9 August, 2020

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Sri Lanka’s Leader Keeps Stirring The Pot

By Hamish McDonald – 

Hamish McDonald

D.R. Kaarthikeyan is a name renowned in India. He was the police officer who led the investigation into the assassination of the former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991 by a woman wearing a belt bomb who came up close in a chaotic election rally.

Through clever detective work, Kaarthikeyan’s team from the Central Bureau of Investigation identified the assassin and traced the lines of the plot back to the Tamil Tiger movement then controlling the north of nearby Sri Lanka. Arrests were made and warrants issued against senior Tiger leaders.

Kaarthikeyan is no sympathiser of the Tamil Tigers, who went down to bloody defeat by the Sri Lankan armed forces in May 2009. But like many Indians, particularly those in Tamil Nadu state, he is dismayed by the arrogance of the Sri Lankan government in victory.

”Where there is no justice, there can be no peace,” Kaarthikeyan told me in an email this week. ”Continued injustice and discrimination against minority Tamils gave rise to the birth of insurgency in Sri Lanka … If Sri Lanka or, for that matter, any society perpetuates injustice it is an indirect encouragement for violent movements to be born and grow.”

Nearly three years after the Tigers’ defeat, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ignored the recommendations of his own commission into the lessons of the 25-year insurgency.

The rule of law continues to be set aside. A huge military machine is yet to be stood down. Glaring war crimes remain to be investigated. Tamils are treated as a subjugated people. Emergency security measures continue, turned against Rajapaksa’s critics even among the Sinhala majority. For this reason, India took the unusual step, at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva last month, of voting with many Western nations in favour of a resolution calling on Sri Lanka to apply its own reconciliation recommendations.

It was a mild resolution, with India watering down one part that called for a UN war crimes office to be opened in Colombo. Yet Rajapaksa sent a team of ministers and officials to Geneva with orders to block it at all costs. The delegation quickly became notorious for its efforts to intimidate human rights activists who turned up to lobby for the resolution.

Another indication of Rajapaksa’s blithe contempt for world opinion came when his government assigned Major-General Shavendra Silva to a UN panel on peace-keeping. Silva was the commander of the 58th Division in the final battle against the Tigers. His troops are alleged to have gunned down Tiger leaders waving a white flag who had been promised safe passage across the battle line, allegedly on orders passed to Silva by Defence Minister Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the president’s brother.

To much outrage in Colombo, the Canadian diplomat heading the UN panel, Louise Frechette, threw Silva out, saying his participation was ”not appropriate or helpful”.

Colombo’s reaction to the human rights council censure has been one of victimisation and outrage, as shown in local newspaper headlines: ”We will not let anyone intervene in Sri Lanka’s affairs”; ”Be united to defeat foreign conspiracies”; ”Do not give India any economic concessions”; ”NGO conspiracy to create anarchy”; ”US resolution has set a very dangerous precedent”. One minister threatened to break the limbs of journalists.

As the even-handed Colombo legal analyst Jehan Perera noted, even many non-government Sri Lankans found it galling how former Tiger organisers in the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora, who kept silent about the Tigers’ conscription of children and use of civilians as shields during the war, ”metamorphised” into human rights activists at Geneva.

But he points out Rajapaksa’s ingratitude. ”When it fought the war against the LTTE, the Sri Lankan government did receive the political and military support of virtually the entire international community, including the United States that sponsored the UNHRC resolution and India which voted for it,” Perera says. ”This political and military support was given to Sri Lanka on the understanding that after the end of the war there would be structural reforms that addressed the political roots of the conflict.”

So far, however, it’s been business as usual for the Rajapaksas in Colombo, and Australia has just been given a taste of how it works. An Australian citizen of Sri Lankan origin, Premakumar Gunaratnam, who had gone back to help set up a new left-wing political party, was abducted by armed men last Saturday. Another party activist, Dimuthu Attygalle, was removed at the same time.

Thanks to Canberra’s intervention at high levels of the Sri Lankan government, the two were dumped on the streets of Colombo on Tuesday morning, still alive, and Gunaratnam immediately deported. Their accounts put the case as the latest in nearly 60 abductions of a spectrum of government critics in the past few months, carried out by armed men in ”white vans”. Attygalle reports the men who blindfolded and took her off in a white van spoke in police jargon and addressed their chiefs as ”sir”.

Another abduction pinpoints who is running the white vans. On March 26, businessman Sagara Senaratne was abducted by a group that demanded 50 million rupees ($370,000) for his release. But he had a brother-in-law who is a minister in the government, who contacted the president and the defence minister. The driver of the white van got a phone call, and announced: ”Let’s dump him.”

