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50 Indian RAW Agents Were in Wanni Without Colombo Government’s Knowledge

Somawansa Amerasinghe Talks to Shakuntala Perera

(Leader of the JVP tells Hard Talk that the issues affecting the Tamil people would be resolved in giving the Tamil people the equal opportunities they seek, and maintains that the government is failing to understand the real issue nor seek realistic solutions. He warns the government and the country against the threat of separatism that still persists in the guise of peaceful settlement of the national issue, espoused as strongly as the military struggle of the LTTE, by others who supported the LTTE.)

SATC0729.jpgQ: The President recently announced that he would present a final political solution after seeking the mandate of the people through a Presidential poll. Certain minority parties are expressing concern that this may lead to an undue delay in meeting minority concerns. Is there a delay at all in your opinion?

He already has a mandate which he received in 2005. No one wants the Presidential election to be held next year before he ends his term. And he doesn’t have a mandate for an election before. There is an agreement with the JVP which specifies that the Presidential system will be abolished. That is really what we should do. We don’t even want to talk about an election or the mandate he’s seeking till 2010. There will be agitations in the country if he moves away from the agreement.

Q: As the Party that supported the government in the war against terrorism, why is the JVP blocking his path today, when the President has kept his part of the bargain in ending that war?

I don’t think the country expects us to support him unconditionally. We supported him to defeat terrorism in this country unreservedly. I don’t think anyone will want us to support this government to continue the corruption it practices. We can’t support a government already violating the wishes of the people and being inefficient. We can’t support a government like that. Ours was support to end terrorism, establish democracy and exercise good governance. The agreement is very clear on what our support was based on; the Mahinda Chintana was based on that.

Certainly, separatist terrorism has been defeated. But separatist tendencies and those forces that espouse that thinking is still there and is much stronger.

We are concerned about the fact that the country is bankrupt both internally and externally. We don’t have enough foreign reserves, which is why we had to go to the IMF with the begging bowl. That is why the government had to increase taxes and is already reducing monies spent on education and health. National income is low. The people are already fed up of this government that is why they are having elections two years earlier.

Q: But given the military victory over the LTTE, isn’t it in fact true that the government is at its most popular today? Wouldn’t you say that the outcome of the election is already a foregone conclusion given the popularity it enjoys in the country today?

Yes, but not everything depends on popularity. The JVP always analyses the situation, on the situation prevailing in the country, and does not let it be dazzled by such victories. This country needs to win over, mobilizing the people to obtain other victories like development. This is why we expected the President to come out with such a programme on the 17th when he addressed Parliament after defeating the LTTE. But there was nothing. It was because we knew that victory was definitely ours that we had a plan for development and hoped to contribute to whatever plan the President would announce to the country. Now the victory has already become meaningless, because we are not implementing anything to achieve national integrity and development.

Q: But in all fairness to the government wouldn’t it be correct to say that given the pressures of meeting the immediate needs of the IDPs the government needs some extra time before it starts working on those aspects of the problem?

Certainly, but the government is not even addressing the issues of the IDPs. Everyone can see that. The government mustn’t forget that it was they who invited the Tamil people to come on to its side; it should have been ready to meet their needs. They can’t now say that they have 300,000 people whose needs are difficult to be met. It’s too late now. There are a lot of concerns in the international community today, they should not have left room for that. This is why we recommended initially that there be a Committee of all political parties to attend to the burning issues of the IDPs and the country. There was no response to it. Yet, again we came out with another initiative to minimize the problems confronted by the Tamil people. These are very simple solutions that could be taken without thinking of long procedures. This would have been a good beginning for national unity to be achieved. We are losing the potential and wasting time.

Q: Are you saying that the government is losing the minority support when it was clear that the President tried to approach them as a first step when he told Parliament that there were no longer any minorities in the countries?

Yes and this is very bad in trying to achieve national integration. The Tamils are not happy; this is what we observe. From the day on which terrorism was defeated the government did not tackle it properly. When I was informed by the government that Prabakaran was defeated, my only request from the government was to see that the Tamil people were looked after. It is ok to celebrate victories but our real concern should be to look at the bigger picture.

