Friday, October 30, 2009

The colonization of the Tamil areas became an obsession of the Sinhalese politicians inspired by the concept of Sihaladipa..!!!

Getting the readings of history Arjuna Hulugalle

Mr. Lyn Ockersz has written a comprehensive review of the book "Pathways of Dissent – Tamil Nationalism in Sri Lanka published by SAGE Publications India Pvt Ltd. Edited by R. Cheran" in the Mid Week Review of the Wednesday Island of 28th October 2009. Mr. Ockersz summarizes his review by stating:

"All in all, Pathways of Dissent meets a long-felt but neglected need in Sri Lanka’s efforts to more fully understand what went wrong in the island’s post-independence political history, from the point of view of the articulate sections of the Tamil community. It helps greatly in coming to grips with the ‘other side of the story’.

As I have not read the book I cannot give an opinion about it. My comment in this article is restricted solely to only one paragraph in this review which reads as follows:

‘However, the colonization of the Tamil areas became an obsession of the Sinhalese politicians inspired by the concept of Sihaladipa. This is evident in the biography of D.S. Senanayake entitled Sri Lanka’s First Prime Minister, Don Stephen Senanayake (D.S.) written by H.A.J. Hulugalle (1975). He states how D.S. Senanayake followed the model of Jewish settlements planted in traditional Palestine territory in order to deprive the latter of their homeland.’

I assume this was a quotation from Nationalism, Historiography and Archaeology in Sri Lanka by S.K. Sitrampalam, Emeritus Professor of the University of Jaffna and this was included by Mr. Ockersz to make a point.

This quotation can be, however, misleading because the only reference to Jewish settlements, in my father’s biography of D. S. Senanayake, was in the context of a section where he elaborates on how D. S. Senanayake’s masterwork Agriculture and Patriotism came to be written.

He wrote in Chapter 17 page 121 in the 1st edition and page 132 in the second edition:

"Sir Arthur Ranasinha has disclosed in his memoirs the genesis of the book "Agriculture and Patriotism.

"As his agricultural policy became crystallised", writes Ranasinha, "I suggested to him that it would be desirable to outline his ideas in a series of Press articles. The suggestion came to my mind when I saw in the Press some articles on the development of arid Palestine by men and money of the Zionist Movement. ‘D.S.’ accepted my suggestion with enthusiasm, and we began thinking out, discussing and writing a series of articles to be published in a newspaper. These articles were later collected and published as a booklet entitled Agriculture and Patriotism "".

Hulugalle continued.

"A series of articles was written by the present writer (sic H.A.J.Hulugalle) in the "Ceylon Daily News" after a visit of several weeks to Palestine at the beginning of 1935. I lived in the Jewish settlements such as Rehovath, Givat Brenner and Emek. During this trip I was sent to Golda Meir, who was then in charge of a labour office and she invited me to her home in Tel Aviv on the sand dunes."

"Later she was Prime Minister of Israel, which was previously a part of the British Mandate of Palestine.""

"I brought back to Ceylon with me a book in English called The Fellah’s Farm, by a Mr. Villeani, one of the agricultural experts. He had taken an Arab farmer and put him to work on an allotment of land. A neighbouring land under the same conditions was cultivated by methods used in modern farming. The Arab’s Land was worked under the supervision of the Superintendent and all his work was indexed in detail. Villeani had gathered interesting material enabling him to compare both methods of agriculture."

"I gave this book to Senanayake who was attracted by this kind of research and I have been told by Sir Arthur Ranasinha, who helped Senanayake with the book entitled Agriculture and Patriotism, that the idea of writing it came from The Fellah’s Farm".

The impression conveyed by Mr. Ockersz is that S.K. Sitrampalam, Emeritus Professor of the University of Jaffna, implies that D. S. Senanayake was obsessed with the colonization of "Tamil areas".

By quoting from the book totally out of context, one gets the impression that H.A.J. Hulugalle, too, endorsed a Jewish model for Sri Lanka.

A careful reading of the biography Sri Lanka’s First Prime Minister, Don Stephen Senanayake (D.S.) published in 1975 and later republished by me in 2000 will dispel the reader of these erroneous and what one sadly and painfully concludes, shallow thoughts, which have riddled academia and journalism in this country and have misled it over the years to communal disharmony.

Mr. Ockersz is a senior and distinguished journalist and I am sure Professor Sitrampalam is an erudite scholar. They have in this instance fallen to a mental trap which one would not expect from such eminent men.

To understand D. S. Senanayake, I give two assessments, one from Mr. S. J. V. Chelvanayagam and the other from Sir Arthur Ranasinha. These throw light on the stature of the D.S. Senanayake and why he came to be called the Father of the Nation.

The leader of the Tamil Federal Party, Mr. S.J.V. Chelvanayakam, said of him: "It was the personal qualities of the man that helped him to achieve so much success in the very high office that he filled in the affairs of the country. Differences of opinion did not in any way diminish my respect or regard for Mr. Senanayake and I admired the love he had for his people. He had a strong faith in their future greatness and, according to his lights, he worked for its achievement untiringly and consistently. Many a time I have wished that in the ranks to which I belonged there were to be found one like Mr. Senanayake, so consistently loyal and so full of hope of ultimate success".

Sir Arthur Ranasinha, wrote in his autobiography "I am fully convinced that, but for the tragic accident that took him away after a bare five-year period of power, he would have stamped out the canker of communalism which since his death has unfortunately spread itself throughout the land and had sadly frustrated-let me hope only for a brief while-the sense of being together to our mother country that it was his endeavour to foster and develop".

These are only two samples from two outstanding personalities of the period D.S.Senanayake dominated. Senanayake was not a small man. He had three pivotal pillars in his career. They were national unity, economic development of the country and nurturing of the country’s agriculture. He was by no stretch of imagination a petty racialist.

To understand Senanayake and his contribution a study of his biography will be valuable, although the author prefaces the book as not a definitive work. He does also say that this is a modest offering of a contemporary. He writes Faute de mieux il se contente de pain: (In the absence of something better one has to be satisfied with bread).

Of my father Mr S.Sivasubramaniam wrote: "Hulugalle’s services to the country merit a full biography with collection of extracts from his writings of varied character on different subjects covering a long period of time, when modern Sri Lanka was in the making. He was the very embodiment of modesty, goodness, and public spiritedness and disinterested service to the country. He knew no distinction of race, creed, community, caste or party and did his best for the common weal according to the best of his lights in a detached, silent and fearless manner. It is difficult to find his equal".

(See Selected Journalism – H.A.J. Hulugalle published by me in 2004, page 478. Mr Sivasubramaniam, a senior Proctor and Notary in Hulfsdorp, was President of the Vivekanda Society and father of the former Federal Member of Parliament S. Kathirivellupillai and of the eminent Tax authority, S.Ambalavanar. )


Tamil IDPs: Pushed further and further towards the North in the face of advancing Sinhala Army and had eventually ended up in "Safe "Death" Zone"!!


By Kelum Bandara

A 44-year-old mother S. Nageswari of Parappakandal, Mannar fled her home in 2007 when the fighting raged between the security forces and the LTTE in the area. Displaced from her residence, she, along with others of her family, trekked through unfriendly jungle terrains towards the north.

When it rained, she said, all the paths through the jungle were streamlets. Finally, she succeeded in arriving at Mullaivaikkal which was packed with thousands like her who had fled from their homes. She wore mere rags, and had endured enormous hardships.

“We had to sell most of our jewellery to make ends meet since being displaced we did not have any income earning facility ,” she said huddling her little child.

Against all odds of the past, a sign of a better future now awaits her. The government has included her among those where were sent out from the relief villages and camps to be resettled in the villages from where they had fled.

When Daily Mirror reached her for her views last Thursday, she, along with others, were attending a function to mark another phase of the resettlement drive in Manthai-West Mannar.

The blazing sun beat down on the already parched terrain of the Mannar district, and a group of persons were sitting in plastic chairs under a tin-roofed hut. All around, it was abuzz with much activity. The event was a function to mark another phase of the resettlement drive in the Manthai-West area of the Mannar district.

All these people who were to be resettled in this particular area had been displaced for over two to three years due to the escalation of fighting between the security forces and the LTTE. From their original places of residence in Manthai-West, these persons had been gradually pushed further and further towards the north in the face of the advancing troops and some of them had eventually ended up in the safe zone near the Nanthikadal lagoon. They were people who had suffered ‘multiple displacements’ on their journey fleeing from the confict areas.

And in this process, they had lost most of their valuables such as agricultural implements, vehicles and fishing equipment.

But, on October 21, 2009 they looked happy and there were smiles of anticipation on their faces.

P. D. Lucia Hamy, an elderly mother, had not found life that much difficult because she had been able to enter the cleared areas during the early stage of pitched battles. Lucia Hamy, was a 68-year- Sinhala woman hailing from Ratnapura, who was married to a Tamil. She had met her husband when he worked at a liquor tavern in Ratnapura. At that time, she was only 22 years old.

“My parents did not like our affair. So, I eloped with him. Since then, I have not had any interaction with my relatives in the south. My husband died of fever 16 years ago. After that I have been looked after by my children,” she said in a broken Sinhala mixing it up with some Tamil words.

In the face of intense fighting, her family was pushed back from Mannar to Iranamadu where she took refuge finally.

“We were among the very first batch of people to arrive in the cleared areas. We were welcomed by the military. They looked after us well,” she said.

On Thursday, she was heading towards her original place of residence in Manthai-West with hopes rekindled in the post conflict period.

“I am going to see my house for the first time today. I do not know whether it remains intact or not,” she said.

The government has decided to send out people from the welfare camps and villages to their earlier areas of residence.. Each family is given Rs.25,000 to restart their lives from the devastation caused by the war. Of this amount, Rs.5000 is given in cash and the remaining Rs. 20,000 as bank deposit to be withdrawn in an emergency.

Besides, this financial support , with the assistance of India roofing sheets and agriculture implements such as mammoties are provided to enable them to start their livelihoods. The resettled persons are expected to rebuild their lives afresh in a land forsaken by the war-the biggest man-made disaster in living memory. The war destroyed their villages and towns, and left some of them traumatized and psychologically scarred. Among all these newly resettled displaced civilians, there is one common aspect -the yearning for life as it was.

