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Sunday, March 3, 2024

By ignoring Tamil and Muslim issues the national opposition is conducting a one-eyed democracy campaign

Mano Ganesan – “It is Answering Time for the southern Sinhala establishment. Tamils in particular and the Sri Lanka onlooker world community in large are the petitioners.  Does Sinhala establishment consider the military defeat of LTTE as the defeat of the Tamil people?

What is the way forward?

What is the road map?

Is it to transform Sri Lanka into a Sinhala Buddhist only republic?

Even the devolution packages agreed ten years before are not on table since there is no LTTE today?

I am referring to the negotiating table between the GoSL and TNA. It is seemingly deadlocked on police and land powers and militarization. We are hearing and experiencing the positions of the government. It is time that major opposition leaders of the UNP, JVP, DNA and UNP rebel group come out with their positions on land, police powers and militarization in the north in view of the resolution of national question. I name Ranil Wickramasinghe, Somawansa Amarasinghe, Sarath Fonseka, Karu Jayasuriya and Sajith Premadasa.

We have passed the 30 year war now. It is high time that the national political leadership in the south to come out with their respective positions on the core fundamentals of the national question. It is because we face a deadlock now.

National opposition cannot be ignorant nor wash their hands as if it is a matter between government and TNA. All the national parties share the blame responsibility to the current unresolved ethnic issue.

Tamils are disturbed by two thoughts circulating in the south. One that south treating the military defeat of LTTE as the defeat of Tamil people and other is that, since there is no LTTE not even the devolution packages agreed ten years before should be offered to Tamil people.

We wish to know if the opposition is taking same and equal position of the government. You do not require a parliamentary select committee (PSC) for this.

These are fundamentals needed before you sit down for talks. I think it is what is preventing TNA from positively considering the PSC. This PSC is not any new innovative. Tamils have come across numerous pacts and committees. PSC can decide about the technicalities and not the fundamentals. I do not think Tamils can buy PSC without answers on the fundamentals.

I don’t think Tamils are asking for the total demilitarization of the north. We are one country. We require military and police. The traditional security establishments are needed in the north at least to secure the rights of our fisher folk from the encroaching Indian fishing vessels. The newly established camps during the war should be dismantled and they need to be replaced with the police. Police is not military but civil. Many in the south fail to understand the differences between police and military. The military is interfering in the whole spheres of the civil life in the north. This cannot go on. The south need to take a responsible approach towards this in the New Year.

I also call upon the left leaders in the government to take part in this answering time. Some of them are now whitewashing the government. They should be sincere to their leftism at least at this late answering hour.

This government has defeated most of the democratic characteristics hitherto preserved in the Sri Lankan polity. The last nails were the 18th A and final stages of the war. This is a racist autocratic regime. We do not have to debate on this.

Most of the state terrorist doings those carry out on the Tamil community in the north and east and Colombo are now extended to the south.

We are traumatized by the activities of the state. But it is not the only case. The southern opposition campaign for democracy is also shocking us. The opposition loudspeakers of the south who campaign for democracy are tactfully avoiding the Tamil issues. It is disgusting. The so called campaign for democracy of the opposition is one-eyed. With all the responsibility I refer to it as A one eyed- democracy campaign.

Southern opposition leaders raise their voices on all and every issue concerning the south. Those too some loud and some not so louder. But they keep out from the issues of the Tamils and Muslims very tactfully. It is some selective amnesia, we Tamils are dismayed.

Those who speak for Sarath Fonseka’s release are absentminded on the long held Tamil political detainees. Isn’t it selective amnesia?

Those who voice on the Baratha Lakshman killing are ignorant on the Nadarajah Raviraj killing. The death saga of thousands of Tamil civilians in the final stages of war is nobody’s concern here. Isn’t it selective amnesia in this Buddhist majority country?

Those who campaign for the disappearances of certain activists in the south are silent on the disappearances of the 500 plus Tamils in Colombo and over 5000 Tamils in north and east outside the war theatre between 2006 and 2008 end. Isn’t it selective amnesia?

Opposition in the south closes their eyes or just ignores the issues of the Tamil people.

We call upon the opposition leaders to respond to the issues concerning the Tamil and Muslim people.

We are in the forefront in the campaigns on Sarath Fonseka, Bharatha Lakshman and Prageeth Ekneligoda. Make no mistake on that.

Especially, I stood with Sarath Fonseka from the beginning until the remanding of Sarath Fonseka. I was there with him in the campaign for presidency. I was one of the few when he was rounded up in TransAsia hotel. I was with him when he was dragged like an animal by the very military he lead few months before. In fact we consider Fonseka as a political prisoner. And himself as the symbol of the political confinement in Sri Lanka.

JVP took up arms against the state of Sri Lanka in 1971 and 1989. Southern Sinhala rebels killed in these rebellions are remembered today. Their memories are honored by their comrades and family members publicly in Colombo and all over the south. But the Tamils cannot even remember their dead civilian family members not to speak about the armed fighters. The parents and family members cannot even ring the bells at the village temples and churches on the day of remembrance.

They cannot light oil lamps in the remembrance of their dead children. They cannot conduct religious rituals for the dead. These are not political. But the JVP conducts political remembrances. Both Sinhala south and Tamil north took up arms against the state of Sri Lanka. But there is double standard. It is echoed in the Sinhala psyche. It is echoed in the Government of Sri Lanka. It is echoed in the southern opposition of Sri Lanka.

This has to change. Tamil causes needed to be accommodated within the Sri Lankan political campaign. Without Tamil and Muslim causes included it won’t be the national movement. We cannot play secondary within any political campaign movement which excludes the issues of our people.”
– Speech made by Mano Ganesan leader of the Democratic People Front, at the NSSP annual convention



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