The Chief Minister of the Northern Province Mr. Canagasabapathy Viswalingam Wigneswaran made a “private visit” to India in November 2014. It was reported that he was invited to deliver a memorial lecture in Chennai to commemorate a civil liberties activist Mr. K.G. Kannapiran, who is a person from the legal fraternity. Later Mr. Wigneswaran also attended a World Congress of Buddhism and Hinduism in New Delhi which was graced by Dalai Lama, among others.
At the World Congress of Buddhism and Hinduism Mr. Wigneswaran had complained to the Dalai Lama about attacks on and destruction of Hindu temples in Sri Lanka. It is true that, during the time of the previous Rajapaksa regime, places of worship of minority religions came under frequent attack by religious bigots who had the tacit patronage of the ruling coterie. As a matter of fact many more Churches and Mosques were attacked than Hindu temples; in this circumstance, the Chief Minster complaining about the attacks on Hindu temples only smacks of parochial partisanship.
It was unbecoming of the Chief Minister of a multi-religious province to highlight the attacks on Hindu temples only to the Dalai Lama. The Chief Minister should be aware that the population of Christian faith comprises twenty percent and the population of Islamic faith three percent of the total population of the Northern Province according to the Census 2012.
It was also reported that Mr. Wigneswaran had also paid two other visits in India which are ethically and morally reprehensible.
One was to an ashram of late Swami (sic) Premananda in Trichy in Tamilnadu. Premananda was born in Matale (Sri Lanka) but moved to Trichy (India) after the 1983 riots and set-up an ashram there. He was arrested by the police on charges of rape and murder of few female disciples within the ashram, convicted, and sentenced to life imprisonment in the 1990s. He died in prison on 21 February 2011.
It was disgraceful for the Chief Minister of the Northern Province, Mr. Wigneswaran, to pay respects to a rapist and murderer while violence against women (including rape) in his province is rampant, which Mr. Wigneswaran often blames on the security forces personnel. His visit to the ashram of a deceased criminal is an affront to women who outnumber men in his province and who had undergone immense suffering during the course of the long civil war. Even worse is the fact that, in April 2015 Mr. Wigneswaran had written to the Prime Minister of India pleading on behalf of the family members of the disciples of Premananda who are co-convicts in the rape and murder cases and serving life sentences in the prisons in Tamilnadu.
It is also important to note that the disciples of Premananda, including the Chief Minister Wigneswaran and the Minister for Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs Mr.D.M. Swaminathan, had a commemorative meeting for the late Premananda in Barnes Place, Colombo, in March 2015. It was disgraceful for the Chief Minister “Hon. Justice (sic) CV Wigneswaran” (as noted by the Northern Provincial Council website www.np.gov.lk) and the Minister of Hindu Religious Affairs to be worshiping a rapist and murderer. The politicians are expected to be role models for the citizens they represent; not to patronise rapists or murderers.
Mr. Wigneswaran is also infamous for frequent sexist gaffes (against women) in public. One such was against the former Chief Secretary of the Northern Province (top most civil servant at the provincial level), Mrs. Ramesh Wijeyaluckshmi (the first ever female Chief Secretary in the country and a widow). Whatever the political differences between the Chief Minister and the Chief Secretary, the insinuation of a sexual nature against the former Chief Secretary sometime in 2014 is an affront to women in general and the widows in particular. There are unusually high numbers of widows in the Northern Province (estimated to be between thirty and forty thousand) as a result of the long drawn out civil war whose plight has been neglected by the Tamil National Alliance provincial administration in the NP. The Chief Minister Wigneswaran (aka Justice Wigneswaran) should have professional decorum in public pronouncements.
This author also learns that the Chief Minister Wigneswaran had met the head of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS – National Volunteer or Patriotic Organisation) in New Delhi in November 2014. The RSS is a Hindu supremacist organisation notoriously famous for the murder of Mahathma Gandhi and frequent attacks and pogroms against minority Christian and Muslim communities in India and their places of worship since independence to date. The Chief Minster should explain the purpose of meeting the RSS chief to the people of Northern Province. Mr. Wigneswaran also should explain the difference/s (if any) between the RSS and the Buddhist supremacist organisation, Bodu Bala Sena (BBS – or the Buddhist Power Force), in Sri Lanka, which he often chastises for championing hatred against the people of minority religions.
Furthermore, the Chief Minister (CM) of Northern Province (NP) appears to dodge meeting useful persons from overseas and within. It was reported that the Malaysian Special Envoy on Infrastructure to India and Southern Asia (with ministerial rank), Mr. Samy Vellu (former longest serving President of the Malaysian Indian Congress and the second longest serving minister in the country), visiting Sri Lanka in March 2015 wanted to meet the Chief Minister to explore investment opportunities in the NP, but the CM had not responded to the request for a meeting. The Chief Minister should be aware that Malaysians are one of the largest investors in Sri Lanka and the NP should proactively seek private or public Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from Malaysia. Some members of the Northern Provincial Council also complained publicly last year that they are unable to meet the Chief Minister to talk about provincial matters.
This author also learns that the CM of NP had attempted to hire a former Tamil Tiger mole in the UN who held a high position in the UNDP office in Colombo (deputy head of the Umbrella Project) during the time of the ceasefire (who had subsequently worked for the TRO office in Colombo since the Tsunami) and an Australian national currently living in Sydney to be an advisor to him in early 2014. Apparently the mother of the former Tamil Tiger mole is said to be a family friend of the Chief Minister. It is learnt that the previous Rajapaksa government had turned down the request by Mr. Wigneswaran to provide dual nationality to this former Tamil Tiger mole in order for him to be hired as an advisor to the CM.
Rasiah Nimalan Karthikeyan (aforesaid former Tamil Tiger mole at the UN office in Colombo) has recently accompanied the Chief Minister in his “private visit” to the UK and USA as the “Diary Secretary, Executive Assistant and Advisor to the Chief Minister”, according to The Sunday Times of July 12, 2015.
Nimalan Karthikeyan had told this author in the early 2000s that he is a Chartered Marketer by profession and worked as a sales executive at the Oberoi Hotel (now called Cinnamon Grand) in Colombo for long time. He claimed that subsequently he had obtained a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Sri Jayawardanepura University in Colombo. Though he had no qualification or work experience in the development field he was appointed as the Deputy Project Manager of the Umbrella Project of the UNDP during the time of ceasefire in 2002 due to political influence. Nimalan Karthikeyan, a pukka (perfect) panthangkaraya (bootlicker), has had double dealings with the LTTE and the UN in Sri Lanka functioning as interpreter during the UN missions to Kilinochchi during the ceasefire time 2002 – 2004.
All the foregoing indicates serious lack of judgement on the part of the Chief Minister of the Northern Province who is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. The war-torn people of the Northern Province deserve a much better person than an inept, religious bigot, and sexist Chief Minister Mr. Wigneswaran.
*Muttukrishna Sarvananthan (Ph.D. Wales, M.Sc. Bristol, M.Sc. Salford, and B.A. (Hons) Delhi) is a Development Economist by profession and the Founder and Principal Researcher of the Point Pedro Institute of Development (http://pointpedro.org), Point Pedro, Northern Province, Sri Lanka. He was an Endeavour Research Fellow at the Monash University, Melbourne (2011-2012) and a Fulbright Visiting Research Scholar at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University, Washington D.C. (2008-2009). firstname.lastname@example.org