Friday 15 November 2019

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam
15 November  2019


I shared with my husband this morning my belief that when we feel ownership in an issue, we naturally energize others who are travelling towards such ownership. Those who have reached the destination of ownership are family and those who are still travelling towards that destination are relatives. I stated this in relation to the Australian matter  Sue v Hill   relating  to Dual-Citizenship issue raised in 1999 in relation to the 1998 Federal Elections.  United Kingdom was ruled as ‘Foreign Power’ to Australia – as confirmed by the Australia Act 1986. The reason for my discussion this morning was that 1998 was the year in which I instituted action against the Central Administrators of the University of NSW and back then I was not aware of all this. But I resigned in protest after Ms Pauline Hanson asked migrants who would not assimilate ‘to go home’.  My letter of resignation dated 11 August 1998, included the following:

[I heard Pauline Hanson on the 4 Corners Programme last night. Ms Hanson suggests that we go back to our countries of origin if we cannot be like them. It hurts that we even have to hear such things. In the name of ‘Freedom of Speech’ we – the new Australians are being made to lose our freedom to live as individuals. If the leadership of Australia is unable to turn it around – to make up for their negligence in failing to hear the cries of new Australians – one has to wonder whether Ms Hanson is expressing what these leaders (and employers) feel themselves in their heart of hearts. This is the million dollar question to which I have been seeking a favourable answer – that the leaders of the country to which we brought our children and made them call it their ‘home’ would ensure that it is ‘home’ for our children. But, my experience during the past 13 years has failed to deliver the answer that I have been seeking so desperately. When an educational institution such as the University of New South Wales also demonstrated that it was no different – I do not wish to waste any more time – hoping.]

It was Nallur Festival period. I wrote the letter during the early hours of the morning – recognized as Bramma Muhoortham (the auspicious time for creation)  by practitioners of Yoga.  But I was in pain due to my genuine contribution not being recognized by the custodians of power at the University. My book ‘Naan Australian’ is based on this experience – followed by my legal actions including against Prime Minister Howard, in 1999. Even though I was ‘failed’ by the Courts – my book found its way to the National Library of Australia.

This was why I was connecting dual-citizenship case to my own experience. To me the Energy was One. The pathways were different. This morning an Australian Tamil Diaspora leader directed me to the Guardian article headed : ‘Behrouz Boochani, voice of Manus Island refugees, is free in New Zealand’  and I felt part of that experience.  One who identifies with genuine pain experiences the gain also. During my pain at the University of NSW, I thought more and more about the pain that Indigenous Australians must have gone through due to Dual-Citizenship holders from the UK which is now a ‘foreign’ power. I feel I invoked the blessings of those to whom Australia was home at all times. Hence I got upset by Ms Hanson who was still part of ‘foreign power’.

Then I read the Republic Next article ‘My pardon not arbitrary; met Rathana Thero five years ago – Royal Park convict’ which includes the following:

[Rathana Thero, the PMD communique said, had facilitated a meeting between Sirisena and Jayamaha’s family and made a case for the prisoner’s release. Various parties, with Rathana Thero at the forefront, had made representations to the President, showing cause for a presidential pardon citing good behaviour, the convict’s youth (he had been 19 at the time) and exceptional academic performance behind bars).]

The Colombo Telegraph article ‘President Sirisena Justifies Pardoning His Distant Relative From Death Row’ was also brought to my attention by a fellow Australian Tamil. To me, these are all outcomes parallels of  Dual-Citizenship outcomes. The failure of this President to be ‘Common’ stems from such duality and therefore bipolar tendencies.

As an educated person Mr Jayamaha ought to have referred to the law. But he sought to refer to Buddhist leader Rathana Thero as the change for his change.  This leader is a Buddhist politician. Hence the dismissal of the Judicial mind in the decision. The Ada Derana report headed ‘284 prison inmates to receive Presidential pardon’ includes the following passage:

[These inmates, aged over 65 years, were primarily selected on the basis that they were not jailed for 40 particular charges including murder, theft, sexual assault, child abuse, and drug dealing.]
Again the dual standards – in relation to those who were accused of murder.

