7 December, 2022


SLFP Is Not A Racist Party: CBK

Racism and religious extremism have no place in the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, former President Chandrika Kumaratunga said at the commemoration of her father S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike’s death yesterday.

Mahinda and Chandrika

Addressing a crowd during the ceremonies to commemorate the former Sri Lankan Premier, Kumaratunga said that the pact signed between her father and Federal Party Leader, popularly known as the Banda-Chelva Agreement, went far beyond the power sharing provisions of the 13th Amendment.

“At that time, the Federal Party was asking for power sharing under a federal system,” she said.

“Nowadays they are speaking of too many powers in the 13th Amendment. The Banda-Chelva pact was willing to share power far more significantly than that,” the former President said.

The SLFP was started with the Bandaranayake vision, said Kumaratunga, adding that in these days various convoluted visions had been incorporated into the party.

“Of late various people claim their fathers created the SLFP along with my father – at that time I don’t think they were around,” she charged.

Defending her father’s controversial Sinhala Only Act, Kumaratunga said it was an attempt to uphold the rights of the majority that had been suppressed by European colonialists for hundreds of years. “He also brought the Tamil language bill at the same time. He had no intention to implement racist policies. But because he was assassinated, there was no way to enact that bill,” President Kumaratunga said.

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    Many on this thread who blame SWRD overlook the fact that he was only abiding the agenda of those powerful and wealthy Sinhala Buddhists who brought him to power including the then head monk at Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara. These Sinhala nationalists – then and now – perceive Tamils (especially Northern Tamils) as separatists hell-bent on carving out their beloved Ealam. Considering the recent rhetoric of TNA politicians, the Sinhalese nationalists are not wholly incorrect in their beliefs. Despite the misery of the last 30 years, aspirations of Tamil nationalism seems well in-tact. Let’s face it, in Sri Lanka there has never been a Statesman/Stateswoman – the likes of a Martin Luther King or Kennedy brothers, those with the capacity see things from the other side. As long as the island’s leaders – Tamil, Sinhalese, and Muslim – remain communal-centric and unable to transcend beyond this narrow thinking, Sri Lanka’s national question will only get worse. Rajapaksa blew his golden opportunity to be a Statesman after the war victory – stupidly claiming that there were no minorities on the island in his first post-victory deliberation. Now Wigneswaran has the opportunity to provide real leadership by articulating a vision which appeals to the broader populous that weighs-in the primary fear of the Sinhlaese, separation. His recent remark “they must trust us” is not a visionary solution. As for Chandrika, she is a spent force – and a weak one at that.

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