Matale Mass Grave: What We Need Is To Bridle The Rogue State

Filed under: Colombo Telegraph,Opinion,Popular |
 

By Chamara Nanayakkarawasam -

Chamara Nanayakkarawasam

Chamara Nanayakkarawasam

I was provoked to write this after seeing the JVP’s ardent reaction on Matale Mass Grave. They, by holding a media conference (on 10th April 2013) where several relatives of the alleged disappeared in 88-89 era also participated, announced two things. One was that the justice should be done for those who were extra judicially killed in that gruesome period. The other was that they are focusing on taking legal actions on this even though the existing legal framework is not up to the expected level of standard in its independence to deal with this sort of a politically sensitive issue.

This development points us to think further.

In the period from 2002 to 2005 where a ceasefire agreement was in force between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan Government there was a very active opposition against separatism within the Southern part of the island which was propelled by the nationalistic forces including JVP also. JVP even though they name themselves a Maxist party very oddly shares nationalistic elements within its innovative ideology. So they could without any shame or hesitation form coalitions with renowned nationalistic and even racist view sharers in order to preserve the so called unitary structure of the Sri Lankan state for which course it took the risk of bargaining 60000 lives in 88 and 89.

The continuous violation of ceasefire by LTTE and the seeming unwillingness on their part for a political solution drove home the majority of the South that the course of these nationalist campaigners is correct. This culminated in the very pathetic and dangerous fate of creating the following EQUATION within the minds of the society from which our nominally literate but virtually illiterate common man is still suffering.

HUMAN RIGHTS= NGOs= LTTE= SEPERATISM= INTERNATIONAL CONSPIRACY

These patriotic forces treated human rights as a taboo because according to their reading it is a NGO coup which is funded by subversive international element to facilitate the course of LTTE. This paved the way to wage a war against terrorism in which the slogan was to ‘answer the LTTE in the language they knows’. I don’t exactly know the meaning of this response. LTTE was a terrorist organization with strategies inherent to such an organization. Sri Lankan government is a democratically elected government which is vested with the unavoidable responsibility of protecting the lives and rights of its citizens and even of the terrorists who go against the state. To me, therefore ‘answering LTTE in the language it understands’ stands as curious question. There was no check on the way war was going on. All the so called artists lobbied with the popular course of war and humane and pathetic aspect of a militarily elimination was never taken to the limelight. This is why the very HUMANE Buddhists of this country are overlooking the question whether you can approve a war if there finds credible evidence that rape and other forms of inhumane treatments have been perpetrated.

Under such a backdrop, JVP who is responsible for interpreting human rights as a taboo and an instrument of the international conspirators is now very ardent on the human rights of the tortured and disappeared youth of the South in 88 and 89. JVP is protesting that there should be an independent inquiry on the Matale Mass Grave. Are they honest to request the same in candid way in case of Tamil youth of North also?

A media spokesperson speaking on behalf of the ministry of defence since the name of the all-powerful Secretary to the Ministry of Defence  is also linked with the incident in clarification mentioned a few names of military officers who also served in Matale at that time and later who became national heroes due to their role in defeating the LTTE. This again highlights a very important aspect of this issue. If state goes wild race, castle or religion is a not a factor. It is the State which is action!

In defeating JVP and LTTE it was the same military which served the STATE. It was the same commanders who waged war. IF there was brutality and inhumane treatments in their approach to eliminate terrorism in both the instances it was the same military. According to my analysis, the reason behind the Chandrika Bandaranaike government not taking further actions based on the recommendations of the Commission reports on 88 and 89 was that the government forces who were waging war with LTTE under her government was accused by those reports. Therefore the government didn’t want to demoralize the military.

JVP which is very ardent and sentimental in its voice in speaking of the rights of the disappeared in 88 and 89 are silent on the rights of suspected LTTE cadres. Boossa was the detention centre of JVPers at that time. Now it is occupied by alleged LTTE suspects. Thousands of Tamils who are lingering in these detention centres are still not brought to justice. No charges; no prosecution. If JVP is really for human rights they should take up these issues also. When I once told a senior lawyer who is from Jaffna that most of our people don’t know that Boossa is still a detention centre he replied me that Tamil people are well aware of it since their relations are lingering there. This is the internal disunion and distance we have created within our people in a liberated country.

It is very interesting that UNP who were in power in 88 and 89 is also requesting an independent inquiry on Matale Mass Grave. It was the policy of the then government which was implemented by the insensitive and robotic tool of the state. This position of the UNP on this issue directs us to interpret it in two ways. One is that UNP has become very human rights friendly and democratic. The other is that they are playing politics since the name of an all important person is linked with the issue. But the problem is how UNP can without any sort of guilty feeling or shame can raise its voice on human rights violations in 88 and 89. On the other hand the present president was a so called human rights activist as they refer him and who tried to use Geneva as a stage to save the lives of the innocent youth from the atrocities of a State gone wild. After 20 years later he was holding the powerful position who could have acted a savior but who didn’t. This shows nothing other than the duplicity of our politicians and non serious nature of politics in this context in dealing with very sensitive issues.

