SRI LANKA CHALLENGES UN/US/DELHI OVER WAR CRIMES MOVES
SRI LANKA CHALLENGES UN/US/DELHI OVER WAR CRIMES MOVES
Sri Lanka’s (SL) bluff and bluster that paid lavish dividends in the past failed for the first time when the UN Secretary General Ban (with the full US support) appointed experts to his proposed panel on SL’s war crimes. Predictably the Rajapakse regime’s reaction is openly hostile and abusive; a natural reaction from those with valid reasons to dread international war crimes action in SL’s context. The SL regime defies the UN/Ban on the panel by categorically stating that visas for its members to visit SL will be refused.
Bigotry drives most Buddhist Sinhala apologists (official and others) to react with vicious hostility when some are steadfast in observing silence on the inhumanity in the six decades long brutal SL genocide on the Tamils. Fear of the Rajapakse terrorist regime deters most after it acted mercilessly even against its own one time friend, colleague and ‘partner in crime’. It is a Fonseka today and should the need arise it may be a Narayanan tomorrow. Apologists of South Block and Delhi do have reasons to join the SL led chorus supporting SL against the UN and US in opposing the appointment of the wars crimes panel.
SL regime had to swallow its words of praise for US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton in talks on May 28, 2010 with the SL Minister of External Affairs complimenting on SL’s progress on the IDP issue and reconciliation, once the US Ambassador Susan Rice on behalf of the international community expressed ‘supports (for) a robust accountability process’ that she ‘urged SL to take seriously’.
A defiant SL’s argues that Ban’s expert panel constitutes ‘..a parallel probe’ that ‘pre-judge(s) and undermines .. (the).. process that Sri Lanka began as part of its national reconciliation’. SL that customarily prides its own ‘home grown’ solutions to elevate its home cooked ‘reconciliation’ tamasha to the prestigious status of the South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission convinced none. There were no massacres on the SL Jan-Jun 2009 scale under apartheid oppression.
SL’s provocative reaction refers to ‘an international conspiracy’ to deride the ‘US and its allies for causing the ‘war casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq and yet pointing a finger at Sri Lanka for the casualties in its war with the LTTE; a weak line of argument that exposes the gravity of the SL civil war casualties where the numbers massacred not killed within a brief time span (a few months or even days) reveals SL’s brutal inhumanity. SL massacred several tens of thousands civilians unlike the US casualties in a major war over several years and with no major massacres reported. Unfortunately there are nations and apologists who shamefully support a murderous SL regime ingeniously overrating strategic especially economic interests in total heartless disregard of the costs of human lives lost.
Ban’s panel includes an Indonesian a member of the International Group of Eminent Persons appointed by the SL government in 2009 to probe allegations of human rights violations including the widely known massacre of aid workers. The determined SL regime from day one worked hard for the Commission’s premature demise achieving nothing. This vouches to the outcome that Rajapakse’s homegrown gimmick - the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission will deliver. SL’s track record provides sound reasons for the international community to be ‘skeptical about (SL’s) ability ..to investigate..(the war) claims impartially’. The level of distrust of SL led EU to demand from SL ‘not just words but written assurances that the government would respect human rights, including media and religious freedom’.
When trust in the SL regime’s promises internationally is abysmally low the claims of SL apologists about SL’s ‘return to post-conflict normalcy’ in the piece ‘Beware of asylum seekers bearing tales of woe’ in The Australian 3 May 2010 fails miserably all standards of decency and credibility. The asylum seekers, the author refers to were possibly the terrified victims who witnessed the massacres by SL of the white flag waving militants offering to surrender; a war crime. Ironically the author a Sinhalese himself fully aware of his compatriots massively abusing the Australian refugee process meant for Tamil victims of the SL genocide fleeing as refugees to save their lives to deceptively gain migrant status in large numbers now urges the Australian authorities to use ‘heightened caution and skepticism in assessing the validity of asylum-seeker claims’.
