28 November 2018
Tamils Disrespecting Dead Militants?
The message ‘Tamil Eelam is Alive & Well’ is being shared amongst Alumni of Colombo-Sri Lankan professionals, based on the Colombo Telegraph article ‘Defying Confusing Magisterial Orders: Prabhakaran’s Birthday Celebrated Widely’.
Of special interest to me is the following part of that article:
[The University of Jaffna has been decorated as if it is a huge cemetery. Loudspeakers blaring LTTE songs are so noisy that they can be heard up to the Thinnaveli Market which is about 1.5 km away.
Jaffna Hindu College is also celebrating, and the crowds are so huge that KKS Road where the school is located is almost impassable. All of the Passaiyoor Coast is blocked by the crowds celebrating.
‘Significantly, commemorative celebrations are also held by huge crowds gathering at the ITAK Office on Martyn Road, Jaffna which leads to the Jaffna Railway Station. The Jaffna Magistrate, S. Saseekaran, when the police applied for a ban on LTTE leader’s birthday celebrations, prohibited the use of LTTE symbols, but said that remembering dead persons cannot be stopped.’
Honoring war heroes is a sombre experience to the genuine mourner. Those who celebrate it like a carnival are actually insulting the dead by deriving current pleasures out of the work of the dead. The article ends with the following connection to the political turmoil in National Parliament:
[A university observer said that President Maithripala Sirsena’s lead in ignoring the highest law of the land, our constitution, has led to this total lack of law and order in the country as different magistrates give different rulings and even these are disobeyed in the confusion.]
One could also state that the different orders confirm political interference – direct or indirect. When both are within our own minds – the interference happens continuously and indiscriminately. To my mind, the Doctrine of Separation of powers between the Judiciary and the Executive is towards preventing such interference. The judiciary has the duty to start with intellectual reasoning through the law and use belief on the basis of discretionary powers – at the end – if the intellectual application fails to show a clear outcome. In Administration by Parliamentarians – one has the duty to start with belief and cap it with intellectual application of the law where necessary.
I learnt through my advisory role in the case of Academic Dr Dharshanan – that at the University of Jaffna, political decisions are presented as judicial decisions and that the legal experts within turn a blind eye to such practices. It is therefore not surprising to me that the University of Jaffna failed to respect the Judicial orders in honouring their dead heroes. It was Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa who invoked the Jaffna militancy this time. This happens when one accuses another, way above the earned level of the accused. By criticizing the LTTE way above its earned level – the Rajapaksa regime infected itself with the negatives – that are now manifesting. The turnaround happened due to those whose status was tarnished outwardly through carte blanche to claim anti-terrorism credits in Sri Lanka. Even one such victim with high credit in Non-Violent pathway to self-governance has the power to return the debits to sender.
This applies also to Tamil Judiciary and legal fraternity. Yesterday, my attention was drawn by Tamil Diaspora leaders to the interview with the Hon Dharmalingam Siddarthan by Athavan TV (25-11-2018). In that interview Mr Siddarthan claims that the Tamil People’s Council of which his party is also a member, is a People’s Council and not a Political grouping. But the makeup of the Council seems strongly political and fails to show strong participation by civilians – individually and/or as groups.
Next to Truth, the law is the most powerful tool of any minority community. To my mind, it is part of our education confirmed through practice and logical reasoning between causes and effects. It thus invokes the exponential power of others who practice the law as a first measure.
In his article ‘Legal Fraternity Conspires Against The Election Commission’ Mr K Sivapakiam highlights many weaknesses in Legal Fraternity in Northern Sri Lanka, which I identify with through my own direct experiences:
1. (a) - as per the above report – ‘The first concerns the TNPF launching its manifesto for the local government elections of 10 February 2018 from the Maviddapuram Temple. Several newspapers and Facebook pages of TC (Tamil Congress) candidates boasted of the event at the famous temple and displayed photos of the TC leaders at the event. Mr. V. Manivannan, a TC candidate at the Jaffna Municipal Council (JMC) was merely mentioned as present. In a long story detailed by Prof. of the EC, the police charged only the priest, and when the EC complained, only Manivannan.’
