-By Sandaruwan Senadheera
(Lanka-e-News - 19.Sep.2017,11.30PM) Following the announcement made by Prime Minister (P.M.) Ranil Wickremesinghe regarding the proposed Commission based on the agreement which has now been signed pertaining to missing persons, that the proposed enactment will not have retrospective operation and will apply to the future disappearances only , has incurred the disillusionment and displeasure of the masses that made supreme sacrifices to elect the good governance government .
After Lanka e news posted the report revealing P.M.’s statement , Sri Lankans within and outside the country in large numbers expressed their resentment against the government over this announcement to Lanka e news via phone.
It is of course true history is written by those who won the war , and not by the vanquished. In the same way , the victors have never become wrongdoers owing to the war . Therefore the question is not which government was in power when the war was fought , rather it is for the present government to understand and address the issues as victors.
It is an indisputable fact that the issue of missing persons is not relating only to those who disappeared during the war. It concerns those who are now living. It is a burning issue of the relatives living now who are not sure whether those who disappeared definitely died during the war.
It should not be the issue for the group that is presently ruling whether those who are living or missing are Tamils , Muslims or Sinhalese. In the circumstances , the present government must address this issue from the standpoint of those who are presently living and in grief , with a view to redress their woes, without getting itself too overwound on behalf of an individual and with his rights who is going to be an accused henceforth .
Those who disappeared went missing in the recent past and are not of the ‘future’. If the government is to search for only those who go missing in the future ? Is that an index it is anticipating disappearances on a mass scale in the future ?
The relatives living in the North have been staging a fast for the last over 200 days demanding that some statement be issued regarding the missing persons. Though the government officials began a search as soon as the fast was commenced , nothing is heard or nothing is being done about it now.
Following P.M.’s announcement , it will be a matter for surprise if these relatives who are staging the fast upon realizing they have been fooled by the government do not commit suicide . This is because their relatives have gone missing during the past and not in the ‘ future’. This announcement is most rudely shocking because 80% of them cast their votes for this government to install it in power. When the 80 % voters voted for this government , didn’t they among other hopes think the new ‘godhead ’ would find for them their lost relatives or at least furnish an answer ? Hence , hasn’t this statement of P.M. devastated their entire hopes , and the temple they built for this godhead is now crumbling ?
Though politicians can have emotions, this decision should be arrived at by the rulers without getting emotional . Or , it may be like a decision based on government ‘s policies That is, if all those over 55 years old must go on pension , it means even those who can work must go on pension at the age of 55. As citizens nothing can be done against that .
This decision is one like that because a search for missing persons of a 30 years old war cannot be concluded even in a 100 years. Moreover , today , it is only KP who is among the living of the leaders of LTTE which was mostly responsible for the disappearances. In any event today , it is the group whose members in large numbers fell victims should be given consideration. Many in that group are relatives of those who went missing after they surrendered to the forces following the conclusion of the war.
Based on the evidence in the possession of Lanka e news , about 1500 of those who surrendered , on the orders of Gotabaya were later taken away , and there is no record of what happened to them thereafter. Recently former army commander Sarath Fonseka who fought the war said , he is prepared to give evidence if necessary against Jagath Jayasuriya because the latter is answerable for those crimes.
Those disappearances did not occur during the war, but after the war ended on 2009-05-19 . LeN journalist, Prageeth Ekneliyagoda went missing after the war. If truly the government is concerned about its citizens and acts more responsibly towards them , at least it could have made the new law operative from the day following the conclusion of the war.
Yet the government did not choose that direction. According to the P.M., investigations into forced disappearances will relate only to those crimes committed after October 2017. However the members of the Commission have still not been named. Therefore , if the citizens entertain the view that the government is indirectly protecting criminals of the Rajapakse era , they cannot be blamed.
Let us forget they are Tamils for the moment and focus on the Sinhalese...
An elderly couple nearly 90 years old , living in Pamunugama , Maharagama is known to the writer. It was the family of late J. R. Jayawardena who were the pet customers of the tailoring shop of this old man sewing coat and trousers only, at Slave Island. He was a staunch UNP er. His young son in the mid eighties became a naval officer and was at the battle front. He served as an engineering officer of the first Dora craft. The LTTE suicide squad attacked the Dora craft and sank it off the sea of Eastern province.
