20 October, 2020

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Vote To Send A Message To The World About The Problems In The North: Commission For Justice And Peace Of The Jaffna Diocese

The people of the north should vote at the September 21 Provincial Council election in order to send a clear message to the Government and the world about the issues faced by people of the region, including the ongoing militarisation and lack of progress on numerous cases of custodial deaths, sexual abuse and disappearances, a Catholic organisation has urged.

Jaffna Bishop Thomas Soundaranayagam

Citing a long list of problems faced by the people of the north and revealing insights about the Government’s election incentives, the President of the Commission for Justice and Peace of the Jaffna Diocese, Fr. S.V.B. Margalarajah said not voting would indicate that the people of the area were not too disturbed by the current state of affairs in the North.

“The development projects such as carpet-roads. railway-tracks etc are only secondary,” the President said in a statement.

He said the only way to highlight the problems of the people was to exercise the right to vote. “Refraining from voting and voting carelessly will only help the ruling government party to secure some seals for them to show the world the people in the North are beginning to give their approval to the government for their development work as well as for their other works in the past” Fr. Mangalarajah said.

Bishop of Jaffna Rev. Thomas Soundaranayagam is the patron of the Commission.

Following is the full text of the priest’s statement:

Voting is a basic right of every citizen. The general public in the North of Sri Lanka had not shown much interest in any election in the last few decades. In this background the Provincial Council election is being held after a long gap on the 2lst of September 2013. It is generally felt that the Sri Lankan Government decided to conduct this election due mainly to pressure placed by her donor countries. If we consider the importance of this election have to say this is not going to solve the basic problems faced by our people- There will not be a meaningful devolution of power to the Provincial-Council in the North. The Government ruling party which has won comfortably in the other Provinces realize very well that it will not be able to win the election the Northern Province and has hinted that there will not be much of devolution of power in the basic sectors. Hence we cannot foresee that the upcoming Provincial-Council will not be able to exercise much power.

However this election is being observed by all and especially by the international Community carefully. The Government ruling party though not able to win, will try to secure substantial number of votes and show the world that the people in the North are beginning to appreciate their development work such as carpet-roads. railway tracks, the proposed express-highway, new buildings for schools, hospitals, markets etc. The Government party candidates with the direct and indirect support of the security forces and other state machinery are hence involved in wide-spread election law, violations. Some of which are:

1. The unemployed youth have been asked in a published advertisement to register their names as members in the ruling party to ensure a job. This advertisement appeared in all the newspapers in the north after the fixing of the date for the election.

2. Some of the ruling party candidates are involved in the recent past in organising along With the government officers ‘mobile services’ to fulfil the needs of the people especially in the villages.

3. In Kilinochchi District the pre-school teachers who have been enlisted as members of the Civil-security staff have been asked to gather votes for the ruling government party. They also have been issued forms to get the names of people who would thus vote for the government party.

4. During the last few weeks in hurriedly organized and publicised functions some houses of and lands of the people in Thenmaradchchi, Vadamaradchchi which had been in the possession of the security forces have been handed over to the owners. These functions were attended by the ruling government party members and the military top brass. The speeches and the whole procedure of these meetings had all the hallmarks of election campaigns.

5. During the last few days we can see the Governor himself who is supposed to be neutral is seen participating in the election-campaign meetings of the ruling government party.

6. Enticements, intimidation, violence including the use of fire-arms have been used to gather votes for the ruling government party. There had been an exchange of gunfire between two contestants of the government party at Kodikamam a fortnight ago.

As election date comes closer we can expect more violation of elections laws.

If the people in the North refrain from voting it will give a signal that we are not affected very much by the huge loss of lives and property in the final stages of the war and blatant human rights violations we are still undergoing. It also will give the message that we are quite satisfied with the carpet road, new buildings and other development work. If the people in the North do not come forward to vote it will be an indication that we are not worried very much about the following issues and some of these are follows:

1. Bombing, shelling which resulted in heavy casualties within the safety zone area proclaimed by the government, use of chemical-weapons, cluster-bombs etc., the fate of those who had surrendered with while flags (including Rev. Fr. Francis Joseph], a former Rector of St. Patrick’s College, Jaffna). There is no inquiry about any of these.

