Is it forgotten that Sinhalese were victims too?
Posted on June 5th, 2017

BY SHIVANTHI RANASINGHE Courtesy Ceylon Today

Professor Maithree Wickremesinghe, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s wife, said, many Sri Lankans still remain deeply conflicted and wounded because of government’s frequent failures to stem xenophobic campaigns – especially against the Tamils, Muslims and Christians in this country. She was speaking at the recent book launch, Testimonies of Silent Pain, compiled by The Social Architects.

This is an extremely problematic statement. She identifies the aforementioned ethnic and religious groups as foreigners of this country. The obvious culprit implied is the Sinhala Buddhists.

Wickremesinghe observed that eight years has passed since we annihilated terrorism. It is widely accepted that the birth of terrorism was after the 1983 riots. This of course ignores the reasons for the riots. The then government’s decisions created a highly volatile situation. Ironically, Wickremesinghe’s husband was a cabinet minister of that government and his uncle was the executive president.

When 13 soldiers were ambushed and killed by the terrorists, the government deliberately allowed the tensions to build. First, they made a big show by bringing the bodies of the slain officers and men to Colombo, than send them with quiet dignity to their respective homes. The inordinate delays as people waited for the bodies made the tensions of the public taut with raw emotions. The situation spiralled out of control at the sight of these 13 coffins.

Second, when public order disintegrated as devastatingly as it did, and Tamils got targeted and their property destroyed, the government refused to act. The riots lasted for a couple of days, during which time people got killed and their homes and businesses were torched. The government remained silent.

In the recent spate of natural disasters, it is the people who swung into action while the government was busy approving monies for luxury vehicles only to decide against it and appointing new deputy ministers. Likewise, during the ’83 riots, it was the people who came to the victims’ rescue while the government watched. The incumbent PM’s indifference to the plight of the current victims who lost loved ones and homes to floods and landslides, and are without food, medicine, clothes and shelter, as he continued with his plans to vacation in the USA was matched by the ’83 government.

It is most unfortunate that the brave efforts of the Sinhalese to protect Tamils are yet to be acknowledged by any quarter. Despite the terror reign of couple of days, the actual number of deaths was around 300. Considering the small Tamil population in predominantly Sinhala neighbourhoods, the number of deaths should have run into thousands, if indeed the Sinhalese were behind the riots or if they did not hide the Tamils in their very homes and premises from the hooligans.

The then government’s inaction, which is the real culprit, is brushed under the carpet, letting the full blame rest on the Sinhalese who neither approves nor excuses the riots. Hardly anyone – from the Sinhala community, religious leader, politician, political analyst, historian or at the very least the Tamils who were rescued by the Sinhalese – has tried to correct this misperception.

Strategy backfired

It is believed that the then government deliberately allowed the situation to disintegrate thus to impress upon India the consequences if they continue to sponsor terrorism. The then administration was trying through various efforts to stop Indira Gandhi’s despicable act of funding and training the terrorists. The full tilt to USA was also one strategy.

However, that administration’s strategies not only failed, but in fact worsened the situation. Its foolish attempt to set our own people against each other backfired. For the next 26 years, terrorists grew in force and we faced many atrocities, but the ’83 riots justified the terrorist’s existence.

During these 26 years, the Sinhala Buddhists were especially targeted by the terrorists. Some of the indelible atrocities committed were,

– Anuradhapura massacre in 1985, killing 145 Buddhist devotees
– Aluth Oya massacre in 1987, killing 127 Sinhala men, women and children
– pogrom against the Sinhalese in the East in 1995, 120 Sinhala villagers hacked to death
– Pettah bus bombing in 1987, killing 113
– Aranthalawa massacre in 1987, 33 Buddhist monks, most of them young novices, and four civilians hacked and shot to death
– Kallarawa massacre in 1995, killing 42 Sinhalese
– Temple of the Tooth attacked in 1998, killing 17
– Gonagala massacre in 1999, 54 Sinhala villagers hacked to death
– Kebathigollawa massacre in 2006, killing 66
Yet, the Tamils continued to live among the Sinhalese throughout this terrible period. Even after the attack on the Temple of the Tooth, a place sacred to Buddhists as the Vatican is for the Catholics and Mecca for Muslims, Tamils lived amongst the Sinhalese without harm or harassment.