Sri Lanka is a rogue state where human rights can be violated with impunity. There are ample examples. The regime is not a question. The victim of these atrocities is not limited to a particular region and race. What country requires is bona fide human rights campaign from the people to rehabilitate their state before it taps on their door also to drag them out and be summarily executed. What we need is to bridle the State.

*Chamara Nanayakkarawasam- chamarananayakkarawasam@gmail.com

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23 Responses to Matale Mass Grave: What We Need Is To Bridle The Rogue State

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    The silence of the JVP over these mass murders up until now should be taken into account when deciding whether their intentions are genuine or intense enough to pursue justice for those who were brutally killed during 88′ 89; insurgency. Moreover Ministers in the current regime like Wimal Weerawansa and Champaka Ranwaka will have to come out and express their allegiance to either their dead comrades or the very people who murdered them. However Chamara the table should be turned the other way as well to question why human rights activists in Sri Lanka never raised the issue of 88′ 89′ even with the similarities in the state policy that you have pointed out with regards to JVP riots and LTTE.

    Lakmali Hemachandra
    April 11, 2013 at 11:58 am
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    Writing this is like pouring water on a ducks back as far as this Regime and generally SL politicians are concerned. I guess nothing will happen at the end as impunity reigns.

    punchinilame
    April 11, 2013 at 11:58 am
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      Yes, you are right http://m.thehindu.com/news/international/south-asia/sri-lanka-military-probe-blames-ltte-for-civilian-killings/article4602557.ece/ Sri Lanka military probe blames LTTE for civilian killings – The Hindu: Mobile Edition A Sri Lankan military court of inquiry has given a clean chit to the army and ruled that civilian casualties in the last stage of the military operations “might have occurred due to unlawful acts of the LTTE.” The report was equally critical of the international community’s failure in their duty to stop the LTTE war crimes. The inquiry report was presented to the top defence official Gotabhaya Rajapaksa on Wednesday. The same report was handed over to the chief of the Army, Jagath Jayssuriya in February. The report focussed on the allegations of civilian casualties raised in a British TV channel documentary. Channel 4 had said that Sri Lanka Army’s use of heavy weaponry had caused a large number of civilian casualties. Sri Lanka’s own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) in its report had recommended that allegations of civilian casualties need to be investigated. The Army court of inquiry was in response to the LLRC findings. “From the testimony presented, the commission of inquiry concluded that the instances of shellings referred to in the LLRC report were not caused by the Sri Lanka Army and civilian casualties might have occurred due to unlawful acts by the LTTE,” the report said. The report has further contended that civilian casualties are inevitable due to the vagaries of the war but if the fresh evidence is presented giving precise information, Sri Lanka Army was willing to institute investigations. Sri Lanka has been under constant international pressure to investigate the large number of civilian killings in the last stages of the conflict. The island has been the subject of two UN Human Rights Council resolutions both of which have called for credible investigations in to the violation of the international humanitarian law. The report adds that the Army would next move to investigate the Channel 4 allegations of summary execution of LTTE cadres captured by it.

      Karunniyam
      April 11, 2013 at 5:54 pm
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    These matale dead had gone to explain the riot act to their maker. What is the JVP crowing about ? That crazy Jilmart what is up his denims?/ Gold jewellery?

    J muththa
    April 11, 2013 at 3:22 pm
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    How can people bridle the state without when the perpetrators call the shots? The white van operators still at large. If the victims can be kidnapped from the courts in daylight for challenging them, who else can protect them? The restitution for the victims is long overdue. Whether JVP respected human rights or not, the environment for anarchy was created by unfortunately by government during the tit-for-tat killings and killings of whole stock of families! No authority can get away with such practice of barbaric torture, dismemberment and ritualistic killings. The survivors should come forward to give evidence against these practices in public inquiry in front of experinced independant panel of judges selected by judiciary. We cannot expect anything under executice or executive appointed judiciary or even the deliberation under 18th Amendment. The new Equality Party leader Kumar must be able to give evidence against Sarath Fonseka who killed his brother but spared his life for pleading with Fonse. The forensic experts can establish the way these victims have met their fate. It is not the issue whether they were guilty or not, but as state whether these people were provided with access to justice and fair play! I salute Chamara Nanayakkarawasam for coming up with the thought provoking article. Yes, a movement for justice and fair play is the need of the moment. Ask CHRD or HHR but they are more weaker than Sinhala HR organs. If there is an independent judiciary in Sri Lanka, there is no need for international jurisdiction. If we need to restrain death squads who are still at large, let us start with Matale death squads; As an urgent let us demnd their removal; As an first action; let us remove all legislation that sanctions the summary killings of the suspects. Repeal Prevention of Terrorism Act that sanctions such mass murders and injustices. All those who worked in counter-insurgency roles directly or indirectly must be relieved of their active duty and prevented from thwarting the cause of justice and save the evidences whatever remaining to conduct credible independent inquiry. Unless the people of both divide act in unison, we cannot put a stop this juggernaught trampling human rights of all people. I wish and pray that it does not happen to Muslims in the pecking order of military regime which supports BBS.

