DBSJeyaraj.com on Facebook

‘Why India? I don’t know why everybody talks about India’? – Basil Rajapaksa

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Print this page

sketch by Hasantha Wijenayake

By Namini Wijedasa

Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa who is once again playing a central role in directing India-Sri Lanka relations last week refused to clarify whether President Rajapaksa had promised a visiting Indian delegation to implement the 13th Amendment in full. Excerpts from the interview:

How healthy are India-Sri Lanka relations?

I think very healthy. India’s vote in Geneva on the US-led resolution is only one incident. As a whole, there has not been much change in the relationship. It is very cordial, friendly and understanding. This was confirmed by the almost all-party and all-state delegation that came here. The government, opposition and regional parties were represented. From that I understood the relationship is healthy and that Geneva voting was an isolated incident.

How do you analyse the boycott by some Tamil Nadu parties?

I was very surprised. I felt there was a misunderstanding about the itinerary. It was not made by us but submitted by the Indian High Commission to me and the External Affairs Ministry. We thought it was their wish list and we organised it accordingly. In that programme there was no visit to the IDP camps or to a resettled village. We thought it was their desire.

But unfortunately Tamil Nadu members saw it differently, that we were not allowing them to go or that we didn’t like it. The day they were leaving, we got this request. I was not happy about it because it is very difficult for logistics when the programme is suddenly changed. But when the president got to know, he said ‘no, you have to arrange the trip to the IDP camps’.

So we did. When they (Indian delegation) went, they understood that there were only a few in the camps and that the majority was resettled. Then Mrs Swaraj wanted to visit a resettled village. We immediately arranged it for the next morning. She visited and saw with her own eyes an irrigation tank destroyed by the LTTE being rebuilt. She saw the cultivated farmlands and harvests. They went to some houses and to a training centre. They saw the poly-tunnels and new agriculture methods in which we are training people.

They heard the statements and comments. At one house there was a picture of a boy. They were told that the LTTE took this boy when he was studying for the maths A/Level and that he had died in the conflict. I think the Tamil Nadu members should have come.

Will there be a fresh invitation to them?

No, I don’t think so.

Indian Opposition Leader Sushma Swaraj claimed that President Rajapaksa agreed to implement the 13th Amendment and beyond. This was denied by President Rajapaksa’s office. What is the truth?

The External Affairs Minister should have made a statement on this type of issue. I think I am not qualified to answer this. It is better that the government’s official statement is issued by him when he returns (from South Korea). I know the discussion because I was there. So I think it’s better not to confuse again by adding my comments. For national interest, I think we should be silent and let the proper authority explain this.

Looking back, the same confusion prevailed some months ago when Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said during his visit to Sri Lanka that President Rajapaksa had committed to implement the 13th Amendment and beyond. Newspapers reported that the president later denied this but there was never an official statement.

So I think we must request him (External Affairs Minister) to come out with a statement.

Do you agree at least that there is confusion?

No, from our part there is no confusion.

What is our current position on the 13th Amendment?

You can’t take 13th Amendment on its own if you are talking about some so-called political settlement or whatever it is.

It is very clear in the Mahinda Chinthana for which President Rajapaksa has a mandate that there should be a Parliamentary Select Committee. The president has said he will take whatever they decide to the people and after that implement it.

That is the president’s mandate and that’s what the president should do. In all his statements he has very clearly said what can be done and what cannot be done. One is that it has to be a unitary state.

There will be no federal solution?

No, that’s clear. That was the difference between Ranil Wickremesinghe and Mahinda Rajapaksa in the election. Secondly, there can be no homeland or no ‘nijabim sankalpaya’. Everything has to be within this framework. And I think everybody must agree on that. He can’t go beyond his mandate and I think that is the people’s wish. But he has also said that if it is the majority’s wish that he does something else he will even sacrifice his own ideas.

What about police, land powers and full implementation of the 13th Amendment?

It doesn’t matter. If we are talking of a broader settlement or reconciliation process or a political solution, you must not pick here and there and answer or ask. Let’s think about it with an open mind. If you say come to the table with an open mind or without conditions, we must not talk about those.

You already had the All Party Representatives Committee. The proposals that came out if are not even mentioned now. Why are you again going for a PSC?

There were several parties in that process but not the TNA. Proper representation was not there.

Doesn’t the TNA refuse to participate in the PSC?

That is why they should come.

Are you negotiating with them?

