Northern Provincial Council Elections In Sri Lanka

Filed under: Colombo Telegraph,MORE OPINION,Opinion |
 

By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole -

hoole-2

Prof S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

The provincial council system was set up in response to Tamil demands for separation in the face of brazen discrimination by the Sri Lankan state from the very time of independence. It was a compromise mediated by India in 1987 under the Indo-Lanka Accord to give Tamils a say in their own affairs while preserving the state without any breakup. It was for the Tamils. However, although every province would receive the same regional autonomy without making it seem a Tamil thing, the Northern and Eastern provinces were merged into one North-East Province through the Accord because the Tamil numbers in the Eastern Province were vitiated through systematic colonization using  poor Sinhalese and prisoners, and through ethnic cleansing using massacres by the state’s dreaded Special Task Force. For the Eastern Province was not expected to survive on its own.

Ironically the Provincial Council system functions well in the Sinhalese provinces, but not for the Tamils for whom it was originally intended. By a Supreme Court order on 16 Oct. 2006 the North-East Province was broken up and, with internecine Tamil murders and Tamil massacres of Muslims, the government has been able to muster enough support to form a subservient local government in the Eastern Province as the Accord envisaged.

The Northern Province with Jaffna as its cultural capital is now being subject to ethnic cleansing after the government brought the civil war to a brutal close in 2009 through the criminal use of force on civilian targets and the subjection of the Tamil population to terror. Yet, the Tamil dominance of the Northern Province is still undiminished and will remain so until the government’s ongoing efforts at colonization and ethnic cleansing take root.

First Tamil Government

Given the government’s deep unpopularity among Tamils, if elections to the Northern Province are held today, they will lead to the first Tamil government since the weak North-East government of Chief Minister Varadarajaperumal.  His government, established in 1988 after the Accord was signed with India, collapsed in 1990 under LTTE assault and the lack of funds from the centre which prevented any meaningful development, let alone a seat and desk for the Chief Minister.

Northern-Province

Sri Lanka’s Northern Province

When the LTTE fell in 2009, Varadarajaperumal said that the “major Hindrance to Democratic Movement among the Sri Lankan Tamils has been Removed.” At that time, he did not realize how deeply hateful the Sri Lankan government is towards Tamils and that the government could not countenance Tamils having a say in our own affairs.

Token Tamil in Government

In fact, the government has been keen to have a Tamil in the cabinet as a show of Tamil support, and therefore has cultivated the paramilitary leader Douglas Devananda, who is the lone Tamil politician from the North who stands with President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Devananda broke off from the Eelam People’s Liberation Front over internal rivalries and formed the EPDP – the Eelam People’s Democratic Party. The EPDP lacked funds, so it is widely believed that Devananda resorted to the kidnapping of and extortion from Sri Lankan Tamils living in Madras. With various criminal cases pending against him in Madras over allegations of brigandry and murder, Devananda jumped bail in 1990 and, in the face of LTTE assassination attempts, took shelter with government forces in 1990, becoming a paramilitary ally of whichever Sinhalese government was in power.  He was given control of the islands off Jaffna where the LTTE had no presence, and the navy, which protected him, was dominant. Although the EPDP continued in brigandry, he was deemed plucky by many Tamils who did not favor the LTTE and had themselves suffered at its hands

Devananda in a way hit the jackpot when, with an LTTE enforced boycott, he entered electoral politics in the 1994 elections, winning 9 seats in parliament with 10,744 or 0.14% of the vote, nearly all of it from the islands. He was made a minister, and so, the Sinhalese could claim that they had a Tamil in government, making it national in character.

Thus began the mutually dependent symbiotic relationship between Devananda and the Sri Lankan state. In the 2000 parliamentary elections he obtained 4 seats. Since then, with no LTTE boycott of elections, Devananda has managed to come to parliament with under 1% of the vote, most of it from the islands where the main Tamil party, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) forged by the LTTE, cannot campaign because of physical threats from the EPDP. His one seat from the islands vote has been enough to keep him on as MP, allowing him to join the cabinet, continuing the appearance of the government’s national character.

Lost Opportunities of 2009

The end of the war in May 2009 saw many civilian deaths – at least 40,000 or 70,000 depending on which UN report one reads, and as many as 140,000 according to The Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph, the much respected Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Mannar. But that period also exposed the Jaffna population, with its peninsular mindset, to an understanding of what the LTTE was capable of. Until then most Jaffna Tamils (who also predominate the expatriate Tamil groups) had adulated the LTTE as heroes who sacrificed much for the welfare of the Tamil people – remaining happily oblivious and deliberately blind to LTTE atrocities against civilians, especially in the Vanni (the mainland below the peninsula) where child conscription was rampant. All this was denied by peninsular Tamils, and these stories were suppressed as being sourced by Tamil traitors. But as the war was ending, even as there was clear evidence of genocide (as I described in The Hartford Courant), stories also emerged of LTTE atrocities against civilians (as I expressed in The New Indian Express and The Island); of civilians being  used as human shields and being shot to death upon trying to escape; and of LTTE leaders fleeing with their families and looted gold hoarded by the LTTE, while forcing children to fight the brutal army.  These new stories came from ardent LTTE supporters who had gone to serve them, and from respected civilians who had been forced to retreat as human shields with the LTTE as the fearful army advanced. An engineering student whom I know well enthusiastically went to serve behind LTTE lines upon graduation, but with his eyes newly opened during the 2009 climax, testified to atrocities by both the army and the LTTE to international evidence gatherers who deposed his evidence. To many of the LTTE faithful this was all news and an eye-opener, although their view of the army as brutish needed no recalibration.

