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General’s Elephant



“If the UNP cannot commit itself to the above matters, it must follow as the night follows the day that it merely wants to use Janaka Perera to gain an electoral victory and then discard him. In such event, can Janaka Perera, as a Patriot, an Officer and a Gentleman remain within its fold as Chief Ministerial Candidate or otherwise?”
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by S.L.Gunasekara

(July 07, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Major General [Retired] Janaka Perera, it has been announced, is to be the candidate of the UNP for the post of Chief Minister of the North Central Province at the forthcoming elections for the Provincial Council for that Province.

In nominating Janaka Perera the UNP has departed from the practice common to all parties of nominating some political `hanger on’/stooge of no quality, with no achievement or record of service to the People to his name. This has been the tragic history of politics in our land.

Whether one likes Janaka Perera or the UNP or not, there can be no doubt in any person’s mind of Janaka Perera’s tremendous record of achievements and service to the country. So great are they that even the dictates of modesty do not restrain Janaka Perera himself from extolling them. The question that does rightly trouble one is how genuine is the UNP in so nominating him ? Has the UNP after an unusually long slumber, finally realized Janaka Perera’s enormous worth ? Or as I believe is the UNP, after an unprecedented string of defeats, seeking to use Janaka Perera to gain a victory at the polls and thereafter discard him? How is it, that if the UNP genuinely appreciated Janaka Perera’s achievements and worth, it did not even consult him before entering into the disastrous Ceasefire Agreement with the LTTE; or appoint him as Secretary Defence or Chief of Defence Staff when it formed a Government in 2002?

From the several interviews given by Janaka Perera to the media, it is evident that he:- believes that the LTTE must be eliminated militarily in order to restore peace; believes and/or has been made to believe by the UNP that he would be its `Defence Spokesman”; and c) believes and/or has been made to believe by the UNP that he would be placed in charge of Defence and Security in any future government headed by the UNP.

The UNP however, has not committed itself to any of these matters. It therefore behoves the UNP to officially announce, in the interests of transparency in which Janaka Perera affirms he believes:- whether it is committed to the elimination of the LTTE militarily to restore peace; and, whether it is committed to making Janaka Perera, who is undoubtedly the most knowledgeable about Defence related matters among all member of the UNP, its Defence Spokesman and thereafter placing him in charge of Defence and Security in the event o it forming a government either by itself or in coalition with others

This is not all. Janaka Perera is not only justly proud of his achievements in stabilizing, developing and rehabilitating the villages in the Weli Oya sector, the residents whereof are entirely Sinhalese, but deeply conscious of the strategic importance of that sector and the need to maintain, develop and strengthen it. As a Patriot, an Officer and a Gentleman Janaka Perera would be the first to acknowledge the debt owed by the Nation to the countless number of patriots among the troops and residents of the area who sacrificed life and limb to stabilize, develop and rehabilitate those villages; and that it would be an unthinkable act of unadulterated treachery to dismantle a single village or evict a single resident from any of those villages.

The very existence of the villages of Weli Oya are, however, anathema to the LTTE and to its lackeys, the chief of which is the TNA, namely, an officially unacknowledged political ally of the UNP with which it has been co-habiting for several years. What is the policy of the UNP in respect of Weli Oya ?? Will it give an official solemn undertaking to the Nation that it is in agreement with Janaka Perera’s views on the matter; that it will maintain, develop and strengthen those villages; and will not, under any circumstances, dismantle a single village or evict a single resident from any of those villages?

If the UNP cannot commit itself to the above matters, it must follow as the night follows the day that it merely wants to use Janaka Perera to gain an electoral victory and then discard him. In such event, can Janaka Perera, as a Patriot, an Officer and a Gentleman remain within its fold as Chief Ministerial Candidate or otherwise?

There are other matters that deserve the attention of Janaka Perera which he, not being a `common’ political `carpetbagger’ must disclose to the Nation as a Gentleman Among them are the following:- Janaka Perera has expressed the view that Karuna and Pillaiyan must be charged with the murders of the Policemen in the East on the 11th June 1990. While there can be no question about the involvement of the former in that horrendous crime, the question of whether Pillaiyan, having regard to his age, was involved is in doubt. However, if there is evidence of his involvement, nobody could disagree with that view. The moot point to which Janaka Perera must, perforce respond, however, is whether he agrees that the cabinet of the then UNP Government [which included UNP leaderRanil Wickremesinghe] which was responsible for betraying those 600 odd Policemen by refraining from going to their aid, and refraining from giving them air or artillery support despite their repeatedly pleading for it when under attack by the LTTE; and finally ordering them to lay down arms and surrender to the LTTE, should not stand in the dock alongside Karuna and Pillaiyan on charges of the abetment of mass murder ?

The UNP has expressed the view that it supports the `merger’ of the Northern and Eastern Provinces which would necessarily result in the Tamil Population of the near mono-ethnic North `swamping’ the multi-ethnic population of the East and converting the Moors and the Sinhalese who together constitute the majority in the East to a politically insignificant minority therein. Does Janaka Perera agree to the gerrymandering of the electorate by merging the North and the East so as to deprive the Moors and the Sinhalese of their `voice’ in the management of their own affairs in the Eastern Province and vesting that `voice’ principally in the Tamils of the North? One officially acknowledged political `mistress’ of the UNP, namely, the SLMC , demands the creation of a separate autonomous `Muslim Unit’ within a merged North-East Province. The UNP has made some `noises’ expressing agreement with this demand and never rejected it. What are Janaka Perera’s views on the matter?

Janaka Perera is no `ordinary’ candidate. He comes forward in these polls with a record of achievement and service to the Nation that no candidate of whatever political colouration has come with in contemporary times. He stands high in the esteem of the People. The responsibilities cast upon his broad shoulders are therefore all the greater. He must do something that no politician has done in contemporary times, namely, `level with the People’. Despite his undoubted achievements and service to the Country, and the esteem in which he is held by the People, Janaka Perera is not exempt from the fact that a person is judged by the company he keeps.
- Sri Lanka Guardian

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