Q: The President has however spoken about his willingness to pursue the 13th Amendment with greater powers which would be seen as meeting the demands of the Tamil political elements. But it is political parties like yours who are opposed to any form of devolution of power. ?

The JVP is the only party proposing something far beyond the 13th Amendment; something more than even Tamil Eelam. We are proposing that we first establish democracy and equal opportunities so that we go towards equality. Equal opportunities are what the people need far more than Tamil Eelam or 13+. Those Ministers who speak about these solutions speak about give and take.

But who has the right to give anything when they don’t have anyone’s rights in their pockets? Those rights are with the people. That is their power.

If we allow that it will become a bargain between the people and the elite. The President must address the legitimate grievances of the people by establishing equality and democracy in the country.

The 13th Amendment on the other hand was drafted by India and imposed on this country with their national interests at heart. The late PM Indira Gandhi treated the national interests of Sri Lanka in terms of interests of India. That was India’s foreign policy then. This is why we had to sign the Indo Lanka accord in 1987. An agreement is usually among equals but this was imposed on us after President Jayawardene knelt before India. It violated our sovereignity.

The Indian government interfered in internal affairs of Sri Lanka on the pretext of being the saviours of the Tamil people. If they had the interest of the Tamils then how did the oil tanks in Trincomalee creep into the agreement; or the Ports in the Sri Lanka creep into it? According to this the Sri Lankan government can’t take any decision regarding the ports, harbours or the airports. We should understand the concerns in India about their ports. We are living in a region where there is only one neighbour. Having said that, our own policy should be that this country is not used against India either.

President Jayewardene didn’t understand that. I remember the then Political Secretary of the Indian High Commission in Colombo telling me that ‘we must teach him (Mr. Jayawardene) a lesson.’ But by doing that it was India that learnt the biggest lesson. They lost 1500 of their men; men of the 4th largest army in the world. They were humiliated and lost also one of their PMs. We did warn India that India will suffer if they continue to support separatism in this country.

They trained the terrorists, financed them and gave them the diplomatic and political recognition they needed. They built an army to invade this country. It was an invasion. This agreement should not be accepted because it was not based on equality. The danger is that the agreement still stands and India could interfere in this country on the pretext of suppressing terrorism.

The greater problem is that India doesn’t think about what will happen to them if we implement this agreement in full. In 1988 they didn’t think about the 13th Amendment to the Constitution seriously. Today it is a bridge towards separatism. Although India says they don’t want to see a separate state in Sri Lanka they can’t stop it because that is already starting here. Now we will have to act very soon to stop that process which is gathering momentum after the defeat of the LTTE.

Although the LTTE was also fighting for separatism, those who are advocating separatism and federalism have become legitimate, lawful, peaceful and democratic. But they really are not. And they have not given up the idea of establishing a separate state in this country.

Q: Who specifically are you talking about?

Those who were with Prabhakaran earlier and have left later. They have the right to advocate what they think. We are using that same right to analyze what they say to make the Tamil people aware about what will happen if a separate state is established in this country. Why it is important to live in a united country. The problem is that those who are fighting for the 13th Amendment to be implemented will not stop at that. They have already come halfway towards a separate state, and there will be one if we don’t prevent it. Today it will not too clear and may seem too early because it can’t be understood. But what is happening now couldn’t be understood earlier in the same way. The problem is that India doesn’t take it seriously. We say very clearly that India’s territorial integrity will be threatened by what is happening in Sri Lanka now. The separatist forces have not stopped their forward march, they will fight for it until they achieve it. They are talking about aspirations and aspirations can’t be satisfied.

Q: Would you say that such political agendas are being using what they are terming the aspirations of the Tamil people for this same purpose?