Rajapaksa and Devananda

Douglas Devananda (Left) with President Rajapaksa

As a result, when elections were held for the Jaffna Municipal Council on 8 Aug. 2009 immediately after the defeat of the LTTE, it was a chance to see what effect the removal of the LTTE had had on Tamil minds. The government (i.e., Devananda’s EPDP) secured 50.67% of the vote while the TNA got merely 38.28% of the vote. It was a magnificent improvement for the EPDP which had previously struggled to hit the 1% mark.

The government now only had to treat Tamils well and it would have had us constructively cooperating on reconstruction and reconciliation. But the government’s undoing was its intrinsic anti-Tamil ethos amounting to Tamil-phobia. The North was flooded with troops who regularly rape and rob. Bishop Rayappu Joesph recently testified to a visiting Indian parliamentary delegation of how when a young girl was raped by a soldier, the army offered her marriage to the rapist who was already married – underlying the impunity for Sinhalese criminals preying on Tamils and the government’s lack of commitment to law and order, including the simple laws on bigamy.

Everything is watched. Even a meeting (which I attended) of the organization Noolaham, which is devoted to preserving old Tamil books, was disrupted and held up till the army could bring in an intelligence official who could understand Tamil to sit through; all our names and identity cards were then recorded as we left. It was enough to make even those few of us interested in our culture to never attend a Noolaham meeting again.

Thus when the Local government elections were held on June 23, 2011, the government preceded the ballot with a lot of election manipulation, road building and other development work, jobs, free shoes for children etc. Despite these illegal efforts (for reporting which I had an arrest order issued  against me), when the elections results came, they were telling: the government was roundly defeated. Even in the LTTE leader Prabhakaran’s Valvettithurai, a hotbed of Tamil militancy, it got 2 seats to the TNA’s 7. Although better than the less than 1% before the war, it was a clear, major reversal of the Jaffna municipal election results. The government had dissipated all goodwill it had earned.

Some dismiss the municipal elections as a Jaffna town syndrome where the popular mayor Alfred Duraiyappah used to get elected off and on as Mayor and MP; but that explanation is too simplistic. Duraiyappah used to get elected with the help of a significant Muslim population in Jaffna; the 50.67% showing by the government in 2009 was thus truly a sea change without the Muslims (Jaffna having been cleansed of them by the LTTE in October 1990). Any goodwill the government had in 2009 had now been dissipated.

Northern Provincial Council

The government had lost significant ground. So the Provincial Council continues to be run by the government, this time under a military man appointed governor without elections. If elections were held, we Tamils would have our first government after 1990, with an official Tamil voice far more powerful and convincing than that of one minister in government becoming an MP in an electorate where others cannot campaign, and those who do have their hands chopped off as done by Napoleon, an EPDP paramilitary member. As if in anticipation of a humiliating rout of a government which claims to have saved the Tamils from the LTTE, State Minister Susil Premajayantha announced on March 4, 2011 that there would be “some months’ delay” as “land mines are excavated in the North and resettlements are done in the proper manner, before the northern provincial election will be held.”

However, under intense Indian pressure it was announced that elections would be held in September this year. The unexpected announcement was seen as one more common lie to India to buy time. Such promises have been amply documented with one statement to India and another to local constituencies, finally resulting in breaking word to India. The elections in September were widely seen as another false promise to buy time with India and the then impending action at the UNHRC.

However, the US resolution effectively made the election a promise to the world by incorporating in the UNHRC resolution the line “Welcoming the announcement by the Government of Sri Lanka to hold elections to the Provincial Council in the Northern Province in September 2013, [etc.].”

Backing off now is very difficult and would lead to severe repercussion the next time Sri Lanka is before the UNHRC – which would be soon. As a result the government seems to be going ahead. The latest date for the elections announced by the elections commission is August.

Why No Show for the International Community?

One would expect a clever, sensible government, particularly one without any principles,  to put on a show of compliance with the UNHRC resolution for the international community. The government has an excellent record of holding long inquiries that go nowhere as under the Disappearances Commission (see Kishali Pinto Jayawardena’s Report for the International Commission of Jurists); and of lower level soldiers being found guilty while senior persons responsible get away scot free. Two good examples are the 1996 case of Krishanthi Kumaraswamy (the 17-year-old Tamil schoolgirl who was raped and murdered, with her mother, brother and friend who went looking for her also killed), and the 25 Sinhalese schoolchildren of Embilipitiya  forcibly disappeared in 1989 by soldiers. In these two examples, according to the International Commission of Jurists, “junior officers were convicted while their superiors were left untouched, despite evidence (particularly in the Embilipitiya case) that responsibility for these grave crimes lay higher in the chain of command.”

A third example is the Bindunuwewa Massacre where LTTE-ers who had surrendered and were in rehabilitation were murdered with the connivance of the police and the army. But after conviction by a Presidential Commission, the Supreme Court let the convicts off on appeal, making the adverse unsympathetic comment that a murdered 12 year old conscripted child was a terrorist.

So why is the government rejecting the UNHRC resolution and digging its own grave instead of deploying its usual tactics of show trials? I believe it is because war crimes culpability goes very high up the Sri Lankan chain of command. In The Sunday Leader (Dec. 13, 2009), General Sarath Fonseka charged that he had “learnt that Basil [Rajapaksa] had conveyed this information [about the proposed surrender of the LTTE’s senior leadership] to the Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa – who in turn spoke with Brigadier Shavendra Silva, Commander of the Army’s 58th Division, giving orders not to accommodate any LTTE leaders attempting surrender and that ‘they must all be killed’.”

