The once sober judicial officer Wigneswaran, who functions at present as the Chief Minister of the NPC, appears to have suffered a sudden manic seizure following the recent change of Government, to have had the incomprehensible temerity to make the infuriatingly provocative statement to the effect that all Governments in Sri Lanka have been following a policy of genocide, targeting the minority Tamils since the country gained Independence in 1948 ( and for good measure, implying thereby, unambiguously that this has been so, ever since the ‘fair minded Brits’ left the island’s shores for good!).
What was the insidious motive that inspired W to make such a patently traitorous statement?
Has he voluntarily become the sounding board of a newly fired-up Tamil Diaspora?
This needlessly provocative statement could not have been possibly made on sudden impulse by a man who had spent a good part of his official life on the Bench, as a sitting Judge!
What is completely inexplicable however, is that such an invidiously malicious statement could have been made at a time the new Government was reaching out to the Northern Tamils with certain positive, conciliatory measures which would have been a precursor to many more such meaningful steps the new political dispensation had lined up for the NPC.
When Chief Minister Wigneswaran makes a blanket statement of this nature, he takes upon himself, perhaps rather presumptuously , the role of being the spokesman for the entire Tamil community.
Did the Chief Minister pause for a moment, to reflect on the shocking impact his hugely provocative statement would have on the Sinhala people, islandwide? Did his private reveries of personal grandeur, permit him the license and the arbitrary authority, to place the larger interests of the minority Tamils islandwide,who live in peace and harmony with the majority community,by needlessly running the risk of disrupting the day to day tenor of their lives?
His overbearing hubris of late, does convey the inescapable impression that W seems to suffer from the grandly conjured up illusion, that the minority Tamil community is perfectly entitled to behave like the majority community, displacing out of hand,the legitimate rights and entitlements of the preponderant Sinhala majority! In fact people expected Prime Minister Modi to caution Chief Minister W (in private), to rein in and temper his runaway impetuosity, which was bound to foul up the process of reconciliation between the two communities, initiated by President Sirisena soon after he assumed office.
In fact, from the immediate reactions of the moderate sections of the Tamil community , expressed unequivocally in the media by academics et al, it was clear that they were quite irked by what the Chief Minister had so brashly and foolishly stated and were quick to dissociate themselves from these provocative and crass statements.
In point of fact, the highly regarded Radhika Coomaraswamy who is a known expert in International Affairs, lost no time in reacting with a sharp rejoinder to W’s outrageously stupid outburst, in a percipient article, given publicity in the media. I feel it is worth quoting a particular paragraph from her article in full, as it conveys her unreserved condemnation of the crude and importunate rhetoric of Wigneswaran.
I quote ” What the Tamil community needs (and I have been to Jaffna) are politicians who move away from rhetoric to adopt a practical, problem-solving mind-set. We as a community have had enough of all this name-calling- genocide, traitor, nation- all that is just unnecessary hyperbole at this time in our history. There are so many problems that have to be solved through discussion and dialogue that affect people in their every day life for eg:-what is the “credible mechanism” on accountability going to look like? Can we draw up a time table and a plan working with the governor, and the military for the release of land, release of detainees and a rearrangement of army camps and find solutions acceptable to everyone? These involve discussion and dialogue, not unilateral declarations”.
This is indeed, if anything, a most telling indictment of the Chief Minister’s incredibly crude and clumsy approach to finding his own unique ‘durable solution’,to the Tamil community’s problems. Wigneswaran’s bafflingly schitzophrenic persona can I think, be best described by the Bard’ s immortal words where Isabella characterizes a vainglorious,ambitious and designing person, in the following succinct manner:-
“Man proud man, dressed in a little brief authority,
Most ignorant of what he is most assured,
His glassy essence,like an angry ape,
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven,
As make angels weep”.
President Sirisena,as we all know,is a man of the people,endowed amply with country wisdom, and many long years of Parliamentary experience, to boot. People who elected him have implicit trust and faith in him to always do what is in the larger national interest. An excellent example of his calm and collected disposition is seen in the matter of fact manner in which he reacted to the glib diplomatic suavity of Cameron,the British Prime Minister, when the latter raised the matter of conducting an investigation into the alleged war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces, in the concluding stages of the war against the LTTE terrorists. With admirable sang- froid, President Sirisena had responded by saying that the investigation would be conducted by a locally appointed Tribunal under the Judicial system prevailing in the country.
President Sirisena is, one can be assured, always acutely conscious of the trust and confidence all those who voted him into power, repose in him and will steadfastly endeavour to live up to their legitimate expectations that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Island, will never be placed in jeopardy by what he does as President.
Our neighbor India, with whom we are building up a cordial relationship, should always be mindful of the fact that such cordiality can be sustained and further strengthened only by the mutual respect, goodwill and understanding each country bears to the other. There are however, some salient historical facts India just cannot brush aside viz.
1) India should bear in mind that she was responsible for nurturing and training LTTE terrorist cadres on her soil, to launch their unrelenting campaign of slaughter of innocent civilians and destruction of property, which cast a permanent pall of gloom over the entire island, which lasted for over thirty years.
2) The 13th Amendment was something forced on Sri Lanka by India. Certain devolutionary arrangements incorporated in the 13th A were not considered feasible by successive Governments and were for that reason, not implemented. Further, a large section of the population looked upon the 13th A as an extraneous imposition ,totally unsuited to a small country like Sri Lanka. There is no gainsaying that people belonging to all minority communities are all Sri Lankans who should be treated equitably, based on the fundamental democratic principles of Equity and Justice.
I am strongly of the conviction that President Sirisena’s Government will devise an appropriate geographical unit of devolution acceptable to all, combining power sharing arrangements with the minority communities ,at the Centre. This is an exercise that should be undertaken and accomplished solely by the ruling Government of Sri Lanka in consultation with all constituent ethnic groups in the island. India should not on any account, try to force the hand of the Sri Lanka Government, in this regard.