Prez, PM warned of diabolical destabilisation projects to weaken state
Posted on February 23rd, 2020

By Shamindra Ferdinando Courtesy The Island


Having highlighted both local and external challenges faced by post-war Sri Lanka, Professor of Archaeology at the University of Kelaniya Prof. Raj Kumar Somadeva, on Saturday (22), warned there could not be a state without a country.

Underscoring the importance of exploring ways and means of providing homegrown solutions to complex issues on the basis of our past experiences, Prof. Somadeva, a member of the World Archaeological Congress, urged the new leadership to rectify shortcomings.

Prof. Somadeva said so at an event organised at Nelum Pokuna Theatre to celebrate National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawasna’s 20th year in national politics. Among the invites were President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, architect of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Basil Rajapaksa, Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekera and Dudley Sirisena.

Prof. Somadeva, who led the high profile excavation of the Mannar mass graves, at the onset of his address explained how the post-Independence Sri Lanka had failed to achieve desired goals. He emphasised that the country was in current predicament due to the failure on the part of successive governments to adopt a national policies.

Senior lecturer Prof. Induragare Dharmarathana thera of the Cultural Studies section of the Kelaniya University and MP Weerawansa too explained the growing challenges faced by the Sri Lankan state with the latter declaring that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had been elected to reverse the deterioration of the State.

Colombo District MP Weerawansa said the country remained vulnerable to destabilisation efforts in spite of eradication of terrorism in May 2009 and change of government in November 2019.

Weerawansa said that even if those who lost the last presidential election were ready to accept defeat, their external backers wouldn’t give up their efforts.

Emphasizing the responsibility on the part of the government to ensure public security, Prof. Somadeva said the country should follow nationalist policies and adopt homegrown solutions to its problems.

Prof. Somadeva also briefly dealt with the constitution making process undertaken by India and how Sri Lanka could benefit therefrom.

Commending Weerawansa for following nationalist strategies, Prof. Somadeva explained how rulers should deal with the citizenry under different circumstances.

Ven. Dharmarathana, having commended the way Weerawansa pursued nationalist strategies, both in and outside parliament, appreciated the role played by him, in his capacity as a top member of the JVP to create an environment conducive for de-linking the Eastern Province from the North in late 2006.

Having faulted the JVP for not accepting the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s repeated requests to join his government, the Thera referred MP Weerawansa’s untiring efforts to convince the party to back that government. Ven. Dharmarathana regretted that the JVP had missed the opportunities that had presented themselves.

Had the JVP acted sensibly, it might even have been able to secure political power or be in a strong position in a ruling alliance, Ven. Dharmarathana said.

Recollecting the role played by the JVP in the then President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga’s ‘probationary’ government, Ven. Dharmarathana said ill-conceived policies had led to an erosion of public confidence in the JVP to such an extent it had polled a paltry 3 per cent of the vote at the last presidential election.

The Thera alleged that JVP had paid a very heavy price for throwing its weight behind the UNP.

Referring to MP Weerawansa’s criticism of Mahinda Rajapaksa government’s economic policies especially during his second term, Ven. Dharmarathana underscored the importance of learning from past experience.

Ven. Dharmarathana pointed out that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa couldn’t spend time on day to day events. The President’s responsibility was to ensure proper handling of State policy.

Ven. Dharmarathana explained how various Western concepts could be used by interested parties to destabilise President Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, in his brief speech, paid a glowing a tribute to MP Weerawansa’s political role, both as a member of the JVP parliamentary group as well as the leader of the NFF. Rajapaksa recollected how Weerawansa, having quit the JVP during his first term as the president, built a party of his own. Former SLFP leader Rajapaksa remembered the role played by MP Weerawansa along with other members to bring him back to power. The launch of ‘Mahinda Sulanga’ campaign with a massive rally at Nugegoda had come as a rule shock to those celebrating the change of government in January 2015, Rajapaksa said, alleging that the Rajapaksas, including wartime Defence Secretary Gotabaya and key members of that administration had been targeted because the yahapalana lot couldn’t stomach the eradication of terrorism.

PM Rajapaksa said that the campaign in which Weerawansa played a significant role had facilitated Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s successful election campaign finally leading to an overwhelming victory at the 2019 presidential election.

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