Chief Minister Wigneswaran – So you want the Sri Lankan Army in barracks but you have no issues with the army building houses for Tamils?

Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran

– by Shenali D Waduge –

What can we deduce when a former Supreme Court judge now turned Chief Minister of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka in the presence of the Governor of the North delivers a speech and tells the Governor in no uncertain terms that he is not welcome and must go because the Province is ONLY for Tamils? It is nothing but childish for a man in his 70s to behave as he has knowing that being the Chief Minister does not give him ANY mandate to remove or even request to remove the Governor who by status is superior to the Chief Minister. The Chief Minister’s behavior is a perfect example of the discourtesy and ingratitude that a lot of people are now beginning to notice and take note of.

We thought the Tamil people were deprived of their freedoms and rights under the LTTE, when Tamils were computerized and had to contribute a monthly ‘donation’ to the LTTE.

We thought the Tamil people had no freedom of movement because under LTTE every vehicle and person going to and from Omanthai checkpoint was taxed, family members had to leave their deeds or even a person as assurance of their return. Even a child from every home had to be ‘donated’ but Tamils saw to it that the high castes were never part of that ‘donation’.

We thought the Tamil people were scared because under LTTE defacto rule, even TNA members dared not put a foot into LTTE territory as Prabakaran’s actions could never be predicted. We wonder exactly how many times Chief Minister Wigneswaran actually entered Jaffna under LTTE rule? The Chief Minister was like all TNA members happily living amongst Sinhalese in Colombo and most often guarded by ‘Sinhalese’ to keep them alive from LTTE bullets if they were to in any way enrage megalomaniac Prabakaran. Scores of Tamils and Tamil politicians have perished as a result.

We thought the Tamil people were relieved when they were appealing to be saved from the clutches of the LTTE. Our brave soldiers sacrificed their lives and some their limbs to bring close to 300,000 of these Tamil civilians to safety. When they came running towards the army our soldiers thought they wanted to be saved, our soldiers gave food and water because they had not had anything proper to eat for days, our soldiers dressed their wounds – wounds inflicted by the LTTE and our brave men virtually carried them to safety. The army did not act like Chief Minister Wigneswaran is now doing.

Let the Chief Minister, TNA and Tamils wherever they live be reminded that it is the Sri Lankan Army who are building houses for Tamils to live in. The Army are also building roads, infrastructure and they have changed the North that had never even seen a proper concrete road in 30 odd years. None of the NGOs or LTTE with USD300million paved a single road. The Tamils must be appreciative of this at least. In a country with 2/3 population Sinhalese is it not they who are footing the bills for these mass scale development for which the Government is taking so much of loans even diverting funds meant for the South to be used in the North? Is there no gratitude?

The state has allocated 40 perches of land, dry rations for 6months, access to hospitals, school and ability to carry out a livelihood without fear to all IPDs. The 40 perch land area will have a house built by the Sri Lankan military which will comprise 2 bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen and living room and these houses will take 3 weeks to complete and the Tamils recipients of these homes were people who were living in cadjan huts. In the village of Keppapilau where these houses were being built by the army it was easy to observe how the Tamil men chose to simply watch without even coming to help carry a brick – such was the mentality of the people. Were they not aware that some of these soldiers did not have proper homes of their own, some of these soldier brothers who had died for the nation could not even have their caskets taken inside because there was no proper door. These were the men who despite not having a home were building homes for people who possible even had been helping the LTTE at one time or the other. Chief Minister Wigneswaran does not deserve to treat our brave soldiers as he is doing.

The Chief Minister and others of the TNA are asking the Sinhalese to leave the North, has the Chief Minister forgotten that 2/3 of his life was spent amongst the Sinhalese? Did the Sinhalese tell him that he was not welcome in the South and demand that he leave? How did Chief Minister Wigneswaran rise up the judicial system if he was discriminated? How did he take orders from a Sinhalese Chief Justice if he cannot now work alongside the Northern Governor because he is Sinhalese and a former military person? If so why did Chief Minister take oaths twice from the President of Sri Lanka who also happens to be the overall Commander of the Armed Forces? Did he give up his legal practice because he had to take orders from a Sinhalese Chief Justice? Did he leave Colombo to live in the North with the LTTE because LTTE was representative of the Tamils and he could not live with the Sinhalese? Did he send his daughters to fight on behalf of the LTTE and against the Sinhalese if he hates the Sinhalese so much?

