Congratulations are due to Chief Minister-Elect C.V. Wigneswaran, the TNA and to the many observers whose vigilance and reporting made the usual ballot-box-stuffing difficult for the government and its EPDP ally. The TNA’s performance turned out to be better than even the Federal Party’s best under SJV Chelvanayagam. Even in landslide victories we do not see the winning party reaching nearly 80% of the vote as did the TNA. It goes to show how this government has totally alienated the Tamil people. The meager 6 seats out of 36 for the government are likely from the votes of soldiers and die-hard EPDP persons whose days of terror need to be ended.
Reports from the islands off Jaffna say that on Sunday Sept. 22, between 1PM -4PM, EPDP goons have severely assaulted with batons 26 persons who worked for the TNA in Puliyankoodal, Oorkavat-thurai, Velanai, Thambaati, Chaati and Naranthanai. It would appear they are unable to bear the loss in democratic spirit.
This kind of retaliatory violence no longer has a place in the North. It is time for the government to disarm the paramilitary personnel of the EPDP whose guns are used only to terrorize the public. Even during the LLRC hearings armed members of the EPDP came into hearing rooms with guns in their waistband to intimidate witnesses who might have given evidence against them. Even though present, the police did not ‘see’ what the public saw.
Unfortunately, the government is unlikely to disarm the EPDP, especially given its complicity in the dark and dire deeds of the EPDP. As shown by the voters, it is clear that the EPDP terrorized its way to power rather than through popularity. It is not that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has been unaware of the EPDP’s violence. A Wikilieaks cable from the US Embassy, shows that the President urged his friend J. Sriranga to run away saying Douglas Devananda would murder him (see Colombo Telegraph). That is, the President knows well the murderous nature of his EPDP colleague. A responsible President upholding the law would have reined in his friend Douglas Devananda and ordered the police to arrest him and charge him. Instead he supports this bloodshed in asking the Tamil people to vote for Devananda’s proxies this past week! No doubt, the Tamil vote is in part a response to that arrogance, an arrogance that assumes that all crimes would be overlooked simply because of new roads and a train to Kilinochchi when our dignity is badly wounded.
These events remind me of the culmination of the International Tamil Research Conference on Jan. 10, 1974 where the Srimavo Bandaranaike government caused the death of 7 persons. Their only mistake was to show enthusiasm for understanding their mother tongue at a conference which the Prime Minister sought to undermine. When she refused action against any policemen, the public obtained the services of three eminent men of impeccable reputation, Justice O.L. de Kretser (Rtd. from the Supreme Court), Justice V. Manicavasagar (also retired from Supreme Court) and The Rt. Rev. Sabapathy Kulandran (Rtd. Bishop in Jaffna). Their report after sittings at Palm Court Jaffna, many of which I attended as I could while an undergraduate, stated, among other things:
“The irresistible conclusion we come to is that the police on this night was guilty of a violent and quite an unnecessary attack on unarmed citizens. We are gravely concerned that they lacked the judgement which we expected of policemen in a civilian police force whose duties call for tactful handling even in the most difficult situation.
“The evidence establishes that this was not all what took place that night. The police in their armed might roved the city, assaulting whomsoever they came across for no better reason than that the people were doing what they were entitled to do.
“We are of the opinion that those who suffered physical injury and material damage, and those who lost their lives were the innocent victims of a chain of events set in motion by a completely wrong and unwise decision on the part of the police officer who made it. We can find no justification at all for the police assault on defenceless and innocent citizens.”
The TNA should think seriously of such a commission by men of un-impugned integrity and courage to look into what the government and the EPDP have imposed on the Northern Province and its people. It is the time when history is on the side of the TNA – and for the TNA to be bold.
Post Script: Some key facts
1. C.V. Wingneswaran – 132,255. He is reportedly arranging for a residence on Temple Road, rented from the Greenlands owner.
2. Ananthi Sasitharan (Elilan) 87,870
3. Tharmalingam Sidtharthan – 39,715
4. Arnold (a graduate supported by minorities) – 26,888
5. C.V.K. Sivagnanam (former Municipal Commissioner) – 26,747
6. Kajatheepan 23689
7. M.K. Sivajilingam (TELO strongman from Valvettithurai) – 22,660
8. Aingaranesan (Suresh Premachandran’s ally) 22,268
9. Suhirthan 20,541
10. Sayanthan – 20,179
11. Vinthan – 16,463
12. Paranjothi (Minority) – 16,359
13. Sarweswaran (Suresh Premachandran’s brother) – 14,761
14. Sivayoham (Minority) 13,479
There are 6 graduates on the TNA list. TULF’s Anadasangari was not elected.
In contrast, the PA got 2 seats from Jaffna with the islands collapsing.
Douglas arch-rival on the SLFP list was R. Anagajan who was elected with 10,034 votes. The other elected candidate from the PA list was Devananda’s Kamaleswaran who is said to have done several things for his minority community.
Douglas Devananda’s purported Chief Minister candidate Thavarasa, whom the Daily News called the No. 1 candidate, failed to be elected. The votes for those not elected are expected today but for Thavarasa it is said to be around 300. He is expected to pack his bags for London.
Remedius who topped the preference vote in an earlier election as a TNA candidate, was routed as a Rajapakse candidate. He will be rewarded by some appointment by Rajapakse now, we may suppose.