In fact, the Tamil population swelled in the South as they escaped from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam from the North and East. According to 2012 census, the Tamil population in the Colombo District was 258,654, where as in 1981, the Tamil population was 190,414. Conversely, when the last gun fell silent on 18 May 2009, there was not a single Sinhalese living in the North.
In the East, as reported by Irida Divaina, villagers from Mangalagama, Sippimaduwa, Divulapothana and Keviliyamaduwa have tried to highlight the enormous challenges they are faced with trying to rebuild their lives since the end of the war. During the terrorism era, they hid in the jungles at night to escape the LTTE’s ‘blooding’ exercises. When the situation deteriorated beyond hope, they even had to leave their ancestral homes and seek sanctuary elsewhere.

During these forced ‘transitions’ they lost their valuables, including documentation such as their national identity cards and land deeds. In some cases, the original owners have deceased, making it harder for their children to lay claims to their parents’ properties. The relevant officials instead of issuing fresh copies of this lost/damaged documentation are treating them like illegal immigrants.

They have thus taken steps to evict over 50 families in Keviliyamaduwa from their lands through Court orders. Without their land deeds, they are unable to prove ownership. Out of about 85 families in Keviliyamaduwa, only 55 people have voting rights, with officials refusing to register the others eligible. None of the benefits, to rebuild houses or to cultivate are provided to these people. They are not even granted Samurdhi beneficiary status, despite their obvious poverty. Clearly, the Sinhalese were victimized by terrorism. The double whammy though, they are also blamed for it and somehow made out to be the perpetrators too. The fact that violence was largely contained to the LTTE infested areas is because the Sinhalese differentiated between the Tamils and the terrorists. This is largely ignored. When the Tamils were at the receiving end, especially in 1983 and in 2009 when the LTTE held Tamils as a human shield, the valiant part Sinhalese played to safeguard them is unacknowledged.

Displaced & unrecognized Sinhala victims of war
Furthermore, the Sinhala victims of war are unrecognized. Through a concerted effort, the Sinhalese who were living in the North and the East are discouraged from returning to their property and the victory against terrorism is turned into a war crime.
The reasons for discouraging the Sinhalese returning to the East are obvious. This will create mono-ethnic groups in clearly demarcated areas in the Island. Yet, these moves are beyond the so-called international community’s radar, who insists on plurality. Their silence comes not from ignorance of the situation, but their precise understanding of the geopolitics and the convenience of having a destabilized Sri Lanka.

In this game of securing minority rights, the objective is never on minority rights. Different people stand on the same platform for very different agendas. While the extremist politicians seek to be crowned as kings in their ‘homeland’, the international community lends a helping hand. A country in conflict translates into a country laden with debt and confusion, which is as good as being under colonial rule.

Neville Ladduwahetty in his article, “UNHRC and its Resolutions on Sri Lanka” points out how the UN Resolutions grew over the years to what we have to deal with today. The 2012 Resolution contained only three paragraphs, essentially calling on the Government of Sri Lanka to implement an action plan to “implement the constructive recommendations made in the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission” and address alleged violations of international law.

US and Indian hegemony
The 2013 Resolution is six paragraphs long, which was an expanded version of 2012. The 2014 Resolution was 12 paragraphs long. The first three was a repeat provision in the 2013 Resolution, and the remainder referring mostly to procedural matters. The 2015 resolution on the other hand was completely different to all the previous resolutions.

This Resolution was brought with the backdrop of regime change, which was engineered to serve US and Indian hegemony. Over their worry of China’s One Belt One Road, they sought to destabilize Sri Lanka for the Island was poised to become a strategic partner.