Why is it that there is so much hatred spewing, when Tamil politicians address the Tamil populace but when these Tamil politicians are invited to meet the President they are all smiles and handshakes? Are we all privy to just a charade where all politicians are taking the people for a jolly ride pretending they hate each other?

In commercial business, no businessmen would dare close the door to people because of their ethnicity or religion. Businessmen always put profits first. Therefore, whether his customer is Sinhalese, Tamil or Muslim they would always be courteous. Politicians likewise end up doing the same. They would try their best to garner support and extract the best profits for themselves. The TNA is calling for Tamils to buy only from Tamils, sell only to Tamils what would that realistically mean? Is it something practical and for the Chief Minister whose daughter is now married to a Sinhalese what would that mean too! These actions of the Chief Minister and TNA appear attempts to replicate the celluloid politics that prevail in Tamil Nadu but it is a good time for Chief Minister to change the film reel for it is getting a bit tiresome listening to the same tape. We have  had enough of satires.

If the people have given the TNA a mandate, two independent surveys have also given a mandate of confidence in the Sri Lankan Army and the Tamil people clearly say that they want the army to stay. What the Chief Minister, the TNA or the Tamil people wish or does not wish is irrelevant for the Army is not deployed to win popularity contests or their garlands of approval. The Sri Lankan Army is placed in the North because the Army has to protect the strategic interests of Sri Lanka. These areas were one time LTTE dens and terrorist logistics took place from North to Tamil Nadu. Illegal immigration has become a contentious issue but a factor that cannot be ignored. Fishing factor is connected to these same fishermen carrying arms and ammunition at one time on behalf of the LTTE. The reasons that the Sri Lankan Army must remain is nothing that needs to be laid out for consent or approval from any citizen or political party. It is within the right of every elected Government to deploy its troops wherever it sees fit.

The Army is deployed by orders of the President to ensure that terrorism of any kind does not emerge AGAIN. Terrorism emerged from the North. The Army cannot accept assurances from the TNA, a mouthpiece of the LTTE that simply because it has won an election they will not encourage terrorism like it had in the past. As for the appointment of a former military head as the Governor, it is the choice of the President of Sri Lanka – how can one of 9 Chief Ministers question his appointment and demand him to vacate? These childish behaviors must cease. All that these actions are showing is that the Chief Minister and TNA are finding it difficult to govern the North and so are picking at whatever straws they can find to build excuses for not getting on with governing the North. All these years they had been promising this that and the other and now when they have been given the mantle to develop the North all they can think of doing is to find excuses for not being able to do so without looking at the prevailing issues like rise in domestic violence, men drunk and abusing wives, youth unable to handle their new freedoms, upliftment of the health systems, ensuring all children receive education, ensuring Tamil teachers return to Jaffna to teach instead of wanting to remain in Colombo, the liberated Tamil women and their livelihood issues, ensuring that the 40 perches of land given the areas are used to cultivate and to facilitate agriculture etc. These are the things that the Chief Minister and TNA should ideally be concentrating on not things that are weak attempts to hide their incompetence and inefficiency and the real fact that they don’t want some Tamils to really rise to reach their full potential. For those aware of the caste factor, they would know how true this is. Part of the main problem is that the Chief Minister and the TNA have dislocated themselves from thinking as citizens of Sri Lanka. Part of the politicians problem is that they have fallen for a false ‘reconciliation’ slogan when what should have been argued is that Sri Lanka’s Army took on a TERRORIST MOVEMENT that challenged the peace of Sri Lanka and the peaceful existence of its people and these terrorists were given ample occasions to lay down their arms and surrender but they chose not to and so a JUST WAR was declared. On what grounds is there any need for Sri Lanka to agree for a dumbfounded notion of reconciliation when the Sri Lankan Army eliminated TERRORISTS and not Tamils? What is there is to RECONCILE with TERRORISTS?