I’m not talking. They are the people who want this so they must come. If somebody wants something they should participate. I don’t think anybody else in the whole country…the majority don’t want anything. I still believe that this issue is not one which is relevant to the people.

Do you accept that there is an issue, that the Tamil minorities have a problem because not enough power has been devolved into their hands?

No, I don’t think so. You must not compare the Tamil people with those who were under the LTTE. There is no development in those areas because of the LTTE. Only now is development taking place. You must compare Tamils in Wellawatte. Are they discriminated against? Tamils in Kotahena, are they discriminated against? Are Tamils in Negombo discriminated against? Compare these people. And compare a person in your office who is a Tamil, Muslim and Sinhalese. Is there discrimination among them? Sometimes they get more advantage because they are fluent in all three languages so we believe all people must learn all three languages.

Do you think it’s wrong for the Tamil minority to expect to govern themselves, to have power over their affairs in their own areas?

Not only Tamil. If you say that, everybody must have it. What we say is no, definitely not on the basis of Tamil.

On what basis then?

If they want, as citizens of Sri Lanka. Do you think just because people in Colombo voted against the UPFA that Colombo must separate from us or have power separately? That is wrong. Nobody talks like that. The TNA also have no mandate because in the parliamentary elections they didn’t get 51 per cent of the vote anywhere.

What about at the local government elections?

Those are not relevant. In the parliamentary elections they did not get more than 50 per cent in Jaffna or even in Wanni. We got more votes from the North and East. In Jaffna the TNA got 43 per cent, in Wanni only 38 per cent, in Batticaloa 36 per cent, Digamadulla 10 per cent and Trincomalee 23 per cent. With all this, they have only 13 members and we got 12 MPs from the North and East. I don’t know how they are claiming (a mandate). And they are not sole representatives. These things have to be discussed. The TNA must participate in the Select Committee.

Will the government definitely implement whatever that comes out of the PSC?

No, because finally in this constitution the people have the power. If it is a normal Act, you can come to parliament and pass it with a simple majority. If it’s a constitutional amendment, you must have a two-third majority.

Don’t you have a two-thirds majority?

No, we don’t have.

You found a two-thirds majority to have the 18th Amendment passed, didn’t you?

For that, every party must agree. And here you must also have a referendum if the Supreme Court requires it. The people will decide.

When will the government hold elections to the Northern Provincial Council?

Government cannot decide on that. The elections commissioner and the court of law must decide. I think maximum within two years. Two years is a very small time.

Have we assured the Indians that we will implement the 13th Amendment in full?

Why should we tell India or anybody? We have to tell the people. The president has very clearly told parliament and the people what he’s going to do. You are asking about what we told India, USA or to other people. We will tell you rather than tell to anybody else. And we have said that any agreement will be open. We will discuss with the people openly and transparently. Why India? I don’t know why everybody talks about India.

In one discussion this time, one Indian MP suggested some things. When I was having breakfast I said ‘your advice is very useful to us’. He said ‘we have no right to advise, we are just making suggestions’. They are very clear.

Who came up with this ‘13th Amendment Plus’ concept? Wasn’t it Sri Lanka?
I don’t want to comment on the discussions we had.

The ‘13th Amendment Plus’ didn’t start these discussions. It started with President Rajapaksa saying a long time ago that he will go beyond the 13th Amendment.

That’s a thing I don’t like to discuss because it’s an issue you are saying there is a conflicting position.

Do you feel it’s unfair of India to keep pressurising us on the 13th Amendment?

No, it’s not unfair because they are the masters of the 13th Amendment. They definitely have their views on it and there is no harm. But as Sri Lankans we must have fresh thinking and find a solution. We will do that.

There are certain things we keep doing in India-Sri Lanka relations that are not diplomatic. Are we being complacent because we are confident that the Indian government will always support us?

I have said relations are very cordial. The Geneva issue is only one incident. I think there can be some faults from our side and also from their side, or some misunderstanding. But we also must say that the best relationship between the two countries in recent history has been under Mahinda Rajapaksa’s regime. I think we will continue it.

Is your government implementing the LLRC recommendations?

I don’t know why you and your newspapers take up isolated issues from time to time. Don’t take the LLRC or the 13th Amendment or anything. We want to develop this country, develop the people of this country and have a peaceful country for future generations.

We will do it. Let us do it the way we are doing. We have never failed. Every time we do something they complain. When we control he exchange rate, they complain. When we allow it to float, they complain. When we impose import restrictions on vehicles, they shout. When we relax them also they shout. From time to time we have taken decisions that show we are going in the correct path.