As journalist Tisaranee Gunasekara noted in the Sunday Leader newspaper, the businessman was no ingrate. He thanked the Rajapaksa brothers for intervening. But, as Gunasekara asked, how did they know who to call?

Meanwhile, four months after it was delivered, Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission report is joining a long line of previous such reports gathering dust. It has not even been translated from English into Sinhala and Tamil. It is window dressing. If the Sinhala majority are not protected by law, what hope do the Tamils have?

In India, the retired ace detective Kaarthikeyan can see something like the Tamil Tiger movement rising again.

”If the minorities are not treated equally with the majority,” he said, ”insurgency is bound to raise its head in the long run.”

*Asia-Pacific editor, Sydney Morning Herald/ courtesy Sydney Morning Herald

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Latest comments

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    Ah! After 21 years Karthigeyan finally gets the message. In his hey day he hounded many Tamils in Tamil Nadu. The fact that the Gandhi murder trial was in a military secret court speaks for itself. There were different set of rules for Indira Gandhi murder trial of the sikh terrorists. Many accused and witnesses in Rajiv’s trial were killed or committed suicide.

    The new insurgency is a clever ploy spun by the GOSL and India. That justifies higher MOD budget. Non violent opposition within Sri Lanka or the diaspora and India is not an insurgency. Tamils are not LTTE rump. But solid Trees making an international forest, which the IC has now begun to notice and respect. The modern weapons of opposition via computers, internet, trade sanctions, boycott and trade union action will be more powerful and devastating that kids in street corners wearing bata slippers shooting at the police or army. There is no insurgency brewing at all, and that is rubbish talk.

    KP also was indicted by India, but he remains in luxurious comfort of the Rajapakses. India now does not want KP. Why? Has anyone asked Karthigeyan, RAW or India? Why is KP not being charged? What benefits Sri Lanka has received from KP? Is he going to be a Minister like Karuna soon? GOSL is either full of UNP, TNA, CWC, or SLMC MP’s or LTTE commanders/quislings.

    But Rajapakses claim to be having two thirds majority in Parliament and executive power to any thing including any Sinhala opposition to go missing. (Vanishing tricks). This is the Mahinda Chintana!!!! Let the Sinhalese big mouths answer what really goes on there! Is the GOSL going to follow the instructions given by the UNHRC in Geneva or want to test the resolve of the UN itself in Geneva.

    Sri Lanka is already like North Korea, Sudan, Syria and Zimbabwe. UN is very patient since they allow Robert Mugabe to be still in power, at 84 or so,.The country goes to the dogs and rot.Thankfully the private sector still survives and exports, bringing in the tourist, while the diaspora pumps in billions of dollars. Rajapakses only keep borrowing billions of dollars from every one and keeps giving contracts away at exorbitant rates without tenders…. Somebody has to pay for these contracts and loans at 7-8%….Even the Japanese Yen loans at 1-2% becomes very expensive when the yen has appreciated 40-50% against the rupee in recent years.

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    The “help” that was provided by the west was only superficial, and only when they (the west)knew that the game was up for the Tamil terrorists. The real and tangible assistance was provided by countries such as China and Pakistan and , at the end, by a reluctant, India. The actual war was carried out by a valiant Sri Lankan army, navy and air force. Sure, Sri Lanka will, at least, in the near future, depend on western markets for it’s sustenance, but steps that are being taken now, will assure a more stable future for the Sri Lankan economy.

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    The same old story of Srilanka bashing by foreigners ably assisted by Tamil Tiger terrorists diaspora.McDonald why don’t you focus the search light inwards and talk about the barbaric acts your own NATO are committing in Iraq,Afghanistan, and all over the world?Dirty cheats!

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      Max – Jokes & swearing apart you got love this cartoon image. Pest Removals-Rajpaksa Brothers! Think about it – you may become a passenger with a one way ticket. Good riddance of bad rubbish. WICKED!

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        I don’t respond to cartoon anymore.When i was a kid,yes.But not now.

