Is Wigneswaram fit to be Chief Minister of Tamils?
Posted on July 18th, 2013

H. L. D. Mahindapala

 The effusiveness with which the pro-separatist/13A lobby has hailed former Judge C. V. Wigneswaran as the next rising star for the salvation of  Tamils is too premature. Knowing  the twists and turns that politics take in Sri Lankan politics only a fool or a knave would dare to predict the outcome soon after he was nominated to be the Chief Ministerial candidate for the Northern Province elections in September. The Tamils have produced many saviours before Wigneswaran — all of whom misled the Jaffna Tamils and let them down by relying excessively on their self-importance, arrogance and over-inflated strength which never existed except in their racist imagination. To make-believe that Wigneswaran is going to carve out a new path is as good as  believing, as some Tamils and “political scientists” still do, that Prabhakaran or his avatar is on the way from his secret hiding place to lead the Tamils.

Take, for instance, the recent  history replete with false prophets. The active Tamil lobby, in Sri Lanka and abroad, hero-worshipped and went down on their knees pinning all their hopes on their new, invincible “Surya Devan” who led them straight to Nandikadal. Earlier they canonized S. J. V. Chelvanayakam, as the non-violent Gandhian who literally blessed the “boys” and handed the Tamil people to “Surya Devan”. He was the iconic false prophet who lured the Tamils, particularly the children of Jaffna, all the way from Vadukoddai to Nandikadal with his racist tunes.

His son-in-law, Prof. A. J. Wilson, elevated him to the level of “Thanthai Chelva” “”…” the caring father of his people” (p. viii “”…” S. J.V. Chelvanayakam and the crisis of Sri Lankan Tamil Nationalism, 1947 “”…” 1977,  A Political Biography.) The psycho-babble used to justify this title  was that Chelvanyakam  had no father (his father  who was  living in Ipoh, Malaysia dumped him  in Tellipallai when he was only four and never  saw him again until he was on his death bed. So, Prof. Wilson argues, Chelvanayakam decided  to be the father to the Tamil people.) In  the end he proved to be the kind  of father that led his children to a watery grave with elusive promises of unattainable Eelam.

Then there were some who looked up to India as their saviour and guardian who handed the Tamils to Varadaraja Perumal who had to leave everything, including his theorizing ministers, and run as fast as his legs could carry him to India. The high  priests in Tamil Catholic Church were another lot, quite positive that God was on their side and went about concocting a new  “Tamil theology” to justify Tamil violence. Like “Thanthai Chelva” the fathers in the Church also handed over the Tamil children placed in their custody to Prabhakaran. They even hijacked the statue of Holy Mary into Tamil Tiger territory in the belief that she could be forced to be on their side.

The latest is the excitement of “political scientists” who are revved up and racing up the newspaper columns somewhat like Mangala Samaraweera who had discovered a new sexy site of LGBTs (Lesbians, Gay, Bisexuals and Transgender) in cyber space. Wigneswaran’s jump from Hulftsdorp to the snake pit in Jaffna has all the hallmarks of Jaffna Tamils returning to “Thanthai Chelva” —  the Pied Piper of Jaffna whose legacy was to turn Jaffna into one mass grave.

Before rushing into predictions about the new messiah, who has been hiding his political identity under a wig provided by the hated “ƒ”¹…”Sinhala State”, it is necessary to take a close look at the origins and the message to assess his quality and capabilities. What is new in Wigneswaran that can raise hopes for the future of the war-weary Tamils? What’s new in his message that was not there in message of the others that went before and failed? Even a brief glance at the new man, Wigneswaran, will reveal that he is  nothing more than another Chelvanayakam with a beard. His memorial lecture on “Thanthai Chelvanayakam” “”…” obviously a calculated political prelude to step into his shoes —  delivered on the 36th anniversary at the New Kathiresan  Hall, Bambalapitiya on 26/4/2013 doesn’t reveal anything new. There is hardly anything in it to distinguish himself from the racist “Thanthai” who dragged peninsular politics to the extremes of violence embedded in the Vadukoddai Resolution. Wigneswarn’s  language is the same. His  ideology is the same. His solutions are the same. He is even predicting/hinting about the next stage of violence like Chelvanayakam. So what else is new in peninsular politics?

Let’s begin with the usual mantra chanted by all Tamil leaders who refuse to take responsibility for their past follies that led their people to Nandikadal. Among other things Wigneswaram told his Daily Mirror video interviewer that the Tamils have been made “second-grade citizens”. Blaming the “Sinhala state”  has been the  perennial political line of northern leaders to divert attention from their own political, social, religious, moral and  institutional failures. Wigneswaram’s repetition of the old complaint about discrimination, second-class citizens et al, sums up the general accusations against the Sinhala-Buddhist majority. Wigneswaran’s statement should be treated with great importance not only because he is a former  judge of the Supreme Court who is supposed to be guided by hard evidence but also because he is emerging as the leader of the Jaffna Tamils eclipsing M. Sumanthiram “”…” a real possibility confirmed by Wigneswaram’s appointment as the nominated candidate of the TNA for the Chief Ministership if they win the Northern Provincial Council in September.

His  parrot-like repetition of Vadukoddai propaganda leads to a fundamental question that  is  relevant to assess his role in shaping the politics of the immediate future: Can the former Supreme Court Judge, Wigneswaram, provide credible, testable and  provable evidence of being treated as a “second-grade citizen” using his own case as an example. If there is anyone  who should know how a Tamil was treated as a “second “”…”grade citizen” he should be the one to know it because he was born and bred in Colombo. He was educated in a “Sinhala state” school “”…” the most prestigious one at that, Royal College. Did his Sinhala class-mates and teachers treat him as a low-caste in Jaffna who could not sit on chairs, or even enter schools of  high-castes? Or was he accepted as an equal and given  right to share everything with  dignity with the Sinhala Royalists?

