R. K. Radhakrishnan
A controversy has arisen on the title of a new book to be launched on Monday, which attempts to credit Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, major credit for defeat of the Tamil Tigers in May 2009.
The book, ‘Gota’s War: The Crushing of Tamil Tiger Terrorism in Sri Lanka,’ written by C.A. Chandraprema, a journalist with Divaina, a Sinhalese newspaper, was launched in the presence of the ‘who’s who’ in Sri Lanka, including President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Speaking in parliament, Tamil National Alliance Member of Parliament M.A.Sumanthiran, posed a few uncomfortable questions: “Whose war? It says Gota’s War. And the subtitle says the ‘crushing of Tamil Tiger Terrorism in Sri Lanka.’ Tamil equals Tiger equals Terrorists. That kind of mindset…you can write a book about the war. That is not what I am taking about. I am talking about the language used. You said Tamil Tiger Terrorists. That mindset will never advance any kind of reconciliation in this country.”
Elaborating on the larger issue of reconciliation, Mr.Sumanthiran highlighted the recent transfers of Government Agents [equivalent to District Collector in India, but with far lesser powers], and said that removing Tamil officers from Tamil areas and appointing persons who have no proficiency in Tamil, will not advance reconciliation. “Yesterday [Thursday] it was GA Vavuniya [who was transferred]. This follows the appointment of GA Mannar. We protested. We have consistently protested that the GA Trincomalee is a person who has no proficiency in Tamil and worse, he is a retired military man,” he said.
“There are only two provinces in this country that have as their governors, retired military personnel. That is the north and east. Now, why is that? Three years after the end of the war, paying mere lip service to reconciliation, you still want to keep the tight control over those people, you want to occupy their lands,” he added.