2. Those who have been taken in for questioning from their homes and camps, those who have been taken by white van and then those who have disappeared including Fr. Jim Brown a Catholic Priest belonging b the Diocese of Jaffna. There is no responsible reply for all these.

3. The Political prisoners who had been attacked at Vavuniya prison and then in Anuradhapura and Colombo by the jail-guards where two of them, Dilruckson and Nimalaruban were killed and a number of them injured. These unfortunate people are yet to get justice.

4. Thousands of Tamil Political prisoners who am languishing in prisons some including women for more than 15 years are there without being charge-sheeted in spite of recommendations, hunger-strikes and promises for special courts for speed-trials, no action has been taken to release them.

5. Though some lands and houses belonging to the people have been handed over with much publicity, 90% of the lands occupied especially the 6381 acre land in Valikamam North (where there were 24 G.S. divisions) is under army occupation. In this region the lands belonging to the Catholic Church where there are Catholic Churches, Convents, institutions etc are in 55 pieces of lands. The lands belonging in the Hindu temples etc should be much more than these.

6. Even the problems of the resettled people are not yet resolved. They are not able to restart their lives afresh. Eg. Some of their ancestral lands have been taken over by the army as in the case of the inhabitants of Keppapulavu in the Mullaitivu District. When the people at Kokkuthoduvai and in the neighbourhood went restart their agricultural activities in their paddy-fields they were sent back as their paddy-fields had already been divided and given to Sinhalese families in the neighbouring villages

7. In the last few months the owners of houses and lands which were left behind by the security forces had gone clean up their property. In some places they were able 1o l:ind skeletons and other human remains Eg. At Pallappai in Vadamaradchchi the house-owners found the remains of 17 bodies. In the same manner the people found human skeletal remains at Allaipiddy and at Mathagal. There is a strong suspicion that these were of the remains of the people who were arrested and then disappeared. The news of these has been brought to the notice of the appropriate authorities and the news of these findings appeared in the media. A proper inquiry will be able to bring out the truth.

8. Due to the heavy military presence and their unrestrained movements especially in the Vanni region the families with no male support and families with young girls live in constant fear. Of the many reported cases we give here only the latest ones. Few weeks back at Pooneryn in Kilinochchi dist ct a 38 year old married woman with three children had gone to the backyard of her house to gather palmyrah leaves. There she was sexually abused by somebody in military uniform and who had their faces covered. Due to heavy bleeding this woman was admitted to the Kilinochchi hospital. This incident had been brought to the notice of the responsible authorities and so far no action has been taken. A

similar incident took place some two years back in Kilinochchi and the people in the neighbourhood caught the soldier involved red-handed and a case has also filed the case is yet to be finished. A few months ago at Neduntemy also a school-girl was abused and after persistent protests of the villagers the soldier involved was handed over to the police for further action. This type of incidents are own rare.

9. The attacks on the news-paper offices in the North and the media-men are frequent and so far the culprits have not been brought to books.

Conclusion

lf we refrain from voting giving the reason that this election in not going to bring about a substantial change to solve are basic grievances it will be an indication that we are not disturbed very much by the current state of affairs in the North just mentioned above. We may not be affected directly by some or even most of the issues above mentioned. Yet we have to give the message to the ruling Government and to the World that the above mentioned issues are primarily for us to live in peace with dignity each one in his ancestral house and land. The development projects such as carpet-roads. railway-tracks etc are only secondary. To do this right now the only available means is to exercise our right to vote. In the midst of conclusion caused by the pushing in of disproportionate number of independent candidates besides a number of political parties, the people have vote and vote carefully and cautiously. Refraining from voting and voting carelessly will only help the ruling government party to secure some seals for them to show the world the people in the North are beginning to give their approval to the government for their development work as well as for their other works in the past.

