2010- Year of responding to pressures and skulduggery in Sri Lanka


[December 29, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian] For Sri Lanka, Year 2010 is a year in which unfair and dishonest practices were carried out in a secretive and systematic way in order to trick the Sri Lankans and the international community.

Democracy took its ugly directions when the opposition, media, judiciary, human rights etc., took the severe beating from all fronts.

Corrupt money was buying over parliamentarians and contemptible characters that behave in a grovelling way and were promoted to deliver degrading service of fasting against the UN and make un-diplomatic comments and protests against the west.

The government was directionless and was made to respond to the international pressures all the time. Without the international pressures, Lesson Learnt and Reconciliation Commission would not have come to being. It was the government’s intent to circumvent the evolving international outcry for an independent inquiry into the claims of war crimes that led to the appointment of the LLRC to cover up the international claim. The mandate of the LLRC does not reach as far as war crimes but drafted to bash the opposition UNP, the Norwegians and the INGO’s and an effort to whittle down the claim of war crimes by the age old game of procrastination practice.

The year saw nearly 300,000 IDP’s held in camps being released at a rapid space following sustained pressures from the international community. If not for the pressures, the IDP’s would have languished in the camps even today. Even the predicament of those left the camps to their villages is very worrying. With the debarring of INGO’s to provide the much needed service, many returnees are facing uphill task to build their own lives without support.

The residue of the IDP’s numbering about 15,000 are not permitted to settle in their original places, due to their status of Tamils of plantation origins, who had moved to the north following the 1977 state backed anti-Tamil violence. The government that showed greater interest to settle the Muslims in the north and played its silly game to stage a drama with the forceful entry of Sinhala thugs and hundreds of children claiming their pre 1983 roots in Jaffna failed to see the urgency to settle the remaining Tamil IDP’s.

Upbeat cry of political resolution after the defeat of terrorism of the LTTE failed to take its course during the year. The government is silently executing the assimilation theory to weaken the claim for regional devolution, whilst systematically promoting Sinhala settlements in the Tamil areas in order to make the minorities a manageable lot.

The President faced testing time when he decided to speak at the Oxford Union. It was the worst debacle the government had faced. If this had happened to any other democracy, heads would have rolled but Sri Lanka is special, as its politics is not matured enough to respond to such failures. The President’s failed visit overtly reflected his government’s failing and politicised foreign missions that are unable to meet the challenges ahead.

Political murders and recrimination against the media continued but the situation was well managed during the year. The inquiries and legal processes on crimes against journalists and civil society were systematically suppressed whilst the government engineered Trial at bar hearing and the LLRC waylaid the real issues being handled responsibly and judiciously.

White van abductions continued whilst government too promoted criminal mindsets like Mervin Silva’s and Weerawansa’s to respond to its needs.

The parliamentarians belonging to the government made their wealth manifolds during the year. They acquired lands, built houses and built their bank balances to such a scale that they do not have to rely on the state pension any more. Minister Champika Ranawake’s comment that he now drives executive Mercedes compared to his father going on the bullock cart speaks volume of the wealth building mission of the parliamentarians. The government has lately given permits for parliamentarians to import luxury vehicles without any transferable restrictions and the MP’s are selling them in the open market for millions of rupees.

The government’s appeal to the Tamil Diaspora to join hands to build the nation following the defeat of the LTTE failed give positive results. Even those opposed to the LTTE and went ahead to engage, soon backed off unable to proceed any further. The President too stopped speaking in Tamil during the year and went ahead with the plan to ban the Tamil version of the national anthem for the Tamils.

Gen Sarath Fonseka’s tale is another irritable mission of the Rajapakse &Co. Instead of Mahinda and Sarath giving a fight with the pistols in an open forum, Sarath was vindictively put behind bars for Rajapakse &Co to hold on to power. Military court sentence of rigorous imprisonment was turned in to luxury detention for the detainee. No one speaks about the rigorousness of the imprisonment even the meaning of the sentence of imprisoning and subjecting a person to hard labour in undesirable locations is not discussed in the media. Then we saw Gotabaya wanting the General to be hanged in the Hard Talk programme of the BBC.

The Sunday Leader came under sustained pressure during the year. In order to keep their mouth shut on the killing of their founder editor Lasantha Wickramatunga, they were kept busy to respond to the charges of the Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse.

The government’s appeal to the Tamil Diaspora to join hands to build the nation following the defeat of the LTTE failed give positive results. Even those opposed to the LTTE and went ahead to engage, soon backed off unable to proceed any further. The President too stopped speaking in Tamil during the year and went ahead with the plan to ban the Tamil version of the national anthem for the Tamils.

The government’s strong allies from the Tamil side were the paramilitary and the unscrupulous persons. Deputy Minister Karuna is the hit as he fully settled for women provided by the government as secretary and assistants. Alcohol is plentiful and all went well with his guitar and Sinhala baila songs in local functions. He was joined by paramilitary Douglas, human smuggler Sathasivam Ramanathan and his son Ankajan Ramanathan, N Ramathasan of Euroville construction, London estate agent Tilak of Tilak Property Services and some residues who have joined hands of the President to share the loot from the state budget.

Development! Northern Development!! Was the outcry of the government since the defeat of the LTTE. A powerful development committee headed by President’s sibling Basil Rajapakse was appointed to steer the process, but the steering was done exclusively by Basil without the involvement of the others to the whims of the paramilitary and to respond to the commission deals needed for the steering man. His cheque book development programmes for the north runs on deficit budget contrary to the positive southern development projects.

There are no master plans or road maps for development work. Instead, funds are dished out to pampered contractors to do patchwork and the contractors are allowed to steal the war damaged and abandoned properties for the so-called construction work.

Human rights violation in the north is a worrying issue. Having belted the INGO’, NGO’s and the media the paramilitary and the military are having a freehand and justice is non existent and made irrelevant in the north.

Then about the war crimes! The government is systematically eradicating all traces of evidences and the victims too are under military/paramilitary subjugation that they are unable to hold even a placard in the north to demand justice.

Minister DEW Gunasekara was caught without his pants when he claimed both LTTE’s Yogaratnam Yogi and Balakumar were killed in the battlefront. The truth revealed by the relatives and witnesses is that both victims surrendered to the army with about 50 others in Vanni. They were taken away in a bus after photographing and body checking them. It is now believed all those LTTE men were taken to the slaughter house of the army. The government is maintaining dumbfounded silence on this sordid war crime.

Channel 4 must be awarded the media of the year award for reporting the war crimes fearlessly. The threat of legal action by the government against C4 never materialised. The inhuman government continued to eat humble pies and C4 is teaching the real lesson of media freedom for the blinkered Rajapakse &Co of Sri Lanka.

The government escaped bankruptcy with the intervention of the IMF that gave a bit of respite. The government speaks about economic boom since then, but still failing to show its wider economic plan to harness the boom. Funds are being touted from the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, China, Libya, Russia and many other countries to finance the projects. The balance of payment and trade deficits of the country are at a worrying scale. The new harbour in Hambantota is built as a landmark to record the legacy of Mahinda and not built with consideration of economies.

The government is betting on tourism. What it had gained so far this year is equivalent to what Sri Lanka achieved post Ceasefire Agreement of 2001. Diaspora Tamils flooded to Sri Lanka then and the very same is happening post war which government fails to publicise.

These are gist of the hollow 2010 of Sri Lanka. Will the hollowness extend to the next year? So long as the suckers will rule the country, Sri Lanka will progress as a pariah state following the paths of the degrading nations it is aligning at present. Killing field of Sri Lanka if advised by China will be a good market to export human organs.

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