But the government unexpectedly took The Sunday Leader story by Frderica Jansz head-on instead of denying it as expected. It accused Fonseka of treason. Fonseka and his handler Mangala Samaraweera with others held a press conference on the following day, Monday, where they seemed to deny the truth of the Jansz report. They would have got away with it making Jansz seem unethical, except that the then US Ambassador Patricia Butenis’ cable of Dec. 14, 2009 to Washington on her lunch-meeting with Sarath Fonseka and Karu Jayasooriya (of the UNP) recounts her discussions on Fonseka’s accusations of orders to shoot surrendering LTTTE-ers. The cable confirmed that Fonseka did indeed make the accusations as reported by Jansz. Fonseka comes out as wooly headed for having admitted it to the US ambassador at lunch, not knowing that he would, as The Hindu’s B. Muralidhar Reddy put it, do a volte face at the same afternoon’s press conference.

Any credible inquiry into war-crimes allegations, seeking genuine accountability will hit and raise questions about the Rajapaksas, damaging them irreparably.  If Basil and Gothabaya Rajapaksa are implicated as seems likely from what we know, no one would believe that Mahinda Rajapaksa is guilt-free and was kept out of command responsibility by his brothers.

That is why they cannot afford the presence of a legitimate Tamil government in the North holding the powers and possessing the credibility to call witnesses and document their accounts of the dastardly deeds culminating in May 2009.

Saviours of the Sinhalese Race: the Matale Graves

The Rajapaksas have effectively used the defeat of the LTTE to pose as “Saviours of the Sinhalese Race.” It has certainly helped them at elections.

Mass Grave At Matale

Mass Grave At Matale

But a major setback for the Rajapaksas is the discovery of the Matale graves where 154 skeletal remains were buried when the second JVP insurrection was crushed by the army. Gothabaya Rajapaksa was the commanding officer at the time, posted to Matale as the district coordinating officer tasked with bringing the JVP under control. Among his Company Commanders were Lieutenants Shavendra Silva, Jagath Dias, and Sumedha Perera, who are now the principal suspects in the war crimes against Tamils. Due to these graves Sinhalese too are demanding investigations. The Rajapaksas’ previous claims about having saved the “Sinhalese Race” ring hollow.

Any possible connection between Gothabaya Rajapaksa and the Matale murders would raise this question: How can those who murdered Sinhalese children so brutally and in such large numbers, credibly claim to be saviours of the “Sinhalese race”?

War crimes inquiries are therefore absolutely anathema to the Rajapaksas even if done for show. No Tamil government that can aid in evidence gathering would be tolerated.

Spreading Terror in Preparation of Elections

Now that the announced date for the northern elections is drawing near, the government is in a dither. It really seems too late to call them off after the welcoming statement from UNHRC.

So their Kayts tactics are in full play. The government is unleashing the same election rigging tactics it deploys in Kayts at every election. The 2003 Annual Report of Reporters without Borders describes EPDP cadres led by one Napolean murdering TNA members coming to Kayts for election campaigning. The Vavuniya High court dutifully released the man without confiscating his passport, despite the murder charge pending. Napolean was thus permitted to jump the nominal bail set at his EPDP lawyer’s request.

Uthayan-Editor

Uthayan Editor Gnanasundaram Kuhanathan in Intensive Care (July 2011).

The same report also describes journalist Uvindu Kurukulasuriya’s experience when the police attacked and insulted him when he took note of the licence number of a police vehicle in which persons were being beaten by policemen. When he went to the Maharagama police station to file a complaint, he was arrested for being drunk on the public highway and obstructing the police. His experience bears marked similarity to my own when I wrote of police vehicles without number plates in Kayts and ended up with charges. Similarly the BBC Reporter  Nimalrajan was murdered by EPDP paramilitary men with full impunity.

We have just seen the beginnings of the same terror tactics being deployed against the TNA with the full force of the army, police, and the EPDP paramilitary cadre. Ceylon Today  reported with eye-witness testimony that when the TNA office in Kilinochchi was attacked this month, law enforcement authorities arrived late and that when the assailants who were caught were given into their custody, the assailants were released. The BBC reported that the widely read Tamil language newspaper Uthayan, which reports much of the government’s underhanded dealings against Tamils, was torched and that newspapermen continue to be attacked in various parts of the North.

The army flooding the North is said to have 1 soldier for every 6 Tamils. Now permanent bases are being constructed with facilities for their families. It is expected that these soldiers with their families will be voting. That by itself will tilt the electoral result.

Reports from Jaffna this week state that 18,000 Sinhalese families are being resettled as persons chased off by the LTTE during its massacres of Jaffna Sinhalese in October 1987. It is absolutely doubtful that there were 18,000 families then and even if there were, that they could be traced after 25 years, and that, even if traced, they would want to return, disrupting their now settled lives. I believe that these are simply militant Sinhalese being planted in anticipation of the elections to vote and to terrorize.

Will these tactics be enough to scare the Tamil people from going to vote, thereby allowing the government to win the Provincial Council? Or will we Tamils have a Tamil government after more than two decades, even if it be with few powers but the legitimacy to speak up for our rights and needs as the voice of the people?

