1 October, 2020

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Manmohan’s Shoes

By Malinda Seneviratne –

Malinda Seneviratne

India has a question for Sri Lanka: How will India’s vote in the UNHRC impact Indo-Lanka relations? It’s a complicated question and one which prompts multiple answers.

Officially, the Government still considers India a friendly country. The nature and volume of trade between the 2 countries, especially what SL imports, both in terms of volume and number of items, makes severing relations hard. The fact that the Indian Parliament did not choose to pass a resolution against SL will also be factored in: ‘face-value’ has value.

On the other hand, the Government will most certainly appreciate Pakistan’s friendship and also China’s support. Unofficially, it is likely that the Government will move closer to these two countries, not so much to ‘teach India a lesson’ but for pragmatic reasons, of which the following must be flagged: ‘India cannot be counted on’.

If there was a buzz regarding Geneva 2012, this time around there was hardly a murmur. If people wondered what India would do last year, this year there was no doubt. India’s vote was not ‘news’.

Did India, or rather Delhi/Singh, have a choice though?

First of all, India, having burnt the friendship boat or rather what was left of it in Geneva in 2012, could hardly be expected to do a volte face and certainly not after pandering to the pro-LTTE Sour Grape lobby in India and elsewhere.
Secondly, India, aspiring as it is to break into the UN Security Council, can hardly afford to annoy the USA, which country tabled the resolution against Sri Lanka. Please note that the US Ambassador’s semantic intervention (resolution ON Sri Lanka and not AGAINST her) fools no one for at best it smacks of a 21st Century version of ‘White Man’s Burden’.
Thirdly, Manmohan Singh and the Congress Party cannot ignore political arithmetic. Whether its Jayalalithaa or Karunanidhi that’s calling for accompaniment, Singh has to dance to the Tamil Nadu tune come election time. It is for this reason that Sonia Gandhi had to forgive her husband’s murderer. Perhaps.

Fourthly, nothing that Singh does (against Sri Lanka) is ‘enough’ for Tamil Nadu because Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi have to keep upping the stakes as both appeal to the worst sentiments of Tamil Nationalism to secure and usurp power in that state respectively. Singh was burnt both before and after Geneva.

Fifthly, Singh has a lot to lose by pandering to Tamil Nadu, which is why the Resolution on (against) Sri Lanka in the Indian Parliament was still born.

With all these issues to think of, India is also harangued by Sri Lanka’s firm friendship with Pakistan and China. Now some may say that India sided with the USA to ‘send a message to Sri Lanka regarding the growing Chinese “presence” in the island,’ but when we consider the volatility of the factors Singh has to take note of, this seems trivial. Singh is first a politician and then a patriot; like all politicians on may add. If Delhi sided with Sri Lanka and Singh lost the election, a sojourn in the political wilderness may have seemed too high a price to pay for not having a lesser Chinese presence in the backyard.

Regardless of all this, and all the tired and expected noises India is now forced to make about accountability and reconciliation (by way of the 13th Amendment; read ‘boundary-lining Eelam myths’), Sri Lanka has to understand Singh’s predicament and read his choice-lack accurately. The man didn’t have many options. An option-poor man’s statements and demands must therefore be viewed with compassion and empathy.

It is better for Sri Lanka to let Singh find cures for his many political miseries and concentrate on getting things done right here, in Colombo, Killinochchi, Monaragala and elsewhere, in the Constitution and the Separation of Powers, with respect to transparency and accountability, reconciliation and rule of law. This should be done not because there’s going to be another circus in Geneva a year from now, but the only way Sri Lanka can resist spoilers from other countries is to be united. Unity is not obtained by poetry workshops and development exhibitions, but by a full consideration of what ‘citizen’ means and what has to be done on all fronts to make citizenship meaningful, to create a Sri Lanka where citizens feel acknowledged, respected and belonging.

*Malinda Seneviratne is the Chief Editor of ‘The Nation’ and his articles can be found at www.malindawords.blogspot.com

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Latest comments

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    your haven’t changed much after being slaves for almost five hundred years. i know it’s a long and hard battle to come out of slavery mentality. you slaves are not born to rule. can you see how you have fared in your 65 year rule. it’s all shambles and chaos and nothing else. no wonder you are courting red china . you want them to take over the running of the country as you would prefer to remain under mongolian yellow skin as slaves. you simply can’t manage the finances and you also lack administrative skills. you also don’t know how to co-exist. in short you are born slaves. you say you have history of 2,500 years. how come you haven’t built a single road, a single bridge, a single school, a single hospital, a single building, a single railway station, a single airport etc.etc. how come you haven’t built any structure like tamils built in koneswaram, munneswaram, thiruketheeswaram etc. how come your kings didn’t build any palaces apart from hiding places. how many battles you had with the portuguese, dutch or british. what were those battles called. what were the casualty figures. do you know what. you lot were brought from coastal areas of tamil nadu by portuguese to catch sardines. how come you call yoursdelves sons of the soil. don’t you think it doesn’t add up.