After Royal he would have gone through the mill, going through law college, and then climbing up the judicial rung until he ended up in the Supreme Court. Can he cite examples that obstructed his passage upwards simply because he was treated as a “second grade” Tamil? If, however, he did encounter slights, discrimination, second-class treatment why didn’t he leave the racist/fascist Sinhala state, as he labels it elsewhere, and serve in Prabhakaran’s courts, or in his Vanni law school? After all it was a Tamil state, with a Tamil police, Tamil judiciary and Tamil jails. What was holding him back?

Well, if he thinks he is only one swallow that does not make summer, can he ask his fellow-TNA colleague, M. Sumanthiram, who also went to his alma mater, the “Sinhala state” school, Royal College, and passed through the same process at Law College, what humiliations he experienced as a “second-grade” Tamil? If by any chance he did can Sumanthiram compare it to the humiliation and oppression suffered by the low-caste Tamils in Jaffna whose schools were burnt down to prevent fellow-Tamils from learning the subject taught to him free of charge by the Sinhala state school accused  of discriminating against the Tamils?  Which Sinhala student refused  to attend school because “a second-grade Tamil” was in the class run by the oppressive “Sinhala state”?  

If two examples are not enough, perhaps, Wigneswaram could substantiate his case  with a third by citing the case of “Paki” Saravanamuttu “”…” another Tamil who is supposed to be a product of discrimination of the south. He, in fact, goes wining, dining, dancing “”…” not to mention the other “”¦ings” —  with the family of Bandaranaikes, the demonized Sinhala icon by Wigneswaram and his ilk. So where is the discrimination?

After all Wigneswaram has entered politics with a reputation of having a sharp legal mind and he knows that there is nothing better in law and in politics than hard evidence to prove his case. He can’t claim that the three cases mentioned above are exceptions. Referring to his own case, it  is his moral and political duty to prove how a second-class Tamil could get a first-class job in the highest court of the Sinhala racist state.

Yes, the three cases mentioned above prove discrimination. But it is not ethnic discrimination. It is class discrimination. If you belong to the right class there is no discrimination. Whether in Jaffna or Colombo if you belong to the English-speaking, middle or lower-middle class  doors can open with ease. The elitism of the English-speaking class was far superior to ethnicity (the “kaduwa” of the JVP) and had the power to power to break through all barriers. Even in Jaffna it is not all Tamil-speaking people that succeeded. It is the Vellahla English-speaking Saivite elite that dominated peninsular politics and jobs in the public service. The non-English-speaking Tamils and Sinhalese have been relegated always to the kitchen. Though a token place was given to the non-Vellahlas in the Federal Party, by and large, the peninsular political culture  was dominated by the English-speaking Vellahla elite before and under S. J. V. Chelvanayakam. So who was practicing discrimination against whom?

Though language issue is raised as key plank in the Jaffna Tamil politics it had hardly anything to do with language discrimination on racist lines. As usual Tamil mytho-maniacs project it as if S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike introduced it to displace Tamil and downgrade Tamil culture. Bandaranaike may be guilty of many sins but he was never bent on eliminating or downgrading Tamil. In fact, the Sinhala Only Bill was introduced not to downgrade Tamil but to overthrow English. The Vellahla-Saivite-English-speaking elite dominating  the public service took it as a blow to the Tamils not because it affected their Tamil language but because they mistakenly assumed it was a racist act to deprive them of entry and/or promotion in the public service “”…” the only growth industry of the time.

Besides, the hostile reaction to the Sinhala Only Bill came not only from the Tamil elite but also from the English-speaking elite in all communities because they were the 6% minority that ruled the nation. The Sinhala Only Bill was a blow to their power, prestige and purse. It was meant to overthrow the colonial elite. As remnants left behind by the departing colonial master they all ganged up against Bandaranaike to preserve their privileges and perks. And our leading “political scientists” believe that they are uttering political profundities when they regurgitate Tamil propaganda against Bandaranaike.

The clear proof of Bandaranaike’s liberal approach to the Tamil minority “”…” despite knowing the virulent extremism of Tamil racism launched by G. G. Ponnambalam “”…” is in suspending the Sinhala Only Act passed in 1956 until 1960. In the meantime, he passed the Tamil Language Special Provisions Act giving Tamils the right run the north and east in Tamil, recognizing their legitimate needs. He gave any public servant who refused to work in Sinhalese the right to retire with full pension rights, even if he was a new recruit. To those Tamils who decided to remain in service he offered free tuition, in Sinhalese.

He also insisted that Sinhalese public servants should learn Tamil. Tamil tutors were hired by the state to teach them Tamil and the Sinhalese too had to qualify in Tamil for promotions and increments. How much more liberal can a state in transition, breaking away from centuries of colonial baggage, be in promoting the welfare of the public and public servants? But Chelvanayakam, whipping up the communal cry, went round the kachcheris urging the Tamil public servants not to learn Sinhalese and when they failed the exams qualifying for promotions and increments he complained discrimination by the Sinhala state. This is another example of Tamil leaders misleading their own people and blaming the failures of Tamils on the Sinhalese.  

It is the duty of every state to serve the people in their mother tongues as far as possible. How effective could a Sinhalese doctor in a government hsopital be in serving a Tamil patient in Sinhalese or English? How effective could a Tamil doctor be in serving a Sinhalese patient in Tamil or English? Chelvanayakam’s policy was to force the people to learn the language of the public servants, which was English, instead of the public servants learning Tamil or Sinhalese.  Chelvanayakam’s cry of racism was accepted by the “political scientists” who take to Tamil propaganda without examining the facts on the ground.