Fr. S.V.B. Margclcrafah.

President Commission for Justice and Peace of the Diocese of Jaffna

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    well said. But Mahind and his cohorts say everyhting is hanki dori in the NE

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      They will also stuff the ballot boxes and say the people are with them. Watch what the military will do to block the vote and now MR’s not only got Douglases thugs but some ex LTTE too.

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      Bishop Thomas Soundaranayagam,

      “The people of the north should vote at the September 21 Provincial Council election in order to send a clear message to the Government and the world about the issues faced by people of the region, including the ongoing militarisation and lack of progress on numerous cases of custodial deaths, sexual abuse and disappearances, a Catholic organisation has urged.”

      1. Sri Lanka claims to be democracy. So people should vote and let their voices be heard. Absolutely. Dictators, Dictatorial Priests, Monks and Mullahs usually want to suppress the truth, so that they can maintain their hegemony.

      The Catholic church and many other religions have a long history, and they used various schemes, such as the Inquisition, Fatwas etc,

      Ask the people to vote and speak out.

      Do not be a coward like President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is afraid of the terrors Monks BBS Sinhala Rawya and other criminals and terrorists, who are making a mockery of Buddhism.

      DeJa Vu…

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    We often hear about the mistakes made by the silent majority that alone could have not the country rot so far.

    Here is a wonderful second chance.

    The memo details a list of issue faced by the Northern Tamils – as compiled by an eminent Religious dignitary from the locality and in touch with the common man.

    Let’s see how much of support the respected Father and the Bishop get from the silent-majority religious emissaries from the rest of the nation to pursue this effort. They will be the best messengers to take up the necessity to examine these issues with the regime on neutral ground. If they can’t help, who of the silent-majority can?

    Would they at least feel comfortable beginning an earnest discussion with these religious heads? Bishop Chickera for starters?

    Not necessarily agree with each item – but at least begin discussions to arrive at a candid, explicit and faithful listing of issues that the silent-majority would consider priority and addressable by the silent-majority. After six-decades of decay, could this effort help harness the oft-mentioned support of the regretting, rational, and country-sovereignty seeking silent-majority?

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    Hmmm….has Fr.Jim Brown been reborn as Jim Softy? :O

  • 0
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    Thank you father. May I expect other religious leaders too to convey their messages to the people, compelling them to vote

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    “Once to every man and nation
    Comes the moment to decide,
    In the strife of truth and falsehood,
    For the good or evil side”

    – J.Lowell-

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    Percy Jilmart- we are slowly and steadily getting there.
    Fr Brown’s soul has to rest in peace and for that not only the bishops and Priests are praying and talking openly about the report that came out when his body was found tied up in Airforce canvas bag?

    STUPID is’nt it? to give away the identity.So much for our intellingent forces that fought a good war-‘carrying the Geneva convention’ in one hand and the other the gun’.Jokers.
    Take away their arms and they will become jelly and crawl for their lives.
    They never knew to stand up for their rights.Paid nor unpaid.
    Ex: To what is hapenening in the south.

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    All Tamils should be greatly beholden to Bishop of Jaffna and Fr.SVBM, for the truthful, bold, informative and very precise report and appeal they have issued. It is sure to influence all religionists alike. At this time of tribulation let everybody be true to their conscience, act together and vote in Justice Wigneswaran as Chief Minister.

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    Dear Rev. Bishop Thomas Soundranayagam: You must thank GOD for giving this freedom to express freely to your congregation. However I note that the GOD would not have allowed that freedom or perhaps you did not use that freedom for some years during the period your domain was under the “SATAN” Piribakaran. So now you use that very “FREEDOM” to tell your congregation to vote against to those who brought that gift to you. Anyway they might remind you of the last words of Jesus Christ; “They do not know what they are doing”.