This is not a problem of the aspirations of the Tamil people, but those of the leaders of the Tamil people. Such aspirations of the Tamil leadership will only have its end in getting a separate state in this country. That is when it will affect India, beause, already India is having trouble in her own states like Nagaland or Tripura or Orissa. That form of development will gather momentum once a separate state is established in Sri Lanka. It will be too soon to expect but it will happen. No one expected the youth league of the TULF to take up arms. No one expected Sri Lanka to fight this war for 30 years. All we had then was a peaceful Vadukoddai resolution. This is why we emphasize that separatism is defeated with the same vigour. At this moment India is also pressing for the implementation of the 13th Amendment. When that happens there will be a separate state. Then the Constitution of this country will be changed. And it won’t be a qualitative change, because now we have unitary state and if implemented completely this nature of the state will become a federal state instead. That is why those advocating for 13th Amendment are refusing to discuss the nature of the state, claiming these are just words. No these are not just words there is a meaning. There is a big difference with a clear definition. They make these arguments to deceive the people. The nature of state is the very basis of a Constitution. This is how one recognizes a state.

Why doesn’t the UNP or the UPFA go before the people if they have the support of the people for the 13th Amendment ? They are worried about the vote base among the Sinhalese; that is why they don’t want to talk about equal opportunities. It is the JVP that started that dialogue, because this is the only way to start national unity. They don’t go before the people and say they are for federalism if they are genuine? Because, they are racist on that basis. I’m not saying they are, in every aspect, but on that, they are. We challenge them to go before the people if they are so sure of their positions.

Q:The argument is made that given the geo- political nature of today’s conflicts and the support that Sri Lanka needed from India during the war, the government may not have a choice but to implement the 13th Amendment?

Then what about the fact that India trained and financed the LTTE? It was only after they realized their mistakes that their approach changed. The danger is that they are still being fooled by the separatist forces. Don’t forget that during the height of the war there were 50 RAW agents in the Wanni without the knowledge of the Sri Lankan government. They only gave a list and requested Sri Lanka to look in to their safety later. Why did they come? These are not secrets.

RAW has been working even after the killing of PM Rajiv Gandhi in Sri Lanka. They continued links with the LTTE. This is why we want to see India change its policy. It achieved what it aimed in the 1980’s for their interests. They are making use of the oil tanks and in Trincomalee they’re given 679 sq. km surrounding the harbor, and even members of the Parliament are not allowed to go inside on grounds that this is an exclusive Indian economic zone. It was Sri Lankans that got killed and to liberate these lands. Whose occupying these lands now?

Even if LTTE were fighting the state, these were still misled Sri Lankans who died, who have sacrificed for India to make use of the land. India today need to dominate us and take our resources and politically establish their domination. There are 1500 Indian men there. Why are Indians carrying out demining? Sri Lankans can do these jobs. These are not assistance but dead ropes. These are assistance with strings attached. We need not have any enmity with India that is not what we need to do at all. That is why we say India will suffer one day. This is a friendly warning that India must take precautions because this problem of Sri Lanka is going to affect them. They can’t avoid that. The Sri Lankan government must also see that the territorial integrity of this country is safeguarded. That is the mandate given by the people of this country.



Somawanse is an intelligent man. However, what he does not realize is that if 13th Amendment is implemented India wins and if it is not implemented then Sri Lanka loses, consequently India will interfere into the internal affairs of Sri Lanka. Former is the lesser of two evils. Meaningful devolution of power to the minority and a viable political system in the country are pre-requisite to keep the Indian influence at bay. (Manmohan Singh has already said openly that political settlement to Tamil minority is a major cause that will affect relationship between the two countries).

JRJ was an intelligent man too but he had no option but to concede then to the Indian intimidation; at least JRJ had the last laugh by setting them up against LTTE. Now Indian foreign policy makers are more matured. They do not need to send their military men under a peace keeping force to occupy Sri Lanka. If MR dishonors his commitment to the Indian delegates for the implementation of 13A and fails to resettle 280,000 IDP within the agreed time frame then we will see a huge humanitarian operation by India, supported by all Western powers. I trust that MR is also an intelligent person.

Posted by: Nakeeb M Issadeen | July 30, 2009 01:10 AM

RAW agents or no RAW agents, Jaffanese will only have peace when they collaborate with the rest of Sri Lanka. Indian used the Jaffna modaya against GoSL. Treachery of the Jaffna modaya ultimately lead to downfall of all Tamils. Lets hope they learnt a lesson.