“Without realizing the complexities involved in meeting the commitments in the Resolution, the Sri Lankan beneficiaries of regime change saw the Resolution an opportunity to contain their political opponents,” writes Ladduwahetty.

In the government’s attempts to follow the Resolution, our military intelligence network is exposed and officers who directly contributed to eradicate terrorism are being hauled before various investigations. The peace that prevails in the North and the East would not have been possible if the security forces had not destroyed the LTTE. Yet, the security forces are treated as suspects of a serious crime. Senior officers like Major General Chagi Gallage are denied the Australian visa, even though he is not even implicated over any crime other than serving his division. Still, no one bats an eyelid when provincial councillor M.K. Shivajilingam warns the President of Sri Lanka from visiting the north during their ‘Remembrance Week’. Given the facts and events of recent history, the Sinhala Buddhists are not the problem. For that matter, neither is the ordinary Tamil and Muslim citizen. When Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith takes the stand that Buddhism must continue to be given the foremost place for other religions in Sri Lanka to survive, then Christians are also not the problem. The problem lies with the west-funded civil groups, who see religious invasion in a Vesak decoration and its unquestioning audience.

ranasingheshivanthi@gmail.com

5 Responses to “Is it forgotten that Sinhalese were victims too?”

  1. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    WHAT ABOUT THE PADAVIYA MASSACRE ? TAMIL TERRORIST WOMEN CAME IN THE EARLY HOURS OF THE MORNING WITH SWORDS, MACHETTES AND THE LIKE AND CUT SLEEPING MEN WOMEN AND CHILDREN TO PIECES. THEY DID NOT USE GUNS AS IT WOULD MAKE A NOISE AND AWAKEN THE PEOPLE. THE PERPETRATORS WILL SUFFER FOR GENERATIONS AND GENERATIONS TO COME.

  2. Dilrook Says:

    This borders discrimination against Sinhalese.

    A parallel can be drawn with Nazism and Apartheid. The biggest “justification” of Nazism was grievances suffered by ethnic Germans in WW1. However, they conveniently forgot that others suffered too.

    If the war started after the 1983 riot, who killed 13 soldiers that triggered the riot? Tamils. Therefore, Tamils are the starters of the war even if 1983 is taken as the start of war. However, the war started in 1975 July 25 when Tamil Hindus killed Jaffna mayor Alfred Duraiappah – a Tamil Christian. A year later, Tamils passed Vadukoddai Resolution calling for “fight” for a Tamil-only nation called Tamil Eelam.

    Leaving out these three vital facts further strengthens the case for discrimination against Sinhalese.

    Then there is the case of Tamil suicide bombers, bomb attacks outside the war zone (these cannot be justified in any way), killing presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers. Aren’t these sufferings?

    Strangely, another very important point is missed. Most dead Tamils in the war are low caste Tamils baited by high caste Tamils to get refugee visa to the UK and Canada. The whole war project by Tamils was for this economic campaign.

    Compared to the size of the Tamil community of 85,000,000 Tamil casualties and sufferings are insignificant (0.14%). Compared to the size of the Muslim community of 1,800,000,000 Muslim casualties and sufferings are insignificant (0.00017%). Compared to the size of the Christian community of 2,100,000,000 Christian casualties and sufferings are insignificant (0.00025%).

    However, compared to the size of the Sinhala community of 15 million Sinhala casualties and sufferings are significant (0.25%).

    Therefore, Sinhalese suffered most from the war, almost double that of Tamils, 1500 times of Muslims and 1000 times that of Christians. In fact, compared to the sufferings of the world Sinhala community, the world Tamil community did not suffer anywhere close!

    Professor Maithree Wickremesinghe must apologise for her gross disregard of Sinhala grievances (the highest) of war. Otherwise her misstatement amounts to discrimination.

  3. SA Kumar Says:

    Is it forgotten that Sinhalese were victims too? No
    We-Tamil know how many innocent people ( Pikus, pregnant woman , children ) We killed 1983 to 2009 and paid for highers price for our Karma at Mulli Vaikal .

    enough is enough ? no more kolaveri ???

