The Sunday Leader

Living Under Murderers In A Savage Land ?

By Prof S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Balachandran Prabhakaran

Topping this week’s news was the heartrending photograph of 12-year-old Balachandran, showing that he was in army custody before being murdered. The Sinhalese are rightly upset about the CJ’s impeachment and the Matale massacres. Yet the absence of an equally loud protest in the face of mounting evidence of Tamil deaths in Mullivaikal seems proof that we are two divided peoples. Yet there is hope for us in that it was Sinhalese who released the photo.

Given the incidents in 2009, then imagine the plight of Tamils living under the army. Seeing every soldier we wonder how many he killed and when he would turn on us. When Tamils are made to live under such situations, can any Sri Lankan deny the importance of an inquiry to find out if these allegations are true? Nobody has the right to say that Tamils should live under the army, and at the same time say that we should not ask for a separate state.

Command responsibility makes the President answerable. The mass graves in Matale necessitate an impartial inquiry. How can those who argue that Navaneetham Pillay is not neutral because she is Tamil, then proceed to argue that the Rajapaksas and the Sinhalese army can be objective? If the Rajapaksas are innocent, international inquiries are in their interest.

As a preview of what a government inquiry would reveal, the Army recently announced its findings after looking into shelling in May 2009: “Evidence before the Court has conclusively established that the Humanitarian Operation was conducted strictly in accordance with [Rajapaksa’s] ‘Zero Civilian Casualty’ directive.” The army does not seem to know that the LLRC clearly rejected the President’s zero casualty claims, admitting to a large number of civilian casualties and calling for further investigations.

In measure of this, as Britain’s Independent and Guardian used their government’s database to show Colombo buying British weaponry worth at least £3m, Military Spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasuriya denied it.

Tissa Vitharana, Mahen Watson, Euroville

TNA leader Sampanthan has rightly said that the government brought this situation on itself and is now paying for its sins. He sees no reason to bail it out. Tissa Vitharana dragged the APRC process, giving the world the impression of progress. Claiming to work for the 13th Amendment and calling attempts to abolish it a foreign conspiracy he, according to Wikileaks, privately criticized it as an Indian creation.

Mahen Watson was Director-NSF under Vitharana. An accomplished Tamil gentleman scientist with a British MSc and perfect English language skills, NSF functioned smoothly in English under him. But Vitharana wanted his man to take over when Watson’s 5-year term ended. Vitharana’s stooges on the Board claimed Vitharana wanted an excellent candidate and called for new recruitment criteria. Their subcommittee proposed advertising for very high qualifications including a PhD. Watson, privy to our Board discussions as CEO, moved on in dignity. Then these fancy recruitment schemes were dispensed with and Vitharana simply appointed his friend Dr M. C. N. Jayasuriya.

Vitharana went to Jaffna last week to publicly ask the TNA at a meeting in Euroville to come for talks. Sensing he was staging another drama for Geneva, he was sarcastically told to come in April after Geneva.

Euroville’s proprietor is Ramathasan, Devananda’s right-hand. Rs. 700 million in World Bank road development funds was allocated to Ramathasan in 11-2011 with Rs. 90 million as advance, but no work was begun. On WB insistence, RDA cancelled the award. Devananda wrote to the Governor and the project has been re-awarded to Ramathasan. (Provincial Secretary Vijayalakshmi Ramesh has, violating regulations, returned the penalty cheque given to her through the defaulting Euroville’s bank guarantees!)

Ramathasan’s vote of thanks to Vitharana indicates the nexus built against proper management of public funds, threatening future WB funds for Jaffna. Ramathasan was the LTTE’s preferred contractor in the Wanni. Those of his ilk are always on the winning side. But Vitharana the Trotskyite?

Lawlessness and Deceit

Over 1,500 persons demonstrated in Tellipallai on the 15th over the prime lands seized for High Security Zones. In 2004, TNA elder Mavai Senathirajah and farmer Yogeswaran filed fundamental rights applications, arguing no basis for including them in the Palaly HSZ, and were not contradicted. In 2006, after long delays, the SC ordered the lands to be vacated with conditions like the army verifying deeds. 7,456 families came forward accepting the terms. A committee, supposedly to study their claims, was used to delay resettlement.

Then the 2010 presidential elections came, the only time Sinhalese need Tamils. Sarath Fonseka announced that he would remove the HSZs and allow civilians back home, explaining that it could have been done earlier as the camps were not threatened. Rajapaksa countered that Jaffna peninsula HSZs will be dismantled and replaced by 300 metre buffer zones. Douglas Devananda promised immediate resettlement. Additional GA Rubini Varathalingam confirmed there would be no HSZs but only Defence Front Lines. Bulldozers and heavy equipment were said to be ready to remove bunds and bunkers. Alas, it was all election gimmickry!