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      Rama Thambi,
      How come you didn’t manage to get to Sri Lanka in 2006-2009 to fight? Were you too busy building schools and libraries or stuffing your face with Big Macs at fake hunger strikes?

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        You need to see a brain surgeon who may be able to put to you that wars can also be fought from anywhere? This is how the Rajapakses have brainwashed you to believe that the only country in this world is Sri Lanka and painted your faces with the word “stupidity”

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          Jansee,
          Could you please re-write that rambling paragraph so that it makes sense? “Rama” isn’t able to reply to questions.

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            mango:

            How can it make sense to you when you are in the que to see the brain surgeon?

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              Jansee,
              Just stop beating around the bush and get to the point. You do know how to do that, no? Are you having some sort of breakdown?

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          jansee

          “wars can also be fought from anywhere”

          Just as VP did from the safety of his bunker until he was smoked out by murderous Sri Lankan army.

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            Native Vedda:

            Prabhakaran’s turn has come and gone. Now it is the turn of the Rajapakses.

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              jansee

              I will put it this way:

              The people were caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.

              One is gone.

              One to go.

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            Native, VP was never smoked out from his bunker in Killinochchi, but voluntarily vacated not even setting a booby trap for the MR Forces when they entered. It was a funny war, is it not?

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              gamini

              I agree.

              That stupid VP trusted MR more than his own people otherwise he would not have surrendered to his archenemy Lex Luthor and his merry men.

              He was given a long rope by Vaiko and others knowing that he was going to hang himself inadvertently.

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              Native not that VP trusted MR, but the Americans and the Indians coerced VP, promising him a way out and a settlement to the Tamil issue. However during 2006 when the LTTE was busy burying the heavy artillery wrapping them in polythene, Gota and SF tried to lure VP and finish him off to outsmart the Americans and the Indians. VP who got wind of this plan of Gota and SF, sent three suicide bombers, one to each and the third to blow himself in the heart of the HSZ near Hotel Hilton where thirty odd died, seventeen who were Policemen. Thereafter all these sandos fell in line with the plan provided by the Brokers the Americans and the Indians that eventually led to the death of VP and his cadre of the entire LTTE. Imagine the LTTE burying even a single weapon without using them? All these buggers are Hoaxes and all citizens are gullible. After all we are a nation of Jathika story believers, being sired by a Lion. Ha! Ha!

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      Well justified- The classical kallathonies=Sinhala Buddhist the low caste of India.

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      Rama,
      You are right. The low country Sinhalese of down south (karawa caste) are those whom the Portuguese brought to Sri Lanka from the coastal areas of South India (Malabar coast/Kerela and Choramandalam coast/Tamil Nadu) for fishing. They assimilated with the locals adopting the Sinhala-Buddhist language, religion and culture. Today they pretend as Dutugemunu’s relatives (Ariyans).

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      Rama,
      Not only the Karawa, even the Durawa and Salagama are from South India (Kerela and Tamil Nadu). More than 70% of the Sinhalese are actually recent migrants from South India (Portuguese period). They settled in the South and also in Upcountry, assimilated with the locals and became Sinhala-Buddhists. This is the reason for Sinhala-Buddhists becoming a majority in SL whereas the Veddas and Tamils who were living for such a long period are still a minority.

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    “……………………..where citizens feel acknowledged,respected and belonging”

    Did tamils feel that way since independence while being periodically massacred,for no reason other than that they were tamils?
    Do the tamils of the north & east feel that way with the military governers’ oppresive regime running things which should be decided by their elected representatives?
    Do the muslims feel that way,after the ‘birth’ of the Budu Bala Sena?
    Do the passersby on main roads feel that way when forced to step off onto the muddy ground and face away from the road by uniformed goons when a “VIP” entourage plus security vehicles are approaching?

    India did NOT burn any “friendship boat”.
    Friendship is not ignoring injustice.
    India voted for empowerment of justice for those citizens massacred especially during the last stages of the war.
    The US resolution at UNHRC was sponsored by 41 countries and voted for by 25 countries – thus “approved” by 66 countries.

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    For some, friendship is invitation to the house where they live at public expense and offer a good meal with no limit of best scotch whisky,and further tap on the shoulder by so called powerful people in the land until they cant stand on their feet to do write about the injustice that take place to the helpless fellow citizens.I wish there will be a day soon that this journos will take their pen to write down the realities of the world power game .Can developing countries dictate terms to the world powers be it U.S China or Russia.