If indeed Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa  becomes President – we would have more of this duality – this time an extension of American subservient citizen and Rajapaksa subservient junior. This has been strongly indicated by Dr Ameer Ali in his Fianancial Times article ‘Gota’s citizenship, US silence and presidency’

The US Embassy may be following commonness and hence have chosen to maintain confidentiality. But the quid pro quo rumours about the American President makes one wonder whether this is a shared trait within American Government. Quid Pro Quos to avoid policy divide.
The fact that we Tamils have our share of such duality was revealed by Front Line Defenders in support of Dr Kumaravadivel Guruparan. Their article included the following:

[On 9 November 2019, Kumaravadivel Guruparan, a human rights lawyer and Head of the Department of Law at the University of Jaffna, was informed by Jaffna University Council that he will no longer be permitted to practice as a lawyer in Sri Lankan courts. The decision was made by the University Grants Commission (UGC), at the instigation of the Sri Lankan military and is an act of reprisal against his peaceful human rights work.
Kumaravadivel Guruparan is a human rights lawyer based in Jaffna, in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. He is the founder and executive director of the Adayalam Center for Policy Research, a human rights organisation, based in Jaffna. Guruparan is also a senior lecturer and head of the Department of Law at the University of Jaffna, a position he has held since September 2011. As a human rights defender, Guruparan advocates on behalf of victims of human rights violations, many of whom are from vulnerable and impoverished communities, in their fight for justice and redress. In his capacity as a lawyer, Guruparan is involved in several high profile legal cases pending before court. The cases are aimed at holding the Sri Lankan military accountable for crimes including extra judicial killings and enforced disappearances of civilians in the north and east of the country. Recently he has faced threats, intimidations and attempts to suppress his work. These have been instigated by the military, in order to subvert justice and hamper the cases’ successful litigation in court.
The decision of the UGC to bar Guruparan from practising law, is direct capitulation to pressure from the Sri Lankan military. On 21 August 2019, the military sent a letter to the UGC questioning the basis on which Guruparan was permitted to practice as a lawyer in court. There are clear departmental procedures permitting Guruparan to practice law and the military has no official capacity to interfere in university matters. Nevertheless the UGC confirmed on 19 September 2019 that Guruparan should no longer be permitted to practice, and forwarded the decision onto the University of Jaffna. On 9 November 2019, in its first official meeting since receiving the UGC letter, the Jaffna University Council determined that Guruparan would be required to act in accordance with the UGC decision on this matter.]

I got involved in a parallel matter concerning another academic staff of the University - Dr Sriranganathan Darshanan. The original accusations as per Dr Darshanan’s interpretation included that he was teaching music  privately. But those charges seemed to have been dropped before the matter reached its final stages. I was requested by a relative to assist Dr Darshanan and during the process I noticed Dr Guruparan’s non participation.   Hence the claim ‘Guruparan advocates on behalf of victims of human rights violations, many of whom are from vulnerable and impoverished communities, in their fight for justice and redress’, to my  mind was not valid. Dr Guruparan had the primary duty to represent the University Council or at least been part of the team that representing the Council. One who does not take care of his home-structure  is incapable of taking care of the community-structure.

I do not know whether Dr Darshanan was guilty as charged. My assistance was for him to defend himself as per the Law. It is the Law that must decide whether Dr Darshanan was guilty or not. But those who participated in that inquiry were themselves ignorant of the laws applicable to the University as specified in the Establishments Code of the University Grants Commission and the Higher Educational Institutes.

In our submission we raised the issue that as per Section 45 of the Universities Act No. 16 of 1978  - the Vice Chancellor who did dismiss Dr Darshanan was NOT the Disciplinary Authority for the action. It was the Council. Dr Guruparan’s case confirms that they are now better structured as per the law – they were last year.

Dr Guruparan has the duty to sue the University Governing Council and learn about its own limitations. Accusing the military is reactive and is indicative of militancy.
Dharma leads those who uphold Dharma.

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