The two-tier approach followed by the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa — persisting with dialogue with the Tamil National Alliance while constituting the Parliamentary select committee to deal with the issue — was certain to deliver a lasting solution to the Tamil problem, Prof Rajiva Wijesinha, MP and advisor on reconciliation to the President, said here.

He said the process of reconciliation and reconstruction would be smoother and faster if the political leadership in India and Tamil Nadu understood the ground realities without being swayed by the ‘pro-LTTE elements’ dishing out propaganda.

He insisted that most of the Channel-Four expose fell in that category. In any case, the government was willing to investigate allegations of excesses in the final phase of the Eelam war, he said.

“Reconciliation is important, not retribution. We are expected to say that we did all these wrongs. But we are not going to run around saying we bombed hospitals and killed civilians because we never did that”, Prof Wijesinha told a select group of editors on Wednesday, while referring to the demands that Colombo should be investigated for war crimes.

“You must not forget that the IPKF too was subjected to the same kind of accusations of rape and murder of the Tamils on a mass scale”, he pointed out.

He said while it was perfectly legitimate to raise the internal issues of refugees and the Tamil Nadu fishermen getting hurt at sea, it was ‘inappropriate’ to pass resolutions in the state Assembly accusing Sri Lanka of war crimes.

It appeared that there were ‘people’ telling chief minister Jayalalithaa to act in such manner but it must be realised that likewise, there could be hawks in Sri Lanka insisting that Colombo should lean towards China and not India.

At the same, Prof Wijesinha said, it was ‘sheer nonsense’ to say that Colombo was getting under the Chinese umbrella at the cost of India, which still remains the most important ally as a powerful and concerned neighbour.

Insisting that demilitarising was taking place at a fast pace in the north, he said there were “only some small camps now existing in the Vanni area and there is still de-mining going on in Mullaiteevu”.

“The President is learning Tamil. Some NGO people are dismissing this as cosmetic, but tell me, which Sinhala leader had learnt Tamil till now? There is now a genuine concern in the government for the Tamils, because they are our people”, Prof Wijesinha said.

Deccan Chronicle 31 August 2011