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      Tissa there is a new power emerging that is “peoples power”. People like you should take proactive role and enhance this power. It is more powerful than the supper powers. But the supper powers will see that it doesn’t grow. Only this power will be able to curtail the power industry its stooges parasites and the so called pundits. Lets hope it happens soon and not become a supper power but will remain as the power of the people. In this modern world of communication we don’t have to rely on these politicians to make decisions for us without any consultation or regard to people. NOw democracy is an industry and elections are operations and parliament is company which looks after its members. But I know there are few exceptions I hope I didn’t hurt them.

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    India is a federal union of states comprising twenty-eight states and seven union territories. Each is several times the size of Sri Lanka in terms of area, population and economy. India and Sri Lanka are neighbours and somewhat friends.

    Except when it comes to the tamil issue where India has to take the side of its own 100 Mn Tamil population and diaspora. Those are the realities that we must understand. As the writer says it is high time to put our house in order so that there is no need for outside intervention. Pointing fingers and attacking India is counter productive in many ways. Leave that to JHU / BBS / SR to fight their own battles without dragging the whole country into it.

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    A dead and rotting carcase attracts flies! Our country in many ways is getting close to being a carcase, though yet living. The vitals for a country, such as good governance, rule of law, due process and justice, are already gangrenous. Bribery, corruption and nepotism and favouritism are the maggots feeding on the gangrenous parts of our body politic. It is time we look within, without seeking to blame others.

    While we have been thrust into the twenty first century, we are being increasingly government my a mindset belonging to the dark age.

    Dr. Rajasingham Narendran

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      And pray who came as part of the “diaspora group” to praise this government with a “mindset belonging to the dark age.”???.

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    Malinda, why talk about India and its vote against SL, which you admit was foregone not only by you but by all and sundry.

    I venture to ask what has the price of tea in China got to do with SL’s humiliation in Geneva?

    Just like the masters you serve, you love to obfuscate and talk about trivia trying to sound erudite and pompous, while diverting our attention from the real issues.

    We have yet to hear your clear views about how the regime should move forward in resolving the outstanding ethnic issues. The LLRC is a good platform to start from, but instead has been ignored and vilified.

    The regime is still talking about Talks, and procrastinating the imperative of urgently addressing core issues with relevant stake holders..

    Tilting at the hypocritical white Western windmills, and shooting at that partisan messenger Navi Pillay is well and good, but these exercises are nothing but Tower Hall drama.

    Let us, for a change, read some appropriate, coherent and unbiased commentaries from you, not the drivel you dish out from to time.

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    This guy Malinda is just fond of blowing his laurels. Surely he would have read the first draft of the resolution and how India has , and being accused also, worked hard to water down the resolution. Not even a word of thanks. If not for India Malinda, and with the sort of intrusive resolution, you may not even be able to keep your job.

    And how convenient that you have angled yourself with the lies of the regime? Whatever happened to the promises your regime made but failed to honour? If at all it is your regime that let down India and not the other way round. Despite all the good advice India gave to move forward with the promises, as the nature belies you, you dug yourself deeper and deeper into the lie pit, to the extent it became quite impossible for India to hide your lies any further. Now, maybe, you should reflect at how you have become branded as a compulsive and deceitful liar.

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    The gist of the this argument can be summed up in one sentence.

    ” Sri Lanka should find an effective way to police Palk Straits and tell TN to fxxx off “

    Problem we have is not India’s foreign policy, the inability to effectively police the Palk Straights.
    Moment we find and effective way to monitor the straits, the Indian F/policy will fall in line.

    Trade with India is well in their favor. For every product and service we get from India we can source from other countries effectively.

    All we loose would be our ancestral roots, which they have already denied us.

    NDTV had many debates on this. All learned who attended where well aware of Sri Lanka’s geopolitical positioning and faltered the centre for mixing micro issues when formulating Foreign policy ..

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    Dear Malinda

    If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck!

    So why expect the duck to be different?

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    The LTTE rump is working hard to make India an enemy of Sri Lanka and they are successful to a certain extent. When it comes to India’s vote in the UNHRC, they provoke Tamil Nadu and make them pressure India. This time the channel 4 documentry showing the LTTE leaders innocent looking son killed after a snack has created a lot of emotion and anger in TN. Without realizing this fact, if GOSL reacts to India and get closer to Pakistan and China, it will make India a real enemy and that is exactly what the LTTE rump is expecting. We have to think twice before reacting.

