Friday, 2 April 2021

 

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam


02 April 2021

 

 

 

BUDDHIST SANGHA AND UNHRC

 

[If there is any harm or humiliation to our country, it is the real Sri Lankans who suffer the most.] Karu Jayasuriya

I identify with the above by the former speaker of Sri Lankan Parliament. The question then is who is the real Sri Lankan? Wikipedia confirms the following about Mr Jayasuriya:

[In January 2015, President Maithripala Sirisena appointed Jayasuriya as Minister of Public Administration, Democratic Rule and Buddha Sasana after his victory in the presidential election.]

This confirms that Mr Jayasuriya was bound by article 9 of the Constitution which requires the government as follows :

[The Republic of Sri Lanka shall give to Buddhism the foremost place and accordingly it shall be the duty of the State to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana, while assuring to all religions the rights granted by Articles 10 and 14(1)(e).]

Article 14 (1) ( e ) provides as follows:

14. (1) Every citizen is entitled to – (e ) the freedom, either by himself or in association with others, and either in public or in private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching

The direct connection to the UNHRC principles is through the above article which is also in the Fundamental Rights section whereas article 9 is not. Article 9 is for Buddhists whose Royalty is the Buddhist Sangha who are parallel to the British Monarchy. Recently, a young Australian argued that the monies allocated to the British Monarchy was way above the apparent benefits. I said that they were like heritage homes in Australia, which require high level of maintenance. Likewise, the Buddhist  Sangha.

When the Sangha becomes active in governance – that is like the Silk Road heritage becoming active in current in Belt & Road Project. To my mind, it was this that caused the King Virus to become active to remind us of our sovereign borders.

In Sri Lanka, Buddhism foremost is the parallel of the Belt & Road Project. Despite the opportunity to treat it as heritage when he was Minister  for Buddha Sasana, Mr Jayasuriya failed to balance the Policy equation. Through his press conference, reported under the heading ‘All Those Responsible Are Playing The Fiddle As Nero Did’ published by Colombo Telegraph, Mr Jayasuriya expressed as follows:

 

[Therefore, we urge them at this juncture to open their eyes and look at this great tragedy that is befalling the country and to not sacrifice the people of the country for the greed of power and wealth. With the support of all parties, we call for the country to be saved from this ongoing catastrophe. That is the plea we are making today at this news conference.]

 

Leaders who live off the past, tend to play the fiddle because they do not know the current rules of governance. Many governments of Sri Lanka have played the Yak-bera / the demon drum, while their parallels in Jaffna played Yazh (Jaffna) which was heard by Tamil Nadu – where the Yazh instrument originated. Even after the burning of  Jaffna Library – the Jaffna politicians kept playing the Yazh, instead of promoting education needed for current globalization.

 

Mr Karu Jayasuriya’s current position is ‘Chairman of the National Movement for Social Justice’. His fiddle is politics. As a leader in the field of Social Justice – his role is to educate the social leaders to preserve their dignity through their respective cultural leadership and separate current activities to secular level. The latter needs to be from zero advantage base at each level of society. If it is a national movement – we need to know how Mr Jayasuriya has contributed to the prevention of playing the Tamil Nationalism tune – especially by young Tamil who seem clueless about global democracy. Sectarian Nationalism  and global Democracy oppose each other.

 

The 2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Sri Lanka, by United States Department of State include the following about Tamils:

 

[Although many events proceeded peacefully, there were reports that in some cases, Tamils were barred from commemorating war victims on May 18. According to media sources, some would-be attendees of a commemoration in Keerimalai said military officials used “abusive language” and prevented them from entering Hindu temples to honor their lost relatives. During the year a UN Human Rights Council special rapporteur reported that “family members of victims do not have access to memorials and monuments, some of which have been deliberately destroyed; and the prohibition on the memorialization of fallen Tamil Tigers persists.”]

Memorials are sacred and need to be personal to the group concerned. The protests in Jaffna and other nations that the LTTE supporters have the duty to consider as their homes – when the War Memorial at the University of Jaffna was demolished – confirm that Tamil Separatism continues to be actively promoted by those who claim to be Nationalists but are blind to the risk of Tamil Nadu taking over Northern Areas. The report continues as follows:

[On September 14, Jaffna and Batticaloa magistrate courts banned planned commemorations of former Jaffna LTTE political leader R. Parthipan, alias Thileepan. The order also prohibited 20 named members of Tamil political parties as well as the mayor of Jaffna and members of the activist group Families of the Disappeared from participating in the commemoration. The police complaint to the court cited COVID-19 risks, laws prohibiting the commemoration of a banned organization, and the possibility of the revival of LTTE as reasons for the ban.

On November 27, Maaveerar Naal (Great Heroes Day) commemorations were banned through a series of court orders requested by police citing COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings and the PTA. Observers in Northern Province reported increased security forces presence, with military personnel on motorbikes looking over walls into compounds and making unannounced visits to homes in search of evidence of private commemorations on November 26 (birthday of deceased LTTE leader Prabakaran) and November 27 (Maaveerar Naal). According to civil society contacts, police arrested at least 23 persons, including a Batticaloa-based freelance journalist, for sharing content that glorified the LTTE on social media platforms. According to a police spokesman, a Jaffna-based Catholic priest was also arrested on November 27 for violating a court order banning commemorations and for inciting racial tensions. The Jaffna Magistrate Court released him on bail on November 28.]

If as per the conscience of the Common Jaffna community, the above were unjust restrictions, then they seek the revival of the LTTE. The LTTE itself killed Politicians who were seeking to claim Nationalism through the non-violent political pathway. As per my own experience of current Jaffna – we do not want separatism nor army rule that the LTTE was known for. We seek to preserve our self-respect through our cultural diversity. Those who respect their own diversity would naturally respect others of different culture.

If there is such a diversity within Tamil culture – we need to actively recognize it and not enforce junior status on those of different belief. All those who promote the LTTE are anti-democratic  and it is illogical to blame the government that disciplines them. It is the DUTY of Tamil political leaders to first mourn the death of Political leaders and not armed leaders.

 

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