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“Hundred more Mullivaikals...”

24 June 2012 06:30 pm - 4     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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By N. Sathiya Moorthy
They were to be expected. The hardline ‘Sinhala Nationalist Stand’ of JHU leader and Minister Champika Ranawaka’s statement on ‘...hundred more Mullivaikals...’, and the Tamil reaction to the same, that is. Yet, Champika’s position is as ‘qualified’ as the preceding Batticaloa speech of TNA leader Sampanthan. Confusing at best, contradicting otherwise, such statements have the potential to torpedo whatever is remaining of the peace process.

Minister Champika’s response, if anything, may have been late in coming after Sampanthan had made a self-contradicting speech at Batticaloa a few weeks ago. Not only Sinhala nationalist hard-liners but also pro-Tamil sections of the Sinhala polity and society have had problems accepting the formulation. Minister Champika’s statement has to be read in this background.
“Does Mr. Sampanthan want to create hundred more Mullivaikals?” Media reports quoted the JHU leader as telling a news conference. “We are ready to forget and forgive the past and think about the future. But if Mr. Sampanthan is calling us to fight, our nation would proudly accept the challenge,” he said further.

Clearly, the Minister was responding to selected portions of Mr. Sampanthan’s Batticaloa statement. “To put it strongly, the international community must realise through its own experience, without us (Tamils) having to tell them, that the racist Sri Lankan Government will never come forward and give political power to the Tamil people in a united Sri Lanka,” the TNA supremo had told the 14th annual convention of the Illankai Tamizh Arasu Kadchi (ITAK), of which he is the elected president.
The Government has to take the blame in particular for not keeping the momentum of the post-war peace process, and taking it forward at every turn. It is not about processes, but the feeling that both the Government and the TNA were hedging on the same and at the same time not knowing what to ask and what to give – or, give in. Almost from the fifties, this has been the case, otherwise branded as ‘mistrust’ and ‘mutual suspicion’ and contributing to the further building up of the same, as well.




The international community, which the Tamils now rely on have a lot more work to do, watching every word that is spilled in Sri Lanka even as they count and re-count the blood drops, particularly of the Tamils, that have been spilt earlier. It is a hard task, but the process has to be gone into meticulously if they have to make a comprehensive and unbiased sense of the ground realities, as they have evolved since the pre-Independence days. Selective understanding in the past has contributed to sections of the international community getting at incomplete facts and inadequate analyses.

There should be no hesitation to acknowledge that the peace talks, involving the Government and the TNA are dead-locked. The Government may say it is between the SLFP leader of the ruling UPFA combine and a section of the Tamil polity. On the ground, it is a different ball-game. But describing it as such, the Government is only losing the initiative to others, nearer home and afar. If anything, this has only weakened the claims and authorship of the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to post-war peace-building efforts.

The TNA too is not without blame. It did not take forward the post-war efforts to arrive at a minimum common programme among all political parties of all Tamil-speaking people. It floundered at the altar of political expediency and personality problems, even when limited to the Sri Lankan Tamil polity.  The Diaspora angle is also not far to seek. Together, the respective leaderships abdicated their responsibilities to guiding a complex process with ease and elan. Instead, they chose the comfort of consensus-building, which was more complex than convincing their peoples over the head of the divided polity that they represented.

It is true that one needs to learn lessons from the past. In the post-war scenario, however, both sides still seem to be living in the past, with their respective baggage – rather, a Pandora’s Box each of their own making. They seem to be seeking and obtaining comfort in complaining about the past – which was all about acrimonious arguments, and anxiety-prone suspicions. Together, they have contributed to the institutionalisation of mistrust, that has only to be stoked for either side to go back to their ‘comfort zone’ of indecision and accusations, not all of them relevant or real to the present – and more so, the future.

This is what has happened in the case of the Sampanthan-Champika spat, if that could be called so. Rooted in the past, the reality-check by either side is not realistic in comparison.

The Tamils have their arguments dating back to the Fifties, or even the pre-Independence days. They have faced violence, at times State-sponsored, so to say, fought wars, albeit the brutal assumption of leadership by the LTTE – neither helped. Their perceived assumption, based especially on the Diaspora pressure on host politicos, has limited validity. The Diaspora’s inability to convince the world community about halting the war on LTTE should be the delineating point at one level, but a decisive strike otherwise.

It is here perceptions seem to differ – not only within the Tamil community and polity, but also with the Government. Despite repeated assertions, the Government does not (want to?) believe in the TNA’s post-war about a political solution within a united Sri Lanka. It reflects a defeatist mind-set as against the required assertion of self-confidence for the Sri Lankan State to face off any perceived threat in the future. Presumptions of future militant or terror threat from the Tamils has only led to pre-emption on the political front. Or, so it seems.

The Government seems to be wanting to live with the ‘national problem’. The reluctance to discuss Police powers, for instance, ends up as a reflection on the Government’s faith, or lack of faith, in the victorious security forces, intelligence apparatus and the diplomatic corps. They all worked together under a focused leadership to make war victory possible. If the future course of ethnic politics is what the Rajapaksa Government and the Sri Lankan State are concerned about, solutions can be found within the constitutional framework.

If in the Government’s perception, the problem involves international pressure, then it could still call for favours from friendly P-5 members like China and Russia at any time when and whenever it feels the pinch, and not hold it against the Tamil society and community nearer home. If it is about the revival of Tamil militancy, it just has to have faith in the Sri Lankan armed forces, which proved their staying capability and winning capacity, over three long decades. On both counts, the Government now seems wanting, if not faltering.

It is now all about the revival of the peace process, not bilateral bickering. The latter has always torpedoed the same in the past and threatens to do so now, again. The Government has to have faith in itself. Either it has to talk to the TNA and the rest of the polity of the Tamil-speaking people, or go to the people over the head of the structured political leadership. Unlike in the days of the ‘Chandrika I package’, which was popular with the Tamil people, there is no LTTE to threaten the people and the Tamil political leadership, and thus torpedo the same.

The TNA, which has reposed its faith in the international community, could still put the stalled negotiations with the Government in the ‘list of denials’, and join the Parliament Select Committee (PSC), if only to expose the Sri Lankan State and the Sinhala polity. The caravan has to pass on, if it has to reach its destination – but then the TNA has to be clear in its mind what that destination is, and also make it clear to the Government and the Sinhala polity and society at large – and also the international community, which it alone has invited in context.
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  Comments - 4

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  • PKR Monday, 25 June 2012 03:04 AM

    What Champika said is true. Very true. Citizens of Sri Lanka has sacrified their lives to defend motherland probably over 100 times in during 2500 years of history. They will do it again and again. Although Mr Moorthy and others can not understand this, We do and we shall.
    Nothing wrong with protecting motherland as they did in Mullivaikkal against internal or external seperatism, occupation and imperialism. Whther Champika represent JHU or SLFP or even UNP it does not matter. We shall protect it even 1000 times.

    Pasel Monday, 25 June 2012 01:48 PM

    minister should talk responsibly and we all know gov is not moving any peace process after let the tamils go back and settle their own places .

    P.L.J.B.Palipana Sunday, 24 June 2012 09:10 PM

    THE GOSL IS NOT A RACIST ORGANIZATION. ARE THE TAMILS PROVIDING FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO HER TO MAINTAIN USELESS PCs ETE..ETE...ETE...

    THIVAAN Sunday, 24 June 2012 09:20 PM

    YES SAMPANTHAN SPEECH 100 % CORRECT NOTHING
    WRONG . SRI LANKAN POLITICAL HISTORY SAW ..


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