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31 Responses to Northern Provincial Council Elections In Sri Lanka

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    Thank you for the information – CT

    PravNJ
    April 17, 2013 at 5:20 pm
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    Hoole you are a fool Still you have hidden agenda like before You got fooled by your masters Now you are trying to cover up your past Before 2009 you had little chance now you have none

    Pasel
    April 17, 2013 at 6:32 pm
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    140,000 according to The Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph, the much respected Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Mannar…….. NO This is not what he said the Bishop said 140000 were “Un accounted ” for ! There is a big difference.

    Dev
    April 17, 2013 at 6:34 pm
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    Hoole has spoken the truth. The pending election will be one in which all the tricks,manipulations and unlawful acts will be used. The military governer will have received special instructions from MR himself.

    justice
    April 17, 2013 at 8:00 pm
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    Excellent Informative article of rare quality. You point out correctly the activities of the protectors of the Sinhalese Race – to be not much different from the protectors of the Tamil Race, but with a difference. The Sinhalese did not mange to produce as much educated Justifiers and supporters who would write/speak in good English from all quarters of the world about their own cause. They just murder, cover up badly, get caught and go shoot those who speak about it, without the elegance that LTTE had in implementing their racist vision. So they appear to be Gonas while the Tamils appear to be fighting for a cause – while murdering every single Tamil who was politically out of alignment. So what then is the big difference ? The Tamils are clearly a danger onto themselves and so are the Sinhalese. In the Colonial days they created “Protectorates” to protect the natives from the wonton slitting of each others throats. Should not we consider setting up Sri Lanka as a Unitary protectorate, with circular bus way running around the island full of tourist buses where they can appreciate our peaceful co-habitation ?

    Kiri Yakka
    April 17, 2013 at 10:38 pm
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    Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hoole is back. This post once again confirms what all who have been following Mr. Hoole’s activities and writings have long suspected – that he is suffering from a condition referred to in psychiatry as dissociative identity disorder, or put simply “split personality.” The good Dr. Jekyll very accurately and eloquently describes the atrocities of the LTTE. Referring to the final phase of the war he writes: “…that period also exposed the Jaffna population, with its peninsular mindset, to an understanding of what the LTTE was capable of. Until then most Jaffna Tamils (who also predominate the expatriate Tamil groups) had adulated the LTTE as heroes who sacrificed much for the welfare of the Tamil people – remaining happily oblivious and deliberately blind to LTTE atrocities against civilians, especially in the Vanni (the mainland below the peninsula) where child conscription was rampant. All this was denied by peninsular Tamils, and these stories were suppressed as being sourced by Tamil traitors. But as the war was ending, even as there was clear evidence of genocide (as I described in The Hartford Courant), stories also emerged of LTTE atrocities against civilians (as I expressed in The New Indian Express and The Island); of civilians being used as human shields and being shot to death upon trying to escape; and of LTTE leaders fleeing with their families and looted gold hoarded by the LTTE, while forcing children to fight the brutal army. These new stories came from ardent LTTE supporters who had gone to serve them, and from respected civilians who had been forced to retreat as human shields with the LTTE as the fearful army advanced.” And then the evil Mr. Hoole/Hyde comes out with what he himself calls the “peninsular mindset” and characterizes the Eastern Provincial Council as “subservient.” This is typical Jaffna arrogance which sees all non-Jaffna Tamils as inferior and therefore incapable of deciding what is good for them by themselves. The condescending Mr. Hyde of Jaffna implies the EPC can never be what he asininely calls the “Tamil Government.” Only the Jaffna Provincial Council can be “Tamil Government.” And there will be no room for the Sinhalese in the Northern Province. Clearly Mr. Hoole/Hyde is a racist evil-doer trying to inflame violence against the Sinhalese in the north before the elections. If the Tamils can live and vote all over the island, why can’t the Sinhalese live and vote in the north? And already the good Dr. Jekyll is back trying to undo the evil creation of Mr. Hyde, namely the Northern Tamil government, by sabotaging it even before it is formed. Dr. Jekyll is riling the Sinhala hawks by saying “…they cannot afford the presence of a legitimate Tamil government in the North holding the powers and possessing the credibility to call witnesses and document their accounts of the dastardly deeds culminating in May 2009.” It will be interesting to watch if indeed such an investigation is launched by the NPC whether Dr. Jekyll would support the investigation of the war crimes of the LTTE as well.

    OutRider
    April 17, 2013 at 11:52 pm
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    DR.Hoole says “As a result, when elections were held for the Jaffna Municipal Council on 8 Aug. 2009 immediately after the defeat of the LTTE, it was a chance to see what effect the removal of the LTTE had had on Tamil minds. The government (i.e., Devananda’s EPDP) secured 50.67% of the vote while the TNA got merely 38.28% of the vote. It was a magnificent improvement for the EPDP which had previously struggled to hit the 1% mark. The government now only had to treat Tamils well and it would have had us constructively cooperating on reconstruction and reconciliation. But the government’s undoing was its intrinsic anti-Tamil ethos amounting to Tamil-phobia. The North was flooded with troops who regularly rape and rob Thus when the Local government elections were held on June 23, 2011, the government preceded the ballot with a lot of election manipulation, road building and other development work, jobs, free shoes for children etc. Despite these illegal efforts (for reporting which I had an arrest order issued against me), when the elections results came, they were telling: the government was roundly defeated.” So between aug 2009 and June 2011(2years)all the support for the government dissipated thanks to Gota.The Brits wisely sent Winston Churchill into retirement after the war because his use by date was over and he was not the man for the times.In this case mahinda continued with Gota as the Defence Secretary because of his loyalty to his brother,but it is a decision he will rue one day as his brother puts him and the sinhalese deeper and deeper into trouble.Gota is a brilliant administrator but should have been taken off the Defence Secretary Job as the war is over and there is no need for a man of his calibre in that role because his enthusiam will only be a double edged sword.Instead he should have been given the job of administrating other areas of the country which he would have done well.

