Saturday 21 May 2016

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam – 21 May    2016

No Vesak Amnesty for Tamil Political Prisoners?

I believe in Buddha. Today – Vesak Day 2016, is special because I am at our Temple in Vaddukoddai District, where also, we have two huge Bo trees within our temple premises; – the Bo tree being the  sacred tree under which Lord Buddha is known to have realized Nirvana/Eternity/Truth. Due to our investment in this area, a natural structure has developed in this part of Sri Lanka. The Opportunity happened due to the war. I believe that when we eliminate unjust discrimination from our own minds, we become immune to unjust discrimination pain by others to us. The village of Thunaivi – where we have chosen to live when in Sri Lanka – is a village affected by Caste based discrimination which ended up separating and isolating the Toddy Tapper village of Thunaivi. The separation was due not only to the higher caste but also due to the lower caste seeking to live in the comfort of isolation – just as Eelam Tamils did at Community level and Sri Lanka did at National level.

Separation  based on  Truth is meditation. Separation based on desire for power leads to isolation – often self-imposed – using the other side’s weaknesses. In its article ‘Ethnic, religious minorities in Lanka still feel marginalised’, the Hindu reports as follows:
[Sri Lanka’s ethnic and religious minorities including Tamils still feel marginalised, seven years after the end of the civil war with the LTTE, a senior American lawmaker has said as he appealed to the Lankan government to take “concrete” steps to address their concerns.
“The leaders of the new government have made many ambitious promises to advance toward the goal of a stable and prosperous future for all. Now is the time to turn those promises into concrete action,” Congressman Danny K Davis said on the House floor on Thursday.
“The US, must assist and support in any way we can, but we must also keep incentives in place such as conditions on military and other aid until the government has accomplished real reform,” said the Democratic Party lawmaker from Illinois.
Speaking on the House Floor to commemorate the 7th anniversary of the end of the war in Sri Lanka, he said the Lankan government won the war to keep the Sinhalese and Tamil communities within one country, but has not yet won the peace.]
Lord Buddha developed and we enjoy the Vesak Heritage as part of that development by a fellow Human being. Does the Amnesty granted as per the report below – confirm this true heritage?:

ECONOMYNEXT - Sri Lanka’s Justice Ministry announced granting a presidential pardon and freeing condemned prisoners under a special presidential amnesty if they have reached the age of 70.

The ministry said rapists and murderers will be given the amnesty without considering the severity of their crimes as long as they have reached 70 years of age by May 21, 2016.

The ministry did not say how many prisoners would qualify under the bizarre amnesty, but a total of 540, which includes those who have been unable to pay fines, will be released on Vesak day.

President Maithripala Sirisena has granted the amnesty on a recommendation of Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapaksha, a statement from the ministry said.
When does one earn the deservedness to be pardoned? When does the authority so pardoning have the right to do so?

Since the name of Vesak has been used towards this Amnesty – one needs to ask the question as to what Lord Buddha would have done under the circumstances? Using Buddha’s heritage at its highest value is the best way we the heirs could attribute to that heritage. Experiencing it through our feelings is exponential in value. Respecting through laws and principles/Sasana is simply relative in value and when practiced genuinely it leads to  owning and feeling that value as if we are that value. Article 9 of the Sri Lankan Constitution requires the Government to promote such Respect.  Presidential Pardon requires one to have exhausted the path of  Common Law, and / or any law specific to cultural groups – before one relies on personal Truth to Pardon. Like realized souls, Fundamental Laws such as those embedded in the Constitution – have power by their very existence. They would work to support anyone who feels part of the whole through experience and/or develops ownership through their own position in the big system.

As I was sharing with a lady here in Vaddukoddai – ‘when we are true to ourselves, we are true to the god within us. That god within us is Naturally connected to the Universal Energy that we consider to be God.’

As per the American Government,  Sri Lankan Government is yet to make that connection with global Government.  To my mind, it is no coincidence that an American is speaking up for Tamils at a time when the Sri Lankan Government is releasing General prisoners without specific mention of the Tamil Political prisoners. The question is whether or not the Tamil ethnic issue needs to be addressed specifically – now that there is a record that Tamil prisoners died in custody - my brother-in-law being one of them. Does the government not have the responsibility to get to the bottom of that before addressing general amnesty which has the effect of sweeping the ethnic problem under the carpet.

Like in the case of  Thunaivi – in the eyes of the Government, the ethnic issue may have gotten to this due to the LTTE and therefore due to the Tamil Community itself.  But does that permit the Government to ignore the problem while addressing General problems? Would that not lead to another ethnic war once there is enough power for the Tamil rebels? Unless the Government develops its own strengths against such rebellion to a Natural level – a good part of the Government’s resources would continue to be occupied by the ethnic issue.

The current weather problems here in Sri Lanka, due to strong rainfall are considered as part of National Disaster. But measured by the victims – the same level physical pain is enhanced when the punishment happens in the name of crime committed. Watching the current scenes I was taken back mentally to the times when Tamils had to run away from their homes – majority due to no fault of theirs. The only reasonable cause would be that they did not correct their own by using National and International laws. But that needs to happen at the level of leaders and not judged at individual level. Hence the need for war-crimes inquiry – not to punish but to develop global heritage by Sri Lankans. How many Sinhalese who are now helping the flood victims - came forward to help those who suffered during those times? Many Tamil professionals including doctors went through similar pain / agony to sit their exams. How many Sinhalese participated in that pain and agony – while their families carried anxiety until their loved ones reached their place of study? I worked in Batticaloa – after the 2004 Tsunami. The President – then Madam Kumaratunga – asked me during my presentation as to whether I was from Batticaloa? I said words to the effect ‘no I am of  Jaffna origin’.  Nature does not discriminate due to external reasons. If we happen to be in that area we are all affected. If we carry others in our minds – then they are our world.

Picking the age factor as the selection criterion for Amnesty may lead to those prisoners feeling alienated and neglected in their old-age. It also has the effect of age based discrimination which is unlawful  as per principles underpinning global governance. Buddha being Universal – would not have granted Amnesty on that basis. Buddha would grant Amnesty/Refuge  to all those who are true to themselves and therefore live through their souls. No human law/rule  has the authority to override that line of Authority by using the power to grant Amnesty.. 

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