Posted on January 28th, 2016

Ira de Silva Canada

According to news reports, there seems to be a difference of opinion on whether investigations into the final phase of the Eelam war in 2009 will be done by competent local investigators and judges or whether it will be outsourced to international personnel. The difference of opinion illustrates the differences between the UNP and the SLFP attitudes towards the  integrity and sovereignty of Sri Lanka as well as the capabilities of Sri Lankans to manage their own country.

The actions of the UNP illustrate what they have stood for in the past and are committed to at present. The UNP is inclined to look to external forces and accept their dictates and solutions for internal issues of Sri Lanka. It was a UNP led government that could not withstand the pressure by pro LTTE India in 1987 and signed the Indo-Lanka Agreement which has resulted in irreparable damage to the country. Whilst India did not abide by their commitment under the agreement, it has used it like a battering ram against Sri Lanka. A few important results from the agreement were – Provincial Councils which have been a drain on the economy with not much benefit to the country from the costs of bloated numbers of politicians, their aggression and disdain for ordinary Sri Lankans. It allowed the LTTE to gain strength and, in case people have forgotten, under the instructions of the then UNP government, 600 policemen were asked to surrender to the LTTE and were brutally murdered. The IPKF was sent to Sri Lanka and the people of Sri Lanka know with what brutality they murdered, raped and robbed.. No apology from India has been made to this date much less an investigation into the war crimes of the IPKF.

The next time the UNP was the government the result was the infamous CFA which again, instigated, aided and abetted by the international community, was to give the LTTE what they wanted. The then government claimed that it was the best deal for Sri Lanka. Sri Lankans paid the price because the security forces were restricted to their camps while the LTTE ran amok throughout the island. The international observers were in the country to provide support to the LTTE to gain their goals. As an example,  in that time period, the Norwegians, with the approval of the government, provided the LTTE with sophiscated communication equipment delivered to their doorstep. The monitoring mission was mostly supportive of the LTTE with the blessing of the government. It was an SLFP president who finally ended the farce by dismissing the government. That president was followed by another SLFP president who decided to end the terrorist conflict, disregarding  the international communities’ demands to pacify the LTTE and militarily defeated the LTTE. The UNP  had no faith in Sri Lanka’s security forces as illustrated by comments re Thoppigala being a jungle, confusing Elephant Pass to Pamankade and comparing the security forces and the Salvation Army. The UNP  did not believe that  the LTTE could be defeated because the international community supported the myth that their protege the LTTE  was invincible. The SLFP gambled on Sri Lankans and they proved themselves capable to the task.

It is interesting to point out that in 2013, it was reported by Tamil Net that an understanding was reached in Singapore called the “Singapore Principles” by the UNP’s Mangala Samaraweera, with Mr. Sumanthiran of the TNA  which was and is the voice of Eelam, Mr. V.T. Thamilmaran, an unnamed representative of the Global Tamil Forum, Dr. Jayampathi Wickramaratne and a lawyer from the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress.  The conference had been organized by a LTTE front organization in South Africa. It was claimed that Mr. Samaraweera urged support for a regime change and in return promised to give all demands of the TNA such as the release all LTTE terrorists from prisons, (to the TNA and Mr. Samaraweera they are “political prisoners” even though they are LTTE cadres (terrorists), removal of the army from Jaffna,  full implementation of the 13th Amendment, and a Federal state in the North and East of Sri Lanka. In 2015 there was regime change and since then the other items stated above  seem to be on this government’s agenda to be gradually implemented. Mr. Sumanthiran’s statements as well of those by the Global Tamil Forum and other Tamil diaspora groups who supported the LTTE seem to be demanding their pound of flesh. The security forces are under duress which has been the “revenge” sought by the Tamil diaspora and international community.  Mr. Samaraweera de- listing these LTTE support groups and calling LTTE fighters “political prisoners” must have been the icing on the cake!

Now the country has another UNP government and they have co-sponsored a resolution, again sanctioning international interference  in Sri Lanka against the laws of the country, at the behest of the same international community that supports the LTTE and the Tamil diaspora who have continued to press ahead with their goal of Eelam. The UNP led government seems to still believe that Sri Lankans are incapable of managing internal issues and is encouraging and accepting non-stop visits from interfering foreigners who want to meddle in other countries mostly to the detriment of these countries. We have a SLFP president who seems to have a different point of view as stated in the latest interview to the BBC Sandeshaya on January 21. He seems to believe in the capabilities of Sri Lankans to manage their own matters. He believes the international community need not worry about matters of state interest and that the investigation into war crimes should be internal and indigenous and not violate the laws of the country. He states “foreign judges and prosecutors should not be involved in an investigation into allegations of war crimes. I believe in the judicial system and other relevant authorities in this regard. I will never agree to international involvement in this matter” to which the Global Tamil Forum, the UNHCR, the foreign NGO’s, local supporters of  Eelam, who have already found the Sri Lankan security forces guilty and just want an international stamp of approval, are crying foul. Against this outcry, the UNP leader hastens to state that his government will stand by it’s commitment to the UNHCR resolution and that there will be “a foreign component”, once more showing that he has no faith in Sri Lankans and is willing to “violate” the laws of the country.

It will be interesting to see whether it will be an SLFP president who wins this round. The people, who will ultimately reap the benefits or pay the price of these decisions are being ignored. Despite the constant talk of the elected representatives doing the will of the people, the people are being kept in the dark. Will this attitude ever change?

Yours truly,

Ira de Silva




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