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Igniting Racist Fires; Undermining National Unity

Igniting Racist Fires; Undermining National Unity

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Published by nelvely

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Published by: nelvely on Sep 29, 2013
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-September 29, 2013
If Vigneswaran and Sumanthiran insist (sic) any more Nandikadals at Wellawatte,Mattakkuliya or in any other part of the country, they are bound to confrontthem”.- Champika Ranawaka (Nation – 29.9.2013)
In 2011,the
introduced a hugely controversialnew law: the Town andCountry Planning(Amendment) Bill.Commonly known as the‘Sacred Areas Act’, this billgave the Minister of Buddha Sasana the power to expropriate any privateland anywhere, just bylabelling it a ‘Protection Area’, ‘Conservation Area’, Architectural/Historic area’or ‘Sacred Area’.On 2
December 2011, a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice
decreed that the new bill cannot be presented to parliament withoutthe consent of all provincial councils as land is a devolved subject. A few days later,the government withdrew the Bill.
|by Tisaranee Gunasekara-
29 Sep 2013
 If Vigneswaran and Sumanthiran insist (sic) any more Nandikadals at Wellawatte, Mattakkuliya or in any other part of the country, they are bound toconfront them”.
- Champika Ranawaka (Nation – 29.9.2013)12
( September 29, 2013, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian)
In 2011, the Rajapaksas introduced ahugely controversial new law: the Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Bill. Commonlyknown as the ‘Sacred Areas Act’, this bill gave the Minister of Buddha Sasana the power to
Mahinda And Champika
expropriate any private land anywhere, just by labelling it a ‘Protection Area’, ‘ConservationArea’, Architectural/Historic area’ or ‘Sacred Area’.On 2nd December 2011, a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranaykedecreed that the new bill cannot be presented to parliament without the consent of all provincialcouncils as land is a devolved subject. A few days later, the government withdrew the Bill.In less than a year, the regime introduced a punitive impeachment motion against the CJ.Within months, she was hounded out and a Rajapaksa-acolyte installed atop the judiciary.Last week, the de facto Chief Justice proved his loyalty to his puppet-masters, again, bydecreeing that land is not a devolved subject.That watershed decision is a blow not just to Tamil-rights but also to the basic rights andfreedoms of all Lankans. For instance, there is nothing to prevent the regime fromreintroducing the land-grabbing ‘Sacred Areas Act’ to the common detriment of Sinhalese,Tamils and Muslims.That the Siblings are furious about the outcome of the Northern PC poll is no secret. The Northern vote is not just a challenge to the Rajapaksa efforts to monopolise all power infamilial hands; it is also a personal affront. After all, ‘Northern Spring’, the regime’s flagship‘development’ programme for the North, was personally headed by Basil Rajapaksa. The Tamil people, by exercising their democratic right, have humiliated the Siblings. And the Rajapaksasnever pardon an ‘insult’, as the fates of Sarath Fonseka and Shirani Bandaranayakedemonstrate. When Mahinda Rajapaksa’s second ‘Oxford Lecture’ was cancelled due toDiaspora-Tamil protests, he responded by reintroducing the Sinhala Only National Anthem!The Rajapaksa attitude to Lankans in general and the Tamils in particular is rather similar to theattitude of colonial rulers towards their subject people. Colonialists loved to claim that thenatives must be occupied, guided, taught…and punished, for their own good. In the Rajapaksa- Nerverland too, people are eternal juveniles, stupid, gullible, incapable of realising their own best interests. They too need to be monitored and guided – and punished when they stray.
According to this Rajapaksa-worldview, no dissent is genuine. When Sinhalese express dissent,like in Weliweriya, it is because they have been corrupted by evil foreigners. When Tamils andMuslims express dissent, it is because they are inherently unreliable, being the ‘Ethno-religiousOther’ by birth.The Northern Tamils have strayed and must be taught a lesson in obedience, again. So the 13thAmendment will be disembowelled legally, one court ruling at a time. Sinhala racism and anti-Tamil phobia will be reignited, to prevent a South-North alliance against these tyrannicalmeasures.The task of isolating the TNA-led NPC from Southern oppositional forces has been allocated tothe regime’s in-house extremists. Their brief is to depict the Northern verdict as a victory for separatism, to equate the TNA with the LTTE and justify politico-legal assaults on the NPC as patriotic measures.According to Champika Ranawaka, the TNA victory “could bring about daunting resultsand….the military victory at the war has been politically defeated”3. Ravana Balaya, reportedlya Wimal Weerawansa-appendage, has threatened to launch a country-wide agitation against thefull implementation of the 13th Amendment.4 Basil Rajapaksa, the supposedly sane andsensible Sibling, too joined this racist fray; he appealed “to the Northern politicians not to givearms to the youth again (and) said that the Southerners too should be alert on this, and if not areign of terror would begin again”5.If the government is motivated by Lankan or even Sinhala-interests, it would allow Tamil politics to return to the un-heroic democratic groove. It would adopt a hands-off policy withinthe boundaries of the 13th Amendment and let the TNA-led provincial council grapple with thenitty-gritty of governance - such as resolving the conflict between Tamil and Tamilnadufishermen.But the Rajapaksas, like the LTTE, are not motivated by national or popular interests. Theywant all and eternal power for themselves. So they will attack/sabotage the NPC, hoping for anintemperate reaction. Champika Ranawaka was threatening nothing less than a bloodbath a laBlack July when he said that if the TNA challenges the government, “once again the Tamilcommunity and its future generations would have to move towards Nandikadal lagoon”6.Without racist-fires, how can the Rajapaksas maintain their relevance as the Sole Saviours of Sinhala-Buddhists?
An Alliance of Moderates
The new ruling is the first salvo in the Rajapaksa politico-legal offensive to undermine thedemocratically expressed will of the Northern people and sabotage the TNA-led provincialcouncil.

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