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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 104

Revolutionary turned democrats playing ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’?

By Quintus Perera – Asian Tribune

Colombo, 22 April, ( A Tamil from Baticoloa pointed out that late JVP leader Rohana Wijeweera addressing a meeting accepted that the minorities were being suppressed by the majority race in Sri Lanka, therefore the minorities should be given the opportunity for self-determination. He further added that a book written by JVP member Bopage, has supported that view. But Wimal Weerawansa, JVP Propaganda Secretary and MP rejected it and said the policy has been changed since then and a new comprehensive policy is being drafted now.Wimal Weerawansa: “There should be a process to feel the requirements of the affected Tamil people and without knowing their requirements, it is pointless to plan solutions.”Wimal Weerawansa: “There should be a process to feel the requirements of the affected Tamil people and without knowing their requirements, it is pointless to plan solutions.”

Weerawansa was speaking as the guest speaker on the theme “Maintaining the Balance of Peace Building and Economic Growth; The JVP Standpoint” at the 5th Business For Peace Forum organized by the Business for Peace Initiative of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka at the JAIC Hilton Hotel Colombo.

Wimal Weerawansa, the vociferous red-shirted blaster, apparently tamed by the circumstances and the political trend was in a smart white shirt with thin strips came to the five star hotel to deliver his speech.

Weerawansa who elaborated earlier in his speech that democracy should be established in the North and east, when a senior journalist from The Leader newspaper fired some questions including whether the JVP was involved in the ’83 disturbances, but Weerawansa rebuffed the Journalist saying that he was not prepared to speak to that jungle paper “Keke Paththare” and when few laughed at the answer, Weerasansa appeared to have not only ridiculed the voice of the people – the media - but also ridiculed democracy as the media has a definite role to play under a proper democratic set up.

A Tamil from Trincomalee said that military or war solution only annihilates the ordinary Tamil People and in a situation that the majority Sinhala community appears to have opted for a military solution to bring about peace and the LTTE calling to carve out a portion of the country for the Tamils; whether there should be a dialogue, an alternative to stop prolonging the war.

He also pointed out that in the South, there is a legally elected government and under that the people in the South are safeguarded and whether it was the primary responsibility of the government to see to extension of that administration in all the trouble stricken areas.

In reply Weerawansa said that the war is a part of the process to re-establish law and order in those areas. He said that nobody opposes to the establishment of democracy in those areas. He said that war is one solution but there are also other peaceful solutions. Weerawansa in some occasions rather than answering particular questions tried to generalize the issues to drive home his contentions.

He said that those who speak of trying to establish peace in these trouble stricken areas are not genuine and instead if they have campaigned to establish the language policy, it would benefit more and work towards peace.

Samantha Abeywickrama, Secretary General, FCCISL welcoming guests said that he was grateful to all those present including the representatives from embassies, NGOs, and civil society organizations. He said that their organizations were not affiliated to any political party or any other differentiation.

He said that the business community has been eagerly awaiting for peace, so that the business community could make major strides of contributions to the economy and to the country as a whole.

He said that such meetings are held once a month so that they could exchange ideas as to how peace could be realized in the shortest possible time and they are trying to make this forum to be the platform to inculcate lasting peace and the strategies to build in the peace and to improve the economy.

Weerawansa continuing said that peace cannot be obtained within a short period of time. There should be continuous discussions as to how a lasting peace could be obtained for the country.

Though the war has some impact on the economic development of the country, it is minimal when compared to the processes adopted by the developed countries to make serious inroads to hamper Sri Lanka’s economy, he said.

He said that these negative economic processes have been introduced to our economic system by these powerful states since a long time and they are thus deep-rooted and cannot be pulled out completely overnight. He said that these countries creep into the conflict stricken countries on the pretext of solving the conflicts, but in fact on the one hand the retardation of the economy was the cause of their involvement in the system that also contributed to a conflict situation and on the other, they come to reap some economic benefits, on the pretext of help solve the conflict.

As an example he said that in 1970s when Sri Lanka sought assistance in small ways those countries supplied enormous amounts over and above what the country has requested, but failing to understand the grave repercussions that would arise later. Sri Lanka also grabbed the extras and expended them. He said “It was like giving Rs 1,000 to a person who request only Rs 100.

Weerawansa said that due to the obtaining of such enormous loans, the country is paying a huge chunk of its income as interest and thus without funds for essential economic development in the country. Therefore the country is compelled to go begging further loans from those first world countries and then those countries understanding Sri Lanka’s desperation for investment and foreign funds, these powers started to dictate terms and various conditions to be adhered to be eligible for any further funding.

He said that there are other countries facing similar conflicting issues, such as war, but the economic stability has not affected that seriously in those countries and similarly the impact of war on the economy is not that serious, compared to the deep rooted external interferences. He said in most conflict ridden countries these major powers have barged in as conflict menders, but the main reason could be that there is oil in those countries. The issue of oil deposits too affects Sri Lanka as there is proof about oil deposits along the Mannar Sea.

Weerawansa said that unless this concept of deep-rooted economic ills introduced by the powerful states is removed, there cannot be any economic development in the country.

Making reference to the internal conflict and war, Weerawansa said that the division of the country and the terrorism must have to be stopped and there should be a process to feel the requirements of the affected Tamil people and without knowing their requirements, it is pointless to plan solutions. He said that while suppressing terrorism, democracy and law and order have to be restored in those conflict stricken areas. He said that this is a must to restore lasting peace in this country and vehemently advocated that there would have no compromise to this issue.

Weerawansa said that there are a number of people living on harping on the conflict. He said that the sovereignty of the country and the escalation of terrorism cannot be bartered for peace, but peace must have to be achieved while being a one country and after eradicating terrorism.

The programme was moderated by Nimal Perera, Chairman, Joint Business Forum (JBIZ) and Raja Hewabowala, Chairman/managing director, Nipolac Group of Companies.

- Asian Tribune -

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