Sri Lanka needs no foreign blessings - JHU
To manage our home affairs:
Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) now a strong ally of the government says that
their 'marriage' with the government will not be shaken for the next ten
years as President Rajapaksa is leading the country in the right
Pic: Vipula Amarasinghe
JHU Parliamentary Group Leader Ven. Athuraliye Ratana Thera told the
'Sunday Observer' that the JHU never demanded the government to abolish
the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) but requested to ignore the agreement in
launching humanitarian operations in the North and East, as it is a dead
"The JHU believes that President Rajapaksa is the only leader who
told the international community that Sri Lanka can stand on its own to
solve internal problems", he said.
Following are the excerpts of the interview:
Q: It is claimed that the government has decided to scrap the
CFA to please the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and JHU. How do you
A: The JHU never demanded to abolish the CFA. Our request was
to ignore the CFA and by abolishing it are relieved of pressure from the
international community. There is no question about abolishing the CFA
as it was an agreement with no use.
However, it was already a dead document and it was actually abolished
on June 20 in 2006 when the military recaptured Mavil Aru. We held a
demonstration, where over 5,000 people took part and where we urged the
government to capture Mavil Aru.
At that point the government embarked on a humanitarian mission and
as a result several military operations were begun to free the people
from the clutches of terrorism. Our opinion was the government should
ignore the CFA when advancing humanitarian operations to liberate people
from the LTTE controlled areas in the Eastern Province. We thought by
ignoring the CFA and going ahead with these operations would not cause
unnecessary international pressure on the government.
Therefore this claim is not applicable to the JHU as we never
requested to abolish the CFA.
Q: Are there any other demands by the JHU?
A: We did not have any other demand. What we wanted to do was
strategically ignore the CFA. We know that the CFA is illegal but JHU
was of the opinion that the government should not react and simply
ignore the agreement and continue with its humanitarian operations.
Our main demand, and even the people expect from the President
Rajapaksa is to bring an end to the era where the country is drowned in
blood, sorrow and sufferings. Therefore, the JHU wants the government to
give priority to crush terrorism.
The other fact is the country's development needs to be looked in
parallel with solving all these problems.
However, the JHU believes that within next six months the government
has to sweep terrorism clean from this country. We should defeat the
LTTE. This is the responsibility of the government, which is mandated to
ensure the security and the sovereignty of the country under the
This responsibility lies with the President and no other organisation
can rule this country. We strongly believe that the President Rajapaksa
can do that.
Q: The JVP had warned that some foreign powers are planning to
interfere into the internal affairs of our country under the guise of a
UN peace keeping force. Do you have any information about such attempts?
A: We have to identify who this international communities,
first of all. When you were asked what is an University it is everything
from students to lecturers to university staff to buildings to library
and so on. But the international community is different from that.
The international community doesn't mean all the countries in the
world. China does not think the same way that Japan thinks. Likewise no
country thinks equally. The politics in these countries differ when they
get new leaders. So the international community is not the same. There
are different tendencies in US, EU, Australia, and the Middle East.
For example there are different tendencies among the Co-Chairs. I do
not think that the US and Japan are thinking the same way about the Sri
Lanka's problem. Later we felt that there were some who were positive
about our problem. I think the international community is not a single
person but several with different ways of thinking.
The JHU feels that there should not be any unnecessary fear among the
international community. This means that we should not take the side of
those who oppose the US or no need at all to be in their bags. Sri Lanka
needs to be independent within our political frame. We should not take
sides of any country.
Q: Once you have said that if Prabhakaran can give the due
recognition to Buddhism while recognising the rights of the Sinhalese,
the JHU would help him to rule the country. what's your comment now ?
A: We have a history, which spans over 2500 years. That is why
the JHU wants the Sinhala nationality to be recognised. We have minority
nationals. We do not dominate them and they can exercise their rights
and rituals freely.
Therefore the JHU will not oppose anyone who can guarantee those
rights. Even in our history there are instances where there were Tamil
Kings who guaranteed these rights.
They ruled the country well and still we honour them as some of the
great Kings we have had. Likewise if Prabhakaran can rule the country in
the same manner the JHU would help him.
It is unfortunate to say that after independence the country did not
have leaders who knew our rich culture and ruled the country with a
knowledge of the country's situation.
They had done several good things to the country but as a whole we
did not have a strong leadership which had the commitment to solve the
problems of the people of this country.
I think leaders who lack patriotism came to power after 1977. Former
Presidents Chandrika Kumaratunga and J.R. Jayewardene were the leaders
who sold the country's assets. Main culprit for introducing the present
constitution and also for creating a national problem of this nature J.
