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Sand mining is done legally through the organization Maheswari Foundation

Minister Douglas Devananda

Douglas Devananda interviewed by Arthur Wamanan

Q. There were reports that the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) was critical of you and your supporters. What do you have to say about that?

It is highly ridiculous. Firstly, the report has not been made public yet. It is still with the President and he will be tabling it in Parliament once he goes through the contents. Once the report is out I am ready to challenge the newspaper.

Q. However, there have been many allegations levelled against you and the EPDP in the past with regard to several acts of violence in the North. Some of the recent incidents such as the assault of Uthayan News Editor were also attributed to you and your members. Are you denying those allegations?

A. I am not saying that we have not done anything wrong. We might have made mistakes in our political career. We have gone through several phases in our personal and political lives. The important thing is that we have learnt from these mistakes and have rectified them. I am a person who would accept whatever wrong that is pointed out and rectify it. If they prove our mistakes I will definitely take action against our members and rectify the issues.

Q. If you say that, why are you accused of such incidents?

A. It is because of our political views and stance.

Q. So what is your response to the allegations levelled against you in the recent times?

These allegations are levelled against us by Tamil political parties who have their political agenda and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who do it for their survival. NGOs talk of human rights for their survival. I speak of human rights because it is my principle.

Q. It has been more than two years since the war ended. Why is it so difficult for Tamil parties to work together for a common cause or for the people?

It is because they work for their own political benefits. We did try to work together by forming the Tamil Political Parties Forum (TPPF). We did have many fruitful meetings.

Q. Why did it fail?

Well, it was disrupted by the TNA when the elections came up

Q. The government has been holding discussions with the TNA on several issues including finding a political solution. Would this effort yield the expected outcome?

The TNA is a party that thrives on problems. The party needs problems for its survival. They will not want to solve the problem but will want it to persist or make it worse. That is the difference between us and them. We do politics to solve the problem. They do it to make it worse

Q. On what basis do you say that?

You look at the past and you will realise that we had several opportunities to solve the problem. The LTTE threw it away for its own benefit and the EPRLF misused it for its benefit. The likes of Premadasa and Chandrika Kumaratunga came up with frameworks to find a solution. All these efforts were opposed and thrown away by the Tamil politicians. I am talking about the post Indo-Lanka accord period. Not what happened before that. It was the Tamil politicians who missed or avoided the opportunities that could have brought a permanent solution to our longstanding ethnic question.

Q. You mentioned that that these parties had vested interests. What are they?

They do not want the problem to be solved. The necessity for an understanding between the Tamil parties is not a thing that was realised recently. It has been there for the past many years and there have been moves to address this issue. There were instances where Tamil political parties merged to form alliances. Armed movements also got together to work together. All these efforts failed because they worked for their own benefit and not for the people

We formed the TPPF based on the experiences we gained in the past

Q. Is the government genuine in finding a permanent solution to the ethnic question?

What is important here is to what extent the Tamil parties are genuine. Finding a solution solely depends on how genuine the Tamil parties are. I am talking about what happened after the Indo-Lanka peace accord. The Sinhala government failed before the Indo-Lanka peace agreement. But, it was the Tamil political leaders who failed after the agreement was signed in 1987.

Q. You, or your members have been accused of indulging in illegal sand mining. Your response?

Again, these are allegations levelled to bring disrepute to us and our party. The sand mining is done legally through the organisation, Maheshwari Foundation. We have the approval of the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau.

Q. A lot has been said about the proposed Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC). You have also expressed your support for the move. Why are you in favour of the PSC? Are you confident that the PSC would be effective in finding the much needed solution?

The government cannot come to a solution by discussing with the TNA alone. As I said earlier, the TNA’s intention is not to find a solution. It wants to sustain or aggravate the problems. The other reason is that the PSC gives a chance for the participation of the opposition parties.

Otherwise, the opposition would oppose the government’s move. Therefore, it will be better if the opposition members are made part of the PSC.

This government came into power with the support of the Sinhalese people. It also has the two thirds majority, a luxury which the likes of Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge did not have.

The other important thing is that the President is now open for negotiations with all parties and therefore trying to bring everyone together.

Another aspect is the lack of obstacles due to the likes of the LTTE. The previous peace process broke down because of the LTTE. Today the government cannot use the LTTE as an excuse. The international community is also closely monitoring the process. Therefore, the Tamil parties should use the
opportunity. courtesy: The Nation

8 Comments

  1. Jayantha says:

    Iam a sinhalees,This the number one traitor fpr tami people.Should hang in Gallface with All sinhalees politician.

