Sauce for the goose but not for the gander

13 March 2013 03:15 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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- By Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne

The Families of the Disappeared, a joint organisation led by Brito had organised a protest in Colombo on March 6. Political leaders too were invited to participate in this event to be held opposite the Colombo Municipality near Viharamahadevi Park. The large convoy of family members of the disappeared, nearly 1000, which travelled from the North were stopped by the military in Vavuniya, and not allowed to proceed to Colombo. Hence the military rulers of the Tamil homeland stopped them taking part in the scheduled protest. The plan of the organisers was to hold a public meeting and submit a petition to the United Nations office in Colombo. These Tamil family members of the disappeared were traveling in 11 buses, all of which were stopped in Vavuniya on the night of March 5.

" The LLRC states “Ensure people, community leaders and religious leaders have the freedom to organise peaceful events and meetings without restrictions“.  But, Tamil people were blocked in Vavuniya, and not allowed to travel further "

Apparently they were told it was not safe for them to travel further. If they continued to do so, there were people who would be pelting stones at them. And, the military would not be able to do anything.

I thought the army was there to keep law and order and arrest those who threw stones at people travelling! No, they were there to defend the right of pelting stones. However as requested, I participated at the event in Colombo. Mano, Asath, Jayalath, and several other political leaders, social activists, Christian priests, a few mothers and fathers were gathered opposite the Viharamahadevi Park in Colombo. The organisers had initially planned to have a Satyagraha in front of the Park, then march  to the Public Library for a public meeting, and then proceed to the United Nations office in Colombo to hand over their petition. But, after the people were stopped in Vavuniya, this brief event was held opposite the Viharamahadevi Park in Colombo.

“The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission states ‘Ensure people, community leaders and religious leaders have the freedom to organise peaceful events and meetings without restrictions.’  But, Tamil people were blocked in Vavuniya, and not allowed to travel further. This is not true reconciliation,” observed Fr. M. Sakthivel, who participated.

" Two decades ago we marched with Mahinda, searching for redress to Sinhala mothers who were looking for their missing children "

I explained to the gathering that this military action showed clearly that the people in the Tamil homeland were living under a military rule and deferentially treated. The police were helpless. It was the military that organised stone-throwing. We had experienced that at Mullaitivu too. The LLRC recommendations were not being implemented. This event exposed the true nature of the situation. In the past, during the peace discussions Mahinda was responsible for the break down of the peace agreement that was established by Ranil. Mahinda went to courts to get a bogus ruling negating the tsunami agreement with the Tamil Tigers. If the peace project was continued, a settlement was inevitable. But Mahinda blasted that opportunity and launched this war. We are now suffering due to this disaster created. Even after the cruel war which killed so many there is no reconciliation. Brutal repression continues. Not only the north but the entire country is coming under a dictatorship. With economic crisis the situation in the north is drifting into the south as well. To curb the unrest and protest against the government in the south, a Muslim hunt has been organised recently by the government. Action against the Muslims and the resultant unrest would be used by the government to suppress democratic rights of all.

" To curb the unrest and protest against the government in the south, a Muslim hunt has been organised recently by the government. Action against the Muslims and the resultant unrest would be used by the government to suppress democratic rights of all "

 “Rights of the Tamil people are not yet respected by the Government of Sri Lanka. Tamil people’s rights are being violated continually in post-war Sri Lanka,” said Mano Ganesan, leader of the Democratic People’s Front.

How can the government speak of reconciliation when the right of a mother to look for the missing son is suppressed?  Two decades ago we marched with Mahinda, searching for redress to Sinhala mothers who were looking for their missing children. But today a Tamil mother of a missing son cannot travel from Jaffna to Colombo to be at the scheduled protest in Colombo!
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