(Gotabhaya Rajapaksa: Waiting to grab power)
The great electoral victory won by democratic forces on 8th January 2015 against the anti-democratic, corrupt, murderous, and authoritarian family rule is in jeopardy. The Rajapaksa family and cronies have begun to regroup in order to reverse the democratic gains we have made. This appears a real threat at present. If these attempts are not halted the country will be flung into an abyss and the people will again face the situation that prevailed during the thirty years of barbaric war. Nobody would like to go back to that era again.
These murderous and anti democratic forces are ever ready to use the anxieties of people in the South to present a bleak future around the devolution of political power to the provinces. In doing so, they try to hide behind the slogan of patriotism. They argue that the devolution of power would lead to the division of the country. They want to paint a picture of regional democracy bringing the Sinhala nation and Buddhism to its knees. Their argument is built on the premise that the Sinhala Buddhist supremacist forces should govern the country. They argue that the other communities must faithfully follow their dictate. The multi-ethnic and multi -religious nature of this country and the plural democratic governance that would make Sri Lanka a modern nation has no bearing on their discourse as they try to appeal to the seemingly ‘primordial’ sentiments of the Sinhala community.
In their utterances of fundamentalist and anti democratic statements they appear deluded and shameless, and, moreover, betray Buddhism itself. They argue that the crimes committed against innocent people and other activists in the South should not be investigated or punished because perpetrators are from the security forces. These murders were carried out by the regime as part of silencing the dissent by death. They insist that the law should not be applied against these criminal acts because they happened during the war. The case against the abduction and disappearance of Prageeth Ekneligoda about six years ago is being heard now at Homagama Magistrate Court. When the court was in session, Galgoda Aththe Ghanissara Theca of Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), a fundamentalist Buddhist outfit that campaigns against non-Buddhist and minority communities forcibly entered the court and disrupted the proceedings by making a statement. He was subsequently arrested and remanded on the charges of contempt of court. The so-called joint opposition demanding to absolve Yoshitha Rajapaksa who was arrested a few days ago on the charges of money laundering presents similar arguments. Since his father led the regime that defeated the Tamil Tigers, they try to argue that the Rajapaksa family is being victimized to please the Tamil diaspora.
The current government has so far failed to use the political and moral mandate it has been granted with passion and rigor. The government leadership has not demonstrated coherence, foresight, and vision in applying the law against the wrong doers.
We call upon the government to apply the due legal process and be firm against these horrible crimes and the plunder of national wealth. Their strategy is to spread irrational fears and arguments with aggressive intent against individuals and the organs of the state. Their aim is to weaken them in order to achieve their short term and long-term political aim. The government also needs to investigate the complicity of the BBS in the attacks of Muslim people and their property in Aluthgama in 2014 and bring the perpetrators to justice. The failure to act on these criminal activities will provide the Rajapaksa family with the opportunity to build a fascist type of anti-people political movement.
All Buddhist clergy and true Buddhist believers need to reclaim Buddhism from those who distort Buddhist teachings, which preach peace and kindness towards other religions and minority communities. If they are able to continue with their anti-democratic and pseudo patriotic rhetoric current reconciliation efforts would be thwarted and the political conditions for the ethnic conflict will set in motion again.
We appeal to all the democratic and progressive forces to come forward to defeat these anti democratic and tribal forces in the South and ensure that ethnic peace and reconciliation efforts will continue rebuilding the Sri Lanka nation on the basis of plural democracy. The civil society organizations and millions and millions of people who ensured the January 8th victory need to be vigilant and come forward to protect and consolidate their historic victory. If this does not happen those villainous leaders who swindled our national wealth will come back to power and subvert our democratic gains. We should redouble our efforts to stop this.
If we are united this can be done, just as our democratic forces were able to defeat the corrupt Rajapaksa regime in January last year.
Press statement singed by
Dr. Richard Perera and Dayapala Thiranagama for Peoples’ democratic Centre