22 June, 2021

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Why NPP For Minorities & The Nation?

By Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

The two minority communities, Tamils and Muslims, and their ethnic political parties are once again caught up in a dilemma in choosing one or the other of the two leading presidential candidates, Sajith and Gotabaya. The Tamil parties drew a set of thirteen demands, submitted to both candidates and promised to support the one who accepted them. However, the ideological framework within which those demands were drawn obviously meant outright rejection by both candidates. It would have been political suicide for any of them to have accepted the Tamil charter. Without any other option, the largest of the Tamil groups, TNA, and TELO have decided to support Sajith come what may. It appears that majority of Tamil votes including those from the Highlands will go to Sajith.      

The two Muslim parties, SLMC and ACMC, have already surrendered their support to Sajit unconditionally, while a few politically prominent Muslim personalities are openly and tactfully campaigning on behalf of Gota. It is disheartening to observe from recent experience that, unlike the Tamil leaders, many of whom put the interest of their community before private aspirations, their Muslim counterparts, almost without exception, are primarily motivated by promoting their own personal interests at the expense of the community. It is disappointing to note, that a community that once produced such dedicated and visionary leaders like Razik Fareed and Badiuddin Mahmud is now left with a leadership bereft of any vision and policies to lead the Muslim community especially in a challenging political, economic and social environment, both locally as well as globally. 

Within Sri Lanka, the political, economic and social problems of Muslims have metamorphosed and turned into an existential crisis since the end of the civil war in 2009. The symptoms of this crisis were already observable decades before 2009, and emergence of Bodu Bala Sena in 2012, but they failed to draw the attention of Muslim leadership. Political Buddhism, with its 19th century antecedents, has been transformed into a Buddhist supremacist movement by BBS and its similarly militant Buddhist cohorts like Ravana Balaya. This movement has assumed an uncompromising anti-Muslim stance and is bent on crippling the political influence and economic competition of Muslims in the nation’s polity and economy. The Alutgama riots inn 2014 set the pattern of its destructive march against Muslims. The Easter Sunday massacre in April this year, carried out by a bunch of Muslim lunatics against Christians provided a much needed justification to BBS violence against Muslims.     

What is startling about this anti-Muslim phase of Buddhist supremacy is the tacit blessing it carries from the government, opposition and security forces. There was total inaction by both the Rajapaksa Government before 2015, and Wickremesinghe Government after it in the face of raging anti-Muslim violence. In all theatres of violence such as Alutgama, Ampara, Gintota, Digana, Negombo, Minuwangoda and so on the security forces had remained just onlookers. Very recently, and this time against Hindus, when BBS secretary disregarded a court order and staged his  cremation drama in the precincts of a Hindu temple in Mullaitivu security forces did nothing to prevent him and his colleagues. There is a culture of impunity in the country that has given uncontrolled freedom to the supremacists to do whatever they want against minorities. After studying the Alutgama riots, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Tudor Silva candidly states, “Apparently through its highly publicized interactions with the President of Sri Lanka at the time, and with his brother, the Secretary of the Ministry of Defense, the BBS gained a degree of immunity from possible interference from the police and other security forces, even when it engaged in the promotion of ethnic and religious hatred and acts of violence such as throwing stones at a foreign mission or violent anti-Muslim demonstrations in front of a Muslim business.” (John Clifford Holt (ed), Buddhist Extremists and Muslim Minorities, New York: Oxford University Press, 2016, p. 123).  That immunity continues even today.

What is even more disturbing is the warning issued to Muslims by some political leaders and their mouth pieces that if Muslims fail to vote their candidate there would be a terrible backlash against the community. And one of the leaders of BBS has admitted that his organization has temporarily paused its anti-Muslim demonstrations and violence, to allow its preferred presidential candidate to gather Muslim votes. One shudders to contemplate the consequences for Muslims if that candidate fails to win.      

Now, after experiencing successive episodes of bloodshed, destruction, losses, and even death at the hands of supremacists and their hirelings, which were silently approved by past and present regimes, each of those regimes are shamelessly asking minority voters to support their respective presidential candidates. By voting to any of them, minorities are not going to get amelioration to any of their difficulties, because both candidates have not declared their position clear in relation to Buddhist supremacy, and those supremacists are not willing to compromise on their ultimate goal of enslaving the minorities to attain their Buddhist Valhalla. To them plural democracy is anathema, and would even prefer a military dictatorship to realise their aspirations. Against such a threatening scenario what is the most sensible way out for the minorities? 

