Sampanthan: Second class or Superclass citizen?
A counterpoint by Veluppillai Thangavelu
Rajeeva Jayaweera is a Sinhalese-Buddhist supremacist who contributes regularly to The Island newspaper spewing communal venom against the minorities. His latest outburst is against R.Sampanthan, MP over his occupation of the house allocated to him when he was the Leader of the Opposition. Prior to that, he lived in a one-room flat allocated to MPs.
In fact, in accordance with tradition, Sampanthan should have been allowed to continue as Leader of the Opposition because the TNA was the second-largest party in parliament. The appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa was illegal because he has resigned from SLFP/UPFA and joined the SLPP. As proof, he proudly flaunted his SLPP membership card to the media. What was the reaction of Jayaweera for jettisoning parliamentary traditions by the Speaker Karu Jayasuriya in favour of Mahinda Rajapaksa? Don’t he know that SLPP as a party has not contested parliamentary elections so far? To borrow the words of Jayaweera “who conspired and “cooked up” up to install Mahinda Rajapaksa as Leader of Opposition?”
Jayaweera is piggy about the renovation of the house allocated to R.Sampanthan at a cost of Rs.35 million. In the first place, Sampanthan did not ask for the renovation. And the renovation cost is capital expenditure which has increased the value of the house. Jayaweera’s argument Sampanthan has acknowledged LTTE terrorist leader as the sole representative is puerile. Not only Sampanthan but every government that came to power in Sri Lanka recognized Prabhakaran as the sole and authentic leader of the Tamils. It is on this premise that Ranasinghe Premadasa, Chandrika Kumaratunga, Ranil Wickremesinghe and Mahinda Rajapaksa held peace talks with Prabhakaran not once but many times. Not only the Sri Lankan government even the international community, especially the co-chairs, acknowledged Prabhakaran as the sole representative of the Tamils.
Prabhakaran is a terrorist for Sinhala – Buddhist supremacists like Jayaweera, but he is a freedom fighter for the beleaguered Tamils. He should pause to think about how terrorism sprouted in Sri Lanka, a Buddhist? It was the enactment of the 1972 Republican Constitution by the Sinhalese leadership that inspired the Tamil regional majority to officially demand a separate Tamil state (Tamil Eelam) in 1977. This was further influenced by their denial of equal rights (It robbed the minorities of even the scanty safeguards against discrimination) under the law to the minorities, evidenced by their deliberate exclusion of the provisions of Section 29 of the Soulbury Constitution (introduced at independence in 1948).
The likes of Jayaweera must answer the question why the Tamils have voted consistently, courageously, convincingly and overwhelmingly rejected the Rajapaksas at the parliamentary and presidential elections held in the Northeast since 2009? Rajapaksa repeatedly claims he liberated the Tamils who were under the clutch of the terrorist LTTE, but if this is true where are the garlands for the liberators? In the just-concluded presidential elections, Gotabaya Rajapaksa just managed to poll only a paltry 23,261 (6.24%) of the total votes polled in the Jaffna electoral district.
Granted the LTTE is a terrorist organization why did Ranasinghe Premadasa as President gave arms and ammunition to the same LTTE to fight the IPKF? Why did Mahinda Rajapaksa give Rs.500 million to the same terrorist organization to boycott the 2005 presidential election in the Northeast? It is alleged the cheque for Rs.500 million was handed over to Emil Kanthan, a proxy for LTTE, supposedly to construct houses by the TRO for the displaced in Vavuniya. It was later found the company name and address were bogus! What is your answer Jayaweera? I am sure you cannot plead ignorance because this to this day it remains an open secret!
