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GOVT. uses emergency to silence dissent- Tilvin


20 May 2011

Whenever there is a proper foreign policy coupled with professional diplomats, all these problems can be handled without any harm to the country. Unfortunately, we lack it today.

Q : In the event of the release of the UN report and Sri Lanka involved in a diplomatic crisis, how will the JVP formulate its political strategies?

Of course, there is a different environment in the post war period.

 The armed struggle for separatism ended. Yet, the attempts by the re-colonialists to divide this country are still there. These forces have not yet given up their attempts to interfere with the internal affairs of the country. 

With the end of the war, the government should have taken steps not to leave any room for such interferences by the UN or anyone. They could have done it by addressing the political and socio-economic grievances of people in the war affected areas. Instead, the government acted to achieve its narrow political gains by trying to impose political and cultural hegemony over those hapless people.

This has placed Sri Lanka in a disadvantageous position internationally. Under these circumstances, the re-colonialist forces try to achieve their targets.

The JVP formulates its political strategies accordingly. We want to defeat these forces and to address the economic, social, political and other issues of people under a new mechanism. Justice and equality are of paramount importance.

Q : What are the immediate matters that should be addressed by the government?

It is very important to lift the state of emergency and do away with laws such as the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).

Also, in the post war context, steps should be taken to release all these Tamil political detainees. The displaced people should be provided with necessary facilities and resettled speedily. It is all the more important to establish civil administration in those areas.

Q : Yet, the government says they want the state of emergency further to take legal action against those involved in terrorism at that time. How would you see this situation?

If anyone looks at how the government used the emergency regulations in recent times, it will be very clear.

 They have used emergency regulations to suppress the protests rallies. They suppressed the media freedom in the same way. Editor of Lanka Newspaper Chandana Sirimalwatte was arrested and detained under the emergency. Also, the government postponed the election of 22 local bodies under the state of emergency, and these were the areas that were politically disadvantageous to the government.

Had the government wanted to take action against those involved in terrorism, the government should have done it during the last two years after the end of the war.  It is clear what the government is using these regulations for. While highlighting terrorism-related cases to retain the emergency, the government only uses them to undermine the democratic rights of citizens and to silence the dissent.

Q : What is your immediate response to the Joint Statement between Sri Lanka and India?

In addition to the involvement of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in the internal matters of Sri Lanka, the government has paved the way for India too to get involved.

 Again, Sri Lanka is influenced to go for power devolution. All these things will put Sri Lanka in a disadvantageous position. India tries to exploit the situation to spread its economic influence over Sri Lanka. Overally, this will not bring any benefit to Sri Lanka.

The country has two options – whether to succumb to such external pressure or to take steps to prevent such external involvements by addressing the grievances of people in the appropriate manner.

Q : In your view, how should Sri Lanka act in the diplomatic front at this hour?

It is very difficult to find an answer to the present crisis under the capitalist system.

  Yet, even under such a system, professional diplomats can find answers. Whenever there is a proper foreign policy coupled with professional diplomats, all these problems can be handled without any harm to the country. Unfortunately, we lack it today.

Q : During the post war period, the JVP appears to be interested in wooing more and more Tamil votes.  They have accelerated political activities in the North. Is this a change of policy stand?

Our politics is not aimed at increasing the number of votes but to give equal rights to all the people based on left ist principles.

 During the war period of 30 years, people in the North did not have a chance to get a taste of leftist politics.

We want to convince these people that leftist principles have sustainable solutions for their social, economic and political problems. We try to mobilize people for such a radical change in the socio-economic system. One can argue that the JVP will lose its vote bank in the south by trying to appease the interests of people in the North. We have resorted to do politics in the North despite such a risk involved. Our concern is not merely to increase the number of voters we have.  

Q : Have you really changed your stand on a political solution?

There is no change in our stand. Power devolution is not the appropriate answer.

 We want to find a solution that ensures the political, social and economic rights of the Tamil people under a new social order. We want to highlight that these problems cannot be solved by giving political powers to the representatives of the Tamil elites. Today, the government talks about power devolution. At the same time, they even take over the power already devolved.  People should realize it. It is a kind of a fraud.

Q : How will be JVP’s future politics with Sarath Fonseka?

Still, we believe that Mr. Fonseka has been politically victimized.

 We have intervened in the judicial process to get him released. We will continue with that struggle. Very soon, we are planning to launch a poster campaign against the suppression of media and democratic rights. We will demand the release of Sarath Fonseka through this campaign.

Q : What are the JVP’s views on the government’s attempt to lease out several government ventures to the private sector?

Though this government claims that they are not for privatization, they have privatized a lot.

 They privatized several hotels that belonged to the Hotel Corporation. This is the double- standard of the government. They say one thing and do another. They talk about patriotism, but do exactly the opposite

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