(b) My experience with Mr Manivannan – Did not turn up to represent us in High Court of Jaffna. Mr Manivannan rang on the morning of the hearing and stated that the courts were not likely to function due to lawyers’ strike. My husband and I said we would go in any case. That demonstrated our Respect for the Judiciary. In the Appeal Court headed by Justice Manickavasagar Elancheleyan, Mr Parathalingam PC moved to have our appeal dismissed on the basis that we had demonstrated lack of seriousness. I stood up and said that I would represent our side and confirmed that I had prepared the original Appeal application. It was then that Justice Manickavasagar Elancheleyan seemed to have the courage to overrule Mr Parathalingam PC.
2. (a) as per the above report – ‘Although Hoole was not a party, court papers showed he was and claimed he was served summons, but there is no record of it. The judge, Mr. A. Judeson, described by a lawyer present as unhinged, launched an attack on Hoole without verifying that he had been served notice. He ruled that Hoole as a Christian should never have charged a Hindu! He dismissed the charges in a small part of the morning. He faulted Hoole without giving him a hearing. And of course, he found no evidence to sustain the charge when there really was none on the offence he was charged with. Many lawyers see corruption written all over the case. Some say that a senior female TNPF lawyer from Uduvil/Chunnakam visited Judeson in his chambers just before the hearing and that may explain many things.’
(b) My experience – Our Affidavit in the Testamentary case was ‘dismissed’ by Judge Kajanithipalan who eventually facilitated Lawyer Mr Yogendra to present me as a money greedy woman to the family I was bound by law. When I disciplined our lawyer and Mr Yogendra in the lawyer’s area - Judge Kajanithipalan took it upon himself to punish me with the label that I was behaving like a street woman. In the transcript – it is stated that I had responded with strong anger when responding to a question that was asked while in the witness box. Obviously – a there was no space in the Courtroom where Truth presided over political status.
3. (a) as per the above report – ‘The Mallakam Registrar denied Prof. Hoole the court transcript when he first heard of the judgment from press reports. The Registrar firstasked for a letter from a lawyer, and then after getting that asked for time to prepare the transcript while Mr. Kumaravadivel Guruparan, counsel for Manivannan, was waving the transcript at a press conference threatening action against Prof. Hoole. By the time Prof got the transcript, he says, it was too late to appeal.’
(b) My experience – After the decision by Justice Manickavasagar Elancheleyan to dismiss our appeal but changed the terms of the original petition – I rang Mr Manivannan to ask him to apply for the Certificates of Heirship – he said I had to go through Mr Kanagasingham who represented us in Mallakam Courts. When I went directly to Mallakam Courts the Registrar was already collecting monies from the banks – as if he was the Administrator. The application was for NO Administration. This to my mind, meant that each heir would collect their own monies here in Sri Lanka. At the height of the discussion the Registrar said I had to move a motion through our lawyer Mr Manivannan to even handover a letter to the Courts!
4. (a) as per the above report – ‘Interestingly, Mr. Guruparan is the Head of the Law Department at Jaffna University. Information obtained by Prof. Hoole through RTI shows that he has been given special permission by the University Council to practice law from the chambers of Ms. Abimanasingam, PC, despite his full-time university appointment. Yet he has appeared in many TNPF cases with Ms. Abimanasingam nowhere on record. His father is a Member of the University Grants Commission, which appoints the majority of Jaffna Council members who gave Guruparan permission to work for Ms. Abimanasingam while paid by the university. Prof. Hoole says the matter is being investigated by CIABOC.’ (Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption)
(b) My experience – Mr Manivannan who as a politician stated that he would give back his salary to the People – charged us at a rate much higher than that of the Colombo lawyers changing us for our Colombo matter. Despite us paying the fees he failed to complete his services as a lawyer.
These are just a few of the examples of my experiences in Northern Sri Lanka. But they confirm to me – that my investment in Education – including while living in a home down Martyn Road, Jaffna where also celebrations are reported to have taken place yesterday – have been seriously disrespected. Jaffna without education is bound to develop more militancy and the University of Jaffna is likely to be the Academy of Militants.
Those who ‘celebrated’ are disrespectful of the dead. Shared pain leads to development of natural structures that lead to self-governance. Benefit providers of the past are respected and elevated in status once their duty is done. Taking current benefits in their name is disrespectful and confirms weak investment in heritage / Traditions.
The global community is now considering sanctions against individuals who have acted unlawfully and immorally in the Sri Lankan Political crisis. Every member of the Diaspora has the duty to do likewise at their levels of power. THAT is the best way to honor the true hero who died to uphold self-governance.