Friday’s demonstration against the nonfulfilment of SC orders and government pledges to the court, were disrupted by 9 men believed to be secret intelligence operatives from the Ministry of Defence. Four were apprehended by the crowd and handed over to the police.
Police Media Spokesman Prasantha Jayakody immediately claimed that no one was arrested and, without time for analysis, labelled photos of the police walking with the arrestees fake. Recall similar dismissal of genocide photos authenticated by UN experts.
Ranil Wikremesinghe who witnessed these incidents added that he believes Jaffna Commander Mahinda Hathurusinghe operates private armed militias.

When uneducated soldiers are placed over civilians, we have commanders without an appreciation of their role in a democracy. Most of them joined as Officer Cadet with merely 5 O/L credits and were dressed up at Staff College. It is no surprise that despite the court order, Hathurusinghe told the press on the 12th that the HSZs “belong to the forces” and lands within the permanent security fence are now seized.

This Hathurusinghe whom Rajapaksa has appointed to rule over Tamils is the Lt. Hathurusinghe who commanded the platoon guarding Welikada Prison during the 1983 massacre. He is described in Rajan Hoole’s Arrogance of Power as “preventing [prisons commissioner] Jansz from taking the injured to hospital and then doing nothing while [they were] attacked [and] just watching after preventing the Police from coming to the aid of the victims.”

Confusion before Geneva

After Sri Lanka compromised Britain’s Defence Secretary Liam Fox, one wonders who is being bought ahead of Geneva. Council of Jurists President Dr Adish C Aggarwala, also India’s Bar Association President, issued a letter to Rajapaksa that the Council considered the CJ’s impeachment correct; only to be severely contradicted by others. Last week we saw Former Chief Justice of India J. S. Verma lying about cancelling his visit on his own whereas Sri Lanka withdrew his visa.
Even today, as Sri Lanka brazenly prevaricates in its Indian diplomatic discussions and kills fishermen, India turns the other cheek instead of invoking the 1987 Accord and the Supreme Court decision that the 1974 and 1976 Katchaitheevu agreements lack validity without passage in India’s Houses of Parliament.

The US is insisting on the law in Geneva, even as The Island reports that it supplied intelligence for Sri Lanka to destroy 4 LTTE ships in 2008, and Sri Lanka and the CIA colluded in undermining the Rome Treaty and used fraudulent travel documents to violate the rights of third-country citizens. Britain is selling arms to Sri Lanka while fussing about genocide; and overlooking the BBC’s Charles Haviland and his crew being threatened this week in profanities while the Maharagama police “appeared to comply with the mob.”
Dayan Jayatilleka attributes Sri Lanka’s slide to “an ethno-religious fascist movement from the dark underside of Sinhala society.” Only strong action at Geneva and the Commonwealth can stop everything good in Sri Lanka turning savage.

18 Comments for “Living Under Murderers In A Savage Land ?”

  1. Ganesh

    Have you forgotten the innocent tamil ,sinhalese & muslim children killed by the Prabakaran’s LTTE.
    One my close relatives 14 year old son was used as a suicide bomber by the LTTE.
    World has forgotten atrocities of tigers.

  2. jungi hora

    The impeachment saga was an ongoing issue, the death of balachandran is 3 years ago. why would it create the same reaction. Despite it being a despicable act, it was after all prabhakaran’s son. would Tamil’s take to the streets for justice is Prince Namal was murdered by the LTTE in cold blood? Get real Prof. come back to earth.

    There is nothing to suggest that the bunker was a Sri Lankan army one. Not that it wasn’t, but what is the evidence you have to show that this was?

    who ever took the picture knows best who was responsible for this. so the onus is on those who allege to prove

    the allegation of bias comes from the UNHRC to that a valid response is well NP is a Tamil. At the end of the day no one is without bias. but here there is apparent bias on both sides.

    Mr. Hoole fails to understand the difference between a Zero civilian casualty policy and Zero civilian casualties ‘fact’.

    Singling out Sri Lanka in Geneva, abusing the forum of sovereign states’ voluntary commitment by going outside of the founding principles of the UNHRC has already diminished its credibility and value, It will force Sri Lanka to walk out of the council with valid reason

  3. When a Tamil is killed by the State nobody talks about it. Because the Tamils are minority of this country and they have nobody to listen to their grievances. Today Presidner Rajapakse is doing lot of bad things to the Tamils His younger brother and the Defnece Secretary is with him to carry out massacre. Balachandran was killed while he was under the army captive. Without checking properly Gothabaya has come to his own conclusion that the photos are tampered and put the blame on Channel 4. Gothabaya should think Channel 4 is not like his government. They do proper investigation before they air these news. They are governed by the British Broadcasting law and regulations. Unlike in Srilanka the whole country is manipulated by one family and that family is nobody other than Rajapakses. See you in Hague very soon.