Posted by: Panhinda | July 30, 2009 06:51 AM

Reproducing this article in this blog, provides an opportunity for Tamils – and indeed others - to present dissenting views on crucial matters – that is denied on different shallow pretexts by the English media in Sri Lanka more specifically in recent times. It was different earlier when we had the presence of fearless journalists and Editors who placed their personal honour and the integrity of their profession to preserve the culture of balanced journalism.

It was a well known fact that the leadership of the JVP lacked intellectual depth from the beginning - with the exception of the committed Marxist, anti-Tamil and anti-Indian Rohana Wijeweera. Men like Jayadeva Uyangoda, Susil Siriwardena and others have now mellowed. They have now gone into lesser controversial fields or academic pursuits. Somawansa Amerasinghe is a surving member of the original JVP leadership, which appears to be his only qualification in the now deflated JVP.

Unfortunately his raison d’etre. – like the JVP from the beginning including Wijeweera’s time, is anti-Tamil and.anti-Indian line as those infamous 3 lessons in the JVP credo. This interview is replete with this feature that is the only platform with which Amarasinghe and Tilvin
Silva are holding the fast-vanishing JVP from total eclipse. It is perhaps a measure of some form of political maturity on the part of the mass in the Sinhala South that those ultra-extremist pseudo-nationalist parties like the JVP and the JHU are losing their attraction with this imaginary and false twin bogey. Even in commercial marketing analysts believe that any product loses mass attraction over a period of time and therefore they urge a new “form of packaging” the same product.

Lustreless Amarasinghe has not been able to latch on to this wisdom yet. Recent polls show even the Sinhala unemployed youth and graduates – the backbone of the JVP electoral base – are showing signs of restlessness with these ineffective leaders. It should also be noted here while Left leaders like NM, Colvin, Leslie, Bernard et al appealed to the poorer Sinhala working and unemployed class with their intellect, the latter Johnny-come-lately leftists of the JVP mould had nothing more than to attack their “target base” of youth from the visceral angle.

In this interview Amarasinghe betrays publicly the oft-held theory by the political conscious Sri Lankan voter that the JVP has very little to hold the attraction of the
Sinhala youth except an irrational hatred of India. The anti-Tamil feature, that was just as crucial to the JVP leadership earlier, has now been abandoned. Probably because even the slow thinking Sinhala youth have now come to accept the fact Tamils have always been a part of Sri Lanka; they have been wronged substantially and their problem cannot be postponed any longer. Latter events like appointing MPs, provincial councilors from Tamil and Tamil-speaking Muslim fold is illustrative of the acceptance of this reality.

The last straw on which the JVP lead by their toothless lion the British National Somawansa Amerasinghe is hanging on is a strident anti-Indian stand in a last ditch effort to keep the Sinhal youth with them. However, a closer examination of Amersinghe’s attacks on India in this interview will reveal he is completely out of context.

It is universally accepted that every country acts primarily in the interest of its own people – and, everything else is generally secondary. This is perhaps the “A” in the alphabet of political theory that seems to have escaped our friend when he states “Indira Gandhi treated SL interests in terms of India’s interests” Surely, surely, Sir?

Run into the nearest library and reach for Henry Kissinger who repeats the Machevellian theory “there is no such thing as permanent friends – only permanent interests” And if Amerasinghe did not know India looks suspiciously if the Trinco Oil tanks are given outside, he conveniently does not know that the late Cyril Mathew was just one of the senior Ministers in JRJ’s Cabinet who on several occasions threatened to “give the Oil tanks” to the Americans “to teach them a lesson”. Mr Mathew’s message was to threaten India from her “Southern soft belly” and the dear old lady, who had her own style of dealing with people whom she thought was dangerous to her and India (e.g. East Pakistan) certainly must have taken note of this.

