been admitted by responsible British statesmen, that Dominion Status is virtual Independence? What, however, I fear is that there never has been any intention of granting such Dominion Status to India in the immediate future.

        But this is all past history. Since the announcement many events have happened which show unmistakably the trend of British policy.
        It seems as clear as daylight that responsible British statesmen do not contemplate any alteration in British policy that might adversely affect Britain’s commerce with India or require an impartial and close scrutiny of Britain’s transactions with India. If nothing is done to end the process of exploitation, India must be bled with an ever-increasing speed. The Finance Member regards as a settled fact the 1/6 ratio which by a stroke of the pen drains India of a few crores. And when a serious attempt is being made, through a civil form of direct action, to unsettle this fact, among many others, even you cannot help appealing to the wealthy landed classes to help you to crush that attempt in the name of an order that grinds India to atoms.

        Unless those who work in the name of the nation understand and keep before all concerned, the motive that lies behind the craving for Independence, there is every danger of Independence itself coming to us so charged as to be of no value to those toiling voiceless millions for whom it is sought and for whom it is worth taking. It is for that reason that I have been recently telling the public what Independence should really mean.

        Let me put before you some of the salient points.

        The terrific pressure of land revenue, which furnishes a large part of the total, must undergo considerable modification in an Independent India. Even the much vaunted permanent settlement benefits the few rich Zamindars, not the ryots. The ryot has remained as helpless as ever. He is a more tenant at will. Not only, then, has the land revenue to be considerably reduced, but the whole revenue system has to be so revised as to make the ryot’s good its primary concern. But the British system seems to be designed to crush the very life out of him. Even the salt he must use to live is so taxed as to make the burden fall heaviest on him, if only because of the heartless impartiality of its incidence. The tax shows itself still more burdensome on the poor man when it is remembered that salt is the one thing he must eat more than the rich man both individually and collectively. The drink and drug revenue, too, is derived from the poor. It saps the foundations both of their health and morals. It is defended under the false plea of individual freedom, but, in reality, is maintained for its own sake. The ingenuity of the authors of the reforms of 1919 transferred this revenue to the so-called responsible part of the dyarchy, so as to throw the burden of prohibition on it, thus, from the very beginning rendering it powerless for good. If the unhappy minister wipes out this revenue he must starve education since, in the existing circumstances, he has no new source of replacing that revenue. If the weight of taxation has crushed the poor from above, the destruction of the central supplementary industry, i.e. hand-spinning, has undermined their capacity for producing wealth. The tale of India’s ruination is not complete without reference to the liabilities incurred in her name. Sufficient has been recently said about these in the public press. It must be the duty of a free India to subject all the liabilities to the strictest investigation, and repudiate those that may be adjudged by an impartial tribunal to be unjust and unfair.

        The iniquities sampled above are maintained in order to carry on a foreign administration, demonstrably the most expensive in the world. Take your own salary. It is over Rs. 21,000 per month, besides many other indirect additions. The British Prime Minister gets £5,000 per year, i.e. over Rs. 5,400 per month at the present rate of exchange. You are getting over Rs. 700 per day against India’s average income of less than two annas per day. The Prime Minister gets Rs. 180 per day against Great Britain’s average income of nearly Rs. 2 per day. Thus you are getting much over five thousand times India’s average income. The British Prime Minister is getting only ninety times Britain’s average income. On bended knee I ask you to ponder over this phenomenon. I have taken a personal illustration to drive home a painful truth. I have too great a regard for you as a man to wish to hurt your feelings. I know that you do not need the salary you get. Probably the whole of your salary goes for charity. But a system that provides for such an arrangement deserves to be summarily scrapped. What is true of the Vice regal salary is true generally of the whole administration.

        A radical cutting down of the revenue, therefore, depends upon an equally radical reduction in the expenses of the administration. This means a transformation of the scheme of Government. This transformation is impossible without Independence. Hence, in my opinion, the spontaneous demonstration of 26th January, in which hundreds of thousands of villagers instinctively participated. To them Independence means deliverance from the killing weight.
        Not one of the great British political parties, it seems to me, is prepared to give up the Indian spoils to which Great Britain helps herself from day to day, often, in spite of the unanimous opposition of opinion.

        Nevertheless, if India is to live as a nation, if the slow death by starvation of her people is to stop, some remedy must be found for immediate relief. The proposed Conference is certainly not the remedy. It is not a matter of carrying conviction by argument. The matter resolves itself into one of matching forces. Conviction or no conviction, Great Britain would defend her Indian commerce and interests by all the forces at her command. India must consequently evolve force enough to free herself from that embrace of death.

        It is common cause that, however disorganised, and, for the time being, insignificant, it may be, the party of violence is gaining ground and making itself felt. Its end is the same as mine. But I am convinced that it cannot bring the desired relief to the dumb millions. And the conviction is growing deeper and deeper in me that nothing but unadulterated non-violence can check the organised violence of the British Government. Many think that non-violence is not an active force. My experience, limited though it undoubtedly is, shows that non-violence can be intensely active force. It is my purpose to set in motion that force as well against the organised violent force of the British rule as the unorganised violent force of the growing party of violence. To sit still would be to give rein to both the forces above mentioned. Having an unquestioning and immovable faith in the efficacy of non-violence, as I know it, it would be sinful on my part to wait any longer.

