Sri Lanka sandwiched between reconciliation – separatism – terrorism & now economic collapse
Posted on April 4th, 2016

Shenali D Waduge

 Rajapakse is not Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka is not Rajapakse. No Government can function on the foundation that it is in power to bring justice against the Rajapakses. It is a ludicrous idea and objective. The citizens expect far more than this from a government elected to office. The reality of this we can now see 15 months after the toppling of the Rajapakse government. In 15 months Sri Lanka has stooped to a new low never fathomed by most. The rupee is now more than Rs.150 against the dollar, we have a budget that offers no income, we are selling all assets to foreigners without safeguards, Indians are slowly devouring all national choke points to its advantage, the country’s citizens are kept busy fighting to survive with spiralling cost of living, LTTE hardcore cadres are being released and now the discovery of suicide vests and ammunition is making 20million citizens to wonder whether the solution to hiding one’s inability to govern is to return to a dark period we all thought was a thing of the past. We find ourselves in a miserable predicament.

Reconciliation

Can someone offer explanations to these simple questions?

  • Did Sri Lanka’s military take on civilians or an internationally banned terrorist organization banned by 32 nations?
  • Is Sri Lanka’s conflict defined as a non-international armed conflict?
  • If so it means that the Sri Lankan state was fighting not civilians (nullifying claim Sri Lanka had an ethnic problem) but an armed movement in uniform with a command structure using acts of terror against the State of Sri Lanka and its citizens. This makes LTTE the common enemy of all except those who sided with the LTTE indirectly/directly covertly/overtly. Funnily enough those who had links to LTTE are in powerful places calling the shots.
  • Can LTTE be defined as enemy combatants? No because the term is used only in international armed conflict. LTTE are not enemy combatants and do not enjoy provisions under law given to combatants.
  • Can LTTE enjoy prisoner of war status? No because under NIAC LTTE are neither combatants or prisoners of war which raises why LTTE cadres now in custody are being released without legal actions taken against them. Either we are going to the wrong advisors or we are being given wrong advice.
  • Where in the international law books or the UN does it say that a country has to reconcile with terrorists?
  • Why is a terrorist problem being used to ignore justice to all victims and concentrating on only one ethnic group and creating a framework to legally cut up a small island leading to separatism that was the goal of those that created the LTTE through a new constitution?
  • Do we need reconciliation when the communities have no issues against each other? We all live harmoniously together. We do however have a problem against people promoting separatism (TNA) and elements still involved with LTTE (LTTE diaspora/LTTE fronts, those that sided with LTTE like the Church & clergy, foreign envoys, foreign governments and foreign intelligence as well as local politicians and local NGOs) None of these links have been investigated. Without investigating these the citizens should refuse to accept anything new on the table especially a new constitution.
  • Anyone that says Sri Lanka’s conflict is an ethnic problem must first explain why India secretly took jobless Sri Lankan Tamil youth to India and clandestinely trained them in armed warfare by Indian intelligence and retired Indian army personnel and then sent them back with arms, ammunition and funded them to destabalize Sri Lanka. Unless this question gets an answer we cannot accept Sri Lanka is having or had an ethnic problem because the LTTE and other armed militants were all initially created and trained by India. To add to the injury India even saved a cornered Prabakaran whisked him off to India and saved him from being captured by the Sri Lankan forces. What friendly nation would do that? India cannot pretend to ignore this ugly chapter of Sri Lanka’s conflict because Sri Lanka’s 30 year conflict was started by India and has been fuelled by India ever since. LTTE and all others became just tools to fulfil India’s agenda. LTTE became tools of others too, over the years.

Separatism /Terrorism & National Security

  • Have TNA’s links to LTTE been investigated – why is this not taking place when their aims & objectives for a separate state remain the same as the LTTE?
  • TNA politicians have been regular guests at LTTE front events abroad and have openly advocated separatism violating article 6 of Sri Lanka’s constitution. TNA’s manifestos are virtually the same demands as the LTTE.
  • TNA’s role in politics must be allowed only if it nullifies the Vaddukoddai Resolution and legally testifies it will not advocate separatism of Sri Lanka
  • TNA Chief Minister is also violating Sri Lanka’s constitution by declaring Sinhalese cannot live and work in the North when historically Sinhalese had been living in the North far before Tamils arrived as immigrants from Tamil Nadu. Moreover, when his own two sons have married Sinhalese, he is prohibiting Tamils from marrying Sinhalese which is another violation of people’s fundamental rights. The Chief Ministers’ open racism is not even highlighted by local politicians or UN and other human rights groups quick to point fingers at Sinhalese only.
  • Why are there no UN and other rights organizations coming forward to defend the Sinhalese villagers and the Buddhist temples in the North who are being threatened by the TNA parliamentarians and public officials are being used to impose restrictions on these villagers and Buddhist monks who have been living in the north for many many years. Every citizen has a right to live and work in any part of the country. It’s a constitutional right.
  • When TNA and its main constituent party ITAK continue to have a constitution that pushes the Vaddukoddai Resolution of separatism it is baffling why any government or even opposition are not highlighting that this separatism aspect needs to be first dealt with and removed before drafting any new constitution. How can a country trust a political party that has as its aims and objectives the goal to cede and form a separate nation ruled by themselves demanding all other ethnic groups to leave the area but reserve right for them to buy land and live in all other parts of Sri Lanka as well. Are our politicians insane to allow this farce to go on any longer?
  • Has the GOSL confirmed whether IDPs being given land rights actually had title deeds in the first place to be demanding state land allocation? Has the GOSL thought of the repercussions in giving land in high security zone areas removing military camps/installations when the GOSL is well aware that LTTE through TNA is still peddling separatism and LTTE cadres are still out there? Has the GOSL also realized the dangers arising when after giving land to these IDPs and then bringing legislation on foreigners owning land this invariably means lands falling into hands of foreigners and in high security areas too. Is this not a national security risk?
  • The late Lalith Athulathmudali was to say there are only some 50 LTTE terrorists and they could be easily dealt with. By 1990s that number had risen to over 5000. His response echoes the recent response of the present defence secretary who has said finding a few handguns and arms is no threat to national security. Taking things lightly in the 1980s proved detrimental and led to 30 years of bloodshed that had to sacrifice 30,000 military lives to save the nation. Are we going to knowingly commit the same mistake?

