By Upul Joseph Fernando
President Maithripala revealed an interesting episode of what Queen Elizabeth told him during his recent visit to Britain to the media heads when the latter met the President last week at a breakfast meeting.
When he met the Queen, the pro-LTTE Tamil Diaspora in London had been protesting outside. “Don’t those who protest outside know that there is a new government in Sri Lanka?” the Queen had asked Maithri.
By this statement, the Queen posed two views; that she was opposed to the protest outside by the Tamil Diaspora and was eager to know what the new Sri Lanka Government would do to help the Tamils.
Maithri understood the statement in the correct perspective. Even British Premier David Cameron had posed the same question.
Indian Premier Narendra Modi who came to Sri Lanka recently urged Maithri to find a solution beyond 13 A to the Tamil issue.
Maithri put the entire crisis in a lighter vein to the editors recalling the Sinhala saying, “The country was facing global challenges in a way the crabs danced inside a boiling pan”.
While he made this quip, there were plans to establish a National Government and discussions were taking place. His decision to approve the National Anthem to be sung in Tamil was viewed differently by his own SLFP. That indicated that the pro-Mahinda group within the SLFP was promoting racism within the SLFP.
That could have been the reason that Maithri thought to accommodate SLFPers to form a National Government to win over the global challenges. Ranil Wickremesinghe would have endorsed Maithri’s stand as Ranil knows that the UNP alone could not face the mounting international pressure.
In 2002, the international community pressurized Ranil who was in power at that time to establish a national government. He was told by the international community that he should seek the support of then President Chandrika Kumaratunga towards the peace process and to offer several ministerial portfolios to the SLFP.
When Chandrika took over three ministries from Ranil’s Government, the international community stressed the need for a National Government to safeguard the peace process.
Though Ranil appointed his confidante Malik Samarawickreme to discuss the possibility of setting up a National Government with Chandrika, it proved futile. Chandrika dissolved the Parliament due to JVP pressure. If a National Government was formed at that time, the peace process would have been safeguarded avoiding the loss and destruction suffered due to the terrorist war. Then the international community would not have mounted pressure on this island nation.
When Chandrika took over certain ministries from Ranil, Prabhakaran had withdrawn from the peace process. He withdrew knowing that a durable solution to the crisis would only bring threats to his life if permanent peace was restored. He also knew that he could not indulge in politics freely having murdered Indian Premier Rajiv Gandhi and other local Tamil political leaders. Therefore, he was adamant to scuttle the peace process. Chandrika and the JVP were caught in that trap.
Today, Maithri, Chandrika and Ranil may be engaged in correcting that mistake which were committed at that time. The National Government formed last Sunday was a result of their discussions. Mahinda has started to incite racism again.
Like the JVP did in 2004 to attract Chandrika and the SLFP to follow their anti-peace agenda, Mahinda may be trying to destroy the Maithri, Chandrika, Ranil coalition to take the SLFP under his racist agenda. Under such circumstances, the Tamil issue can never be resolved. On these lines, attempts may be made to identify the Maithri, Chandrika, Ranil trio which is trying to win international challenges as traitors of the nation.
If this National Government was formed to resolve the Tamil crisis in order to win the international challenges, the nation must salute Maithri, Chandrika and Ranil. If Maithri, Chandrika and Ranil had formed this National Government to gain political advantage, they are betraying the voters who voted Maithri to the presidency.
However, the journey made to Jaffna this week to distribute land deeds to the Tamil people, the government’s agenda is now clear.