25 September, 2020

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Extremist Reactions To Condemnation Of The Killings At Weliveriya

By Rajiva Wijesinha –

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha MP

The various reactions to the statement issued by Tamara Kunanayagam and several others about the Weliweriya incident indicate why Reconciliation in Sri Lanka is such an uphill task. One extreme is represented by Kumar David who claimed the statement was hypocritical because it ignored what he described as the tens of thousands of Tamils killed during the war. The other extreme was the view that the statement represented a break with the current government by rats leaving a sinking ship, who will end up with Ranil Wickremesinghe. Meanwhile the email address to which responses were originally requested, weliweriya@gmail.com, was blocked, and it seemed that most Sri Lankan newspapers were wary of carrying the statement.

It is a continuing comfort to be attacked by both sides, since I believe the statement represents the Middle Way. In political terms that is what the Liberal Party as well as Bandaranaike’s original SLFP stood for. It is on the basis of such moderation that the statement was made, and it is in line with the general positions on the national question of Dayan Jayatilleka and Tamara and me, who have unfortunately if perhaps understandably been given prominence together in one website which carried the statement.

With regard to the conflict, we have consistently defended the conduct of our armed forces, while we have also made it clear, most compellingly by Dayan in his book which incorporates the idea in its title, that the Sri Lankan government fought a Just War. Though we have all noted that there were civilian casualties, we have, with evidence, noted that charges of indiscriminate firing etc were absurd.

At the same time we have made it clear that there are some allegations, relating to the period after the conflict, which should be investigated. This is now the position also of the Sri Lankan government, following the Report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, and the Action Plan to implement these recommendations which has been adopted by Cabinet.

Unfortunately government has not followed our advice, which was that we should long ago have fulfilled the commitments it made in 2009, with regard both to political reform and a domestic mechanism to investigate charges (which took far too long to even initiate, and should even now be more transparent). In this context it should be noted that for five years and more we have been pointing out the need for prosecutions with regard to the killing of five youngsters in Trincomalee. It is still a blot on the record of our forces that that crime, which was nothing to do with the army, has not been followed up.

It is entirely in accordance with that position that we have asked for an independent investigation with regard to what happened at Weliveriya, and for punitive action against those responsible for abuses. Our statement also gives the lie to those who claim that the demand for justice with regard to the killings there comes only from those who attacked the government for its conduct of the war. And we continue to believe that we are capable of such an investigation ourselves, and do not need international involvement. Unfortunately, in the course of drafting, one important point was omitted, namely that our failure to act will strengthen the arguments of those who do want international interference – which it is possible some of the perpetrators would not mind, since there can be no doubt that what might be termed the Sarath Fonseka mentality still persists in some pockets.

In this context we were pleased by the forthright remarks on the incident of the new Army Commander, who represents what I consider the best traditions of the army. I say this because, in the thorough briefing he gave me on the strategy adopted in the East, for which he was largely responsible, he showed how civilian casualties were avoided. This helped me to give the lie to Human Rights Watch which had alleged that there were indiscriminate attacks on civilians, whereas its own detailed report made it clear that civilian deaths had occurred in only one instance.

This was when the LTTE had introduced mortars into a refugee centre, and I have no doubt that it was the gullibility – or perhaps the active connivance in the tactics of terrorists – that HRW evinced that encouraged the LTTE to repeat that performance on a larger scale in the North (ie, firing from amongst civilians is a win-win situation, because either the forces do not fire back – which did happen, which is why the last part of the war took so long – or else they do, in self-defence, but HRW and their ilk will claim that there were indiscriminate attacks on civilians).

Our position with regard to Weliveriya is precisely because we believe there is a distinct majority in government as well as amongst the forces who are moderate and believe we should fulfil the commitments made in 2009 by the President to the UN Secretary General as well as to the Indian government. Unfortunately there are a few people who wish to promote confrontation, and by claiming conspiracies without proper evidence, they have involved the armed forces in their Tiger-like tactics.

Thus, for the first time, the army has been responsible for civilian deaths. In our statement we referred to previous incidents after the war, but there were no deaths – as opposed to unwarranted strong arm tactics – in the North, and in the two incidents in the South where single deaths occurred, it was not the army that was responsible. One death could be seen as a contingency, albeit of unacceptable methods when there was no armed conflict, but three deaths smacks of a strategy that must be promptly repudiated.

I have no doubt that the President is as disturbed as we were about the incident, and I know how upset several Cabinet Ministers are. They must take the lead in preventing recurrence.

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Latest comments

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    Rajiv- why dont you stand up intthe Parliament and make the statement condemning the racisr attacks. WHy don you resign as an MP in protest.
    People like you are double faced racists.

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      DeSilva@,

      dont you feel that all other seniors too bear the same opinion about the govt and have no choice to be silent at this very critical stage where the govt deliberately on a process of even killing their innocent citizen.

