JO's communal politics | Daily News

JO's communal politics

The Joint Opposition are at it again. The recently passed Office of Reparations Bill in Parliament has made some of the JO stalwarts jump on their hobby horse of communal politics. Loud noises are being made that the government has surrendered to the Tamil diaspora to offer compensation to the families of LTTEers. This, when the intention of the Act is to offer compensation on behalf of all victims of the war whether in the North or the South. Pro-Rajapaksa TV channels have gone into high-dudgeon questioning the wisdom of the piece of legislation. One of the hosts of a Private TV slot dedicated to reading out the daily newspaper reports to its audiences the other day was weeping buckets on behalf of those civilians in the South massacred by the LTTE terrorists to whose families an insensitive Government was now all set to pay compensation. This is in addition to the media conferences held by the JO MPs to focus the spotlight on the 'betrayal' of the war heroes by the Yahapalanaya Government by this act.

It is in this context that the JVP deserves the salutation of all fair minded citizens of this country for taking a contrary view. This, despite its much blemished past on the communal front. Taking a huge political gamble the rathu sahodarayas have sided with the Government to offer compensation to all the victims of the Eelam war.

Addressing a media conference, JVP Propaganda Secretary MP Vijitha Herath condemned the racist elements in the JO for describing the Bill as being solely a means of paying compensation to former LTTEers. He said that the objective of the Bill was to compensate those who had been affected by political and civil conflicts. The Bill seeks to compensate all those who were affected irrespective of their communal background. "All those who suffered due to the conflict deserve justice", he went onto stress.

This, from a member of a political party whose founder leader was a rabid nationalist and who rose against a Government who was perceived (in his eyes) as offering concessions to the minorities. It was also the same party which withdrew from Chandrika's pariwasa aanduwa taking objection to CBK's move to share Tsunami funds with the LTTE, through the mechanism that was known as PTOMS. The JVP, it appears, has learned from its mistakes and adapted itself to the present times. It even held one of its party conventions in Jaffna, a far cry from the days when it ordered the public not to view Tamil and Hindi movies, although this was in connection with its Anti-Indian campaign, at the time, in aftermath of the Indo-Lanka Accord.

The JO, on the other hand, had hardly learned anything, not even after the defeat of its leader Mahinda Rajapaksa suffered on January 08, which was largely attributed to the minority backlash due to the racist policies of the Rajapaksas. Post-war victory parades were held ad nauseam in a style and manner that made Tamils feel a conquered race. Not only that, Rajapaksa also banned the singing of the National Anthem in Tamil in schools and Government offices in the North in a fit of pique after his 'Oxford Lecture’ was cancelled following a demonstration by Tamils in London.

In any event, Rajapaksa may be laying little store in the support he will receive from the northerners, even the next time around, for his nominee at a Presidential Election. This is after he nonchalantly dismissed his defeat on January 8 to the votes cast by the Tigers and that he would not consider it as a defeat mata meka parajayak nevei, mokada mang peredune koti chanda nisa. That the northern vote is of no consequence to the Rajapaksa camp is also demonstrated by the composition of Eliya, a platform to promote the candidacy of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, that include the likes of Major General(Rtd.) Kamal Gunaratne whose publication, Road to Nandikadal, is bound to raise many an eyebrow.

Be that as it may, the objection taken by the JO to the families of alleged ex-LTTEers being compensated is nothing less than sheer hypocrisy. We say this because not very long ago the Rajapaksas had among their fold an LTTE Regional Commander responsible for the cold blooded massacre of 600 policemen in the East, the machine gunning of a bus load of Samaneras in Aranthalawa, and, what is more, the bombing of the sacred citadel of the Sri Dalada Maligawa, in addition to countless other atrocities. He was not only made a Government Minister under Rajapaksa but also made an office bearer of the SLFP. Karuna Amman is his name.

Why the likes of Wimal Weerawansa and Udaya Gammanpila, whose watch words are 'betrayal', are yet silent on this score, all right thinking members of the public would like to know? We also did not see any objections raised by the Maha Sangha at the time the appointment was made. Is it because anything is par for the course under Mahinda Rajapaksa, the epitome of patriotism?


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