Right of Reply Dayan Jayathilaka’s project 13A and Gotabhaya Rajapaksha’s Viyathmaga
By Rear Admiral (Dr.) Sarath Weerasekera
(Courtesy of The Daily Mirror)
There was a swollen headed Brahmin called Akkosha Bharadvaja” who, after studying a few Vedic stanzas and theories, thought that he was the only brilliant intellect in the country. This man, festered with venom and ill will, once unleashed his wrath on the Buddha. Buddha smiled and asked him Bharadvaja, if you give some food to a person and if that person refused to accept it, what would you do ? Bharadvaja said” I will eat it myself”. Then Buddha said I refuse to partake of all what you said about me”. Bharadvaja felt ashamed and vanished. Going by the moral of that story, when Dayan Jayathilaka (DJ) called me a notorious hawk” and a mad dog” (Daily Mirror July 4, page 10) all what I say to him is , I refuse to take it”. So it is up to DJ now either to keep it or gulp it.
DJ in the above article , referring to a picture of mine with Gotabhaya Rajapaksha (GR) says, that I am an aggressively anti-13A agitator and a Sinhalese Buddhist ultra nationalist. Let us take 13A first. After the 2015 Presidential elections, for reasons better known to DJ, he approached GR and joined Viyath Maga. When it became evident that his sole purpose of getting closer was to push GR towards 13A, naturally there were objections from others. I was of course one of the main speakers/writers against 13A. When DJ realized that he could not achieve his objective he left GR even without informing him. It is natural for a man to get utterly frustrated when he had miserably failed to date, to push the rulers of the country towards full implementation of 13A.
The hardcore federalists such as DJ who argue that 13A is the only answer, should be reminded as to how it was forced on us by India. India intervened and saved Prabhakaran and LTTE in 1987 when it was about to be crushed by our forces at Vadamarachchi. Then they forced JR to accept the 13A which was drafted in New Delhi! So the 13A is made in India, introduced to please the Tamil Nadu voters and separatist Tamil diaspora/politicians. Our country never wanted it.
Although the country became somewhat federal” through 13A, the unitary nature of the country is still being maintained due to a few factors such as the Governor (who can return any detrimental law proposed by the Chief Minister using the executive powers of the President, the Concurrent list etc. None of the Presidents in Sri Lanka, allowed the police and land powers to the Provinces although such powers are included in 13A. Full implementation of 13A by lifting such restrictions and granting police and land powers means that the country will have independent Provinces in North and East with provisions to amalgamate!! This is what DJ wants our country to be!!
Twenty nine thousand servicemen died, fourteen thousand critically wounded and the rest sacrificed their youth” in fighting an enemy who was hell bent on separating the North. After winning that war at such a huge price, the TNA (the proxy of LTTE) with the help of other separatists such as DJ, are trying to achieve politically, what the terrorists could not achieve by unleashing terror for three decades.
Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran and the TNA are openly advocating federalism. TNA and ITAK have affirmed commitment to Vaddukoddai Resolution in 2008 – their ultimate goal being Eelam. Can anyone justify devolving powers under 13A to areas where political parties foster separatist sentiments? DJ was once a Minister under the Chief Minister Vartharaja Perumal (EPRLF) who declared Universal Declaration of Independence for Ealam and ran away to India. Hence it is natural for the people to get agitated when a character of DJ’s calibre/ record gets closer to GR.
I do not know the reason why DJ was removed from the post of Ambassador in Geneva. But I think he deserves it because he was instrumental in including the 13A to Resolution 11/1, passed in HRC , on May 27, 2009.This resolution, which was adopted eight days after we won the war, praised and congratulated the government for defeating the terrorists and condemned LTTE for using child soldiers and human shields. It was DJ who, on his own, manipulated to provide a clause in it indicating the full implementation of 13A”. DJ ,who boasts that the above resolution was a victory during his time, had in fact let down the entire nation because ,even after comprehensively defeating LTTE, it had paved the way for the separatists to demand an independent state in the North, through UNHRC. Even if we had lost that resolution without the 13A it would have been a victory because many countries including Russia and China were with us.
DJ also call me a Sinhala Buddhist ultra nationalist. I am of course proud to be a good Sinhala Buddhist. Good Sinhalese Buddhists are never prejudiced against other communities. In fact they respect all religions and go out of their way to help all other communities whenever the need arises. I invite DJ to inquire and find out as to how I silenced Manivannan, a strong member of the separatist Tamil Diaspora, when he called me an extremist /chauvinist, in the presence of a large number of Tamils at a side event in Geneva HRC. I challenge DJ to declare if he can, a single individual or an organization who says that only the Sinhala Buddhist must have all the facilities and privileges in this country over other communities. DJ is on contract” to tell the world that there are Sinhala Buddhist extremists in this country and that is how he is trying to justify his hors d’oeuvre, the 13A.
We know that DJ is anti- Buddhist. When he was the Ambassador to France, the first thing what he did was to remove the Buddha statue kept at the reception. He also had the audacity to prohibit playing our National Anthem at the Independence Day reception
CM Wigneswaran openly says that Sinhalese have no right to live in Jaffna. He advises the Tamil youth not to marry Sinhalese. He had halted erecting a Buddha statue at Naagadeepa Temple, and demands removal of Buddha statues in Vanni. Yet he lives happily and safely in Colombo amongst Sinhalese with his family. Ananthi Sasitharan (wife of former LTTE Ellilan) and Sivajilingam, both NPC members who are paid by the public, make derogatory and contemptuous statements in Geneva about the Sinhala” state, land at Katunayaka and go back to Jaffna safely. Sivajilingam commemorates the dead terrorists, threatens to establish Ealam and roams around in Colombo without any danger to his life. Where are the Sinhalese chauvinists and the Buddhist extremists that DJ is talking about? The very fact, that people like DJ are living in luxury in Colombo without any fear, is ample evidence that there are no Sinhala Buddhist extremists in this country.
But, we know that DJ is anti Buddhist. When he was the Ambassador to France the first thing he did was to remove the Buddha statue kept at the reception of the embassy office. None of the Buddhist prelates in the three Buddhist temples in Paris ever visited the embassy during his tenure due to the scant respect he has shown them. DJ also had the audacity to prohibit playing our National Anthem at the Independence Day reception held at the embassy in Paris. It is up to the public to decide whether a man who has no respect to his country’s identity and the national anthem is fit to represent the country.
Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, has tremendous regard for Buddhism and recently he said Russia is the only country in Europe which has recognized Buddhism as a religion. We have seen how Putin, even in the midst of a torrential rain, standing straight during the country’s National Anthem. I personally do not know about the objections of the civil societies towards DJ’s nomination as Ambassador to Russia. But I feel it is very unfair by a patriotic leader like Putin, if he is made to present credentials to a person who insults Buddhism and has no regard for his own country’s National Anthem!