Similar spurious arguments peddled by SL apologists against the UN war crimes panels claim SL’s return to ‘post conflict normalcy’ using some contrived bench marks like ‘restitution of movement for all IDPs’, the figures of those resettled (193 607) and those still in the camps (76 205). Firstly his numbers total 270 000 and not match the 320 000 IDPs SL claimed were herded into those notorious barb wire fenced camps. In post conflict normalcy the 50 000 shortfall (possibly disappearances - normality in SL) remains unaccounted for and the aggrieved relatives have no satisfactory explanation of their where about from the SL regime.
The denial of freedom for (now ‘restituted’ for all IDPs who are) civilians are an admission of illegal detention; a war crime. Worse still only a small number of the resettled IDPs as SL claimed were actually allowed to return to their homes, leaving the majority stranded in transit camps or with their kin in Tamil Eelam. SL denies access for independent verification. Is this a post conflict normalcy? Those who returned found their homes badly damaged. The missing roof tiles, timber doors and windows and bricks from the damaged homes were sighted in the roofs and walls of the numerous military bases, check points and armed forces quarters that have sprung up in Tamil Eelam ‘post conflict’. The returning farmers found their tractors stolen (basic to earn their livelihood) in the area under full army control. The army personnel who prospered by encashing these assets are reported to have stashed away their ill gotten unearned wealth in banks and property overseas. This is SL’s economic genocide on Eelam Tamils.
The nature of normalcy in post conflict SL is packed with more armed forces and police personnel roaming and manning points that dot every few meters where Tamils live both within Tamil Eelam and the Colombo suburbs. The personnel from vantage points observe the movement of Tamils and visitors on the lookout for those conversing with locals. The grape vine has it that these personnel carry microphones for recording conversations that is relayed for verification in vans in the vicinity. The locals who fear subsequent army arrests avoid contacts with visitors (the exceptions are visitors recruited by the SL missions overseas to undertake its propaganda work and spy for it on other Tamils) the cost of their release is the ransom normally paid to the armed forces and the regime’s political affiliates . The SL ransom industry is lucrative; the customers are Tamils in all areas of SL. Given these conditions does the ‘restituted freedom of movement’ mean anything to the Eelam Tamils in SL?
This author’s account though contradicted by accounts of reporters on the ground omits to mention the Sinhalese occupying the homes of the Tamil IDPs still in the camps and in transit to colonise Tamil Eelam. Funds of the Indian government meant for rehabilitation of the IDPs also goes to fund the regime’s building permanent army garrisons and Buddhist shrines in areas flattened by SL scotched earth bombing in Tamil Eelam. Despite the heavy armed forces and police policing, the rampancy of rapes, mysterious ‘disappearances’ and extra-judicial killings attributed to government affiliated militias convinces none (including the international community) on the bona fides of the Rajapakse regime’s reconciliation. SL with impunity also backed out on its repeated promises to Delhi to implement India’s Thirteenth amendment plus that Delhi as a regional power is powerless to deliver, on its promises to TN and India. After Delhi surrendered to SL its LTTE leverage Delhi is being held to ransom by the Rajapakse brothers who expressed their inability to fund the reconstruction of the IDPs’ homes just two days before Mahinda’s June visit to Delhi. Delhi has yet to capitulate and pay up what is effectively a ransom.
Another development of concern is the drift of SL towards Buddhist fundamentalism. Harping back to the glories of emperor Asoka when Buddhism was spread far and wide, this regime is transforming the religious character of Tamil Eelam as a Hindu entity into a Buddhist one and audaciously using aid funds from India essentially Hindu for this purpose. To the secular rulers in Delhi this is too trifling but once the defiant SL regimes earnestly embark on emperor Asoka’s vision the immediate victims will be the Hindu in TN and other states in South India. This threat is serious with the Rajapakse regime having no qualms flaunting its Buddhist credentials. Any religious fundamentalism be it jihardism or Buddhism is dangerous to the region especially the Indian Hindus.
A meaningful war crimes process against those responsible for not only the 2009 massacres but also the post conflict genocide will deter SL from completing its genocide and free India from its present predicament.
Tags: War Crimes , Narayanan , Ransom From Delhi , Sl
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