By C.V. Wigneswaran –
Professor GL Peiris’s statement on ethnic or religious political parties need comment. He said in Bologna that ethnic or religious political parties in a Country do great damage. He referred to Muslims and Tamils in Sri Lanka saying they reached the pinnacle of political power and authority as members of (so called) National Political Parties. He said “So there is no need for them to detach themselves from the national polity, to segregate, to compartmentalize the national polity by the formation and the emergence of political groupings that seem sectarian?”
Firstly to deal with Tamils in so called National Political Parties. Have they been able to obtain reliefs to the Tamils suffering under the yoke of Sinhala hegemony?
The Tamils face political, social, economic ills and cultural degradation due to Sinhala hegemony in their areas specially in the post war period. What have the so-called Tamils who reached the zenith of political power in Sri Lanka been able to do to the Tamils of the North and East? Is it not a fact only those Tamils and Muslims and other minority groups who accept Sinhala hegemony and overlord ship who are able to come up among the so called National Political Parties?
The Military continues much to the detriment and safety of the Tamils in the North and East in several Camps. Have these Tamils been able to even decrease the numbers among the Military. In fact their numbers have increased after the Presidential election. The President himself got his votes on the basis that he is a Sinhala Buddhist despite his so called National Political Party. When the Sinhalese leaders themselves are using their ethnic and religious background to obtain votes for themselves why is Professor Peiris talking about damage to the Country from ethnic and religious political Parties? Is he including his Party too into this category?
Lands are being expropriated from the Tamil homelands by the Military and by Government Departments and by individuals including BUDDHIST priests. Are the so called National Parties taking up the matters? The Indo Sri Lankan Accord of 1987 identified the Northern and Eastern Provinces as the traditional homelands of the Tamils. The Sri Lankan Government was a signatory to the Accord.
Tamil speaking Officers selected to higher appointments in Government Service have been asked not to report for work while Sinhalese Officers have already been asked to take up the said appointments and work.
A Sinhalese Parliamentarian goes into Anuradhapura Prison in the night and harasses Tamil Political prisoners. What effective steps have been taken against him so far?
Harassment of the Tamils by the ethnically and religiously different people are taking place. Professor Peiris complains that our people must not think sectarian. If so who will take up the matters concerning the safety, dignity and equality of the Tamils, Muslims and other minority Groups in Sri Lanka? Will the Sinhala Buddhist accept the truth about their past? Will they accept that the Tamils and the Veddhas are the indigenous communities of this Island: that the Sinhala language came into existence only in the 6th or 7th century AD; that those who received Buddhism into the Island were Tamil Saivites; that there had been several influx of Tamils at different times from 3000 years ago and that the Tamil speaking are the majority among those who live in the North and East even today despite several attempts by the successive Sinhala majority Governments to change the demography of the North and East?
Professor must first try to shed the Sinhala Buddhist hue of those who are in his Government before talking about those who at the receiving end of discrimination, harassment and incarceration by his Sinhala Buddhist ethnic and religious Group.
*Justice C.V. Wigneswaran M.P.