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CM versus governor: co-operation is key to developing North

| by Pearl Thevanayagam

(July 22, 2014, Bradford UK, Sri Lanka Guardian) Former Supreme Court Judge C.V.Wigneswaran has taken upon himself an uphill task of managing a peninsula which needs urgent rehabilitation amidst friction within and outside TNA. The government is watching with glee when it could make him cave in and succumb to pressure by pitting the NPC chief minister against the governor whose term was extended despite assurance a civilian would replace Major General Chandrasri.

But C.V. Wigneswaran is made of sterner stuff than the people give credit for in that he is first and foremost an erudite and experienced judge with impeccable credentials. He is on par with former AG Shiva Pasupathi who hailed from five generations of doctors. Tamils cannot afford to forego his tenure as chief minister since for 30 long years they have been controlled by fanatics and illiterates. 

TNA is now a mix of impulsive neophytes in politics such as Suresh Premachandran and M.A. Sumanthiran MP who are in a mighty hurry to bring Band-Aid solutions to the Tamil conundrum post-war however genuine their intentions are and senior politicians such as R. Sampanthan and Mavai Senathirajah who would gauge the pulse of the government against majority Tamil sentiments in their own time and weigh the pros and cons.

It is to the advantage of Tamils the TNA stalwarts of experience and erudition are now in a position to look after their interests. CVW will show no knee-jerk responses no matter what his opponents and dissenters throw at him and most of all he has no skeletons in his closet. However, he needs to shed his stubborn stance in his advancing years and co-operate with other players such as Governor Chandrasri and Douglas Devananda who are - despite criticisms - making practical moves to alleviate the immediate daily needs of the people.

Major General Chandrasiri’s actions speak a lot more than the TNA has done so far and it would be in the interest of the Tamils the NPC engages with him and Devananda who have enough clout with the government. 

That his term was extended should not be perceived as a threat but a boon to the development of the North. Their actions and on the ground realities speak more of their commitment to the North than of the rhetoric the NPC harps on that it does not have enough funds to develop North despite a budget provided by the government. Use this dammit, instead of asking for more.

The North has had its share of Sinhala, Muslim and Burgher administrators in governance, judiciary and police force in bygone years and they served it well with the support of Tamils. Until Tamils reach closure and look towards the future they have only themselves to blame and not the government which despite its flaws is atoning for its actions in the past of creating ethnic turbulence as was witnessed in the July pogrom of 1983.

One cannot eat principles such as 13A but everyone needs to feed himself on a daily basis and this is the bottom line. The injustices caused to minorities need addressing and the UNHRC probe is not going away but rather gathering momentum with the government itself reluctantly admitting war crimes could have been committed. 

It would also be a wise move to garner support from Muslim parties since we share a common language and their vote base should not be scoffed at. Ditto for mustering upcountry Tamil votes and the Tamil minority could challenge Sinhala hegemony and prove once and for all that the minorities in toto would equal the Sinhala majority are going nowhere and that their rights are as legitimate and henceforth entrenched in the constitution come hell or high-water. 

As we approach the 31st anniversary of the July 1983 pogrom against Tamils, sentiments are riding high once more and those who suffered and left the island with heavy hearts are reliving the horrors through commemorations around the world as much as Palestinians do in Black September and to a much earlier era when Hitler annihilated six million Jews to carve out a blue-eyed blond Aryan race although he was partly Jew himself.

The second generation of the Tamil diaspora are a force to reckon with despite the fact the government thumps itself on its back it vanquished the LTTE along with 40,000 or more Tamil civilians. Now it has to prove whether it wiped out terrorism or annihilated a sizeable portion of ethnic Tamils before UNHRC.

Notwithstanding the fact Tamils have suffered under successive governments, the NPC should take cognisance of the signs of fissure within the ruling party and be prepared for any eventualities such as its term coming to an end if it does not co-operate with other government bodies and garner support from our Muslim brethren.

(The writer has been a journalist for 25 years and worked in national newspapers as sub-editor, news reporter and news editor. She was Colombo Correspondent for Times of India and has contributed to Wall Street Journal where she was on work experience from The Graduate School of Journalism, UC Berkeley, California. Currently residing in UK she is also co-founder of EJN (Exiled Journalists Network) UK in 2005 the membership of which is 200 from 40 countries. She can be reached at thevanayagampearl@yahoo.co.uk)

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