We have brought peace. Everybody thought we can’t fight, there’s no peace and people will die. But nobody dies. One victory we have is that nobody dies from any party or place.

Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra was killed in broad daylight. People die for other reasons now which are much easier to tackle than a war. Why are these not being handled?

Tell me a country or period where there have been no murders. Mahatma Gandhi was killed in front of thousands. Abraham Lincoln was killed. So was John F. Kennedy, during a parade. I think the media have a responsibility not to help enemy arguments but to strengthen the arguments of the country.

You can definitely criticize or suggest or tell if something is going against or hurting the country. If there are ways in which the government or the people of this country can win over even the international community which is hostile to us, you must suggest the kinds of things we can minimize. But see what happened.

India and China were clearly supporting us in international forums. That was a big strength. This was conveyed by some ambassadors to their capitals, that Sri Lanka is using both countries to get support. What they did was they somehow managed to get India out of it.

This time they saw another thing. It was that all the Muslim countries, including those who always vote with the US, were supporting us and that the Muslims were behind the government. Now see what happened? Just one small incident…

If you are referring to the incident at the mosque in Dambulla, wasn’t that staged by some Buddhist monks?

So, it’s not the government!

But don’t you have to manage it?

No, how to manage it? That is what I’m saying. This is a planned act. I’m not saying these people, anybody who is doing this, know they are in a ‘coup’. But somebody is behind it. Like that, situations are being created every day.

Two abductions took place recently at Jubilee Post junction which is about 250m from the Mirihana police station. Who is so daring as to stage these things?

Chandi Malli, our provincial council member, was killed in the high security zone in front of police headquarters near the president’s house. He was just coming from the CID. These things happen.

The government can’t stop them?

I’m not saying we can’t stop these. These have been there for many years. These have to be curtailed. And I think with all the support from the police and security forces, we can curtail them. But there is a mistake you are doing. Most people are putting the blame on the government or police or army. By this, the real culprits get away. What happened with the ‘grease yaka’? Nobody talks about the ‘grease yaka’ now.

How many innocent police officers were killed and how many police stations were attacked? You think the government is doing that? They flattened the whole Dompe police station! One old person man was walking on the railway line and he was knocked down and killed. When the police came, the people assaulted the police. You think this is not planned? These are well planned and organised.

You were recently seen on national television speaking glowingly of Mervyn Silva. Why are you promoting a politician who is widely reviled?

I’m not promoting anybody. I’m promoting the party and I have to act according to the party constitution. He’s an elected MP from Gampaha and I’m the Gampaha district leader. For five months, I didn’t step into the Kelaniya electorate and development activities were stopped.

There is a policy and a rule that if any minister goes to an electorate it should be through the party organizer. So Mervyn is still the party organizer. I can’t let down the people of Kelaniya. I have to go and do my development and party work. May Day is coming. And if I go, I have to go with Mervyn. It is the party rule.

You don’t have disciplinary rules in your party?

Yes we have.

Can’t these too be applied to Mervyn?

Yes, they are applied. At the last Central Committee meeting, it was decided to call explanation from him. Especially when it comes to a Member of Parliament, we have to be very careful. When we take disciplinary action, it will definitely be challenged in court.

Last government, Mangala (Samaraweera) crossed over. Sripathy was from Kelaniya and was attacking the government. Wijeyadasa Rajapakse, Arjuna Ranatunga, they crossed over but we couldn’t do anything because the constitution is very liberal. In my speech I said very clearly that Mervyn might have done wrong and I might have done wrong but that if we are safeguarding the government we have to be careful. Our responsibility is to the people who elected us so we have to serve the people. Courtesy: LakbimaNews

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Print this page

20 Comments

  1. Excellent interview. Not a single question posed by the interviewer relating to the 13th Amendment or the LLRC was answered directly or with any form of genuineness whatsoever. The majority of Basil’s answers were just run-arounds of bullshit. Take for example the following:

    “Don’t you have a two-thirds majority?

    No, we don’t have.

    You found a two-thirds majority to have the 18th Amendment passed, didn’t you?

    For that, every party must agree. And here you must also have a referendum if the Supreme Court requires it. The people will decide.”

    Someone please explain the above to me. I thought the Government does indeed have a two-thirds majority. Moreover, every party did _not_ agree on the 18th Amendment and there was no referendum. So what is this fool talking about?

