21 November, 2018

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Some Thoughts On The Hartal From Jaffna: Whose Crazy Idea?

By Aarashi Gunaratnam

Today is the day of the Hartal. It was called for by the TNA and Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam’s outfit, the TNPF, says a news portal favorable to the TNA. It seems to have been a success insofar as most shops are closed. But I have a sense of foreboding over this. A bus taking patients from Point Pedro to Jaffna was stoned, bringing all bus services to a halt. Who are these violence-prone youth who stoned the bus? Are we going back to our violent past? Are the TNA and the TNPF in trying to outdo each other, letting the violent genie out of the bottle again?

Jaffna HartalHartals are meant to score a political point and perhaps even damage the opponent. This one is to protest the non-release of political prisoners as solemnly promised by the government. But I do not see how this puts any pressure on the government except to show that there is support for the release of the prisoner. Many of the prisoners, it is said, sold pappadams and broomsticks for the LTTE while the really violent ones have paid their way out to freedom or are free after selling their souls to the Rajapaksas. Indeed, the idea that some of them have been imprisoned without charge for over 15 years is something that no civilised people can countenance. The cause is good and the point is made. The government must take note.

But at what cost is this Hartal? The stone throwing incident should give us pause and make us rethink strategy. For, the other side of the Hartal is a fiasco. Let it not be forgotten that most of us living in the North are being hurt by the Hartal. Trains to the North have been suspended causing great inconvenience. School children and university students have a free holiday but have lost a day of their studies. Daily paid workers will never have their lost wages made up. Taxi, bus and trishaw operators will never make up their income lost from today. The inconvenience to travellers is made worse by the fact that it is raining cats and dogs with a few streets flooded. Restaurants will not have meal-sales lost today being made up tomorrow. Indeed, it is telling that many restaurants have a single door open and are selling meal packets while openly cursing the boycott. Today being Friday, the customary meal packets with lots of curry have trimmed fare with no paayaasam and no buryani option for fear that what they cook will not be sold.

I think the only enthusiastic supporters of the boycott are salaried personnel who will get their full month’s pay without today’s wages being cut, irresponsible students glad of an extra holiday, diaspora Tamils who will have another news item to read, and fat-cat politicians who will face no inconvenience because they live in Colombo and have luxury cars with drivers paid by the government.

This is political football all over again. The TNA and the TNPF are prisoners of their own politics. They cannot afford not to call for the boycott for the fear that the other will get credit. Even Douglas Devananda is on the prisoner bandwagon, visiting the prisoners as if he cared.

To protest on behalf of the prisoners is good. But there must be a sensible way to do it. Surely we must find a better way to make our points than to cut our nose to spite our face (or to use a colorful Tamil phrase, than to refuse to wash our behinds because we are angry with the pond).

I take heart from the only silver lining this time. It is that there is no LTTE to shoot such desperate persons as who do business quietly so as not to lose their livelihood, and the army is not there beating up shopkeepers into keeping their doors open. We have come far from that ugly past. Let us not go back to it.

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Latest comments

  • 8
    8

    I love hartal. Tamils need more hartals. I was involved in the hartal against Modi in London.

    What is good about hartal is that I get real kick in myself. When you organise a hartal you are somebody.

    I wish I was in Jaffna for the hartal. But unfortunately with my British passport I can’t do that.

    At least I could have settled with Gin and Tonic under a mango tree with my friends and expressed my euphoric sentiments.

    I want to give up my British passport soon.

    • 2
      2

      Nirmala N,

      “I want to give up my British passport soon.”

      Please don’t do that. Try to obtain dual citizenship. Our country is a mess and you might want to or be forced to emigrate in the future.

      • 4
        2

        Nirmalan lives in Australia, that is why he is givng up his British passport.

        Tamil drama

    • 10
      3

      Perhaps you had a few G&T before you wrote this crap

      • 2
        1

        [Edited out]

    • 3
      1

      Miss Nirmala

      [Edited out]

    • 2
      1

      [Edited out]

    • 1
      0

      Over thousands of Tamils been detained and some are tortured in Army held torture camps. Journalist Ehaliyagoda was abducted, tortured, detained in a Army held torture camp and his body was later dumped in the sea.