Most of all, the bogey of cultural genocide was raised by Chelvanayakam in raising his war-cry against the Sinhala Only Bill. He and his bandwagon  predicted that the Sinhala Only Act would mark the beginning of the end of Tamil language and culture. Over fifty years have passed since the passing of the Sinhala Only Act. No one  has yet written the obituary of the Tamil language or culture though our “political scientists” are shedding crocodile tears for the imminent death of the great Tamil culture “”…” nothing of which, incidentally, has come from Jaffna.  However, if the Tamil language is so decrepit and feeble as to fall over and die because of one legislative piece passed by the “Sinhala state” then it certainly deserves to be buried without any ceremony.  

Wigneswaran recycles all this propaganda in his memorial  lecture on “Thanthai Chelva”. No doubt, hearing the same old  mantra is music  to the “political scientists” and their pillion riders as the revival of the Tamil separatism. But is it the kind of message needed to break away from a  devastating and destructive past? “Thanthai Chelva” paved the path to  the decimation of the entire Tamil leadership “”…” most of whom were his partners in Eelam Inc — and a whole  generation of Tamil children. Is his born-again  avatar, Wigneswaran, following his footsteps  to wipe out  the remaining Jaffna Tamils from the red earth of Jaffna?

Knowing how his people suffered at the hands of the IPKF and Prabhakaranist saviours  is his task to take the Tamil people back to square one in Vadukoddai? Or take them to a speedy reconciliation, away from  the nightmarish politics of the failed Tamil leadership? The agenda he has spelt out in his “Thanthai Chelva’s” speech predicts ominously a set back to the whole process of reconciliation. Is reconciliation to be found in going back to the failed past? Or in mapping out a new path for the long-suffering Tamils misguided by the self-serving false prophets who thrived in a culture of either violent casteism or racism?

In regurgitating the failed Vadukoddai ideology he is not exhibiting any courage or vision. He is far removed  from the polished, pragmatic and perceptive Lakshman Kadiragamar “”…” the Obama of Sri Lankan who broke through racist barriers and rose to new heights promising ethnic harmony and unity. Kadiragamar earned the respect of the enlightened political spectrum outside the dogmatic fascist Prabhakaranists at a time when the Tamil tide was running against his visionary future. More than any other group it was the Sinhalese who embraced him. He was the one Tamil whom the Sinhalese respected as a trustworthy Tamil who could build bridges of hope. He  had charisma. He had stature. He could inspire confidence. He was brilliant. 

Wigneswaran lacks these qualities of going out to reach  to the other side. His pedestrian speech on Chelvanayakam confirms that he is not locked inside an ideological box but in the coffin of Chelvanayakam. After Prabhakaran decimated the entire Tamil leadership he looks good in the absence of other talented leaders. He stands out as the one-eyed man in the land of the blind. But neither his Memorial lecture on Chelvanayakam nor his interview with the Daily Mirror revealed any promise of taking the war-weary Tamil-people into the promised land of peace. Like cosmopolitan Kadirgamar he has the capacity, if he decides  to do so, to carve out new and pragmatic paths for his people. But he is too steeped in the racist ideology of Vadukoddai to see the future in a new light.

In his interview with the Daily Mirror he justified the TNA for acting  as prisoners of Prabhakaran. What else could they do, he argued? In other words, he is saying that if was a judge in Prabhakaran’s courts he would have given judgments to please his “Sun God”. He had the courage to be independent in the “ƒ”¹…”Sinhala state” because the judicial system “”…” however flawed it is or was “”…” gave him the freedom to be just and fair. But if he was in Prabhakaran’s judiciary he would have happily been a stooge like the TNA.  

He excuses TNA for being silent in the Vanni. But, on the contrary, the “Sinhala state” gave them protection and the full freedom to oppose it with all their might, even when they were acting as stooges of Prabhakaran. This defence of TNA’s silence also explains his silence as judge when an innocent man was sentenced by one of his fellow-judges to jail. He was complicit in that crime. No judge could be exonerated from the crime of sentencing an innocent man to jail. In his own confession before the entire bar he admitted that an innocent man was sent by a fellow-judge for a crime he did not commit and he did nothing about it. He knew how corrupt the official and the unofficial bar is but Judge Wigneswaran did nothing about it. He did not even report it to the authorities nor did he provide remedial measures to the victim of a heinous judgment. How credible can he be in the eyes of the public when he poses as the righteous man now standing up for human rights?

In a perverse sense he has demonstrated his capacity to be a chief  minister because that is what chief ministers do routinely: give a wink and nudge to the crimes committed under their regimes. Wigneswaran is very good at covering up or justifying crimes. He told the Daily Mirror that  the TNA was not for violence knowing very well that they were all committed Vadukoddians who never rejected or deviated from Tamil violence to achieve their political goals, as stated in the Vadukoddai Resolution. As stated earlier, he went on to manufacture excuses for going along with Prabhakaranist violence. If Wigneswaran’s argument is that the TNA MPs had to be silent as they had no option in facing the oppressive force of Prabhakaran’s regime how come they had all the opportunities to oppose the “Sinhala state” which they denigrate as fascist/racist? Doesn’t this prove that the Jaffna Tamils were far better off under the hated “Sinhala states” at all times than  under  their Tamils saviours, whether they were the inhuman Vellahla fascists in feudal and colonial times or Prabhakaran’s low-caste fascists in the post-Chelvanayakam period in the Vanni?

So what guarantee is there that Wigneswaran is going to be any better than his predecessors? Isn’t his elevation to Jaffna leadership a confirmation of the habitual and incorrigible Jaffna trend of producing only Prabhakarans and their extremist fathers like “Thanthai Chelva”?

