The Northern Provincial Council is fortunate to have the senior most Civil Servant C.V.K. Sivagnanam, as its chairperson with the vast experience in the day-to-day issues pertaining to the administrative as well as the social issues in the peninsula and Northern Province at large.
The administration of the Jaffna Municipal Council from the time Jaffna Mayor Alfred Duraiyappah was assassinated in 1976, Sivagnanam who was the Commissioner of Jaffna Municipal Council at that time had to handle the administration until his retirement.
With his experience as a professional Chartered Secretary, Sivagnanam’s period as Commissioner of Jaffna Municipal Council was challenging and it was noteworthy that he handled Jaffna’s Municipal administration boldly when the city’s landscape was gradually beginning to dilapidate in the early eighties.
Before the turbulent period, Jaffna’s Municipal administration was constantly praised by the Local Government hierarchy in Colombo as exemplary for preserving the city’s elegance.
With the blow struck to the Jaffna Public Library in 1981 followed by the total demolition of Jaffna’s Municipal Council building another Dravidian architectural landmark located next to the Jaffna Court House in the city in the mid-eighties by the LTTE, Sivagnanam’s responsibility as the Commissioner of Jaffna Municipal Council was extremely challenging.
It is none other than C.V.K. Sivagnanam who could make the right analysis on the turbulent Jaffna and on the changes that are taking shape socially as well as politically in the post-war Northern Province.
As Jaffna has now returned to normal after the uneasy situation followed by the gruesome murder of school girl S. Vithya in Punguduthivu two weeks ago, Northern Provincial Council Chairman Sivagnanam cautions that a hidden hand is flexing its muscle to undermine the relations between the Central Government and the Northern Province by igniting civil unrest.
Claiming that certain politically motivated elements which are trying to tarnish the image of the new government and the Tamil National Alliance’s (TNA) relations with it, Sivagnanam said the TNA-led Northern Provincial Council displayed its solidarity with the law enforcement officials in Jaffna in curtailing the unruly elements.
“The aftermath incidents of the gruesome crime in Punguduthivu has emphasized on the necessity of Northern Provincial Council possessing adequate Police powers in handling the situations. Police being a civil law enforcement institution it is ridiculous to note that the Northern Provincial Council, a democratically elected body has not been vested with powers to deal with Police,” Sivagnanam said.
The attack on the Jaffna Court House last week has highlighted the delicate peace experienced in the North. The Police Special Task Force personnel are still positioned in armoured cars around the Jaffna Court House to prevent any untoward incident.
According to renowned Psychiatric Professor Daya Somasundaram from the Jaffna Medical Faculty, though the people in the North felt the difference of coming out of a heavily militarized atmosphere following the change of government in January, the chaotic situations in the form of civil disorder will definitely instil fear in the minds of the innocent Jaffna civilians who had experienced the terrifying conditions in the past.
Praising the timely arrival of President Maithripala Sirisena, Chief Justice K. Sripavan and Inspector General of Police N.K. Illangakoon to Jaffna soon after the eruption of the crisis situation, Sivagnanam pointed out that the President’s presence in Jaffna and his interaction with the school children assuring their security in the future had gone a long way towards winning the hearts and minds of the people.
Mushroom political parties
As the TNA is getting ready for the parliamentary polls this year, it is clear the mushroom political parties and the political outfits which have their own political ideologies are expected to adopt all kinds of strategies by hook or crook to ensure their polls related activities are also felt by the Jaffna voters.
Two of the prime suspects who were rounded up among the 130 hooligans by the Police are the leaders of the two mushroom political parties supposed to have been created by the previous government.
The two political parties joining hands with some of the unruly elements created a chaotic situation last week in challenging law and order to create an impression in the South that the LTTE is trying to stage a comeback, according to Northern Provincial Council Chairman Sivagnanam.
As far as the people in Jaffna are concerned they are much concerned about stabilising the prevailing peaceful atmosphere and they had clearly pointed out that it was former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who was dreaming of the LTTE and mislead the people in the South by reminding them of the now defunct militant outfit.
Since the post-war Jaffna remains sensitive and gradually limping back to normalcy the political elements with vested interests could manipulate the situation to hamper the democratically elected political parties which enjoy the popular support of the voters in the North and East.
Several members of the Jaffna Civil Society also pointed out that the previous government with the end of war in 2009 had created several elements in the form of intelligence agencies to fulfil its agenda in the Northern Province and those elements were behind whatever the disturbances occurred prior to the change of government in the past.
Therefore, when former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is referring to the return of the LTTE in several places in the Southern Province recently, the people in the Jaffna Peninsula and the Northern Province at large wonder whether the Rajapaksa regime will return to power in the parliamentary polls and create another mess weakening the friendly relations presently enjoyed between the present government and northerners.