R. Jayewardene who should take to the blame.
The environment for the CFA was created by Chandrika Kumaratunga
though the Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had signed the
agreement. She laid the foundation and brought the Norwegians into the
This fight can not be categorized as a fight between Tamils and the
Sinhalese, or a UNP/SLFP fight. But it is a fight with Prabhakaran so as
to eradicate terrorism. Prabhakaran is a leader who controls an area
where the law of the jungle prevails.
We need a leader who can protect the people, who can protect the
environment, who can drive the country to development and who can bring
about peace to this country. But it is sad to see that Tamils and
Sinhalese are fighting today.
We have roots in the Hindu culture and we have taken so many good
things from their culture. Apart from this we venerate their Gods as
well as. This is the only country for the Sinhala people.
We agree that Tamils also need a separate land but they have to
initiate that fight from Tamil Nadu which has over 60 million Tamil
population. One nationality can claim for only one country. Tamils are
living around the world. So they also need a separate country and they
should win that from Tamil Nadu but not from Sri Lanka. Tamil Nadu is
But we can live still in this country together as we had lived for
centuries as long as their grievances are met.
Q: You have said that there is no patriotic leader since
independence. Are you saying that the President Mahinda Rajapaksa too
belong to that category?
A: I think lots of leaders in this country thought everything
with a western outlook. Even they see their dreams too in English. But
President Rajapaksa sees his dreams in Sinhala. So he has a vision where
he can lead this country into the proper channel and bring about peace.
But this does not mean that he is the one and only leader who can do so
He has his own vision and personality. He couldn't care about the
international community. He did not fear to call our country as unitary
state and named the LTTE as terrorists.
These things are good enough to realise the work and the
responsibility of the President Rajapaksa. He has shown his ability to
take decisions to solve our internal problems independently. The JHU
believes that he could defeat terrorism and this is the only chance we
have to do so.
Q: Is there a demand called by the JHU to ban the LTTE?
A: Still we have not demanded to ban the LTTE. The JHU
believes that the LTTE can be defeated without banning the outfit. It is
easy to ban the LTTE rather than abolishing the CFA.
What should government do was to ban the LTTE before it abolishing
the CFA. The government could easily make use of the incidents -
Kebithigollewa massacre or the attempt to assassinate Defence Secretary
Gotabhaya Rajapaksa - to ban the LTTE.
The JHU is the party which came out on the roads demanding a ban on
the LTTE after they attacked the Dalada Maligawa. Banning the LTTE is
very practical as there are so many reasons to do that.
If the government has abolish the CFA now, we believe it is time to
ban the LTTE as well.
Q: Do you think that there is evidence to prove that the North
and East is a Tamil homeland?
A: No. There are only four stone inscriptions in Tamil which
were written by the Sinhala kings which were written to inform the
Tamils who came from Tamil Nadu as traders and about the decisions taken
by the kings.
There are over 200 inscriptions in the North and East. Ven. Ellawala
Medhananda Thera has discovered lots of such inscriptions from the North
and East which are yet to be proved archaeological.
Out of all these inscriptions, over 90 percent of these inscriptions
states that these regions were under the control of Sinhala Kings.
Thoppigala has large number of Buddhist monasteries and it was similar
Q: Norway is blamed for supporting the LTTE militarily and
financially. What is your comment?
A: There are so many allegations against Norway for helping
the LTTE and being biased towards LTTE terrorists. One is that they have
given arms training. They have carried a wide propaganda among
international community giving the advantage to the LTTE. Once I wrote a
letter to the Norwegian Embassy regarding a telephone conversation they
have had with the LTTE but I never got a reply.
Q: Do you think that the government should re-start peace
talks or should they find a solution through the APRC first?
A: First an environment to start negotiations should be
created. The JHU strongly believe that Prabhakaran should come for talks
after he stops the killings and lay down arms.
But, earlier we took part in peace talks without any conditions and
that was the main reason the peace negotiations failed. We need to have
a good dialogue with the Tamil democratic forces now. We believe that
the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MPs will come for negotiations after
government liberates the Wanni.
Though the TNA represents the LTTE and their mouthpiece, when talk
privately their views are totally different from the LTTE. The best
example is T. Maheswaran. He showed a different face due to the fear of
LTTE but in real life he was against the LTTE.
Majority of them need to live peacefully with all communities and
they have a feeling that the national problem should be solved
Q: If the government goes for 'Peace Talks' what do you think
will be the conditions?
A: In this respect the conditions mentioned in the Mahinda
Chinthanaya about negotiations with the LTTE are very important. It
states the need of a certain period to lay down arms and a specific time
frame to hold negotiations.
And it also states that the political solutions should be brought
with the consensus of the people. No political solution can be
implemented out of unitary status. We have defeated the Ranil
Wickremesinghe's Federal system and therefore no solution can be brought
out of the this system.
Q: So do you think that there is no use of the proposals bring
through the APRC?