The Bishop of Mannar Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph speaking to Daily Mirror on the sidelines of the major function, said that the children of these people had not received a ‘proper education’ during their displacement for over two more years. The Bishop pointed out that unless education facilities are placed on track in these resettled areas, the people may not wish to stay in the areas for a long period.

“People are concerned about the future of their children. If they do not find proper education facilities, they will start leaving again. There should be arrangements for students to catch up what they missed and schooling facilities should be quickly put into place.,” the outspoken Bishop said.

For him, he said, these people’s sufferings could not be explained in words, and no one should try to make profits even when working for them in the area.

“If there is any profit from a project or business meant for these people, that profit should also be kept for them . The social service arm of the Catholic Church, Caritas, does it. I do not mind anyone taking a salary for the administrative work,” he said.

And he also urged that if possible these people should be given back whatever remains of their valuables which they had abandoned when fleeing the fighting.

“Some of them had left behind their vehicles, agriculture implements and fishing boats and other equipment,” he said. The Mannar Bishop urged the international community to assist in the normalization of life in these areas.

Chairman of the Presidential Task Force for Resettlement MP Basil Rajapaksa said that a number of development projects had been launched, and people would be provided with everything to re establish their lives.

“We are now constructing the A 32 road which leads up to Pooneryn from Mannar. There will be another road constructed from Puttalam to Mannar. We will construct schools, agrarian services centres, hospitals and co-operative shops in these areas,” he said.

The foremost among the development projects is the rehabilitation of the Giants Tank which irrigates over 20,000 acres of paddy land.

Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services Minister Rishard Bathiudeen has announced that the de-mining operations will be expedited to resettle all the people during the least possible time.

Earlier, in the hands of the military, there had been only four de-mining machines. Later, the Minister said ten more machines had been imported. Plans are now afoot to purchase another ten machines from Tunisia to increase the total to 24.

“Various international elements and political parties criticize us. Nevertheless, we have done a great job. I am asking them to come and see,” he said.

According to him, over 91,000 persons have been resettled in Jaffna, Mannar, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu. Another 196,000 are left to be resettled in these areas, and the Minister said that once the de-mining is completed, they too will be resettled.

“We have also cleared some lands, using bulldozers, which will be cultivated for the first time after decades,” he said.

For the new returnees, the government, with the assistance from the World Food Programme, provides dry rations for six months. This package includes, rice, dhal, wheat flour, cooking oil, sugar and salt. They were a people who never depended on mere dole by the state in the past. Today, they are left with no other option but to depend on relief assistance . But they are a people who have always been very industrious, and will get their lives back on track if the government lives up to its commitment as early as possible.

40 Tamil fishermen from Tamilnaadu were beaten up and their equipment damaged by the Sinhala Navy!!!

Navy refutes latest allegations of assault

By Shehan Daniel

The Sri Lankan Navy denied fresh allegations of assault of Indian fishermen with Navy spokesman Captain D. K. P. Dassanayake saying the allegations by Indian fishermen, as was reported by the Indian media, were fabricated and aimed at defaming the Navy.

Times Now TV reported that 40 fishermen from Rameswaram were allegedly beaten up and their equipment damaged by the Sri Lankan navy this morning. The fishermen claim that one of their boats was badly damaged in the assault and that Navy personnel had thrown their goods into the sea. The fishermen after swimming in the rough seas for several hours were spotted by local fishermen on the coast and rescued.

“These stories are fabricated by people looking to defame us. I know how the Navy patrols the seas and conduct themselves’’, Captain D. K. P. Dassanayake said. “These comments are baseless and I deny these allegations” he added.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

SL-Tamils Need Atleast an Apology from India...!!! Because of sufferings made by India in 1987-90 and 2006-09....!!!

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Shan Nalliah to presidentofind., soniagandhi, manmohan, advanilk, gandhim, Jeffrey, cmcell, cmsec, gkvasan, erso, umin, politics, post, post, PublicAffairs, Mano, postmottak, Muthamizh, Dr.M.Kumaresan, Kavin, umaharan, Karthigesu, AT, David, vajpayee, bcc: Ahil

Dear Hon.PM/India, Hon.President of India,

This is the Time, Tamils Need Atleast an Apology from India...!!! because of sufferings made by India in 1987-90 and 2006-09
Shan Nalliah/Gandhiyist/Norway