    shankar
    April 18, 2013 at 5:24 am
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    The ‘ Token Tamil’ was good enough to seek financial help and influence to attain the Vice Chancellorship! The President who is heading an ‘ Ethnic Cleansing’ government was good enough to be approached for favours on the Vice Chancellorship and to entertain the couple at Temple Trees! Prof. Hoole was also confident enough to return to SrI Lanka on the open invitation of the ‘ Ethnic Cleaning President’ and his advisor- Prof. Carlo Fonseka. Prof. Hoole has also strung a story, excluding some crucial facts. He has not mentioned that the N-E PC became a mess, because the LTTE and the TULF connived to sabotage it from day one and provided JRJ the way out of the trap he had got himself into. He has not mentioned Varatharajaperumal ‘s UDI and the honeymoon that the LTTE had with Premadasa. He has also not mentioned that Varatharajaperumal’s PC formed a Tamil National Army (TNA) and head hunted unwilling Tamil youth for recruits. These conscripts were massacred in their thousands by the LTTE after the IPKF was forced out. The ethnic cleansing in Trincomalee undertaken by the IPKF during the short life of the EPRLF led N-E PC also does not find any mention. He has also not mentioned that the LTTE fought the IPKF with funds and weapons provided by Premadasa. When history is recounted it must not be selective. It must include both sides of a story honestly, to the greatest extent possible. It is wrong to paint one side to the conflict blacker than black, when both were lack !This article fails that test abominably. It is political pamphlet and nothing more or nothing less. Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran
    April 18, 2013 at 7:48 am
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      While I am not interested in defending Hoole….. lest we forget can we remind ourselves who was part of the diaspora group that came to “laud” the government for its “efforts”??? Who went to the camps set up by the government and claimed everything was in tip top shape…….you ! Why? Well I think we all know …… But now you are turning around and criticizing the very govt you praised and was richly rewarded for ….so if you can do that, why cant Hoole also change????? People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones !!! “the love of money is the root of all evil”

      Dev
      April 18, 2013 at 4:55 pm
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        Dev, Because I came, I saw and I I vestigated, I know more than you and most others do. I yet know more because I make it a point to yet interact with those in the Vanni. My thanks to Dr. Noel Nadesan who invited me to join his delegation. I did not seek any personal favours from anyone either. I had my opinion then and I do now. You can not silence me with your jack-in-the box barbs, which seems to have become the mission in your life. By inference, I can also ask, but rather reluctantly, whether you work for the TNA? Dr. RN

        Dr.Rajasingham Narendran
        April 18, 2013 at 6:30 pm
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      Well said, Dr. Narendran. God bless you and thank you.

      Tamil Woman
      April 20, 2013 at 5:13 am
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    Prof. Hoole, What really happened to the UTHR/Rajan Hoole–they don’t seem to be operating anymore? I used to look for their reports to get a good picture of what was really going on in the North-East, and I admired the fact that they made great personal sacrifices in the face of LTTE threats to bring out atrocities by all sides, though I had some mild criticism that during the CBK years, they seemed to be ignoring some GoSL atrocities and focusing almost entirely on LTTE atrocities. There is a void now in that we don’t have permanent, meticulously done records by credible groups like the UTHR, of abuses and atrocities. It seems to me that when you write about these issues (as opposed to the divisive caste and religious issues, or your petulance on career related disappointments), in a way you are filling that void, and I commend you for it.

    Agnos
    April 18, 2013 at 8:48 am
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      Agnos: Shouldn’t the caste issue be discussed? Isn’t an open discussion the best way to eradicate it from the Tamil community? If the way Hoole discusses this (and other issues) is divisive, why don’t you spend a bit of time writing your own thoughts on the subject?

      Chandra
      April 19, 2013 at 2:27 am
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        Chandra, I am someone who spoke at TULF election meetings in 1977 when I was barely 10, and wrote essays about eradicating caste (and “untouchability”) soon after that. And within a couple of years after that, I became an agnostic/atheist, and have been so ever since. From my perspective caste simply does not exist, except in irrational minds, many of them religious ones, though I do recognize the historical role of religions. In my own family, most of the ladies remain devout Hindus, and some of them even went on religious pilgrimages to India to seek the blessings of Sai Baba–a charlatan–about which I make endless fun of them. But someone who publicly professes his faith in one religion–say Christianity, as Prof.Hoole does ( in other words, someone who accepts irrationality of one kind)– cannot legitimately attack the beliefs of a different religion as irrational. That is why when Hoole writes about caste and religion in Jaffna, it often provokes strong emotions in others, and becomes divisive. I think with the Tamil diaspora’s immersion in the cultures of their host countries, where caste is unheard of but economic class is a reality, caste will die off in the source Tamil community in Sri Lanka as well, sooner rather than later, but a class system will remain. So why rake up caste issues at this stage? And I am at a stage in my life where I don’t have time to write; so I will limit myself to these comments, and leave it to others with time on their hands to write more.

