By Saman Indrajith
The Tamil People’s National Alliance or the Thamizh Makkal Tesiya Kootani (TMTK) MP C.V. Wingeswaran, on Friday, said that Sri Lankans irrespective of their racial differences were fortunate that Prime Minster Mahinda Rajapaksa had obtained a two-thirds majority in Parliament.
Participating in the debate on vote on account, MP Wigneswaran said Prime Minister Rajapaksa had been given a golden opportunity to usher in a peaceful and prosperous country. “By granting what I call eksathism as opposed to ekiyaism this country could be transformed into a veritable heaven on earth despite its ten trillion international debt. A form of unionism which in fact is federalism is the panacea for our national question – unity in diversity.
“It would be stupid to run away from problems by saying such problems do not exist akin to the Ostrich which lowers its head in sand hoping to find a safe haven. Let us face the national question together. Let us not hand it over to the next generation. To win a war is easy. But to bring about Peace is extremely difficult. But it is peace that could usher in permanent victory. It is this realization that made King Asoka embrace Buddhism.”
“I hate none. But I love the truth. I have come to conclusions about our past after studying certain historical facts. If my conclusions are wrong others must point out the shortcomings in my conclusions instead of getting upset and abusing me. They can invite me to public debate. If need be, let a Commission be appointed consisting of top Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim and international historians well versed in South East Asian history to report on our heritage and history. The historians must be internationally recognized.”
He said that he had been wrongly accused by a fellow MP of discriminating against Sinhalese and Muslims. “He said that I had forbidden Sinhalese and Muslims from entering the North when I was the Chief Minister. Truly, I must be a demon to have said so when my children have both married Sinhalese. I do not indulge in such vituperative, racial exercises.
“He asked if I had given blood to patients and went on to say only the military members give blood to blood banks in Jaffna. He asked if the Vellala community would accept blood from other castes. That MP should realise the people of the North had given blood to blood banks prior to the army coming to the North as well as afterwards. They are aware that all blood fall within four categories. They do not believe as some do that some are born with blue blood!
“As a representative of the Tamils I find nothing significant to comment about on this mid-term vote on account. No government has so far rendered any significant help to pull out our war affected people from their penury stricken indigent circumstances. They are also not interested in granting economic powers to the periphery to enable them to look after themselves. You would remember the Chief Minister’s Fund was refused to our Province during the time of both Governments. Hence I deem it necessary to stress on this occasion the urgent need to solve the political question of the Tamils first which is basic to the amelioration of the conditions of our affected People.”
“I like to ask a question – why did we fight for independence from the British? We were peaceful and prosperous. In fact Lee Kwan Yew swore that he would make Singapore another Ceylon. Such was the peace and prosperity of our Country under the British. But we still wanted Independence. Why? It was our desire to resurrect our identity by language; heritage and culture that made us want ourselves to be freed from the domination by the British.”
Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’
By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam
The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.
Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.
A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.
The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.
According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.
The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.
DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.
PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners
By Norman Palihawadane
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.
Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.
Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.
The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”
Thilo Hoffman remembered
A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.
Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.
The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.
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