JVP fails to see geo-political reality - Gammanpila
The Deputy Secretary of the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU),
Udaya Gammanpila in an interview with the ‘Sunday Observer’
Shanika Sriyananda said that
the government has a vision, pledged under the Mahinda Chinthana
President Rajapaksa had shown the
government’s ability to defeat terrorism.
The Deputy Secretary of the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), Udaya
Gammanpila in an interview with the 'Sunday Observer' staffer Shanika
Sriyananda said that the government has a vision, pledged under the
Mahinda Chinthana and President Rajapaksa had shown the government's
ability to defeat terrorism.
Following are the excerpts of the interview:
Q: Do you think that India is backing the government for
devolution under the 13th Amendment?
A: India has so many neighbours, and for us, whether we like
it or not we have only one neighbour. That is India, which is the
emerging super power in the world. Our neighbour is just 32 kilometres
across from our coast. We should understand that whether we like it or
not, we have to live with the geo political reality.
When our neighbour becomes the super power we should know how to deal
with that power. If we have hostile relationship with that neighbour we
will definitely have unnecessary problems. In fact, the LTTE is the
creation of India due to the hostile attitude of the UNP government in
the late 1970s. Today we are suffering unnecessarily as a result. We do
not say that we should surrender our sovereignty to India.
Though we are very small compared to India we want them to treat us
equal. So it is important to have the Indian support to solve the
Q: But the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) wants to boycott Indian
products. Do you think that it is necessary at this juncture?
A: Well. We think that the JVP is the southern front of the
LTTE and they indirectly and covertly assist the LTTE for its survival.
The JVP did the same thing in 1998 when the LTTE was struggling for its
survival at the hands of the IPKF.
Once Velupillai Prabhakaran had told Anita Pratap that the worst
period of his life was the period when they fought with the IPKF.
Because of the JVP's struggle to send the Indian forces back we lost the
chance of destroying the LTTE and failed to save thousands of lives of
Sri Lankans as well as billions of worth of properties in this war which
dragged on for many years thereafter.
After 1980s, this time again the LTTE is going through a very
difficult period. LTTE knows that they can not stand alone and need the
support of somebody. The traditional benefactor was India but after they
murdered Rajiv Gandhi it is not possible for them to seek Indian
support. Although Prabhakaran made an open apology and appealed to India
to forgive and forget ,the Indian government was adamant.
If Sri Lankan government rely on the JVP and becomes anti Indian, the
present situation would change. Then Indians would naturally become
anti-Sri Lankan and anti-Sinhalese. And if they become an enemy of the
Sinhalese, then the India will become enemy's friend. I think the JVP is
trying to renew the Indian relationship with the LTTE.
I do not think that the Sinhalese should be fooled by the JVP as in
late 1980s. I am very much confident that the Sinhala community can not
be fooled by the JVP now. There are no anti Indian feeling among Sri
Sri Lankans know that Sri Lanka's territorial integrity is very
crucial for Indians. We know that the greatest gift we have received
from India is Buddhism. If the JVP wants to ban the Indian products then
they should start it, from Buddhism.
Q: The JHU had opposed the 13th Amendment earlier. Have you
changed your stance now?
A: No. Policywise we are against the 13th Amendment.
Strategically we are supporting this. We believe that there is no ethnic
conflict in this country and Tamils have not been discriminated. They
are an ethnic group and not a nation as claimed by the LTTE. So they do
not have a right to self rule. The Provincial Council system was
introduced with a view to grant autonomy to the Tamil community. In that
sense we are against the 13th Amendment.
But strategically we have found that our internal issue has been
internationalised by the successive governments, especially by the then
President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and the then Prime Minister
Ranil Wickremesinghe. As a result we can not solve this problem alone.
There are four very powerful countries in the guise of co-chairs and
another 56 countries. In this context our issue has been
internationalised very much and we can not solve our problem the way
that we want. Unless we are going to be tactful, we may have to succumb
to the LTTE.
So we believe that what is of paramount importance is that we should
defeat the LTTE. In order to do so we should facilitate our forces to do
that. There are three things that we should do.
