By Mano Ganesan
The victims of human rights violations during the 1989 period are activists, supporters and family members of JVP. It was a well known fact. Mahinda Rajapakse fought on behalf of their plight. That did not make him a member of JVP. He fought for the human rights of the people. JVP attacked sacred Dalada Maligawa. They threw bombs inside the Parliament. They killed Buddhist monks, politicians, police, security forces and their family members. But nobody accused Mahinda of dealing with JVP and supporting JVP’s terrorism against security forces. Today the victims are Tamils and most of them are accused of LTTE affiliation. People who struggle for political solution and stand against war are also condemned as LTTE supporters. If there are LTTE members, they must be dealt according to the law of the land instead of extra legal punishments. That is what Mahinda Rajapakse wanted for JVPers in 1989. Today, there are many innocent people who are punished for being Tamil from north and east. There are Sinhalese who speak against war are also condemned as ‘Sinhala Kotiyas’. Irrespective all these facts my fight is for the protection of human rights of the victims. It is similar to then struggle of Mahinda Rajapakse. Can anybody produce one reasonable difference between my today’s campaign and Mahinda Rajapakse’s campaign of 1989? Can anyone of those government politicians, their extremist allies in JVP and JHU, cronies and members of hardliner private and state media who accuse me of treachery and abating terrorism come up with the answer, challenged Western Peoples Front Leader and Civil Monitoring Commission Convener Mano Ganesan MP during his address to WPF politburo.
Ganesan said further in his deliberation,
Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse as a SLFP Parliamentarian championed human rights during the late 1989 period. He campaigned against extra legal killings, enforced disappearances and arbitrary arrests and detentions. He documented (symbolically or otherwise) incidents of abuses and took the issue to the international community. He traveled to Geneva , as some of our human rights activists travel to Geneva today to make cases at UN human rights council.
Democratic Left Front general secretary and presidential advisor today comrade Vasudeva Nanayakara worked along with Parliamentarian Mahinda Rajapakse in this mission. I am told that Vasudeva accompanied him to Geneva and both of them faced government screening and intimidation at the Katunayake airport.
Notwithstanding this respectful, commendable and exemplary past HE Mahinda Rajapakse today heads a government which is the guilty party and cause to the grave human rights violations occur in this country. There are other actors, LTTE and various Para-groups are also in the scene as offenders. But they are non state actors. HE Mahinda Rajapakse heads the government and the Sri Lankan state. The government is bound by the national and international laws and conventions.
[Mano Ganesan MP]
This government accuses human rights defenders on two counts.
(01) Human Rights defenders are accused of ‘discrediting’ the country by taking the subject matter issues out of Sri Lanka to the international community.
(02) Human Rights defenders are accused of ’supporting and working’ for the LTTE.
This killer campaign has now reached great levels. It is targeting all members of human rights defender community. The human rights defender community in Sri Lanka consist Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, Sri Lankans and foreigners. There are men and women. All of them are targeted. Government politicians, their extremist allies, cronies and hardliner private and state media are doing overtime in this merciless offensive killer campaign.
I am under this willful attack very often. The reasons are there. I am an ethnic Tamilian by birth and I have a political face.
I am accused of bringing ‘discredit’ to the country by ‘complaining’ to the United Nations and other players in the international community or rather keeping this campaign alive. I am accused of ‘telling and talking’ to the international media. I am accused of ‘traitorous disservice’ to my country. I am accused of ‘dealing with and working for LTTE’. I am accused of ’supporting terrorism’.
These are activities; I will never do even in my wildest dreams. But the accusers never wanted to listen and understand.
I am very much confident of the fact that what I am doing now is that Mahinda Rajapakse did in late 80s. Can anybody dispute me? On the strength of my confidence I have very often asked few simple questions inside and outside the parliament.
Can anybody produce one reasonable difference between my today’s campaign and Mahinda Rajapakse’s campaign of 1980s? I challenge anyone of those government politicians, their extremist allies, cronies and members of hardliner private and state media who accuse me of treachery and abating terrorism to come with the answer.
But I have some answers to my own questions. Yes, there are some basic differences.
On the one hand, Mahinda Rajapakse is a Sinhala man by birth. I am Tamil man by birth. He is member of the numerical majority community. I am member of the numerical minority community. On the other hand, those who faced human rights violations in the forms of extra judicial killings, enforced abductions during 1980s are mostly members of the Sinhala community. Most of the victims today are members of the Tamil community.
Are these the differences? You disregard and even approve these abductions, extra judicial killings, arbitrary arrests and detentions, extortions because of the fact that the victims are Tamils and in some cases Muslims?
The victims during the 1989 period are family members, activists and supporters of JVP. It was a well known fact. Mahinda Rajapakse fought on behalf of for their plight. That did not make him a member of JVP. He fought for the human rights of the people. Nobody accused him of dealing with JVP and supporting and JVP terrorism. Today the victims are Tamils and most of the time they are accused of LTTE affiliation. People who struggle for peace and stand against war are also condemned as LTTE supporters. There may be LTTE members. They must be dealt according to the law of the land. There are many innocent people who are punished for members of the Tamil community. Irrespective all these facts my fight is for the protection of human rights the victims. It is similar to the struggle of Mahinda Rajapakse.
Those who did not and cannot put JVP label on Mahinda Rajapakse are today unfairly putting LTTE label on me. This is the sad fact when the defender and the victims happen to members of the Tamil community in this country.
This is yet another typical example of the prevailing ethnic discrimination in this country.
I cannot understand this logic and peculiar reality.
UNP was the ruling party during the 1980s which was accused of state terrorism. UNP today supports our campaign for the protection of human rights. SLFP was the party which championed the human rights. Especially non other than the president headed the campaign. This party is the ruling party today. SLFP led government practices state terrorism against Tamils. This does not end here. There is another dimension. The victims of 1980s are the JVPers. This party supports the military campaign and justifies the human rights violations against Tamils.
36 comments March 5th, 2008