    Karunniyam
    April 11, 2013 at 4:40 pm
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    The JVP has no right to demand an inquiry into the mass grave at Matale because it was one of the most fervent supporters of the Rajapaksa regime’s conduct in the war knowing very well that the innocent tamil civilians were being massacred in their thousands in the guise of defeating the LTTE. The writer of this piece has clearly identified the duplicity shown by the JVP on this matter. JVP is a Marxist and a racist party? How incongruous! More like a bunch of racists in sheep’s clothing.

    Piranha
    April 11, 2013 at 4:54 pm
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    The gravest error JVP made in their history was their support towards the Sinhalese bourgeois regime during the civil war. This support marks a serious break away from their original ideals and morals. During the 80s though it forwarded a strong critique on the LTTE , it never even considered a possibility of aligning itself with the bourgeois establishment against Tamil militant organisations. In it’s historic context JVP emerged as a radical force which had a strong base among the rural oppressed. Due to this rural nature of it’s social base ,we can observe that there was always a possibility within the ranks of the party of being exposed to dominant ideologies such as nationalism. A revolutionary party has a pedagogical role here , to transform the oppressed from a subject of oppression to a developed modern revolutionary force.That is the only way to overcome certain backward mentalities which exist among oppressed social groups. Marxism provides the ideological framework of this pedagogical process with in such irganisations. If this ideological struggle within the ranks is neglected serious problems may occur regarding the path of a political organisation.This is what JVP is experiencing now.Unfortunately even after defeats after defeats their leaders still have not understand what went wrong.Recently I heard Lal kantha , a senior JVP leader, praising the existence of military camps in North!Maruwa buduwewa!

    R.L.Perera
    April 11, 2013 at 11:18 pm
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    Nothing will happen. Black July, Batalanda, Matale, Nadikal. JVP too involved in mass murders. Looks like parliment and govt is full of killers and rogues.

    Safa
    April 12, 2013 at 1:50 am
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      Safa “Looks like parliment and govt is full of killers and rogues.” It may be so however you have not counted the number of Killers outside those two institutions. May be the total amounts to twenty millions.

      Native Vedda
      April 12, 2013 at 7:56 pm
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    Very logical writing. Well done young man!

    goda perkadoruva
    April 12, 2013 at 2:42 am
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  9. 0
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    ‘A nation of sheep shall beget wolves as their leaders’

    Ranil Senanayake
    April 12, 2013 at 4:09 am
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    Whoever carried out war crimes/extrajudicial killings in Vanni/Matale should be punished. The relatives of the victims should be compensated. There should be independent inquiry monitored by the UNHCR. If justice does not prevail in these mass murders this country will not have a respectable future – becoming a pariah state is the only option.

    Real Peace
    April 12, 2013 at 4:29 am
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    Thank you Chamara for an excellent article. You rightly and courageously point to all culprits, the UNP, the JVP and the heroes of the present regime. This collective responsibility means this will be swept under the rug, like most other crimes of our leaders. But If responsible people speak out, and persevere, they will eventually prevail.

    H L Seneviratne
    April 12, 2013 at 1:26 pm
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    Chamara, Let me first congratulate you your most elegant expression : HUMAN RIGHTS= NGOs= LTTE= SEPERATISM= INTERNATIONAL CONSPIRACY In view of its brilliance and importance, we need to give it a name. May I suggest we call it the “M.M Sutra” with M.M standing for Mahinda & Malinda for their efforts to popularize this Sutra. May I add a another Sutra : ENEMIES = HUMAN RIGHTS+ NGOs + LTTE + SEPARATISM +INTERNATIONAL CONSPIRACY The job of some in Sri Lanka is to package the latter in to one big gulli so that the hatred of the Sinhalese masses can be focused upon it. Now, while this big gulli is easily swallowed by a great number of the less enlighten Sinhalese, it is a hard to sell to the rest. We can see clearly, that Malinda’s good efforts are not producing the desired results. Now, here is the danger in that: More needs to be added to the gulli to make it more convincing. So what about “Marakadays” ? Perhaps its time to put the “Demalus” back in ? Perhaps also those who disagrees ? Once the gulli is big enough, the sad part of the Sinhalese population can be psyched into supportive action – out of fear, paranoia and hatred that is historic and newly manufactured.

