10 May, 2021

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‘There Are Two Matters’ – TNA MP Suresh Premachandran

“There are two matters. One there is no democratic space in the North-East specifically in the North. People can’t express their own views. We are totally under army occupation, and the military intelligence in every nook and corner of that area. So definitely the people do not have the freedom to say whatever they want. So that is number one.” says TNA MP Suresh Premachandran.

He made above remarks with the Tamil Guardian on the sidelines of the conference.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1bVyVxIUhM

Following are excerpts from the interview;

“There are two matters. One there is no democratic space in the North-East specifically in the North. People can’t express their own views. We are totally under army occupation, and the military intelligence in every nook and corner of that area. So definitely the people do not have the freedom to say whatever they want. So that is number one.”

“Number two is the political settlement, that in Sri Lanka when we say political settlement they normally mean talks about talks, or they are interpreting as devolution or power sharing. Here the president and his siblings – very clearly they said – we are against the 13th Amendment (that is where the powers were devolved through that part of the constitution)… The President said, I’m not going to give the land powers or the police powers… Now, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa the defence secretary says, we have to abolish the 13th Amendment, so which clearly shows the government’s attitude.”

“So definitely, yeah I don’t think there is any chance for a proper dialogue with the government because the government is simply against the power sharing method. So on that basis, what’s the point in talking.. what’s the point in with the government unless otherwise the government comes forward with a proper – how do say – proposal, for a proper settlement, which we can’t expect from the Sri Lankangovernment.”

“So I think this is the time for the international community to understand these things and come forward, maybe to investigate the whole thing, that is the war crimes, and the genocide, and the crimes against humanity and all these things. Then only, there might be a chance for reconciliation, as well as for a political settlement. So I think simply that is the situation in Sri Lanka.”

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    Regardless of the sometimes confrontational nature, of this avatar, of the TNA, most of what S Premachandra says is true. The way the GOSL is going about with post conflict reconciliation would dishearten any aggrieved party. The TNA for their part must come to terms with the fact that land and police powers will never be devolved by either the UNP or the SLFP. THE GOSL can afford to wait, but can the TNA?

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    TNA MP Suresh Premachandran says:

    “People can’t express their own views.”

    Just after the last Parliamentary elections this man claimed to be the sole representative of the Tamils.

    When LTTE was around he never uttered a word against LTTE’s murders, undemocratic activities, etc. Did the LTTE allow the people to express their own view? I was told that the people opened their mouths only to have their meals.

    This man was running EPRLF’s own intelligence department for a long time. During IPKF’s occupation EPRLF was running the NE council during which time people of the North East was denied democracy.

    Now this man is complaining about space and democracy. What a funny sort of chap he is.

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    For a sincere approach and carefully thought of plan to offer devolution to the Tamil Nation the Govt first must be united
    and free of mendacity. Rambukwella, in his capacity as Spokesman for the Cabinet and Govt, says the Govt is all out to devolve power to the Tamils and proposes to do this under the 13th A, as promised to India and the international community. Gothabya R has a totally different view. Wimal Weerawansa and his frineds in the Hell-Urumaya another. The President tells one thing to India, another to BKM/UN and yet another to the Sinhala people.

    Suresh Premachandran is quite right in his pronouncements here. The Rajapakse regime is simply playing for time until somebody else comes and settles the issue. It is the time the 4 Mahanayakas (the real source of political power in the country) ask the President to meet them and publicly tell the country what the formulae for solution is.

    Senguttuvan

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      Senguttuvan, my stand is that this country to be developed for all the citizens to aspire a better standard of life, the Buddhist Sangha can not make any input. They are free to bestow Buddhism on the Buddhist which is a private matter. Since the Buddhist Sangha is not the Authority or the Governing body to decide development they should only look after the religious wants of the masses. Why this country has suffered so far is due to their interference. This is the time where the society value a person of the stature of Sir John Kotalawela, who were not only Politicians but Statesmen.

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        gamini says:

        “They are free to bestow Buddhism on the Buddhist which is a private matter.”

        Had they perfomed their vocation effectively we would not be in this mess that nobody wants. Therefore I agree with you.

        You say:

        “This is the time where the society value a person of the stature of Sir John Kotalawela, who were not only Politicians but Statesmen.”

        Did Sir John Kotalawela once say that Tar should be applied to bald heads of Bikkus. Please bear with me for I may be wrong.

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          Native what Sir John said was to apply tar on the posterior of the Priests. In good Sinhalese, ‘Pukey Tharagala Elavanda oney’.

      • 0
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        It is interesting what you say. However the electorate favours a religiously inclined leader. To be more precise the rural electorate. In south Asia specifically political success without religious backing is not common. How to break this trend? that is the question.