      Great example: Welifweriya where innocent protesters asked for clean water were gunned down – what kind of idiots you should be not to feel with those innocent in the country ?

      Your ilk are a curse for this nation.

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        The curse of the nation is saffron robed bald headed racist supported by other Sinahala Buddhist establishments

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      Muslims we are show to international community our patient.One leading Sinhalese well paid Rajapakse (private)media totally mislead the story & publish the Grandpass incident.most of the people today refer the international media to get the correct picture of the country not the local media or state spokesman.Whom mislead whom.all international media saying Pakistan spy’s is under the state wing working in north against India.All medias are silent in this picture. Very soon we will face international force for peacekeeping in Sri lanka.We have to learn lot from Sudan & Indonesia.

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    To clarify further –and put it more starkly– Rajiva, Tamara and I stand by (a)the Resolution passed by a striking majority at the UNHRC special session of May 2009 and (b) the LLRC report.

    There are those who opposed that resolution and the LLRC report for eschewing the call for an international accountability mechanism to investigate the last stages of the war. We have not ‘converted’ to their view and are not likely to.

    There are also those in Govt and state who delayed the implementation of the May 2009 resolution (which was favorable to Sri Lanka) and deviated from it in important respects–thereby losing the votes at the UNHRC in 2012 and 2013.

    Rajiva, Tamara and I have remained quintessentially consistent. If others have pulled back from the May 2009 stand, it isn’t our fault.Our criticism remains true to — and from the standpoint and perspective of– UNHRC May 2009 (and the LLRC report).

    Therefore our criticism logically encompasses those policies, practices and personalities who have deviated from and thereby jeopardized the strong international (and of course regional) support that Sri Lanka enjoyed at the time.

    Our strong criticism of Weliweriya is by no means a contradiction of our earlier position. It must be noted that it is not only the three of us but also Mr Javid Yusuf, an LLRC Commissioner and former ambassador, who co-drafted and signed our statement on Weliweriya.

    We share a broadly similar view, including our opposition to ethnic and religious extremism.

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      Ethnic blind. It is funny dayan and Rajiva call others extremists. Haha.

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      Dayan,

      Stop keep parroting a lie. Can you explain two of your stands on accountability:

      1. As for war time accountability we the majority “don’t care a damn”.
      2. Accountability is a moral imperative. And you correctly question, rather late in the game:” how must that state have treated the Tamils in the closing stages of the war,….”

      You call that consistency?

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    Another majoritarian propagandist humbug!

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      Thiru:
      Succinctly and accurately put. As someone once said these are not rats but bandicoots leaving the sinking ship, taking the precaution of keeping a lifeline to it in the event that it metamorphoses into a seaworthy submarine!

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      Another illiterate fool with nothing constructive to contribute.

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    “Thus, for the first time, the army has been responsible for civilian deaths”

    Rajiv et el …what you are saying is that Sri Lankan army was never involved in any civilian killing…

    you guys are still in a state of denial…..
    No wonder that your statement received such reactions…

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    LLRC report is highly flawed: It white washes the war crimes committed. Even external observers say that. It’s like Mohan Peris producing an investigation report on the impeachment of the former Chief Justice.

    But MARA regime wouldn’t even grant the peanuts in the LLRC because their goal in Sinhalization of the North East as their final solution to Tamils. It is very similar to the Mahabaratha story, where the Dhuryothanas won’t even give 5 houses to the Pandavas.

    You will find this consistent with the ongoing genocide of Tamils since independence attaining its peak in 2009. MARA wants to finish the job started by D S Senanayake. Even Dudagemunu didn’t try it.

    We are wasting time arguing about trivial things while MARA is expeditiously Sinhalizing the North-East. Namal & Gotha are sending young Tamils by boats abroad, and making money out of it too!

    MARA knows that fools argue while he does!

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    “………..we have consistently defended the conduct of our armed forces……………………..”
    “……………………………the best traditions of the army”
    Ask the people of the north and east how the army behaves towards civilians,their familial occasions,blasting of their livelihoods,desecration of their temples – today it is reported that four temples have been vandalised & that the police are reluctant to visit & investigate,their lands being grabbed without any reaso or authority,thousands still prevented from returning to their homes,protesting students assaulted & taken to army camps for “rehabilitation” without any judicial process,tamil names being replaced by sinhala distortions,forced colonisation of north and east,
    preying on war widows & forced conscription of tamil women into the army.
    Rajiva is an apologist for the regime.
    Tamara in a previous avatar as an activist of the International Christian Students Federation & an interventionist at the former UN Human Rights Commission gave a long list of human rights violations in sri lanka,but after her recruitment by MR as a “diplomat” suddenly found the ‘humane just regime’ blameless!
    Rajiva blamed the French NGO for not withdrawing its 17 aid workers in time from Mutur for their murder, but not the actual murderers themselves!

