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Mahinda 1991 Vs Mahinda 2009

(September 24, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) In fact when an ageing father was taken into custody in lieu of his son suspected of DJVP activity in the South in 1991 – this is how my friend and joint conveynor of Mother’s Front, Hon. Mahinda Rajapakse responded in Parliament; -Hansard – 21st May 1991- p427. (Translation)

“Listen to this, Mr. Deputy Chairman ; the son has done the wrong, the complaint is against the son. They have taken the ageing father from home and keeping him at the Police in lieu of the son. Which devil’s law is this? What is this law? What is the result of this? Is this democracy? Are these human rights? Is this the five star democracy you are talking about? Is this the dhamma we hear on the radio daily? Is this the sermon preached on Saturdays?”

18 years later, when 280,000 people are being held captive in a similar manner, in lieu of 20000 terrorist suspects, we too are compelled to ask who the devil is behind this great human tragedy. The devil in question, certainly does not wear Prada but a maroon “satakaya”!

And to the devil I repeat the words of Hon. Mahinda Rajapakse from the Hansard of 21st May 1991.
-Sri Lanka Guardian

2 comments

Yogananthan B said...

I disagree.

1. In the story the son was identified as the culprit and there is no need to keep the father. In camps you really don't know for sure. Rebels were hiding with the people and still are.

2. Old and very young IDPs were allowed to go but in the story the old man was kept in police station.

3. In the story the old man had a place to go home to. Most IDPs don't have a home. They have nowhere to go. Those who have willing relatives were released.

4. Going back to nowhere is very dangerous for IDPs. Landmines, monsson rains, diseases and no hospital facilities to name a few. IDPs got displaced manytimes. Government cannot further displace them by letting them wander aimlessly. More than 25,000 people lost limbs due to landmines in the war. Can we allow that to happen to poor IDPs? So it is not at all like the hanzard story.

5. IDPs are not kept to take revenge from anyone. Only good intentions. But that old man was kept with malicious intentions.

6. IDPs are not going to stay for years. They will be resettled. But that old man would probably have died in custody.

7. Thousands of IDPs have been resettled already. This is where comparing with the story becomes ridiculous.

8. IDPs have shelter, banks, food, medicine, toilet facilities. Aid agency officers have access to them. What about that old man?

9. I don't say IDPs should not be set free. They should be set free as soon as possible. But not before government can properly and safely resettle them. Just letting the IDPs go away is not the good thing to do although it is easier and saves millions of rupees for the government.

10. Cyclone Kathrina IDPs are still in refugee camps. That is in America. Resettling 300,000 IDPs for poor Sri Lanka is no easy task. But I am convinced that the government is doing the best it can. We should support the government resettle IDPs and IDPs directly. Will those who seem worried about IDPs actually help IDPs? I doubt. I will and I have already helped.

Sirimevan said...

What a dumb comparison!.
JVP members were 99% Sinhalese in 1991 as those Tamil IDP . Sinhalese comprise close to 12- 14 million out of the 20 million of the population. Number of JVP members were less than 30,000 in 1991. For the argument sake let say they were 100,000. If so it was 0.7% of the Sinhalese population. So for every one thousand Sinhalese there was 0.7 (less than 1) JVP member. If we take 300,000 of Singhalese there would have been 2100 JVP members in contrast to 20,000 LTTE Terrorists among 300,000 of IDP Tamils.

Lets take the argument of 20,000 LTTE Terrorists in a population of 300,000 Tamil IDP. That means 6.6% of the said population are terrorists. So for every one thousand Tamils in that population 6 are LTTE Terrorists in contrast to 0.7 JVP Terrorist to every 1000 Sinhalese.

In 1991 the Sinhalese father, about whom then MP Mahinda Rajapakse was talking about, was in police custody in place of his son . The Police had already identified who the son was and there was no necessity to take the father in to custody . There was also no question about the living arrangements of the Sinhalese father upon his release as he was not hiding from authority.
Can the author of the article show us that the Government had identified family members of LTTE carders, but keeping them in custody in lieu of the LTTE Terrorist as a ransom?
Is there a difference between a Sinhalese family member of a JVP Terrorist, taken in to police custody in 1991 and the Tamil People living in IDP camps?

Certainly there is. Firstly , the IDP Tamils had not been taken in to custody but had crossed over being held as human shields from heavily controlled LTTE areas at the final stages of the war against LTTE Terrorism by SLDF . LTTE had run a de facto state for many years where those people lived. The likelihood of many being LTTE members living in IDP camps ,other than those who have already surrendered to SLDF is still high . So the possibility of LTTE members posing as innocent civilians in IDP camps are much more greater than the Sinhalese father whose Son had already being identified by the Police as a JVP member in 1991.

Secondly The freedom in IDP camps are much more than in Police custody. The Sinhalese father had a home to go back , but the IDPs have no place to return as their homes are destroyed , and their villages are heavily land mined.

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