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      The 30 years of battle has finally served its purpose. The so called LTTE rump (Tamil Eelamists Diaspora) that VP created in the West is doing what even VP could not achieve in 30 years. A simple example is the loss of GSP+, the garment factories are closing down, thousands becoming jobless, millions in foreign exchange earnings lost. IMF stopped giving loans. Resolutions from US and UN. Tamil Nadu boiling after watching the channel 4 video. China and India are competing for Sri Lanka. Finally they will divide the country, Tamil Eelam to India and the rest to China.

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        @Siva
        You hit the nail on the head, and in a nut shell explained what is bound to happen in the future. Funnily enough most Sinhalese do not comprehend this because most of them don’t have the brain power while others are struggling to make ends meet. The RajaPassas’ on the other hand are making hay while the sun shines and robbing the country blind while effectively diverting the attention of the gullible Sinhalese with the Muslim bogey. This country which was once known as the tear drop of the Indian ocean has now become the sick man of Asia and the asshole of the subcontinent.

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    Lanka liar How many more lives will be lost in securing this so called people power to offer the solutions for helpless citizens of this country already paid by their blood to achieve justice for the burning issues ?

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    Indian headache will only worsen………Musharraf’s back in Pakistan …..

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      Musharaf back with AB for 14 days and finally you see what is his fate

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    bodi bala sena black bikus proclaim that sri lanka is only for imported people from coastal areas of tamil nadu. as the imported lot are the majority , i suppose the minority groups probably wonder what the future holds for them in sri lanka. will they come under attack as it has happened every ten years or so. it’s quite possible. so what are their options. i guess they have to engage united nations and other civilised countries of the world and convince them that a three way partition of sri lanka is the only way out of this crisis. when bodi bala sena gets their share , they can go on to establish a mongolian buddhist kingdom with mongolian buddha as the sole representative for black sinhala people.

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      Out of 1.2 million Sri Lankan women working in the Arab countries, nearly one million are Sinhala-Buddhist. According to Arabs, these women are born to work for them as slaves (Nannies, House Maids and Cleaners/janitors). These Sinhala-Buddhist women are exploited, abused, raped and humiliated by the Arabs. Hundreds of these Sinhala-Buddhist housemaids have become pregnant, often after rapes by the Arabs, producing Sinhala-Buddhist children. Why not the Budda Balu Sena stop sending the Sinhala-Buddhist women to the Arab countries as slaves instead of attacking the innocent Muslims here in SL.

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    “Budda Bala Sena is saying Sri Lanka is not a multi-ethnic multi-religious country.”

    This is exactly what the Tamil Eelamists are expecting not only from the leading Sinhala-Buddhist organizations but also from the government. The Tamil Eelamists are saying the North & East of Sri Lanka is a Tamil country (Tamil Eelam) which belongs only to the Tamil nation. The Sinhala-Buddhist Budda Bala Sena is saying Sri Lanka is a Sinhala-Buddhist country and belongs only to the Sinhala nation. The Tamil Eelamists are saying Sri Lanka is separate from Tamil Eelam and the Sinhala-Buddhist Budda Bala Sena is saying Sri Lanka is not a multi-ethnic multi-religious country.

    Looks like both BBS and the Tamil Eelamists are having the same agenda, two sides of the same coin and they both are supporting/helping each other to split the country. If the so called two nations (Sinhalese and Tamils) fight for Sri Lanka (Sinhala country) and Tamil Eelam (Tamil country) as two separate states where will we Muslims go?

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      If you are Tamil spekaing join, tamils, please remeber Tamil muslim lives the happiest life in whole of India, no fighting, nothing. Else fight your whole life time with BBS and MR

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    Apart from the malinda’s usual anti indian rheotic, i agree with his last para. SL gov made the situation a mess on its own. But people like u, newspaper editors rarely write about them. U didnt write criticising the gov when CJ was sacked and a MR stooge was appointed in the most despicable manner. This marks the end of governance in SL.

    Daily we see gov stooges, ministers and even politicians in pradeshiya sabha are untouched by the law in this country simply because they are ‘ape miniha’ of the MR. These things have degraded the rule of law in this country like never before. U didnt write against them or criticising them.

    It is this messed up situation that gives leverage to foreign forces to do havoc in SL. why dont u realize this? SL could have cooperated with US from the beginning. In this world what matters is not whther u were a victim but whetehr u have the correct friends. SL could have managed the situation far better. What happened to our capable ppl in diplomatic missions like Dayan J, Thamara K. Speak about how foreign service has hit the bottom with the likes of Sajin Vaas.

    Tamil diaspora or TN hasnot achieved anything, it is the usual stupidity, arrogance and stubbornness of the lankan regime that has created problems. There is no point in blaming India. Indian central gov has been pro SL. Dont live in late 80s, times have changed a lot. SL regime should help the Indian gov to keep the TN calm. For india to help us, india need our help. SL could have gone with the LLRC, if they did they could have avoided this resolution and building US relations.

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