      The Govt. should immediately release these Tamil youths and hand them over to the UN representatives to avoid any deaths from their hunger strike. Some detainees been held for over 15 years without any charges

  • 3
    1

    First and foremost the Uni students must refrain from dirty politics and concentrate on thier studies.tna should rid of some old policy mentality members.we dont wants the nasty path we had.
    Its may good for dispora (vaichol veerar)
    They may glorify this inheritage wealthy ex Royal and cinamon Garden Boy wants spends time and money.He havent learn the lesson yet like his generation.
    The Past hartal was a (the rape case)wake up Call and it had the impact and real anger.
    Some Action may harm the prisoners than helping dont get sympathy.let them fight and pardended.hope they all free for xmas.

  • 0
    2

    Native Vedda

    You do not want to see and you do not want others to see that beautiful face. Be cool and generous Annai.

    Days hiding behind fence gone. Even conservative Jaffna parents are changing slowly. You being young and handsome should relax and enjoy by looking at beautiful sceneries and people.

    Bye now!

  • 1
    0

    More news from the Daily News.

    http://dailynews.lk/?q=2015/11/14/local/siddharthan-vows-more-hartals

    “Jaffna District Parlimentarian Dharmalingam Siddharthan said more hartals will be staged in the future too, until all Tamil political prisoners are released unconditionally.”

    This TNA MP promises more hartals. Does his demand of unconditional release mean no bail, no rehabilitation, pardon for the convicts,all charges dropped, an amnesty?

    Is this release really for all Tamil political prisoners including the ones who did not support LTTE and very likely killed TNA MPs?

    Do the other Tamil politicians agree with Siddharthan? Is he the acting spokesman?

    “He further said ” The decision has to be taken to release all Tamil political prisoners. On November 9, 32 prisoners were released on bail.”

    Siddharthan does not know the facts about the 32 prisoners despite being a Jaffna MP and talking to the media about the political prisoners.

    “President Maithripala Sirisena told Chief Minister of the Northern Province C.V. Vigneswaran that a firm decision pertaining to the issue will be taken on November 16, 2015 (Monday).”

    With this “firm decision” our president may please TNA but good governance activists and the international community will see it as another very clear sign of the need for foreign involvement in the war crimes investigations.

    If MS starts to interfere with judges and Dept of AG because of tiny TNA we can imagine how he and his government would interfere in domestic war crimes investigations where most suspects belong to the majority community. Even a hybrid solution would not work if the president and government don’t care about rule of law and good governance.

    Good governance and rule of law should be provided for all not only for a few Tamil political prisoners. The fact is that our system of “justice” treats all poor citizens equally bad with no discrimination.

  • 1
    0

    The last one:

    Apparently Australia also has Tamil political prisoners without a charge and long time detention. Have our Tamil politicians protested? Did Sumanthiran talk about this during his visit? Did he and his wife fast as a protest?

    “Ranjini was one of more than 50 Tamil Sri Lankans who were deemed security threats despite having refugee status and were then indefinitely detained. Most have since been quietly released without reason after their adverse security assessments were lifted.

    “http://dailynews.lk/?q=2015/11/14/local/sri-lankan-woman-deemed-security-threat-released-australia

  • 0
    3

    wiggie is trying to Build the Provincial political party as a different group for his own existance.

    TNA does not want that.

    Just exploit Tamils.

  • 5
    3

    Aarashi Gunaratnam:

    Some Thoughts On The Hartal From Jaffna: Whose Crazy Idea?

    *** No one knows what you do for a living but let me give you my Thoughts on your CRAZY THOUGTS.

    I am being a bit kind by saying Crazy but in fact they are WILD & OUTRAGEOUS.

    1) Today is the day of the Hartal. It was called for by the TNA and Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam’s outfit, the TNPF, says a news portal favorable to the TNA. It seems to have been a success insofar as most shops are closed.

    *** Haartal is ” closure of shops and offices as a protest or a mark of sorrow”.

    But I have a sense of foreboding over this

    *** Forboding is a “feeling that something bad will happen; fearful apprehension”

    I ask you what are you fearful of. There is nothing to fear any more . The worst Treament has already been handed out ( many thousands killed , manny still locked up) with no end in sight.

    2) A bus taking patients from Point Pedro to Jaffna was stoned, bringing all bus services to a halt. Who are these violence-prone youth who stoned the bus? Are we going back to our violent past? Are the TNA and the TNPF in trying to outdo each other, letting the violent genie out of the bottle again.

    *** You have quoted one cooked up incident and even if that actually happend have you asked the question as to who could have done it when Army and the Police are in every corner. Wake up you Woman and open your eyes. You are being brain washed.

    3) Jaffna Hartal, Hartals are meant to score a political point and perhaps even damage the opponent. This one is to protest the non-release of political prisoners as solemnly promised by the government.

