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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Channel 4 video threatens regional harmony – Deputy Minister

The fabricated Channel 4 video will harm the peace and unity of Sri Lanka and the region. This is a regional issue, said External Affairs Deputy Minister Neomal Perera during an interview with the Daily News.
He pointed out that relations of Tamils who came from India to work in estates still live in India. Therefore, the vide creates hatred not only in Sri Lanka but also among countries in the region.
“It polarizes communities and harms regional peace and harmony,” he said.

Following are extracts of the interview:

Q: What are the latest developments regarding the Darusman Report?

A: The Darusman Report was purposely launched when Sri Lanka was celebrating the Sinhala and Hindu New Year. The entire country was celebrating the national festival at the time of the launch of this report and asked us to reply within one week. How can we describe terrorism that existed for 30 years in one week? The launch was also well-planned. The report did not come from the UN system. The UN Secretary General visited Sri Lanka around May 2009 himself and saw everything with his own eyes. The report was produced to hear what others have to say. The report has baseless, fabricated allegations.

Food was distributed among the IDPs under the supervision of the Jaffna GA. The whole world saw and knew how we took care of the IDPs, how the Armed Forces treated and cured them, and how the Sri Lankan government rehabilitated ex-LTTE cadres.

External Affairs Deputy Minister Neomal Perera

Sri Lanka is the only country which supplied food, medicine and medical equipment worth billions of rupees to conflict affected areas while the LTTE terrorists were fighting with the government. No foreign intervention took place. This is not so when it comes to other countries. It happened only in Sri Lanka. Electricity and water supply was destroyed and interrupted by the terrorists. Billions of rupees worth foreign aid was taken and enjoyed by the LTTE and INGOs that supposedly by ‘worked’ in the North. The INGOs lost their ‘honeymoon’ once the humanitarian operation was over. Millions of dollars were paid to persons with no educational or professional qualifications to go to LTTE-held areas which they called high-risk areas, and ‘work’. They are the people now ‘investigating’ and making ‘reports’.

At that time, doctors who worked at the hospital said the LTTE was holding them and their families as hostages. They said so because guns were pointed to their heads. Today they are safe and free to travel anywhere in the world. They say that the hospital was not bombed. Foreign elements have to fabricate issues like the Channel 4 video to win the world’s sympathy and get more financial aid. Now the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) is looking into this and Sri Lankan government will take all necessary measures in responding to the report and to the Channel 4 video. Sri Lanka will not hesitate to implement the law if anybody violated it. The recommendations of the LLRC will be implemented.

Q: How is Sri Lanka going to face the Channel 4’s actions against Sri Lanka?

A: The Channel 4 video might have a connection with the Darusman Report. Maybe they are inter-connected. Relevant British authorities should have taken action against this channel. The fabricated video will harm the peace and unity of Sri Lanka and the region. This is a regional issue. Britain badly treated the Indian Tamil people who were brought to Sri Lanka to work in estates. They were slaves and lived in toilets. Today, they live in Sri Lanka with peace and dignity. But their relations still live in India. The video creates hatred not only in Sri Lanka but also among countries in the region. It polarizes communities and harms regional peace and harmony.

The South East Asian region is now rapidly developing. Unlike other regions in the world, we do not have war and other conflicts. Sri Lanka has taken the lead in this development. Sri Lanka has the best health indicators in the region and also achieved many Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). We do not depend on nuclear energy. Our resources such as fish are not contaminated. There is no power crisis here. Geographically Sri Lanka is located in a very important place in the world. Therefore, this conspiracy is a well-planned one to destroy Sri Lanka’s image and the regional development. Sri Lanka will scientifically prove that the Channel 4 video is a fabricated one. There are many motives behind this video. Dividing the South Asian countries and controlling them can be one of them. We will take action against perpetrators who created this fabricated video.

Q: How are we going to face possible future challenges such as misleading ‘reports’ and fabricated videos?

A: I won’t be surprised if many more similar ‘videos’ and documentaries come up and be telecast over on Channel 4 or Channel 5, 6 or any other channel in the future. It is simple to shut down one channel and open another by the same person or organization. No legal action is being taken against tarnishing people’s images. The operators just vanish and open another channel after a while. It is the same with the newspapers here in Sri Lanka and abroad. LTTE foreign funds will be used for that purpose. There is a large amount of funds out there. Everything is done for economic benefits. Tarnishing the image of popular politicians is being done here and abroad. The Opposition is doing the same. When terrorists are fighting in a communist country they are being called freedom fighters! When the same group fights in a Western country they become terrorists!

Q: What can you say about the Opposition’s criticism of Sri Lanka’s present foreign service?

A: The Opposition cannot get together and solve their own problems. They cannot unite even when there is a few of them. So how can they talk about Sri Lanka’s foreign service? They always criticize but their criticism is not constructive at all. They are trying to demoralize our foreign service. Now we have adequate funds and we are in the process of strengthening it. Media should help to educate the people on the duties done by our foreign missions abroad. President Mahinda Rajapaksa is appointing well-qualified, talented professionals. The President has a vision for the country.

Q: What is the responsibility of the Sri Lankan people when in protecting and promoting the motherland?

A: We tell all Sri Lankans living abroad to come to Sri Lanka and enjoy life here. Please get your green card and come here. If you did not receive your green card yet, then wait and get it. Then come to Sri Lanka. We offer you dual citizenship. You had been pushed against the wall by the LTTE. Now you are free and the Sri Lankan foreign missions will ensure your safety. Your lands are here. Come and claim them or buy lands here.

The Tamil diaspora cannot keep silent now and tell the world later that they lost their lands in Sri Lanka and that lands had been taken away from them. They should not take lands in the future using bogus deeds. They can come to Sri Lanka and get their lands now. The Tamil-nadu politician who attacked to Sri Lankan foreign mission there had courage to come to Sri Lanka and travel to Jaffna by road to attend a funeral. So why can’t the Tamil diaspora do it? Why can’t the Human Rights Watch do it?

Sri Lanka is a paradise. The country is very peaceful and beautiful. The crimes are far less compared to some Western countries. We have a lot of Free Trade Agreements (FTA). Foreign investors can invest in Sri Lanka without thinking twice. We are a cultured nation with religious values. Our life expectancy is very high now.

Sri Lanka is the gateway to Asia. Therefore, we invite businessmen, investors, professionals and all others to visit here, invest money and enjoy being here. Sri Lanka has one of the best harbour networks. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is a visionary leader. He commenced the development drive long before launching the humanitarian operation. He won the war and ensured the rights of the Tamil community. Now they are living in Sri Lanka just like they lived here 30 years ago


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