‘Operation Eviction’ of Jaffna Tamils
Whoever conjured up this wild idea that
the Tamils of Jaffna had no business to stay
in Colombo — notwithstanding the war that
evicted thousands of them from their homes —
is surely so morbidly racist and bigoted,
that he should not be permitted to hold high
It is this type of thinking that started
the ethnic war because we all know that war
begins in the minds. Such an irresponsible
decision has had a seismic effect on the
ethnic politics of Sri Lanka permanently. If
there were secession, it would be mainly
because of such a hasty thuggish decision,
usually attributed to a criminal mind. In
fact this is a pukka example of Sinhala
politics that has created so much havoc in
this beautiful island which truly has such a
great potential as ‘paradise,’ much sought
after by those living in the West.
When I met my companion — the taxi driver
Chummie Fernando from Moratuwa — he said "Aiyo,
this is real ‘pissu’ and I feel very
embarrassed because I have Tamil relatives
in Kotahena. Even a Moratuwa thug would
never have done such a foolish thing; it is
like kicking the ball into your own goal.
The whole world will laugh now."
The ethnic problem, in Sri Lanka is more
complicated than that in Northern Ireland,
as it involves both religion and language —
like the Palestinian problem. It clearly
shows that there is a definite
incompatibility between the two nations,
which is confirmed by "operation eviction."
The solution therefore is obviously like
what is common today with married couples
who end up in the Divorce Court, due to
reasons of incompatibility. Such a problem
is always resolved by a Divorce Court —
which subsequently keeps the couples apart
but removes any acrimony, especially if
there are children involved. Chummie
Fernando who usually says some wise things
in the form of a joke and a laugh said "I
think like a quarrelling married couple
having a divorce, the time has come for the
two nations to go their separate ways, which
will help them to remain life-long friends.
Federalism is not acceptable to the
Sinhalese and could never be properly
implemented due to historical animosities.
So it has to be a separation, amicably and
using the wisdom of the ancients! The
thinking will also then change like in
Northern Ireland and the rest of the island.
In spite of the war the two communities
are very close and there have been so many
intermarriages, "I am sure there will be
peace and harmony if the Tamils are allowed
to secede, says Chummie Fernando.
I asked Chummie Fernando what would
happen if we strike oil in Mannar, which is
in Tamil territory. I waited to see what the
taxi driver had in mind about such an
important, complicated and possibly an
international matter. He seemed to have
thought about this rather grave possibility,
because he answered me almost instantly.
"Well Sir, it is a big question involving
several parties — the Sri Lankan Tamils,
India and possibly the USA who would be
involved in the technical process of
drilling the oil etc. So, I think the matter
would be sorted out rationally and in
accordance with the needs of all concerned."
I was rather taken aback by his quite an
educated answer, which was concise, precise
and yet comprehensive enough.
So, now all we have to do is to wait in
hope and use the power of prayer in the
temples, churches and mosques of Sri Lanka,
that peace would surely return to the
Anton J.N. Selvadurai
The clinic has always lived up to its
I write with reference to your article
titled "Luxury pet clinic gone to the dogs"
published in The Sunday Leader of May
25. I am a regular client at the Pets v Care
Clinic, and would like to offer my opinion
on the aforementioned article which
criticised the treatment of a dog recently
left under its care.
Having raised dogs throughout my life, I
am all too familiar with the pain associated
with the loss of a beloved pet, and would
like firstly to offer my condolences to
those who have suffered in this manner.
As the owner of four dogs that have come
to be an integral part of my family,
veterinary care has been a regular and
significant feature in our lives.
In the past three years, Pets v Care has
provided exemplary care and services to us
in this regard. Having never used the kennel
facilities offered by Pets v Care I can only
speak for the quality of veterinary services
provided by the clinic, and in particular
that of Dr. Sumith Wanniarachchi and of Dr.
The staff in my experience has always
been professional yet personal in their
approach to pet care, and have always been
readily available at all hours of the day.
They have often gone above and beyond what
was expected and have on many occasions
undoubtedly saved the lives of my dogs.
While I cannot speak for the experience
of every pet owner who is a client of Pets v
Care, I have on every occasion received
outstanding service. I would like to point
out that while in unfortunate circumstances
lives may be lost, Pets v Care has in
countless instances lived up to its
reputation as a leading veterinary
institution in Sri Lanka.
