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Sunday, 25 November 2012





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Duplicity, the name of the game

Several countries and international organisations have shown an extraordinary concern about people residing in the Northern and the Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka. The people's grievances in these two provinces have been conveniently tagged as 'ethnic conflict', 'national problem' or 'Tamil issue' by certain countries and International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) for reasons best known to them.

Nevertheless, the real problems are quite different to those being projected by these Western countries and INGOs. There are no specific problems whatsoever for Tamils in Sri Lanka on the basis of ethnicity.

If this was the case, more than 50 percent of Sri Lanka's Tamil population could not live outside the North and the East and co-exist with the Sinhalese and Muslims. Moreover, the majority of citizens in the capital are Tamil-speaking, thereby making Sinhalese the minority in Colombo.

There are specific problems faced by people living in the North and the East, irrespective of their ethnicities. Be it Tamils, Muslims or Sinhalese, people in the North and the East have faced these problems for decades, not because of their ethnicity but rather due to its geographical location.

From the day LTTE terrorism was eradicated in May 2009, the Government made every effort to address the grievances of those in the North and the East. Sri Lanka set new world standards in resettling over half a million people, liberated during the humanitarian operation, in next to no time.

Mega development projects have been launched in these two provinces to improve infrastructure facilities and bring them on par with the other provinces in the country. Many rehabilitation programs have been implemented for ex-terrorists, most of who have already been absorbed into mainstream civil society.

The Northern Province, for the first time in two decades, was connected to the National Grid, thereby offering a new lease of life for civilians and industrialists in these areas. The two provinces have so far shown a rapid growth rate of over 22 percent, compared to around eight percent of overall growth in the country.

The Government continues to provide an uninterrupted power supply to Jaffna despite a loss of Rs. 3 billion annually. Power and Energy Minister Patalie Champika Ranawaka said last week that a furnace oil power plant to cater to the power needs of the peninsula would be completed by next year, and when it is fully operational, it would meet the total power requirement in Jaffna. The Minister said that Lanka Electricity Co Ltd (LECO) had invested Rs. 35 billion in the furnace oil power plant.

Although there are quite a number of countries and INGOs to speak on behalf of the Tamils, we barely see the same interest when it comes to Muslims and Sinhalese who had been driven away from the two provinces by Tiger terrorists. Thousands of Tamil-speaking Muslims who languished in refugee camps for 22 years after they were forcibly evicted from their homes in the North by the LTTE, will soon be resettled in their original places of residence.

A high percentage of displaced people are Muslims and the Government will resettle these Muslims in their home towns soon.

More than 60,000 Muslims had been evicted from the Northern Province by the LTTE in October 1990, following the 24-hour eviction in the North at gunpoint. Those countries which now shed crocodile tears over the Tamil-speaking people in Sri Lanka, remained mum when it came to these displaced Muslims who were compelled to live in refugee camps in the Puttalam district and other parts of the country.

With normalcy restored in the North, the displaced Muslims had expressed a wish to return to their original homes and the Government is now addressing several matters in this regard for their return.

Apart from the Tamils, the Muslims and Sinhalese in the North and the East also suffered untold hardships due to LTTE terror. They too have common grievances, not due to their ethnicity, but rather the area they live in. This issue is now being resolved by the Government.

Though the West makes a big hue and cry over national reconciliation, it is nothing new for those in Sri Lanka. If one were to take Colombo for example, it is evident that the Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese have almost equal strength, along with the Burghers, Malays and Borahs. These ethnic groups live with one another in perfect peace and harmony.

The LTTE destroyed the harmony and co-existence between the Tamils and the Sinhalese in the North and the East that had prevailed for centuries before the Tigers spread its separatist ideology. This was done to drive a wedge between the Sinhalese and the Tamils. It was through such vicious campaigns that the LTTE brainwashed the majority of Tamils and projected the terror outfit as the 'saviours' of the Tamils.

It is pathetic that the Tamil National Alliances (TNA) is still unable to dispel the illusion created by Velupillai Prabhakaran.

It was indeed most heartening to see the Sri Lanka Army enlisting 109 female Tamil soldiers into the 6th Women's Corps ceremonially from the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts last week with the participation of their beloved family members at the Army training school in Barathipuram, Kilinochchi. The TNA or any other Tamil party or organisation for that matter could no longer accuse the Government by citing discrimination against Tamils. The Tamil lasses too now have a place in their country's legitimate Army, compared to that dark era under LTTE terror, during which Tamil children were forcibly recruited at gunpoint by Prabhakaran's goons.

When the induction and orientation program into the service is completed, this batch will be deployed in the North and the East, mainly for peace-building and reconciliation.

Their presence in the Army would be a great opportunity and an added strength to overcome the language barrier and work more closely in civil affairs. Their enlistment would not only be a solution for youth unemployment, but would also ensure the welfare of the dependant families.

The latest development would undoubtedly be an eye-opener for one and all and would demonstrate the Government's reconciliation efforts. This also marks a historic milestone in the Sri Lanka Army's scheme of recruitment.

Officials of the Kilinochchi security forces headquarters recently carried out an extensive recruitment drive and 109 were chosen initially from among the Tamil females who competed eagerly in the enlistment formalities. Is the international community blind to these positive developments? Isn't it time for them to help Sri Lanka rather than keep talking ad nauseum about the human rights of LTTE terrorists killed in action by a legitimate Army of a sovereign State?Certain reports now attempt to show that the United Nations had failed to intervene during Sri Lanka's battle against terror. Some countries seem to be more concerned over the human rights of LTTE terrorists rather than civilians.

Thanks to the unrelenting efforts of the Security Forces, Sri Lanka is now free of suicide bombings, assassinations and bomb explosions in public venues. If this is what the Tiger sympathisers and their stooges yearn for, they are sadly mistaken - our civilians mean much more to us than terrorist bombings. It is abundantly clear that the UN that had failed 22 million Sri Lankans and the unsubstantiated estimates that come from dubious sources that quote pro-LTTE units giving outrageous Tamil civilian casualties make them only a laughing stock. In the event the UN and other international organisations and Western countries are so concerned about human rights, they should have taken action against the LTTE when it ran berserk, killing tens of thousands of civilians.

Now that the Security Forces had accomplished that herculean task, Sri Lanka could successfully handle its own affairs. Sri Lanka's elected leaders, who have won successive mandates from the people, are only accountable to the masses and certainly not to the Western politicians who are beholden to the Tamil diaspora for votes!


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