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      Srilankan Army actions – killing young boys perhaps asking for clean water = mirror image of Rajapakse

      Criminal friendly society today = mirror image of Rajapakshe
      (CBK´s terms did not have today´s levels of crimes though the country fought the war heavily that time)

      Lawlessness and curtailing prevailing law in country = mirror image of Rajapaske

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    RW:
    The government in which you are a MP still maintains that there were “Zero casualties in Ealam IV war”. However, you say: “Though we have all noted that there were civilian casualties, we have, with evidence, noted that charges of indiscriminate firing etc were absurd.” How could you say that? I suppose the English I understand is different to your “Oxford” English. Either it has to be “Zero” casualties or “there were civilian casualties” Both can’t be true. Please don’t play with words in English though you had been a lecturer in English.

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    What Rajiva and Dayan advocate is exactly right and I fully endorsed the same.

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    Rajiva,
    You cannot have the cake and eat it. You are obviously not happy about the government. We can see that. But you cannot leave. Why? Perk is too much to give up. Greed. Principles? What nonsense? You will continue to complain within your circle. Pls continue. But stop preaching. And you call others extremists?

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    The reconciliation that Tamils talking is revenge from Sinhala – govt and the demand of Tamil – eelam on a silver platter.

    Otherwise, after 30 years of mayhem, why tamils are still crying out loud. Tamils who, suffered in the North and East, are still silent and their financial supporters living in the west and India and their well wishers such the Christian/Catholic church and their affiliated organizers or well wishers (most probably, Rajiv wijesinghe has the mentality because he is not a Buddhist and he has no any understanding or value of the Sinhala – buddhist civilization.

    As far as LLRC is concerned it is all for India, the west, Tamils, Tamils and for the church and most probably is not of much value, politically, to Sri Lanka.

    In the middle of all these, Mahinda Rajapakse is doing every thing for his benefit and for his clan’s future benefit. Because of heavy politicization, the following incompetence and neglect of bureaucrats, most probably destructive and treacherous actions ex-workers etc., result Weliweriya like incidences. Otherwise, which idiots allow building of factories that dispose chemicals in natural – neighbourhoods where people are relying on well water. They don’t have any urban planning. They don’t have environmental assessments. Politicians neglected neighbourhood cries and suffering simply because the owner was one of their prominent supporters. Finally, when they confronted this evil in a very organized manner, the govt got scared of a possible ARAB SPRING and settled it with the gun. Army just followed their books and nothing else.

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    The original statement, except for deafening silence on the current role of the armed forces in the North and its past role in the civil war, is a good one. However when it is issued over the signatures of Karunanayakam, Jayatilleke and Wijesinghe, who have long been and/or still are spokes-persons and apologists for the Rajapakse Government, concerns of hypocrisy are relevant, and raising the concern is in the public interest.

    All three took up absurd positions regarding civilian casualties in the war; they have been silent about continuing atrocities by the armed forces in Jaffna. The statement prolongs this hypocrisy. Hence those commentators who despise the thee are justified.

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    Rajiv Wijesinghe

    Please do not hide behind Dayan or Tamara,please use the word “I” not “we”

    According to you

    “In this context it should be noted that for five years and more we have been pointing out the need for prosecutions with regard to the killing of five youngsters in Trincomalee. It is still a blot on the record of our forces that that crime, which was nothing to do with the army, has not been followed up”

    The need for prosecution in the Trincomalee case is only because the army was not involved!

    Does it means that If army was involved the prosecution was not necessary.

    This is liberal logic.

    How about the prosecution in the action faim case? where the number killed was 17 and that it happened in Muttur several months later in the same year 2006.

    Is it because you are certain that in this case army was involved?

    I know your previous ridicules stand before the international forum

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    This guy Rajiv is a joker.

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    ‘Dayan,Tamara and I’ a famous phrase of Rajiva…….poor chap he does not feel confident to make a stand on his own so drags Dayan and Tamara along

    But I wonder where this so called concern of them was when Tamils were getting killed in 2009 or when the White vans played havoc pre 2009 or when allegations sexual harrasment in Menik Farm was brought along Rajiv rubbished it saying there are blue eyed children born to NGO workers in Wanni shame on him as he is a parasite in society!

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    Get into active politics, resurrect the Liberal party, get yourselves elected, go to parliament and fight the good fight !

    There are no shortcuts to CREDIBILITY….it entails a great deal of HARD work, ever hear the word ?

    The 3 of you could get enough votes from you different communities and social groups to get into parliament…I guess.

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    Another brownie point for the professor. He is still amongst the few who still wish to collect them.

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    RW, will you publish this on Daily News too?

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    Rajiva,

    You are two faced and a man of deception just like MR.

    Let me deal with your observation in the following order.

