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Monday 13 November 2000




Words that heal
Opposition leaders Ranil Wickremasinhe's positive response to President Chandrika Kumaratunga's address at the opening of the Parliament should have brought back to many minds this nugget of perennial wisdom. Mr. Wickremasinhe was quoted to as saying that the Presidents speech was friendly and conciliatory and devoid of the usual attacks on the opposition. He had described the Presidents speech as a "good bridge-building exercise". It is regardless of whether a 'national government' eventually materialises or not, we certainly need a new political culture, which engenders a spirit of co-operation, mutual trust and accommodation.  





Resuscitation of saarc?
Today after two years, a meeting of SAARC officials is scheduled to take place in Colombo. This organisation was paralysed two years ago, when India refused to attend the Summit scheduled to be held in Nepal on the grounds of military government taking over in Pakistan and allegations of Pakistan sending in terrorists into Kashmir.  India's objections to a military government taking over in Pakistan is certainly not a valid reason for boycotting SAARC, the SAARC chapter accepting the principles of non-interference in the internal affairs of member states.  Composition of this seven-member organisation with giant India at the centre and six small countries around it makes India's participation absolutely essential. India reviving SAARC will not be enough if this regional grouping- in a globalised world where regionalisation is a sine qua non- is to mean anything to South Asians.  India has to play a leading role. 





JVP should show the way
In a fierce opposition to any form of devolution of power to the periphery as a solution to the ethnic conflict, the JVP has mounted a scathing attack on Norway, which is making an effort to bring Velupillai Prabhakaran to the negotiating table. It has accused Norway of many things including deception.  It has accused them of attempting to plunge Sri Lanka into more division and bloodshed and asked Norwegians to stop forthwith interfering in the internal affairs of this country. It is true that Norway played a god father role to the LTTE. But Norway alone did not play this role. All these countries helped and encouraged not only LTTE members, but also all Tamils who fled Sri Lanka complaining of discrimination and harassment. During the recent times with the global campaign against terrorism gathering momentum, most democratic states stopped the direct supply of arms to these groups. It must not be forgotten that during the US-USSR cold war days, Soviet Union was in the forefront, actively supporting all movements that claimed to be engaged in liberation struggles. Can the JVP boast of an exemplary past. It is with the Sri Lankan government that the JVP should take up the matter of the Norwegian mediation in our ethnic problem.  





Are there any barriers in capturing those involved in terror in the plantations? 
Some Tamil politician are obstructing the Police in making arrest in connection with the terror that occurred in the Plantations. Attention of responsible persons of the state on this matter would be appreciated.  There were reports of arson, robbery and damage to property and physical harm in the plantations some days ago. It is stated that Tamil politicians present themselves at police stations to secure the release of those arrested. About 1000 persons were involved in these incidents of violence, among them were members of Plantation organisations and persons from outside areas as Colombo. Intervening to protect a person of being arrested is a serious offence. These incidents occurred on the guise of the Bindunuwewa Rehabilitation Camp massacre. The situation in the plantations was brought under control with the Security forces moving in to these areas. There could have been LTTE activists among the attackers. Daily activities of the masses in these areas were crippled. The National economy too had to suffer as a result. It is surprising to observe a handful of politicians manipulating events in this manner. Some police officers have to bow to these politicians. We hope that government would take appropriate action before it is too late. 





Stir the milk ocean and shared elixir 
Hundreds of JVP activists demonstrated at Rajagiriya while the Parliament was ceremonially being declared open. They did not demand anything for themselves or the party, they demonstrated against the appointment of 79 cabinet ministers in this small island, which is in severe economic regression.  Among the 225 members in parliament 109 are from the ruling party, 79 of them are ministers. These 79 ministers have to provide with official residences, vehicles, secretaries and private staff and bullet-proof cars, salaries and other allowances. For a country as ours this is as maintaining a White Elephant. The JVP has demanded the reduction in the number of Ministers.  They inquire as to whether taxes are paid by the public to maintain the Ministers.  It is not only the JVP but all other political parties and the general public raises this issue. We observe this situation as stirring the proverbial sea and sharing the elixir among them. However the poor people of this country have to pay for them. 





Violence among university students 
The situation in Universities is not cohesive.  Students have devised into factions and are revolting against each other. Under these circumstances the University of Sri Jayawardenepura had to be closed down until further notice. Academic activities of the University of Peradeiya are also at standstill.  We cannot hide the fact that violence at these universities is manipulated by the JVP. This has been organised prior to the Student Union election of the University Of Sri Jayawardenepura and the JVP is aware that it will be loosing the forthcoming election.  According the to Vice Chancellor of the University of Peradeniya, student unions have broken the undertakings given to the University administration at union meetings. Students are protesting against the expulsion of students for indulging in inhuman ragging. Members of other students' groups have been physically harmed and academic and non-academic staff had been attacked. University property too had been damaged. These groups of students are dedicated to the JVP organisation and are vying for it at the next university election. 


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