Feature Article

IC failing to impose mediated solution, ultimately responsible for escalating Sinhala chauvinism

[TamilNet, Friday, 31 May 2019, 22:11 GMT]
Even though one feared the outbreak of an anti-Muslim pogrom immediately after the Easter attacks, silence prevailed for two weeks. Then the mob violence targeted the properties of Muslim traders. It was not an act of immediate responsive impulse, but an engineered move instigated by an organised force. Despite their differences in the scale, there are certain similarities between the 1983 Black July anti-Tamil pogrom and the post-2009 anti-Muslim pogroms, says Batticaloa-based human rights activist Kathir Barathythasan. During the war, the International Community (IC) was acting as a mediator. But, it was also abetting the SL State, causing massive civilian deaths. The IC, now wants the anti-terror legislation to fit its global designs ignoring the drastic internal consequences. The IC must, therefore, be convinced to deliver a negotiated settlement to the national question, he said.

Explaining the inherent ethnoreligious bias towards the Sinhala Buddhist hegemony in the unitary state system and the workings of the rulers from JR Jayawardene in 1977 to Ranil Wickramasinghe of 2019, the [West-leaning] leaders of the SL State have equally deployed the external tendencies to the advantage of the institutionalised Sinhala chauvinism as the other ruling sections.

The national question could never be resolved through internalising the discourse, the human rights activist from Batticaloa reiterated in a video interview to TamilNet earlier this month.

Mr Kathir Barathythasan made a particular reference to the ‘declaration of war’ by the first executive SL President J.R. Jayawardene, back in 1977: “If you want war, let there be war; if you want peace, let there be peace.”

That proclamation gave recognition for the organised and state-sponsored anti-Tamil pogroms as well as for the enactment of 1978 Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). The worst act of the 1983 pogrom was the massacre of Tamil prisoners, Mr Barathythasan observed.

Now, the SL Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe has gone on record stating that there were no provisions in the judicial system to contain those who had been in Syria taking part in the war there. The claim is bizarre when you have the draconian PTA already in force, the Tamil rights activist from Batticaloa said. Jayawardene’s

The member states of the international community are pre-occupied with upgrading the terrorism clauses which they want according to their global concerns.

The PTA, becoming in future Counter-Terrorism Act (CTA), is not going to change anything.

On the contrary, the proposed act is going to be equally bad or worse as far as the Tamils and other minorities on the island, Barathythasan said.

The was a bloodbath also in the South, which was between the JVP and the ruling regimes.

However, the successive SL governments didn’t deploy the PTA against JVP in the aftermath. For example, the Sinhala people having Rohana Wijewira’s photos in their houses are not targeted by the SL military through the PTA clauses.

The SL military and the police were deploying the PTA to target the Tamils due to their ethnic origin. Such targeting was systematic. Enforced disappearances and prolonged detentions were the results, and the Tamils still bear the deep scars of it, he said.

Similarly, Colombo’s military was creating paramilitary groups to cause divisions between the communities during the war. The same approach is again adopted in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday attacks to cause a rift between the Muslims and the Tamils.

It is imperative that Tamils should not fall prey to this heinous motives, he said.

Barathythasan was equally concerned about the sinister workings of the SL Archaeology Department.

The entire operation of the SL Archaeology Department is overtly Sinhala Buddhist chauvinistic. “That department is carrying out a highly provocative discourse,” he observed.

If the SL Archaeology department was to come across a piece of a granite stone of ancient nature at any place in the Tamil areas, it unilaterally claims the locality as a Sinhala Buddhist heritage site without any credible evidence.

Quickly, a new Buddhist shrine is put up even when you don’t have any single Buddhist Sinhala person living there.

Once a Sinhala Buddhist monk is present at the locality, you need to have a populace to offer ‘Dhana’, which is the essential requirement of sustaining the monk.

Even a natural outcome of this process could be nothing else than a Sinhala colony creeping up there, Barathythasan said.

He was citing several cases from Thaanthaa-malai in Batticaloa to Thiruk-koa’neasvaram temple in Trincomalee in the Eastern province.


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