14 November 2020
Indo-Lankan Award – Protection of Universal Franchise
Today is Deepavali – the Festival which has become a globally common festival. The significance is elimination of evil by good. Good includes wisdom and evil includes darkness of ignorance. Hence Deepavali is known as the festival of lights.
Yesterday a Tamil Diaspora leader facilitated me to celebrate Deepavali today, through a Rule of Law program on News 1st TV Channel. We were informed that the guest Mr Minura Ahangama, promoting knowledge of ‘International Law’ was a lecturer at the Royal Institute. The Royal Institute includes the following presentation of itself:
[The Royal Institute of Colombo, (RIC) offers you an opportunity to read for Degrees and Graduate Diplomas from leading universities in the UK and Australia that are of international standard and repute – all at an affordable cost while studying in Sri Lanka. The qualification awarded will be the same as that of an undergraduate student who is reading for a degree in the UK or Australia]
It is important that Sri Lankan students appreciate the global value of the Indo-Sri Lankan accord. Mr Ahangama referred to Article 157 of the Sri Lankan constitution which states:
[ 157. Where Parliament by resolution passed by not less than two-thirds of the whole number of Members of Parliament (including those not present) voting in its favour, approves as being essential for the development of the national economy, any Treaty or Agreement between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Government of any foreign State for the promotion and protection of the investments in Sri Lanka of such foreign State, its nationals, or of corporations, companies and other associations incorporated or constituted under its laws, such Treaty or Agreement shall have the force of law in Sri Lanka and otherwise than in the interests of national security no written law shall be enacted or made, and no executive or administrative action shall be taken, in contravention of the provisions of such Treaty or Agreement.]
The core purpose of the Accord is presented by Wikipedia as follows:
[According to Rejaul Karim Laskar, a scholar of Indian foreign policy, Indian intervention in Sri Lankan civil war became inevitable as that civil war threatened India's "unity, national interest and territorial integrity." According to Laskar, this threat came in two ways: On the one hand external powers could take advantage of the situation to establish their base in Sri Lanka thus posing a threat to India, on the other hand, the LTTE's dream of a sovereign Tamil Eelam comprising all the Tamil-inhabited areas (of Sri Lanka and India) posed a threat to India's territorial integrity]
The Indo-Sri Lanka Accord was between the two governments. LTTE was NOT a party to it. Mr Ahangama referred to them as Terrorists. If indeed – he believed that to be the case, then there is no logic to his expectations that the terms of the Accord were not satisfied by the LTTE. In addition Mr Ahangama stated that Article 157 was binding only if the agreement was for economic purposes.
The integrity of both countries’ sovereignty was seriously threatened not only by the LTTE, but by the JVP which seriously weakened the government from within. This is strongly indicated by Wikipedia report as follows:
[On 15 April 1987, JVP attacked the Pallekele Army Camp in Kandy. Led by a former soldier, Mahinda, under the directions of Shantha Bandara, the JVP seized 12 Type 56 assault rifles, seven sub-machine guns and ammunition. In May 1987, the Sri Lanka Armed Forces launched the Vadamarachchi Operation (Operation Liberation) with the objective of defeating the LTTE militarily and re-establishing government control in areas dominated by Tamil militants. However, the second phase of Operation Liberation was abandoned with the Indian intervention by Operation Poomalai, which led to the signing of the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord in Colombo on 29 July 1987 and arrival of the first troops in the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) on 30 July]
JVP killings of successful Tamil Businessmen and their businesses was a core reason for the Accord and this therefore is covered by Article 157.
Unless a problem is adequately settled to uphold Dharma – the Universal Justice that transcends time and place borders, takes over and produces its own outcomes. The Sovereign borders of any country have to be protected for such Universal Justice to be of positive value to the country. It is on this basis that voting system through Universal Franchise works. Every nation that maintains its sovereignty invokes the protection of this Universal Justice system. India signed to protect its own and Sri Lanka signed to protect its own. Both were threatened by militancy.