It is not widely knownt Mr Mathew had his own reasons and favourite American companies to give the Trinco Oil Farms contract to. He was discovered to favour an Italian Oil company ENI (?) represented by a Tamil Agent (Aloysius Kattar, a Premadasa favourite) on the controversial Hydro-Cracker Contract that divided the JRJ Cabinet. So then Mr Mathew, the Tamil hater, had friends in the community as well. Did someone say “big money recognizes no racial barrier”?

Amarasinghe shows his lack of diplomatic niceties when he reveals a private conversation he claims he had with the Political Secretary of the Indian HC. Whether such a thing is a matter of conjecture his faux pas here is tasteless. He reveals his lack of depth when he says “They (India) built an army to invade this country” I am sure even beginners in politics in the JVP will know India;s nearly million strength army from 1948 is not there for the purpose for which Mr Amarasinghe may have spent sleepless nights on. Further he contradicts himself starting the dialogue by stating “he is for more than the 13th Amendment to the Tamil people” and then later in the piece saying he will bring out to the streets the Sinhala people by the millions if this is considered.

Later on when he attacks his pet hate India teaching us “India is already having trouble
in Nagaland, Tripura and Orissa” I have a suspicion he thinks Orissa is also a State
in the Indo-Burma region like the other two. Come, come Mr. Amarasinghe, as a true
Sinhala Buddhist super-patriot, you should know Orissa is in the Himalayan vicinity
from which came Gautama, the Buddha. He now brings us the news “there were 50 (nice round figure) of RAW spies in the Wanni during the height of the recent war.

This cannot please General Sarath Fonseka and neither will Amarasinghe’s charge that these RAW
men were in the know and received support of the SLA. He gets deeper into the mire
of ignorance when he wants us to believe “Even after Rajiv Gandhi’s killing RAW
is operating here” Surely, isn’t the man aware the Brits have MI5 and the American’s
CIA and the Israeli’s the Mossad operatives as a matter of course in their legations in almost all countries.

Or is his impression of these operatives that which Ian Fleming tried to create when referring to the KGB to the effect they have a “Wet Affairs Dept” which was the job of Mr James Bond to undo. Wet-affairs meaning political assassinations, of course, Sir. I hope President Rajpakse, who told the country, Amarasinghe was the first he spoke to after hearing of VP’s killing, will take note of his advise “that we can do all the de-mining ourselves “ meaning get rid of the Indians. I am sure India will welcome this.

I am equally certain Indian experts will seriously study Mr Amarasinghe’s conclusion “Indian will suffer one day” and perhaps invite him, this time by air to Delhi to hear more from him than the last occasion they did when he had to reach India stealthily, half naked by Kalla-thoni” in his run for his life to the wretched land of decayed Capitalism – Britain. All arranged by RAW with the able support of his close relative Sirisena Cooray - chief lieutenant of the late Mr Premadasa.

Mr Somawansa Amarasinghe and the half-wits of the JVP leadership must now begin to accept neither the Indian Govt or the Indian HC here hardly take him or his party seriously. All their braying and shouting is for local consumption only. It will not be long before the JVP makes an un-ceremonious exit from the Lankan political scene. It is also equally clear even the Sinhala-speaking politically-conscious will not remember any of these so called leaders - whereas even as recently as a few weeks ago, Dr NM Perera’s memory was celebrated by a galaxy of distinguished citizens including political leaders
from across the board.

An occasion in which a respected man of the Christian clergy went out to public proclaim the political teachings and advise of the late and great LSSP leader is relevant today as it was then in the search for our peace and unity. There is, as one sees, a place for principled politics in any decent society. There is no place for sham and shallow politics even in Sri Lanka.


Posted by: Ilaya Seran Senguttuvan | July 30, 2009 11:20 AM

Somawansa Amerasinghe seems to have a selective amnesia of his escape to U.K in 1987 from Premadasa with the same RAW’s help. Despite his memory loss, he has had raised a valid point that India has been continuing to fish in the troubled nation, mostly at the expense of Eelam Tamils.

