Be wary of Opposition bait
It was a historic and memorable occasion
when President Mahinda Rajapaksa participated in the Thai Pongal
national ceremony at the Duraiappa Stadium in Jaffna last Monday, 20
months after the Security Forces liberated the country from the clutches
of the LTTE under his inspiring political leadership.
The Government's prime objective was to unite Sri Lanka under the
Lion Flag as one nation, abandoning divisions for petty political
As President Rajapaksa has said, it is the duty and responsibility of
all politicians to unite as a single force devoid of party politics for
the development of the country and its nation.
It behoves everyone of us to love the nation as well as its culture
and heritage. If we are to develop as a nation maintaining our own
identity, it is important to safeguard the indigenous culture. To
achieve that end, all politicians must work together, sinking petty
ethnic and religious affiliations. They should not exploit ethnic and
religious affiliations for petty political gains. The President is
determined to end that era of segregation based on petty politics.
Despite baseless claims by the Opposition, the Government has proved
its sincerity by providing the lion's share of development funds to the
Northern and Eastern Provinces. This was purely because of the
President's solicitude for those innocent civilians who had been
subjected to untold hardships during the LTTE's reign of terror. Now
that these civilians have been liberated from LTTE terror, the President
is keen to offer them a brighter future with better infrastructure
facilities so that they too could become stakeholders of Sri Lanka's
success story in becoming the Wonder of Asia.
Simultaneously, the Government has cleansed the underworld, thereby
maintaining law and order to build a peaceful society. The Government
has time and again stressed that it would never allow criminal and
underworld elements to raise their ugly heads again, irrespective of
whether they are from the South or the North. The Security Forces and
the police have been directed to take stern action against all forms of
It was indeed heartening to witness several Government and Opposition
politicians from the North, along with religious dignitaries of all
faiths, on a common platform at the national Thai Pongal celebrations.
This should not be confined to just one occasion, but instead it
should be made a practice as it would help to fortify ethnic harmony.
They should work in unison on behalf of the people in the North and the
East who had suffered for almost three decades due to the ruthless
terrorism unleashed by Veluppillai Prabhakaran and his gang of
terrorists. The strong bonds of unity among the communities and
politicians will be a distinct advantage to build a united and developed
Opposition politicians should desist from sowing the seeds of racial
and religious discord to gain petty political mileage and look for
shortcuts to regain power. We may have our own political ideology,
ethnic identity and religious beliefs but these should not deter us when
it comes to our country and the nation.
It was deplorable to witness certain Opposition politicians making a
big issue over the national anthem in an attempt to gain political
It's a crying shame that they fail to see the damage that they are
doing to destroy the harmony and solidarity that exist among the
Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims.
They must take the cue from India. Despite being the world's second
most populous country, India has various ethnic groups, religions and
Nevertheless, when it comes to their country and the nation, the
Indians outshine others in respecting their national flag and anthem.
Shouldn't we take a lesson from our closest neighbour on ethnic harmony?
President Rajapaksa has won the hearts and minds of people across the
length and breadth of the country, not only among the Sinhalese and
Tamils, but also among the Muslims. He could read the pulse of all
communities and is acutely aware of the problems faced by the
The Government has taken all measures to ensure an undivided nation
for future generations, and the forward march of the country, which was
set back by nearly three decades, has already begun. Although all
previous regimes did precious little to solve the problems of the
Tamils, the President went that extra mile for the well-being of the
Tamils and the Muslims. As the President has already declared, there
will be no ethnic groups such as majority and minority, but only two
groups of people - those who are patriotic and love the country and
those who don't.
Now that the Government has paved the way for a peaceful environment,
it is incumbent on all of us to work indefatigably and develop the
People should not fall into the snares laid by opportunist Opposition
politicians who resort to cheap slogans to disrupt normal life and harm
the country's stability.
Certain Opposition politicians and a handful of Tamil leaders are
attempting to mislead the public, alleging that a crime wave has emerged
in the Jaffna peninsula. But this is furthest from the truth. Robberies
and criminal activities are not confined to Jaffna. In most of the
so-called big countries, which pontificate to us on democracy and human
rights, these aberrations are even worse.
The Government has launched an all out drive to demolish the
underworld, just as much as the Security Forces vanquished the LTTE
leaders. Since the Government has intensified such operations, there are
more reports in the media and one could get a wrong picture that the
underworld has exacerbated. The Government is taking steps to further
reduce the crime rate. It is gratifying to note that Colombo has
recorded a low crime rate, compared to most other major cities in the
People should not be swayed by various Opposition gimmicks for their
tendentious political agendas. People should not swallow the bait of
Opposition politicians. They must think in broader terms with a vision
to develop the country to ensure the future of the younger generation.