Duplicity, the name of the game
Several countries and
international organisations have shown an extraordinary concern about
people residing in the Northern and the Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka.
The people's grievances in these two provinces have been conveniently
tagged as 'ethnic conflict', 'national problem' or 'Tamil issue' by
certain countries and International Non-Governmental Organisations
(INGOs) for reasons best known to them.
Nevertheless, the real problems are quite different to those being
projected by these Western countries and INGOs. There are no specific
problems whatsoever for Tamils in Sri Lanka on the basis of ethnicity.
If this was the case, more than 50 percent of Sri Lanka's Tamil
population could not live outside the North and the East and co-exist
with the Sinhalese and Muslims. Moreover, the majority of citizens in
the capital are Tamil-speaking, thereby making Sinhalese the minority in
There are specific problems faced by people living in the North and
the East, irrespective of their ethnicities. Be it Tamils, Muslims or
Sinhalese, people in the North and the East have faced these problems
for decades, not because of their ethnicity but rather due to its
From the day LTTE terrorism was eradicated in May 2009, the
Government made every effort to address the grievances of those in the
North and the East. Sri Lanka set new world standards in resettling over
half a million people, liberated during the humanitarian operation, in
next to no time.
Mega development projects have been launched in these two provinces
to improve infrastructure facilities and bring them on par with the
other provinces in the country. Many rehabilitation programs have been
implemented for ex-terrorists, most of who have already been absorbed
into mainstream civil society.
The Northern Province, for the first time in two decades, was
connected to the National Grid, thereby offering a new lease of life for
civilians and industrialists in these areas. The two provinces have so
far shown a rapid growth rate of over 22 percent, compared to around
eight percent of overall growth in the country.
The Government continues to provide an uninterrupted power supply to
Jaffna despite a loss of Rs. 3 billion annually. Power and Energy
Minister Patalie Champika Ranawaka said last week that a furnace oil
power plant to cater to the power needs of the peninsula would be
completed by next year, and when it is fully operational, it would meet
the total power requirement in Jaffna. The Minister said that Lanka
Electricity Co Ltd (LECO) had invested Rs. 35 billion in the furnace oil
Although there are quite a number of countries and INGOs to speak on
behalf of the Tamils, we barely see the same interest when it comes to
Muslims and Sinhalese who had been driven away from the two provinces by
Tiger terrorists. Thousands of Tamil-speaking Muslims who languished in
refugee camps for 22 years after they were forcibly evicted from their
homes in the North by the LTTE, will soon be resettled in their original
places of residence.
A high percentage of displaced people are Muslims and the Government
will resettle these Muslims in their home towns soon.
More than 60,000 Muslims had been evicted from the Northern Province
by the LTTE in October 1990, following the 24-hour eviction in the North
at gunpoint. Those countries which now shed crocodile tears over the
Tamil-speaking people in Sri Lanka, remained mum when it came to these
displaced Muslims who were compelled to live in refugee camps in the
Puttalam district and other parts of the country.
With normalcy restored in the North, the displaced Muslims had
expressed a wish to return to their original homes and the Government is
now addressing several matters in this regard for their return.
Apart from the Tamils, the Muslims and Sinhalese in the North and the
East also suffered untold hardships due to LTTE terror. They too have
common grievances, not due to their ethnicity, but rather the area they
live in. This issue is now being resolved by the Government.
Though the West makes a big hue and cry over national reconciliation,
it is nothing new for those in Sri Lanka. If one were to take Colombo
for example, it is evident that the Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese have
almost equal strength, along with the Burghers, Malays and Borahs. These
ethnic groups live with one another in perfect peace and harmony.
The LTTE destroyed the harmony and co-existence between the Tamils
and the Sinhalese in the North and the East that had prevailed for
centuries before the Tigers spread its separatist ideology. This was
done to drive a wedge between the Sinhalese and the Tamils. It was
through such vicious campaigns that the LTTE brainwashed the majority of
Tamils and projected the terror outfit as the 'saviours' of the Tamils.
It is pathetic that the Tamil National Alliances (TNA) is still
unable to dispel the illusion created by Velupillai Prabhakaran.
It was indeed most heartening to see the Sri Lanka Army enlisting 109
female Tamil soldiers into the 6th Women's Corps ceremonially from the
Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts last week with the participation of
their beloved family members at the Army training school in
Barathipuram, Kilinochchi. The TNA or any other Tamil party or
organisation for that matter could no longer accuse the Government by
citing discrimination against Tamils. The Tamil lasses too now have a
place in their country's legitimate Army, compared to that dark era
under LTTE terror, during which Tamil children were forcibly recruited
at gunpoint by Prabhakaran's goons.
When the induction and orientation program into the service is
completed, this batch will be deployed in the North and the East, mainly
for peace-building and reconciliation.
Their presence in the Army would be a great opportunity and an added
strength to overcome the language barrier and work more closely in civil
affairs. Their enlistment would not only be a solution for youth
unemployment, but would also ensure the welfare of the dependant
The latest development would undoubtedly be an eye-opener for one and
all and would demonstrate the Government's reconciliation efforts. This
also marks a historic milestone in the Sri Lanka Army's scheme of
Officials of the Kilinochchi security forces headquarters recently
carried out an extensive recruitment drive and 109 were chosen initially
from among the Tamil females who competed eagerly in the enlistment
formalities. Is the international community blind to these positive
developments? Isn't it time for them to help Sri Lanka rather than keep
talking ad nauseum about the human rights of LTTE terrorists killed in
action by a legitimate Army of a sovereign State?Certain reports now
attempt to show that the United Nations had failed to intervene during
Sri Lanka's battle against terror. Some countries seem to be more
concerned over the human rights of LTTE terrorists rather than
Thanks to the unrelenting efforts of the Security Forces, Sri Lanka
is now free of suicide bombings, assassinations and bomb explosions in
public venues. If this is what the Tiger sympathisers and their stooges
yearn for, they are sadly mistaken - our civilians mean much more to us
than terrorist bombings. It is abundantly clear that the UN that had
failed 22 million Sri Lankans and the unsubstantiated estimates that
come from dubious sources that quote pro-LTTE units giving outrageous
Tamil civilian casualties make them only a laughing stock. In the event
the UN and other international organisations and Western countries are
so concerned about human rights, they should have taken action against
the LTTE when it ran berserk, killing tens of thousands of civilians.
Now that the Security Forces had accomplished that herculean task,
Sri Lanka could successfully handle its own affairs. Sri Lanka's elected
leaders, who have won successive mandates from the people, are only
accountable to the masses and certainly not to the Western politicians
who are beholden to the Tamil diaspora for votes!