Former Sri Lankan president Chandrika Kumaratunga on Tuesday said that she was rather bewildered by India’s decision to vote against the country at a US-sponsored UN resolution seeking action against Lanka on the purported war crimes committed during its almost three-decade-long war against the LTTE.
Speaking exclusively to CNN-IBN’s Senior Editor Suhasini Haidar, Kumaratunga said something “serious must have happened” that India took a decision of not supporting Sri Lanka.
Here is a full transcript of the interview:
Suhasini Haidar: Your views on India’s vote against Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council…
Chandrika Kumaratunga: It’s not good for Sri Lanka, and I personally am very sad that this came to this state of affairs, but I’m rather bewildered why we should have allowed it to come to this, because India, for example, two years ago I believe it was two years or one year,
Suhasini Haidar: That’s right 2009.
Chandrika Kumaratunga: Was it 2009 when the last resolution came up?
Suhasini Haidar: That’s right straight after…
Chandrika Kumaratunga: And I noted, India supported us fully and even canvassed on our behalf so that we won… the resolution was defeated… so something must have happened in between for India to have voted against us, and I don’t think India would have taken a decision lightly.
Suhasini Haidar: In fact, do you think the government has done enough when it comes to not just convincing the world on human rights abuses, but actually working on the ground there?
Chandrika Kumaratunga: Much more can be done, for reconciliation, for physical reconstruction, its three years since the war ended…
Suhasini Haidar: One of the ministers today has in fact said that India’s vote dealt a killer blow to relations between India and Sri Lanka. Do you think that’s the case?
Chandrika Kumaratunga: Well you see, what you see in Sri Lankan press, we have a totally controlled press, if I may say so, may not be what the majority of the Sri Lankan people think. And India has not in the recent past tried in any way to obstruct Sri Lanka’s policies and programmes and government. And I know personally that, well this is a publically known thing that India has been asking for political settlement of the Tamil people’s problem. And I have always held this view that ending the war does not bring peace by itself. That’s obviously the necessary first step, especially to do away with terrorism, and you know all that kind of thing, but then thereafter there is a lot of rebuilding.
Suhasini Haidar: There are hundreds and thousands of Tamilians today who have suffered from the excesses of the Sri Lankan army, and certainly of the war against the LTTE. Many have talked about torture. Do you think it’s going to be possible for the people in the north and east of Sri Lanka to move on in this process of reconciliation?
Chandrika Kumaratunga: Of course it is, if the government takes the lead. See what happened in South Africa.
Suhasini Haidar: And India’s role should be?
Chandrika Kumaratunga: India’s role should be to help us, to encourage our government, to move forward in this way, and India is doing that very effectively, but well one has to listen.
No one can deny, It was Chandrika's father who first brought trouble to this country by introducing Sinhala Only Policy in 1956. India supported us throughout the three decades of War, but it is simple truth our leaders who won the War for us did not take any initiative to win Peace and reconcile with the Tamils. We don't have to be political pundits to know this!
Mubarak Wednesday, 11 April 2012 06:25 AM
well said mam, can't talk to deaf, unfortunately those are the kind of people ruling now
xlntgson Wednesday, 11 April 2012 06:20 AM
I for India! One of the BRICS moving, therefore we can call BRCS. (breaks?)
Minister Wednesday, 11 April 2012 06:43 AM
We can remember how you and your comrades lamente and shouted during your regime when Ranil signed the cese fire agreement with LTTE. Today you are playing quite a different tune. Without power nikam pisssssuuuuuuu wage needa!
Yuri Wednesday, 11 April 2012 07:53 AM
Why do not come back to send the evils to hell
buffaloa citizen Wednesday, 11 April 2012 08:20 AM
Certainly bewildering while India cannot remain silent puppet to the criminality, dishonesty and inhumanity perpetuated by a regime that is the most notorious in the history of this country.
Mason Wednesday, 11 April 2012 08:10 AM
There is nothing bewildering about India having voted against Sri Lanka. If you will see everyone has had enough of the lip service paid by Sri Lanka about settling of the Tamil problem, good governance, human rights violations, law and order situation etc etc. It is high time the government wakes up from it's slumber and do some work for the benefit of the people.
lankan Wednesday, 11 April 2012 12:56 PM
we really missed you Madam..!
gamage Thursday, 12 April 2012 04:51 AM
1956 was the year started sinhala only lanka lost lot of scholers who left the country then the education went to the dogs and some were benifited to continue with the english medium were the moslims today the people are good busiessmen in the country and people left to work overseas it was all the brain drain of swrd and he paid for it and people never thought learnig english would have been like having the second passport as today with sinhala only one cannot go beyond vavunia gamage
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