        Agnos
        April 19, 2013 at 6:57 am
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          Speaking at TULF meetings at the age of 10? Those were important meetings that set the agenda of Tamil politics — and the massacre they were put through. No wonder in my language there is a proverb that google translator translates roughly as: “small children agriculture brings home no harvest”. And have you considered how prevalent the caste system is in the Scarborough area of Toronto?

          Chandra
          April 19, 2013 at 7:08 pm
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            Well, there is something called precocity, so I knew enough politics then to be able to speak in public meetings and say that the youth were working hard for the ‘liberation’ of the people, and since the youth were supporting the TULF, the public should support the TULF as well. It isn’t like I was making policy. I have been in the US for the past 2 decades, but I know Canada very well, and at least in the educated circles I have been in, even in Scarborough caste has never been an issue. It is possible some irrational people are still clinging to it. It could also be that some people who have ill-will toward Tamils are trying to fish in troubled Tamil waters, and making a mountain out of a molehill.

            Agnos
            April 20, 2013 at 2:25 am
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              Precocity — amazing. Your parents should have been very proud. You say you don’t see caste as an issue among the educated people you hang out with. Presumably, like you, these people don’t go to temples, so they won’t know that the guy who does the pooja qualified for the job by virtue of his caste (also in Toronto)?

              Chandra
              April 20, 2013 at 4:07 am
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    A very informative article, topical, truthful and relevant. Hoole focuses on issues without overbearing ethnic bias which is why many racially biased commentators, Tamil and Sinhala do not like what he says. He has articulated the current status of the issues that will come in to play when the elections are held to the Northern Provincial Council. It is our folly that the rare opportunity that was available to Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2009 was squandered and perhaps lost for ever. Was it his own racial bias that caused it? Was he advised incorrectly? Was he not endowed with common sense to envision the opportunity that awaited him to secure ethnic reconciliation? It is certainly not for want of constuctive criticism that was offered by thousands of people, including NGO/INGOs. It is said that Rajapaksa is not a ‘reader’, not one to avidly read a newspaper or a book. He prefers an oral briefing. Is he being briefed well? Not that a Head of State needs to rely on briefings to know what is happening and what needs to be done. One observation is that he is suspicious of liberal advice and prefer the radical; he will shun the obvious and the simplistic and go with the conspiratorial. He sees a threat everywhere even when there is none. The fact that he has surrounded himself with his family is a pointer to his insecurity. Everybody who does not toe his line is a traitor. No one dare offer advice through fear. This is why authoritarian, and dictatorial leaders fail. They generate a population of subservient ‘yes men’. For Rajapaksa now it is a question of how to wriggle out of the Northern Provicial elections. For others it is more a question of whether with or without elections how can the two races reconcile and retain a united Sri Lanka. So what is the advice Rajapaksa must be given? And when good advice is given will he trust it?

    Wickramasiri
    April 18, 2013 at 10:00 am
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    Dr.Rajasinham, Dr..Hoole is one of the most respected intellectuals the country has produced. His job is not to report on all the thinks you wish to be reported. He has provided an excellent in depth view of what happened. I thank him for that. In the same vein I would like to ask Dr.Rajasinahm to report on how the Tamils massacred all their moderates and non-racits. I will be happy, as you are to to harangue you using yourown clerical language “Dr.R…. He has also not mentioned ……” Its time to stop being clerks.

    Kiri Yakka
    April 18, 2013 at 1:17 pm
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    Dr.Rajasinham, Note that my spelling mistakes are intentional, so as to engage your clerical mind.

    Kiri Yakka
    April 18, 2013 at 1:19 pm
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    Kiri Yakka, I am not involved in the clerical business. I in fact admire Prof. Hoole’ s educational attainments. I however question his intellectual capacity, on the basis of what he writes on subjects outside his speciality. I welcome his forays into subjects of political and social interest. However, I disagree with much of what he says and concludes on the basis of very selected facts. While I do not doubt his sincerity , I question his judgement on many issues. There is nothing personal or vindictive in my responses. Dr.RN