A: No. The APRC can not do anything to solve this problem and
it is just a forum for political parties to discuss the issue.
The final outcome should come from the people and it is with the
people, who will decide it through a referendum. Only thing is that the
APRC represents majority of the political parties and that facilitate us
to come to a common understanding to solve the national problem.
Q: The JHU said that it had joined the government to eradicate
terrorism and bring honourable peace to the country. It is apparent that
this government is engaged in defeating terrorism. Do you hope to remain
in the government and support the government further?
A: I don't think that there are other leaders can take steps
similar to those taken by President Rajapaksa to crush terrorism and
address the national issue. Think a person from our JHU came to power.
He does not have anything new and he will do the same thing that
President Rajapaksa is doing to defeat terrorism and inviting the LTTE
for peace talks. He has done his responsibility and we are happy and
commend what he did to solve these two main issues to bring peace.
To answer the question about whether we are remaining with the
government in the future, the JHU believes that we should join hands
with the government at least for another 10 years to develop this
country. Sri Lanka is not a poor nation anymore.
Compared to some indices like the latest 'Happy Index', the
environmental pollution rates, efforts to curb climate change, Sri Lanka
has topped even the developed nations like US and Japan. But the country
need a change in attitudes.
Therefore the JHU intends to remain with the government to make these
changes and we hope we can achieve them jointly.
Q: You have just mentioned that Sri Lankans are happy people
more than the US citizens. Is it fair to come to a conclusion depending
on an index to say our people are happy? How can they be happy while the
Cost of Living (CoL) is high and the people are struggling to survive?
A: Yes, we know that CoL is high but it is the trend and Sri
Lanka do not have an alternative. The CoL is high all over the world
country. What I want to say is that this index is not indicating that
the whole nation is happy. It says that on average Sri Lankans are
There is no question about CoL. It is high. But our major problem is
the attitude. If someone wants to have a luxury lifestyle then the CoL
Q: I am not talking about the rich but the ordinary people are
suffering with the price escalations of necessary food items.
A: No. Here we have a mental problem. The CoL is high, it is
true. But we need a change in attitude. It is time for Sri Lankans to
think new. We talk about the price hikes about bread and milk powder. We
should eat more rice.
Over 50 percent of the population of the total population and over 20
percent of the child population are suffering from diabetes due to heavy
consumption of bread and other fatty food. So people can make the price
hike as an advantage to have better health to eat more rice based food
which gives good health.
Q: The JHU has said that the party would end supporting the
government if it avoids the measures mentioned in the Mahinda
Chinthanaya. What is your comment?
A: No, we believe it will be there for the next 10 years. We
want to have a national consensus about how to face the future
challenges like development of the country, global warming and its
effects to the country. Remember the LTTE is not the only problem that
the country faces.
There are other problems which needs attention. Our plan is to have
that kind of plan jointly with the President Rajapaksa to address all
We know that the JHU will be a good forces for that and needs to be a
patriotic front. Then we believe that the JHU can go forward with the
President for at least 10 years.
Q: Do not you think that the JHU lack that force now?
A: I think that the JHU needs to do more to come to that
point. Our slogans will be changed in future. We need to get the support
of everyone including those who love the country and environment. We are
not a big force yet but a minor party. We need to become a main force.
Q: Do you think that you are heading to the Dharmarajya
concept, which was one of the JHU's political pledges?
A: Yes, it is the ultimate goal of everyone. We need a country
where the law and order prevails and a country where all the people live
in harmony. That is why the JHU wants to be with the President Rajapaksa
for the next ten years.
Q: Do you think that the country is internationally isolated?
A: President Rajapaksa came to power without any blessing from
the US, India or the EU and many hope to defeat him. But he came a long
way with out considering their support and is able to have lots of
When we were feeble they tried to dictate us but as we are strong
without their support and stood on our feet, they have changed and are
giving their support more now.
Therefore now we are not internationally isolated but have become
more strong. we are able to built a powerful image among the
international community under the President Rajapaksa.
Q: What is the fate of the JHU if there is a General election?
A: The JHU got considerable number of votes and we came
forward when the country was in misery without a proper leadership. We
are happy that the JHU was able to support to build a strong leadership.
Remember the JHU is not a political party which will be there
When there the country is in dilemma we will become a strong force to
help the country to become strong. we will help whatever the good
leadership to become more strong.
We do not want to be in politics and we like to give up politics soon
if there is a good leadership. But the JHU will remain in politics for
some more years to strengthen that leadership.
Q: But the JHU's fate will be decided by the people of this
A: Yes. definitely they will decide our future. But what we
know for sure is that even we lost majority of votes the JHU will not
fell to zero. With all loses the JHU will stand up on its own again to
strengthen the leadership.