    All in all though, I am glad Basil gave this interview – it should enlighten the international community, especially the US and India, on Rajapaksa’s so-called promises. As they say, the best benefit comes when fools open their mouths and remove all doubt. Gothabaya was doing a great job openning his mouth but Basil seems even better.

  2. when the term of the Presidency was extended for two consecutive term to the third term that was not taken to the people for referendum but bulldozed through the parliament using the two third majority. But when if the PSC appointed by the President who has two third majoirty,recommend any sort of devolution it is not binding but need to be taken to the people for a referendum?

    what democracy?

  3. .
    Did Namini went too far? We already lost too many journalists and looks like it’s going to grow.

    🙂

  4. Basil Aiyah! Please keep give us this pearls of wisdom! May the Triple Gems bless you and Buddhism!

  5. It is funny, they have 2/3 to implement 18 and no referendum is needed but for 13 or any other devolution they don’t have 2/3 and need referendum. In this case Karunanithy is in the right path calling for UN referendum? May be Tamils should start thinking about backing the traitor/Kolenjar instead of believing GOSL? From the beginning, who is pushing the Tamils toward separate Eelam?

    From the interview it is very clearly that GOSL not going to provide any sort of devolution to Tamils. If GOSL is strong on this, then what is the point of TNA joining the select committee? What is GOSL trying to do, trying to pull TNA to push their pre-defined/pre-cooked solution… saying TNA is member of Select committee and 2/3 majority decided not to devolve power so that’s about it, not further action required on devolution talks. Smart pants! Knowing this, TNA made the right decision not joining the select committee. In this case, TNA is right, they should continue to pursue or seek India and international help on this matter..

    Indian politicians whether it is congress, BJP or TN members, they just want to pass the time, never stand on their words. Both Krishna and Sushma both knows 13+ is a crucial matter. Why don’t they do a joint press meeting together with SL Foreign ministry/president and comment on 13+ before they leave SL? Why do they go to India and say press that MR agreed to implement 13+? If that is true, and GOSL denying it, isn’t their responsibility to sort this out, especially if MR promised them… Otherwise won’t their credibility questionable? Or may be they don’t really care, they just want to get say what ever to pass the time with press?

  6. This interview is a clear indication of how the Rajapaksha administration govern the country. If they want they can pass any amendment (17th) and if they don’t (13th) will certainly will not happen. Can’t these Indians, Americans and other parties understand this. TNA appears to understand this and keep well away from these liars.

  7. It is time India realized that the 13A was not very good idea afterall and stop pushing it. Then TNA will come to table and agree to a realistic settlement which will solve this once and for all.
    Allow th people to build up there lives. There is no point crying for the moon knowing very well that you can not have it. Expecting the US and the IC to deliver is also a mirage. The US and the IC will keep pushing,shoveing and punishing untill the break point and then it will be the Tamils in Sri Lanka,who have already suffered,will have to face the consequenses.

  8. Dealing with the Rajapakses is like dealing with a hydra headed monster. Each of the siblings controls only certain areas and will not commit beyond. The President maintains a silence on most matters. So what is said above is simply a way of evading the issue and passing the buck to the select committee, party, people, TNA etc. Shows the lack of sincerity and commitment. The actual agenda is hidden and is probably in keeping with the Sinhala Nationalist Ideology.

  9. Surya,

    Are you day dreaming? There will not be any meaningful devolution for decades, if not atleast a century. What are the alternatives?

    No one can force devolution on Sri Lanka, against the wishes of the majority, including the minorities who live outside the north. Please stop day dreaming and deal with reality.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

  10. Doesnt the honesty and sincerity of the man shine through in this interview?

    Q. But don’t you have to manage the Dambulla incident?

    A. No, how to manage it?

    By condemning it? By making the Priest refer the matter to the cours? By ordering the Police to enforce the law and stop Buddhist Priests vandalising other people’s property? How about that to begin with?

  11. Dr. Narendran;

    “Are you day dreaming?”
    I am certainly not day dreaming about separate Eelam, but wish to see some sort of an acceptable devolution soon in the country for better, brighter and prosperous Island to bloom.

    “No one can force devolution on Sri Lanka, against the wishes of the majority”
    Well then majority can force our way of living, our political aspiration or rights to self determination??? It is all depends on the wishes of the majority. If majority wants to continue stay like this, yes then definitely India and or UN can come into the picture.

