Sri Lankan Tamils Should Endorse Gotabaya Government – OpEd


Worldwide,  Sri  Lankan people are being complimented for exercising their franchise peacefully and with decorum during the recent Presidential election. Indian Prime Minister Narendra  Modi complimented the people of Sri Lanka and congratulated Gotabaya Rajapaksa for being elected as Sri Lankan President.

A few months back, Sri Lanka suffered a big tragedy, when hundreds of innocent people lost their lives due to bombing of a church on Easter day by terrorists.  Therefore, there were really concern whether the Presidential poll would be disrupted by the terrorists. Fortunately, it has not happened and there is great relief for all the well wishers of Sri Lanka.

What is particularly praiseworthy is that Sri Lankan citizens have given a decisive mandate, without giving way for any confusion,  that could have happened if the ha dnot  been  decisive.

Though  many Sinhalese voted for Gotabaya  Rajapaksa, it should be noted that many Sri Lankan Tamils too voted for him.

Today, what Sri Lanka needs is freedom from terrorist attacks and  peaceful atmosphere. The decisive mandate favouring  Gotabaya  Rajapaksa by the people only indicates the fact that most people have realized the importance of voting for a strong government that can ensure peaceful conditions and effectively control terrorism in Sri Lanka.

In such circumstances, it is unfortunate that some politicians in  Tamil Nadu in India have expressed unhappiness about the results of the elections. Obviously, this indicates their lack of concern about  the need for stable government in Sri Lanka, that can alone do good for Sri Lankan Tamils.

Today,  thousands of Sri Lankan Tamils are staying in Tamil Nadu in difficult conditions with bare minimum facilities. They are very uncertain about their future. 

Instead of encouraging the creation of conditions in Sri Lanka for return of the Sri Lankan Tamil  refugees back to their motherland, it is unfortunate that some politicians in Tamil Nadu are creating a negative mindset by decrying the new government in Sri Lanka.

In Sri Lanka, civil war took place for several years and finally the Sri Lankan army headed by Gotabaya Rajapaksa defeated the LTTE militants conclusively. In the process, several LTTE members lost their lives and so too Sri Lankan soldiers. Several innocent Sri Lankan Tamils lost their lives and so too were  several innocent Sinhalese.

The fact is that Sri Lankan Tamils have not gained anything by the protracted  civil war launched by LTTE. On the other hand, the LTTE killed several Sri Lankan Tamil leaders also and several innocent  Sri Lankan Tamils also lost their lives at the hands of LTTE.

The fact that several Sri Lankan Tamils voted for Gotabaya Rajapaksa only indicate that they do not want similar condition of civil war in Sri Lanka anymore by  Tamil militants.

It is good thatGotabaya Rajapaksa has assured everyone including the Sri Lankan Tamils that he would be fair and take steps to ensure welfare of everyone. This statement should reinforce the confidence of Sri Lankan Tamils and they have no reason to disbelieve the statement of the new President of Sri Lanka at this time.

It is true that human rights violation took place in Sri Lanka during the civil war and both Sri Lankan army and LTTE militants were responsible for this.

All over the world, when separatists and terrorists indulge in violence and killings,  the native governments have to necessarily protect the peace and defeat the militants by whatever methods appropriate. In all such cases, it is surprising that United Nations Human Rights Commission hold the governments guilty and not the militants who also indulge in human rights violation. Similar situation is now prevailing in Kashmir in India also, when UN Human Rights Commission is not taking a holistic view.

The UN Human Rights Commission has accused the Sri Lankan government and the army of human rights violation. The Sri Lankan government denied this but assured  about extending full cooperation in the enquiry and taking remedial steps.

Therefore,  under close watch, Sri Lankan government is likely to take strong measures to avoid human rights violation in future.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa should invite the Tamil refugees in India and elsewhere to return back to Sri Lanka, assuring them of the support of the government.

Sri Lankan Tami lrefugees should realize that their future lies in Sri Lanka and its progress. As refugees, they have nothing to gain. It is in their own interest that they should repose faith in the fairness of Gotabaya  Rajapaksa’s government and return back to Sri Lanka to live  as honourable Sri Lankan citizens.

Gotabaya Rajapaksaha’s great responsibility in meeting the expectations of Sri Lankan Tamils and he should  live up to his promise.

N. S. Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

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