A mandate for the merger?
TNA Parliamentary group leader, R. Sampanthan
making a special statement in Parliament on January 10 on the ‘Peace Process And
The Current Situation Pertaining to the Civil Population in the North East of
Sri Lanka’ has undermined the judgment delivered by the Supreme Court on October
16, 2006 saying that it has only pointed out a procedural flaw in the
proclamation made by the late President J. R. Jayewardene in 1988. He states
further that Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa did not obtain a mandate from the country for
the dismantling of the North-East merger.
Mr. Sampanthan, a septuagenarian serving a very long stint in parliament, we
believe, is not suffering from amnesia or some aberration that could erase from
his memory the history of just the past two decades. He should surely remember
the infamous and abominable invasion of Sri Lanka’s air space by India to air
drop ‘parippu’ to the north, violating in the process Sri Lanka’s sovereignty.
This was followed by Rajiv Gandi exhibiting India’s bullying tactics to coerce
J. R. Jayewardene into acquiescence to enter into the equally infamous ‘Indo-Sri
Lanka Agreement’ in a melancholy ceremony which looked more like a funeral
service, watched on television by an enraged nation. Sri Lanka’s animosity to
India’s blatant and brutish interference in her internal affairs was abundantly
manifested to the whole world when a patriotic son of the soil, a Naval rating
who participated in a Guard of Honour dealt a thundering blow with the butt of
his rifle on Rajiv Gandi’s back. Rajiv Gandi paid for his follies when the
tigers who were petted, trained and nurtured by his own mother, snuffed out his
life. If Mrs. Indira Gandi did not die at the hands of a Sikh assassin, she
would have lived to see her beloved son being blown to pieces by her own
creation, the tiger.
Mr. J. R. Jayawardane who harboured a sense of guilt for having betrayed the
nation, went public immediately thereafter, saying that he would be the first
person to canvass for the de-merger of the Northern Province from the Eastern
Province no sooner the referendum proposed in the Agreement is held.
Unfortunately he could not do it due to the turbulent and volatile situation
that had been created there by the LTTE. Mr. Sampanthan who undoubtedly is a
proxy for the tigers, labours hard for the retention of the merger and states
that the past presidents postponed the proposed referendum 26 times during the
last 18 years, allegedly because they supported the merger and did not consider
the holding of a referendum necessary. How could anyone be 80, and so imbecile
as to come to such preposterous conclusions? As everyone knows, there was no
peaceful and conducive climate in these two provinces to hold such an election.
It is because of a mock Parliament election that was held there that some of the
TNA tiger acolytes were able to enter Parliament with as few as 8 to 18 votes.
Mr. Sampanthan attributes Mrs. Chandrika Kumaratunge’s polling of 62.68% at the
Presidential Elections in 1994, to her whole-hearted support for the Indo-Sri
Lanka Agreement. He can console and pacify himself by making such ridiculous
assumptions, but the real reason for her victory was the disillusionment of the
17 years of corrupt and autocratic rule by the UNP from 1977 to 1994.
The citizens of this country would whole-heartedly agree that the Tamil
Community is in a majority in the Northern Province with only a small percentage
of Muslims and Sinhalese living there. They were driven out making it the
exclusive habitat of the Tamils. How can they claim the entirety of the Eastern
Province as theirs when they constitute only 40% of the population? During the
presidency of Mrs. Chandrika Kumaratunge, the then DIG of the Western Province
Mr. Kotakadeniya who fought a valiant battle to rid the Province of LTTE
terrorists, after a careful study of the demographic situating, declared that
60% of the population within the Colombo Municipal Limits were Tamils. Angered
by this declaration, a man from the Thottams who considered himself ‘Kingmaker’
brought pressure to bear, and got Mr. Kotakadeniya moved out elsewhere. With the
increased exodus of Tamils in the Northern and the Eastern Provinces to the
South due to Tiger brutality, this percentage could be higher now. The people of
this country would not be surprised if one of these days Mr. Sampanthan claims
that the entire western province is the homeland of the Tamils just because they
are in a majority within the CMC limits.
Incidentally, has Mr. Sampanthan or his gang of TNA parliamentarians ever
declared openly that they would be satisfied with the merger of the two
provinces? Never, because they are just the mouth-pieces for the terrorists.
In conclusion, instead of saying that Mahinda Rajapaksa did not get a mandate
from the country for the dismantling of the North-East merger, pray Mr.
Sampanthan, please answer the question - did the country give J. R.
Jayewardane a mandate in 1988 for the merger?
Saudi Barbarism: Who Cares!
