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Doc 3Dayan’s point then was that Lalith too was part of the group around Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, that had decided after the 2010 election that the President should not make too many concessions with regard to a political settlement. This did not mean Lalith would set himself up consciously against the President, as even Gotabhaya was to do with regard to the issues noted above. When he was ordered to move, he did so, as when he produced swiftly an Action Plan for the LLRC Recommendations, which Mohan had held up, presumably again on Gotabhaya’s instructions. But he did not see any need to embark on any initiatives on his own that would take forward the commitments the President had made with regard to devolution or accountability.

And on occasion he went even further than Gotabhaya in putting forward a mindset that seemed at odds with the official position of the government. Thus, at the launch of a book called ‘Gota’s War’, which suggested the primary responsibility of the Secretary of Defence for the victory against the Tigers, Lalith launched into a vast attack on India for its part in strengthening the Tigers during the eighties. And just before the UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva in 2014, having been sent to lobby in the West, Lalith attacked what he termed the excesses of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in the eighties, and claimed that, were investigations of abuse in Sri Lanka to proceed, the IPKF atrocities too should be gone into.

Our High Commissioner in Delhi, the normally placid career diplomat Prasad Kariyawasam, complained sadly about what seemed an unnecessary alienation of India at a crucial time. He did not tell me who was responsible, but Indian officials were more forthright. When they brought up the question of criticism of the IPKF which had come to Sri Lanka at the request of the Sri Lankan government, and fought against the Tigers, they met the excuse I made, that there were extremists in the government who did not represent the views of the President, with the information that the assertion had been made by the President’s own Secretary.

If Lalith thought that this was a way of pressurizing India to oppose any resolution that referred to War Crimes, he obviously had no idea of the way international relations worked. But I cannot believe that he had so crude a view of the world. Rather it would seem that, like those in the Ministry of External Affairs who still resented the Indian intervention of the eighties, he thought that old Cold War Games could still be played, and we should affirm our commitment to the West by indicating how different we were to the Indians. Read the rest of this entry »

TIMES OF INDIA – 31 August 2011

‘Most of displaced in SL rehabilitated’

Daniel P George

Chennai: A Sri Lankan MP has urged Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa to visit the island nation and see the rehabilitation process for herself.

Talking to TOI on Tuesday, Prof. Rajiva Vijesinha MP and advisor to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on reconciliation, said that most of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) had been rehabilitated and that efforts were on to help the others.

“There is a lot of ignorance about the situation in Sri Lanka,” Vijesinha said and alleged that the preliminary UN report on the situation in the country lacked accuracy.  Appealing for the rehabilitation of the IDPs, the MP said “India’s expertise  in the education  and training sector  will be of great help to the Lankans at this stage and the Sri Lankan government should harness this  expertise”.

The Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) he said, was initially instrumental in combatting terrorism and its help would never be forgotten.  “What is happening now is the same anti-IPKF propaganda is being carried out against us.  The LTTE is known for it.  The Tamils are our own people and it is our duty to help them get back their normal lives,” Vijesinha said.  Vijesinha said the selective approach of those attacking the Sri Lankan government were glossed over in the UN report.

It was the allegations that were creating difficulties in resettlement and restoration of peace, he alleged.  The war against terror Wijesinha said “is not like the others we come to know through the media, where the protagonists seem more important than us to what is termed the International community. Conversely, the civilians among whom the terrorists operate are much more important to us in the Sri Lankan situation, since they are our own citizens, than civilians are in other theatres of war, where they are seen as alien”.

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.

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Rajiva Wijesinha

July 2020
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