    In another aspect, your “message” is an example to the “Clergy” of other religions to do as they please during all other elections to come. They too have the same freedom and the right to ask the people to vote for or against anyone. I know you will honor that “Freedom” too. Some are doing it already in a “big way”(socially,politically and commercially) and they have even entered the Parliament. Now that you too have began to exercise that freedom, I invite you to contest from your domain to enter Parliament. That will show the world and international community how deeply the freedom is embedded in this country. Thank you and GOD BLESS YOU.

    • 0
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      Douglas,

      There’s a difference between a honest election and an election comprised with suppression, inserting fear and negative messages and giving special favours to win votes.

      These are not justified under democratic Election. Also is was due to this constant suppression and lack of justice that led to people taking arms to fight against the state in our history.

      It is time for Rajapakses to be Honest, Transparent and open to every citizen without undue pressure and suppression to hold election in a favourable and transparent manner.

      It is people who decide Governments and not the other way around.

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        “It is time for Rajapakses to be Honest, Transparent and open to every citizen without undue pressure and suppression to hold election in a favourable and transparent manner”.

        HONEST, Yes, those morons are Very Honest.
        TRANSPARENT, Yes, they doing all Gilmart with transparent ways.
        OPEN TO EVERY CITIZEN of their whitevans and treat them smoothly.

        Those will happen Not in this life of yours or mine.

        Because they are Master Cheaters and Ruffians from the birth.

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      Douglas: Hope your not the same dog that sold children into slavery and prostitution.

      At least from Col we did not hear VP putting any restrictions on the Church to speak or act freely. VP could be an Hindu but he did respect Christianity.

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      This freedom is only published in partially blocked Colombo Telegraph but not I daily papers definitely not in Daily Noice

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    ‘ Messenger of Truth’, Father Jerzy Popieluszko.

    ” A man who bears witness to the truth can be free even though he might be in prison….The essential thing in the process of liberating man and
    the nation is to overcome fear…We fear suffering, we fear losing material good, we fear losing freedom or our work. And then we act contrary to our consciences, thus muzzling the truth. We can overcome fear only if we accept suffering in the name of a greater value. If the truth becomes for us a value worthy of suffering and risk, then we shall overcome fear – the direct reason for our enslavement.

    ….a christian is one who all his life chooses between good and evil, lies and truth, love and hatred, God and satan..’

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    After 65 years of constant conflicts and 30 years of real war, now people are looking only to live in Peace, Independent, secure and with self respect.

    They should be given this freedom to live a secure life.

    Unitary state with delegation of powers to the Provinces is the only solution to uplift peoples lives. It is like running one’s own private company while paying Taxes and dues to the Government.

    Learn from Developped countries. Stop unwanted and unjustified suppression of human beings. Make it less politics and more productive.

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    Of the three million or so Tamils that live in Sri Lanka, only a million live in our Northern Province. All others live elsewhere. Yet, the separatists and their backers want TNA to turn this election as a plebiscite to turn NP a ‘Bantu land’ in the short run and get what LTTE couldn’t in the long run.

    In spite of two third of all Tamils live in the south of the country with Sinhalas and others, Tamil Padre want to treat Sinhalas as aliens in the NP. Padres assume land in the NP belong to Tamils only. It is amazing these Padres shed tears for the Hindu temples.

    It is obvious that Tamil Padres are not for the development in the NP. That is why they write as ‘development projects such as carpet-roads, railway-tracks etc are only secondary’. Otherwise why do they undermine billions being spend by the government and its visible achievements and its use for the progress of the mass in the NP. I say, all that padres want is take Tamils back to the era of mayhem and fear. Their desire; Pirapakaran reincarnate in another form to get to their Eelam goal.

