Feature Article

Occupying Sinhala military reminds Eezham Tamils of whose elections they partake

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 04 August 2020, 20:57 GMT]
The occupying military of genocidal Sri Lanka has been harassing the Tamil candidates contesting in the general elections, particularly Tamil National Peoples Front (TNPF) led by Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam and Tamil Makkal Thesiya Koottani (TMTK) led by CV Wigneswaran in the Northern and Eastern provinces. The SL Army has been deploying surveillance teams and field-bike units during their campaign meetings. The TNPF has publicly alleged that SL military intelligence operatives were behaving in a threatening manner in their election meetings. The SL military intelligence had also threatened its candidates in Batticaloa to withdraw from the elections, the TNPF blamed. TMTK Leader and former Chief Minister of Northern Province, Justice Wigneswaran, was harassed by the field-bike group of the SL Army recently, when he went for an election meeting to Kurunakar, a suburb of Jaffna.

Justice CV Wigneswaran released the letter, which he had sent to SL Election Commission on 22 July 2020, to media on Monday.

“[H]ow can you expect Tamils to trust an election when Sri Lankan Security Forces and Special Task Force of the Police (STF) are involved in the elections, including guarding the ballot boxes and their presence on the election day in public,” he asked. Wigneswaran urged the commission “to order Sri Lankan Security Forces and Special Task Force of the Police (STF) to their Camps until the results are announced.”

Despite the request by Mahinda Deshapriya, the chairman of the SL Election Commission to keep the SL military within the barracks, the SL Army and SL Navy continue to be deployed in large-scale, particularly in the North.

SL Army and Special Task Force (STF), a full fledged military counter-insurgency commando force organised under the SL Police, are deployed in the streets of Jaffna at every junction and at places of public significance.

The commander of the SL military, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, widely recognised as a war criminal, has been frequently visiting Jaffna in recent days.

The conditions imposed by the level of militarisation in the Tamil homeland is not conducive for the elections was the opinion of the grassroots activists in Jaffna.

SL militarisation in Jaffna
Even the religious decorations placed at the gates of households in Nalloor in Jaffna during the annual festival of Kandasamy temple did not escape the Sinhala soldiers ‘guarding’ the streets of Jaffna. Photo taken on Tuesday.

The Eezham Tamils have been entirely denied of articulating political aspiration based on the right of self-determination since the imposition of the so-called Sixth Amendment (Article 157 A) to the constitution of genocidal Sri Lanka, making the 1977 elections the only valid last elections in the island in terms of political aspirations.

The Sixth Amendment was introduced on the heels of the 1983 July anti-Tamil pogrom in which thousands of Tamils were killed and maimed by state-backed Sinhala mobs in Colombo and the Sinhala majority districts of the island.

Under this SL Act's Article 157 A (1), “No person shall, directly or indirectly, in or outside Sri Lanka, support, espouse, promote, finance, encourage or advocate the establishment of a separate state within the territory of Sri Lanka.”

The occupying military, which is predominantly Sinhala-Buddhist, stepped up interference on civil affairs in the wake of Easter Sunday bombings in 2019 during the ‘Yahapalanaya’ regime, which was led by Maithiripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickramasinghe.

Rajapaksa siblings started to use the notion of “national security” to woo the support of the Sinhala Buddhists in the South to seize the political power of the unitary state.

Particularly, the ‘technocrat abilities’ of Gotabaya Rajapaksa during the times of genocidal war were used as argument.

The war-time US Ambassador to Colombo, Robert O. Blake jr, was visiting Colombo in May 2019 to give a lecture through the facilitation of ‘Pathfinder’ outfit of Milinda Moragoda. He was boosting the ‘technocrat’ position of Gotabaya Rajapaksa by advocating tight-knit coordination of political and security establishments by a group of technocrats.

“Having a high-level group of technocrats like that is something Sri Lanka could definitely benefit from. [...] In fact, you did have such a group before the war and during the war when Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was defence secretary,” Blake said in his lecture delivered at the BMICH.

“Gotabhaya Rajapaksa personally chaired that group and made sure that all the different branches of Intelligence of which there are many in this country for sharing information to the senior-level people, and then they themselves were making sure that somebody was looking into those and making sure that the attacks didn't take place,” Mr Blake, now a McLarty ‘business and diplomacy’ consultant, went on record.

The SL military started to interfere more and more in civil affairs in the occupied country of Eezham Tamils after Gotabaya Rajapaksa became SL President in November 2019.

Using Covid-19 pandemic containment measures, occupying Colombo deployed military in every crook and corner of the Tamil homeland since March 2020.

In June 2020, Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed an 11-member all Sinhala Presidential Task Force (PTF) for “Archaeological Heritage Management” in the Eastern Province. The PTF is headed by SL Defence Secretary, Major General (Retired) Kamal Gunaratne. Another 13-member PTF comprising mostly of military commanders and intelligence directors as well as police and customs directors is tasked to ‘bulid’ a “Secure, Disciplined, Virtuous and Lawful Society,” which is also led by Kamal Gunaratne.

The notion of “Army & Archaeology” conceived during the previous Rajapaksa administration has been institutionalised using the mechanisms and protocols of the unitary state system in Colombo under the presidency of Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

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