    1)The various reactions to the statement issued by Tamara Kunanayagam and several others about the Weliweriya incident indicate why Reconciliation in Sri Lanka is such an uphill task

    I am not sure as to why you feel that there is a connection between what happened at Weliweriya and Reconciliation process.

    Below is a part of her statement and from that it is obvious that all the requirements and obligation were ignored.

    The fundamental principles, rules and standards that should govern every organised State in the world today, whatever form that State may take, were violated last Thursday, on 1 August, in Weliweriya and Balummahara when army soldiers fired on unarmed villagers, killing several, among them two schoolboys. News reports allege more, with injuries to numerous others, of whom three are in a critical condition under intensive care, and also assaulting of journalists as well as youth.

    But reconciliation is a different matter altogether and that is healing the wounds between the perpetrators and perpetrated but this cannot happen while the perpetrators are still in power and roaming the street.

    2)With regard to the conflict, we have consistently defended the conduct of our armed forces, while we have also made it clear, most compellingly by Dayan in his book which incorporates the idea in its title, that the Sri Lankan government fought a Just War.

    The above is a typical reaction from a Government stooge like yourself and when you say that the government fought a Just War and for your information:
    a) It was NOT a just war as you put it as ours was struggle for freedom from years of tyranny by you lot starting from independence.
    b) The conduct of your armed forces amounted to war crimes and you are a Professor ( I don’t know in what ) and I am sure you know that according to international law you don’t shoot and kill a surrendering combatant . The reason why they did that was because they had orders from the top i.e Gotha and it would be a waste of time and resources to keep them locked up feeding.

    3)At the same time we have made it clear that there are some allegations, relating to the period after the conflict, which should be investigated. This is now the position also of the Sri Lankan government, following the Report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, and the Action Plan to implement these recommendations which has been adopted by Cabinet.

    The report of the Lessons Learnt was a comic act and nothing has been learnt or adopted.
    It is the same as a bunch of Criminals acting as JUDGE & JURY and I am sure even you will readily admit.

    4)Our position with regard to Weliveriya is precisely because we believe there is a distinct majority in government as well as amongst the forces who are moderate and believe we should fulfil the commitments made in 2009 by the President to the UN Secretary General as well as to the Indian government.

    As for the above again it is a typical reaction from a Government stooge and tell that to the bereaved families see whether they believe you and any statement from your President should be taken with a pinch of salt.

    5) I have no doubt that the President is as disturbed as we were about the incident, and I know how upset several Cabinet Ministers are. They must take the lead in preventing recurrence.

    Your president could not care a damn as he is only interested in clinging to power and even you I am sure can read the signs as the count down to fall from grace has started and no force on earth can stop it.
    Look at the turnoff events and he is forced to climb down
    1) He had no intention of holding elections in the North but has been forced into submission .
    2) Promised to remove Police and Land powers and forced to retract.
    3) Was not going to let Mrs.Pillai in to the country but not only is she coming but meeting all the Tamil Politicians and former LTTE members. Then again you will put your tail between your smelly legs and say that this demonstrates Governments good intentions and WE BELIEVE YOU.
    4) Send a high profile Minister to invite the Master and by the way even Her Majesty has not been afforded the luxury.
    5) Setting up enquiries to look into past murders and disappearances.

    Frankly it is too little too late and the rot has set in.

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    Rajiw
    U are a disgrace who speaks with two mouths.
    Don ‘t you see the Rajapaksha thuggery. I believe you want to forget it for your benefits. Have guts and resign.
    You will meet your match once the Rajapakshas are no more.

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    You know what happened to the Tamils in 1983 riots after 13 soldiers deaths. You know how many soldiers have been killed by the LTTE from 1983 to 2009. This will give some idea what would have happened to the Tamils during the war. President MR said that there is no discrimination in Sri Lanka. How can you say there is no discrimination? You gave compensations to the people who got shot by the Army in Weliweriya. You are also giving houses to the War Hero Families. What about a compensation to the Tamils who have lost their family members during the war. What about at least a mourning day for the innocent Tamils who have died during the war? Your actions are telling me that everybody died during the war was belongs to the LTTE. Trust me, those innocent people’s death will come and haunt you in due time.
    Sri Lanka is in a strategic location, but the rulers are not smart enough to take advantage of it, that is why they have been fighting since the independence. I have my doubts about the CHOGM in November. India hasn’t committed yet, Canadian PM said he will not attend, and he hopes the other leaders would take the same approach. Things are going to get worse in months. Not even one political leader has a political science degree. The political advisers aren’t smarter than their leaders. It shows their brain power. Whoever got political knowledge has been ignored, chased out of the country or killed. Thugs are in politics, judiciary and journalism. Basically thugs are running the country. The country is heading for crash landing, because truck drivers, taxi drivers and thugs are in the cockpit.

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