        This non-violence will he expressed through civil disobedience, for the moment confined to the inmates of the Satyagraha Ashram, but ultimately designed to cover all those who choose to join the movement with its obvious limitations.

        I know that in embarking on non-violence I shall be running what might fairly be termed a mad risk. But the victories of truth have never been won without risks, often of the gravest character. Conversion of a nation that has consciously or unconsciously preyed upon another, far more numerous, far more ancient and no less cultured than itself, is worth any amount of risk.

        I have deliberately used the word conversion. For my ambition is no less than to convert the British people, through non-violence, and thus make them see the wrong they have done to India. I do not seek to harm your people. I want to serve them even as I want to serve my own. I believe that I have always served them. I served them up to 1919 blindly. But when my eyes were opened and I conceived non-cooperation, the object still was to serve them. I employed the same weapon that I have in all humility successfully used against the dearest members of my family. If I have equal love for your people with mine it will not long remain hidden. It will be acknowledged by them even as the member of my family acknowledged it after they had tried me for several years. If the people join me as I expect they will, the sufferings they will undergo, unless the British nation sooner retraces its steps, will be enough to melt the stoniest hearts.

        The plan through civil disobedience will be to combat such evils as I have sampled out. If we want to sever the British connection it is because of such evils. When they are removed the path becomes easy. Then the way to friendly negotiation will be open. If the British commerce with India is purified of greed, you will have no difficulty in recognising our independence. I respectfully invite you then to pave the way for an immediate removal of those evils, and thus open a way for a real conference between equals, interested only in promoting the common good of mankind through voluntary fellowship and in arranging terms of mutual help and commerce equally suited to both. You have unnecessarily laid stress upon the communal problems that unhappily affect this land. Important though they undoubtedly are for the consideration of any scheme of Government, they have little bearing on the greater problems which are above communities and which affect them all equally. But if you cannot see your way to deal with these evils and my letter makes no appeal to your heart, on the 11th day of this month, I shall proceed with such co-workers of the Ashram as I can take, to disregard the provisions of the salt laws. I regard this tax to be the most iniquitous of all from the poor man’s standpoint. As the Independence movement is essentially for the poorest in the land the beginning will be made with this evil. The wonder is that we have submitted to the cruel monopoly for so long. It is, I know, open to you to frustrate my design by arresting me. I hope that there will be tens of thousands ready in a disciplined manner, to take up the work after me, and in the act of disobeying the Salt Act to lay themselves open to the penalties of a law that should never disfigured the Statute book.

        I have no desire to cause you unnecessary embarrassment, or any at all, so far as I can help. If you think that there is any substance in my letter, and if you will care to discuss matters with me, and if to that end you would like me to postpone publication of this letter. I shall gladly refrain on receipt of a telegram to that effect soon after this reaches you. You will, however, do me the favour not to deflect me from my course unless you can see your way to conform to the substance of this letter.
        This letter is not in any way intended as a threat but is a simple and sacred duty peremptory on a civil resister. Therefore I am having it specially delivered by a young English friend who believes in the Indian cause and is a full believer in non-violence, and whom Providence seems to have sent to me, as it were, for the very purpose.

        I remain

        Your sincerely friend
        (Sd.) M.K. Gandhi
        http://www.bl.uk/reshelp/
        findhelpregion/asia/india/indianindependence/
        indiannat/source3/

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    This is from NFZ team –
    The launch of the Sinhala language version of the film continues to get coverage – and the need for the film becomes ever clearer. Do please keep spreading the word about the website where it can be seen or downloaded. http://nofirezone.org/sinhala-version
    https://vimeo.com/122325601
    We have now also written to all of the main television networks in Sri Lanka offering them the film for transmission – and Callum has said he is happy to travel to Sri Lanka to take part in a live studio debate afterwards.

    More disappointing were the comments of President Sirisena (see video above). In his recent interview with the BBC in which he said (according to the translation by the JDS) that he did “not believe” the allegations in No Fire Zone (despite admitting he had not seen the film) and accused us of trying to “mislead the international community”

    When he was asked if he would allow the film to be shown or ban it, he said: “No, even to decide whether we must allow it to be shown, we have to watch the film. Because we don’t know what it contains. So we have to watch it first” http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1sl688m

    Clearly this represents a position very far from the “free press” he promised.

    Finally you may be interested in an article written by Callum for the influential Foreign Policy website which sets out what he believes should happen between now and September when the UN Human Rights Council inquiry (OISL) is published. That can be seen here: https://foreignpolicy.com/2015/03/12/stalling-justice-in-sri-lanka/ Do feel free to share and tweet the link.

  • 0
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    Those days they were talking about a political solution in order to stop violence and destruction.

    As they lost it, now accountability and reconciliation from the victim side.

    Terrorists are asking for accountability and reconciliation.

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