If the Sri Lankan government had ‘settled’ the problem through devolution of power back then, it would have had the full cooperation of all those whose sovereignty it protected. The economic impact of JVP resurrection is highlighted as follows:
Dr Rajan Hoole in his article ‘What Was Behind Tiger Friday – 29th July? -The Significance Of The Pettah’
[A partial breakdown of the number of workers killed is as follows:
Rajaram – 1, Palamuthu Muthukkaruppan Chettiyar – 2, Latha – 1, Kingsley – 1, Nandini – 1, Jeyachitty – 1, Muththumeenacchi – 1, Nithyakalyani – 2. At least two visitors staying in Sea Street at Nandini and Nithykalyani were also killed. The owner of (New) Meenacchi had been burnt with his car close by on the 25th. We give a little detail here not merely because our sources were good, but also because we stumble on to something that has been little explored. The mobs that came to the area on Monday the 25th were frenzied, probably under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In many cases, workers were burnt with the shops. These workers were mostly from the Hill Country and the rural North-East. There was no trade union to pursue their interests and the surviving owners themselves were in desperate straits. The dead workers themselves were reduced to ashes, leaving behind un-numbered and unrecorded voids in humble and distant homes.
Fellow Chartered Accountant - Nihal Sri Ameresekere, in his eulogy honouring Mr K Gunaratnam:
[K. Gunaratnam, popularly known as ‘KG’, with his humble beginnings in Jaffna, had commenced businesses in Colombo. I came to know him in 1974, when his son G.R. Pathmaraj introduced me to him. K. Gunaratnam wanted me to join his businesses and I agreed to render my services as a part-time management consultant from August, 1974……
K. Gunaratnam had produced over 25 films while developing the Sinhala film industry. Some of the films having been Sujatha, Warada Kageda, Radala Piliruwa, Duppathage Duka, Wana Mohini, Sooraya, Weera Vijaya, Divarayo, Allapu Gedera, Chandiya, Oba Dutu Da, Ataweni Pudumaya, Lakseta Kodiya, Athma Puja, Hodai Narakai, Sandeshaya; and some of these films are lost forever to the present generation due to the barbaric black July riots of 1983………
Gunaratnam was the main owner of the Tower Hall, formerly known as Tower Talkies, which developed Sinhala drama and artistes. When President R. Premadasa requested for the premises, K. Gunaratnam, without any hesitation, gifted it to the government. Today, it has been developed as the ‘Tower Hall Theater’, with no mention whatsoever of the invaluable philanthropic donation of K. Gunaratnam…….
when I phoned his secretary, I was shocked to hear of the tragic shooting. I immediately cancelled my visit to the UK that night and contacted his son G.R. Pathmaraj and went to the mortuary. It was a very shocking and very sad day. Whilst coming out of his office, two gunmen on a motorcycle had shot him at very close range, whilst the attempted shooting of the driver had failed. K. Gunaratnam had then been rushed to the hospital, where he had been pronounced dead. His secretary later informed me that the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) had inquired as to who I was, as the last telephone call K. Gunaratnam had taken from his office before he died had been to me.
That era of 1989 was of sheer fear psychosis, and even after his killing and other killings at that time, there was a sense of fear and apprehension in society. Gamini Fonseka and I organised the funeral arrangements with a committee operating from my office. Both Gamini and I walked with K. Gunaratnam’s two sons behind the corpse at the funeral, though several persons cautioned us not to do so, out of the prevalent fear and tension that prevailed at that time.
Several other bodies of persons killed had also been found in front of the gate of the textile mill at Ja-Ela. It was indeed, an unforgivable tragedy that this man who had rendered such yeomen contribution to develop the Sinhala film industry and artistes, as well as the Sinhala people with employment, had been so brutally dealt with.]
Ultimately, China has taken grasp of Hambantota port due to Sri Lankan government failing to protect the sovereignty of its own People. The ‘unsettled’ problem which began with Sinhalese has become a ghost working through Muslim radicals. If we pay our respects to the Spirit of the Accord, we would prevent loss of sovereignty in our current environments.
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