Indian Peace Keeping Force

Memorial for IPKF - Innocent People Killing Force
By Dr. T. Somasekaram

I was shocked, saddened and angered when I read the news item on 17 March 2004 in Sri Lanka Media, that a memorial is to be erected in Colombo for the Indian Peace Keeping Force - IPKF soldiers who died in Sri Lanka between 1987 and 2000. The simple fact of the matter is that a foreign country, with designs of becoming a regional superpower, maneuvered to send its Army here as Peace Keepers but massacred thousands of innocent Tamil civilians, raped the women and plundered valuables.If memorials are to be erected, then it should be for innocent civilians massacred by the IPKF. Let me provide a FEW samples from my personal knowledge. These represent but the tip of an iceberg. I write as an authentic son of Jaffna, born and bred there, educated at Jaffna Hindu College and the only house my wife and I own is in Jaffna.
Civilians Massacred by IPKF
Jaffna Hospital :- Doctors, Nurses and Patients inside the Jaffna Teaching Hospital, numbering 68 in all. .Their names are:- Dr A. Sivapathasuntheram, Dr M.K. Ganesharatnam (St.John's College,Jaffna), Dr Parimelalahar, Mrs Vadivelu, Matron, Mrs Leelawathie, Nurse, Mrs Sivapakiam, Nurse, Mrs Ramanathan, Nurse, Mr Shanmugalingam, Ambulance Driver, Mr Kanagalingam, Telephone Operator, Mr Krishnarajah, Works Supervisor, Mr Selvarajah, Works Supervisor, Eleven (11) Minor employees and forty six (46) patients
Duraiswamy brothers :- Two sons of late Sir Waithialingam Duraiswamy, Speaker of the State Council, residing in their ancestral home next to the Jaffna Clock Tower. One was R. Duraiswamy (SLAS) Retd... Secretary. Ministry of Local Government and M. Duraiwswamy Retd. Staff Officer Bank of Ceylon.
Retd Director of Irrigation Mr. S. Sivasubramaniam, retired Director of Irrigation, Mrs. Sivasubramaniam, his retired teacher wife and their only son, a brilliant boy who had studied at St. John's College, Jaffna, scored 4A's in the GCE(Al) and was in the second year of Medical College.
Other Civilians Killed in Jaffna:- Prof. P. Chandrasekeram, University of Jaffna, Dr R.W. Crossette Thambiah, Dr Selvaratnam Former DMO Maskeliya, Dr S. Pararajasingham J.M.O, L.F.M. Samuel Rtd. Teacher (St. Thomas College, Mt. Lavinia & Royal College), K.J. Sambanthar Retd. DLO & Asst. Land Commissioner, Jaffna, Mrs S. Sivanandaraja (mother), Mohanraj (son) (St.John's College, Jaffna- 81 Batch) Technical Officer, Irrigation .Dept, Mrs Kishnam, Mrs M. Sebastiampillai, Mrs N.R. Thuriappa, Mrs V. Ruthiralingam, C.S. Aaron .
Urumpirai:- A. Subramanium Attorney at Law, Mr & Mrs Pancharatnam, Rtd. Teachers, K. Navaratnam Rtd. Divisional Supdt. of Post Offices, S. Nadarajah, Formerly SLBC, Tamil Service, P. Arooran , M... Nadaraja, S. Rasanayagam Rtd. Credit Controller CCC Ltd.
Anaikoddai :- Mrs M. Weerasegaram Pillai, (Mother), Pillai Yasotha Weerasegaram (Daughter), Mrs S. Thanapalasingham (Mother) Miss N. Thanapalasingham (Daughter) S. Kulasegerampillai, Retd. Station Master, Mrs M. Arumugam .Mrs R. Gnanamuttu , A. Candappu Rtd. State Officer, S. Selvaranee
Pirampadi, Kokuvil etc:- A large number of civilians were killed in Pirampadi and Kokuvil and buried in mass graves. The whole matter requires a book to do full justice.
Ariyalai (my village)
Ariyalai is at the eastern end of Jaffna town and the A9 highway passes through it. This was one of the four routes the Indian Army took to enter and capture Jaffna. From Oct 10, 1987, we, living in Dehiwala, lost all contact with our relatives who lived in Ariyalai, among them my wife's 71 year old mother, her sisters and their children, my close friends from my boyhood days in Jaffna. For twenty one (21) days, there was a continuous curfew imposed by the IPKF with half an hours notice. The local and foreign media were completely cut off from the scene of operations and terrible things – yes, I use words carefully, TERRIBLE THINGS, were done to the Tamils in Jaffna. Rumours were rife. The militants said 30,000 civilians were killed. But I searched for reliable evidence, and these started trickling in, from late October 1987.
One reliable class of evidence is the number of persons known to me personally, quite a number are blood relatives, who were killed. Among those killed were a 45 year old cousin brother, S. Shanmugasuntharam, Electrician, Jaffna Municipal Council, married, with two children, shot while going to his paddy field in East Ariyalai. No one could reach the body; jackals and dogs ate the flesh and his brother Sinnathurai told me that the limbs and other parts were in different part of the paddy field and he gathered them and buried them in the paddy field. Sinnathurai had wept tears of a different sort in 1981 when he told me what he found on the day following the burning of the Jaffna Library, where he worked as an Assistant Librarian. But let us remain focussed on the IPKF in this article.
An 84 year old uncle, S. Thambiah, father of the well known Journalist T. Sabaratnam, was killed inside his home by an Indian artillery shell. His daughter Pathma and grandchildren had taken refuge inside Ariyalai Sri Sithivinayagar temple and were unaware of what had happened... One of my childhood classmates, Poologasingam, who lived nearby and had also not gone to the temple as a refugee, discovered what had happened, cut a pit in the garden, put my uncle in a sack and buried him there. No last rites; no cremation. Poologasingam went near the temple and shouted, "Pillai Pathma, Appah Vaikundam poddar; naan thevai yathanich seythu poddan" (Child Pathma, your father has gone to heaven; I have done what was necessary).
My cousin Sabaratnam's loss did not stop with his father. His mother in law, 80 year old Mrs. Thambimuttu was a refugee inside the temple. But an old lady cannot easily adjust to conditions inside a tightly packed temple – and Hindu temples do not have toilet facilities, as devotees are expected to come in a 'clean' state. So she went to her home within 250 metres of the temple for her morning ablutions. She was walking back feebly, with the aid of a walking stick and holding a flickering lamp, and was within 50 metres of the temple when she was shot dead by the Indian soldiers, from Sri Parwathi Vidyasalai which they were occupying. They discovered who they had killed and set fire to the body where it lay, using a tyre. She and my late mother Mrs. Saraswathy Thamotharam had been classmates in Chundikuli Girls's College, Jaffna. She had been a source of comfort to my mother when we lost our father when mother was 28 years old and had to face the grim prospect of feeding, clothing and educating my brother (7 yrs) and myself (2 yrs), with not even a pension as father had served for less than 10 years. I felt so deeply about her loss that I ventured into blank verse.
The Gentle Old Aachi
The gentle old aachi,
Weak and wobbly with age,
Walking with her pollu,
Slowly to the temple.
Husband gone long before,
Children retired or about to,
Grandchildren in their prime,
Great grandchildren by the dozen.
Weak of eye, weak of limb,
Fond memories of yester year,
Longing to meet her God,
Slowly walking to his abode.
Om Ganesha!, What hit me?
What burning pain,
What great thirst,
She writhed briefly on the road,
And then lay still,
White saree bathed in blood.
The gentle old aachi,
Felled by an alien bullet,
Fired by an alien hand,
In this our free land,
The gentle old aachi,
Shot like a dog and burnt at the spot.
More than our relatives, we mourn the death of the elder son of the chief priest of our temple, Subramaniya Kurukkal. Young Kannan Iyer, 24 years old, very fair, very handsome, well versed in Hindu neethi and also a fully qualified Accountant, was managing his own Accounting firm in Jaffna and assisting his father in carrying out the temple duties. He told his father on Deepavali Day in Oct 1987, when the father was getting ready to go to the temple to open the inner sanctum and light the lamps inside, to stay at home and that he would go by bicycle by a circuitous route to the temple to light the lamps. The inner sanctum had not been opened or lit after the influx of refugees. Only Brahmin priests can enter the inner sanctum. Instead of going to the temple, he went to heaven.
If anyone is interested, I shall take him or her to speak to Kannan Iyer's mother. His father, the chief priest of our temple, performed the ancient Hindu marriage ceremony for me and my wife in 1962. He repeated it for our elder daughter and son-in-law in 1982. He is a learned and pious man and he has the spiritual resources to withstand the loss of his elder son. But tears flowed down the cheeks of his wife for the entire 45 minutes we spent with them in March 1988, five months after the joy of their life was snuffed out by the Indian army. To me, this is the worst crime of the IPKF assault on Jaffna. The life of a young and brilliant Brahmin priest, who would have risen to great heights promoting Saivaism, was snuffed out wantonly – and this on Deepavali day when he set out to open the sanctum sanctorum and light a lamp inside the temple.
Twenty six persons lost their lives in my village alone, during the Indian army's campaign to gain control of Jaffna Peninsula in October-November 1987.
The IPKF Operation in Jaffna did not stop with massacres of civilians. A large number of women were raped. The following quotation is taken from Prof Daya Somasundaram's book Scarred Minds – The Psychological Impact of War on Sri Lankan Tamils. Prof Daya Somasundaram is the Professor of Psychiatry in the University of Jaffna and concurrently Consultant Psychiatrist, General (Teaching Hospital) Jaffna. He was one of the four authors of the book, Broken Palmyrah, which was critical of the LTTE, a co-author of Mental Health in Cambodia, where he served as a Consultant Psychiatrist and Manavadu in Tamil
Rape by Indian Soldiers
"From time immemorial, plunder and rape have been considered the spoils of war. A form of 'psychopathic liberation' resulting in looting, rape and heavy drinking is reported to follow major stressful events (Kinston and Rosser, 1974). Although the total number of rapes during the Indian army operations are not known, it seemed to reach epidemic proportions. It has been verified that quite a large number, ranging from young girls who had just attained puberty to old women well past the menopause stage, were brutally raped.
What is said about violence in general is applicable to sexual violence. However, aggressive sexual assault has its own unique characteristics and consequences. Thus,
Rape is a violent crime in which sexuality is used to express power, anger and aggression, with a core meaning of devaluation, humiliation, sheer terror and most intimate violation of the self for the victim. What is translated to the victim is the life-threatening nature of assault, her helplessness, her loss of control and her experience of herself as an object of the assailants' rage (Mezy, 1985).
Rape became common in the context of total war as it obtained in the months of October to December (1987), when all the customary discipline and restraint operative in the army disappeared. As discussed earlier, there appears to have been a policy decision to apply terror in the face of early losses and frustration over the prolongation of the conflict. The public was seen as being too sympathetic to the Tigers, harbouring and helping them against the Indian army. Thus terror became an instrument of control, a punishment for the lack of support and a lesson to the public... The army hierarchical structure worked to allow the jawans to carry out the acts on their behalf, although at times lower-rank officers also vented their pent up frustration in this way. But rape was much more gruesome as it was aimed specifically at women. It was carried out with considerable brutality and impersonality, where the victims were publicly defeminised and destroyed.
Rape can be seen as a loss-event for the victim where she loses her trust in others, self-respect, sense of security, chastity and virginity, social identity and becomes liable to secondary victimization due to social norms and values. The psychological reactions to rape have been described as a three-stage phenomena with an initial state of 'shock and disbelief' with disruption of normal behaviour. This may be followed by feelings of guilt, self-blame, and physical complaints. If the resolution to the psychological trauma is incomplete, long-term consequences include depression (40 per cent of victims), psychosomatic problems, sexual dysfunction, specific rape-related phobias, impaired task performance, social maladjustment and risk of suicide attempts (Mezey, 1985).
In our cultural setting, sexual violence takes on a more serious significance and has a severe psychologically traumatizing effect on the victim and her close relations, including her husband. Chastity is traditionally considered one of the supreme virtues of women, to be safeguarded with the same diligence as their life. The screams and pleading of a young, attractive girl, whom three soldiers were trying to rape at gun point, still echoes in my ears. She fell at their feet and begged, 'Please, brother, shoot me, but don't do this…' Fortunately for her, her pleading got through to an officer who took pity and let her go, after slapping her. A young rape victim in Tinnavelly immediately attempted to commit suicide by jumping into a well.
Loss of virginity in a young girl even if against her will, meant that she could not aspire to marriage in our society and if already married, there is a good chance that she will be abandoned. All rape victims are socially ostracized and this usually extends to the family also. It is not surprising that rape victims were not forthcoming to report such incidents and usually swallowed the suffering and injury silently.
These incidents of rape, the lack of protection for women and the rumours that spread, created great fear among the women of Jaffna. The threat to womanhood was very real in the months of October and November. Most women experienced sexual anxiety and felt exposed and vulnerable. Many fled to areas they felt were safe, a large exodus reaching Colombo in December, when transport became available. Those left behind started acting with circumspection by following the well-meant advice of sympathetic, Tamil-speaking jawans of 'wearing saris, putting poddus and staying indoors'.
At the beginning, there was lack of action by the commanders, probably because they had to maintain troop morale in a difficult situation during the first two months and rape itself became part of army action. Later, disciplinary action was taken with identification parades and punishment, usually in the form of public thrashing and transfer to another unit. After December the jawans were more discreet and circumspect. By 1988, the higher authorities showed much sensitivity to the issue of rape, probably due to the wide publicity outside Jaffna. They even brought in female police and paramilitary to ally the fears of local women.
The public outcry and wide publicity of this aspect of the Indians' occupation that gained momentum from December reflected the deep-rooted feeling of insecurity and the cultural significance of this threat to our women."
This ends the quotation from Prof Daya Somasundaram's book. But there was other evidence as well.
Inside Ariyalai Temple Inside our village temple, Ariyalai Sri Sithi Vinayagar Kovil, where people had gathered as refugees, young village girls were molested by the Indian soldiers inside the temple. Dr. W. Paramanathan, great grandson of Proctor V. Casipillai who had rebuilt the temple in 1900, after its destruction during the Portugese occupation, was an eye witness. "My blood boiled; but I was helpless" he told me. In fact, being a young man, he was taken out twice to be shot as a Tiger and only the strong pleadings of his aunt Miss K. Charavanamuttu, retired Principal of Vadamarachchy Hindu Ladies College saved his life. Dr. Paramanathan has migrated to the United States and is living there.
The 21 day curfew proved to be a golden opportunity - in a real golden sense – to the Indian soldiers. They broke into every house, broke open every almyrah and stole the valuables inside. As everyone knows, all Jaffna Tamil Hindu women wear a lot of gold jewellery. When they had to flee at half an hour's notice, they could not remove all their valuables. When the families returned, they found their gold jewellery, imported watches and Parker pens missing. In 1987, India was still a closed economy and these imported items were not available in India. Not merely the soldiers, even the officers helped themselves. This is what the Island of 22 Feb 1988 reported.
IPKF Major Returning to India Apprehended - Alleged Contraband Jewellery:
A Major of the IPKF who is said to have returned to India from Jaffna on a month's holiday is alleged to have been apprehended at Chandigarh airport with having carried jewellery believed to be contraband.
A news report appearing in the 'Rani Weekly' of January 31, 1988 published in Tamil Nadu state that this Major serving in Jaffna had flown to Madras by plane and then to Chandigarh in Punjab on a month's holiday. The Police there had searched him like any other passenger and found in his possession "100 sovreigns of jewellery consisting of bangles, broken chains, necklaces etc
The story states "The Police suspect that he might have snatched them from Sri Lankan Tamils. But he says they were bought by him. The magazine asks, If they were bought by him, could the jewellery be broken in pieces?
The behaviour of the Indian Army in Jaffna was so atrocious that even Sinhalese politicians were moved to protest. After all, we share this island home. Prime Minister R. Premadasa, Minister of National Security Lalith Athulathmudali, Minister of Rehabilitation Lionel Jayatilleke and Opposition Leader Anura Bandaranaike condemned the atrocities in strong language in Parliament on 21 Jan 1988. Please see Hansard Vol 47, Section 14, Hansard Vol 50, Section 2 . In fact, the Prime Minister spoke of a 79 year old woman having been raped.
To summarise, the Indian Army came here, massacred innocent Tamil civilians, raped our women and plundered our valuables. The acronym IPKF will always stand for Indian People Killing Force where we are concerned. I was collecting this material to submit to the International Criminal Court, when it was about to be set up. Unfortunately, the crimes of the IPKF are time barred; the Court considers only cases after it was set up in July 2002. If not for this time bar, there is enough evidence against the Indian Generals and others higher up to indict them before the Court. Instead of facing the Court, they and former High Commissioner Dixit are writing books and making money out of the tragedy.
Please go ahead and erect the memorial. Every passing Tamil will think in his heart that the memorial stands for Indian People Killing Force. We will one day erect a memorial in the heart of Jaffna town, in the centre of Hospital Road, in memory of all the innocent civilians – ranging in age from the very old past 80 to young children massacred by the IPKF and to the women who were raped.