    Without going to the history debate again, North-East is Tamils traditional homeland. I don’t understand what majority has to offer! ….Thank you very much for you kindness but this is mine and I need it back, if you give back to me kindly we are brothers and friends and can live happily ever after, if you don’t then I still have to take it back, because I NEED it not WANT it….!

    Well you can continue to say SL is sovereign state and foreign countries cannot get into internal affairs. OK let’s go little back and look how these are structured. Sovereign state means, it is just a concept or virtual thing, not physical or tangible object that you can hold on to it. It is just a believe; that all will obey the rules and follow the codes.

    What if you don’t follow the virtual rules of IC, nothing! Absolutely nothing! If a sovereign state not going to listen to its counterparts or IC because it is a sovereign state, yes to certain limit, it is OK. But if it goes beyond the limit and norms then the whole concept or virtual things vanish in the air or collapse altogether. Then you are kind of on your own. You don’t have to follow the IC rules and morals. What is that means, it is like you are canceling your own insurance policy. You are cancelling your protection policy granted to you by virtual IC community as a sovereign state.

    After you cancel your policy, now what happens to you is outside the virtual concept… At this time, we are going back to the medieval times and stone age, where anyone can come and conquer you, because you cancelled your protection policy on sovereign sates. Unless you have friends, no policy there to help you… At this point Sinhalese are not majority in SL, it won’t be too much for 60M Tamils to take over 20M Island or 1B Indians to dictate the 20M SL or 3B ICs control 20M what can you do. You have to listen to them like how we listened to Vijaya invaders, Chola invaders or European invaders.

    So in the nutshell, I think, there has to be a meaningful devolution within the decades or else there is a high possibility to face Kosovo, East-Timor or South Sudan verdicts.

  12. “…From that I understood the relationship is healthy and that Geneva voting was an isolated incident….”

    This is the level of intelligence and political sense of kindergarten Rajapakshas!! Pre-war, post-war, for all these years India has been sending a clear and unequivocal message that Sri Lanka must find a viable solution to the ethnic problem. Geneva voting was the culmination of their disappointment towards the regime and the most vociferous message directed at the regime. This dumb moron says it is only an isolated incident! Rest assured, if this rogue regime stays in power for another 3 years India and the whole international community would have no other alternative but to carve out another country within Sri Lanka as their solution for the local problem! Sinhalese donkeys will have to bark at the moon on that day for their own failure for which no one is responsible except themselves!

  13. Basil is very realistic and crystal clear in his views but it’s not something many minorites would like to hear. There is no need to devolve power to provinces, Sri Lanka should be treated as one nation with one policy and principle for entire population. Sri Lanka is a democratic nation, it does not need to provide any report any nation. To comment on India’s involvement, if India wants a report from Sri Lanka then Sri Lanka must request a report from India on Kashmir. Human rights violations there is big and long enough to make Sri Lankan issue an infant. Either way, Sri Lanka can govern itself. How many times we have to repeat to India, WE DON’T NEED YOUR HELP/ WE DON’T NEED YOU/ WE DON’T TRUST YOU/ PLEASE STAY OFF OF OUR SHORE.

  14. Hi
    Surya you simply brilliant, old fart Doc live in a world his own. Ignore him let him bend as much he want, we tamils never and should not give up our struggle for freedom. Bastard Praba f****d and gone. We tamils paying too much. Not to worry time will come….

  15. Surya,

    Thanks for your view point. However, it is based on many untenable assumtions. You are welcome to continue with your dreams and expectations, even if I am convinced they will hurt the Tamils living here in Sri Lanka further and will nver be realized.

    J.muthu,

    “Óld fart Doc”! Could we have expected a better pearl (Muthu) of a thought and selection of words from J.Muthu?

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

  16. Dr. Narendran;

    Not sure what are the “untenable assumptions” prevailing.

    “…You are welcome to continue with your dreams ..” I am not dreaming and I am not going to dream either and have no expectations on SL or Eelam; only a wish to see a prosperous Island to bloom. But I do admire and believe in Dr. Abdul Kalam’s words on dreams and I do have personal dreams and I am working on them everyday to achieve them, but none of my dreams are related to Eelam or SL…

    “…even if I am convinced ..” Sorry I am not trying to convince you or other readers, it is just my comment as a regular DBSJ blog reader. DBSJ has very good reader base, we do read, think, analyze and make our own decisions.

    “…they will hurt the Tamils living here in Sri Lanka further and will never be realized….” Who will hurt Tamils living in Sri Lanka further? I am sure Police and democratically elected government there to protect her citizens, unless there is a government sponsored torture or genocide going on in SL. In that case, don’t you think UN/HRs must step in to stop it? And all those witnessing it or elected political representatives should bring it up to UN?