Fighting violence with violence is suicidal to Tamils and Muslims. Tamils must have learnt this through the hard way, and Muslims cannot even dream about that option. Both are compelled to search for an alternative political force with its roots buried within the majority Buddhist community but cherishes democratic pluralism. So far, NPP has kept away from all religious and ethnic prejudices and considers everyone a Sri Lankan first bestowed with equal rights and obligations. NPP is the rising New Left, which is different from the pre-Cold War traditional left. While guaranteeing democratic freedom, NPP’s economic policies are primarily people focused and not market focused as they are now. This does not mean that it is anti-market and pro-state. With a non-aligned foreign policy and a policy of affordable and participatory economic development, NPP appears to be on the right track. It is the only party that gives priority to issues on income and wealth distribution.   

On minority issues, AKD was the first and only leader who, without rejecting outright the thirteen demands from the Tamils, expressed his willingness to accept the more reasonable ones and readiness to find a solution. NPP, unlike the two major parties, has a genuine commitment to reach national consensus on the ethnic issue.  

With all this, NPP is certainly not going to win the presidential race, but its hands need be strengthen to grow as a strong and alternative force in the next parliament. Given the current communal and religious turbulence, NPP is the only hope for the minorities to live and thrive in this country with dignity and honour.  They should therefore cast at least their preference votes to AKD. Those votes are certainly not a waste.       

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Latest comments

  • 8
    1

    Gota’s only specialty is to receive orders and give out orders as he has had no whatever experience in political decision making. The presence of this capacity was amply demonstrated several times as the then secretary of the defense department!. He was alleged to have ordered to kill at Rathupaswela, Free Trade Zone, Kochchikade, and in Colombo like the cases of killing and disappearance of Ekneligoda, Wickrematunge and so on! He could not go up the army ladder of career advancement and was able only to reach a level of Lt Colonel, which is the basic stage of becoming a staff, executive, level! Surely he did not retire as a Major Genera/Lt General! So he has no experience of working as a top executive! Apart from that he is also alleged have committed series of other misdeeds like the Avant Garde affair, Colombo city cleaning project, outright sale of invaluable parcels of lands in and around Colombo, construction of a memorial complex in respect of his dead parents with government money etc! Given all these alleged omissions and commissions it is highly questionable as to how he could be trusted upon in electing as the Number One Citizen of Sri Lanka? Also unconfirmed reports seems to suggests that he has still not being able to discard his US citizenship and if that the case any vote given to him will be a waist in deed! Mighty Gods please save the little paradise from becoming a porn of the terrible clan!

    • 5
      1

      Siri,

      For the Para-Sinhala Para-“Buddhist “ racist imbeciles, all the items you discussed do not matter. Even if Gota is an imbecile it still a US Citizen, it does not matter.

      It is up to those with higher IW and more common sense to defeat Para -Gotabaya.

    • 4
      0

      Dr. Amerr Ali,

      “The two Muslim parties, SLMC and ACMC, have already surrendered their support to Sajit unconditionally, while a few politically prominent Muslim personalities are openly and tactfully campaigning on behalf of Gota. It is disheartening to observe from recent experience that, unlike the Tamil leaders, many of whom put the interest of their community before private aspirations, their Muslim counterparts, almost without exception, are primarily motivated by promoting their own personal interests at the expense of the community. It is disappointing to note, that a community that once produced such dedicated and visionary leaders like Razik Fareed and Badiuddin Mahmud is now left with a leadership bereft of any vision and policies to lead the Muslim community especially in a challenging political, economic and social environment, both locally as well as globally. “

      Even though the mean IQ of the Muslims, like the others , is 79, and many lack common sense, and follow the Salafism-Wahhabism, and per Hadith of Najd, will end in Hell Fire, there is no need for them to be stupid and vote for Gotabaya.

      Unfortunately, some Muslims will and support Gota like Vichy Quisling Ali Sabry and Quisling Hisbullah and others.