Dr. T. Somasekaram,
Retd. Surveyor General

SAY a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe...!!!

C.S Baskaran

This is a master piece. If you have not read it take the time to read it now. If you have read it take time to read it again!

GEORGE CARLIN (His wife recently died...)

Isn't it amazing that George Carlin - comedian of the 70's and 80's - could write something so very eloquent...and so very appropriate.

A Message by George Carlin:

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways , but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.

We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete...

Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.

Remember, to say, 'I love you' to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. An embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.


Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

If you don't send this to other people....Who cares?

George Carlin

Friday, October 23, 2009

The on-going local and international campaign against the detention of IDPs appears to be one of the most formidable problems Sinhala Govt is facing!

Managing the IDP Somapala Gunadheera

The on-going local and international campaign against the detention of IDPs appears to be one of the most formidable problems the Government is facing after overcoming the LTTE. Mr. Anandasangaree has made an impassioned appeal to the President to put an end to the IDP stalemate in last Sunday’s Island. A similar appeal was made by the TNA when they first met the President after the ‘war’. Not a day passes without a protest about the plight of the displaced people, from parties concerned with their lot, irrespective of political or communal bias.

The pressure from India to settle the IDP crisis has been a constant feature ever since the influx commenced. The West has been far more vociferous about the problem. Their references to Sri Lanka invariably highlight the matter. Unending visits of dignitaries from the UN and the West to the IDP camps and their ‘parting shots’ have served to scandalize the detention. It has also created serious economic problems for the country with GSP+ and foreign aid using the resolution of the IDP crises as a quid pro quo.

Managing a refugee settlement of nearly 300,000 inmates is no child’s play. On the civilian side it is as massive an operation as the final battle against the LTTE. Authorities in charge of the IDP camps have done a very difficult job with commendable devotion. Even the delegation of Tamil Nadu politicians, who were here on an inspection tour of the camps, was noncommittal on the allegations back at home, against the conditions in the camps. That is as far as the comforts offered to the inmates are concerned. But physical comfort is not everything for a refugee.

The mental aspects of camp life have a very close connection to inmate satisfaction. Alienation from their normal habitats, inaccessibility to familiar contacts, exposure to unacquainted control systems, absence of information about the world outside and a sense of incarceration, lead to claustrophobia that can more than neutralize all the comforts offered to refugees. It is these frustrations that form the root cause of the widespread protests against the timeless detention of the IDPs.

A management problem

The refugee crisis is basically a management problem. If it is handled efficiently, the refugees will be happy and their happiness is a cornerstone of their integration into a nation that has been struggling to be born since the advent of independence. Unfortunately that truth does not appear to have dawned on the authorities in their preoccupation with the externalities of resettlement.

Rehabilitation in the Vanni appears to follow a pattern which is necessarily time consuming. The delay is creating the impression that there was an ulterior motive behind the stagnation. Apparently the authorities want to do a perfect job. They are busy creating infrastructure in the camps. There is no doubt that rehabilitation is essential but the immediate need is resettlement.

In the background of my experience in settling IDPs in Jaffna after the "Riviresa" I have ventured to offer some suggestions for consideration in the following contributions I made to the Island over the last four months:

1. Managing the refugee crisis (May 13)

2. Resettlement: Stagnation defeats credibility (June 29)

3. Transparency - Key to trust in resettlement (July 30)

The main recommendations made may be summarized as follows:

1. Sort out the inmates by place of residence through a census

2. Settle people from the same locality in environment friendly small camps

3. Manage the classified camps through a committee of inmates’ nominees and their normal village level officers

4. Create links with the rest of the country that can lead to national reconciliation.

5. Security clear the inmates as a matter of first priority

6. Save time by separating the normal inmates from the suspected and not vice versa

7. Separate the cleared population from those under a cloud

8. Permit their kith and kin who take responsibility for them to take them away

9. Expedite the mine clearing operations by aligning them with the existing Army Camps

10. Let there be liaison between the managing committee of a camp and the demining operation at the destination

11. Prepare a time-based Resettlement Plan

12. Make the Plan known to the inmates and the world outside

13. Grant priority to resettlement over rehabilitation

14. Make the camps as accessible as possible to genuine visitors

15. Revamp infrastructure at the point of destination without wasting funds and energy at the place of temporary accommodation

16. Don’t leave room for foreigners to tell us how to resettle our own people

The thick smoke screen between the IDPs and the rest of the world makes it impossible to be sure of what is happening in the camps. However it appeared in the papers that a census had been taken and families united about two months after the influx. But the mass settlements do not appear to have been classified homogeneously. Separation into workable mini-camps was undertaken only after the concentration came under floods with the rains but it is not certain whether this opportunity was used to recreate neighbourhoods. The management structure of a camp is very relevant to its efficiency, cohesiveness and inmate satisfaction but there is no knowing how these camps are run.

The above recommendations may be categorized broadly under the following heads:

* Resettlement Plan covering,

* Demining

* Security clearing

* Orientation

* Accessibility

* Communication


Preparing a well thought out Resettlement Plan should be the foundation to resolving the refugee crisis. The Plan should be focused on two main concerns, demining and security clearing.

The stock excuse for the delay in settling the IDPs in their own homes is the presence of land mines. The time required to clear the mines is a function of the area to be cleared and the resources available for the job, both of which are already known quantities. What appears to be missing is the management expertise to do the calculation. Five months after the ‘war’, there is still no evidence that this basic estimate has been worked out.

Information on where these mines are, where they have been cleared and why the residents of cleared areas cannot be sent home is shrouded in mystery. In the absence of this crucial information, the day the demining operation would be completed has to remain in the limbo of the unknown creating uncertainty and tension among the refugees as to when they would be released from the camps. The much touted ‘180 days’ is a wish, not a plan.

But sporadic decisions are taken to resettle IDPs selectively, without reference to any plan. Last week it was suddenly announced that pregnant mothers and their family members have been sent back to their homes in Kilinochchi and Mulaithivu. It is difficult to understand why others from the same areas cannot be similarly settled unless fetuses have a magic power to diffuse land mines.

This incident appears to cast a shadow over the scare stories of mine fields. It also exposes the folly of sporadic announcements calculated to impress the public but unrelated to an overall plan, not to mention the risk of a baby boom from the camps.


The anxiety of the Government to keep the camps free of infiltration and adverse publicity has to be appreciated, particularly after a massive military operation. But security itself needs a plan to work on. Despite the enormity of the job, security clearing the inmates calls for a timeframe and a method of operation.

Detaining all camp inmates until the last culprit is detected, would be an atrocious violation of the human right to freedom. It is logical and humane to release the innocents as they are cleared. Here I ask for no more than what Mr. Durand Appuhamy wants done, at the end of his vehement defence of safety and security at the camps vide his article appearing in the Island of the 14th October: "all those established to be victimized civilians should be allowed to go back to their homes if that is their wish, provided their home areas have been cleared of mines."

Despite all the precautions to catch the culprits in the camps it has now transpired that about 20,000 LTTE operatives have bought their way out. There can be no doubt that those who escaped were the worst security risks. There is no point now in closing the stable door indefinitely, after the most dangerous horses have fled. It will only result in penalizing the innocent lambs trapped inside for want of funds and influence.

It is significant that most of the hardcore terrorists detected recently were found outside the camps. May be that the information about them came from those under detention in the camps but it would amount to inhuman torture to keep inmates detained until the last terrorist is discovered. Another excuse given for the detention is the presence of concealed arms and explosives but it would be ludicrous to detain the refugees until the Vanni is dug out to the last inch.


The present approach to refugee management appears to be dealing with the IDPs in bulk, which makes it an amorphous problem. At present refugees do not have a sense of identity. They are treated as ‘things’ for which certain services are being rendered. This anonymity affects their self-respect and morale.

Lumping together refugees from different localities can lead to disorientation and distress. People who have come from the same village/locality should be housed in the same camp. This trend must be further developed by getting the selectees for a classified camp to nominate their own committee of management with their village level officials included in the body. Such proactive measures should facilitate management, reduce tensions in the camps and keep the inmates pacified until they are sent home.


Accessibility would act as another soothing balm on the over-wrought nerves of the refugees. Separating the suspects from others would enable the authorities to open the camps to visitors with confidence. Anxiety about security is understood, having regard to the crisis and past experience. But excluding all visitors creates suspicion by the very act, thereby giving credence to negative propaganda. For imaginable reasons, admission to camps cannot be given as in the case of a public exhibition. On the other hand accessibility naturally creates credibility.

Keeping the camps strictly out of bounds sacrificed a golden opportunity that was emerging soon after the ‘war’. There was a rush of sympathy from the South for the fallen countrymen in the North. Funds and materials were collected and dispatched to the camps in large quantities but inaccessibility put the donors and recipients asunder. In the absence of face to face contact, enthusiasm died a premature death and the door was closed on an ideal opportunity for national reconciliation.


Communication is of the essence to the resettlement plan, once it is drawn up. Refugees should be kept informed of the plan’s timeframe and progress of its implementation. This would give them information on which they can plan their own future with confidence and act as another consolation pending release.

