Is The Chief Minister Of The NPC Ethically & Morally Fit To Govern?
The Chief Minister of the Northern Province Mr Canagasabapathy Viswalingam Wigneswaran made a “private visit” to India in November 2014. It was reported that he was invited to deliver a memorial lecture in Chennai to commemorate a civil liberties activist Mr K.G. Kannapiran, who is a person from the legal fraternity. Later Mr Wigneswaran also attended a World Congress of Buddhism and Hinduism in New Delhi which was graced by Dalai Lama, among others.
At the World Congress of Buddhism and Hinduism, Mr Wigneswaran had complained to the Dalai Lama about attacks on and destruction of Hindu temples in Sri Lanka. It is true that, during the time of the previous Rajapaksa regime, places of worship of minority religions came under frequent attack by religious bigots who had the tacit patronage of the ruling coterie. As a matter of fact, many more Churches and Mosques were attacked than Hindu temples; in this circumstance, Chief Minster complaining about the attacks on Hindu temples only smacks of parochial partisanship.
It was unbecoming of the Chief Minister of a multi-religious province to highlight the attacks on Hindu temples only to the Dalai Lama. The Chief Minister should be aware that the population of Christian faith comprises twenty percent and the population of Islamic faith three percent of the total population of the Northern Province according to the Census 2012.
It was also reported that Mr. Wigneswaran had also paid two other visits in India which are ethically and morally reprehensible.
One was to an ashram of late Swami (sic) Premananda in Trichy in Tamilnadu. Premananda was born in Matale (Sri Lanka) but moved to Trichy (India) after the 1983 riots and set-up an ashram there. He was arrested by the police on charges of rape and murder of few female disciples within the ashram, convicted, and sentenced to life imprisonment in the 1990s. He died in prison on 21 February 2011.
It was disgraceful for the Chief Minister of the Northern Province, Mr Wigneswaran, to pay respects to a rapist and murderer while violence against women (including rape) in his province is rampant, which Mr Wigneswaran often blames on the security forces personnel. His visit to the ashram of a deceased criminal is an affront to women who outnumber men in his province and who had undergone immense suffering during the course of the long civil war. Even worse is the fact that in April 2015 Mr Wigneswaran had written to the Prime Minister of India pleading on behalf of the family members of the disciples of Premananda who are co-convicts in the rape and murder cases and serving life sentences in the prisons in Tamilnadu.
It is also important to note that the disciples of Premananda, including the Chief Minister Wigneswaran and the Minister for Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs Mr.D.M. Swaminathan, had a commemorative meeting for the late Premananda in Barnes Place, Colombo, in March 2015. It was disgraceful for the Chief Minister “Hon. Justice (sic) CV Wigneswaran” (as noted by the Northern Provincial Council website www.np.gov.lk) and the Minister of Hindu Religious Affairs to be worshipping a rapist and murderer. The politicians are expected to be role models for the citizens they represent; not to patronise rapists or murderers.
Mr Wigneswaran is also infamous for frequent sexist gaffes (against women) in public. One such was against the former Chief Secretary of the Northern Province (topmost civil servant at the provincial level), Mrs Ramesh Wijeyaluckshmi (the first-ever female Chief Secretary in the country and a widow). Whatever the political differences between the Chief Minister and the Chief Secretary, the insinuation of a sexual nature against the former Chief Secretary sometime in 2014 is an affront to women in general and the widows in particular. There are unusually high numbers of widows in the Northern Province (estimated to be between thirty and forty thousand) as a result of the long drawn out civil war whose plight has been neglected by the Tamil National Alliance provincial administration in the NP. The Chief Minister Wigneswaran (aka Justice Wigneswaran) should have professional decorum in public pronouncements.
This author also learns that the Chief Minister Wigneswaran had met the head of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS – National Volunteer or Patriotic Organisation) in New Delhi in November 2014. The RSS is a Hindu supremacist organisation notoriously famous for the murder of Mahatma Gandhi and frequent attacks and pogroms against minority Christian and Muslim communities in India and their places of worship since independence to date. Chief Minister should explain the purpose of meeting the RSS chief to the people of Northern Province. Mr Wigneswaran also should explain the difference/s (if any) between the RSS and the Buddhist supremacist organisation, Bodu Bala Sena (BBS – or the Buddhist Power Force), in Sri Lanka, which he often chastises for championing hatred against the people of minority religions.
Furthermore, the Chief Minister (CM) of Northern Province (NP) appears to dodge meeting useful persons from overseas and within. It was reported that the Malaysian Special Envoy on Infrastructure to India and Southern Asia (with ministerial rank), Mr Samy Vellu (former longest-serving President of the Malaysian Indian Congress and the second longest-serving minister in the country), visiting Sri Lanka in March 2015 wanted to meet the Chief Minister to explore investment opportunities in the NP, but the CM had not responded to the request for a meeting. The Chief Minister should be aware that Malaysians are one of the largest investors in Sri Lanka and the NP should proactively seek private or public Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from Malaysia. Some members of the Northern Provincial Council also complained publicly last year that they are unable to meet the Chief Minister to talk about provincial matters.
This author also learns that the CM of NP had attempted to hire a former Tamil Tiger mole in the UN who held a high position in the UNDP office in Colombo (deputy head of the Umbrella Project) during the time of the ceasefire (who had subsequently worked for the TRO office in Colombo since the Tsunami) and an Australian national currently living in Sydney to be an advisor to him in early 2014. Apparently the mother of the former Tamil Tiger mole is said to be a family friend of the Chief Minister. It is learnt that the previous Rajapaksa government had turned down the request by Mr Wigneswaran to provide dual nationality to this former Tamil Tiger mole in order for him to be hired as an advisor to the CM.