  4. Cerberus Says:

    Thank you Shivanthi for bringing this matter to the public. Mrs. Wickremasinghe like her husband and CBK appears to have no love for the Sinhalese. Over a long time, Ranil took every opportunity to destroy the Sinhala youth, divide the country, and wipe out Buddhism and cause harm to the Sinhala Buddhists. Now that he is edging out of politics it appears the wife is stepping in to complete the work he has been doing. He seems to have has survived for so long by pandering to foreign powers who have kept him in power however unpopular he is with the people. Even when he was appointed as PM by My3 the excuse My3 gave was that the West wants me to appoint him. Therefore he was appointed not by the people but by the West.

    India has always been manipulating our politicians either with threats or with incentives to do their bidding. The 13A was imposed illegally on JR and the 1988-90 uprising by the JVP was to oppose this bill. Around 80-90,000 Sinhala youth are supposed to have been killed in total mainly by the UNP Catholic Govt and previously by Mrs. Bandaranaiyaka. Ranil Wickremasinghe is supposed to have run a torture chamber where around 15,000 Sinhala youths were tortured and killed on his orders while he is supposed to have watched some of it. To understand Ranil Wickramasinghe, please watch the videos below:

    1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqSW3cKNb7k
    2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfUASsdwj34

    3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Av-d2qJ0Ys

    4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RddXfSU0aSE

    5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9t4Tv9cy60

    6. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cV6_o9txURc

    7. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxbGojMb1xc

    8. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldB-CKsG9rk

    9. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgVyaHJGhc4

    Ranil is supposed to have agreed to a bridge to Sri Lanka from India in 2002. See:http://www.atimes.com/article/sri-lankans-oppose-bridge-with-india/

    Ranil tried to give 2/3 of the land in the North and East to LTTE along with the Norwegians on a bogus Peace deal which was used by the LTTE to strengthen their defense systems. Entire container loads of equipment were allowed to go to the Wanni to LTTE on Ranil’s instructions. See: http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=114673

    He is supposed to have effectively killed the long range intelligence group at Millenium city by divulging their names to the public in the Parliament. When the LTTE got the names of the long-range intelligence group they hunted them down and killed all of them.

    The UN has become just a puppet of the powerful countries to bully small defenseless countries. Sri Lanka has been pummelled by the UN and the UNHRC on bogus War crimes charges without any proof. Please see this excellent article on this subject: http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2016/09/06/who-monitors-the-monitors-iii/

    It is very obvious that Ranil Wickremasinghe has no love for the country or the people. He has been a stooge of the powerful countries right from the beginning. He came into power as the PM illegally on Jan 8’15 when the spineless My3 was elected as President and he then appointed RW as PM when there was an existing PM and a Parliament with a cabinet.

    Ranil then caused the Central Bank bond scam by appointing a foreigner as the Governer of Central Bank who proceeded to do a bond scam which has cost Sri Lanka a massive amount of money. Part of this money was used by him for the General Election in Aug 2015 which the UNP won only narrowly. Again the spineless My3 created a so-called National Govt as a coalition of the UNP and all the MPs who were rejected by the people who were brought in under the National List by the spineless My3.

    The current Parliament is a comedy since the TNA which got only 16 seats is the Opposition while the SLFP members who did not join the coalition are in the wilderness without any official recognition. All the JO group members are harassed at every turn by another illegal group called the FCID created by RW. He seems to get all these brilliant ideas which are obviously coming from the think tanks of the powerful countries.

    Ranil is supposed to be trying to bankrupt the country so that we are helpless like Greece and he is also supposed to be trying to lease out 5000 acre lots of land to foreigners for 100-year leases. This will enable the Tamil diaspora to lease out most of the North and East for exclusive use by the Tamils thereby creating a separate state.