Naturally the dates of release have to vary as resettlement has to proceed progressively, area by area as the mines are cleared. But a schedule of resettlement should be worked out methodically for each unit and announced forthwith. That would give the refugees a target of hope and the officials a coordinated program of work.

Last but not least, it would definitely be in the best interest of the Government to clear the camps well in advance of the forthcoming elections. A concentration of thousands of refugees frothing and fuming with frustration in the face of an election, can become a nightmare to the party in power. As Mr. Anandasangaree appeals to the President regarding the IDPs, if the Government wants ‘to win over the Tamils’, it should, ‘resettle them soon". The number of votes in the camps and those of their sympathizers outside, may very well tilt the scales against the Government at a closely fought election.


Sinhala Government that abdicates its responsibility towards its people is guilty of mal-government...!!!

Threatening to sue the UN over plight of IDP's in Wanni
Manufacturing Emergencies and Abdicating Responsibility

By Nishan de Mel

Imagine this scenario: A man engages in excessive drinking of expensive alcohol and squanders the long overdue school fees for his children, without which they have been told they cannot return to school the next day. His friends respond to the emergency and gather the money to make the payment. The man asks them to pay for the whole year, but they offer to pay only for a term. With time, it’s clear that the man is not going to give up his drinking habit, and the children will have to soon quit school humiliated. A relative, who helped gather the emergency support, threatens court action against the friends, because they refused to pay for the whole year.
The Sunday Leader on June 14, 2009 reported that the head of the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies in Sri Lanka (CHA) had threatened court action against the UN, which helps to provide basic necessities for the 250 thousand plus people detained in government-run camps. The concern which gave rise to this threat has been a concern widely held by NGOs – that the detained people face a high risk of calamity from impending monsoonal rains. The concomitant threat, of taking the UN to court, however, suggests poor understanding about the fundamentals of responsibility in this situation.
When a recent bout of showers – a precursor to the monsoonal rains – resulted in flooding, sewage overflows and intolerable conditions in detention camps, the government too claimed that the UN was to blame. The threatened court action by CHA, and government allegations, are both based on the fact that the UN had insisted, from the beginning, that it will only contribute to the construction of temporary infrastructure, which cannot be expected to withstand the ravages of time or monsoonal rains.
But this charge against the UN begs the question; why did the Sri Lankan government contract the offered services of the UN agencies, which it well knew would be inadequate, given the plans for prolonged detention?
Two things are clear; one, the UN did not force the government to contract their provision of such temporary infrastructure. They simply couldn’t have – the government has not been wanting in its ability to assert sovereignty, in making decisions within the territorial boundaries of Sri Lanka. Two, the UN did not act in stealth, and the type of infrastructure is not a result of incompetence – the UN was loud and transparent in insisting that the infrastructure it would provide would be adequate only to fulfil temporary needs. The government could well have refused the offer of such infrastructure (just as tender bids are refused for not meeting technical specifications), and contracted privately or through state machinery for infrastructure of adequate quality. Then, on what basis is blame placed on the UN?
The most compelling rationale for faulting the UN is that in extremely acute emergency situations providing emergency relief is a recognised obligation of the UN to its member States, and therefore, the UN is accountable for the adequacy of such relief. With regard to the recent events enfolding Sri Lanka, however, this argument is mistaken in two ways. First, because there was no de facto emergency situation – apart from the one that was manufactured. Second, because the UN did provide infrastructure adequate for the immediate needs of this manufactured emergency.
Manufacturing Emergency
It was widely reported, and was common knowledge, at least from January 2009, that over 300 thousand people were being sandwiched between the fighting forces of the Sri Lankan army and the LTTE. Common sense would have dictated that many of these people would need at least temporary shelter and food when the army over-ran the LTTE. In addition, the army’s victory was established somewhat later than anticipated – the LTTE’s ability to resist the military onslaught for as long as they did, until mid-May 2009, was unexpected.
Both these factors suggest that the government had about half a year to plan for and provide for the accommodation of these people. This, therefore, was no Tsunami or Hurricane Katrina. There was no element of surprise in the situation which gave rise to the acute need for temporary basic infrastructure requirements and services. There was no de facto emergency. The emergency that arose was created by the callousness or incompetence of government planners.
This planning failure, it needs to be noted, was not systemic to government functioning. The military strategy against the LTTE, the media campaigns launched to win the support of the people, and the propaganda against opponents of the government’s war strategy, all demonstrated great competence and effective planning. The "emergency" that gradually emerged out of the situation was not only preventable, but preventing it was also well within the expectations, competence and normal functioning of the government. The fact that such prevention was eschewed is the reason for recognising the circumstances as a “manufactured” emergency.
There are several countries in the world run by dysfunctional governments that are not able – due to corruption or incompetence – to meet the basic responsibilities of governing. Amartya Sen and Jean Dreze have shown how famines (which were entirely avoidable) have been allowed to develop as manufactured emergencies, and that this is a phenomena common in countries with irresponsible and undemocratic governments.
Nevertheless, even in cases of such manufactured emergencies, UN agencies have generally been willing to become involved and provide necessary direct services, since in most instances, the people thus harmed by their own governments tend to be quite powerless and in desperate need of rescue from the consequences of such mal government. Did the UN fail to do that in Sri Lanka?
Identifying Responsibility
In the case of mal-government, the obligation of the UN to protect distressed people cannot be an open ended obligation. It does not even serve the enduring needs of the distressed if that assistance simply subsidises and strengthens a continuance of mal-government. As a result, like in the cases of famine in Ethiopia, assisting UN agencies have a responsibility to use whatever influence they have to encourage a revision of government policy, so as to address the root causes of such mal-government and manufactured emergencies.
The offer of UN assistance – to build infrastructure of only temporary durability– was grossly inadequate and inappropriate for the purpose, if the plan was to keep people detained for more than two to three months. But the offer did meet the criteria of providing immediate relief to the manufactured emergency that arose in May 2009.
The government has now proceeded to gratuitously detain these people beyond 4 months – well past the immediate need of the first manufactured emergency. The detention is being affected outside of any known laws of the country, with mounting evidence that it is unproductive even in terms of its stated security enhancing objectives.
Most people currently held in detention camps are not asking the government to house and feed them; their principal need is simply to be let free. They are not insisting on immediate resettlement to their home-towns, which may still be riddled with land-mines, but they may justifiably wish to join friends or relatives in safe neighbourhoods in and outside of Sri Lanka.
This purposeful policy of perversely prolonged detention is not a situation in which the UN responsibility for emergency assistance can be legitimately invoked. The responsibility lies with the government. Will the government continue to forcibly detain these people in precarious temporary shelters when the monsoonal rains begin to wreak havoc? Will the government seek to leech out even more international assistance by manufacturing yet another emergency?
Economics of Detention Camps
Since the miseries of these people arise "post-war", it is not possible to make the excuse that the government cannot afford the cost. Even through the costly war with the LTTE, there were resources left-over to subsidise Mihin Air by over six billion rupees. This budget airline was revived in January 2009, on the “eve of the war's end", amply demonstrating the availability of funds for policy priorities. It cannot be true that subsidising air tickets of workers in the middle-east is more important than providing basic needs to people who have been rendered unemployed and helpless by forcible detention en mass.
The cost of prosecuting the war against the LTTE, on the defence budget alone (not counting the public security and safety budget), was over one hundred and thirty four billion rupees (Rs. 134,710,000,000) in 2008. That is about Rs. 1,500 per day, for every single man woman and child currently detained in camps. What is the actual cost? Using current poverty line data of the department of Census and Statistics, we find that all the needs of these people (enough to classify them as non-poor) can be provided at Rs. 3,000 per person per month. Even for a whole year, that would amount to only 6.7% of last years war budget for all the people detained. Alternatively, all the costs for 8 months could have been met just by the Rs. 6 billion busted on Mihin Air. Therefore, any failure on the part of the government to meet the cost cannot be a matter of resources, but would have to be a matter of purposeful priorities and policies.
The government has reported that US$ 196 million or 22.5 billion rupees (Rs. 22,540,000,000) has been received in donations from international organisations to help provide relief for the detained. That is about Rs. 90,000 for every single person detained or about Rs. 450,000 per family. The amount is so large and the conditions of detention so poor its difficult to imagine how this money was spent. Furthermore, the economic activity created by this infusion of capital feeds handsomely in to government tax revenues. It is possible, therefore, that the government of Sri Lanka is in fact profiting and prospering itself through the generous response of the international community to this policy of en mass Tamil imprisonment.
Misunderstanding Fundamentals
The threat by the CHA of court action against the UN implies a belief that there is some continuing emergency situation in Sri Lanka which the government is incapable of avoiding -- thus transferring responsibility internationally. But this is contrary to fact. The dire needs of the detained people are needs that are manufactured and persisted by government policy, and therefore, the responsibility of ceasing these unjust policies and meeting the needs created by these policies lies squarely with the government.
The primary responsibility of providing basic care to a population must rest with the government under which that population lives. This is basic. A government cannot be absolved from such responsibility in the absence of Tsunami-like situations or needs that are too enormous for a government to solve (like the need for Maldives to prevent the rising of the sea level). In the absence of unavoidable emergencies or global externalities, a government that abdicates its responsibility towards its people is guilty of mal-government. Threatening to take the UN to courts suggests a gross misunderstanding of the fundamentals.

October 6, 2009 Contact Email:
Next time some one might take God to courts as well. We Sri Lankans are so smart and literate that wouldnt be beyond us too. How ever we fail to see beyond our noses, that what is happening is self inflicted. First we bomb our own people, their homes, their businesses, their schools to the ground. Then we lock them up in camps. Next we invite the UN and International Community to come and resettle them. Inspite of this we attack and villify them all the time.
Meantime we are busy celebrating our victory, now going on the 4 mth. Hold multiple elections, build stupas in every province, build ports, airports in Hambantota in the middle of nowhere. Build palaces all over the place. Going around by Helicopter etc
Posted by: Gamarala | October 7, 2009 07:03 AM

The above comments and observations are a candid analysis of the despicable propaganda and downright hypocrisy that is used to cover up their cruelty towards helpless victims trapped or caged in camps. Iam reminded of a stupid comment made by a Senior Govt. Official that the cesspits in these camps began to overflow during a spell of heavy rain due to the poor construction by NGOs. Why did he not think of taking them to Courts?
It is heartening to see that there are civic minded people who have the courage to expose this bluff. More strength to them.
Posted by: | October 7, 2009 11:05 AM

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

We will be the voice for the voiceless Tamil masses until they attain freedom, dignity, and a voice that is not oppressed in the island of Sri Lanka.!


