Gotabaya institutionalises heritage genocide, Sinhala-military to supersede policing islandwide

[TamilNet, Thursday, 04 June 2020, 22:08 GMT]
SL President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has appointed an 11-member all Sinhala Presidential Task Force (PTF) for “Archaeological Heritage Management” in the Eastern Province. The PTF team comprises of SL military, extreme Sinhala Theravada Buddhist monks, director-generals of archaeology, surveying and land affairs, a Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police as well as handpicked academics who are all Sinhalese. The PTF is to be headed by SL Defence Secretary, Major General (Retired) Kamal Gunaratne. Mr Gotabaya has also appointed another 13-member team comprising mostly of military commanders and intelligence directors as well as police and customs directors. The second PTF is to build “Secure Country, Disciplined, Virtuous and Lawful Society,” which is also led by Kamal Gunaratne.

Both the announcements came as Extraordinary Gazette notifications on 02 June 2020.

The first PTF (Gazette Number 2178/17) is on escalating Sinhala-Buddhicisation and heritage genocide in the predominantly Tamil-speaking Ampaa'rai, Batticaloa and Trincomalee districts that constitute the Eastern Province.

Gotabaya and Sinhala Theravada-Buddhist Maha Sangha have jointly conceived the ‘heritage’ PTF. They want it to be interpreted by the Sinhala population in the South as an “anti-Muslim” initiative. But, the move targets heritage genocide against Eezham Tamils in an archaeological sense.

Furthermore, the heritage occupation is not only limited to the East.

The notorious anti-Muslim and anti-Tamil monk based in Arisimalai in Muslim-majority Pulmoaddai, Panamure Thilakawansha Thero, is mentioned as the “Chief Prelate for the Northern and Eastern two Provinces” and as the “Chief Sanganayake of Thamankaduwa Direction” in the Gazette notification.

Sinhala nationalist monk and a former member of SL Parliament, Ellawala Medhananda Thero, who is opposed to Tamils, Muslims and Sinhala Christians, is the most prominent member of the PTF. The hawkish monk led the Sinhala nationalist monks party, Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) at one time. He has also ‘earned’ the title, “Archaeological Chakravarthi,” meaning “the king of archaeology”.

The last member of this PTF is Dilith Jayaweera, the owner of Derana Media Network, who is needed by the PTF to advance sophisticated hate speech in the South.

The Maha Sangha seems to have dictated the composition of the PTF.

In a meeting with Gotabaya Rajapaksa on 24 April 2020, the chief prelates (Nayaka Theros) of all three Chapters of the Maha Sangha demanded him to allocate lands to Buddhist temples. In return, they agreed to extend their support to constitutionally consolidate the Rajapaksa regime and remember him in history “as a leader who saved the country twice”.

The PTF is a result of this understanding forged between Mr Rajapaksa and the Maha Sangha.

The second PTF (Gazette Number 2178/18) is about the militarisation of civil disciplining in the entire island, and it is aimed amongst others at controlling any opposition to the first PTF. Expanding the scope of “National Security” to include eradication of drug menace, Gotabaya wants the PTF also to act against “persons responsible for the illegal and antisocial activities conducting in Sri Lanka while locating in other countries”.

Any civil society objection to the heritage genocide in the East risks of being interpreted as “antisocial activity”, and anyone contributing to rights activists in the island from abroad could be targeted as contributing to “illegal and antisocial activity”.

As far as the Eezham Tamils are concerned, these are extensions of the Sixth Amendment of the unitary constitution of the genocidal state.

Both the Gazette notifications cite Gotabaya's election manifesto “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour”.

The approach was the same under Wickramasinghe and Sirisena regime.

The current tendency was shaped during that regime. Gotabaya has only institutionalised it, accelerating the process and doing away any objections to it in the name of “National Security”.

TamilNet reproduces below the interview with Mano Ganesan made in July 2019 when he was SL Minister of ‘National Integration’ and Hindu Religious Affairs.

Mr Ganesan said, as a minister at that time, that the SL Archaeology Department was the evil of all heritage related tensions in the North and East and that the extremist monks wanted to use Tamils against Muslims in the East. He also agreed that there were systemic attempts to create tensions among Tamil Saivites and Tamil Catholics in the North.

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