  4. Victor

    Very informative article. Thank you Prof Hoole.

    • Ranjith

      Hi…Victor Ramanan ….did you come to know the truth only through Hoole. What about your business with the Sri Lankan Government….You double agent

  5. Lal.Fernando.

    Dear Professor, you are an educated gentleman.Ubfortunately you are dealing with an uneducated regime.

  6. Sri

    It has been a savage land for many years from long befoer the Tigers who were only a manifestation of the savage nature. It was never a real democracy but a tribal ethnocracy. The savagery should finally be unmasked by the UNHRC. The government has bluffed enough.

  7. manuelpillai

    Well said.But those with thick skin will not feel it.

  8. Sameen Jan

    Where does it show the boy (VP’s son) is in Army custody? Is it in that well holstered ‘bunker’ that looks like the Sun God’s private one? Does he look too composed and well at ease to be under duress? There is no mark on his body while in the bunker.He is not wet either even though he was said to be crossing the lagoon when ‘captured’.Or was he drugged?
    Who is that man in slippers by the side of a dead body/ Do the soldiers ever wear slippers in the field? Did not the LTTE most often wear slippers?
    The boy looks most composed in death. Was he sedated? Where is the blood?Why were 5 shots needed and why was he shot in the chest than in the head? Bit odd don’t you think?
    Could it conceivably be a killing done by VP’s men so that the boy could not be taken captive by the Army? If so the above questions could be easily answered.
    Officer cadets have to pass the O level with 6 not 5 subjects and are mostly A level students at school before they apply for the forces. After that they do further academics at the Military Academy for 2 years. Over the last 30 years or so they also obtained basic degrees from KDU while the others obtain it from the Sabaragamuwa U
    Some of the world’s best leaders of countries have been former officer cadets from the time of Napoleon, Churchill
    Yes the people of the North lived under the biggest mass murderer SL produced That was up to 2009.Do you want him to be born again in the then ‘savaged’ North.How many O levels did he have? Who objected then?

  9. Sri Lanka KK

    Balachandran Prabhakaran. If you are sri lsnkan? have you ever visited colombo area & how many Tamil living in Colombo 40% of colombo population are tamil. Are they any sonhal people liveing in Jafna? Think about it. Sinhala don’t Kill tamils. Tamil are the morst powerful people in colombo area. if you care about tamil to much & tell those people to move to Jafna. They are killing themself. If you are smart man & care about sri labka & Tamil Friends, go to sri lanka & teach your people to how to get alond with Saihala people.
    Sri Lankan kk

  10. Rubert Vanderkoon

    So you have written this piece staying firmly on the ground with the belief that the LTTE rump kept a very elegant photo of the kid with them for three years before releasing it to the international media? Have you heard about faking videos and photoshop? Also, Sambandan has only NOW decided not to support the government, according to you? Let’s have a quick look..was he not the leader of the pack who was sent to the parliament by the LTTE to speak for them? Is he not the leader of the TNA who has always backed LTTE and spoke for seperation of the island? My advice to you is stop thorough analysis, it is too much, just stick with academia,teach what others have written.

  11. ragunathan

    wait and see what is the result on sri lanka tomorrow in geneva. i love to see sri lanka obey the human rights where there is no human rights implementation at all.
    these are the crimes like…. white van , killing and threternin of journalists, drugs, politicians thuggery,kidnapping the businessmen and demanding ransom, police are keeping a blind eyes on criminals, ethnic hatre on tamil,muslima and christians.

  12. sangaralingham

    everything in life seems a big mockery to me. people travelling in fancy clothes decorated jeweery garlands going to temples mosques churches among all the grotseque reporting what is these all about is the leader or responsible answering the questionable or truthful events in faces of social upheaval that need to be answered now or then.

  13. CW

    I smell a “tiger”

  14. Ranjith

    Same Hoole was like a rabbit when LTTE was ruling the North & East. Today he is talking like a lion or rather a Tiger. Hoole had death threats from LTTE. Today he has conveniently forgotten the atrocities committed by those murderous brutal LTTE. What’s Up professor ……………………….

  15. Ranjith

    Dear absent minded Professor……..How many Sinhala Balachandrans were brutally murdered by your hermit Papa Balachandran ( Sun Dog). Were you not hiding and running away from the country at that time getting afraid of this brutal LTTE. How courageous you are today. You can open your mouth today thanks to our President who wiped out the brutal LTTE and rump. Today Tamil civilians are living in the North without fear of life. What are you talking Professor…………..

  16. sangaralingham

    living in a world of twisted thoughts brains and opinions. let us give a failing grade.
    wonder who is in charge of the nation=======

  17. laksiri


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