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran
    April 18, 2013 at 2:05 pm
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    This man Hoole is [Edited out] and has been an arch racist throughout his life. This I realized when I first read a racist speech he made for ‘Canadians for Peace’ in Toronto, on August 17, 2008. Anyway, when Hoole crossed terrorists’ line few years febore that, he was chased out of Sri Lanka by LTTE for the first time. He had settled down with his family in Canada and started preaching his own style of Tamil liberation but without upsetting LTTE thugs there. He pursued his deliberations on a long term plan to have an evangelical Eelam without LTTE. After LTTE was vanquished, in the guise of helping higher education, Hoole returned to Sri Lanka with much fanfare to put his plan in to effect. But his larger than life ambition, unacceptable evangelical desires and blatant racism had not let him cohabit with others for long in the realm of Minister Devananda of EPDP. And he was chased out of Sri Lanka for the second time. At present, living somewhere in the west, Hoole devotes his time to propagate lies and slur on those who oppose his ideas through various write-ups apparently with less and less takers even in his cherished website CT. ‘Provincial council system’ Hoole talks about is not a political structure of Sri Lankan design but a setup that was rammed on Sri Lanka by Indians through gunboat diplomacy in 1987. It was a solution by Indians for Indians to control all affairs of Sri Lanka. Neither Tamils nor Sinhalas ask for it or accepted it. 17th amendment to make PCs law was passed in parliament under emergency and curfew by MPs taken there under duress. LTTE fought tooth and nail against it. But Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) held a sham election in the N&E and placed its stooge, W Perumal as the chief minister of N&E. Perumal declared UDI for Eelam with the connivance of IPKF not long afterwards. Sri Lanka President dissolved the council, and IPKF took their Perumal to India. After that, IPKF had to leave Sri Lanka unceremoniously. A governor from Colombo had to rule N&E for over two decades because LTTE and their proxies, TNA never allowed elections for Provincial Council of N&E. We must not forget that TNA had not participated at the first PC election held in the East after war ended there. Why? TNA and Tiger Diaspora never wanted the ‘provincial council system’. So why does they want PCs now? Because they think that is the only feasible ‘roadmap’ for them to get to Eelam. In the south, we think all Provincial councils have been white elephants for the last twenty four years. We have spent colossal sums of money to maintain them in vain. For instance, most of the incomes of PCs are spend on maintenance of the PC system. Hardly any money is spent on development. They say, 80% of PC incomes are spent on administration leaving just 20% to carry out an assortment of work they are delegated. PCs are certainly beneficial to politicians, their kith and kin for they all cruise by in new SUVs. It’s good for hoards of officialdom as well but not to ordinary people like us. Need I say more, if WPC has wasted over seven years to build a 35 foot long and 20 foot wide bridge in Padukka-Horana road. Lack of power and revenue is the excuse PC backers give as the reason for jobs not done. That’s bunkum, ‘Tamil Nadu’ State has all the powers but people there do not have even toilets. I’ve seen them using road side as toilets. Sinhalas are all for towns and villages manage their own affairs. But we are not for allowing PCs – which are smaller than some municipalities of ‘Tamil Nadu’ – to override the Parliament. That’s what we have perceived from SC determination of Divi-Naguma bill. It showed how a tail could wag the dog. Also, land mass cannot be a simple local affair to allow a small racist and jingoistic population to have ‘Bantu Land’ concept or no go area for others other than theirs. We are not in favour of devolving police powers either for we cannot let disputes like the one that Tamil Nadu and Karnataka has for Cauvery river water develop between our PCs. We want every inch of Sri Lanka open for all its citizen regardless their race or religion. Leela

    Leela
    April 18, 2013 at 2:15 pm
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      Leela writes: “We must not forget that TNA had not participated at the first PC election held in the East after war ended there. Why?” Leela chooses not to know the answer because it is one that is unpalatable. It is because the Rajapaksa overlords were using the TMVP to harass and intimidate the TNA and Tamil voters. It is a template they will be utilising for the Northern Election (if it gets held) using the EPDP. The attacks on the Uthayan paper and the TNA are the beginning of this event. “TNA and Tiger Diaspora never wanted the ‘provincial council system’.” As Leela has a simple mind, the idea of a community sharing a single opinion is a very attractive proposition. Let us not bother to tell this person of our own reservations re:Prabhakaran’s behaviour among the diaspora as such a thing will spoil this much-cherished idea. I look forward to Leela labelling me an LTTE supporter if I’m so lucky as to get a reply “have been white elephants for the last twenty four years” I saw a picture of a white elephant recently on the internet and it was one of the animals set aside for tourists at Mahinda Rajapaksa international airport. This animal appeared very lonely given that it will not be greeting too many foreign guests, especially Commowealth heads of state “PCs are certainly beneficial to politicians, their kith and kin for they all cruise by in new SUVs.” Indeed, better to get rid of them and move everything into the central govt to allow Rajapaksa kith and kin to cruise around in their Aston Martins. ‘Tamil Nadu’ State has all the powers but people there do not have even toilets. I’ve seen them using road side as toilets.” This interesting observation probably lets us know what parts of Chennai Leela enjoys visiting as opposed to giving us any meaningful insight into the original article “Sinhalas are all for towns and villages manage their own affairs.” Obviously Tamil-dominated town and villages will have their affairs decided for them by SL army and police under Leela’s enlightened model, given their dangerous predisposition for forming ‘bantu-stans’ “we cannot let disputes like the one that Tamil Nadu and Karnataka has for Cauvery river water develop” Indeed- one wonders why the indian govt didn’t use this as an excuse to get rid of Tamil Nadu state govt and move thousands of North indian troops into that state for law and order purposes. Such a move would’ve brought much needed peace and stability to South India as the North of Sri Lanka is currently enjoying “We want every inch of Sri Lanka open for all its citizen regardless their race or religion.” Obviously after extensive consultation has been made with Mahinda, Gota, Basil, Chaminda and the monks of the Bodu Sena.

      Ramanan
      April 18, 2013 at 9:58 pm
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      Leela says”Provincial council system’ Hoole talks about is not a political structure of Sri Lankan design but a setup that was rammed on Sri Lanka by Indians through gunboat diplomacy in 1987.” The fact remains that president JRJ signed the indo lanka accord for his own purposes knowing fully well that the LTTE will oppose it and then the clash with india will occur and he can watch the fun,and it exactly took place as he anticipated.So after using the Indo lanka accord to set up the LTTE and IPKF into a war you can’t now airily wave it off by saying it was rammed down your throat.You got its benefits through the wily JRJ, now you can put it in your pipe and smoke on it because it aint going away after the indians lost rajiv and thousands of their Jawans trying to implement it.

      shankar
      April 20, 2013 at 5:05 pm
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        Shanke, I do not think the clever old fox was that clever. However, he exploited post-agreement situation to vomit what he was made to swallow. The small boy Rajiv Gandhi was pliable clay in the hands of the wily old fox, once the agreement was signed and the LTTE started playing its games. Dr.RN

