Ethnocentric military dictatorship in the making in Colombo - Vanni MP

[TamilNet, Sunday, 28 September 2008, 09:47 GMT]
Tamil National Alliance parliamentarian for Vanni, Selvam Adaikkalanathan, who blamed Sri Lanka Army commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka for his Sinhala ethnocentric comments to a Canadian paper, said Sunday that the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, as Commander-in-Chief and the Executive President, should instruct the SLA commander to apologise for the statement. Fonseka's statement not only undermined democracy by justifying an ethnic majoritarian rule in the island of Sri Lanka, but also alluded that a military dictatorship was in the making in Colombo, he said. Meanwhile, Rauff Hakim, the leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, also blamed that the "attack on the minorities " by the SLA commander "bordered on racism."

The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka, in an interview to Canada's National Post published on Thursday, said he "strongly believed that Sri Lanka belongs to Sinhalese.

"I strongly believe that this country belongs to the Sinhalese but there are minority communities and we treat them like our people," quoted Stewart Bell of the Canadian paper National Post the Sri Lankan commander as saying.

"We are also a strong nation. They can live in this country with us. But they must not try to, under the pretext of being a minority, demand undue things."

Reacting to the SLA commander, Mr. Rauff Hakim, said that the nature of the attack on the minorities in the interview bordered on racism. "His request for minorities not to make demands is totally uncalled for and only goes to create a fear psychosis among the minorities at this critical juncture of the conflict," he said.

Mr. Adaikkalanathan said the comments from the SLA commander, seen together with an intimidating campaign by the Sri Lankan Police of forced registration of Tamils from North residing in Colombo, violating even the concerns of the Sri Lankan judiciary, resembled an agenda of ethnic cleansing was being exercised as the interview exposed the inner mind of the military establishment.

Saying that the Tamil Internally Displaced Persons are forced to live inside detention centres in Mannaar, Mr. Adaikkalanathan questioned whether it was the way the Sri Lankan Commander wanted to treat the Tamils in what he attempts to describe as his 'Sinhala country'.

The fear psychosis among the displaced civilians have gone to the extent that they counter interpret the propaganda material that originates from the Sri Lankan military, the MP said, referring to recent news reports on chemical weapons.

"Especially after the International NGO workers were ordered to leave Vanni, civilians express fear of a catastrophic choice: whether to face famine and death in the attacks of the invading forces or to face ethnic cleansing as IDPs in Sri Lanka Army controlled territories."

Mr Adaikkalanathan added: "It is not difficult to imagine how the Tamils, whom Colombo wants to flee southwards to Vavuniyaa, perceive the call, after witnessing throughout the years how the residents of Jaffna, who have been under Sri Lanka Army control for more than a decade were being treated by the military."

"The Jaffna peninsula has become an open prison where those who face death threats have to seek security inside the real prisons," he said.

The Sri Lankan forces have severely restricted the free movement of Tamil civilians for more than two years, especially after the closure of A9 highway.

Sarath Fonseka in his interview to the Canadian paper also said that it could take nearly 20 years to clear land mines in the areas being brought under the control of the SLA.


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