‘13th Amendment is too little and too late’

David Popalapillai, spokesperson for CTC

The Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) is a non-profit organisation which serves as the voice of Tamil Canadians. Headquartered in Toronto, the CTC has 11 chapters across the country and an elected board of directors. The non-partisan organisation works as the community’s spokesperson on the municipal, provincial, federal and international levels. Its chapters can be found in Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, London, Edmonton, Vancouver, Waterloo, Winnipeg, Windsor and Regina.

David Poopalapillai is the national spokesperson for the Canadian Tamil Congress:

By Ranjit Jayasundera
Our Foreign Correspondent

Q: How well are you informed on what is happening in Sri Lanka?

A: We are very well-informed about what is happening in Sri Lanka. We have our own sources to get first-hand information.

Q: Do you expect IDP camps to be cleared by the end of 2009?

A: No, not at all. In May of 2009, the Sri Lankan government made a pledge to return the bulk of the 280,000 civilians confined in internment camps to their homes within 180 days. But more than 130 days have passed since that pledge, and the government has only released around five per cent. The slow progress is disturbing and indicate the will for reconciliation is lacking. Let me remind you that the vast majority are civilians who are being held in violation of international law. No other country in the world holds hundreds of thousands of displaced people in de facto prisons. International aid organisations have estimated that at least 50,000 are children. What have these children done wrong to grow up in overcrowded and unsanitary camps behind barbed wire and thousands of military guards?

Q: What is the Tamil diaspora’s future now in Sri Lanka with the war being over?

A: We will be the voice for the voiceless Tamil masses until they attain freedom, dignity, and a voice that is not oppressed in the island of Sri Lanka.

Q: What do they see as the future for the Tamil struggle, are they willing to reconcile themselves with the central government?

A: First of all, any reconciliation comes only after the perpetrators of mass atrocities are identified and brought to justice accordingly. In Sri Lanka, there are no signs that the perpetrators, who committed inhumane acts on innocent Tamil civilians for more than three decades, will be brought to justice. Until then, reconciliation with the central government will be difficult.

Q: Thirty years of armed struggle has decimated the Tamil community, they are now a smaller minority, what do you see as their future?

A: The world always revolves around a better tomorrow and a bright future, and as such, we believe the Tamil community will be freed one day.

Q: Are members of the diaspora willing to return; if not the Tamil community in Sri Lanka is surely doomed?

A: As long as the persecution of the Tamil minority continues in this country, it’s hard for anybody to return.

Q: You have told The Sunday Leader in the past that Tamils feel like second class citizens in their own country, is this feeling still the same?

A: Yes. The mere fact that 270,000 civilians, including 50,000 children, are being held in internment camps in violation of international law underlines how much Tamils are second class citizens in Sri Lanka.

Q: When do you feel that Tamils will stop feeling second class?

A: When Tamils are given a voice in the political spectrum and are given opportunities to look after their own affairs especially in the north and the east.

Q: Is there more the Canadian government can do to assist Tamils in Sri Lanka?

A: Canada is a world-renowned peacemaker and has shown the world how multicultural societies can co-exist peacefully with a free and fair society. They can bring their expertise to this war-torn country and help Sri Lanka to achieve a lasting peace.

Q: Do you expect the 13th Amendment or the 13th plus to redress the Tamil question in Sri Lanka?

A: The 13th Amendment is too little and too late. If the Sri Lankan government wants to address the real issues, they need to go beyond the 13th Amendment.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Get the Sri Lankan Government to recognize the Upcountry Tamils as a Sri Lankan community.....!!!

UPF delegation meets Indian MPs

By Yohan Perera

The Upcountry Peoples Front (UPF) leader Minister P. Chandrasekaran who met the visiting Indian MPs yesterday called on India to play a role in setting up a power sharing unit integrating the Central, Uva, and Sabragamuwa Provinces where there is a high population of plantation workers.

He made this point when a delegation of UPF members met the visiting Indian MPs yesterday..

The UPF delegation also called on India to set up a separate university for the estate people in Nuwara Eliya and get the Sri Lankan Government to recognize the Upcountry Tamils as a Sri Lankan community,

They also demanded setting up of District and village Divisions on the basis of ethnic ratio in the plantation areas.

The UPF also called on India to work towards infrastructure development in the plantation areas.

Minister Chandrasekeran informed the Indian MPs that despite the destruction of the LTTE, Tamil aspirations were not fulfilled. He said since the downfall of the LTTE there was a vacuum in the leadership voicing Tamil rights.

The UPF delegation told their Indian counterparts all obstacles should be cleared to help displaced Tamils back to their own lands and live freely

The Indian delegation assured the delegation they would forward the proposals to the central government of India through the Tamil Nadu government.

UPF sources said they were confident India would work towards fulfilling the aspirations of the Tamil people.



Hunt for Rudrakumaran : will US co-operate ?....UPUL JOSEPH FERNANDO

The Sri Lankan Government . has been asking America to extradite Rudrakumaran even before the arrest of KP .After the SL Govt. became aware that Rudrakumaran along with the Tamil Diaspora representatives met Blake , the SL Govt. lodged its protests against it. The American Government. took the position that if charges against Rudrakumaran that he helped terrorists can be substantiated , it will take measures to institute legal action. From that point of time , the Sri Lankan Govt.’s challenge was to search for leads to prove that he had in fact assisted in terrorist activities. According to some sources , it is after KP was arrested and the Govt. interrogated him that it was able to collect evidence that Rudrakumaran supported terrorist activities. The Defense Secretary and Attorney General travelled to Washington to explain and elucidate the situation based on this information to the American Government. Even at present , there are Tamil Tiger members in America who are American citizens, under arrest after having been proved that they have supported terrorist activities in SL. They have even been produced before the American courts .The SL govt.’s aim is to have Rudrakumaran arrested in America and brought down to SL. The Govt. is of the view that he can be arrested in the same way as was KP in Malaysia. Rudrakumar is an American citizen. Therefore, it is not easy to arrest Rudrakumar in the same way as KP was arrested . If the SL Govt. files indictment against Rudrakumaran for supporting terrorist activities , there is nothing to preclude America from telling the SL Govt. that it shall prosecute him under its laws.

During the period when the UN General assembly was on , Sri Lanka’s Defense Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the Attorney General Mohan Peiris spent a number of days in Washington , to explore ways and means to apprehend Viswanathan Rudrakumaran ,the legal advisor of the Tamil Tiger Organization and a prospective Committee member of the Transnational Govt. to be formed by the Tamil Tiger Organization.

The Defense Secretary and the Attorney General met Robert Blake of the US State Department and former American Ambassador in charge of SL and South Asia , in order to discuss this situation, sources say. Some others even say ,that Blake paid a visit to the hotel they were staying to meet them on a personal level and not in an official capacity .

The Sri Lankan government has been asking America to extradite Rudrakumaran even before the arrest of KP .After the SL government became aware that Rudrakumaran along with the Tamil diaspora representatives met Blake , the SL government lodged its protests against it. The American government took the position that if charges against Rudrakumaran that he helped terrorists can be substantiated , it will take measures to institute legal action against him.

From that point of time , the SL government’s challenge was to search for leads to prove that he had assisted in terrorist activities. According to some sources , it is after KP was arrested and the government interrogated him that it was able to collect evidence that Rudrakumaran supported terrorist activities. The Defense Secretary and Attorney General travelled to Washington to explain and elucidate the situation based on this information to the American government . Even at present , there are Tamil Tiger members in America who are American citizens, under arrest after having been proved that they have supported terrorist activities in SL. They have even been produced before the American Courts .

The SL government’s aim is to have Rudrakumaran arrested in America and brought down to Sri Lanka. The government is of the view that he can be arrested in the same way as was KP in Malaysia but since Rudrakumar is an American citizen it is not easy to arrest him in the same manner as KP was arrested. If the SL government . files indictment against Rudrakumaran for supporting terrorist activities , there is nothing to preclude America from telling the Sri Lankan government . that it will prosecute him under its laws.

It is SL government’s view that after KP , it is Rudrakumaran who has taken over the Tamil Tiger leadership. The SL government is aware that KP had a history which is associated with the Tamil Tiger Organization. But, Rudrakumaran’s history is connected with SL’s politics in the North. Viswanathan , the father of Rudrakumaran was a former Mayor of Jaffna. At the time when the Jaffna library was set on fire in 1982 , it was Rudrakumaran’s father who was the mayor of Jaffna. Rudrakumaran’s father was held in high respect by Prabhakaran , the Tamil Tiger leader. Prabhakaran extended this respect to Rudrakumaran too. It is on this account that Prabhakaran named Rudrakumaran as a representative in the team which took part in the ceasefire discussions in 2002. During that period he was closer to Prabhakaran than Balasingham.. It was Rudrakumaran who worked for the formulation of the interim self governing authority (ISGA) following the conclusion of the CFA. Some even go so far as to say it was Rudrakumaran who was the architect of it. Taking the ISGA to the world was also done by Rudrakumaran.

After the present SL government was installed in power , and peace negotiations commenced, Balasingham fell ill, at that juncture, Prabhakaran entrusted the responsibility of peace negotiations on behalf of the Tamil Tiger Organization to Rudrakumaran.

Rudrakumaran who is a lawyer works within the LTTE Organization as a professional. Like the ISGA , the latest Tamil Tiger Organization program , the Transnational government proposal is a technical professional matter.

There are divergent views expressed among the pro Tamil Tiger diaspora regarding the emerging Transnational government proposal which is a technical matter. Among the Tamil Tigers, the hard core group is not in favour of Rudrakumaran. This group had censured Rudrakumaran’s Transnational government proposal in their Tamilnet web. This is a move to please countries like India and America which supported the war , they point out . It is the objective of India and America to drive the Tamil Tigers to the political stream, and some people have got caught in this web. K.P. was one of them, the website further adds.

