”I think a political solution means you have to do a lot of things. We are doing a lot of things. This Constitution of Sri Lanka is far more advanced than any other Constitution in the world. TNA is trying to bring back the same environment, the same fear psychosis.”
Will your government ever produce a political solution?
I think a political solution means you have to do a lot of things. We are doing a lot of things. This Constitution of Sri Lanka is far more advanced than any other Constitution in the world. Every right of the people, the women, the minorities, all races, everyone, is covered. The judiciary has supreme power, even going over the legislature. Every commission which can be created in the world is created in Sri Lanka in the Constitution. It’s all there in the book but practical things have to be done. When I go to Jaffna, I can’t use my language in any of the offices. Similarly, sometimes, it may be that a person coming to Colombo from Jaffna can’t use his own language. Funny thing is that we both have to use another person’s language, English, to communicate. There are also areas in which both communities are living where we have to find a way to implement. I have got a lot of complaints that when a Sinhala person goes to the land office in the Trinco kachcheri he cannot communicate in his own language.
Are those talks with the TNA going well?
This is not something which you can suddenly sit down and put things down a, b, c, d. This is not like sitting for A/Levels and answering a multiple choice question. They give four answers and you select one. We have to go through the reconciliation process. I think we have come to a stage from this election. The diaspora, especially, tried to send a lot of SMS and emails to boycott the election. It didn’t happen. The diaspora thought the government would win because of all the rumours they published in newspapers, and so on. They said ballot papers were taken away. If ballot papers were taken away, those who voted were the ones who still had the ballot papers in their possession. They voted for the TNA! This means that those whose ballot papers were taken away were ours! Why would we take away the ballot papers of our own supporters? I got a complaint that they have gone to our supporters and are threatening them. This is the remnants of the LTTE that are jointly with the TNA, going to people who supported us and some of our candidates and attacking them. Nobody talks about this. They are trying to bring back the same environment, the same fear psychosis.
How was the campaign?
A very negative thing happened during the campaign. The reconciliation process was damaged by the TNA. They tried to dig up history. They distributed Channel 4 CDs and talked about July 1983. They brought hatred among people, invoked Tamil nationalism. After the Vadukkoddai meeting, a germ was put into the minds of the Tamil people but even they, Amirthalingam, later became a victim of it. I’m warning them that once they do this it’s very difficult to go back. The TNA tried to cause divisions on that basis but fortunately there were areas in Jaffna where people totally rejected this.
excerpts from An Interview with Basil Rajapaksa by Namini Wijedasa on Lakbima News