20 June, 2024


Gota Versus The Tamils & Muslims

By Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

Gotabaya Rajapaksa has won an immense landslide victory among the Sinhalese (72% of Sinhala Buddhist and nearly 60% of other Sinhalese – Catholic/Christian – voted for him). Equally stunning was his total rejection by Tamils and the Muslims. Never before has polarisation been so stark in our electoral history. However, that is all water under the bridge now. How to go forward? The spirit of this column is: 1) Let’s make proposals that are legitimate and feasible; but 2) let’s keep up our guard till be have assurance that we can safely lower our guard in case Gota, his government and his loyalists turn out to be a bad. Allegations about Gota’s human rights violation record can be ignored only at peril.

The economic programme, constitutional intentions and approach to minority fears are all crucial to how the government will evolve. This short column comments on only the third topic. An old leftist university friend, now an ardent Gota admirer, emailed me as follows: “I hope you see is that a separate state for Tamils (more correctly N&E Tamils not estate Tamils who never joined the Elam demand) or a form of devolution that gives police and land powers is not a solution. The latter would be a first step to future wars and a Kashmir or Palestine situation. Let us spare future generations the horrors of another Ethnic war. Today, with the clear mandate given to Gota there is an opportunity for a solution. It takes two to tango; it works in both ways. What we need is some programme of conflict resolution and healing of past animosities”.

The sticking point here is police and land powers. After large scale civilian deaths it is unlikely Tamils will surrender the option of monitoring the police in their areas. Excluding Tamils and Muslims from land powers in their areas of domicile is also likely to be no-go. If these views reflect Gota’s, there will no settlement of minority concerns by his regime. This is the result of Gota’s obligations to his Sinhala Buddhist constituency.

This will swell to confrontation with India if there is Tamil unrest in the coming years. Indian external affairs minister S. Jaishankar met Gota in Colombo on Tuesday and told him: “The Indian government expects the you to take forward national reconciliation and meet the aspirations of the Tamil minority for equality, justice, peace and dignity”. Jaishankar as Mody’s emissary also conveyed an invitation to Gota to visit India which was accepted. This is a ballet that Lanka and India have danced time and again since 1983 if not earlier. The pressuer on Gota to whittle down, if not completely deny devolution, exercised by his chauvinist lobbies are immense and progress is unlikely. Mody does not care a fig for the Muslims, he will drown them all in the Indian Ocean if he could, but Tamil Nadu is a different story, so a regional imbroglio is again in the making.

If President Gotabaya wants to be remembered as a solver of the ethnic problem in addition to his other successes, he will do well to take note of a poster that has been coming up in Hong Kong reminding student rioters that there are things not to do if one is demanding democracy. Meaningful devolution of power to the minorities is essential if there is to be meaningful democracy. If the minorities are angry and truculent and feel alienated all Gota’s other development plans will come to grief.

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Latest comments

  • 1

    Someone was talking about minority grievances…………..There are grievances felt by many types of minorities, ethnic, religious, caste, social etc. Rural & urban communities belonging to all ethnic, religious groups have many economic grievances (i.e. poor). There are also majority grievances that need addressing. Therefore one set of grievances cannot be taken in isolation for solutions because the solutions could adversely impact grievances of other communities. The voting patterns indicatesjust that.

    • 0

      Kumar: let us be clear about one thing.
      It is not ex-US citizen (?) goon Gota but the biggest Rogue State in the world that is the greatest threat to peace and ethnic and religious amity in Sri Lanka USA divides, distracts with religious violence, and fake Human Rights narratives, and rules the world where it has over 800 military installations all over the world. USA desperately wants to set up military bases and servicing hub for its Indian Ocean war machine in Sri Lanka.
      It is US-Saudi Special Operations Forces (SOF) which organized the Easter Sunday bombings to weaponize religion so that SOF could rush to the humanitarian rescue of Lanka and so that Puppet Ranil would sign SOFA, MCC before he lost the elections.
      Wake up KD and smell the toast!

  • 1

    KASmaalam K.A. Sumanasekera

    Are you friends with Dinesh Gunawardena?
    He may be able to fix you in a good job in foreign High Commissions or Embassies.

    • 1

      Dear Native,

      This is like David and Goliath.. Isn’t it Native..
      But this David is no Bible David .
      – .
      Can he roll the mighty Goliath this time with a Stone, when Diaspora , Wahabi Lands with plenty of Dosh, Sampathar, Surendran ,Abraham, Sivajilingam , Velupulle, and now Bathudeen, Rauf Hakeem and Kabir Hashim are all in one..

  • 2

    In view of the demographic distribution of minorities (all Tamil speaking people irrespective of their religion, caste or the date of arrival) there is NO conceivable solution to the ethnic problem in Sri Lanka.
    Implicit in the demand for separate ethnic and religious enclaves with police and land powers is the eventual Sinhala demand to EXPEL all +50% Tamils (all Tamil speaking people irrespective of their religion, caste or the date of arrival scattered across the island) presently living in Sinhala majority provinces. Unless official agreements are reached at the outset for peaceful relocation forced inter migration between the provinces is bound to happen anyway , Rohingya style.
    AND WHEN THAT HAPPENS THAT IS THE ‘REAL’ ETHNIC PROBLEM IN SRI LANKA., learned men like you are working overtime to germinate.


  • 0

    I was of the opinion n the muslim
    votes were 50 / 50

  • 3


    First of all there is a lo of Misinformation & lies being put out and we are now seeing ffect of Gothas Presidency for free speech.

    1) People have now come forward to vouch for GR & Namal the Paksa that they asked to implicate GR & Namal in the killing of Thajudeen which os a LIE. It was lust by Roshitha for Tahjudeens Girlfriend which cost him his life . At the time Gotha wasDefence Minister.
    2) It is reported in Ino Lanka that marauding Indian Soldiers preventec and detained Vaiko and supporters which is another LIE. This is to divert attention from Gothas difficulties in Delhi succumbing to Indian Demands.
    3) News filtering through that Tamil parties are in disarray which is another LIE.

    There will be many more LIES when Gotha arrives back having given away further Ground to Mr.Modi . It is a slippery slope against a Powerful Neighbour.

  • 0

    How will Gota a die hard racist in his heart of hearts come forward to solve the ethnic problem. If at all he will only escalate it and make it worse. Bensen

    • 1

      Bensen Berner
      Well, the problem with the ethnic problem is…there is no ethnic problem! If you can, clearly tell me what is the actual problem there is between the Sinhalese ethnicity and tamil ethnicity. Most of this “ethnic problem” is just tamils being upset about not getting there eelam.

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