By N. Logathayalan –
Today 18 May 2019 is Mullivaikal Day commemorating the deaths of those who were slaughtered 10 years ago. It coincides rather vulgarly with Vesak Day, 2019.
Many Tamils commemorated the day in Mullivaikal and elsewhere but more somberly with smaller crowds than last year’s big event. The mood today was angry. Emergency Regulations rammed through parliament in the aftermath of the Easter Day Bombings on 21 April 2019 have been used to arrest and hold without bail students at University of Jaffna for being in possession of innocuous photos of Veluppillai Prabhakaran. At the same time those like Minister Rishard Bathiudeen against whom there appears to be serious evidence that he is behind far more heinous acts were going about in expensive government cars. There is no equal application of the law.
A decision by Tamil elders had to be made on whether to support or vote against the motion of No Confidence presented by some 66 MPs against Minister Rishard Bathiudeen. The milieu among Tamils was explosive because a) Rishard Bathiudeen recruits only Muslims into his ministry, b) high officials of his ministry and of the mineral sands corporation that was under him openly complain of how tender awards are shamelessly manipulated, c) he is consistently working against the Tamils of the North East in general, and d) perhaps understandably, he is drawing a support base of Tamils too who are attracted by favors he selectively does them.
The anger is the most intense because many Tamils believe how he is connected to the recent violence but nothing has been done by the police. The TNA itself is badly divided. MPs M.A. Sumanthiran and Rajavarothayam Sampanthan have taken the stand that at this juncture the party must vote against the resolution so as not to disturb the stability of the government. MP Shanthi Sriskanatharasa says she would stand behind her leader. ITAK Leader Mavai Senathirajah surprisingly says that if the party decides not to support the resolution he would abstain. Worrisomely for the alliance four MPs (Charles Nirmalanathan,Sivagnanam Sritharan, Siddharthan Dharmalingam and one other from the North vow to vote for the resolution as do several (if not all) Batticloa District TNA MPs. It is therefore to pressure the TNA leadership into unwaveringly support the no-confidence motion despite the entreaties of the TNA Leader that many district party unit members of the ITAK met in Mannar today while the Vavuniya group will meet tomorrow Sunday.
Saying that one of those who blasted bombs on 21 April used Minister Rishard Bathiudeen’s car, many TNA MPs hold the view that they must vote for the motion of no-confidence against Minister Bathiudeen. His view was bolstered during revelations that came during the debate.
During the debate it was confirmed that the son of the treasurer of Bathiuddin’s Party the ACMC, had used Bathiudeen’s car for the bombing. Likewise, several days after the bombing when the Minister’s home was subject to a police round up and search, two pairs of vehicle number plates bearing numbers Wpku-1887 and NpLp-0786 were recovered. Neither pair was attached to any vehicle. One set, that is NpLp-0786, was found to be phony. That is, although the Department of Motor Traffic had not issued those plates, no action was taken. Urging that just because someone is minister he should not be above the law, the meeting was very serious that their party must uphold the rule of law.
As such the Mannar branch of the ITAK saw 24 of its 20 members and both youth wing members voting together yielding 22 votes to nil arguing that the TNA must support the motion.
Accordingly, after May 22 Parliament will take up for debate the extension of the emergency law. It was further decided at the ITAK (Mannar Branch) meeting that the party must support only an extension that applies to inquiries into the Easter day Bombings and cannot be widened to charge those like the university students in Jaffna.
That spells trouble. If the motion passes and Bathiudeen, badly offended, walks out of the government with his 5 ACTC seats, it could spell trouble for the government – bad trouble,
It looks like the no-confidence resolution against Bathiudeen will pass. The government will probably try to reward Bathiudeen so that he does not leave the government benches and thereby deny the government its wafer-thin advantage. That is Sri Lanka! – commanding the right number of seats in parliament an MP can flout any law and be entitled to any privilege and enjoy full impunity .
What an example for the next generation on Vesak Day!