No Thaipongal for the northern people Tamil Chief Minister Wigneshwaran and PM Ranil’s reply.

mahinda laugh 1At a time when the day to day problems has not been resolved how the Tamil people would celebrate the Thaipongal, questions the northern chief minister C.V. Wigneswaran 

The chief minister raised this question during the Thaipongal festival held in Jaffna under the patronage of the Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe and the visiting Asian affairs minister of UK Hugo Swire.
 
“The political prisoners have not been released, the prevention of terrorism act has not been lifted and the lands belong to the Tamil people in Jaffna has not been returned” said the chief minister.
 
The chief minister said the relatives of the people disappeared is urging him to disclose what happened to the people disappeared and said the ex LTTE rebels lives has not been reinstated.
 
The chief minister who complained in front of the Prime minister that the central government is still interfering in to the affairs of the northern provincial council and accepted the fact, that the new government is taking credible steps to uphold democracy.
 
Still we are undergoing problems. The Tamil people need solutions under the UN principles as agreed to the 2015 September the war crime investigation should begin” said the minister.
 
The chief minister said that they don’t have problems with the Singhalese people but if the current politician’s does not take any steps to resolve the Tamil people’s problems he would continuously raise his voice.
 
However addressing the people the UK’s Asian affairs minister Hugo Swire said that more than ever long term reconciliation expectations has been lighten up between the ethnicities following the end of the war.

PM Ranil Responds to CM Wigneswaran – Duel continues unabated

Swire Meets PresidentC.V. Wigneswaran, Chief Minister of the Northern Province, continued his duel with Ranil Wickremasingha, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka with his allegations over the shortcomings the Tamils in the country confronted with.

Chief Minister Vigneswaran spoke very aggressively in the National Pongal Day function.

“They have taken over our lands, out livelihoods, our businesses, our resources and are a threat to the well-being of our war widows and others,” alleged Chief Minister Vigneswaran

“Are we therefore in a fit state of mind to celebrate Thai Pongal?” Vigneswaran asked. The event was boycotted by the TNA.

Vigneswaran listed the shortcomings, and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe responded said yesterday that his government was ready to devolve power to minority Tamils under a new Constitution and vowed to bring to justice all perpetrators of war crimes committed towards the end of the country’s civil war.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the drafting of a new Constitution would be done in a very open and transparent manner after discussing and incorporating the views of all 225 MPs. The Prime Minister said he would not bring in Constitutional amendments in the manner the 18th Amendment was made by the junta of the likes of Prof. G.L. Peiris.

He was addressing the Thai Pongal Ceremony held at Weerasinghham Hall in Jaffna yesterday.

MAHINDA LIAR 2“I presented the proposal of the President to form a Constitutional Assembly that includes all 225 MPs. It was done in an open manner and we can take the views of Provincial Councilors and the general public too. “There is no draft Constitutional Bill. We are not ready to make Constitutional changes in a manner adopted by this junta as was in the case with the 18th Amendment.

“The Constitutional Assembly will discuss with all, including (Tamil-dominated) provincial councils to have a new constitution. We will do that in a transparent manner,” he said in a nationally televised ceremony that was attended by British Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire.

He pledged his government’s commitment to address all concerns of the island’s Tamil minority.
Wickremesinghe’s remarks came in response to the criticism by Northern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran who blamed the government in his address.

Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran’s Adress

Addressing the ceremony Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran said that the government extends step-motherly treatment to the Northern Provincial Council.

Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran said that an inclusive society cannot be built upon counter-terrorism mindset and state security perspectives and that a heavy military presence in the province lays the foundation for violence.

Addressing the National Thai Pongal Festival in Jaffna, he said that the 16th goal of the UN’s 2013 agenda for sustainable development calls for the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development provide access to justice for all and build effective accountable and inclusive institutions to all levels. “This is indeed what we Tamils of this country are interested in,” he said.

The Chief Minister said the 16th goal firstly says that we need to reduce all forms of violence. “Unfortunately we in the North do not enjoy such a luxury.”

The fact that an estimated 150,000 armed men belonging to an occupational army is stationed in the Northern Province six long years after the end of the war necessarily lays the foundation for violence, he said.

“They have taken over our lands, out livelihoods, our businesses, our resources and are a threat to the wellbeing of our war widows and others.”

“Are we therefore in a fit state of mind to celebrate Thaipongal?” he asked.

However, he added, that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had said he is taking some steps with regard to the lands and that he welcomes the latter’s suggestion.

The 16th goals secondly say that we need to promote the rule of law at national and international level and ensure equal access to justice for all. But we are continuing with our “draconian” Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), he charged. “Does it ensure equal access to justice for all? A dubious confession has been made the cause for continued incarceration,” Wigneswaran stated.

