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Wednesday 9 October 2013

Wigneswaran takes oaths adhering to the constitution

Canagasabapathy Wigneswaran has finally taken oaths as the Chief Minister of the Northern Province before the President Mahinda Rajapakse with the Governor of the Northern Province by the side of the President. It is clear that the decision to take oaths before the President has been taken amidst opposition from some members of the TNA. Those members of the TNA who oppose the decision are in general of the view that the President is a war criminal and that the Governor had been an officer of the armed forces that committed war crimes, before he was appointed to the present position. We discussed last week the legality of the problem of appointing a Chief Minister, and stated that Wigneswaran had no option but to be appointed by the Governor as the Chief Minister and that no fuss should be made over taking oaths before the Governor. The present Governor had only functioned as an officer while the President now as then is the Commander in Chief of the armed forces. If Wigneswaran could not take oaths before the Governor for reasons of war crimes by the armed forces he should not have taken oaths before the President if the TNA is of the view that the latter is a war criminal.

It may be that the majority of the members of the decision making body of the TNA are not of the view that the President is a war criminal. If it is so it augurs well for the country and the decision of Wigneswaran to take oaths before the President should be welcome. It has to be noted that Vasudeva Nanayakkara, the only Trotskyite member of a cabinet in the world according to the President, and who happens to be related to Wigneswaran does not consider the President to be a war criminal. Taking of oaths should be an eye opener to the western countries who are hell bent on making a war criminal out of Mahinda Rajapakse using the dispersed Tamils in their countries. It may take a long time for the TNA to dissociate from the west and the dispersed Tamils most of whom are no more citizens of this country living here, but a start has to be made sooner than later if all of us are to live in harmony in Sri Lanka.    

The opposition to taking oaths before the President in the presence of the Governor, though the custom, among some members of the TNA and the dispersed Tamils would grow in the coming weeks and with problems surrounding the appointment of ministers of the Northern Provincial Council the Chief Minister would need the support of the Sinhala people even before he formally assume duties in his new position. Though I do not agree with the thirteenth amendment for number of reasons that have been stated in these columns, I would not oppose Wigneswaran as he has now being appointed as the Chief Minister and taken the oath according to the constitution. As far as I am concerned he is a Chief Minister just as much Dayasiri Jayasekera is. However, if he defies the constitution and goes against it, it would be a different kettle of fish altogether. 

It is reported that some members of the TNA are contemplating to go to India to campaign against Wigneswaran for taking oaths before the President. It is not clear what they want to achieve by going to India but the general opinion among the dispersed Tamils in the west who support those TNA members is that by taking oaths before the President, the new Chief Minister has betrayed the Tamil Cause. However, what these members of the TNA and their supporters do not realize is that Wigneswaran in spite of his massive preferential vote is only the Chief Minister of the Northern Province and not the Chief Minister of the Tamil people of Sri Lanka. More than seventy five percent of the Tamils in Sri Lanka live outside the Northern Province and the situation in this country is very much different from that in India where an overwhelming majority of Tamils live in Tamil Nadu. Those who are opposed to Wigneswaran taking oaths before the President if at all could say that he betrayed the cause of the Northern Province Tamils, if there is any cause as such.

Secondly if the President is a war criminal as the infamous Channel Four and some western politicians accuse then what about Sonia Gandhi. She may not have been the Prime Minister of India but those who know would tell that she holds the reins of the Indian government. Moreover she was the wife of late Rajiv Gandhi who sent the IPKF at the “invitation” of JR Jayawardhane in accordance with the Indo Lanka Accord. I am not suggesting that Rajiv Gandhi was a war criminal nor that the wife is responsible for alleged crimes committed by the husband. I just want to expose the hypocrisy of the western countries and their media, and of course those members of the TNA who want to rush to India against Wigneswaran taking oaths before the President. There was no peace that the IPKF kept but was involved in so many crimes against the Tamils.  If Mahinda Rajapakse is accused of being a war criminal then Rajiv Gandhi should also be accused as such , and of course JR Jayawardhane who “invited” the IPKF. Some members of the TNA running to India whose IPKF killed so many Tamils are using some strange logic to say the least.

This is where Navaneethan Pillay who is only an agent of the west goes wrong in almost ordering an inquiry into the acts of the armed forces (and LTTE in parentheses) during the last few weeks of the humanitarian operations. The west is not really interested in the human rights of the Tamils but only wants to send the President and the Defense Secretary to the guillotine using the dispersed Tamils. If they are genuinely interested in the human rights of the Tamils they should request an inquiry into the acts committed by all parties including the LTTE and the IPKF during the relevant three decades. I suggest that the government appoint a Presidential Committee to inquire into what happened during the so called thirty year war. It would be much better if the government appoint three more committees as well to look into the horrendous acts of the Portuguese, Dutch and the English against the people and the culture of this country.

The devolution of power to the people is a misconception that the pundits have adopted from the west. Neither in the west nor in this part of the world that includes India people enjoy power and it is very often a case of few people using power in the name of the people. The English educated Tamil leaders who were the most powerful among the locals from about the last quarter of the nineteenth century wanted to retain that power during the twentieth century as well. However, their strategies failed and in the forties starting with people such as Naganathan who apparently considered himself to be a descendant of Chola chieftains wanted to establish an Eelam. It was Chelvanayakam who had a clear vision of the Eelam where the Tamil leaders would enjoy power at the expense of the so called Tamil speaking people. The Tamil leaders were used by the English against the Sinhala people who rose against colonialism from the very beginning. The English had the McCauley’s children among the Tamils as well as the Sinhalas who were interested in showing that they were more English than the English themselves in order to gain some powers within a colonial state. The Sinhala people had their own leaders who fought against the colonialists and the English were scared of these people and not of McCauley’s children. The devolution of power to the Tamils is a myth as more than seventy five percent of the Tamils live outside the Northern Province and the Tamils are distributed in Northern, eastern, western, Central and Uva provinces. The development of a Sri Lankan Tamil language and a culture is not the prerogative of the Northern Provincial council though it may contribute towards it. Let the Northern Provincial Council develop the Northern Province just as much as the other provincial councils do in their provinces, without defying the constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court. There is no need for reconciliation, again an imported concept that has no meaning in Sri Lanka, as the armed forces fought against the LTTE and not the Tamil people. If the west does not interfere with our lives using one community against the other we would live in harmony with each other. It is time for the TNA leadership to think differently and try to understand why the Sinhala people are against so called devolution without confining themselves to moth eaten western Political Science concepts found in  western text books and journals.

Nalin De Silva