(Courtesy Of Ceylon Today)
Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera (VSV RWP USP) responding to an article by Chief Minister of Northern Province C.V. Wigneswaran, which appeared in Ceylon Today on 7 December says that the CM is sowing the seeds of communalism amongst the Tamil people. Questions and answers in the article are by Weerasekara.
Q: CM Wigneswaran has responded to all the points raised in your last interview. Do you like to comment?
A: Many of my good Tamil friends, intellectuals/religious leaders in Jaffna, say that instead of contributing towards ‘reconciliation’, the CM is sowing the seeds of communalism amongst the Tamil people. W is a person who studied, lived and still living on (mostly 74% Sinhalese) tax payers’ money but always talk with hatred towards Sinhalese.
He praised the dead terrorist leader Prabhakaran and said that he was a great hero who fought for the Tamil people’s freedom. Leave aside Sinhalese and Muslims, I know how this ‘hero’ of W brutally shot and killed innocent Tamils running towards the Army during the last days of the war. When I was the Northern Commander I saw how those ‘freedom fighters’ snatched children aged 10-12 from schools and used them as cannon fodder, killing them in hundreds. I witnessed how the school principals in Jaffna who objected to students being forcibly taken away for protests by the LTTE were murdered in cold blood the following day. A true freedom fighter would never kill the very people for whose freedom he is fighting for. This ‘hero’s’ men cut open the bellies of Sinhala pregnant mothers alive, took the infant out and cut like fish. They killed innocent Muslim devotees praying inside the Mosque. We can imagine the mentality of a person who hails such a killer as a ‘hero’ and that’s the type of man we have as the CM in NPC.
Q: W says Federalism will retain the togetherness of the country and you are interested in the Unitary structure to retain the undue advantage that the Sinhalese usurped unto themselves at the time of Independence. Any comment?
A: I have already explained about federalism, taking examples of the current federal countries, but W continues harping on it without countering my argument. Federalism is introduced to unite a country and not to divide. Moreover, ethnic based devolution psychologically and physically divide the people ethnically. It goes against the very basis and concept of ethnic integration and ethnic harmony expected by all of us. Large countries with large States unite to form a Federal government. West Virginia, the smallest state in Federal America, is larger than whole of Sri Lanka, and the population in Tamil Nadu, in Federal India, is 80 million whereas our population is only 22 million! Our country can be easily managed by the centre and as such this country will never be federated.
W is talking with the tongue in cheek. It was the minority Tamils who enjoyed all the perks and privileges under the British, not the Sinhalese. The British adopted the ‘divide and rule’ policy because the Sinhalese always revolted against them. The minorities were given the best of missionary education and they enjoyed employment and social status whilst the Sinhala Buddhists who refused to give up their language and religion were confined to the village. By Independence in 1948, 80% of public service jobs were secured by English speaking Tamils (all from Jaffna elite Vellala caste) and the rest by English educated elite Christian Sinhalese. No sooner Independence was given, none of those Tamils were willing to accept the reversal in the manner they had been dominating the Sinhala Buddhists over 200 years.
W should be reminded that the so-called Vellala caste racist Tamils were trying to separate the North long before the so called, ‘Sinhala Only’, ‘Standardization’ issues came up. On 26 November 1947, two months before Independence, it was S.J.V. Chelvanayagam who first articulated the demand for a separate State by stating in first Parliament ‘If Ceylon is fighting to secede from the British Empire why should not the Tamil people if they feel like it, secede from the rest of the country?’ An ethnic based political party (All Ceylon Tamil Congress) was created in 1944 and Chelvanayagam’s Federal Party was formed in 1949. Why did Tamils demand 50-50 representation in Parliament when Tamils at Independence were just 733,000 and Sinhala population was 4.6 million! Lord Soulbury declared the request a ‘mockery of democracy’. It was the ‘elite Vellala Jaffna Tamils’ that first started making extremist demands which turned into terrorist demand with time and finally to this stage.
Q: The CM says he is against State colonization of the North and the East with Sinhalese and Muslims. Also Sinhala Only and Standardization etc, aren’t they discriminatory in character against Tamils?
A: The CM is trying to twist words, after all he was a lawyer and a judge. Colonization refers strictly to migration. Nowhere it says that colonization refers to movement of people from within the State. A government cannot be accused of colonization of one’s own territory. W is making a fool of himself with these bogus claims.