Wake up Jaffna! Your future is about to be hijacked and dragged back to the failed past! And when that happens you and your pillion riders will, no doubt, take great delight in blaming the “Sinhala state”. That is predictable. But leaving aside the political theorists, when it comes to personal loss and suffering whom will you blame  as you watch helplessly your children being forcibly plucked from your bosom or school and dragged into another needless war waged by the next Prabhakaran? Are the Jaffna Tamils ready to let the latest breed of false prophets (example: Wigneswaran)  drag the whole of Jaffna into Nandikadal once again, with, of course, the blessings of “Thanthais” in verti, on the one hand, and soutanes in the Holy Church, on the other?  

Ultimately, it comes down  to one simple question: does Jaffna plan to co-exist peacefully in a multicultural, multi-lingual, multi-religious state or go to war once again in search of an elusive Eelam with no guarantee of winning it, with or without the military capabilities of another fascist Prabhakaran? 

14 Responses to “Is Wigneswaram fit to be Chief Minister of Tamils?”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    The MOST disgusting wins the MOST Tamils votes, ALWAYS.

  2. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    OH ! SO this was a second class Tamil with a WIG ? Neswaram ! Neswaram!.

  3. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    C.V.Vigneswaran was educated at Royal College and his son is married to the daughter of Vasudeva Nanayakkara

    When the LTTE is on its last legs, C.V.Vigneswaran defended of its separatist ideology, by claiming that the LTTE is the offspring created by successive mono ethnic parliamentary majorities

    C.V.Vigneswaran also claimed that “It is not devolution or sharing of powers” that the Tamils seek. “They seek the restoration of their rights. Rights which were snatched from them by virtue of a mathematical innovation where the majority in two provinces were added to the majority in seven provinces and thus made into a minority in the nine provinces” . What he meant by this is that he regrets these provinces being considered part of the country as a whole implying that they had a continuous separate political existence before the coming of the colonials. The fact is that the small Jaffna Kingdom was limited to the Jaffna and Mannar peninsulas and the Portuguese pointed out it was broadly subordinate to the Sinhalese kingdom.

    C.V.Vigneswaran also accepted as truth the fictional Tamil traditional homelands in the following words “right throughout history, the Dravidians had occupied the present Northern and Eastern Provinces and even more lands surrounding them. This cannot be disputed. The Buddhist remains in the North are the remnants left by the Demala Bauddhayo not anybody else”.

    C.V.Vigneswaran also defended the LTTE stating “There are no terrorists who are born into this world. They are made”. For C.V.Vigneswaran, it was state terrorism that created the LTTE. This ignores the fact that resort to terrorism was a conscious act. As for his supporting and defending the Constitution, he is against the 1972 Constitution and consequently the entire edifice based on it including subsequent amendments.

    C.V.Vigneswaran’s complaint of “a mathematical innovation”, the rule by the majority is a return to the absurd antidemocratic G.G.Ponnampalam’s demands of the 50-50 kind, namely that the majority Sinhalese be given the same number of parliamentarians as the much smaller minority of Tamils. The Soulbury Commissioners considered this an “attempt by artificial means to convert a majority into a minority” and added that this is “not only inequitable, but doomed to failure”. .

    C.V.Vigneswaran has internalized much of the Dravidian racist baggage invented through the DMK and its ideological allies. C.V.Vigneswaran implicitly believes in the Dravidian-Aryan racist dichotomy of the 19th and 20th centuries rejected today by most scholars. C.V.Vigneswaran also accepts and eulogizes the mythical Lemuria Continent – again rejected by scholars. His version is based on references in Tamil literature to a sunken continent. This is like today’s Sinhalese believing in the Uturu Kuru Dvipa as a real continent because it is referred in Buddhist literature.

    C.V.Vigneswaran never mentioned anywhere about LTTE horrors including its ethnic cleansing, attacks on Buddhist sites, attacks on democratic Tamils and child recruitment. Justice is depicted as blindfolded and having a balance. C.V.Vigneswaran may be blindfolded but never had a balance.

  4. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    Greatly appreciate your input, Nalliah. But where are those Demala Buddhists Now ? Where have they left to ? Also why did they leave ?

  5. Indrajith Says:

    Once again an excellent article in response to Dr. Dayan De Silva (Jayatilake)s letter in the Island a few days ago tittled “Wigneswaran factor”. All of Dayan’s justifications for Judge Wignaeswaran to be the CM in the NP become
    null and void by these counter arguments.

  6. Fran Diaz Says:

    It’s “lemming time” again for Northern Tamils – over the cliff and against the law of the land, thanks to inept and visionless Tamil politicos.

  7. Fran Diaz Says:

    We like to thank HLD for his relentless efforts to bring out the truth of matters, no matter what the topic is.


    Among other factors, the INDIAN ELECTIONS ARE DUE NEXT YEAR – placating of the Tamil masses in Tamil Nadu, Sri Lanka & the Tamil global diaspora, has begun yet again with the Tamil Separatist call ! Do we Sri Lankans want to go through this exercise year after year whenever some Indian or western ‘need’ is placed on our laps ? Is placating Tamil Nadu masses the duty of Sri Lanka citizens ? No. Our Sri Lankan duty is to take care of the citizens of Lanka first.

    Remove the 13-A once and for all as that is what gives hopes of Tamil Separatism. ACTIVATE the 6th Amendment to the full and confiscate all property plus a prison term for those advocating Separatism in Lanka.

  8. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:


    PSC, 2/3rd Majority, absolutely no clout. Politicians who said they will resign, where are they ? Are they in the morgue, awaiting an autopsy on their brain ?