Jayaweera asks rhetorically asks “How in heaven’s name did he contribute to national reconciliation?”. Jayaweera knows the answer but he pretends he does not. R. Sampanthan at a rally in Jaffna along with Ranil Wickremesinghe held the Lion flag to demonstrate his willingness to cooperate with the majority community. In other words, he believed in reconciliation and living in peace with the majority community. He attended the 2016 independence celebration in Colombo along with M.A. Sumanthiran again to demonstrate his commitment to national reconciliation. The counterparts of Jayaweera among the Tamils lost no time to carry out a well-orchestrated campaign to tarnish Sampanthan as a traitor to the Tamil cause. He was accused of selling the Tamils to the majority Sinhalese.
Jayaweera is lying when he accuses Sampanthan of accepting handouts? What handouts? Other than this blessed house what else did he accept for himself exclusively? It was Sampanthan who speaking in parliament challenged the government/opposition members whether he has robbed the government even a rupee? Jayaweera must be ashamed to level such unfounded and carte Blanche accusations without an iota of truth? As the leader of the Opposition, Sampanthan was frugal in the number of staff, vehicles and other perks he was legitimately entitled to. In this respect, he stands apart and tall compared to many Sinhalese Ministers who squandered public funds in millions.
Jayaweera is downright mean and is engaged in nitpicking, looking at the speck in other people’s eyes! One swallow does not make a summer. Simply because Sampanthan has been allowed to live in his official residence does not mean the Tamils have become first-class citizens! This is the type of perverted argument Sinhala – Buddhist zealots like Jayaweera indulge in to deflect the legitimate demands of the Tamil people. In the good old days, Sinhalese racists used to counter Tamils demands by telling ” look the Chief Justice is a Tamil, the Navy chief is a Tamil, three lingams, including Bhaskaralingam are running the government etc.etc.
Jayaweera in his wisdom is asking President Gotabaya to evict both Sampanthan and Sirisena from their government accommodations. Unfortunately, he is asking the wrong person, a person himself accused of monumental corruption. Robbing the government Treasury during broad daylight to the tune of Rs. 47.9 million.
Gotabaya Rajapakse owes a balance amount due to Land Reclaiming and Construction Authority being the cost of constructing DA Rajapaksa Foundation’s Mosealeam and Museum Rs.47.9? The original cost was Rs.81.2 million and only Rs.33.9 has been settled so far. Gotabaya used/misused state resources to construct the said edifice I am sure the old man must be turning in his grave seeing his sons constructing a Memorial at taxpayer’s expense! Is this not a disgrace for the Rajapaksa family? Is this not a case of misusing state resources for the benefit of the Rajapaksa family? Basil Rajapaksa disowned a house and property constructed at a cost of Rs.250 million because he could not prove the source of the funds.
Moreover, Gotabaya’s hands are soaked with the blood of innocents killed by government sleuths. Lasantha Wickremeatunga, Prabath Egnaligoda and Wasim Thajudeen just to name a few high-profile citizens of the country. Not long ago, Gotabaya Rajapaksa obtained a stay order from attending Jaffna District Court on a habeas corpus case citing concern about his security, But a few days later he travelled to the very same town to hold rallies in support of his candidature!
A close look at the cases winding up the steps of courUNP ts, Gotabaya is treated like a holy cow untouchable by the arms of justice. It is claimed that Minister Sagala Rathnayake threw the lifeline to Gotabaya when he was the Minister of Law and Order (11 November 2015 – 25 February 2018). The then Chief of Police Finance Crimes Investigations Division (FCID) Ravi Vaidyalankara was also responsible for safeguarding Gotabaya. Ravi Vaidyalankara is now openly campaigning for Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Gotabaya has already promised that if he is elected he will release all army personnel now facing charges in courts from prison.
Not only Gotabaya Rajapaksa his family itself is corrupt. Not long ago, ex-President Maithripala Sirisena asked the government to approve a proposal to pay Rs. 4.4 billion in outstanding bills accrued during the tenure of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government.
