Mahinda clings onto Eelam Flag for political survival
Common people in society at times make valid and timely statements. A three-wheeler driver recently quipped, ” Mahinda Rajapaksa sees Eelam Flags everywhere he goes and he suffered from that mania last year on 18 and 19 May”. It’s exactly true.
Last year when the war victory was celebrated on those two days, Mahinda went from temple to temple screaming that the Eelam Flag was to be hoisted in the North and that Prabhakaran’s poster was to be put up in the peninsula. But no such flag was hoisted and no poster came up on the walls. Don’t know whether Mahinda felt sad about it. Mahinda started to repeat that chorus on account of Prabhakaran’s birthday (November 26) and the Maaveerar Day in the North. However, no such incident occurred in the North.
In November 2013, the media reported that moves were afoot to mark Prabhakaran’s birthday and Maaveerar Day by distributing handbills and leaflets. Following is a report published in the TamilNet on 26 November 2013 on that event; “Sri Lankan military intelligence operatives were monitoring the activities of the grassroots political activists and the elected councillors of the Provincial Council and the civic bodies in North and East.
However, the Teachers’ Union of Jaffna University observed a memorial event Wednesday noon by lighting candles and paying a floral tribute braving the SL military harassments. Handwritten and printed posters in memory of those who sacrificed their lives in the Tamil struggle have been put up at several places throughout the peninsula where the occupying Sri Lankan soldiers were seen removing them. This year, the student community in the occupied country of Eezham Tamils has been active in remembering the Tamil Heroes.
SL military opened fire at the house of Sri Ranjan
In the early hours of Wednesday, a squad operated by the occupying SL military opened fire at the house of Sri Ranjan, an elected member of the civic body in Kodikaamam Piratheasa Chapai, who had recently moved a resolution on restoring Maaveerar Thuyilumillams (Heroes Cemeteries). Questioned and released.
Ms. Ranjani Aingaran was also attacked by a 8-member squad that came in 4 motorbikes
The attack comes after he was detained, questioned and released on Tuesday. In another incident, the residence of the President of Valikaamam West (Chuzhipuram) Piratheasa Chapal (PS) Ms. Ranjani Aingaran was also attacked by a 8-member squad that came in 4 motorbikes. Sri Lankan soldiers were deployed in large numbers on the streets of Jaffna as the people were observing Heroes Day silently inside their houses.
In the meantime, Northern Provincial Council Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Irrigation and Environment, P. Aingaranesan, introduced a tree-planting scheme, which was announced coinciding with Heroes Remembrance Day. Starting in Mannar on Tuesday, Aingaranesan said he proceeded to continue the scheme in Jaffna on Wednesday”.
In that backdrop, Mahinda screams with pain. He is now aware that all his predictions made before the presidential poll proved wrong.
‘Tiger terrorist facing charges are being released. Proscribed Tamil Diaspora entities are being de-proscribed. Is the country heading towards division?’ Mahinda asked at a Temple in Hakmana.
Actually it was Mahinda’s Government that began to release Tiger terrorist suspects in 2011 and not the Government of Maithri and Ranil. The then Minister of Prisons and Rehabilitation Chandrasiri Gajadeera said 4,096 LTTE suspects were held in detention. While releasing 900 to their parents, Minister Gajadeera said he would release a further 3,196 in that year.
The Daily FT carried that news in the following manner; “The government yesterday released 1,800 former Tamil Tiger rebels who had undergone a two-year rehabilitation programme following the end of the war in May 2009. President Mahinda Rajapaksa handed over the rehabilitated former members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to their families yesterday at a ceremony held at the Temple Trees with the participation of ministers, parliamentarians, diplomats and the family members. The Rehabilitation and Prisons Reforms Ministry had made arrangements to bring the former rebels to the Temple Trees and it was the first time such a large group of rehabilitated cadres were reintegrated into the society.
The rehabilitated cadres received certificates for their skills training from the US Ambassador Patricia Butenis, Australian High Commissioner Kathy Klugman and the Indian High Commissioner Ashok K. Kantha. The former rebels staged a cultural show for the audience. Addressing the ceremony President Rajapaksa said the released combatants were given training in vocational training to live in society as useful citizens. The ex-combatants were provided training in masonry, carpentry, tailoring and agriculture.