      The religion of Islam expects Muslims to oppose injustice. It is time that they join all and oppose Gota . This election is primarily trying to appease the Para-Sinhala Para-“Buddhists “, and let the minority votes make the difference.

  • 7
    0

    The writer has penned his ideas and thoughts about the travails and dilemma of his Muslim community at the present time. Although some of his views are questionable, he is entitled to his opinion on this subject.

    Yes, it may be there needs to be a third force in Sri Lanka. But this Presidential election in not the time to test its strength and build that ‘force’. That could be done at a General Election. The stakes at this election are too high to think of such an endeavour. The common enemy (NGR & MR&Co) needs to be recognised by all ‘progressive’ and rational thinking forces who yearn for democracy, peace, reconciliation, freedom (of speech) and basic human rights. Such ‘Groups’ should all unite to ensure the defeat of this criminal oppressive force (NGR & MR&Co). This same duo had 10 years to deliver and we all know their performance, especially during the period from 2010 to 2014. Leopards never change their spots!

    Voters, please be warned. Take time to study the rules governing this election and use your franchise judiciously, wisely, aptly and appropriately.

    • 1
      0

      Gaming,

      Well articulated. Thanks.

      Yes. The need of the hour is to beat Gota and the Rajapaksa Mafia. Let’s hope the people have the common sense to make this choice.

  • 2
    0

    this writer is in a cookoo land. sajith or perish the country like zimbabwe with gota the killer.

  • 3
    0

    why waste your vote when you know AKD cannot win
    by coming forward he is only helping gota

  • 5
    2

    Dosthara Ameer Ali seiya,

    It is not the time to go behind who is good for Tamil or Muslim. It is time to save democracy. If there is no democracy left in the country, even your boy-friend, AKD can see another election. Are you too old to understand that???

  • 3
    2

    Hey Ameer Ali,

    Just few decades back they were terrorists who killed the innocents & terrorized the country as equal as LTTE did. If AKD is gone, what surety you have they will remain the same? Racists Gammanpila, Weerawansa, Patali and more are products of JVP.

    So you want all Tamils & Muslims be fart of JVP, not be part of govt in power at any time? You are an “I”.

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

    For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 2
    1

    gotas white van drivers you tube is out. investigation should be carried out.

  • 1
    1

    But voting for NPP will lead to Gota’s win. So, what is alternative. You like with Gota or Sajith or both are not good. NPP will never win. why You wast your vote. Next election is dine no this one.

  • 4
    0

    Ameer Ali

    ‘The two Muslim parties, SLMC and ACMC, have already surrendered their support to Sajit unconditionally, while a few politically prominent Muslim personalities are openly and tactfully campaigning on behalf of Gota.”

    Would you include your Village-mate, Hizbollah, as one of the “few politically prominent Muslim personalities openly and tactfully campaigning on behalf of Gota.”

    Why don’t you try to guide your own home town people of Kattankudy away from Hizbollah and Gota and towards AKD? Have you done anything in this regard?

    You keep attacking the leaders of SLMC and ACMC but say NOTHING of your fellow villager, Hizbollah, who is as bad or even worse than the leaders of SLMC and ACMC. You call that Objectivity???

  • 0
    3

    We all know the UNP Candidate has accepted the Sivajilingam Sampathar’s new 13D.

    We also heard that the current PM Dr Ranil promising the Manipai Inhabitants that they will get all their demands soon after the 17th.

    We also know that all those Muslim parties and their Leaders who gathered around Dr Ranil after Easter Sunday in 2019, are now on the stage with the UNP Candidate , in every part of the country to ensure his Victory.

    But, Has the UNP Candidate at least apologized to the Minority Catholic community for their massive loss of lives and Churches on Easter Sunday?.
    Or at least has Keselwatta Kid made any promises to appoint a non UNP Commission with the Clout to find who supported , nourished , financed and spiritually guided Zaharans and Ibrahims to cause so much destruction in a country which is supposed to have one of the best Intelligent Net works among the Developing Nations.of the World.-

    • 0
      0

      K.A. Sumanasekera,

      “We also know that all those Muslim parties and their Leaders who gathered around Dr Ranil after Easter Sunday in 2019”

      Once you have decided to be a slave to someone, your mindset can’t think rationally. Why should Muslim politicians apologize just because the terrorists happened to be from their community? Why the president who is also defense minister, didn’t apologize, him being the main reason behind ignoring the warnings? Why don’t you expect apology from deputy Defense minister? State intelligence, etc?

