2ND LEAD (Adds links)

Final nail on APRC's coffin

[TamilNet, Sunday, 02 May 2010, 15:46 GMT]
Professor Tissa Vitarane's omission from the ministerial list "reinforces the contention that the APRC [All Party Representative Committee] was set up for the sole purpose of placating the international community and India in particular," said Dr. Paikiyasothi Saravanamuttu, director of Colombo-based think-thank, in the Saturday edition of Daily Mirror, adding that the APRC was "never meant by the regime to be anything else." Saravanamuttu was one of the few who were unique in articulating publicly that APRC was constituted for mere presence than for action.

"This contention, in turn, is reinforced by a recent, apparatchik, column in the state press. It is laced with viciousness and most unkind to the professor [Tissa Vitarana] and his defenders. It deems the professor to be passé on account of him being partial to power -sharing and federalism," Dr Saravanamuttu adds.

In July 2006, Dr Saravanamuttu wrote in the [now defunct] Morning Leader "[t]here is no clear policy from government on the issue of a constitutional settlement or sense of urgency with regard to acquiring one even through the APC [All Party Conference] process, begging the question of as to whether the process is about being seen to be doing something and about buying time and not much else," insinuating, even as early as 2006, that the effort may be an exercise in buying time.

From July 2006 when the concept of APRC was first mooted and set-up, TamilNet has cataloged the farcical nature of the exercise, and only a few intellectuals including Dr Saravanamuttu, and Dr. Kumar David had the moral courage to expose the agenda of Colombo behind setting up the APRC.

"The APRC is a farce of the Sri Lanka government. It was always used to impress upon India and the International Community. The basic premise of the APRC not to go beyond unitary constitution of Sri Lanka, will not bring in any meaningful result. India and the IC know it well. Yet, if they continue to tolerate the farce, they will only be abetting the genocidal program of Colombo, said Suresh Premachandran of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in a November 2008 interview.

"The Interim Report is a sham for two reasons; the Committee set aside its previous 18 months and 63 meetings of deliberations and trotted out the Presidential diktat pretending it was its own finding, and secondly the APRC is collaborating in a deception game since this interim palliative is all that the government will ever want out of these worthies; the government will sell this interim hogwash to India and the Co-Chairs," said Prof. Kumar David in an opinion column that appeared in February 2008 "Island" weekend edition.

Despite the calls from Tamil circles and other intellectuals to the influential western powers to expose Colombo's disingenuous agenda behind the APRC, key members of the International community gave continued credibility to the APRC by issuing statements of support.

U.S's Robert Blake in May 2008, said, "Sri Lanka now has an important opportunity finally to achieve peace and that opportunity must be seized. President Rajapakse has a strong majority in Parliament. His party, the SLFP, is in the final stages of crafting a power-sharing proposal that will then be shared with the All Party Representative Committee, under the capable leadership of Professor Vitharana."

Ambassador Blake added: "The APRC then will bear a solemn responsibility to develop a proposal of its own that meets the aspirations of the Tamil, Muslim and Sinhalese communities. If the proposal is a credible one, there is strong reason to believe that it will attract the support of sufficient UNP members of Parliament to give the President the votes he needs to amend Sri Lanka’s constitution."

APRC bought time to Colombo to postpone the never contemplated political settlement, and it can now be laid to rest, with little or no mention of its demise from APRC's ardent advocates, India and the U.S.

External Links:
ML: Whither APRC: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?
DM: Big mandate, big majorities and big responsibilities
US: Two Decades of War, Five Years of the CFA, What Next?


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