CBK calls for reconciliation

3 April 2015 01:53 am - 17     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The government’s efforts to promote national unity in Sri Lanka will break down unless there is reconciliation, according to the former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga (CBK).

“I think it is absolutely crucial,” Ms. Kumaratunga told The Hindu in her first interview to international media in some years.

Recently invited to head a special presidential task force on reconciliation, she said it would be transformed into a permanent office on national unity and reconciliation. “We have been very encouraged by the reaction we have had already [received] from the international community, including India which is offering us a lot of help to do all this work,” she said.

Sri Lanka is now reverting to a foreign policy based on a principle of “dynamic active non-alignment”, Ms. Kumaratunga said.

She said the country was working hard to re-establish good relations with India after they were “completely sabotaged” by the past government.

Ms. Kumaratunga — who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Sri Lanka in March – said Mr. Modi, was the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the country in a long time, and also two months after the new government came in. “So it was a very strong message of friendship that he gave us.”

Ever since her return to politics late 2014, backing the joint opposition platform against former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Ms. Kumaratunga has been actively engaged in the reconciliatory efforts of the new government under President Maithripala Sirisena.

Attired in a summery white kurta and trousers, Ms. Kumaratunga spoke to this correspondent in the high-roofed reception room of her home in the heart of Colombo.

Currently focusing on rebuilding the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) — founded by her father S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, subsequently led by her mother Sirimavo Bandaranaike and later herself — which according to her was effectively weakened by Mr. Rajapaksa, she plans to travel across the country with President Maithripala Sirisena to speak to the people at the field level and “alleviate the problem”.

Mr. Rajapaksa, she said, was defeated by the people of Sri Lanka in a democratic election mainly for his bad governance “his family’s corruption, the lack of human rights and some murders and the lack of freedom overall”.

Commenting on the regime change that the island witnessed in January 2015, the former President said: “One thing that everybody says, including his Ministers, is that even if we get nothing the feeling of freedom we have, after the Rajapaksas went, is so great. This was a police state. The people voted them out.”

After the new government took over, the engagement between Colombo and the Tamil National Alliance, the main Tamil party representing Sri Lanka’s northern Tamils, in her view, has been “excellent.”

“They [the TNA] have to shout once in a while to keep their identity but we have very good relations,” she said, on concerns raised by sections within the TNA over the pace and direction of the new government’s efforts.

Observing that she would now like to contribute to reconciliatory efforts in the country, Ms. Kumaratunga however ruled out returning to electoral politics. Asked if her son Vimukti would — amid local reports speculating on his entry to politics — she said: “I don’t want to speak for my son but I definitely will not come into electoral politics. I think it is very ugly.”

This, she noted, despite sections among the international community insisting that she consider returning. On whether India was among those countries keen on her return, she said, “No comments.” (The Hindu)
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  • Shiran Saturday, 04 April 2015 12:22 PM

    Minorities are Sri Lankan

    Gamini Saturday, 04 April 2015 01:17 PM

    What reconciliation you did during your rule?

    Susil Friday, 03 April 2015 08:18 AM

    Dear CBK, Please stay away from Sri Lanka. Looks like you are carrying out a mission for UK and paid by Tamil diaspora. You need to let Sirisena to run the country even-though his government may not last long.

    purohitha Saturday, 04 April 2015 01:47 PM

    Good. But first reconcile with your self.

    Cyril n Friday, 03 April 2015 08:56 AM

    Laudable efforts. It is essential North South dialogue must be encouraged and bring peace amongst communities. Media/journalists who support communal ism should be banned.

    patriot Saturday, 04 April 2015 02:41 PM

    Dear CBKyour whole family ruined this country by changing our education system from English to sinhala and tamil if it was the previous system our country would have had a better working community and non of these issues wouldnt have sprunged up and you were no better your H.E time was spent drinking and partying please leave this country and go via DM Android App

    suren Friday, 03 April 2015 09:14 AM

    yeas appeasing minorities in the guise of national reconciliation is her motive

    Eds Friday, 03 April 2015 09:24 AM

    CBK, havent you caused enough damage during the 11 years of your rule?

    Ranjan Friday, 03 April 2015 09:53 AM

    Killing,stealing,corruption and thuggery was also part of her presidential rule.They are well documented.

    Ganesha Friday, 03 April 2015 09:54 AM

    So long as a few communal monkeys and racial rascals who are born with ,her and other majority leaders efforts can not be stopped for the good of the country anymore

    Dayawathie Saturday, 04 April 2015 06:07 PM

    Madam, first you have to stop hating Mahinda Rajapakse who is the most popular politician in Sri Lanka at the moment , no matter what.

    shane Friday, 03 April 2015 10:05 AM

    Stay away from Sri Lanaka. You are as BAD as MR! You are not here to ensure reconciliation but to fill your pocket again! You are still the BANDIT QUEEN!

    Bala Friday, 03 April 2015 10:09 AM

    You remember your own quip - an editor or two. And now you attack MR for murder - pot calling the kettle black.

    Ganesha Saturday, 04 April 2015 09:09 PM

    If not for Chandrika ,none would have taken Maithri and Ranil could have been easily defeated by racists and minorities would have been under the boots of Rajapakesa demons still unable to breathe even.

    Veda-mama Friday, 03 April 2015 10:57 AM

    CBK WOULD HAVE KNOWN BY NOW THAT "NATIONAL UNITY" IS MERELY A "DAY DREAM" WHEN ALL ARE CHASING AFTER "POWER AND MONEY".

    chathura Friday, 03 April 2015 11:21 AM

    is she the sri lankan president...

    willowsd Friday, 03 April 2015 11:37 AM

    What ever said and done it is past, try your best madam and make sri lanka for every one


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