When Saddam Hussein was executed by the Iraqi
government, a number of Muslims in Sri Lanka protested loudly. Much outrage was
expressed in the mass media. Strong letters were sent to the US Embassy. Even
the JVP leaped on the bandwagon and organised public rallies. However, when four
Sri Lankan migrant workers were beheaded in Saudi Arabia, and their corpses put
on public display, there was a deafening silence on the part of Sri Lankan
Muslims. The JVP also seems strangely quiet.
Why? I too was opposed to the execution of Saddam. But Saddam was a mass
murderer. The Sri Lankans in Saudi Arabia did not kill anyone, nor were they
given a fair trial. Is property more important than life? Can any of your Muslim
readers enlighten me as to where in either the Qur’an or the Hadith is there any
injunction to behead robbers? I can quote surahs to the contrary. Hence my
Saudi Arabia is one of the most barbaric societies on earth. Its women are
suppressed, its non-Sunni minorities persecuted. There is neither religious
liberty nor political freedom. The migrant labourers who generate the oil that
keeps the ruling elites in power, have few laws to protect them. The Saudi
regime calls itself ‘Muslim’, and the custodian of the holy sites of the Islamic
world. But the spoilt scions of the ruling families are notorious for their
playboy lifestyles in the capital cities of Europe and North America. Wealth
sans wisdom leads to corruption and brutality. Such is the dependence of the US
and Europe on Saudi oil, that the regime recently compelled the British
government to halt an investigation into corrupt arms deals with the company
Muslim foundations and organizations around the world are so heavily dependent
on Saudi government funds that they, too, are easily induced into silence. The
Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry utterly failed the four Sri Lankans who were
executed. They too have put aid and trade relations before basic human rights.
In doing so, the Government has once again betrayed its own citizens and lost
all credibility when it talks about ‘fighting terrorism’. Citizens and
vulnerable foreigners need protection against the terror inflicted by
I write as a Christian who has often defended Muslims against their stereotyping
and vilification at the hands of Western critics (secular as well as Jewish and
Christian). My concern is that as long as Muslim politicians and organizations
in Sri Lanka only speak out against violence when it is committed by non-Muslims
against Muslims, and are silent in the face of atrocities committed by rich
Muslim states, they will play into the hands of those who claim that all Muslims
are selfish, hypocritical, irrational, etc.
I look forward to responses from your readers, Muslims and others.
Dr. Vinoth Ramachandra
Inflation and the ‘Chinthanaya’
What is inflation? Inflation is the general
escalation of prices of goods and services. The two are interrelated. Inflation
may be caused by the manipulation of prices by gerrymandering traders, with
political backing. It may be caused by a shortage of goods in the market. The
money supply in the country moving up – when Government and Private Sector
spending carries with it the upward movement of prices. Many resent and view it
as some ill-omen; but in fact, it is a sign of prosperity. If traders are
responsible, they should be curbed, as the Government did by amicable discussion
with the wholesale importers of everyday consumer goods, or legislation
introduced to control the errant; though that is a cumbersome procedure. Many
consumer items, such as onions of both varieties, chillies, potatoes, gram and
most lentils though imported, could and should be grown locally on a larger
scale; sprats harvested by our fishermen and imports reduced, until the Country
becomes self sufficient and imports stopped. Imports only fatten foreign farmers
and fishermen and traders.
With the ‘Mahinda Chintanaya’ 10 year plan for development of the country, money
is to be, and is being spent on numerous new projects. That money is getting
into the hands of people. When foreigners come here to engineer undertakings,
like the new Hambantota harbour, the Wirawila airport, the Rock Phosphate
project and numerous roads, bridges and irrigation tanks; money will get into
the hands of workers, for foreign labour will not be permitted in. That will
result in our citizens improving their technical skills, as well as money
collecting in their hands. The end result is development, with prices of
materials, substances and services moving up. That will be at the beginning, but
as agriculture and Industries grow and supplies increase the prices will drop,
guided by the supply and demand principle. So also will the prices of services
fluctuate. If trained workers emigrate or leave on short stints abroad, a
scarcity could arise.
As living standards rise the tendency will be for the cost of living to move up,
but the net result will be development of the economy. Development requires
equity which may be raised locally or with foreign borrowing and mutual trading,
[as is now being proposed by the President] with China and other Countries.
Lanka buys Oil and petroleum products and may be in a position to sell fruits
and the like to oil Producers. Let us hope the telephone, electricity and water
institutions could be kept in check, and prices reduced to actual cost, with
leeway for development. Wastage has to be curtailed, for government and
semi-government employees are notorious for waste of everything that comes their
way! Wastage is like pilfering and robbing, and the remedy should be as in Saudi
Arabia, where robbers are beheaded. This Land will prosper and once again shine
as the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’.