Tamil National Alliance Parliamentarian M.A.Sumanthiran has urged the government to be brave and not to drag the feet to do the right thing to the afflicted on the basis of the fresh mandate it had received from the people.
He made the appeal addressing the House on the adjournment motion moved in the House by JO Parliamentarian Dinesh Gunawardena. During the address, Sumanthiran said: “ My urge to the Government, at this time, is that you did the course correction; you turned towards the right direction; you did the right thing by co-sponsoring those two Resolutions, but please do not drag your feet any longer.
Be brave and do what is right and nothing will go wrong. Do not be afraid to do the right thing. The previous regime was not afraid to do the wrong thing, but you are afraid to do the right thing, perhaps the presence of many who were in the previous Government being in the present Government too may be a cause for that. But, you cannot be dictated to by those forces. You have come with a fresh mandate; you have come with a very clear directive from all the people of this country and that is what you are expected to do. There were simple things that could have been addressed long ago that afflict our people and this Government is dragging its feet.
As I sat listening to speeches on both sides of the House, I thought the Debate was reaching heights of absurdity and hypocrisy. There has been a murder in broad daylight. Some people have informed the police of this murder. But the issue seems to be: “Who informed the police? Why did you inform the police?” That is what is being debated in this House today, not that there has been a murder. “Why did you go and tell the police?” One is pointing the finger at the other. “You are the one who told the police.” And from the other side another one is pointing the finger at this side and saying, “No! No! You are the one who told the police.” That is the sad state of affairs that this country has come to. No one is worried about the fact that there has been a murder.
That is the gist of the Debate between the so-called Joint Opposition and the Government today. The Government is bending backwards trying to say, “We are not going to allow anybody to be punished.” The Joint Opposition says, “You are trying to punish.”
Nobody is talking about the crime. No one is talking about the victims. No one is talking about what is right and what is wrong. Both are competing with each other, trying to excel each other in claiming that they are better at covering up. One says, “We covered up well. You have now revealed it.” And the Government says, “No! No! You are the one who exposed it. Now we are covering up.” Shameless conduct both by the movers of the Resolution and those who are replying on behalf of the Government!
Why cannot you face reality? Why can you not be truthful? Why can you not act with honour and tell the people of this country the reality. Why do you have to beat around the bush? That is why I call it hypocrisy. There were references made to 1988/89 period, a comparison between that and 2008/09 period. Why do we even have to go there? Is not a wrong a wrong to whoever it happens? Have we descended to a point when the Representatives of the Tamil people have to ask the question “If it happens to Sinhala youth, you will do and if it happens to Tamil youth, you will not?” Do we even have to raise that as a question in this House?
Hon. Minister Rauff Hakeem praised the virtues of this UN Resolution but it was he, in 2012, who went to Geneva and campaigned against the first Resolution. And as I say so Hon. Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe smiles. He led the delegation fighting hard against these Resolutions, but failed, failed miserably, to prevent those Resolutions. Why? Because you were wrong; because you allowed these things to happen; you did not take responsibility and act as a responsible Government and when you were asked, you gave assurances.
I am glad that the Hon. Wimal Weerawansa read in Sinhala that undertaking, the Joint Communique that was signed by the then President Rajapaksa in Kandy in May, 2009 with the Secretary-General of the UN when the Government said, “We will inquire into those when we appoint the LLRC.” The first two Resolutions in 2012 and 2013, as the Hon. Minister knows very well, only asked the Sri Lankan Government to hold internal investigations. That was all it asked, according to the undertaking given in that Joint Communique. And it asked the Sri Lankan Government to implement the recommendations of its own Commission – the LLRC. We did not have faith in that Commission, but even that Commission made constructive recommendations. Even that was not implemented. Then, what did the international community do? They did not interfere; they did not say, “You must do what we tell you to do.” They only said, “Do what you have said you will do.” Do what your own Commission has recommended that you must do. But if you fail in that, certainly there will be repercussions.
Those who scream about international interventions must know that it was during that time that Dr. Palitha Kohona was appointed head of an investigative team by the UN to look into a bombing of an aid flotilla against Israel. We participated in investigations against other sovereign countries as a responsible member of the United Nations. We are members of the United Nations and we are proud of it. Why are we members of the United Nations if we cannot abide by the basic Charter of the United Nations? What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. What is good for Israel is good for us. So, it is that, that will remain on the international agenda until it is accomplished.”