    I said it earlier most emphatically, I say it now:- REFERENDUM, THE ONLY ANTIDOTE TO 13TH AMENDMENT.

  9. Ananda-USA Says:

    I have submitted the following as a stand-alone Article to be published at LankaWeb. I am presenting it here as a comment because the issue is important and needs to be urgently addressed.

    STOP the PC Elections NOW: Census 2012 Data Shows Massive ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION of Indian Tamils into Sri Lanka during LTTE control of the North & East in the last 30 years!

    By Ananda-USA
    July 18, 2013

    The 2012 Census indicates NO REDUCTION in the Tamil Population of Sri Lanka, after allowing for the net natural population increase due to greater births than deaths.

    If 1.5 million Sri Lankan Tamils EMIGRATED, legally and illegally, to foreign countries, over the last 30 years, and hold Sri Lankan passports, why is the EXPECTED REDUCTION in Sri Lankan Tamil population not reflected in the 2012 Census figures?

    The only explanation is that during the Eelam War years about 1.6 MILLION Indian Tamils illegally entered Sri Lanka with the connivance of the LTTE and Tamil Nadu.

    Were the 300,000 Tamils herded by the LTTE as a “human shield” actually some of the ILLEGAL Indian Tamil Immigrants brought into Sri Lanka who would be DEPORTED back to India if the SECRET of their ILLEGAL Immigration status was revealed? Were they WILLING participants in the human shield for that reason?

    The article below by IRIN bemoans the difficulties faced by “war returnees” due to the lack of National ID cards, The reason why they don’t have Sri Lankan National ID cards may be because many of them are ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS who were never citizens of Sri Lanka, and NEVER HAD Sri Lankan National ID cards issued to them.

    This should be INVESTIGATED IMMEDIATELY by the Government of Sri Lanka to IDENTIFY and DEPORT these 1.6 Million ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS from Sri Lanka, as soon as possible!

    Now it becomes clear why the TNA, the Tamil Nadu Politicians, and the Government of India are in SUCH A HURRY to hold Provincial Councils Elections and install the TNA in the Provincial Government, and Devolve Police and Land powers to them.

    If the TNA is endowed with Police & Land Powers, they can easily FALSIFY REGISTRATION RECORDS, issue documents certifying Sri Lankan citizenship to these ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS, and COVER UP the MASSIVE ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION that has taken place!

    If this MASSIVE Immigration SCAM is allowed to take effect, the DEMOGRAPHICS of Sri Lanka would change INSTANTLY to favor the Tamil Community, with the induction of 1.6 MILLION new citizens!

    Until this ISSUE IS RESOLVED, NO PC ELECTIONS should be held, and NO POWER should be DEVOLVED to these CROOKS! There is NO ISSUE OF GREATER IMPORTANCE to Sri Lanka’s National Security than the protection of the legal status of native Sri Lankans by keeping illegal immigrants out of Sri Lanka.


    No ID, no security, the dilemma of Sri Lanka’s returnees

    ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    July 17 (IRIN) COLOMBO- Close to 100,000 returnees in Sri Lanka’s north lack national identity cards (NICs), more than four years after the end of the country.s decades-long civil war.

    “Many people cannot resume their lives as NICs are the passport to accessing multiple services and were made mandatory for voting in 2006,” Suresh Premachandran, a member of parliament (MP) with the Tamil National Alliance, one of the largest national parties representing minority Tamils from the north, told IRIN.

    According to the United Nations, more than 460,000 displaced persons have returned to Northern Province – which is home to more than 1 million inhabitants – since government forces declared victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who had been fighting for an independent Tamil homeland since 1983.

    In Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi districts alone, an estimated quarter of the districts’ 200,000-plus inhabitants are without national IDs.

    Without such documentation, many residents struggle to access public services such as health and education, and well as government assistance programmes.

    They also face the risk of questioning and delays by police and security officials.

    Not a priority

    Under the law, NICs are compulsory for all Sri Lankans 16 years or older, and authorities may detain suspicious individuals who fail to show any form of legal identification – a legacy of the war.

    “Without an NIC, you are always at risk,” said Shereen Xavier, a north-based lawyer and executive director of the Home for Human Rights (HHR). “Without it, the impediments can be many.”

    Even to enter many government buildings, one must produce an NIC, people complain.

    But moving ahead on this issue is proving a challenge.

    Despite the identity cards’ importance, the government has yet to prioritize the issue, with much of its effort focused instead on large-scale infrastructure and development projects in the north.

    Many returnees do not have the required documentation to apply for an NIC, and with no local offices for issuing NICs, applications can take several months to process.

    “The processing of papers can prove time-consuming,” Shanthi Sachithanandan, chairperson of Viluthu, an organization promoting good governance in the north, explained.

    Temporary IDs

    After the war, the government was keen to have its voter lists updated.

    When these lists were updated ahead of presidential and local polls in 2010 and 2012, temporary IDs were issued to over 40,000 people to allow them to vote, a process that continues today.

    At that time, around 90,000 people from the north failed to indicate their NIC number, Deputy Elections Commissioner M.M. Mohammad confirmed.

    “Temporary IDs were issued to many, especially to facilitate their participation in the presidential and local government elections that were held,” he said.

    But many returnees say such IDs are looked down upon. Those holding temporary ID have difficulty accessing government services and are sometimes treated with suspicion by officials, they say.

    Now, with the first provincial council election in Sri Lanka’s former war zone scheduled for September, returnees and politicians alike are again urging the government to improve the issuing of NICs.

    “The government has started issuing temporary IDs, which is a time-consuming process. People have to contact the local government officials and process papers, which is not easy for returnees,” MP Premachandran said.