    *** Woman you have answered your own question by admitting that it is those who are opposed to the Hartal who indulged in the so called Stone throwing. I wouldnt be surprised if it was you who threw the stones from behind the Army paid to do the Job.

    4) But I do not see how this puts any pressure on the government except to show that there is support for the release of the prisoner. Many of the prisoners, it is said, sold pappadams and broomsticks for the LTTE while the really violent ones have paid their way out to freedom or are free after selling their souls to the Rajapaksas. Indeed, the idea that some of them have been imprisoned without charge for over 15 years is something that no civilised people can countenance. The cause is good and the point is made. The government must take note.

    *** The above confirms that you are MAD. Just read again and see if it makes any sense at all. Bloody rubbish. No connection. You Question the action and then agree with the purpose.

    5) But at what cost is this Hartal? The stone throwing incident should give us pause and make us rethink strategy. For, the other side of the Hartal is a fiasco. Let it not be forgotten that most of us living in the North are being hurt by the Hartal. Trains to the North have been suspended causing great inconvenience. School children and university students have a free holiday but have lost a day of their studies. Daily paid workers will never have their lost wages made up. Taxi, bus and trishaw operators will never make up their income lost from today. The inconvenience to travellers is made worse by the fact that it is raining cats and dogs with a few streets flooded. Restaurants will not have meal-sales lost today being made up tomorrow. Indeed, it is telling that many restaurants have a single door open and are selling meal packets while openly cursing the boycott. Today being Friday, the customary meal packets with lots of curry have trimmed fare with no paayaasam and no buryani option for fear that what they cook will not be sold.

    *** You make it sound as if you live in a Modern city and the day to day life is interrupted by the following.

    a) Hartal is a Fiasco.
    ***What makes you think that. The daily life is a Fiasco under Army ocupation.
    b)Trains to the North have been suspended causing great inconvenience.

    *** Where are these Trains ferrying the Tamils from and to do what.

    Are you telling the world that the North & East is Full of offices Factories denying people to carry out their daily work costing millions in lost revenues.
    c)Restaurants will not have meal-sales lost today being made up tomorrow,

    *** So I take it that these days the Jaffna folk have their Meals in POSH Restaurants.

    Wake up Woman and put the Kettle On and Cook your Dinner.

    6) I think the only enthusiastic supporters of the boycott are salaried personnel who will get their full month’s pay without today’s wages being cut, irresponsible students glad of an extra holiday, diaspora Tamils who will have another news item to read, and fat-cat politicians who will face no inconvenience because they live in Colombo and have luxury cars with drivers paid by the government.

    *** Stop mourning. You have already been paid to write this GARBAGE.

    7) To protest on behalf of the prisoners is good. But there must be a sensible way to do it. Surely we must find a better way to make our points than to cut our nose to spite our face (or to use a colorful Tamil phrase, than to refuse to wash our behinds because we are angry with the pond).

    *** The best way to protest is to stop taking BRIBES to write what you have written and make a fool of yourself.

    8) I take heart from the only silver lining this time. It is that there is no LTTE to shoot such desperate persons as who do business quietly so as not to lose their livelihood, and the army is not there beating up shopkeepers into keeping their doors open. We have come far from that ugly past. Let us not go back to it.

    *** No silly Woman. Take a Handkerchief and Cry and say the following. Why are we not FREE. Repeat Morning Mid day After noon and Evening. More importnatly before taking BRIBES.

  • 1
    2

    So who is suffering due to this stand-still? People in those areas seem to have very few brain cells in their heads !!

    • 1
      4

      There is widespread unrest in the south too now as the supply of gingelly oil has dried up – many Sinhalam are now demanding the release of those suspected We Thamizh terrorists so that normalcy can be restored :D

  • 1
    0

    Who are the people affected by the Hartal, no one but the people living in Jaffna. Jaffna is slowly returning to the dark age, for sure. People who support and promote these acts are their own politicians and some Tamil diasporas with short term thinking of better life for themselves, not for the ordinary Tamils wanting a peaceful life.

  • 0
    3

    LTTE Tamil terrorist made capital crimes against humankind and as well as to be eliminated Sinhalese race from Island by proxy war by an act terror more than 30 odd years.

    The War of Terror is politics has not adjust by current Tamil leadership of TNA and LTTE back diaspora and US– new Asian pivot policy of hegemonies and its expansion.

    The methods of Hartal and civil disobedient are the key methods used by TNA to be encourage North-East terrorism by speeding adventurism in North among the new elements youth of Tamils.

    Therefor this is new recruiting drive by TNA to be enroll Tamil youth, that who want fight for to be establishments of Tamil Eealm puppet regime in North.