  • 0
    0

    Dear Dr. Ameer Ali,
    .
    It’s good to read
    what you intend doing, although when I began reading I was a bit confused to read NPP instead of JVP. I was able to cope with that, but what appals me is that with so many hours still to go (more than 24X5?), that goat from “London” says something like: “But voting for NPP will lead to Gota’s win. So, what is [the] alternative. ” No question mark is not as bad as the English in the rest of the comment.
    .
    I wouldn’t be complaining about the English but for the “London” bit of the comment.
    .
    Dr Ali, what you, and all readers must make sure of is that you are not vague – the way you have been: “cast at least their preference votes to AKD.” Our people appear to be such morons that you must spell it out clearly – FIRST Preference to AKD, no “kathires” and another Preference (never mind which, 2nd or 3rd) to Sajith.
    .
    The Pohottu fellows find it much easier – they just say, “kathire”. But I will just refuse to accept that a voter can be such an idiot (unless senile, like many a candidate!). Please don’t under-estimate the importance of going house to house with careful explanation of how to mark the ballot. It is so easy but we seem to have a population that can’t do even that.
    .
    Many articles by Prof. Kumar David, and I’ve tagged behind him to clear up the silly questions that are still being asked.

  • 0
    0

    Why TNA and CMC supports Sajith.Think hard. You can get any thing from him. He is a born idiot.

  • 3
    0

    As a Muslim, I request all my fellow brothers and sisters to vote for Sajith. We must do so not only for our own safety, but for the good of all citizens. If Gotler wins, the executive, legislature, and judiciary will be controlled by one particular family. Do we want to live in a country like that? For the sake of humanity and democracy, let us all vote for SWAN.

  • 3
    0

    Anura Kumara Dissanayake certainly talks far more substantive truths than the two main contenders. Yet, people vote largely on emotions and dreaming of a bountiful future in their foolish yearnings from members of a political class that does not have the public interest in mind. Therefore, all the votes that AKD gets will probably reduce what SP would get, rather than what GR would get.

    • 0
      0

      Perhaps, this is the only election where we are trying to vote out somebody rather than vote in.

      • 0
        0

        K.Anaga,

        No. This is the second election.

        The First Election was in 2015, when Mahinda Rajapaksa was voted out.

  • 0
    0

    Dr Ameer Ali says
    ” They should therefore cast at least their preference votes to AKD. Those votes are certainly not a waste”.
    Dr Ameer Ali
    Do you mean to say, the Muslims and Tamils after giving their first preferences to Gota and Sajith to give the second preferences to AKD
    It is a ridiculous proposition since the second preferences and third preferences to Gota and Sajith will never be counted and hence it is useless.

    .The preferences will be counted only when none of the candidates obtain 50%+1vote and in the second round,only the preferences of the candidates other than the first two candidates will be counted

  • 0
    0

    There is no dilemma for the Tamils in this presidential elections.. The only thing they had to do is to abstain from voting. It is understood the trio of the TNA had been given millions of rupees to support Premadasa in the name of development. 95% of the money will go into their pockets. Again the money will open their mouths but not the Tamil people.

  • 1
    0

    In 2015, Muslims got misled by Aluthgama incident. Now it has become clear that Rajapakses were not behind that incident and it was the work of tall ‘Yakada Miniha’ and ‘Dath Dostara’. Muslims expected they will be safe under Maitree and Ranil. But there were more anti-Muslim attacks under this Government compared with Rajapakse Government. By not preventing Wahabi terrorist attack, despite plenty of warnings given by Muslims, this Government put the Muslim community to a desperate situation.

    Sajith keeps on promising Sun and Moon but those promises will not be different from what Maitree and Ranil promised in 2015. Even if Sajith becomes the President, Ranil will be the person who controls everything.
    Mahinda and Gotabhaya gave leadership to eliminate LTTE and gave the opportunity to Muslims to live peacefully. Gotabhaya will eliminate Wahabi and Demala extremists and allow Muslims to live peacefully with Native Sinhalayo.

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