    But according to the department responsible for issuing NICs, given the amount of time and documentation it takes to process such applications outside Colombo – and specifically in the former war zone – temporary IDs may still be the best option available at this point.

    “This is the best solution to the present problem,” maintained M.S. Sarath Kumara, commissioner general of the registration of persons, noting that temporary IDs issued to facilitate voting could also prove useful to people without any other form of identification.

    “A temporary ID is a practical idea, and it can be revalidated through reapplication,” agreed Rohana Hettiarachchi, executive director of People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections, an election monitoring body that has been helping eligible voters to obtain national identity cards through a mobile clinic effort.

    But for those returnees without an NIC, still struggling to establish some semblance of normalcy in their lives after years of conflict and displacement, the idea of anything temporary offers little solace.

    “A temporary ID is useful for those who wish to cast their vote at the forthcoming northern provincial election. [However,] for us former IDPs [internally displaced persons], returning home after being displaced for a decade, there are much bigger issues than getting involved in a political battle,” explained Muttuvel Kadirmani, a 46-year-old father of three from Mullaitivu. He urged the government to issue NICs instead of temporary forms of identification.

    “It will be useful in every aspect of life and provide us with a sense of security,” he said.

    Read More:: IRIN (Source)

  10. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    Dear Susantha!
    You have ask C.V.Vigneswaran !

    Full Text of speech made by Justice C.V.Vigneswaran, Retired Supreme Court Judge-at the Book Release: “Senator Tiruchelvam’s Legacy”-a Vijitha Yapa Publication on February 01, 2008 at the New Kathiresan Hall in Colombo, is as follows

    Madam Chairman, my dear brothers and sisters!

    Closing in on the psalmist’s three scores and ten years, age wise many of us are legacies from the past. As a student and then even as a young legal practitioner at the time Senator Tiruchelvam was a Minister, I remember myself firmly believing that the future of this Country was going to be all rosy and happy. The tomorrow was going to be better than the today of those yesteryears, I thought. But alas! It had got worse and worse so much so, from a political perspective those few years of Dudley Senanayake’s stewardship as Prime Minister appears as an oasis in the midst of a long stretch of barren desert soil.

    The release of “Senator Tiruchelvam’s Legacy” is timely. It reflects the staid sobriety of a by-gone age during our own mundane human existence, quite out of step with the belligerent,blithering,bullying,barbaric and boorish outfit of today boastfully though beguilingly referring to itself as benignant and beneficient,benevolent and even blessed. Those of us bred in the Western public school traditions yet having also imbibed the perennial virtues of our Eastern values find it difficult to classify the negative norms and superficial standards of the present era into anything worthwhile Eastern or Western, traditional or modern, national or international. A hybrid new culture alien to Western and traditional Eastern culture though possibly borrowed from the seedier sides of those two cultures, seems to be taking root in this country. Naked selfishness, rank self interest and the spirit of self aggrandizement, conceit and egotistic imperatives seem to motivate today’s possessors of power and authority. Holding on to the reins of government at any cost has become the principal dogma and doctrine to be pursued. Destroying one’s opponents using any means or modes has become a cult. Dead men do not talk has become the principal motto of their outlook.

    Just forty years ago it was not so. Democracy had a meaning. You could discuss your differences without despising your opponent. Today even the heads of organs of State carry venom and vituperation in their veins however much they camouflage their nakedness with high sounding patriotic and religious epithetic garbs.

    It is amazing to see the change of values, norms and standards since forty years ago. May be we who were born during British times and bred after Independence are considered today as anachronisms to be tolerated since we will be no more in a few years’ time.

    I like to show the difference in perspectives between the time of Senator Tiruchelvam and the present era. If you take today’s Parliament none seem to be interested in what is taking place there except to the extent as to what benefits, attendance in Parliament, could bring upon them. Arguments in Parliament in comparison to the earlier period are puerile and often borders on personal vituperation.

    The by gone era of Senator Tiruchelvam discussed in a dignified way the most distressing political problem that beset them at that time. No white vans took valued relatives of Parliamentarians as hostages to manipulate voting pattern in Parliament. Crossing the floor for Ministerial benefits was minimal.

    I like to quote late Mr.J.R.Jayewardene,who later became the first Executive President of this country, when he paid tribute to Senator Tiruchelvam on his demise.JRJ was a contemporary of Mr.Tiruchelvam at the Ceylon Law College and a colleague of his in Dudley Senanayake’s cabinet. Having said that Mr.Tiruchelvam was a Minister of great acceptance, he continued thus-(I quote) “He never obtruded in our discussions .When he intervened it was acceptable and civilized”.(unquote) This civility is missing today amidst our Parliamentarians. Each appears to be a bull in his own China Shop.

    I sometimes wonder whether we could ever visit the earlier intellectually stimulating period of Parliamentary debates, our Parliamentarians in recent times having tainted themselves with brutal prejudices and boorish pretensions.

    Dr.Colvin R. de Silva had this to say about Senator Tiruchelvam.(I quote) ‘He had of course even in political discussion, a certain tenacity in respect of decisions to which he had already come in that field and which decisions he was seeking to pursue. But he did even that in an extremely agreeable and pleasant manner so that one could after a discussion that might have turned heated, terminate the discussion as good friends who had had a discussion on a matter of utmost difficulty” (unquote).

    Such a quality was of utmost necessity in the field of Parliamentary activity where members had to face each other daily. However agitated the generation of Tiruchelvam and Dr.Colvin Silva were,they hardly ever transgressed acceptable behavioural patterns of dignified Parliamentarians. One wonders whether in today’s Parliament the atrocious behavioural practices are staged for the consumption of their TV watching constituencies. After their unacceptable boorish behaviour we find Parliamentarians showing a rare camaraderie outside the Chamber. May be birds of the same feather but of different political hues are cahoots in deals which give them each personal benefits. The show in Chambers may be a cover for their nefarious activities.