  2. Sinniah says:

    Hello Jayantha, Iam a tamille,We should hang All tamille politicians along with the sinhalees.

  3. Selva says:

    Water Island – Kayts Island had been called Thanneer Theevu (water island) before the Portuguese came. From Mankumpaan in the east coast of the island to Chartti at the west coast of the island then from Mankumpaan up to Allaipitty to the south coast there were huge sand mountains. The people used to go to Chaatti beach for bathing. At the beach if you dig a well with your hand you will get fresh water. That may be the reason why this island had been called Thanneer theevu.
    The sand is very porous and it takes the water into it as fast as the rain falls. Once it is fully chocked with water it serves as a reservoir. It let the water trip slowly into the tiny ground streams and through which the water comes to your wells. All the water in this island had been emptied already and now they are emptying the Vadamaraadchi sand reserves. Devananda must take care of it.

  4. truth says:

    “Again, these are allegations levelled to bring disrepute to us and our party. The sand mining is done legally through the organisation, Maheshwari Foundation. We have the approval of the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau”

    What he has not disclosed is what percentage of the profit does he have to give to the Mahinda Bros. co. for getting the approval of the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau!!!

    Did they really get the approval? Very strange when scientists were worried about the vanishing sand dunes and the ground water going brackish in the whole of the island, especially in the Peninsula and the people in the islands have shortage of good water and the retreating shoreline!!

    I think someone has to contact the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau and confirm this and also to request them to reconsider issuing permit for sand mining!!!

  5. Dinuk says:

    Where is all this sand being taken – to build the port in Colombo and to enlarge the Galle Face so that Rajapakse Bros co. can build a Fomular 1 car race track? Devananda is a goon and a thug who should be tried for crimes and he supports Rajapakse to avoid being in prison where he belongs! Why do not the Indians seek his extradiction?

  6. Shanthi says:

    “Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.”- Martin Luther King Jr
    Whatever the Rajapakse family does or Douglas do, whether digging the grave or Douglas’ monopoly in Sand mining, they destoying the coastal water seepation of saline water will destroy beyond the comprehension of Maheswari Foundation. If Maheswari Velautham had been alive, she would have objected to the destruction of ecological order in Vadamaaraachchi! Sea level is rising and land level is receding. It is much worse than depriving the Tamils of their land becuase it will accelerate the salination process in the peninsula. UNLESS LEGAL ACTION IS TAKEN, HE OR HIS PARTNERS IN CRIME CANNOT BE STOPPED.PLEACE ACT.
    The credit should go to all who started Tamil Political Parties Forum (TPPF) not just Douglas. It is including Pillayaan Chandrakanthan who went beyond their wishes of masters. However, THE RIGHT ALLIANCE FOR THE RIGHT CAUSE WAS PRE-EMPTIED BY WRONG PEOPLE. TNA must rise to occasion – they cannot simply reject the need of the wider unity.
    All parties in government wanted to resolve the problem but always had to abort because the action of the opposition. Now the parties in the government FACILITATE THE OPPOSITION TO DERAIL ANY ATTEMPT AT NEGOTIATED SOLUTION. When we have majority report in hand that can encompass the unit of devolution, land rights and police, calling for another committe is nothing but conspiring to disown the blame for the failure on themselves. NOW IT IS UPTO THE TAMILS HOW TO FIGHT IT OUT BUT WITH THE SUPPORT OF THE SILENT MAJORITY FROM THE SOUTH.

  7. truth says:

    http://www.humanrights.asia/news/ahrc-news/AHRC-STM-201-2011

    The “uncrowned king of the North” should devote some of his “precious time” away from his “illegal business ventures” to look into the atrocious human rights violations happenings in the “Dharmista” especially in the North and East concerning the Tamils!!!Will he have the time or the inclination to talk to his “boss”?

    The above incident is just one of the thousands and thousands of incidents which happens every day and is swept under the carpet by the so called “leaders”

  8. Sarath Fernando says:

    Hello Jayantha and Hello Sinniah,

    I am a Sri Lankan and I agree with both of you – we should indeed hang ALL of the Sri Lankan Politicians. Period!

    Good to know we are all in agreement on one critical issue at least!

    The problem is “How do we go about it?!”

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