K.P. who tried to bring the Tamil Tigers to the democratic political process dancing to the tune of America and India is now in custody, the Tamilnet web further highlighted. It is the perception of the hard core group that Rudrakumaran can similarly be trapped.

America and the international . community have a great desire to draw the Tamil Tigers into the democratic process. They could use Rudrakumaran to achieve this end. It is not impossible that K.P. was lured to the democratic process by Rudrakumaran , America and the international community owing to their pressures. Hence, no matter what indictments the Sri Lankan government may bring against Rudrakumaran, America will think twice before they pursue any course of action , the pro Rudrakumaran Tamil Tiger group assumes. It is also their belief that America must be entertaining the notion that if Rudrakumaran too is arrested like K.P. and if terrorism rears its head again from what remains of the Tamil Tiger organization after Prabhakaran’s assassination , those seeking to influence the Tamil Tigers to join the democratic stream could get sidelined .

If this conviction is true , the Sri Lankan government should strive to destroy this American notion. It is impossible to do so by attacking and colliding with America to dispel this notion , neither can Rudrakumaran be taken into custody. The Southern elections results also underline the fact that the government by turning hostile against America and the international . community could not swell its vote bank . Therefore . the only way out for the government is to stand united with America and resolve this issue.

If this Transnational Government does not violate any international law, and if it is considered as democratic way of campaign for Tamils' rights in Sri Lanka, it is OK. By allowing this Transnational Government to function, the world can prevent future armed struggle.

Posted By: raj

Yes, they can talk big to the foolish majority but need to bow down to the big brother.

Posted By: Bash

I simply cannot understand this. If LTTE worked on Transnational Government from the inception well then yes, Int'l community can consider that they are committed to a peaceful process. but they fight, violated all international laws , killed innocent civilians including of their own people and finally got wacked left right and center from the Govt of Sri Lanka. Then they are taking about TG mode. That means even Al-Quida too can work on a backup plan like this..?

Posted By: Sanje

Tuesday, October 13, 2009



By Sumanasiri Gunatilleka

Statistically 55,389 families in the Moneragala district are facing hardship due to the prolonged drought. All water resources including rivers, canals, streams and wells have run dry. The pipe borne water supply in the town has been restricted to two days a week causing a shortage of drinking water.

Meanwhile, the water level in the Menik ganga, which is one of the main water resources that feeds the water supply schemes, is fast dwindling. Kumbukkanoya, Kirindioya, Hedaoya, Wiloya and Maragalaoya are among the other main rivers that are running dry. The Disaster Management Centre at Moneragala District Secretariat said 12,620 families in the Buttala DS Division , 9,784 families in Siyambalanduwa DS Division, 9,297 families in the Moneragala DS Division, 6,520 families in Sevenagala DS Division, 6,070 families in Thanamalwila DS Division, 5,558 in Madulla DS Division, and 5,500 in Badalkumbura DS Division were the worst affected. The Divisional Secretaries of the respective areas appealed to the Disaster Management Centre to provide urgent relief to the affected families. Meanwhile, a large population in Wellawaya and Medagama DS Divisions were also facing a severe shortage of drinking water. District Disaster Management Coordinating Officer A.H. Ravindra Kumara said he informed the Disaster Management Centre to take immediate steps to provide bowsers and water tanks to supply drinking water to the affected areas. A senior official of the Agrarian Services Department said more than 10,000 acres of paddy fields would not be cultivated for the Maha season for want of irrigations facilities. .

What made India change its stance so radically in October last year, is open to conjecture..!!!

Farewell to Alok Prasad...........By the time this is read, the results of the southern provincial council election would have been announced. The government was expecting a resounding victory and their expectations would no doubt be met. Even at the 2004 SPC election, the UPFA got 62% in the Galle district, 64% in the Matara district and 70% in the Hambantota district, and that was without anything very significant to show by way of achievements. As Victor Ivan pointed out in Choura Regina, Chandrika Kumaratunga was in power longer than J.R.Jayewardene, but had precious little to show for all the years in office. If at the tail end of a useless government like that, the people of the south gave the UPFA an average of over 65% in every district, today, when the Mahinda Rajapakse government has a great deal to show for the less than four years that it has been in power, it would be surprising indeed if the margin of victory is not significantly higher.

It is of course true that the JVP contested together with the UPFA at the previous SPC elections, but the JVP has so far proved incapable of taking away votes in significant numbers from the UPFA. Indeed the opposite seems to be true – the UPFA seems to have taken away (or taken back) the better part of the votes won by the JVP on its own (or purloined from the PA – depending on how one looks at it) between 1994 and 2000. The decision made by the JVP to contest elections separately has sent the party into a freefall making it irrelevant in local politics. Even though the JVP still has more parliamentarians than the Tamil National Alliance, the difference is that the TNA has got a new lease of life after the Jaffna and Vavuniya local government elections where they performed better than expected and proved that they have an independent existence even without the LTTE. The JVP however has been in steep electoral decline and in the face of such a fall, their voice has become irrelevant. The staggered PC elections have only served to enhance and highlight the decline of the JVP.

The JVP began their march to electoral prominence at the parliamentary election of 1994 when they won one seat in the Hambantota district. Subsequently, they managed to win the Tissamaharama Pradesheeya Sabha, thus establishing the first JVP controlled local government institution. As such, it could be seen that the JVP was desperately fighting to retain this base in Hambantota. The danger for the JVP is that there are only 12 seats in the Hambantota district and if they fail to secure at least one, that may spell the end of their hold on the district. The SPC election, because of the lack of competition from the UNP or the JVP, has largely been a home and home match within the UPFA. The president has been deeply disillusioned by the unseemly scramble for preferential votes and reports appearing in the newspapers say that he is toying with the idea of holding a parliamentary election first with a view to changing the electoral system. No firm decision however, has been made as yet.

Indian policy

President Mahinda Rajapakse hosted a dinner for outgoing Indian High Commissioner Alok Prasad at Temple Trees last Thursday. Prasad will be taking up a position in New Delhi as India’s Deputy National Security Advisor – the second in command to M.K.Narayanan. His tenure in Colombo covered what was undoubtedly the most important phase in Indo-Sri Lanka relations in the post-independence history of both countries. The Indo-Lanka relations of the late eighties had much more drama but lacked substance. There was more fire and thunder in the late 1980s because the nature of Indian involvement in Sri Lankan affairs was different – they were at first mediators and later combatants in Sri Lanka’s conflict. During the last twelve months however, the nature of Indian involvement was decidedly different, one might characterize it not as intervention or mediation, but as a period of engagement with Sri Lanka in solving a problem that posed a headache to both countries.

The most significant thing that occurred during Prasad’s tenure is the 180 degree turn that India took after mid-October 2008 in her policy towards Sri Lanka. From the time hostilities between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE began in earnest after mid-2006, until mid October 2008, the Indian government had been sounding exactly like the governments of western countries, stressing that nothing could be achieved by war and urging the commencement of negotiations.

Pressure was building up in Tamil Nadu as well, with politicians on either side of the political divide demanding an end to the hostilities. Then something made the Indian Government change its stance completely; and with the change of heart in New Delhi, there was a corresponding change in the situation in Tamil Nadu. What was great about the High Commissioner was that he could continue as usual through these flip flops in policy. It is very easy for an envoy to make a spectacle of himself if his government was engaged in the business of lecturing Sri Lanka. It’s to Prasad’s credit that he did not do that during the ‘lecturing’ stage, making it that much more difficult to backtrack when the policy turned to one of engagement. That perhaps is the hallmark of good diplomacy - to have one’s options open. To be able to effect a 180 degree turn the way the Indian government did in October 2008, some western countries would have had no alternative but to recall their ambassador from Colombo and send someone else to implement the changed policy. But in Prasad’s case, that was not necessary.

It is also possible that the things said by envoys may commit their governments to courses of action that, under more careful consideration, those governments may not want. In the case of the Indians, what is said by the High Commissioner may be much more in consonance with what the Indian government wants, unlike in the case of the Western embassies where one sees the nightmare of the embassies being surrounded by local hangers-on adept at telling the ambassadors what they like to hear or what sounds plausible, and the ambassadors in turn end up briefing their governments erroneously. That kind of havoc is perhaps not possible in Indo-Sri Lanka relations. Be that as it may, it can be said that Prasad’s personality and his manner of doing things enabled India to smoothly shift gear from a position analogous to the west to a position more consonant with India’s own long term interests. What made India change its stance so radically in October last year, is open to conjecture.

There was firstly, the visit by the presidential sibling, parliamentarian Basil Rajapaksa to India, towards the end of October 2008. He is the UPFA government’s ‘Mr Fixit’ – if anything is broke, that’s Basil’s job. India’s change of stance was after this visit, so Basil’s skills as a diplomat, and his ability to convince, obviously had something to do with the Indian change of heart. There is a school of thought that the Mumbai attacks in late November would also have something to do with the change of attitude. But the fact is that the Mumbai Attacks on the 28/27 of November 2008 occurred after India changed its policy on Sri Lanka. The Mumbai attacks however may have convinced the Indian government that its change of policy on Sri Lankan terrorism was both timely and correct because the last thing India could afford was to have terrorism in the north as well as the south, especially in a situation where the Tamil terrorists were far more sophisticated than the Islamic terrorists who struck in Mumbai. Another contributory factor would have been of course the harassment of Sonia Gandhi by Mayawathi, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. This incident, was perhaps the moment that India hit rock bottom as a nation.

Rock bottom

Using her powers as Uttar Pradesh chief minister, Mayawathi, cancelled a land allocation made by the central government, banned a function organized by the Congress party and even diverted Sonia Gandhi’s motorcade when she came for the function using the police powers vested in the state government. This incident occurred on October 15, 2008. October 16 was the last day India issued a statement ‘lecturing’ Sri Lanka. The Mayawathi episode would have been the incident that convinced the Indian establishment that there will be no India left if these fissiparous tendencies continued. The need to strengthen national political parties as against the regional political parties had been felt within the Congress Party for some time, but what made the need to strengthen the centre a matter of national priority was probably the Mayawathi incident. If the Indian government did not act in time, the next Mayawathi may well have emerged in Tamil Nadu and with the backing of the LTTE, there’s no saying where things would have ended up. Most Indians are used to spats between the centre and the state governments, and if one speaks to individual Indians, they may not lay much store by the Mayawathi incident. Suffice it to say, that what Mayawathi did so high-handedly to Sonia Gandhi would have been unthinkable in the United States or Canada, which are also democratic Federal states, where the states enjoy even more power than in the Indian system. In fact, in comparison with other federal states, India is closer to the unitary end than the federal end on the devolution spectrum.