Posted by: Suresh M | July 30, 2009 11:58 AM

The 13th Amendment cannot lead to separation. Executive power is vested with a Governer handpicked by the President. Thus, executive power is still derived from the Center. Furthermore, the so-called "PCs" can be overruled by Parliament. They can also be abolished altogether at the whim of Parliament. In other words, if the much stronger Center is still dominated by nationalists, of the likes of Somawamsa, it will be the supremacist agenda of the Center that takes center stage, far and above that of any specific regional interest. This is exactly what has been happening in the East (note Pillaiyan's public frustration). Somawamsa's other argument, that the 13th Amendment was imposed by India and thereby does not accurately reflect domestic interests, is rather narrow. Before PC's there were DDC's. PC's are merely an extension. In any case, as I have pointed out, PC's do not devolve power in any meaningful sense. I am not sure what Somawamsa's difficulty is here... his arguments border on paranoia and misunderstanding.

Posted by: Dinesh Gopalapillai | July 30, 2009 03:28 PM

“Certainly, separatist terrorism has been defeated. But separatist tendencies and those forces that espouse that thinking is still there and is much stronger.”

Tamil nationalism and its struggle were there, only through peace full means and within the democratic frame work. Failure to recognize Tamils as equal citizens and create a common Srilankan identity by the repeated governments made easy for the foreign forces to creep in.

The violent turn of the Tamil struggle was given momentum by India itself and now the same India had helped Srilanka to destroy the arm struggle using diabolical methods that contravenes international conventions.

In the end, whatever may India profit economically or strategically, India has lost its credibility and well wishes from majority of Sinhalese and Tamils as well. On a long run control over unfriendly nation would turn to be a mirage. Under the name of diplomacy if deception is the code of conduct, its fruits too would be that. To worsen the woes of India Tamil Nationalism in Tamil Nadu is in rise.

Srilanka has no other options other than to recognize the aspirations of Tamils with more autonomy as a way to create a common Srilankan identity. Failure to do so would make the Srilankan soil the battle ground of the conflicting geopolitical forces in the region.

13th amendment or any other power sharing arrangements need not be spelt by India, instead greater decentralization of powers should be evolved by Srilankans itself, taking into confidence the Tamils who fought for separatism.

Has SriLanka evolved enough to be at that juncture?

Somawansa Amerasinghe’s interview, though show some shades of national reconciliation to fend off the Indian or foreign interventions, it is with full of ambiguity and skeptic towards power sharing with Tamils.

Posted by: RAM | July 30, 2009 06:53 PM

JVP talks a lot but does not walk the talk. They supported and created the present government. They occupied Ministerial portfolios. But they achieved nothing for the country except sabotaging any moves towards peace and reconciliation with the Tamils. Sahodaraya Weerawanse who is gifted with a foul mouth has now left the fold of the JVP and is tagging along behind Rajapakse on his foreign jaunts like a six year old kid. His socialist friend Gunaratne, now minister of tourism, wines and dines with the capitalist classes in Colombo 7.

Somawanse waxes and wanes against the governement but ultimately he has no solution to the problem himself. JVP always takes a rigid position and sits on the fence and adopts a dog in the manger attitude.

Posted by: SriLankan | July 30, 2009 07:52 PM

I have heard of only of Sinhala Modayas. This is the first time I am hearing about Jaffna Modaya.

Posted by: Mano | July 30, 2009 10:25 PM

50 is a nice easy number. Not too high like 100, not too low like 1.

Anyway, no RAW no military win for GOSL.
And how ever many RAWs were in Lanka, (and the GOSL may not have known the exact number), their presence was well known and welcomed.

Posted by: N2 | July 31, 2009 03:57 AM

who thinks sinhalease are modayas is the biggest moddaya.It Take only few steps to destabalize whole India and sri lanka should do it if RAW or any others put there hand in it.

Posted by: hahaha | July 31, 2009 11:35 AM

Forget the Govt. Shri Lankans are the only friendly nation to India among the Nations located around India. that is because of our cultural connections.

If India try to political landscape of our country, forget the Sri lankan govt, People will remember it for ages to come.

I don't think that is how India wants it and I don't think that is how India does things now.

Posted by: ShriLankan | August 5, 2009 10:02 AM

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