No overnight miracles!
President Mahinda Rajapaksa's
visit to Jaffna earlier last week rekindled fresh hopes for people in
the North. Apart from the Tamils in the North and the East, the Muslims
and Sinhalese in the two provinces were also happy to welcome the Head
of State. The visit also helped those in the North and the East to
perceive the Government's efforts to uplift the living standards of the
people in the two provinces, contrary to the negative picture projected
by some extremist Tamil politicians.
The Tamil politicians, who fostered racism during the height of LTTE
terror, continue to mislead the international community and the Tamil
Diaspora, alleging that the Tamils are not treated properly.
TNA Parliamentarians, who had at one time been remote-controlled by
Velupillai Prabhakaran, did precious little for their own community,
except globe trotting and selling the Tamil community. It has now come
to light that the TNA had even failed to use funds allocated by the
Government for development.
There had been numerous instances where such budgetary allocations
had been returned to the Treasury as the TNA Parliamentarians and Local
Government members had not shown any interest to use these funds for
development. These are the self-same people who scream to the high
heavens about the well-being of the Tamils and the problems faced by
The President stressed at the Jaffna District Special Development
Committee meeting that all Sri Lankans have a responsibility to ensure
that there is no room whatsoever for terrorism to raise its ugly head
again. It was the merciless LTTE terrorists who had inflicted untold
suffering on the people of all communities for almost three decades.
Is there a better person than President Rajapaksa who understands the
grievances of the people in the North and the East? These problems are
by no means unique to any particular ethnic group in the two provinces.
The President feels the pulse of the Sinhalese in Matara, the Tamils in
Jaffna and the Muslims in Batticaloa. This is precisely why he is called
a truly people's President. The President understands the emotions of
parents, irrespective of which part of the island they reside in. As a
leader who has championed human rights, he is deeply conscious of the
feelings of mothers whose children had become unfortunate victims of
LTTE terror or JVP extremism.
The President's prompt action, following a mother's plea to release
an undergraduate of the Jaffna University bears testimony to his
humanity. The President said that it is the duty of Northern parents to
ensure that their children do not spread separatism or be misled by LTTE
It was due to the President's political sagacity that over half a
million civilians in the North and the East, who had been forcibly held
by the LTTE as a human shield, were liberated in the world's largest
human rescue mission. Else, those hapless civilians would have been
undergoing untold misery even today.
The Tiger terrorists had made a desperate attempt to brainwash people
in the North and the East by projecting a frightful picture of the
Security Forces. It was only when their villages had been liberated from
the clutches of the LTTE that these Tamil civilians realised the true
nature of the Security Forces who even shared their food and dry rations
with those rescued.
The LTTE, under the guise of liberating of Tamils, inflicted misery
on those in the North and the East. The LTTE cohorts or extremist Tamil
politicians could no longer mislead the Northern Tamils, who will never
revert to that dark era again even in their wildest dreams.
Most of the infrastructure development projects in the North and the
East have already been completed and the remaining work is going on
apace. The Government is now restoring everything that had been
destroyed by terrorists. The Government is investing heavily on many
mega development projects to give a new lease of life to people who had
been liberated. The Northern railway track which was destroyed by
terrorists would be rebuilt up to Kankesanthurai and construction work
will be completed by March next year. Reconstruction work on the A9
Jaffna-Colombo highway is being carried out swiftly and the entire
Jaffna district has recorded unprecedented development in the social,
health, power and energy and agriculture sectors.
Those who are weeping buckets of tears over the well-being of Tamils
must take serious note of the marked economic growth of around 22
percent in the Northern and the Eastern Provinces, compared to the
country's overall performance of around eight percent. More importantly,
the Government has given preferential treatment to these provinces,
thereby spending the bulk of the sum allocated to the country's
Regrettably, certain Western countries and international
organisations have turned a Nelsonian eye to these development programs
for reasons best known to them. Considering the fact that over half of
the country's Tamil population mingles peacefully with their Sinhalese
and Muslim counterparts in other provinces, one wonders whether anybody
needs to worry about reconciliation.
It was the opportunist Opposition politicians and NGO goons who
thrive on foreign funding who had projected a negative picture on Sri
Lanka at the behest of LTTE cohorts. Is there any other country where
the majority has become the minority in the capital city? Colombo is a
unique example of peaceful coexistence and harmony among people of
different races and faiths. Those who are trying to frame Sri Lanka at
the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) should first and
foremost visit the country and gain first-hand experience on ethnic
harmony. President Rajapaksa told the world community in his 65th
Independence Day address to the nation, that the best answer that Sri
Lanka could give is to invite all critics to visit the country and see
for themselves the massive developments taking place.
Any untoward action against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC would seriously
hamper development and curtail the dividends of peace enjoyed by one and
all. No country or organisation has the right to exert undue pressure on
Sri Lanka as Sri Lankans are already enjoying the fruits of
reconciliation. Had this not been so, the Tamils and Muslims would never
have lived among the Sinhalese for centuries.
The UNHRC and the international community should take serious note of
all these developments and act prudently before initiating any further
action against Sri Lanka in Geneva. Bringing in successive resolutions
would not serve any purpose, but only derail the hard-earned peace.
The UNHRC must give Sri Lanka sufficient time as the first resolution
was passed early last year. They should not expect miracles overnight
from a country which had been plagued by terrorism for almost three
decades. Surprisingly, none of these countries which are now levelling
charges against Sri Lanka even bothered to utter a word when the LTTE
went on the rampage, killing tens of thousands of hapless people.
The major force throwing its weight behind the resolutions against
Sri Lanka is the Western politicians who depend heavily on the vote of
the Tamil Diaspora in their countries. They dance to their tune not
because they have a score to settle with Sri Lanka, but merely because
their political future depends on the Tamils who have taken up residence
in their countries. The UNHRC should not be carried away by the
concocted stories dished out by Tiger cohorts and a section of the Tamil
Diaspora. If the UNHRC is sincerely interested in the well-being of the
people in Sri Lanka, especially those living in the North and the East,
they must give Sri Lanka sufficient time to strengthen national
reconciliation. It is needless to state that there are no instant
solutions to a problem which had continued for three decades. Is it fair
for the UNHRC or the international community, for that matter, to demand
that Sri Lanka performs miracles overnight when other countries which
are recovering after a protracted 'conflict' situation have taken a
longer time to recover?