President Rajapaksa said these former LTTE members were deprived of the opportunity to live as free citizens and added that measures were being taken to erase their dark past. “We have made you persons worthwhile to society,” the President said and added that people’s lives should not be allowed to be destroyed to fulfil the needs of a small group. The President told the gathering, the villages in the North destroyed during the war were being rebuilt and that he would work to develop the North similar to the South. He was not prepared to treat the North any differently from the South, he said. Minister of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms, Chandrasiri Gajadeera said the rehabilitation programme was implemented according to the needs of the present day society. During and immediately after the final phase of the war 11,700 LTTE cadres had surrendered to the government security forces. Sri Lanka has allocated Rs 750 million for the rehabilitation process for this year. The government says it has spent
Rs 2.5 billion on the rehabilitation of ex-LTTE cadres since the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009. The Secretary to the Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms Ministry, A. Dissanayake also participated in the ceremony.
After the LTTE leadership was eliminated, only Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP and LTTE woman leader Thamilini were left for direct contact. Thamilini was Thamil Selvan’s wife. Others were Prabhakaran’s Interpreters George Master and Daya Master. Mahinda’s Government released them. Mahinda’s Government captured KP through the help of Malaysian and Thai Governments. KP was more close to Prabhakaran than Anton Balasingham, Pottu Amman,Soosai and Thamil Selvan. KP funded the LTTE Leader to take the war forward. Mahinda’s Government did not prosecute KP. He was not released fearing he would be killed. Mahinda allowed him military protection and a free hand to set up NGOs. India wanted him for the murder of Rajiv Gandhi, but Mahinda did not accede to that request. Mahinda who committed such acts is now screaming against the release of less than 100 LTTE suspects.
The truth is that it was Mahinda who agreed with the international community to release LTTE suspects. He released 900 suspects in 2011. While another batch was released the following year; he released a further 313 on 13 January 2013. That was the policy Mahinda followed with regard to the release of LTTE suspects.
It was Mahinda who now screams against the ban lift on Tamil Diaspora bodies who spoke to them in 2010. He spoke to those Tamil Diaspora bodies and entrusted KP to arrange visits for them. A pro-LTTE Diaspora ‘Tamil Health Organization’ Leader Charles Anthonidas in an interview with BBC disclosed the visits of Tamil Diaspora leaders between 14 and 20 June 2010 in the following manner;
‘The detained leader of the Tamil Tigers is playing a ‘leading role’ in helping the Government in ‘reconciliation process’ after the end of the war, representatives of Tamil Diaspora say.
In an exclusive interview with the BBC, Charles Antonidas, a leader of Tamil Health Organization (THO) said that Kumaran Pathmanathan, also known as KP, was instrumental in arranging a meeting between the Tamil Diaspora and the Sri Lankan Government. “We were trying to reach out to the Government to discuss humanitarian issues but didn’t have any success for a long time. Then suddenly when we had this opportunity we thought of taking it,” he told BBC Sandeshaya.
Admitting that the meeting took place, Media Minister Keheliya Rambuakwella told BBC Sandeshaya that KP is also involved in the reconciliation process. A group of nine representatives from the diaspora worldwide has visited Sri Lanka from 14 to 20 June. The team has first had a meeting with KP, who was arrested in Malaysia while having a meeting in August last year and brought to Colombo.
He is detained in a secret location in Sri Lanka since then. The opposition parties have accused the Government of offering him luxury accommodation while ill-treating former military commander Gen. Fonseka and other suspected LTTE combatants. “The contact between us and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) was KP. We didn’t have any direct contact with the MoD,” Mr. Antonidas told the BBC. He said the former LTTE leader, who was also regarded as the main arms procurer for the Tamil Tigers during the conflict, is considered by the Government “as a partner in the reconciliation process”.
“He has been allowed some kind of freedom to help rehabilitation of the displaced and ex-combatants,” the representative added.
The diaspora representatives had met Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa on the next day. “He briefed us on reconciliation efforts and how the military is collecting funds for resettlement. They were trying to tell us what the Government want us to know,” he said. Gangatharan (France), Sripathi (Germany), Mrs. Raj (Switzerland), Dr. Rubamurthy (Australia), Siva and Perindan (Canada), and Wimaladasan and Dr. Arulkumar (UK) were the other members of the delegation. The team has requested the authorities to repeal “draconian measures” such as Emergency Regulations (ER)and Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), saying it is an impediment to bringing in normalcy after years of conflict. “We were told that would be done at the earliest possible time but no time frame was given,” he said.
Like a man who drowns clings onto even a straw, Mahinda after defeat is like a man drowning in the ocean trying to cling onto a Eelam Flag which is a like a straw to him for political survival.