The youth’s body was not found. The old couple for over 20 years entertained the belief that their son was captured by the LTTE , and were nursing hopes he would return. They cleaned the room of their son and kept the bed neat and ready daily thinking the son would return that day or next. Every new year they painted his room and adorned it with new curtains hoping he would at least arrive on the new year day. As the LTTE was getting defeated day by day , their hopes too began to grow that their son would suddenly make his appearance. Finally the LTTE was fully defeated , yet their son did not return. Even today the old couple even for a moment does not think their son died.
That was a Sinhalese son who went missing. This elderly couple is of the opinion that KP who is now among the living is responsible for the disappearance of their son. Hence the pronouncement made by P.M. recently only creates the impression in the minds of the citizens that not only the Rajapakse criminals but even the LTTE criminals are being protected.
The new government should not seek to go on its political journey after sweeping all these under the rug. Instead of that , the government must show greater sympathy and sincerity towards the citizens. If the government is not probing into the disappearances of the past , at least it should expeditiously fulfill the other promises it made on behalf of the victims.
There is nothing barring the government from paying compensation to the victims which was promised by it. There is nothing impeding the implementation of the truth Commission it promised. By those actions at least the bitter feelings and abysmal sufferings of those who are grieving can be minimized. Yet , it seems the government is only interested in doing lip service without trying to practically do something on their behalf.
The pledges made by the government during the presidential elections in its 100 days program were as follows :
29. A special protection scheme to those belonging to all sections of the people who became widows consequent upon the war , and their dependents
93. As Sri Lanka has not signed the Rome covenant which established the International court for war crimes , if there are war crime charges , those shall be tried by an independent court in SL with a view to administer justice ( a new country in 100 days – 2014-12-19) .
The pledges made by the government in this connection at the General elections…
‘The war which commenced in 1983 ended in 2009. Yet we have still failed as a country to establish true reconciliation. Hence the new government shall without any delay act to expunge the animosities , and mete out justice to those who suffered by finding solutions to their woes (UNP manifesto – reconciliation – 2015 07-23).’
Sadly , all these are wordy promises only not translated to deed. According to the recent revelation of the Commission relating to the missing persons established belatedly or on the pressures of international community, no relief had been provided to any citizen .
After a government is installed in power it is bound to fulfill the aspirations of those forces that propelled it to victory. Sadly that is precisely what the good governance government has not done. The government while marginalizing its own agenda , is kowtowing to the people discarded Rajapakses and their threats, and acting in a manner that is serving their needs.
Owing to this effeminate and cowardly conduct , the good governance government is being roundly castigated not by the opponents but by the very forces which elected it to power.
Leaders Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickremesinghe may be of the view that the train they are in is moving ,simply because the wheels are in motion , while the train is on the wrong track. Whereas we who are watching from the platform can notice the derailment much better. Both the leaders who got on the train are unaware that they are only moving off the track .The more they think they are travelling ahead , the more they are moving away from the original destination.
When Maithri and Ranil say , ‘only those who go missing in the future’ will be considered ignoring their solemn pledges made to the people , it is only their political future that is missing the target . This is because that enunciation is hurting the feelings of the minorities most viciously, and is being most rejected by them.
It is the leaders of the dominant race who by not fulfilling the hopes of the minorities from time to time paved the way for the 30 years old guerilla war . What Dudley and Bandaranaike did to Chelvanayagam then, Maithri and Ranil are doing today to Sampanthan which means the future is going to be bleak.
One truth stands out pertaining to the measures taken by the two leaders to investigate the missing persons. If the description ‘consensual government’ is a synonym for ingratitude , certainly that is the best description befitting this government. We say this because we were also victims who suffered from the disappearance syndrome.
Chief editor - Lanka e News.
Translated by Jeff
by (2017-09-20 00:34:40)
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3 discussion on this news
All the happenings taking place today point to the fact that the criminals of the past regime will never be brought to justice under the present rulers who are as much or more corrupt than their predecessors. They know that their crimes will be investigated the day those people come to power. It is a matter of scratching each other's back. Only the hapless public have to bear losses created b these people.
-- by Peter on 2017-09-20
LeN - These two rogues are also slimy, just like our former King and his clan. Sri Lanka would be better off under foreign rule. Makes no difference whether it is MY3/Ranilpaksha/Rajafucksha-Tsunami Hora!
-- by Shiranthi Pusee on 2017-09-20
Now its clear who ruling the country - its same set of rogues with a different name. There is no point going to the UN and preaching justice, when you don't have the basic loyalty to the public who voted for you. Their only objective is to save the criminals in which ever form they. All civilized countries should ban visas for these crooked rulers and their immediate families as there is no accountability mechanism in this uncivilized country.
-- by Don Soma on 2017-09-21