Attacks against media personnel
A news item said, the President says the
Government cannot take responsibility for
attacks against media personnel. It is a
sickening reminder that his governance is
the nadir of all of Lanka’s irresponsible
regimes, and the people know that they
cannot, and are not, responsible for any of
their actions! For what purpose such
governance and governments?
They must go sooner than later, or Lanka
may not have much left to redeem.
May all good forces rise to tell this
government to go, and leave governance to
those capable of it.
Capability must be judged by performance
and what people have demonstrated in their
The Rajapakse types have demonstrated the
lowest of the low, like the JVP and the JHU
have, and his very election is besmirched by
allegations of a short-lived connivance with
the LTTE itself!
And what of his conduct since election?
MR has proved one thing and one thing
very clearly: it is always good to vie for
something higher all the time, but that
higher thing must motivate one to gain the
capacity, skills and ability to gather the
requisite knowledge from those knowledgeable
in order to perform well in the higher seat.
Example becomes everything, in any context
If one does not have the vision and
ability to do this, one must leave the
higher seats to those capable. But this
requires humility and intelligence to know
When motivated only by raw ambition, the
vision gets blurred and only ignorance
MR has proved this very well, but at what
cost to Lanka!
Rise children of Lanka, and tell this MR
Regime, with the murderous JVP and the false
monks and laity of the JHU to go, and leave
governance to those who can, and who
genuinely respect the pluralist nature of
Lanka and the principles of a modern
May all beings be safe and well.
End all forms of violence
Thank you for citing sections of my
recent response to observations by the
Religious Superiors. It might have been more
illuminating had you published the response
in full, since that would have placed my
observations in the current context of
gradual but sustained democratisation in
areas formerly in thrall to terrorism.
In particular your readers may have
appreciated the assertion that I am totally
in favour of the desire that all groups
‘including the LTTE stop functioning as
paramilitary groups, and enter a democratic
political process,’ which is in accord with
the government position that arms should not
be borne in public by anyone but members of
the armed forces. Your readers might also
have benefited from the description of the
various occasions on which a categorical
statement that discussion was essential may
have brought the LTTE to the negotiating
table, when they were seeking to achieve
their aims by other means.
I hope therefore that you will publish
the full statement as issued last Friday,
and attach a copy accordingly.
Editor’s note: The Sunday Leader
published Wijesinha’s references to para
militaries in full to highlight the
Government’s position on the issue. We did
not publish the full observations of the
Religious Superiors but only their call to
disarm all paramilitary groups and
Wijesinha’s response to that call. The
question of publishing Wijesinha’s full
response which dealt with several other
issues therefore did not arise.
Eliminate wastage, corruption and double
To day our country is confronted with one
of the worst crisis in known history. At a
time like this we as Sri Lankans should
forget our differences and rally round as
one group irrespective of cast, creed,
religion, ethnicity and politics. Even if it
means, hiding our pride, it has to be done
because there is a national crisis affecting
both the rich and the poor, big and small.
The loss of billions of rupees, wastage
of resources, and massacre of citizens
cannot be easily ignored; and we cannot
confine ourselves to preaching without doing
anything about it. The first and foremost
issue is to bring about peace between the
warring factions and it is important that
Government initiates peace moves by inviting
the LTTE once again to discuss these
important issues and end the bloody war.
We have to do our utmost to get the
terrorists to accept a democratic way of
living and lay down arms. To a certain
extent this was successful in the Eastern
Province. If that is true, we don’t see any
reason why it cannot be achieved in the
Therefore the Government and the LTTE and
any other concerned parties should meet at a
round table discussion to find out ways and
means of lessening the burdens faced by the
people and arrive at a practical and
At a time as the present, we have to
consider the formation of a national
government with a national cabinet of a
maximum of 15 members — disbanding the
present monstrous cabinet — consisting of
members of all main political parties and
It is advisable to declare a war
situation based on the national crisis and
muster all possible resources to fight the
issues we are faced with. As a gesture of
goodwill we can even invite a member of the
LTTE to the Cabinet, so that they will
appreciate the fundamentals of democracy.
Example of simple living at low cost
should be propagated first by the
politicians giving the lead without double
standards and insincerity. Since everyone
has to share the national burden, sacrifices
are needed from all sectors and bigger
sacrifices from the leaders of the country.
All subsidies, free houses, electricity,
free fuel etc., should be immediately
curtailed and those who presently enjoy such
benefits should be asked to bear 50% of the
cost, so that they too will feel the burden
carried by rest of the population. Those who
are exempted from Income Tax should also be
asked to pay at least 50% of the tax.
