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Home > Tamil National ForumSelected Writings - V.ThangaveluMahinda Rajapase Wallowing in a Political Quagmire

Selected Writings
V.Thangavelu, Canada

Mahinda Rajapase Wallowing in a Political Quagmire
- Like His Predecessors

8 February 2006

Speaking at the 58th anniversary of Sri Lanka independence, President Rajapakse was full of honey and milk when he made the tall claim �This country is one that belongs to all, Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher and other peoples to whom this is home. We cannot solve this problem by dividing this country. That will only lead to aggravating the crisis." Continuing his oration President Mahinda Rajapaksa called for a new "state structure" to bring genuine democracy to all Sri Lankans and resolve the ethnic conflict without dividing the country. He concluded �Honoured friends, we should bear well in our minds that if we are to stop the increasing flow of blood through war, we should shed more and more sweat in the cause of peace.�

The Thamil people have heard this political rhetoric many times before on such solemn occasions. Rajapakse�s predecessor Chandrika Kumaratunga has said so at every independence day from 1994-2005. But the ground situation and realpolitik remain different.

Since Mahinda Rajapakse assuming power, the Thamil people as a whole feel increasingly insecure not only in the Northeast but also in the South. More than 50 Thamil civilians have been shot dead by trigger happy Sinhala troops. Thamil women have been raped and youths have disappeared after arrest by the armed forces.

The Amnesty International in its reported dated February 03, 2006 summed up the grim situation thus

�The human rights situation in eastern Sri Lanka has deteriorated dramatically over the last two years, as levels of violence have escalated, resulting in widespread human rights abuses and a climate of fear and insecurity.�

Out of many executions style killings in the Northeast by the armed forces and paramilitaries the following were the worst in terms of sheer brutality.

(1) On 24 th December 2005, Tamil National Alliance MP and North East Secretariat on Human Rights (NESOHR) member Joseph Pararajasingam was shot and killed at a midnight church service in St Mary�s Church, Batticaloa.

(2) On 2nd January 2006 five high school students were killed in Trincomalee. Although the Sri Lankan army first claimed they were killed by a grenade that the students were carrying, following a post mortem it was revealed that the students had been shot, three of them in the head. The President ordered an inquiry into the killings, but the assassins are still at large.

(3) On 5th January, 2006 three women from the same family, Bojan Renuka, Bojan Shanuka and Bojan Arthanageswary were shot and killed in their home in Manipay, Jaffna district.

. (4) On January 26, 2006 Major Kapilan, a senior Liberation Tigers cadre, was killed in an ambush attack in Vadamunai in Batticaloa district. LTTE media spokesperson blamed the army deep penetration unit of having carried out the killing. This killing took place on the same day (January 25, 2006) the LTTE leader ordered the release of one of the three Sri Lankan policemen held in custody since September 2005 for illegally entering into Liberation Tigers controlled area.

(5) On January 29th and 30th 10 TRO staffers were waylaid and abducted at Welikanda in Polonnaruwa district. Three staffers have been released, but the rest are still missing.

The abduction of TRO staffers has again raised the spectre of the deteriorating law and order situation in government controlled areas in the Northeast. TRO has accused paramilitaries working with Sri Lanka military of abducting their workers.

Although President Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed two Deputy Inspectors General of police, four Senior Superintendents of Police and 22 other men to speed up the investigations regarding the abduction, even after the lapse of more than a week the fate of the abducted TRO staffers remain a mystery.

In point of fact far from giving the abduction the serious attention it deserved, Foreign Affairs Minister rubbed salt into the wound by claiming that �It was a "mystery" that the TRO had taken 30 hours to make a complaint to the police, though the nearest police station at Welikanda was only a quarter of a mile away from the scene of the kidnapping.�

The Foreign Minister expects the TRO staff that was severely assaulted and warned not to report the incident to the Police by the abductors to ignore the threat. The Foreign Minister went on to make the audacious claim that �preliminary investigations into the alleged incident did not provide answers but only raised questions. No complaint was lodged either at Batticaloa or at Colombo, though the TRO had offices in both places. There had been no formal complaint till the late afternoon of January 31.�

The public knows the fate that overtook the two women staff that went to lodge a complaint about their abduction at the Batticaloa Police Station. They were detained at the Police Station overnight and the police extracted a statement from the complainants to the effect that it is the LTTE that abducted them! Such low and cheap tactics displays stupidity of the Police.

President Mahinda Rajapakse�s government on a roller-coaster self-destructive politics refuses to rein in the armed forces and the paramilitaries responsible for the violence against the Thamil people. It appears that Mahinda Rajapakse is both aiding and abetting the armed forces or he has lost control over the devilish forces he deliberately unleashed to capture power. Though he claimed he is a practical politician, his performance proves he is not. He is following the same chauvinistic and bankrupt politics of his predecessors though somewhat clumsily. The exodus of Thamils living in government controlled areas to Thamil Nadu and Vanni is a telling indictment of his government. Rajapakse has displayed a singular inability to grasp the dynamics and the fundamentals of the ethnic conflict.

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera has also accused the LTTE of having gone on a publicity spree on an international scale with alacrity but had kept the Sri Lankan police in the dark. Finally he queried with a tinge of sarcasm �the "so-called" abductions raised two questions: Were they stage managed to hide the pressure being brought in other countries against fund raising by the TRO? Were they an attempt by interested parties to sabotage the forthcoming talks on the ceasefire agreement�

The whole world knows who wanted to derail the talks? Who wanted to re-negotiate the CFA? Who wanted Norway to be sidelined? Who openly asked Norway�s foreign minister to ditch Special Envoy Erik Solheim? After failing in each and every subterfuge to sabotage the peace talks he is now pretending to be a saint!

In an interview to Asian Tribune on January 8, 2006 in Washington Foreign Minister Samaraweeera made the ridiculous statement that the �LTTE was more ruthless than the Al Qaeda and the Sri Lanka government is fully aware of the grievances of the Tamil people. Well, there is a greater awareness in Washington that the LTTE does not necessarily represent the interests of the Tamil people.�  ''

There is no doubt that Minister Samaraweera is following in the footsteps of his predecessor Lakshman Kadirgamar in terms of deceit and arrogance. As Foreign Minister Kadirgamar haughtily told the UN resident representative in Sri Lanka to confine himself to catching mosquitoes and not to interfere in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka.

The vituperative comments of Minister Samaraweera clearly shows the mind-set of Mahinda Rajapakse�s government and its style of governance. The divide between the South and Northeast increases by the day and Mahinda Rajapakse almost pushed the country to the brink of war.

For talks to succeed there should be goodwill and mutual respect for each other. What we are now witnessing is cynicism and antagonism on the part of the government. Given the pervasive negativism and ill will displayed by Mahinda Rajapakse�s government only the very optimist will entertain the slightest hope of the talks in Geneva succeeding. The Thamil people are very pessimistic that Geneva talks will solve any of their pressing problems. Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera�s political rhetoric gives no such hope. And President Mahinda Rajapakse lacks the political acumen and sophistication to offer any realistic solution to resolve the ethnic conflict. Mahinda Rajapakse and his Foreign Minister are like the quack doctors have only "kulisai" to cure cancer!



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