Economic collapse

  • Rajapakse government gave up office leaving the SL rupee at Rs.131 against the dollar and USD8billion in foreign reserves. What is the status now?
  • Return to full privatization of all (following temasek model of Singapore) ignoring grievances of farmers inducing them to once again return to export oriented cash crops, outsourcing to India leaving service sector to be manipulated by India are some of the alarming realizations that the Sri Lankan populace are now having to deal with.
  • Do we have a policy? For whom are these condominiums being built causing catastrophic environmental damage, raising concerns for water and electricity and other hazards? Is there such a requirement to allow foreign passport holding diaspora to dump their money at a future risk of crippling the economy with the fluctuation of prices? Are these decisions healthy for the country and is there no one watching these developments? Should policy makers not think of uplifting the status of the citizens rather than only a few? If someone who has worked 25 years cannot afford to buy a plot of land hasn’t society failed such a person? Should we not be thinking of ways to improve the citizens first?
  • What will going behind IMF mean to the Sri Lankan polity? Is this why state employees are now fearing being made redundant, why voluntary retirement schemes are now being offered, the IMF handouts will not come without sacrifice and IMF delights in watching the poor suffer because IMF always insists that governments given loans first cut social welfare schemes, reduce aid to education, cut health benefits to the poor. It is always the poor that the IMF attacks by forcing a Government to remove whatever benefits they enjoy.
  • The UNP that declared throughout its campaign that China is not welcome in Sri Lanka and closed down the Port City Project incurring the wrath of having to pay compensation for the closure of a bilateral project is now going with begging bowl to China to not only seek reopening of the project they closed but beg for China’s financial assistance. This brings new meaning to beggars can’t be choosers! In a new bid to renew broken ties it looks as if present government is likely to outdo the former in giving anything and everything in the country so long as China can save it from collapsing. What has happened to all the newly made friends in the West? Why are they not coming to save the present government? It is good for the present government to realize that there are no permanent friends in politics but permanent interests and there is all possibility that they may renew friendships with the joint opposition too now that the West is feeling the pulse of the people. Generally when the West feels the pulsse of the people their preferred choice becomes the first casualty. These are good lessons taken from pages of ruined nations!

Shenali D Waduge

5 Responses to “Sri Lanka sandwiched between reconciliation – separatism – terrorism & now economic collapse”

  1. Dham Says:

    A simplistic, biased and inaccurate way of packaging.

    Will respond one by one but will take time.

  2. AnuD Says:

    Who is the Reconciliation minister, an indian Tamil who lost election but appointed by CBK via National List. So, the Reconciliation has become Initialization of Sri lanka.

    It is run by the Minister of govt (nastional) languages ?. So, Sinhala goes more to the bottom.

    that is what people voted for.

  3. SA Kumar Says:

    All ok where is our TE?

  4. Christie Says:

    Ceylon was like other tropical colonies a colony of the British-Indian Empire, now a colony of the Indian Empire.

  5. Fran Diaz Says:

    Thank you for this article, Shenali.

    The MR govt was never the problem for Lanka. It was part of the solution for the immediate problem of LTTE Terrorism. The FALSE WAR CRIMES charge against the MR Gvot & the SL Armed Forces, must be dismissed asp.

    ———-

    What seems to have happened with the Yahap is snowballing foreign loans, borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. High immediate spending seems to have happened, but where govt money is being spent, is not evident.

    Self Sufficiency as much as possible, such as in the Divinaguma program (stopped by Yahap), and Green Energy (not visible in Yahap planning), as envisaged by the MR govt was the way to go.

    Proximity of INDIA has to be dealt with for all times. Ensuring SECURITY FOR INDIA in return for non interference with Lanka Development programs and no illegal migrants, drugs from INDIA etc., a must do. It is time for bartering with INDIA.

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