    Another quality of Senator Tiruchelvam portrayed in the publication under review today was his conviction that this country belongs to all its citizens. He was individualistic when wanting to uphold the rights and privileges of a particular ethnic group among the denizens of this Island of ours. But he was at the same time nationalistic and viewed the country’s citizenry as one composite whole and therefore willing to co-operate and inter- act at the public and national level. In fact he was resolutely in favour of a united and plural Sri Lanka and therefore opposed the 1976 Vaddukottai Resolution that demanded a separate State of Thamileelam and advised Mr.Chelvanayagam against it. Obviously he still had faith in the humaneness of those politicians among the Sinhalese who drove the Tamils to pass that Resolution as a last resort much against their innate wishes.

    There is an unfortunate tendency today among many of our Sinhala Buddhist brethren to view and consider those who speak up for the rights of the Tamil speaking people as traitors and terrorists. What is amazing in this perspective is that many of them believe in such trash. When I made my acceptance speech, on being elevated to the Supreme Court in the year 2001, in all three languages including Sinhala, referring candidly to the problems of the Tamils of Sri Lanka there were many of my colleagues who were otherwise well disposed towards me who were shocked and looked upon me like a visitor from an alien planet. It took some time for them to realize it was the same old Wigneswaran because I showed no difference in my day to day behavioural pattern. If my right to express my views about the community to which I belong to, is considered traitorous and terroristic, I used to wonder how justice could be expected from some of these colleagues in cases in which minorities were before Courts. Did it not mean that these gentlemen had fallen prey to prejudices and predilections? They simply could not take the trouble to understand what I said and if necessary vehemently argue with me rather than being at once prejudiced.

    Mr.Tiruchelvam refers to a similar incident with regret in his maiden speech in the Senate on the 30th of April,1965.Speaking about the introduction of the Language of the Courts’ Bill in Parliament he said unfortunately Mrs.Bandaranaike was out of the Island on that date and it fell upon the then Minister of Justice to introduce the document.Mr.Tiruchelvam then went on to say as follows-(I quote from the publication under review)-”I regret to say this but I have to say it for the purpose of record-Although he was the Minister in charge of the subject ,that is the official language,(he) had not read the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayagam Pact. He did not know the principles enunciated by Mr. Bandaranaike on this matter. Indeed, even at a later stage during the Satyagraha movement, when we had negotiations for the purpose of settling matters, to my utter consternation and horror I found that he had not read the Bandaranaike Chelvanayagam Pact. I thought to myself that the destinies of this country, the destinies of hundreds of thousands, nay, of millions of people are entrusted to people of this type who did not have even the elementary responsibility of familiarizing themselves with that important document or at least one section of it “.(unquote).

    May be the then Minister of Justice was an exception at that time. But today his types are the order of the day. Prejudices, predilections, apathy and indifference affect most of our politicians today. A craving for power and money drives them. Make hay while the Sun shines they seem to be saying. What happens tomorrow is not our business they seem to be thinking.

    How stupid would it be to think that militarily overcoming the LTTE or killing its head would solve the ethnic problem of Sri Lanka.The LTTE is the offspring of the ethnic problem itself created by the successive mono ethnic parliamentary majority in Sri Lanka. It was State terrorism on their part which created the Liberation Tigers. The ethnic problem concerns the denizens of the Northern and Eastern Provinces who had lived in their areas for centuries from pre historic times. True there were influxes of Tamils at various stages of our history. But the fact that right throughout history the Dravidians had occupied the present Northern and Eastern Provinces and even more lands surrounding them cannot be disputed. The Buddhist remains in the North are the remnants left by the Demala Bauddhayo not any body else. Buddhism flourished in South India too at that period of history. Even though students join a College like say Royal College from Royal Primary or after passing the Scholarship exam or at the level of GCE Ordinary Level or even at some other class they are all called Royalists. You don’t call them by any other name. Similarly whatever may have been the period at which Tamils may have arrived in Sri Lanka we cannot dispute the fact that always the Northern and Eastern Provinces were occupied by Tamil speaking people including the Muslims.Whether the East came under the suzerainty of the Kandyan King was irrelevant.If it is relevant then the fact that the Tamil King Elara wielded power over the entire Island would also become relevant.I hope you understand the connection.

    From the time of Independence large majority of the people of these two provinces have shown their preference for a live and let live policy by supporting parties which declared a federal form of government as the best for this Island. When federalism was jettisoned by the so-called National Parties then only the Vaddukoddai Resolution was passed in 1976 despite opposition by Tamils like Mr.Tiruchelvam . From that time emerged the military arm of the Tamils however imperfect or perfect they may be. By destroying the military arm you don’t destroy the aspirations of the people who had been deprived of their legitimate rights. And you are dealing with Tamils whose literature and culture are as old as or older than the oldest civilization in this world. Once the civilization of the Lemurian Continent comes to light much of the information about the antiquity of the Tamils now shrouded in mystery would be brought to light. I say this only to point out that you cannot trifle with people who are heirs to civilization and culture of such antiquity. Let us not forget despite China annexing by force the land of the Tibetans their problem is still kept alive by Dalai Lama and others .Killing Pararajasingham,Raviraj or Maheswran or any other Tamil Politician or political agitator or even Prabakaran will not silence the Tamil people whose whole existence as an ethnic and linguistic unit from ancient times is being jeopardized by successive insensitive Central Governments.