Firstly we should ensure that our forces receive adequate weapons and
other logistics that they need. Secondly we should maintain a conducive
environment for the Forces to go and defeat the LTTE. Thirdly we need to
manage the foreign factor in a prudent manner. Otherwise we would not be
in a position to defeat the LTTE.
This is the time that the LTTE has reached a situation that we can
definitely defeat the LTTE.
We do not want the same tragic drama- where the Indian government
threatened military intervention and later signed the Indo Lanka Accord-
to be happened again after 20 years.
In this situation some sort of a devolution package is a must.
We think that the LTTE pose a greater threat to Sri Lanka than the
Provincial Council system so we do not mind using lesser threat to
destroy the greater threat.
Q: Does this mean that the JHU is against giving more powers to
A: We do not mind devolution as a development tool. And we
believe that we have to strengthen the administrative unit at the
grassroot level. So we are not very much supportive of having big
administrative units like provincial councils. We believe that we should
adequately devolve power to the lower level of the administrative
hierarchy such as local authorities.
The JHU support the Grama Sabha concept which prevailed in Sri Lanka
for more than 2200 years. We want to empower the people at the grass
root level rather than duplicating extravagant units such as PCs where
they have Ministers and other members who will have luxury vehicles, and
other facilities on public money. Provincial councils will be a burden
to the people. People would not derive any benefit but only the
politicians will get the benefits through this system.
The JHU said the Presidential Candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa if you are
going to give up federalism and embrace unitary concept we were ready to
assist you in devolution under a unitary set up. That was our agreement
just prior to the Presidential election 2005.
President Rajapaksha has honoured this pledge upto now. As long as he
preserves the unitary character of the country, the JHU is duty bound to
assist him to devolve power under the unitary system.
Q: How do you see the TMVP wining Batticaloa Municipal Council
where the Opposition claim they won it at gun point?
A: That is a victory of the democracy more than else. It is
the defeat of the LTTE, UNP and the JVP. Because the TMVP by contesting
in the election had showed the world that they have given up their faith
of the bullet and they have now faith in the ballot. Secondly by getting
a clear mandate from the people the TMVP has told the world that the
Tamils are not with the LTTE and Tamils are not for separation.
Thirdly, the TMVP has expressed its willingness to work with
Sinhalese and Muslims. With that the so called ethnic differences and
hatred are not there any more. It is a emerging ethnic harmony.
Q: However the UNP at last agreed to support the 13th Amendment
A: The UNP is more interested in gaining power than serving
the country. We accept whatever the support pledged by the UNP but we do
not think the government should rely on the UNP's support. Because they
are so unreliable.
Q: As an ally that helped the Mahinda Rajapaksa government to come
into power, do you think this government has been able to fulfil the
aspirations of people?
A: Normally political parties talk about their election
manifestos only during the election time. After that they forget about
and only the Opposition talks about the government's pledges. But this
government always refer to the 'Mahinda Chinthana'.
This is some thing positive and did not take place in Sri Lanka until
2005. For the last 30 years the biggest problem we had was terrorism.
Even fighting with the war the government has been able to record an
economic growth of more than 5 percent. It is a good indication that the
government's duty is to defeat terrorism and to make a conducive
environment for the economic prosperity.
Defeating terrorism is a pre- condition for economic prosperity and
the government will definitely do that. The JHU has faith in the
President and he has showed the ability to defeat terrorism.
Q: If the LTTE try to resume Peace Talks, do you think the
government should accept their invitation?
A: Throughout history we have made the same mistake. Whenever
the LTTE was weak the international community pressurises Sri Lankan
government to go for talks. During these talks the government was very
much moderate and tolerate but the LTTE had exploited that opportunity
for re-arm and regain their lost power.
It had happened in 1990, 1994, 1995, 1997, 2002 and also in 2005. We
have repeated the same mistake for six times. Once Albert Einstein had
said that if you repeat the tests under the same condition expecting
different results you are insane.
So, if we are going to have talks with the LTTE with the same
Vellupillai Prabhakaran expecting different results, we must be insane.
The JHU does not want the Sri Lankan government to repeat the same.