Sri Lanka: Public Litigation Case filed against TNA for ‘Genocide’ & ‘Colonization’ claim

TNA - Mavai Senathiraja

Sri Lanka may not have an equivalent to Dr. Subramaniam Swamy but Sri Lanka is seeing a rise in concerned public coming to the fore to move the legal structures to say in no uncertain terms that the public has had enough of the lies, distortions and humiliations by the TNA against the Sinhalese community. The country must hail petitioner P G Ravindra Nirosha of Nugegoda, whoever he is for coming forward to complain to the Court of Appeal that the IGP and the Attorney General have failed to enforce the provisions of the Penal Code against 33 members of the Northern and Eastern Provincial Council who have written to the UN Human Rights Commissioner that the Sinhalese have committed and are committing ‘genocide’ against the Tamils and ‘colonizing’ ‘Tamil’ areas. Ravindra Nirosha has issued a Writ of Mandamus to compel action by the Sri Lankan authorities for not applying laws in place against those that attempt to divide communities and internationalize lies.

P G Ravindra Nirosha has come forward to bravely ask questions that Sinhalese in particular want to ask but the media and international propagandists have made them to feel they are in the wrong. The Sinhalese have every right to ask questions and expect answers.

  • Every citizen of the country is concerned for the safety and security of the country.
  • Every citizen of the country is concerned about the harmony, goodwill and concord of the country – the brave forces eliminated Terrorists and not Tamils, only Terrorists need to get upset the rest must start to build up the country, join in any efforts that attempt to destabalize the country. That effort is not left to only the Sinhalese – Tamils, Muslims, Burghers must join.
  • Every citizen also expects the authorities to enforce relevant laws in place and ensure law and order prevails.
  • The joint letter signed by 28 Members of the Northern Provincial Council and 5 members of the Eastern Provincial Council and sent to the UN Human Rights Head on 17th August 2014 requested Navi Pillay to acquaint her successor as well as the UN investigating panel of their allegation on ‘genocide’ and ‘colonization’ by the Sinhalese.

EXCERPTS OF LETTER WRITTEN BY TAMIL MEMBERS OF NORTHERN PROVINCIAL AND EASTERN PROVINCIAL COUNCIL TO UNHRC HEAD

“The Tamil people strongly believe that they have been, and continue to be subject to Genocide by Sri Lanka. The Tamils were massacred in groups, their temples and churches were bombed, and their iconic Jaffna Public library was burnt down in 1981 with its collection of largest and oldest priceless irreplaceable Tamil manuscripts. Systematic Sinhalese settlements and demographic changes with the intent to destroy the Tamil Nation are taking place. We request the OHCHR investigative team to look into the pattern of all the atrocities against the Tamil people and to determine if Genocide has taken place”.

The contents of the letter is one more to the list of unabated ridicule, humiliation, attempts to divide the Sinhalese and Tamils that the Members of the TNA has been making over the years. Their statements via electronic and print media can be easily challenged using the domestic laws in place. Section 120 of the Penal Code is adequate for the authorities to have taken action against the TNA. The lines are simple enough to understand”

SECTION 120 OF THE PENAL CODE

“Whoever by words, either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs, or by visible representations, or otherwise… attempts to raise discontent and dissatisfaction amongst the People of Sri Lanka, or to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different classes of People, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years”.

Ravindra Nirosha is asking exactly what the entire nation except a handful are asking ‘What Tamil Nation?’ ‘What Genocide’ ‘What colonization’. There is no Tamil Nation it has become a promoted brand name being used to establish an ideology and gain political advantage. Where is the genocide – LTTE killed Sinhalese, Muslims and Tamils. The Sri Lankan Forces killed terrorists and combatants involved in hostilities.

On what grounds can Tamils accuse of ‘colonization’? On that very premise how would they describe the influx of Tamils to parts of the South and the change in demography thereafter? The Sinhalese have become a minority in Colombo where they were once the clear majority, is that not demographic change? Parts of former majority Sinhalese areas are now majority Tamil or Muslim. There are very few majority Sinhala areas today.

Ravindra Nirosha also voices the sentiments of most Sinhalese who think it the right time to take action against those out to make false accusations of ‘genocide’ and ‘colonization’ for when the authorities do not take action the tendency for the rest of the world and the general public to believe these as truths is a factor that Ravindra Nirosha has considered far more than the authorities. We must congratulate and commend Ravindra Nirosha for his brave action.

Where Sri Lankan authorities have failed Ravindra Nirosha has scored.

Surely authorities could not have been asleep not to realize the ramifications of the accusation of genocide.

Genocide as set out in the Convention on the Prevention of Genocide (Article 2):

“In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

  1. a) Killing members of the group
  2. b) Causing serious bodily harm or mental harm to members of the group
  3. c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part
  4. d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group
  5. e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group”.

The above items have no relevance to Sri Lankan Tamils

Census statistics can easily show there is and was no such thing as a ‘genocide’ as given in the above terminology. Migration of Tamils from North to South can easily be shown throughout the conflict period wherein Tamils for safety came to live amongst the Sinhalese – the substantial increase of Tamils to live amongst the Sinhalese can easily be shown in numbers.

Statistics can also be shown of how the GOSL paid salaries of Tamil public servants even in areas that were under LTTE de facto rule and LTTE laws and regulations prevailed including LTTE courts, LTTE currency, LTTE police/army, LTTE public service etc. Payment of salaries would not have occurred in a climate of ‘genocide’ if the intent was to kill Tamils!