Among the unpaid bills are Rs. 2 billion due to the Customs for items imported by the Presidential Secretariat, Rs. 113 million also due by the Presidential Secretariat to Sri Lankan Airlines, Rs. 10 million to Ganga Catering Services for a function at Carlton House, Rs. 10 million due to Premasiri Stores for consumer items bought from the shop and various sums due for putting up of tents and temporary huts.
Fortunately, the Treasury has put on hold President Sirisena’s proposal. It wants an investigation on the expenditure incurred, instead of approving the payments due to both, private and state institutions through a Cabinet paper presented by President Sirisena.
Expenses of former President Rajapaksa’s overseas travel, expenses for entertainment incurred during visits of state guests, payments for hiring vehicles from a private firm, and money spent on lodging and meals for security staff are among the payments claimed.
Just to comment on the payment of Rs.10 million to Ganga Catering Services, it shows Mahinda Rajapaksa was entertaining right royally every dick and tom who went to see him or invited by him.
Now Gotabaya Rajapaksa is asking the public and public servants to fight corruption!
President Gotabaya has temporarily secured temporary reprieve in the corruption case filed against him in the courts. The case relates to the construction of the DA Mousalium and Museum at Geettamula. More than me Jayaweera knows the facts better.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, if he is serious about ‘draining the swamp’ and cleaning up this mess, should take steps to overturn previous cabinet decisions, and evict both Sampanthan and President Sirisena from their government accommodations, besides withdrawing facilities.
Sampanthan is entitled to nothing. Let the TNA, and its millionaire lawyers secure a residence and facilities for its leader. Former President Sirisena is entitled to an accommodation that befits his position of a former Head of State. Not that of a Head of State.
Jayaweeera is making the ridiculous claim that “Sampanthan is entitled to nothing”. Is he serious? Does he not know an MP he is entitled to free housing like any other MPs?
Jayaweera should stop his vendetta against Sampanthan, instead, he should go after the Rajapaksa family and expose their multi-billion big-time corruption!
It is not me but CT that left out the second part of my heading! Even otherwise as usual you are nitpicking.
Persons like Jayaweera forget the fact Sampanthan was living in a two-bedroom flat for nearly 3 years till he was allocated the present house.
As for LTTE leader being demonized as a tyrant by the Sinhalese, Prabhakaran still remains a powerful, heroic vibrant symbol of the Tamil armed struggle.
Those Sinhala – Buddhists zealots, who allege that Prabhakaran lived in the lap luxury, should be told that he lived a frugal life sleeping on a mat without pillows! He owned no houses, resorts, automobiles, bank balances, shares in corporate companies etc. unlike the royal Rajapaksa family. His only known source of income is the monthly allowance paid to him by LTTE Treasury department.
As for KA Sumanasekera, he is suffering from acute and incurable Vellala phobia. I readily admit caste is an evil practice and a curse. It originated in the four-fold division of labour laid-down by the Vedic religion. However, there is casteism in Sinhala Buddhism as well, but it is less rigid compared to Tamil Hinduism.
To begin with, 80% of the Buddhist Sangha or clergy in the time of the Buddha hailed from the caste conscious Brahmana, Kshatriya and Vaishya castes! The Buddhist Nikayas are based strictly on caste basis and is the antithesis of what Buddha extolled. 1/2
The Asgiriya and Malwatte chapters do not ordain Non-govigama castes. The caste system is common to both Tamils and Sinhalese since the rulers up to Devanampiya Tissa were Hindus. Caste rigidity is breaking down thanks to Prabhakaran and LTTE and migration to foreign lands. Inter-marriages tool place among LTTE cadres.
Eagle Eye must tell us why terrorism sprouted in a Buddhist country? Are terrorists born or are they made? Prabhakaran has repeatedly said that he won’t be carrying an AK-47 if JR Jayewardene was a good Buddhist. Finally, may I ask Eagle Eye why he sought refuge in Christian country ruled by Elizabeth II, styled Queen of Australia, who has reigned since 6 February? 1952. 2/2