Prosecute Vijayakala? Be very careful

(Courtesy of The Island)

My former boss Tyrell Gunatillake, then Director CID has told me, whenever he took a tricky matter to the Late L.B.T. Premaratne, the then AG for advice, he would look at the law first, and then would say, ” That is what the Law says, now let us see what Prudence would say?”. This is what I am concerned about here – prudence.

There is no question that Mrs. Vijayakala could be prosecuted, given the facts as Constitutional lawyer Manohara de Silva had pointed out. But by doing so, are we playing into her hands? The Northern Provincial Chief Minister also says the same thing as Vijayakala in different ways but without transgressing the Law, he being a legal eagle. Vijayakala is a cruder version. But they are both addressing the same audience – the disgruntled/disillusioned former LTTE elements and their sympathizers. They have nothing new to offer to the people in the North and the East other than the same old wine in new bottles – Communalism. They have no new vision to offer the Tamil people, like to suggest to them that they come into the mainstream politics and march together with the other communities as one nation. On the other hand, as seen in the recent Col. Priyath Bandu incident in Kilinochchi, ordinary people may be already inclined to move in a different direction. If that happens on a larger scale, the likes of Vigneswaran, Shivajilingam and Vijayakala will run out of business. So they need to keep home fires burning. Thinking in that line, we need to think, is she deliberately courting arrest and prosecution? If that happens she would become a martyr before the Tamil people in the short run, and her future political role is settled. This talk of Reconciliation is a problem to them. Reconciliation to them is nothing short of separatism or at least Federalism. I think this is a political minefield. Taking action against her, we must, but the question is how, must be carefully deliberated on. In 1983, the UNP government bungled on the question of where to have the funerals of the 13 dead soldiers, and we had the Riots. This may be not such a serious issue in the short run, but emotional and knee-jerk reaction is not the way. This is where statesmanship would come to play. But do we have statesmen now other than politicians; who are hunting for their daily bread?

There is another aspect for the people to consider. The Yahapalana government, and the UNP in particular, are contending with the daily fall out of the Bond Scam. They have been pulling out various new rabbits form their bag to keep the people’s attention diverted away from the main allegation. A little earlier it was the ‘Hitler’ story. Last week, it was the New York Times story. And this week we have the Vijayakala story. We do not know what they will come up with next week! But mind you in the Vijayakala story, the obnoxious utterance was made in the presence of three UNP Ministers! What does that mean?

Also, this government does this kind of thing to confuse the people by passing a dummy, when they want to pass some law which is not in the interest of the people, to satisfy some Western Powers. They have done that several times now. So my second point is, while we go to town on this Vijayakala issue, let us be watchful on what dummy the government is planning to get through in this confusion!


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