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          Bedrock, I really wonder seeing the mockery of such Religious Leaders. I am sure the Polity may prefer a decent person, but unfortunately the election machinery being manipulated the correct result is never shown.

  • 0
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    Comments from Gamini and Bedrock Barney spell hope and needs to be carried forward. If you will allow me, I think we should take a lesson from Western Europe. During the Period of Englightenment (Post-17th century) when Philosophers-Theologians of that era counselled the role of the Church and the Royal rulers that in the affairs of running the State must give pride of place to the Republican way of governance. And so it was – and Europe developed politically and socially to the point Western democracies (notably Britain, France and Germany) are held as beacons of democracy today, despite some of its deficiencies. The ecclesiastical role of those times were so pronounced one sees an important place for the Bishop even in the game of Chess. In all these countries even today the Church is encouraged to develop on its own while the secular character within is held sacrosanct. Those societies certainly have not lost their religious fervour although wealth and higher standards of living are said to have contributed to reducing pulpits in churches in those countries. In the November 6 US Presidential elections the religious vote in the Bible Belt of Southern States was a determinant factor although the country and its political system is markedly secular.

    Responding to Bedrock Barney, there is no denial we are a society that takes great pride in our different religions and their ancient rituals. We honour and respect our places of worship and
    their leadership. The divide between religion – that works for the good of its people and politics, which also has the same objective is a delicate distinction which only leaders of exceptional ability and learning can keep it bay.
    It can be done. India, with its great diversity of religions and an electorate that can hardly be described as mainly educated, is a fair example this goodness in governance we are seeking can be realised. While it is not my intention to cast aspersions on Lankan Buddhism I dare say we have learnt the open entry of religion into politics of the post-1956 has done us much ill in a wide variety of ways. The recent invasion of the JHU into the snake-pit of politics has further alienated practising Buddhists from political Buddhists.
    We see hypocrites wearing the garb and holding the banner of Buddhism.
    This is simply insulting the intelligence of good Buddhists in the country. The tragedy is good buddhists are simply unable to dislodge these anti-social elements within us. But their days appear to be numbered as the results of seveal recent elections have shown.

    The task for the desired reform in Sri Lanka will not be easy. Those who benefited from poltiical power and the vast benefits they gained therefrom are not going to give in easily. However, in the interest of the country, civil society must take this delicate discourse forward. Politicians and political parties are too deeply mired in the marriage between the political State and religion to help us escape from the mistakes of the past. The institutions of higher learning in the country must educate students and the people to make ours a truly secular society. Conditions should be created for regular discussions in this imporant subject.

    Senguttuvan

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      I think you mean to say Asia needs a religious reformation along the lines of what occurred in Europe. Yet therein lies the rub. Due to the effects of colonialism the role of religion and religious leaders has been magnified. In Europe the population felt the yoke of religion so they rebelled against the authority of the church.

      In Asia, due to colonialism, the population clung to their indigenous religions as means of resistance. The Brahmo Samaj of Ram Mohan Roy, the ‘piransangams’ of Arumuga Navalar and the Panadura debates of Migetuwatte Gunnanada come to mind.

      So the Stereotypical south Asia politician has to be a proponent of the local religion so as to show the electorate of his nativeness. Due to this religious leaders take advantage. Like you say hopefully education is the key. Then again people like Patali champike Ranawaka are educated(engineer they say) yet look at the way he goes about politics.

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    I have seen Suresh Premachandran being escorted along the A9 road in Chavakachcheri by a convoy of military and police vehicles to the annoyance of others using this road. From whom does he think he needs to be protected in Jaffna, as it is obvious that he is being protected by the army and police? Why does he think the protection he requires is not needed by the people of Jaffna? Why is what is not a nuisance or problem to him, is a problem for the people of Jaffna?

    He ordered the murder of many Tamils in his role as the head of the Mandayan group of the EPRLF in his heyday! It is such men who have taken up the cause of the Tamils now! Most of what he utters is nonsense, and the few facts left are couched in exaggerations and hyperbole. The Tamils are indeed a people to be pittied with politicians like this to represent them! What is worse is that he wants to succeed Sambanthan!

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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      Lets hope Messers Sampanthan and Sumanthiran are the old and new faces of Tamil politics.

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    Comments here on the past of Suresh P are disturbing. He is already Persona Non Grata in some Western countries. If the TNA is to be accepted as one worthy of representing the Tamil Nation, both locally and internationally, those in its leadership and allowed to speak on behalf of the TNA should be above reproach.

    Senguttuvan

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    gamini

    Thanks for your clarification.

    Sorry I misquoted what he said as I was not there when he said it.

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