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This is not Terrorism - Editorial

20 May 2013 06:30 pm - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Today’s protests by the trade unions affiliated to the opposition parties against the government’s decision to up the electricity tariffs from this month would definitely meet with stiff resistance and scorn by the government, its trade union leaders and its media. The government would probably use all four methods of “Dandniti” -- Sama, Dana, Bheda and Danda -- recommended and explained by ancient India’s exponent of statecraft Chanakya in the Arthashastra for dealing with people and especially the opponents.

However the reaction of the government and its allied trade unions are full of ironies. It is not only ironic but also pathetic to see unions led by veteran trade unionist Alavi Moulana -- who was once in 1980 stabbed by the goons of the UNP regime of President J. R. Jayewardene for taking to the streets against the spiralling cost of living -- claiming that the present agitations against the electricity tariff hike would go against the hard won freedom of the country. The support extended by some of the Tamil leaders to the action against the tariff increase has given the government the opportunity to tie up those whom are protesting with the “dreaded” Tamil diaspora and the LTTE.





Again this is quite ironic as these age-old tactics of identifying opponents with the Tamil Tigers by rulers in order to suppress dissent and people’s just demands, had been used against those at the helm of the present regime, by those who were in power in the past. The governments of Presidents J.R.Jayawardene and Ranasinghe Premadasa branded all those who fought against the sky-rocketing cost of living and suppression of dissent including Alavi Moulana, Mahinda Rajapaksa, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Wikramabahu Karunaratne and Rohana Wijeweera as agents of “Marxist, separatist terrorists” (Marxwadi, Bedumwadi Thrasthawadee) forces.
A favourite argument of successive governments had been to ask as to why the opposition parties should agitate at a time when the country is facing multiple threats by the separatist forces as well as inimical international forces that are hell-bent to destabilise the country, whereas these forces had been in existence for decades if not for centuries and would exist forever. In fact, in a way, successive governments have benefited by such threats, real as well as perceived, as they had been a ruse for those governments to suppress dissent and just demands of the people.

The J. R. Jayewardene government used this weapon of mass deception when the Opposition led by SLFP launched the famous Day of National Protest (Jathika Virodhatha Dinaya) on June 5, 1980 on which a leader of the protest, Somapala was brutally killed and also during the July strike of 1980. An interesting feature in these agitations had been the leaders of the Tamil parties not playing any major role in spite of the protestors having been identified with them.
Hence, the government must face the reality. People who are lamenting on the electricity tariff increase are not terrorists. They do not have ulterior motives, though politicians might have. It is simple logic that at a time when ministers call on the masses to be content with a monthly income of Rs. 7,500, an increase of electricity bills by Rs. 1,000 or at least by Rs.500 would be a monumental burden on them.
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  • R.Sunthar Monday, 20 May 2013 10:33 PM

    Suppression opens the underground passage to terrorism


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