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    One need not be a Rocket Scientist to understand that an LTTEer killed Rajiv Gandhi. What one has to understand is whether Prabahkaran who is supposed to be a great strategist will kill RG after he was hosted for a meal by RW himself before the ’87 Peace Accord, under which the 13th amendement has still not been honoured by the chauvinist Sinhalese regimes. Will VP kill RG knowing fully well the wrath that he and the LTTE will earn thereafter as was seen. What is the other benifit that VP or the LTTE derived from the murder of RG? Afterall for the LTTE, any fickle mind will understand the importance of India for the struggle and achievement of their demands as Tamils for recognition. The Central Govt. of India even after the murder of RG, one can see are reluctantly compelled to act on behalf of the Tamils here for obtaining recognition to the Tamils. In reality who has benifitted from the RG murder to make inroads to the Asian regions of American influence today to harness both India and China to cultivate corrupt and weak political leadership to make their bidding. As was revealed to the US Congress by the Pentagon there are American soldiers stationed in India, Nepal, Bangaladesh, Sri Lanka and the Maldives today. This would not have been possible had RG lived. If people have a little gray matter one will understand who benifitted from assasinating RG? Hamish McDonald here claims that he knew this Indian IGP Karthikeyan who is renowned in India to publish this article under the pretext of taking cudgels with MR for stirring the pot. On the contrary he in a subtle manner achieves killing two birds with one stone. One is to distract the American involvement of RG and blame it on the LTTE. The other is to distance their involvement with the Rajapaksas blaming them for stirring the pot while in reality two of the siblings of MR being American citizens who are directly involved and responsible for not only the supposed ending the war but running or ruining the Country. If as the watch dogs of International Community has brought out damning evidence of War Crimes against the MR regime with video footage, why is America SILENT not even questioning MR’s brothers Gota and Basil for their complicity being American citizens. What are the Americans or for that matter the INdians waiting for while the Sri Lankan leadership is slowly Stirring the Pot? Why they are afraid of him? The reality and the truth is because they allow the present Sri Lankan Leadership to continue stirring the pot till their agendas are met, that is why. I believe it is about time the sleeping world woke up against the American Zionists who are ruining the whole world before it is too late. Hamish McDonald, good attempt but not good enough to bluff all.

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      Gamini,
      I have listened to you STORY many times over and over again in trying to whitewash was VP of RG’s murder.Once is enough.Oh!by the way don’t you know that your twin brother Observer has landed himself in big trouble with the moderator?I am on my way to console the poor fellow.Hope you will join us.

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        Max I have not tried to white wash VP as you white wash MR of the crimes both have committed. Yes VP is responsible for many a crime, but in this instance where RG’s murder, it is the American Zionists that are responsible. Therefore why are you trying to cover and protect the American Zionists? Reference the presence of the American soldiers in the country is obviously because MR had sanctioned same and even RW cannot question because in the event he succeeds in the furute, he too has to depend on these American Zionists. What a mess we are in, thanks to short sighted and greedy leaders who assumed office under the pretext of Patriots.

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    This Max Silva fellow is a lunatic roaming in a one way street, thinking that is the world.Best is to ignore this fool.

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      Godaya,
      You’d better practice before you preach.So why do you reply to my comments?Damned fool!

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    one should question the LTTE and espically Tamil Diaspora which supported the mass killings and which funded the assination of Indian PM about its guilt and arrogance??? why these criminals have not yet been called to account for justice???

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    Max. If the Tamil diaspora are LTTE terrorist, then the Sinhalese like you and your ilk are State Terrorist and war criminals. RG was killed 21 years ago. His killings did not benefit the Tamils anywhere, nor the LTTE. GOI did not ban all the sikhs for the killing of RG’s mother Indira G. The RG trial was a secret military trial. The normal standards of submitting evidence was not followed, and so was the investigations. The current and most important issue is not the death of one Indian, but the war crimes where 100,000 Tamils were killed in 2009.What is needed is independent investigations and thereafter the UN needs to decide the course of action. US is responsible for their own citizens who might have committed war crimes. The presumption of innocence is the inherent right of all Americans and others as well. Immaterial what America does in foreign countries, does not absolve the state terrorist to commit war crimes in SL. That argument is is really lame and would not hold water.

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      Donald,
      Pl tell me of a war where civilians have not been killed.War is bad.So that’s why i say that in order to save civilians,terrorism should be nipped in the bud.Even now the left over Tiger terrorists are planning to make a come back.But in a different form.Different clothes.This time it is in the guise of human rights activists.When the Tamil Tiger terrorists were at it’s zenith in operating it’s killer machine,we never heard of these human rights activists.So any fool will know that these so called human rights activists are terrorists themselves.

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    Our Max [Edited out] is a full time licker paid by MaRa Regime. His only job from morning till dawn is that. Just sympathise and ignore the fellow, let him carry-on with his work if not poor guy will loses his paycheque and will starve. Does anyone want to do that?? I guess NO

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      Ks,
      You ask others to ignore me and you don’t do so.Bloody time waster!

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      100,000 Tamil civilians were murdered and the bones missing. If the Rajapakses say there was zero casualties and no war crimes they should not be afraid of independent investigations. Which War Criminal in the world admitted their guilt. They all tried desperately to justify their killings giving various excuses. Even the Nazis, Yugoslavs, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, Sudan’s Al Basheer, Gadaffi, and Israel did the same thing. Now the Rajapakse’s are trying their best… Good Luck to them and their cheer leaders like the Silva’s…

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