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India Calls for National Reconciliation in Sri Lanka

Published Nov 23, 2019
Updated Feb 06, 2020

India concerned over sensitivity of the minority Tamils and reactions in Tamil Nadu sounded the new President in Lanka calling for national reconciliation.

Former President and the leader of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Mahinda Rajapaksa was sworn in as new Prime Minister of Sri Lanka before President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on 21 November. Mahinda is elder brother of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Chamal a third brother has been inducted in the cabinet. With the Rajapaksa brothers now firmly in two key constitutional offices in Sri Lanka a return of the old order with dominance of the family which held all key portfolios when the present Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa was the President of the country for over ten years during the final years of the civil war is in evidence.

Total control of governance then led to an autocracy which was a factor that contributed to success during the war with the LTTE and was possibly a war time requirement when a degree of authoritarianism may be required to provide a unified face.

The present times may require a more democratic approach to take all sides particularly the minorities on board particularly so when it is evident from the electoral outcomes that the Tamils and Muslims in the country have not voted for Gothbaya Rajapaksa.

The return of the Rajapaksa brothers to power in Sri Lanka has thus led to concerns in Tamil Nadu in India that justice to minorities and implementation of the UNHRC recommendations including inquiries and transitional justice will be not just delayed but may now be completely abandoned in due course with a Sinhala majoritarian government in office. The reaction in Tamil Nadu has been lack of hope for justice for the Tamil ethnic brethren across the Palk Straits who had suffered during the tenure of the Rajapaksa brothers in the garb of targeting the LTTE.

Thus MDMK general secretary Vaiko termed it as a “sad day” for Tamils, PMK founder S Ramadoss said Tamil Eelam was the only permanent solution for Tamils to live in peace in the island nation.

There are many charges against the Sri Lankan military commanders including the present Army Commander with Gothabaya Rajapaksa having been the Defence Secretary during the period of the civil war, it was felt that the degree of impunity had been high.

India concerned over the reactions in Tamil Nadu has sounded out the leadership in Sri Lanka.     “The external affairs minister conveyed to President Rajapaksa India’s expectation that the Sri Lankan government will take forward the process of national reconciliation to arrive at a solution that meets the aspirations of the Tamil community for equality, justice, peace and dignity,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told a regular news briefing. “You must have seen President Rajapaksa’s statement where he affirmed that he will be the president of all Sri Lankans, irrespective of their racial or religious identity and without creating a distinction on whether they voted for him or not,” he said.