    Any other Govt which comes into power after this ridiculous puppet Govt must carry out a plan to correct all the mistakes that have been done over the years by successive Govts. We must rename the country as “Sinhale” which was the name of the country in the treaty the British signed with the Chieftains of Sri Lanka in 1815 when they handed over the country to them. They must have an inquiry into the activities of Ranil Wickremasinghe over the years and prosecute him. When the Batalanda Commission found him guilty and removed his civic rights how did he manage to run for PM? Why is that no one raised any arguments against him?

  5. Fran Diaz Says:

    Thanks to Shivanthi for this article !
    Thanks too to Dilrook for writing in more facts.

    ————-

    Some comments on the ‘Forgotten Sinhala People’ :

    It is time to do away with all False accusations levied at the SL Army & the Sinhala community and tell the true story – the shameful Colonial “divide & rule” and expose the Agents who follow such negative acts, whatever their reasons for doing so, fear or fidelity to foreign sources.

    The 1983 Riots were trumped up to enable Tamils of Lanka to migrate to the west. After the trumped up 1983 Riots, nearly a Million Tamils went as REFUGEES to the west. These Tamil people form the Tamil Diaspora which group supported the LTTE for nearly 30 yrs causing misery, murder and mayhem in Lanka. The list of mass murders by the LTTE has been given above in the article by Shivanthi.

    The start of Tamil Problems : The 3,000 yr old Tamil Problem must be looked at from the source of the troubles which is in Tamil Nadu, i.e. That there are over 15 Million Tamils of Dalit origin, CASTE being stated in their birth certificates.
    Also the fact that Colonists brought over one and half Million Tamils of low caste to Sri Lanka as cheap labor during the nearly 500 yrs of Colonisation of Lanka.
    Tamil leaders have misled the Tamil people of Lanka, however much was done for them. For Tamils, not having Caste written into the birth certs is the real plus in Buddhist Lanka. Free Education & Health Care are real pluses too, gifts from Buddhist Lanka. Using trumped up riots and other dirty tricks to gain sympathy and to go abroad as Refugees to the west is the main purpose of Tamil dissent – e.g. only some 23% of the funds given to be used for the North through the Northern PC by the MR govt, were used – why ?
    Why does Lanka have so many Tamil illegal migrants if Lanka is such a ‘bad place’ ?

    Who pays for the loss of lives, funds & reputation for over 30 yrs, caused by the LTTE which outfit was trained in INDIA and encouraged by Tamil leaders ?

    It is the Sinhala Buddhist community of Lanka that is diminishing due to mass killings and other ways. Even govts of Lanka have allowed situations to get out of control without talks, where legitimate mass protests have been put down through mass killings. Two JVP protests by mainly the Sinhala rural youth in the 1970 and the 1990s saw nearly 80,000 Sinhala youth killed – first instance due to asking for Jobs, and the second instance due to asking for the removal of the illegal 13-A imposed on the JRJ govt by INDIA – both valid reasons, which when unanswered, turned negative.

    Sri Lanka’s Yahap govt has to stop the pretence of being able to solve various imported Tamil Problems (Caste based problems especially), & various international problems. Even indigenous Sinhala problems are yet unresolved.

    Sinhala people of Lanka have suffered due to nearly 500 yrs of Colonisation, Cold War politics & Tamil Caste Wars tying up with Cold War politics.

    Current scene :
    Sri Lanka is being used as some sort of “trampoline” by some Tamils to villify Lanka and go abroad as Refugees. However, it looks as though now the west does not want any more Refugees. So Tamil leaders must solve the problems as common problems of Sri Lankans, as most of the real problems are common to all the people of Lanka.

    It is time to examine the real problems that beset the people of Lanka and bring in practical and lasting solutions. A PATRIOTIC GOVT a must.

    Some suggestions :

    – To reduce populations, it is far kinder to offer FREE & safe birth control material than to have civil wars, regional wars and world wars.
    – Have a moratorium on the building of all religious buildings for a period of at least 30 yrs.

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