The Mayawathi incident was an indication that centrifugal forces were spinning out of control in India and the need to take remedial action became a priority. After the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, the national political parties in India went into decline with governments being formed with the help of regional parties. These waxed stronger as the national political parties became more and more dependent on them. For a while it appeared that by assassinating Rajiv, the LTTE had all but destroyed India as well – until things began to change after October last year. Allowing the regions to decide the agenda of the centre would have spelt doom for India, and allowing pressure from Tamil Nadu to drive India’s policy towards Sri Lanka would have ended up strengthening centrifugal tendencies in Tamil Nadu as well. This was the point where the needs of the Sri Lankan and Indian political establishments dovetailed. Even the Tamil Nadu establishment realized that bringing the Sri Lankan issue to the centre stage, only strengthened the extremist fringe in Tamil Nadu, and if that trend continued, it would have turned the fringe into the mainstream as happened in Sri Lanka. So what we saw during the past twelve months is the coming together of the interests of the Sri Lankan, Indian and Tamil Nadu establishments in getting rid of the LTTE which posed a threat to everybody. Alok Prasad served as the interface between India and Sri Lanka through all these vicissitudes.

Dixit and Prasad

If we look at the Indian High Commissioners who have served in Sri Lanka, we will have cause to remember two of them. J.N.Dixit who was in Sri Lanka during the period of heightened intervention in the late 1980s and Alok Prasad who was here when the LTTE problem – the main point of contention between India and Sri Lanka - was finally laid to rest. The policy line that was pursued during Dixit’s time, resulted in a huge financial cost to India, the loss of more than 1,500 Indian soldiers killed and ended without achieving the result aimed at. The biggest insult to India as a nation was that she could not even commemorate the Indian soldiers who died in Sri Lanka due to the fear of Tamil Nadu. However the policy pursued during the tenure of Prasad resulted in zero cost to India - there were no dead Jawans and a result satisfactory to both India and Sri Lanka was achieved. That perhaps is the ‘bottom line’ in diplomatic terms.

What India managed to get rid of so cost-effectively, was a terrorist organization that has heaped insults on India that even Pakistan has not dared to even contemplate - such as the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. This single assassination did more damage to India than anything done by Pakistan over the past sixty years – the power of the Indian central government went into decline with the assassination of a high profile national leader. This trend was reversed only at the last Indian general elections in April this year thanks to the efforts of Rahul Gandhi who dedicated himself to the task of nursing back to health the power of the centre and the national political parties damaged so grievously by the LTTE.

The extent to which an Indian High Commissioner can contribute to decisions made in New Delhi is debatable. Those who know the inside workings of the Indian establishment say that the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo, will have much more say in deciding on policy than the India’s High Commissioners in say, Pakistan, Bangladesh or the Indian Ambassador in China. The reason for this is that almost every politician in India will have an opinion on Pakistan or China whereas interest in Sri Lanka is more limited. It’s mainly the politicians in Tamil Nadu who show an interest in what goes on in Sri Lanka other than those in the corridors of power in New Delhi. One may say that to the extent that High Commissioner has been able to influence policy towards Sri Lanka in New Delhi, his tenure in Colombo has been a success in that he has got the best possible result for India. Perhaps what can be said about Prasad’s tenure in Sri Lanka is that he leaves with a record that many ambassadors would be envious of.

SB and Mangal

S.B. Dissanayake and Mangala Samaraweera were the two most prominent ministers in the Chandrika Kumaratunga government that was formed in 1994. Both of them are now out of the SLFP. One left of his own accord and the other was basically booted out. The way that each handled his departure from the SLFP is very different. S.B.Dissanayake has clearly cast in his lot with the UNP and as was pointed out by us a couple of weeks ago, in his book "The Origin of the Universe, the Emergence of Man and Socio-political Evolution" he made a very clear ideological statement. Today, he’s ideologically UNP and more right-wing than J.R.Jayewardene himself.

Apart from this book on the UNP ideology, Dissanayake penned another book called the ‘Bandaranaike Troika’ which is the final verdict of this former SLFP general secretary about the Bandaranaikes who founded the SLFP and led it until 2005. This book has been translated into English but is probably still not available in the bookstores because the first edition was all sold out at the book launch at the BMICH. The Bandaraniake Troika is about SWRD, Sirima, Chandrika and Anura. To put it in perspective, one might say that the Bandaranaiake Troika has done to SWRD and Anura what Victor Ivan’s Choura Regina did to CBK. SB’s "Bandaranike Troika" is yet another sign of SB’s complete ‘UNPfication’ and yet another clear sign that he has absolutely no intention of going back to the SLFP. Even under the Rajapaksas, respect is still accorded to the Bandaranaikes (at least in words) as the founders of the party. But what SB has said about SWRD and his politics clearly makes it impossible for him to ever become SLFP again.

Mangala’s invective

Mangala Samaraweera in contrast, still insists on being SLFP. Just last week, Samaraweera wrote a lengthy 11 page letter in reply to a piece written by a columnist in our sister paper, the Divaina. Due to legal considerations, the letter may not be published in its present form. But this letter reveals Samaraweera’s mindset and those in the UNP may do well to stand up and take note of their main ally’s thinking. It was with the coming of Mangala Samaraweera into the orbit of the UNP that talk of forming ‘fronts’ and having ‘common candidates’ took centre stage. Samaraweera was seen as the prime mover in this endeavour. In this letter, Samaraweera points out that in 1956, when the SLFP formed its first government, the party did not contest under the hand symbol but as a member of a coalition with the wheel as a symbol. Contesting in this manner, the SLFP led coalition of 1956, was able to win 51 of the 60 seats they contested says Samaraweera. He goes on to say that at the time the SLFP entered into this first alliance, there were elements within the party who insisted that the SLFP should contest under its own name and symbol and that these elements were doing this at the behest of the then UNP government. Samaraweera points out that Bernard Aluwihare was the leader of the group that wanted to maintain the name and symbol of the SLFP in 1956 and that he joined the UNP when the SLFP formed an alliance against his wishes. There is at present some resistance from within the UNP to forming an alliance and jettisoning the party symbol and name in the process. This letter is a clear indication that Samaraweera believes that those within the UNP who talk about the party name and the symbol are latter day Bernard Aluwihares opposing the formation of a broad opposition alliance at the behest of the government.

The letter also contains a great deal of invective against the Rajapaksas. Unlike S.B.Dissanayake who has clearly left his SLFP past behind, Samaraweera still refers to the SLFP as ‘our party’ and claims that the present leaders of the party were conspiring to ruin it. It may be appropriate to point out that SB would be deeply appreciative of the Rajapaksas if this was indeed their aim! Unlike the liberated SB, Samaraweera still thinks of legitimacy in terms of proximity to SWRD Bandaranaike and holds that the claims of D.A.Rajapaksa being SWRD’s ‘shadow’ were false and that D.A.Rajapakse’s crossing of the floor with SWRD happened not by prior arrangement but by accident! To prove that D.A.Rajapaksa did not count for much within the SLFP, Samaraweera points out that he was made only a deputy minister in the 1956 government. Furthermore, he points out that while George Rajapaksa was made deputy finance minister in the Sirima Bandaranaiake government of July 1960, D.A.Rajapaksa was not given any position and that he was able to become deputy speaker only because the speaker R.S.Pelpola resigned to become minister of telecommunications and Hugh Fernando was made speaker.

While saying that the president’s father (D.A.Rajapaksa) counted for nothing within the SLFP, Samaraweera had made a spirited defence of his own father, Mahanama Samaraweera. His father, says Mangala, held equal rank to D.A.Rajapaksa as a deputy minister in the 1956 SLFP government. He says that in 1964, when it became necessary to accommodate the LSSP in the Sirima Bandaranaike government, it was his father who sacrificed his transport portfolio in order to accommodate Anil Moonesinghe. Speaking about Mahanama Samaraweera’s own defection from the SLFP in 1994, Mangala says that his father voted against the bill brought to nationalize Lake House not because he had been bribed as had been suggested, but that he voted according to his conscience and that he considered his principles to be more important than his position in the government. Obviously stung by the suggestion that his father ‘betrayed’ the SLFP, Samaraweera says that all the Rajapaksas, D.A., Lakshman and George ran against the SLFP at the 1960 March elections under the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna of Philip Gunawardene. Samaraweera says that if the 10 seats won by the MEP had been in the SLFP in March 1960, the party may have been able to form a government.

In Samaraweera’s 11 page letter, he has not spared Mahind Rajapaksa either. Drawing attention to the Pada Yathpra of 1992, he states that the only genuine anti-government protestors in that show of force were those around Chandrika Kumaratunga. Mahinda had organized it in such a manner as not to embarrass the then UNP government too much. Samaraweera says that Chandrika’s suggestion was to start the Pada Yathra in Kataragama and to bring thousands of people to Colombo to inundate the city with protestors. But Mahinda had decided to go the other way (from Colombo to Kataragma), thus taking people away from Colombo and saving the day for the UNP government. Samaraweera is playing to perfection the part of a dissident trying to ‘reform’ the SLFP. But this approach is going to create a barrier between him and the UNP rank and file. In the final analysis, Samaraweera is dependent on the UNP voter to get into parliament in 2010. If it’s Samaraweera’s aim to attract disgruntled SLFPers to his fold, how useful this exercise will be, is debatable.

As Victor Ivan pointed out in Choura Regina CBK had nothing worthwhile to show for her two terms in power. If one works backwards from that, and goes back to the 1970s, 60s and 50s, there has never been an SLFP government that has done anything worthwhile until Mahinda Rajapakse became SLFP leader. It’s only now that the SLFP has started delivering and it’s unlikely that the average SLFP member will be oblivious to this fact.