    Padres talk about Dilruckson and Nimalaruban who were killed southern jails but we have never read their writing include the murders of 500 surrendered policemen in LTTE custody. Padres talk about ‘skeletons and other human remains as if the government is responsible’, but they never talk about abduction of inspector Jayaratnam and the like by LTTE and what had happened to them aftermath.

    It is amazing that these padres never talk about the woman who now lives comfortably and safely in London, Adele Balasingham who had necklaced thousands of innocent young Tamils with cyanide who were brainwashed and used as human bombs 386 times to blast our buses, trains and public places that killed and maimed thousands upon thousands.

    I can go on and on but to say it all in short, the President and the Commission for Justice and Peace of the Diocese of Jaffna is absolutely bias and has devious aims.

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    OH THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS AT IT AGAIN.
    WHAT MAKES THIS GLORIFIED MERCENARY OF THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE WITH HIS MAN ACCLAIMED POMP DRESS & POSITION THINKING CROOKEDLY WITH HIS HIDDEN AGENDA.
    YES. LET THE VOTErs SPEAK AND SEND THE PRO GOVT PARTY TO RULE THE NORTH.
    CHECK THE CATHOLIC CHURCH HISTORY, ALL THAT YOU LIST ARE WHAT CATHOLIC CHURCH FORCES DID IN EUROPE OVER HUNDREDS OF YEARS.
    EVEN BISHOPs Richlieu & Mazarin IN FRANCE BORE A SON FOR THE QUEEN TO CONTINUE THE ROYAL LINAGE as the King was a homosexual & Bishops to continue to hold the Prime Ministerships in France….

    BISHOP PRIME MINISTER OF FRANCE DEPLOYING THE TROOPS TO FIGHT ALONGSIDE THE METHODIST TROOPS of Sweden AGAINST CATHOLIC FORCES OF SPAIN AND AUSTRIA. ARE THESE WHAT YOU onbehalf of the CATHOLIC CHURCH ENCOURAGED THE LTTE TO do, WIPE OUT ALL TAMIL PROFESSIONALS, INTELLECTUALS, POLITICIANS, GOVERNMENT SERVANTS AND OFFER MARTYRDOM TO innocent CHILDREN & encouraged them TO BE SUICIDE CARDRES….

    Keep your dirty hands off politics focus on your religion. We have had enough of Church’s violent past, dabbling in politics, money laundering and paedeophiling…………
    Go back to the people with Mangalarajah and all other S.J.Emmanuels progedies in cassoack and guide them to prayer to over come the problems listed by you & get off your pedestal go to the people a lead given by Pope Francis.
    You Northern Clergy with some Cahoots of clergy in the South are a disgrace to your religion.
    Remember you Tamil Catholic Clergy say, we are first Tamils and then only Catholics. Hope, you remind your Master Jesus Christ this every day.

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      Your instinct and need to “kill the messenger” by itself is truly revealing of your desperation – nothing more!

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      These people are trying to convert Hindus into Christianity. A good move to destroy Shiv Sena people.

      I wonder why top Hindu priests don’t make this type of racist statements!! :)

      13% of SL people are Hindus.
      10% of SL people are Muslims.

      If the Hindu percentage falls, Islam will be the largest minority religion in SL. I don’t think BBS will have a problem with us then. Even if they have there is nothing they can do in our bed rooms!

      Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) is the only true Messenger of God. Follow him to peace.

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    What happened to Reverend Kasippu Joseph, Bishop of Mannar?

    Why is he silent?

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      fatshitma, the Bible says not to argue with an idiot (you), therefore the Bishop is keeping quiet.

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    Oh Fatim Fukishima you are a disaster to the whole world with your comments, no doubt you are jealous of the righteous who speak for the less fortunate and and the marganalised community whoever they are, you seem to be thriving with the mafia.
    Thondamanaru you sound so viscious an do not seem to understand the sufferings of the downdtodden masses whom ever they may be. You will rot in hell and remain there forevermore.

    • 0
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      Good answer Sumana.

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