The UNP, TNA, JVP and some other political parties are propagating various stories on Paranagama Commission that has been appointed to investigate into what happened during the humanitarian operations, especially with regard to those who disappeared and losses of property. The official terms of reference of the Commission may not be the same as above but essentially it has to look into the disappearances of individuals and property losses. What is interesting is that there are not many complaints from Mannar area where Bishop Rayappu Joseph claims that there was a massacre of civilians. In fact there are some people including members of Western Governmental Organisations and dispersed Tamils in the west who make charges against the government and the armed forces of genocide of Tamils.
The Chief Minister of the Northern Province, C Wigneswaran and some others have said that they are prepared to give evidence before the Navi Pillai Committee. However, whether they would give evidence before the Paranagama Commission is not clear. Wigneswaran is a retired Judge of the Supreme Court but who apparently does not know the 13th amendment to the constitution. It has been revealed recently that he has instructed or given orders to the Secretary of the Northern Provincial Councils that do not come under his purview. It could be even abuse of power though nothing has been mentioned on this aspect.
In any event what could be asked is whether Wigneswaran saw any of the “war crimes” supposed to have been committed by the armed forces. It is not clear what he is going to tell Navi Pillai Committee, and we cannot make any observations on Wigneswaran’s evidence in advance. It is not clear how the Pillai Committee is going to deal with hearsay evidence but Wigneswaran and other stalwarts of the TNA could go before the Paranagama Commission in “open court” so that we in Sri Lanka could find out from them their opinion on so called charges. The Bishop Rayappu Joseph, of course has already gone on record stating that he has no faith in the Paranagama Commission. He should have tried to convince the commission of his view rather than expressing his reservations of the commission.
The most recent volunteer to have expressed his willingness to appear before the Paranagama Commission is Mangala Samaraweera. He claims that the Commission has been appointed to protect the Rajapakses meaning of course the President and the Defense Secretary and to betray some officers in the armed forces. He is of the opinion that Mr. Desmond de Silva and two others have been appointed as consultants to the Commission for this purpose and he would give evidence before the commission though it is not clear what he is going to reveal.
However, unlike the Bishop of Mannar, Mangala Samaraweera does not say that he has no faith in the commission. He is expressing his views on the appointment of the consultants and it may be that he thinks that the Commission would have come out with an unbiased report if not for the consultants. In the meantime the President has said that he wants to appoint more experts as consultants to the Commission, and we will to have to wait to find the opinion of Mangala Samaraweera on those appointments. Would they be appointed to protect some others is something that people of the ilk of Mangala Samaraweera could tell us?
However, Mangala Samaraweera has to be congratulated on not confusing the consultants to the Commission with the members of the Commission. There are some UNPers and others who would say that the President has appointed Mr. Desmond de Silva and others to the Commission. Either these people are ignorant of the difference between members of a Commission and its consultants or are trying to mislead the people.
The government should either extend the terms of reference of the Paranagama Commission to include an investigation into the acts of the JVP as well as the armed forces during the period from 1987 to 1992 or appoint another commission to look into these acts. The JVP like the LTTE took up arms against the state and many innocent lives were lost during this period. It is true that the JVP did not fight to establish a separate state and undermine our limited sovereignty, but fought to change the system and establish what they believed to be a socialist state.
The JVP is essentially a Marxist Party, though many self acclaimed Marxists would deny the Marxist status to the JVP on theoretical and practical grounds but the cadre and the majority of sympathizers of the JVP think that theirs is a Marxist Party. Though the Party cannot poll more than three hundred votes in the entire country it can do better than all the other “super” Marxist parties that are almost unheard among the people.
The JVP is occasionally dragged into nationalistic policies but it is not a nationalist party. In fact they would oppose anybody who would claim that the JVP is a nationalist party claiming that Wijeweera has given a Marxist solution based on class analysis to the so called ethnic problem. The JVP also thinks that there is an ethnic problem in the country they like parrots go on repeating that the Sinhalas, Tamils and the Muslims should be treated equally in the country. What the JVP does not understand is that as individuals all are equal before the law in the country, the way law understands it, and in Sri Lanka the basic problem is denying the Sinhala Buddhist culture its due place.
The JVP based on its class analysis does not see the problem that way and like all the other parties that refuse to take a nationalist line would lose votes as they go by. However, the JVP unlike the other Marxist Parties has the uncanny ability to be drawn into nationalistic politics and they could make an impact, though very limited, on Sri Lankan politics unlike the “Super” Marxist Parties that are only walking dead bodies at present, sixty years after the hartal. In another sixty one years only the historians would be interested in these parties.
The JVP is supposed to have killed many civilians during the 1987- 1992 period and it is hilarious to see Anura Dissanayake, the leader of the JVP complaining against both the UNP and the UPFA for organizing demonstrations after nominations to the Uva Provincial Council elections. It is very likely that the JVP was not adhering to the instructions of the Commissioner of Elections but they were unable to organize demonstrations in Badulla and Moneragala far away from Colombo Fort Railway Station and Lipton Circus. I am not condoning the actions of the UNP and the UPFA but the JVP is not the innocent party that Anura Dissanayake projects on the stage.
It was the JVP that threatened to kill the first person who went to the polling booth at the elections to the first provincial councils and we know that it was not only a threat. They are supposed to have killed many innocent people though they did not use the public as a human shield the way the LTTE did. On the other hand many LTTE cadres and innocent people are supposed to have been killed by the armed forces and the government should institute an investigation into these events. The human rights people are only interested in what is called the “thirty year war” that was supposed to have begun in the late seventies. What these Samaritans forget is that the 1987-1992 period is not outside the “thirty year war” period and the government is bound to investigate the actions of JVP and those against it, especially regarding disappearances and property losses.
Nalin De Silva