He emphasized that an inclusive society cannot be built upon counter-terrorism mindset and state security perspectives.

“We must instead have a human mindset and people security perspective which means rule of law at the local government level, provincial council level and national level to ensure human security in this country.”
He stated that the recent finding of secret torture chambers and the sudden release of persons who have been in enforced incarceration for long periods prove that accountability and transparency are lacking.

“I am sorry to say that politically our Northern Provincial Council is being undermined by the central government at all levels. Projects are decided by the Center and foisted on us top to bottom,” he claimed.

In short, the provincial councils are thought of as an aberration that needs to be suffered by the government, the chief minister said.

He charged that discriminatory laws are still in place and that in practice it is far more irritating.

“Looking from a macro standpoint, let me say we have to improve ourselves as a country very much. We have inherited prejudices and wrong notions. We have inherited violent thoughts and hatred. We need to jettison such notions and thoughts and prejudices.”

“Maybe Thaipongal is an ideal opportunity to rethink and retrace,” he said.

He stated that the international community can provide support in this regard and that it is vital the government of Sri Lanka is supported by the international community based on the principle of affirmative action to ensure a level playing field and fiscal and budgetary equalization measures.

“Though Sri Lanka is regarded as a middle income country, we in the Northern Province are lagging far, far behind. We are below par.”

“May this Thaipongal usher in a better future for all of us,” he said in conclusion.

PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s response

However Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe responded later to Wigneswaran comments in the following manner.

Wickremesinghe, in his response, said the government keeps talking to the military about de-escalating its presence.

He also pledged to recruit 500 more Tamils in the police service.

On the war crimes allegations, Wickremesinghe said the government would go ahead in setting up the mechanism for investigation. “All perpetrators will be dealt with.”

“Who has violated (humanitarian law), it could the security forces or the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam). We will take action accordingly,” the Premier said.

The Tamil rights groups have demanded the repealing of PTA as large numbers have been detained under the Act.
Sri Lankan government has begun drafting a new Constitution aimed at resolving the ethnic conflict and achieving reconciliation with Tamils so that there is no repeat of the nearly three decades-long civil war which ended in 2009 and claimed 100,000 lives.

Wickremesinghe, in his address on the occasion of the Pongal festival in Jaffna, said more civilian lands will be freed from military control soon and the official language policy will be implemented where Sinhala and Tamil would be accorded the official language status.

“We are ready to devolve power (to minority Tamils) and protect democracy,” Wickremesinghe said.

“The Constitutional Assembly will discuss with all, including (Tamil-dominated) provincial councils to have a new constitution. We will do that in a transparent manner,” he said in a nationally televised ceremony that was attended by British Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire.

He pledged his government’s commitment to address all concerns of the island’s Tamil minority.
The Prime Minister stated that he was able to talk about 2-3 issues existing in the north by attending the event in Jaffna.

“Another 4,600 acres of land are under the control of the military in addition to that there is more land, not as big, in the North and East.” “So what I said was that lets identify the land required for development, the land required by the people and tell us if something extra is wanted for security. Let’s sit down and take a policy decision and then impose time limits,” he said.

Wickremesinghe said that he wants that report before 2 months to discuss with the President, the Chief Ministers, the MPs from North and East and former President Chandrika Kumaratunga. “Because we cannot keep dragging these issues.”

The PM stated that he held discussions with TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran, Minister of Prison Reforms D.M. Swaminathan, Minister of Law and Order Sagala Ratnayake and Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapaksa to find solutions to the issues of the remaining Tamil detainees. An agreement has been reached between the three ministries and after it is brought to the attention of the President, we will inform the Chief Minister and other relevant parties, he said. “The Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) is now an expired act,” he said, adding, that it will be remove.

He stated that in the future Sri Lanka could face international terrorism-related problems and should the need arise a law similar to that the United Kingdom would be introduced. “That process will be accomplished by the middle of the year.”

Wickremesinghe said that the process with regard to compiling the missing persons list is ongoing and that he is sad to say that a majority of the persons who are missing but are not in their list and not detained, are no longer alive. “I don’t know what happened to them.”

The PM said that he has spoken to the Commanders of the armed forces regarding the troops stationed in the North and what they say is that as the situation in the region improves they can reassign personnel to other areas according to requirements.

Former president Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, British State Foreign Affairs Minister Hugo Swire, Northern Provincial Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran, ministers D.M. Swaminadan and /Saagala Rathnayake also participated in the National Thai Pongal Festival held yesterday in Jaffna.