Govt. Playing Into Hands of The Diaspora – Prasanna Ranatunga

By Thushari Nathaniel

Former Western Province Chief Minister and Joint Opposition Member of Parliament Prasanna Ranatunga says the government is playing into the hands of the Tamil Diaspora, and it will jeopardise the sovereignty of the country. In an interview with The Sunday Leader, he said that even the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s visit was part of the Diaspora agenda, and he was here only to ensure that the government keeps to the pledges that they made to them. Saying that for true reconciliation to take place both parties need to make a commitment to work towards it, he, however, pointed out that certain Tamil leaders especially in the NPC are making statements that they are not in favour of unity and that they still want separatism and extremism. “What the LTTE leader could not get through war, this government gives them on a platter,” he charged.

Following are excerpts of the interview:

Q: It is speculated that the UN Secretary General’s visit was an attempt to boost the government’s image. How do you see his visit?

A: During the past presidential and general election, we saw the way the UNHRC acted. What they wanted was to implement the Tamil Diaspora agenda. They supported the good governance regime based on certain demands – the establishment of the OMP, resettlement, and on several other points.

The visit was just to see if the government has kept to the promises made and also if the promises are being implemented according to the Diaspora agenda. The government has come to a position where these international figures can come here and instruct them how the country’s internal matters should be conducted. As a country we are not independent but their puppets. Although the government is boasting that they have won the international support, we are just being manipulated by them. Ban Ki-moon came to the South of the country and spoke of reconciliation, but went to the North and looked into if the resettlement and removal of the military is taking place effectively. However, this is not surprising because we already know that this government is being driven by these parties.

 

Q: The UN Secretary General said that the number of military personnel in the North and East should be reduced and it will help build trust and reduce tensions. Do you think this should be done?

A: It was the Tamil Diaspora that supported this government to come into power. The government now is powerless to resist any of their demands. These parties have no feeling for the country; what they want is Eelam and what Prabhakaran could not get by fighting, this government  gives  them on a platter. Meanwhile, the NPC is trying to get power through establishing a federal system. All these separatist factions are at work, and they are manipulating the government to form their separate State, and the government is playing right into their hands. Shrinking the military and demoralising the intelligence units will only put the country in danger.

 

Q: Some say that reconciliation is to take place, the Sinhalese and the Tamils both should make an effort. However, still extremist elements operate in the North and the South making reconciliation difficult. What is your take on this development?

A: The Tamil people have suffered 30 years because of the war, and they now want to unite and live peacefully. They certainly don’t want a separate State. However, some leaders including Tamil leaders still spread hatred by making detrimental statements to disrupts peace and unity of the nation. When we in the South talk about reconciliation, some leaders in the North promote the concept of Eelam and a separate State.

In Malaysia, some persons dressed in LTTE T-shirts attacked a Buddhist priest. Another set attacked an ambassador who is also a Muslim. The Muslim leaders made a big hue and cry when the Beruwala incident took place, but they remain silent now. All those who spoke up during that incident such as the JHU also remain very silent on the Malaysia incident.

These LTTE supporters attacked a monk and an ambassador, and the government is trying to cover it up by saying that the attack was carried out by certain Indian factions. However, Ambassador Ansar clearly identified a person in the pictures that were taken at the incident; a man who he says was released after the new government came into power. But even after the Ambassador has identified this person, the government members are afraid to speak up because they have to obey the Tamil Diaspora since they came into power through their help.

 

Q: The government agreed at the 2015 UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) meeting in Geneva that they will consult victims before establishing the mechanisms of transitional justice, including the OMP. The National Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation (CTF) was established in January, but the Zonal Task Forces in different districts in the north and east – where many families of the disappeared live – had not even begun operating, but the OMP bill was tabled in parliament on May 27. What is your view on this issue?

A: This government is always going back on their promises. Ironically, even the people forget certain issues after awhile, and the government knows that fact very well. That is why they act in this way. But in the end, things will happen according to the desires of the West.

 

Q: The government promised that they will build a corruption and fraud free State. However, certain corrupt incidents took place within this one year of governance. How do you see this issue?

A: Today a large scale of corruption takes place. We are not the only faction saying this allegation; even certain prominent persons lobbied for this government say the same because they are now fed up with the conduct of the government. Eminent persons such as Dr. Nirmal Ranjith say that with the accusation in Australia recently, the President has no place to hide his face. Others such as Sannasgala also claim that having worked to bring this regime into power, they have now put themselves in a terrible position. Prof. Sarath Wijesooriya says if he had the power he would sack six ministers and 11 MPs because they all are rogues. This is the situation that the country has fallen into now. The country’s most powerful institution, the Finance Ministry is today a den of fraudsters and the corrupt. So how can we have any faith in any of the other State institutions?

 

Q: The Joint Opposition boycotted the SLFP convention. What is your stand now?

A: We still hold the same stand. If the SLFP ministers in the government are willing to form an SLFP government under an SLFP Prime Minister, we will join them. However that will not happen; so we cannot join them and become stakeholders of the destruction that the country is undergoing now. Today they are betraying the war heroes who sacrificed everything they had for the country. We cannot support that betrayal. The SLFP Chairman has the power to decide if the country stays united or divided. But he is making contradictory statements on various platforms. If he can prove in deed that he is genuine in his efforts, then we will join the good governance.