All essential food items including fuel
which are imported must be sold at cost plus
10% to be more realistic and lessen the
direct and indirect the burdens of the
people. As a matter of fact we should not
tax the innocent people twice and rob them
of their right to live equally with others.
The idea of tax at the point of import and
at the point of sale should be avoided. We
should be more objective in our taxation
We should consider the stopping of
imports of all luxury items for a period of
time while discouraging import of food items
and other items that can be grown or
manufactured in the country. Providing
reasonable incentives to farmers and
industrialists may also help to achieve this
without much problem.
Big public functions, lavish parties and
unnecessary foreign travel by politicians
and public officers should be curtailed to
encourage austerity until the economy
Compulsory electricity cut of at least 3
hours, preferably between 9 a.m. to 12 noon
everyday until the fuel crisis is minimised
is something that has to be addressed.
Alternative sources of energy should be
encouraged and incentives should be provided
for innovations. Reduced transport fares
could encourage people to use public
transport in their day to day affairs.
The cost of security of all sectors could
be minimised if we can arrive at an
understanding with the LTTE to first solve
the national crisis before fighting the war.
Indirect taxes at the point of sale could
be imposed so that consumption levels can be
Deterrent punishment for bribery and
corruption especially when dealing with
public funds, should be seriously
considered, perhaps with life imprisonment
for those who are found guilty of such acts.
The Government should accept the policy
of leading from the front, and avoid double
standards in dealing with dishonesty,
corruption and partiality.
Gerry A Hidelaratchi
"Are you the new dancing
teacher?" These were the first words
uttered to me by Suntharie Wignaraja. Now,
32 years later, this gentle voice
still, echoes in my ears. It was the
beginning of a beautiful friendship,
despite our age difference, that blossomed
at the doorstep of the Kalalaya School of
Dancing, whilst waiting for the
arrival of the other Committee Members of
the Sri Lanka Tamil Women’s Union.
The question was understandable, as
Suntharie had participated as a young girl
in the Kalalaya presentations and was an
accomplished dancer herself. Her artistic
talents included painting and the piano.
Suntharie, with her smile, her dignity,
as well as her positive attitude towards
life and people not only endeared me towards
her, but also generated an admiration and
respect among those who knew her well. She
had an amazing ability to communicate
effectively with all age groups.
We would have endless conversations on
various topics ranging from her early
education at the Indraprasta College in New
Delhi, her holidays in Jaffna, especially
visiting her father’s birthplace in Kopay,
bathing in the natural springs in Keerimalai
and learning from the hard working people
who extracted four crops from six inches of
top soil. She had the exemplary ability to
keep herself well-informed on current
affairs and the prevailing political
She was a voracious reader and I enjoyed
the joyful task of discussing books we had
read and working on the Sunday crossword
puzzles on the phone. We shared many tips on
cooking and gardening. One of her most
useful trade secrets was to use soapy waste
water to water the garden for healthy growth
of flowering plants.
Her sensitivity to flowers led to her
learning Ikebana arrangement while living in
Japan when her husband was an Adviser in the
United Nations University.
When she learnt that I loved sweet Jak
fruit, she never failed to send me some from
a unique hundred-year-old Jak tree in her
husband’s family home, where she was also
born. Her sensitivity to nature complemented
her loving nature with which she would
shower with a sunny smile on all of us she
knew well. She would only see good in people
and never spoke ill of anyone — a quality
that is rare.
She could have pursued an independent
career, but preferred to be a devoted and
supportive wife and mother and above all a
loyal friend. She took delight in speaking
of her daughter Gowrie and her tenderness
was mirrored in abundance. Although I had
never met her son Ganeshan, I feel I have
known him long, as Suntharie would speak of
him constantly with pride.
When she left us on May 2, she was the
Vice Patron of the Sri Lanka Tamil Women’s
I have lost a true friend and will miss
her dearly. I understand she passed away
peacefully in prayer. May she attain
She leaves behind, her husband Desamanya
Dr. Ponna Wignaraja, who has been honoured
by the Sri Lankan government for service to
the nation, her daughter Gowrie and son
Ganeshan, who have matured into socially
responsible adults and a grandson Skandha
and two grand daughters — Shakthi and Leela
Lakshmi — whom she adored and inspired. She
will live in their hearts and in the hearts
of many she leaves behind. To live in the
hearts of those you leave behind, is surely
not to die but to live forever.