    There are no terrorists who are born into this world. They are made. Mostly by persons in power and authority ,the mighty and the powerful, due to their selfishness and insensitiveness which give rise to resistance and reaction. Such mighty conveniently call those unable to accept their dictatorial dictates by names. Earlier they were called Communists, then Fundamentalists and now Terrorists. It is the terror tactics of those in power and authority which creates such antagonistic opposition and hostility. Those in authority who lack humanism or who have personal and selfish agendas of their own take cover behind such loaded terms such as Terrorism and Terrorists. The period of Tiruchelvam fortunately was devoid of such persons though not too later the 1971 JVP insurrection took place. There again it was the insensitiveness of successive governments towards the needs and aspirations of the poor and downtrodden people of the South which gave rise to such insurrection. It needs to be said in favour of Dudley Senanayake that he was prepared to discuss and adjust matters with those having opposite views instead of taking cover behind such terms as Naxalites and terrorists.

    Yet Mr.Tiruchelvam could not continue to be in the cabinet on account of certain disputes that cropped up with regard to the Koneswaram Temple in Trinco and also due to the chauvinistic attitudes of many in Dudley’s party in power who prevented the implementation of the Senanayake-Chelvanayagam Pact. Mr.Tiruchelvam resigned in September 1968.

    His last months were spent in successfully defending Mr.A.Amirthalingam and three others charged with sedition for peacefully defying the 1972 constitution. Two seniors led him in Court-S.J.V.Chelvanayagam, K.C. and G.G.Ponnambalam, K.C. the leaders of two opposing Tamil political parties. For a wonder Tamil birds of different feathers joined together. As expected they were successful. God made the Tamils disunited for the same reason that he denied horns to horses. They could be invincible if united. But I doubt their ever uniting. The verdict at the Trial at Bar was a triumph for the rule of law as stated by Mr. Ram Balasubramaniam in his introduction to the book under consideration.

    Even before the 1972 constitution was enacted Mr.Tiruchelvam had warned with regard to its legality. In the course of his speech on the 30th of June 1970 after the new United Front Government under Mrs.Sirimavo Bandaranaike was sworn in he pointed out that the Constituent Assembly which was due to be set up by the newly elected Government was illegal. He said as follows-”There was not one single speech, not one single talk indulged in the election campaign that there was going to be a Constitutional Assembly. How can there be a constituent assembly when the Government Parliamentary Group does not have a single Tamil elected representative to represent them and carve out a constitution?” Continuing he asked “How can you talk of a constituent assembly formed by a mere Resolution of the House? By a mere Resolution how can you make it a constituent assembly?” At page 281 later on he pointed out that sovereignty was vested with the people. Therefore unless those elected were people who were elected or selected ad hoc for that purpose such constituent assemblies would lack the necessary legal authority. The Constituent Assembly in India was an ad hoc body, he pointed out. He said it was specifically elected to exercise the sovereignty of the people and to create a constitution. But here what they are seeking to do, he said, is rather an amusing piece of effrontery- that is for the other House to arrogate to itself the power to frame a constitution and to make that constitution to work. He pointed out as per page 285 of the publication under review that we cannot adopt and operate a constitution unless you have it as a legal document, unless we are vested with the legal power. That legal power he said can only be vested in us by an Act of Parliament may be with a two thirds majority.

    I was in Court when the late inimitable C.Suntharalingam brought an action before the Supreme Court stating that Section 29 of the then Constitution was in danger of being done away with. Chief Justice H.N.G.Fernando said it may or may not happen.Mr.Suntharalingam said it would be too late to come into Court if the entrenched Section 29 was arbitrarily done away with. The Chief Justice was impassive. The section was done away with. Again Mr.C.S was before Court. The Chief Justice said we are working now under the new Constitution. We cannot under it question the legality or otherwise of any provision. That was the end of the journey for Mr.C.S.The 1972 Constitution lacked legality.

    Similar dramas are being effected in the North and East today. Without the consent of the people affected, without the consent of persons lawfully elected by the people, certain institutions are being set up. State thuggery seems to be the name of the game. Men and institutions remain free only when freedom is founded upon respect for the Rule of Law and if grievances are redressed by constitutional methods. But if all constitutional methods fail to redress grievances of sections of society who have been subjected to innumerable hardships due to callousness and indifference and may be even partiality of successive Governments in power, how are they to redress their grievances by constitutional methods? Let us not forget that East Pakistan became Bangladesh on account of the indifference of the then West Pakistan to the real grievances of the people of East Pakistan.

    It is to be said in favour of Mr.Murugeyson Tiruchelvam that until he breathed his last he believed in the goodness of all men. I wonder whether the pendulum would have swung to the other extreme if he was living today. I thank you for your patient hearing. “

  11. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    As I mentioned it was C.V.Vigneswaran’s statement.
    You have to ask him what happened to the Demala Bauddhayo !!!

  12. aloy Says:

    Thank you for your piece. Perhaps this is the game plan. Are all our Sinhala parliamentarians sleepwalking?.
    I have been reading in this forum the estimated number in the human shield as 125000, from Shenali’s write ups. At the end it turned out to be an astounding 300,000. Were all these people brought from India for the specific purpose of forming a human shield. In that case, did they not fool our defence people?

  13. Fran Diaz Says:

    Lot of things are forced on Lanka to please India & the west ?
    What about the Sri Lankan Constitution to protect the country & the People ?

  14. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    THANKS NALLIAH, Iam enlightened. Many will concur what he has said in the second paragraph about the present day Parliamentarians. It is the truth. Gentleman Dudley days are no more. When he was Prime Minister, often he drives home in his Humber Hawk for Lunch. There were no thugs around him for protection, because he was a Gentleman. he did not need any.

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