    This is nothing new ,it was pattern of anti-establishment politics came into being and since it had been practices by TULF and FP since 1949!
    New leadership of TNA currently continuations of similar past policies in different shape.

    Subsequently it will extent similar steps towards to build NEW ARMED Group which that enrich by Tamil political class in North gain their power base.

    We are totally an opposed such movers is anti-democratic and anti-establishment campaign by TNA current leadership.

    TNA mindset has not change that even after the TNA leader reached to national politics after that he become Leader of Opposition.

  • 0
    0

    Jaffna District MP Dharmalingam Siddharthan has made a demand for unconditional release of the Tamil political prisoners published in the Daily News.

    Today according to the same newspaper the prisoners themselves are willing to participate in rehabilitation. Others arranged sureties and were released on bail last Friday and 8 more might be release later today if sureties are available.

    “Prisoners detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) handed over a letter expressing their willingness to undergo rehabilitation, Prisons Commissioner General Rohana Pushpakumara said.”

    “The Commissioner General said another eight prisoners detained under the PTA would be released on bail today after producing before court.”

    Actually he does not decide on the bail. Here is another one not knowing his powers.

    Who actually speaks for the prisoners? Who is MP Siddhartan speaking for? Only himself? He was apparently not even aware of what was going on with the bail attempts last week. Has heavy rain affected MP Siddhartan or is he always like this?

    “There were altogether 216 prisoners detained under the PTA for suspected LTTE links. Out of them 24 were bailed out on Friday. From the balance 192, about 40 have been convicted and serving their sentences in jail.”

    Here are official numbers from Prisons Commissioner General Rohana Pushpakumara. About 40 have already been convicted. I believe that the minimum punishment according to the PTA is 5 years in prison. In addition to these there are the “non LTTE linked Tamils” remanded under the PTA like Pillayan. Are they also Tamil political prisoners and should be released?

    http://dailynews.lk/?q=2015/11/16/local/prisoners-detained-under-pta-willing-undergo-rehabilitation

  • 0
    0

    Copy, Paste and Comment,

    “Jaffna District MP Dharmalingam Siddharthan has made a demand for unconditional release of the Tamil political prisoners published in the Daily News. Today according to the same newspaper the prisoners themselves are willing to participate in rehabilitation. Others arranged sureties and were released on bail last Friday and 8 more might be release later today if sureties are available.”

    Apparently the unconditional release demanded by Siddharthan now means that the prisoners themselves accept rehabilitation, bail and reporting to the TID every other Sunday.

    It is maybe easy for Siddharthan (and other Tamil politicians?) to let others continue in prison while he demands their unconditional release.

    Rehabilitation has been offered before but rejected by many of the prisoners.

    “The fast launched byex LTTE suspects in four prisonsdetained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) has been called off following the government’s assurance to provide rehabilitation.”

    http://dailynews.lk/?q=2015/11/17/local/pta-detainees-call-hunger-strike

  • 0
    0

    According to the Daily News even state ministers have the power to pardon suspects arrested by the police. Is this called ministerial pardon?

    This is one solution for the Tamil political prisoners. Finding one minister is enough. No involvement needed from the President, the rest of the Government and the AG can be left in peace.

    “State Resources Minister Palani Digambaran had pardoned a suspect who had threatened him with death over the phone.”

    http://dailynews.lk/?q=2015/11/21/local/digambaran-pardons-man-who-threatened-him-death

  • 0
    0

    As I have known some of the political prisoners are common criminals. Cannot Tamil politicians try to identify the real political prisoners? According to the Sunday Times 6 out of the 31 who received bail are common criminals.

    http://www.sundaytimes.lk/151122/news/tested-1-year-rehab-programme-will-suit-pta-detainees-172402.html

    ”Gang leader, mafia boss among the released

    Among the 31 mainly ex-Tiger combatants released on bail last week were a least six prisoners, including a mafia boss alleged to have committed criminal offences but held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), legal sources said.
    All of them were involved in robbery, arms dealing and alleged dealings with other underworld figures. Following arrest they had been held under PTA where the law allows longer detention without trial. Every three months they had been brought before a magistrate for renewal of a Detention Order (DO).
    The source explained that this has been the practice of successive governments to prevent the suspect from being given bail as the PTA lacks a bail option without a directive from the Attorney-General Department.
    A resident of Kilinochchi claimed a notorious gang leader and well-known local mafia boss is back in the area after having been released last week along with the batch of 31 prisoners who were mainly former Tiger combatants.”

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