“The UNP welcomes the statement of the Cabinet of Ministers, the Prime Minister and the President to use the full force of the law against those causing religious tensions, racial hatred and undermining the efforts at reconciliation since the new government came to power.”
However, it was an empty boast. It was only on 05.03.2017 that The Hinduwrote that the Sri Lankan government had rejected a fresh appeal from the UN to allow international judges to investigate alleged war crimes committed during the conflict with the LTTE. Worse, at that time, President Maithripala Sirisena had vowed not to prosecute soldiers, saying he “would not subject the Sri Lankan military personnel to any probe. […] I have clearly said that I am not prepared to serve charge sheets to our soldiers or to have foreign judges to try our security forces … It is my duty to protect the troops.”
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said similar things against the prosecution of soldiers who allegedly murdered Tamil civilians. For example, Ceylon News of 31.05.2017 reported
“Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in the process of setting up an Office on Missing Persons obtained approval from the cabinet of ministers not to take legal actions against those who made thousands of the people disappear during and after the war.”
He has also joined the President in rejecting government’s commitment to the world to have foreign judges probing into violations by the troops. Instead, he has expressed confidence in the domestic judiciary which has repeatedly proven itself communally biased. This came mere months after his statement that “his government was not against an international participation in carrying out investigations into alleged war crimes during the last stages of the conflict between the military and the LTTE” (Cochin, India; 13 February 2017).
When our leaders say one thing to us and another abroad, what are we to believe? They are simply purveyors of falsehoods, undeserving of our trust.
These statements are of great concern. The inexorable application of the law is intrinsic to a democracy. This protection of lawless armed forces challenges democracy. In protecting murderers, the government encourages anarchy.
Hate speech as I have written before, “insults and threatens the targeted group, makes them live in fear or shames them, making them hide who they are.” The ensuing fear and shame make victims withdraw into their ghettoes. For Tamils, rather dangerously, this withdrawal in fear of a murderous state that makes heroes out of our decapitators, increasingly becomes a passive wish to separate from Sri Lanka.
The PM and President are tearing the Sri Lankan nation apart. In protecting troops who engaged in the murder and carnage of Tamils, they are indulging in hate speech and promoting the murder of minorities. By letting down Tamils who trustingly voted for them, they risk instability and foreign interference. By refusing victims the protection of the law and justice for the families of civilians who were murdered and disappeared, they are fostering separation and a potential insurrection through a call to arms by Tamil extremists who would see democracy failing us all, Tamils, Sinhalese, and Muslims.
Consider Eeswary of Anandapuram in Pudukudiyiruppu. She surrendered her son Thuraisingam to the army at the end of the war in May 2009. He has been disappeared. Eeswary had gone from one army camp to another and finally settled into a prolonged protest in Kilinochchi with other mothers and wives whom a similar fate had befallen. Worn out and exhausted, she died on 23.06.2017, yesterday. Or consider Thayalini of Mallakam. She had surrendered her husband, EROS’s Pararajasingham, to the army. The army denies having him. Her three children of whom the two girls married recently are moving on. But her grief sees no respite. Then there is Sasika, aged about 40. Her husband disappeared after being taken in by the army.