By Gomin Dayasiri
India is a friend of Sri Lanka? Often said but listened in disbelief. If it is in India’s interest, the answer is, yes. Who stays mum to help a friend in distress and seek multiple benefits in return?
India opts to cheer at the mayhem of another and enjoys watching the discomfort. Worse, never to mind its affairs, prefers to covertly interfere. Pakistan has been a friend in the midst of all its troubles. China from a distance impacts the region thriving on distrust and suspicion India attracts.
An event tells the story vividly. Tamil Nadu fishermen are damaging the fishing belt in our waters harvesting a bountiful catch that badly have and impact our northern fishermen. Indian coastal guards can clear the deck keeping to maritime obligations; instead eases the pinching of fish. India speaks passionately for the people of the North, faulting Sri Lanka in failing to uplift them adequately, while continuing to poach on their sources of income. Meaningfully plundering the assets of a neighbor, India does not cry halt to gain instead chants homilies while picking pockets.
President’s frequent gaffe on ‘13 plus’ could lead to a credibility gap with India. Issue lies in the interpretation. An explanation on what the President truly meant will straighten the record. Unforgivably remains unattended. A count on which India cannot be faulted. President has unequivocally stressed police and land powers are at the exit gate. India knows for sure it is not on the bargaining table. The “plus”(+) has to come from elsewhere? An issue India will generate again at Geneva. A formidable result sheet is the answer.
Attempted mind read on the President’s thinking on ‘13 plus’ could mean, contribute rapidly to development in the North/East while assuaging the justifiable grievances of the Tamils without vesting their politicians with police powers and placing limitations on land powers granted to Provincial Councils. In a reality check, President calls for a 13 plus/minus formula. It’s a workout more people friendly than politician – demonstrably the plus factor outweighs the minus, as people are prime. 13th Amendment, in its implementation provided enhanced power for the local politicians without benefits accruing to the people.
LLRC described it succinctly by recommending power to the people at grass root level. Giving excessive power to local politicians aggravates the problem since little percolates down to the local people; divesting power to the people directly through the Grameeya Sabhas on an Indian model is a shift to a better world. With the LLRC identifying the grievances the central government must swiftly find solutions. Therein lies the problem-in doing insufficient little. Are we inviting India to submit an adverse country report in November 2012 to UNHRC? President’s task is more onerous since he has an electorate to satisfy with elections coming fast forward. Unlike in 2009, these will evolve into election issues at the next round.
Try to read the oncoming Indian ‘doosra” during Geneva 2012/13? Revolving spin will show the markings of the 13th. Fret more about India less on the West- together they can be menacing. Who leads whom will show? Help will come our way if agreeable to implement 13th amendment, their way. Remember it was thrust down our throat through the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord and with the introduction of Indian Forces (IPKF)
Mahinda Rajapaksa took to protest and walked the streets in torn trousers; Gotabaya Rajapaksa in military uniform watched troops unceremoniously flown out at short notice on Indian Air Force planes and dumped in the South to be replaced by the jawans. Memories don’t fade: India did not bargain the duo would emerge as playmakers refreshed on India’s past sins as she rams into our affairs again.
The preamble in the Geneva resolution 2009 made reference to the implementation of the13th amendment – “Welcoming also the recent reassurance given by the President of Sri Lanka as well as his commitment to a political solution with implementation of the thirteenth amendment to bring about lasting peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka”.
Again reference was made in the joint statement with the Secretary General of the United Nations in May 2009- “President Rajapaksa expressed his firm resolution to proceed with the implementation of the 13th Amendment.”
That is not in the Rajapaksa a la carte in 2012. Sri Lanka as a sovereign nation has the right to do what is best for her people including the right to vary an erroneous previous stance. Sri Lanka cannot be compelled to accept an unsuccessful Indian concoction, with eyes opened. No country has the right to thrust itself into our decision making process. The 13th Amendment was an Indian fabrication to bring the LTTE into the democratic process. LTTE is no more and the 13 Amendment is a living failure. India must accept reality.
Don’t be misled by any false deception created by India of acting even handed between Sri Lanka and the forces of separatism. At crunch time, it would destabilize Sri Lanka as it did at Geneva 2012, after creating a different impression. Expect a few loose deliveries before a wily doosra.
Look at its record. Who trained and armed the LTTE?
Who saved a trapped Prabhakaran in Vaddamaratchchi?
Who provided a safe sanctuary to the LTTE cadres from alleged crimes?
Who entered our air space illegally to drop food to humiliate rather than feed?
Who tried to control the North/East by military force through the office of a bloated High Commissioner in Colombo?
Who supported Varatharaja Perumal and his puppeteers to come to power and to declare an independent state?
Who provided a safe haven to Perumal?
Facts that are hard to forget in whatever diplomatic language it is couched. India needs a reminder.
Prabhakaran compelled a change in the Indian outlook by becoming its most wanted man. Years on, that would have been overlooked but for dead man’s widow becoming India’s powerhouse. Revealing the extent of the harm caused is not India beating but taking preventive measures from suffering further on the Indian beat.