As per the Constitution, it is the fundamental right of any citizen to live and work anywhere he likes. Sinhalese and Muslims have every right to decide to live in the North if they wish to, especially return to their original habitat from where they were chased away by the LTTE. If the Tamils, including Mr. Wigneswaran, can live in the South why can’t the Sinhalese and Muslims live in North?
My first question to W is that at which time in governance the administration was run in Tamil language for them to feel that making ‘Sinhala Only’ denied them a right? Tamil language was never used administratively. With the departure of the British, Sri Lanka was left to run its own country. Could a country run with over 95% in the villages with only the knowledge of Sinhalese and little education, while a handful were enjoying English education and automatic employment opportunities? Only 3% of the population were English educated elite Tamils and Sinhalese. Sinhala as a State language was not an injustice perpetrated against Tamils but against the said 3%, who had been enjoying undue privileges over the majority.
It was a case of non-English speaking majority vs the handful of English speaking Tamils and Sinhalese Christians. The choice was to either educate that 97% in English or to get the 3% to learn and function in a language that the majority spoke in order to congregate the entire population. The second choice made logical sense. What we must keep in mind is that the elite Vellala Tamils did not want to give better opportunities to their own people – with or without Sinhala Only. They wanted to remain rulers of all these low caste Tamils and that has not changed still. When the ‘Social Disability Act’ was brought up by Sinhala Bandaranaike mainly to address the unfair treatment of the low caste Tamils, it was the high caste Chelvanayagam and his lackeys who vehemently objected to it! They travelled to the UK and demanded that caste based legislation be introduced which clearly showed that the ‘elite’ Tamils did not want their own people to gain education and develop life. Standardization has to be introduced because of the vast disparity of educational facilities available throughout the country. As per the 1962 statistics of schools with Advanced Level Science facilities, Jaffna had the most number of such schools amongst all the districts. Jaffna had 33 A/L schools when Matara had four,
Kandy had 12, Anuradhapura had one and Hambantota had none. Is it fair to judge a student with all the educational facilities against a one who has almost nothing? Also, there were confirmed reports proving that Tamil professors had given additional marks to Tamil students to secure more berths for them in the universities. The National Educational Commission had accepted that fact and in 1961 the University Commission, in page 156 of their report, had confirmed this malicious practice which had denied many suitable Sinhalese students opportunity to enter university.
Q: The CM says this is not a Sinhala Buddhist country and the Sinhala language came into being only in the 7th century AD. He also says that he hasn’t returned any money allocated to the NPC to the Treasury as alleged by you.
A: In Malaysia, Malays are only 52% with 22% Tamils and 22% Chinese, but it is called a Muslim country. In this country 74% are Sinhalese and 82% of them are Buddhist and that’s why it is called a Sinhala Buddhist country. Generally, countries are identified with the majority community and its religion. Only a hypocrite could disagree with that reality.
W in his leisure time, without misleading the Tamils, must read about the Vallipuram Gold plate discovered in 1903 in Vadamarachchi. It proves Sinhala language being the main language in Northern Sri Lanka even in the 2nd century AD and Nagadeepa (Jaffna) was under the control of King Wasaba of Anuradhapura who had assigned the duty of governing the region to the Sinhala Minister ‘Isigira’. It was a strong indication of existing Sinhala Buddhist culture in the Northern part of the country during the A’pura period. I recommend the CM to read the book Yalpana Vaipama Kaumudi written by K. Velupillai, assisted by Rev Fr S. Gnanaprakasar and Fr P.D. Velupillai (all Tamils) in the year 1918. It has 468 pages and 123 pages have been allocated to show how the old Sinhalese village names had been converted into Tamil!
With regard to funds returned, the Finance Commission annual reports indicate the money allocated and the money used. It proves my allegation.
Mr. Wigneswaran should be familiar with the Penal Code. Section 120 of it says ‘…if anyone promotes feeling of ill-will, hostility, raise discontent/dissatisfaction amongst people in Sri Lanka, shall be punished with two years imprisonment’. The CM’s recent public statements definitely fall into that category. Being a true Sinhalese Buddhist, although our views are poles apart, frankly I don’t want to see the elderly CM in jail even for two days. That’s why I thought of reminding him of the above section of the Penal Code.