Economic statistics of Tamils in the ownership of land, businesses, property etc will show that they are very much in control of key trade sectors – the wholesale market in Sri Lanka are controlled by the minorities, the retail shopping chains are under minority control, the stock exchange gives enough of minorities holding key assets. Statistics of number of Tamils owning condominiums in Colombo and greater Colombo, property and lands in Colombo and greater Colombo are all evidence that contribute to negate the accusation of discrimination as well.

On the other hand, statistics of all Sinhalese chased out of the North, as well as all Muslims chased out of the North by LTTE will clearly show that Sinhalese and Muslims were very much living in the North but were chased out of the North in the 1980s. Historically too there is sufficient evidence to show that Sinhalese were very much rooted in the North and archaeological and historical data including colonial records can easily verify these facts

The last claim of genocide used during the final phase of the war is also argued by the fact that the security forces physically saved close to 300,000 Tamils (civilians and LTTE) with their distinction blurred yet benefit of the doubt given. “Genocide” claim cannot be accepted when such a large number were saved throughout the last few months of the conflict.

TAMIL NATION BOGUS CLAIM

Ravindra Nirosha quite rightly wants to know what this Tamil Nation is, it is a question we all have been asking ourselves. It is a pity that the authorities have not taken measures to challenge the TNA within the legal structures available.

What is the ‘territorial unit’ of this Tamil Nation? When Tamil Nadu politicians are demanding Eelam too does it mean the Tamil Nation extends to include Tamil Nadu as well? What are the boundaries of this Tamil Nation, by what law or whose law is this “Tamil Nation’ recognized? If none of these questions can be satisfactorily answered except in making emotional outbursts there is no established ground for the 33 signatories to say that there is an INTENT to destroy the ‘Tamil Nation’ by ‘settlements’ of Sinhalese. ‘Settlements’ historically have taken place by even colonial rulers and have included all communities.

Settlements of immigrants from other countries was a colonial policy meant to create dissent post-independence.

Moreover, who is the TNA or these 33 signatories to make a rumpus across the international stage campaigning on bogus claims and propaganda to diminish the freedom of right given to all citizens of Sri Lanka? The Sri Lankan Constitution guarantees to every citizen the right of movement and of choosing one’s residence within Sri Lanka Article 14 (h). Thus the TNA have no legal basis to claim that Sinhalese cannot settle anywhere they like. It is clear that the TNA and associated parties are building a case to make the Government fear to take action against them because of the piling allegations against them as well as for the citizens themselves to fear asserting their right to settle in areas of the North and East.

Ravindra Nirosha is quite right to feel that these falsehoods and the campaign built with foreign funds are deliberate attempts to promote ill-feeling and hostility between different classes of people especially among the Sinhalese and Tamils and in particular among Tamils who are either too scare to come out to say that the Sinhalese should have the right to live in the North or they too share the same views of the 33 signatories. Whichever be the case, there is a law in place and that law has to be upheld and applied.

The claims of ‘Genocide’ and ‘Sinhalese settlements in a Tamil Nation’ have been made by Prabakaran, the Terrorist Leader of LTTE, as well as the Vaddukoddai Resolution of 1976 and by US attorney Vishvanathan Rudrakumaran the supposed ‘Prime Minister’ of some utopian Eelam Government and the Catholic priest Father Emmanuel. All of whom are declared proscribed by the GOSL. Prabakaran is now dead while Rudrakumaran and Father Emmanuel hold foreign passports and live outside of Sri Lanka, however the 33 signatories are obtaining salaries from the State of Sri Lanka and from the taxpayers of the country, therefore they have no right to make such false claims internationally.

As public officials they are jeopardizing the hard won peace and building hostility between the people.

The 33 signatories cannot claim any privileges as the letter sent to the UNHRC head was published online and was available throughout the web, therefore it does not constitute private communication.

Though the Sri Lankan Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and expression Article 14 (a), freedom of speech and expression is not absolute and reasonable restrictions prevail and the application of Article 15 (2) can be applied in relation to “restrictions as may be prescribed by law in the interests of racial and religious harmony”.

The public of Sri Lanka must be thankful to Ravindra Nirosh for coming forward to take action demanding authorities to apply the laws in place.

For too long the TNA and LTTE propaganda machine have escaped domestic laws sufficient enough to take action against them. It is a pity that even the media of Sri Lanka has not taken upon itself to demand justice for the people and implore successive Governments to take action against the TNA. In the end, an ordinary citizen had to come forward to file a writ of mandamus against authorities demanding that they take action using Section 120 of the Penal Code.

Sri Lanka would like to see more Ravindra Nirosha’s come forward in the absence of and disinterest in authorities to take action within the parameters of the laws already in place.

The country must appreciate Ravindra Nirosha for the case will take up 2 key areas that the TNA is building false accusations upon – “Genocide” and ‘Tamil Nation’ once effectively dealt with within the laws of Sri Lanka would put an end to the lies as well as help build better rapport between the two communities.

– by Shenali D Waduge

Further reading:

TNA’s GENOCIDE claim: Violates Section 120 of Penal Code. Sri Lankans are hurt by attempts to create ill-feeling amongst communities – http://www.onlanka.com/news/tnas-genocide-claim-violates-section-120-of-penal-code-sri-lankans-are-hurt-by-attempts-to-create-ill-feeling-amongst-communities.html

Text of the Letter sent by 33 TNA Provincial Councillors to UNHRC Head – http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/32554