    Kiri Yakka
    April 12, 2013 at 2:32 pm
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    Kiri Yakka “Now, while this big gulli is easily swallowed by a great number of the less enlighten Sinhalese,” Are there any more enlightened Sinhalese?

    Native Vedda
    April 12, 2013 at 7:52 pm
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    Extremely objective and analytical article, which squarely pins down the regime, whatever it colour. None of the regimes have done justice by the people of this country.

    Furious Buddhist
    April 12, 2013 at 11:32 pm
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    It is wrong to call it a mass grave. It is a humanitarian operation center.

    Lanka Liar
    April 13, 2013 at 2:59 am
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    Native Veddha, We now see a growing number if more enlightened Sinhalese, concerned rightfully that they need to stall the path to moral and cultural extinction – that is pretty much complete in the eyes of the civilized world. Only the dull-heads come up with ” as a Buddhist ” statement. The more enlightened Sinhalese have nothing but shame with that association. The more enlightened Tamils felt about the same about LTTE being the sole representatives – but they were either drowned or gunned down. Its the same sorry story all over again.

    Kiri Yakka
    April 13, 2013 at 3:56 am
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      Kiri Yakka I feel shame about “the more enlightened Sinhalese and the more enlightened Tamils” Where are these enlightened people? Both “the more enlightened Sinhalese and the more enlightened Tamils” are also by and large racists. They hate each other, both hate Muslims and hate themselves. Muslims also believe in one nation as long as it is a Muslim Nation, a caliphate. Each race in this island has its own hidden agenda except my people.Therefore non of them has the potential to be enlightened.

      Native Vedda
      April 13, 2013 at 7:50 pm
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    WHY TAMILS CANNOT BE GIVEN THE RIGHT TO RULE THEM SELF IN THEIR OWN TERRITORY? DO YOU CONSIDER THEM AS SECOND CLASS CITIZENS ? WHY THE SINGALESE DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE FEELING OF TAMILS ? WHY ARE SINGALESE COLONISING TAMIL AREAS! WHERE THEY HAVE THE MOST FERTILE LANDS WITH REVERES AND RAINFALL IN SOUTH – COMPARED TO INFERTILE AND BARRON LANDS IN THE NORTH & EAST? EVERY ONE IS BLAMING LTTE! CAN ANY ONE TELL ME HOW MANY SINGALESE CIVILIANS HAS BEEN KILLED BY LTTE ACTION OVER 30 YEARS? AND HOW MANY TAMIL CIVILIANS KILLED BY SINGALESE ARM FORCES OVER THAT PERIOD? WHY SINGALESE ARMY OCCUPYING TAMILS AREAS WHERE THERE IS NO RESISTANCE ? WHY SINGALESE NATION IS PROMOTING EXTREMISM ? ARE SINGALESE NATURALLY BAD AND SELFISH PEOPLE ? IF YOU ARE A SINGALESE CAN YOU PLEASE ANSWER THE ABOVE QUESTIONS !

    Manivannan MP
    April 14, 2013 at 12:25 am
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      My friend, I believe Srilanka is one country and there is no specific areas for Singhales and Tamils and Moslims, I agree with incumant regim also trying to settle more Singhalese people in north and east, also Tamils and Moslims can move to south and live peacefully, I strongly believe education system must be changed as all races must learn Singhala, Tamil and English. Someday Tamil or Moslim leader might be President in Srilanka. Think positively and do not try for another war, you guys will be wipe out of from this island,

      sam
      April 15, 2013 at 10:11 pm
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        sam “Someday Tamil or Moslim leader might be President in Srilanka.” Why not a Vedda?

        Native Vedda
        April 16, 2013 at 9:31 pm
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    Manivannan MP, This country belongs to everyone. There are no racial pockets. It has always been the Tamils who have demanded Tamil areas but the strange thing is while Tamils claim the North as Tamil with only Tamils having the right to own and live in the north, there are also Tamils living in non Tamil areas. Is this fair? If you want a Tamil ghetto in the North then shouldn’t all Tamils live in the north and not anywhere else as it would be a violation of the rights of the Sinhalese and Muslims since they only get to live in these areas and the Tamils are encroaching their lands. I reiterate, this country belongs to everyone. Everyone has a right to form a political party. There are many ethnic dominated parties, Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim yet only the Tamils demand to rule over a certain area. Why? It just shows that Tamils are not interested in integration and living in harmony with the other races. Sad.

    Chaaya
    April 14, 2013 at 4:21 am
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