Rasiah Nimalan Karthikeyan (aforesaid former Tamil Tiger mole at the UN office in Colombo) has recently accompanied the Chief Minister in his “private visit” to the UK and USA as the “Diary Secretary, Executive Assistant and Advisor to the Chief Minister”, according to The Sunday Times of July 12, 2015.
Nimalan Karthikeyan had told this author in the early 2000s that he is a Chartered Marketer by profession and worked as a sales executive at the Oberoi Hotel (now called Cinnamon Grand) in Colombo for a long time. He claimed that subsequently, he had obtained a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Sri Jayawardanepura University in Colombo. Though he had no qualification or work experience in the development field he was appointed as the Deputy Project Manager of the Umbrella Project of the UNDP during the time of ceasefire in 2002 due to political influence. Nimalan Karthikeyan, a pukka (perfect) panthangkaraya (bootlicker), has had double dealings with the LTTE and the UN in Sri Lanka functioning as interpreter during the UN missions to Kilinochchi during the ceasefire time 2002 – 2004.
All the foregoing indicates serious lack of judgement on the part of the Chief Minister of the Northern Province who is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. The war-torn people of the Northern Province deserve a much better person than an inept, religious bigot, and sexist Chief Minister Mr Wigneswaran.
*Muttukrishna Sarvananthan (PhD Wales, M.Sc. Bristol, M.Sc. Salford, and B.A. (Hons) Delhi) is a Development Economist by profession and the Founder and Principal Researcher of the Point Pedro Institute of Development (http://pointpedro.org), Point Pedro, Northern Province, Sri Lanka. He was an Endeavour Research Fellow at the Monash University, Melbourne (2011-2012) and a Fulbright Visiting Research Scholar at the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University, Washington D.C. (2008-2009). firstname.lastname@example.org
US tells Wigneswaran to work with Govt, scale down genocide talk
By Our Diplomatic EditorView(s):
Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran received “tough tuition” from the US State Department during talks last Thursday, the Sunday Times learns. He was asked to soften his ‘genocide’ rhetoric and instead work with the Central Government in matters relating to reconciliation and the development of the province.
The Chief Minister is on a tour of the United States and Britain. He had, however, obtained permission from President Maithripala Sirisena for the visit and informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as protocol demanded. His office deemed it as a private visit on the invitation of the Federation of Tamil Sangams (organisations) in North America.
In the US, Chief Minister Wigneswaran had met Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal. It is learnt that he had been told to work towards reconciliation, reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Northern Province rather than up his rhetoric on genocide charges. He had been told that it was the best chance for him to work with the Sirisena-Ranil Wickremesinghe Government.
In the US, the Tamil American Peace Initiative (TAPI) had hired a lobbying firm, Podesta Group, to handle the visit. Among other things, it has got an article under the Chief Minister’s name in The Hill — a Congress blog which is a forum for Congressmen and policy professionals. In that article titled “Sri Lanka: Seize the opportunity for true reform”, Chief Minister Wigneswaran criticises the Government’s inaction to release the full list of political prisoners and calls upon leaders in the US to urge President Sirisena to “undertake meaningful reforms, demilitarization and returning all ‘Tamil lands’…”.
TAPI had also arranged a Sri Lanka Ethnic and Religious Freedom Caucus in the US House of Representatives with Congressman Bill Johnson presiding. Chief Minister Wigneswaran attended this closed-door meeting. Mr Wigneswaran also obtained meetings at the World Bank. No details of the meeting were available. In Colombo, questions were raised over the issue of a Chief Minister holding direct discussions with international lending agencies. Confirming that the Chief Minister’s office had requested a meeting at the Bank while he was in the US capital, the Colombo office of the Bank said, “The World Bank would always respond positively for meeting requests of this nature. The Sri Lanka Country Director is currently in Washington and she and the Regional Vice President would be meeting him”.They added that the objective or reasons for the meeting have not been communicated.
However, the Chief Minister’s office said that prior to his departure Northern Provincial Ministers had given him project proposals which he would be taking with him for discussions with the Sri Lankan American Diaspora in the US and seeking their assistance to invest in the Northern Province.
Prior to visiting Washington, the Chief Minister is learnt to have visited key US cities Los Angeles and New York. Addressing a FeTNA (Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America) 2015 event in California, he spoke of the “sweet honey-like sound of the Tamil language”, and praised the ‘Tamil Diaspora’ in the US for their involvement in the growth of the language and their interest in defending the Tamil speaking people. Unfortunately, he said in Britain the new generation of those of Sri Lankan Tamil origin hardly spoke the language.
He praised the genocide resolution passed by the Northern Provincial Council and said it served as an archive of genocidal acts committed against the Tamil people. He said the ‘canton’ model in Switzerland was successful and provincial self-rule was important in Sri Lanka for the people of the North within a Federal system.
Nirmalan Karthikeyan, a former official of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and National Peace Council member, is accompanying the Chief Minister on his US tour. He holds an Australia passport and functions as ‘Diary Secretary, Executive Assistant and Advisor to the Chief Minister’. During the last round of peace talks between the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE, he was a member of the LTTE team.
Chief Minister Wigneswaran rejected a meeting with the self-anointed ‘Prime Minister’ of the ‘Tamil Eelam Government in Exile’, New York based lawyer R. Rudrakumaran and a delegation from the TGTE. En route to the US, the Chief Minister had stopped over in Britain where, despite his visit being classified as ‘private’, he has been given an official engagement with Hugo Swire, the Minister of State for Commonwealth at the Foreign Office. He entertained him for dinner as well.
A request for a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron has been politely turned down.