        Dr.Rajasingham Narendran
        April 20, 2013 at 6:01 pm
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          Dr.narendran,regardless of whether he swallowed or vomited,he signed the accord.So it has to be honoured,just like there cannot be turning back on the kachativu agreement which tamilnadu is now trying to abrogate.You can’t play the fool with international agreements and treat them like the banda-chelva pact etc,as we found out to our cost with the petroleum corp hedging agreement with foreign banks,which cour case we lost. Anyway I think JRJ,the wily fox knew that he can wait on the sidelines and watch the fun when dumb and dumber fight it out and one will be killed.Only thing he must have been surprised that it was rajiv and not prabha that was killed. The sinhalese got a great benefit by the indo lanka accord because it was the beginning of the end of the LTTE.Now they can’t pick and choose the good parts and leave out the bad,not that i think that it is bad for the country like Leela does.Leela is grumbling that the provincial councils are white elephants,naturally they will be when they are devoid of powers and funds.He is saying that all the money is going on administration,that is because there isn’t a reduction in the central government expenses to accommadate the provincial council expenses.Still we have the hundreds of ministers and bloated public service in the central government,so what is left for the provincial councils eh? First the central government has to be trimmed down to maximum 25 ministers so that the provinces can get the money.Even today i read that the electricity prices have increased but the ministers pay only 2000 rupees a month regardless of how much they consume.Even their gardens are flood lit while the poor ordinary folk have to pay well above 2000 rupees a month for their electricity.

          shankar
          April 21, 2013 at 8:13 pm
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    Dr.Rajasingham, Dr.Hoole is a man of Intelligence. I appreciate that you are not vindictive but question his judgment. Dr.Hoole has never been a racist. How cool is that for a Tamil Intellectual. I think it is a remarkable achievement. He is passionate about his folks, Christianity and the distortions of history and does not loose is cool with the likes of Leela who is Beela.

    Kiri Yakka
    April 18, 2013 at 6:36 pm
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      I question Hoole’s judgement myself and he always loses his cool. Witness his attacks on fellow academics not to mention his religious fanaticism. No pun intended – but he is black and can never paint himself white..

      Tamil Woman
      April 20, 2013 at 5:11 am
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    What the leadership in the Sinhala South must take into consideration is the fact the biggest danger to Sri Lanka’s future territorial integrity is the foolish programme to reduce the Tamils into a minority in their own areas in the NEP. This is lead by the same warped minds that came out with the Grease Yaka charade – that has been quickly withdrawn in conditions of conceded defeat. Encouraged by reducing the Tamil dominance in the EP – both by colonisation and unduly encouraging other communities into various forms of social engineering – the Tamil presence in the EP, they pat themselves on the back, is now successful. Is it?? And so now they apply similar tactics in the Northern Province. In these pages and in other spaces frantic voices of the Tamils, both here and in the diaspora, plead for the halt of the genocidal designs against Tamils. But by force of armed might and the absence of a political voice of the Tamils in the NP, they continue – huge cantonments with families etc in Tamil areas, dis-possession of Tamil agricultural land for Army ventures, denial of trading rights to Tamils in the North etc. Most of which in the half-baked plans of military men like Sarath F. The confessed grand plan is to reduce the Tamils as a voiceless minority in their areas. This may succeed here currently – as it did in the EP. The designs of countries like Pakistan to use some sections of the population here to fall in line with their own divisive designs to offer surreptitious support to ultimately strike India, on for sometime, will gather momentum. But the danger is it will create greater consciousness and support to the Tamil cause in India. Insurrectionist forces will be encouraged to emerge in Indian soil – this time with an all-India feature. It is only the naïve in the administration who will ignore the gathering support of Indian students in ALL universities to the Lankan Tamil cause currently. Such a movement will gather support, grow and flow into other areas of the Indian electorate. India will convince its electorate Sri Lanka has become a serious threat to its security. In that scenario India is likely to take unprecedented action, with global support, not seen in modern times. It may take a few decades but it will happen. Rajapakses would have long left the scene – but the Sinhalese – in a far poorer Sri Lanka dried to the bone by the Rajapakses rule – are likely to suffer to levels not seen in centuries. I do not write these thoughts to create undue fear. I do so as a Ceylonese/Sri Lankan who loved the unity and pluralism of the 1950s/60swhen this country had one of the finest Physical Qualities of love, peace and unity in the region. All of which now destroyed at the altar of majoritarianism and pseudo-Buddhism. I welcome the more initiated in the readership to comment more frequently in the dangers we face today because space for free discussion and the creation of public opinion has been deliberately made to shrink in the country. I have seen and inter-acted with Armenians, Kurds and other diaspora societies in Europe that went through these pains. I shudder to think this happening here. Senguttuvan

    Senguttuvan
    April 19, 2013 at 7:51 am
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    ”the Supreme Court let the convicts off on appeal, making the adverse unsympathetic comment that a murdered 12 year old conscripted child was a terrorist”: I wish o know more details – if anyone knows websites related to it, pl post them here. Thank you in advance.

    Rahim
    April 19, 2013 at 11:09 am
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    Hoole is a discredited individual and even if he were to talk sense intermittently, his earlier religious diatribes disqualify him. No one takes him seriously any more. He has undermined his own standing in the realm of intellectual discourse.

    Tamil Woman
    April 20, 2013 at 5:09 am
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