    Dr. Narendran, yes, I do understand at current situation there are certain things we need to adjust or bend-as-grass, but we can’t bow and let go even our basic right on the Island. We are not violating anything, asking unreasonable or something that is not ours… If we start accepting whatever due to the torture, you know what will happen, in few years later (your kid or) you will be known as “Dr. Rajasinghe Narendra” not “Dr.Rajasingham Narendran”; exact same thing happened to thousands of our fellow Tamils in Neer-colombo, Cilapam and Puttalam area; we will start loosing our identity.

  17. Surya,

    Thanks. Here are my responses to some of your points:

    1.Devolution: What is acceptable devolution? Are there alternatives to devolution? The GOSL and the majority Sinhala polity is dead against any form of devolution and will prefer to continue with the Provincial Council charade, thrust on the country by India. The Eelam wars have made devolution in any meaningful form an impossibilty. We may consider this irrational, but the Sinhala fears of devolution are legitimate in view of their experience. Although we may disaggree, we have to accept this as an unalterable reality and seek alternative solutions, which will produce results for the people.

    Unabridged citizenship rights, in practice, for all citizens, including the minorities, should be the major thrust of our demands. This is an issue confronting all citizens and concerns the rule-of-law and dispensation of justice. This will include our rights to being whatever we are within Sri Lanka, with safety,security and equal opportunities.

    How political power will be exercised in Sri Lanka to achieve greater efficiency is another matter. This should not be viewed as a minority issue, but as a national issue. It involves efficient and equitable geographic utilization of resources and involvement of the people of the provinces, districts, towns and villages in decision making. There are many ways of doing this. Devolution is one path. But it is not the only’ one. Considering the devolution path has not made headway, despite an armed rebellion and a fratricidal war, I think it is prudent to think of and explore alternatives. This is not bending down , bending backwards or lying supine. It is not cowardice. It is wisdom, arising from past experience and an understanding of current circumstances. It is also a necessity in view of the post-war circumstances of the people in the north and east.

    There cannot also be asymmetric arrangements. This will not fly. All provinces and areas in the island should be treated alike.

    The two issues I have listed above should be dealt with separately.

    2. Traditional homelands: I do not accept this concept. We were a people who were all over the island at one time. History also records that the Sinhalese have also lived in the north and east in the past. Sri Lanka is the traditional homeland of all her peoples. I am currently reading ‘Tamil Culture in Ceylon’by M.D.Raghavan. It is a ‘must read’ for all Tamils. It demolishes the traditional homeland claim limited to the north and east only.

    The Sinhalese and Tamils are one people in origin and genes to a very large extent, though speaking different languages and practicing different religions. We have also shared this island for thousands of years, despite the efforts of the extremists on both sides of the communal divide to claim otherwise. Sinhala Kings have rules us and Tamil Kings have ruled them. Tamils have become Sinhalese and Sinhalese have become Tamils. Sinhala Kingdoms have had control over the north and east and the Jaffna Kingdom has exercised control over the whole island for a short time. The Jaffna Kingdom was the most powerful in the island at one time. The Jaffna Kingdom was also as old as any other on the island. Jaffna was the entry point to Sri Lanka and its ports were the link for Sri Lankan trade. Buddhism came to Sri lanka via Jaffna. Tamils were also Buddhists. Pungudutivu was the site of a major Buddhist monastry. Jaffna was an integral and vital part of the Island, although it was one of several Kingdoms within the island.

    The ‘Traditional homeland’concept had validity only because we ran to the north and east after communal riots and the governments transported us there. There are no such places to run now. The Eelam demand and related wars have put an end to this myth. Because we are concentrated in the north and east, had abandoned the rest of the Island for whatever historical reasons and had also become Sinhalese with time, do not negate our rights in the whole island. We, the minorities have to assert ourselves and find a place for ourselves, within Sri Lanka as a whole and not in the north and east alone.

    3. International Community (IC): The belief that the IC will come to our aid with altruistic obejectivea is also a myth. We should learn our lessons from the Indian intervention and the IPKF episode. India was pursuing her own interests and the Tamil issue provided her the opportunity to do so. We have to solve our problems internally. We have to work together, however hard it may be, to find solutions. We have to find ‘Á’solution, but not hanker after ‘THE’ solution.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

Comments are closed.