Betrayal manifests itself in many forms among which are that of an urbane, pious, and on the face of it, a pacifist. These are the sentiments expressed about Wigneswaran by a lot of those who toiled expending blood and treasure to mobilize the political establishments in Tamil Nadu and the West in the fight for the right of Tamils to forge their own destiny.
Educated at Royal College, Wigneswaran’s peers included cricket captain Wile, ruggerite ‘Roti’ Sivaratnam, and Karthigesu Dharmachandran. Many believe that this is a man who sees himself as being a Sri Lankan rather than a Tamil, and, yet seeks to lead the Tamil nation in that island. Some argue that he has no option but to embrace this identity because conservative Tamil society brand his progeny as being “half-caste”.
The Vedic chants, which he is fond of reciting at the beginning and end of speeches, and, the holy ash he smears on his forehead are seen as a mask he wears to hide his true intent. That is, to sell Tamils in Sri Lanka short, very very short!
People say he has “no dog in the fight” in the Tamils struggle for freedom while others ponder its pedigree.
The most shocking omission of all is Wigneswaran’s failure to robustly tackle the issue of war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated Sri Lanka’s forces on the constituency he seeks to represent –the most heinous atrocity of the twenty-first century. Forty thousand innocent Tamil civilians were slaughtered in the final stages of the civil war and over a hundred thousand remain unaccounted for in the Wanni region of the Northern Province.
Contrast this with him loudly protesting “illegal” impeachment of a Sinhala chief justice – his relative silence on the former is deafening!
Of note are his familial links to a serving cabinet minister in the Rajapaksa regime at the time it unleashed this holocaust.
His elevation by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to be their chief ministerial candidate is reflective of a malign trend within itself. That is, to promote an out of touch cabal of Colombo based lawyers at the expense of sons of the soil. Many look at this with dismay as history repeating itself. After all, it was the myopic, self-serving acts of a similar cabal of Colombo based lawyers at the helm of the predecessor to the TNA, the Illankai Tamil Arasu Katchi, that brought about the structural debilitation of Tamil society in Sri Lanka.
Wigneswaran is a septuagenarian. Many in the diaspora and Tamil Nadu will continence the brickbats he hurls at them, because they see him as a means to an end. That is, to show the rest of the world the intransigence of the Sinhala supremacist state. There exists a view that his time has come but it will also go soon; very soon! And, he fails to appreciate that without the enormous pressure brought to bear by Tamil Nadu and the diaspora, both the Tamils in Sri Lanka and the TNA will now have been reduced to naught, with his Vedic chants or not!
If Wigneswaran genuinely wishes to retain any semblance of credibility among those whom he seeks to represent, or pay heed to the Hindu philosophy that he so publically touts, he needs to bring to the fore the genocide that they had to endure and seek redress for them in multilateral fora.
More so because he is supposed to be an eminent jurist!
Else, by deliberate act or omission he will be seen as being complicit in whitewashing of these crimes, and, his name will become synonymous with that name in Tamil which singularly describes the act of most heinous treachery –Ettappan!