WHO SHOULD FACE A PARLIMENTARY SELECT COMMITTEE?
by Dr. Tilak S. Fernando reporting from Colombo
Nuwara Eliya UNP Member of Parliament Lakshman Seneviratne's brazen request to bring Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse before a Parliamentary Select Committee in connection with the latest purchase of MIG27 fighters only highlights the UNP's malicious campaign against the government further. This is a serious allegation and it simply boils down not only as an individual attack on the Defence Secretary but the whole of the Security Forces in the Country.
Uttering is something easily done but subsequent repercussions of such pronouncements can be catastrophic when it gets filtered through news and electronic media internationally. On the other hand such an intolerable request does one thing. It only exposes the frustration and the vendetta of the opposition against Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapakse, who is doing a praiseworthy and brilliant job in executing an effective programme to combat terrorism which is evidently seen as taming the Tigers by the tail seemingly.
Any Sri Lankan with a minuscule trace of patriotic feeling within his blood stream will realise to what extent the opposition and its leader are behaving today in a most selfish and unpatriotic manner to be seen and get branded themselves as 'traitors' in the eyes of the general public.
This could be the first time in the history of mankind where a responsible political leader of a democratically elected government has chosen to gallivant from country to country across the world to condemn his own motherland and pleading with the foreign governments to stop giving any aid to his country! Should not this qualify to enter the Guinness book of Records as the first Sri Lankan politician, who is seen as turning enemy to his own people ?
Why is the UNP so perturbed about Gotabhaya Rajapakse's admirable performances from the time he took the responsibility as Defence Secretary? The answer is simple. He has been the most efficient and effective Defence Secretary so far to combat the terrorist menace for once and for all, which has lasted thirty long years.
One of the UNP's allegations is that Gotabaya Rajapakse happens to be the younger brother of the President. They like to make capital of it and call it simply nepotism! But, what is wrong with the President appointing a Defence Secretary who is loyal to him, who has been an experienced military officer and who has been in the battlefield before and who is qualified to hold such a responsible position ? Gotabhaya Rajapakse is well known as an Army Officer and Gentleman, who has fought hard battles, from the front defence lines, moving with the ordinary soldier, shoulder to shoulder, to exterminate the LTTE.
Why did the LTTE employ a suicide bomber to put an end to the Defence Secretary's life not so long ago? One does not need to be a political pundit to seek an answer to the question, as it is evident that under the guidance of the Defence Secretary, LTTE powers are dwindling day after day. Why has the Opposition become deaf and dumb to some of the authentic facts and figures of the current situation in the East? Today, thanks to the proper guidance of the Defence Secretary and the commitment of the Forces 80-90% of terrorist held areas have been freed to help settle the innocent Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese who have been displaced and living in terror under the terrorist boot of the LTTE
The UNP jumps and gets excited at the drop of a hat when they hear of a murder or abduction of a Tamil whether in the South or North and ready to point a finger at the government instantly, yet they become tongue tight when the LTTE kills openly with suicide bombs in the South. Why was the UNP silent at that time the LTTE tried to blast the Army Commander and the Defence Secretary employing suicide bombers? Where is UNP's human rights agenda? Is it not evident that the UNP is playing a double game when they rein silence on killings and bombings by the LTTE?
Today Ranil Wickremasinghe talks about a 'gloomy Colombo city' and states that 'terrorism cannot be won militarily but through peaceful negotiations'. Today he has forgotten that he was the man at the helm who traitorously conceded everything that LTTE wanted on a platter with the help of Norwegians. Why did he fail to reach a negotiated settlement then? It is unfortunate, but he could only be pardoned assuming that the poor man is seriously suffering from an attack of Alzheimer disease where people of this country have to remind him of how he allowed the LTTE to import VSAT equipment together with six tons of broadcasting transmitters for the use of the terrorists' radio Voice of Tigers (VOI). It has become pertinent to jog his memory about his orders to the Customs officials to clear such items free of charge and also to provide armed escorts to transport them up to the front lines of Vanni. What was the result of such a deceitful act by a Prime Minister of a country? People in this country of all races, be it Sinhala, Tamil, Burgher, Muslim or Malay are still made to suffer as a result.
It has never been able for the past thirty years for a single Sinhala person to go and live in the North or East. The LTTE never allows it, but the terrorists, in the name of ordinary Tamil folk, are free to move about in the South, reside in the capital, plant bombs, kill whoever they want to and disrupt the lives of the majority of the people in the country. How strange is it then that the UNP does not make a claim to the world about such atrocities and label them as Terrorists rather than pampering them as 'freedom fighters'?
It could be that the Leader of the opposition prefers to travel abroad to babble politically only to damage the image of his own country instead of visiting the areas where the government forces have rescued so many innocent Tamil people who had been suffering under LTTE boot for so long . It is so strange that the UNP, once regarded as a responsible and democratic political party of high esteem today falling into the dumps and are unable to identify the atrocities done by the LTTE or condemn their human rights violations, instead of going hammer and tongs in vilifying the government.
It has now become beyond a practical joke when the opposition leader enjoying all the official diplomatic facilities in his capacity doing the rounds throughout the world to condemn his own country and still representing Sri Lanka . Naturally, what he says in his capacity to foreign leaders and government will have either fruitful or disastrous consequences. On the other hand the international community too cannot be fooled all the time. False propaganda is quick to mushroom but the truth takes a while to establish and only the time will tell to what extent the UNP is biased, self-centred and does not care a damn about the country or the welfare of its people but only prepared to hoodwink every one and come back to power to fulfil their own personal gains.
Lakshman Seneviratne's request may sound as a dead man's cry but it certainly creates ripples on the surface at least because he refers to a parliamentary commission of enquiry, a personal vendetta on the Defence Secretary and a thundering slap across all the three forces and the Police in this country.
In a democratic world everyone is free to express their own personal feelings and freedom of speech is highly respected in the West. Just by going round the world, using the diplomatic privileges as the Leader of the Opposition what Ranil Wickremesinghe has been doing is only to expose himself as a dim witted, unpatriotic, power hungry, self centred arrogant politician who does not care a damn about the his people except only to boost his ego. The more he gets beaten and even after dismissing him by the people in this country for a record number of fourteen times if it has not got into the grey matter in his head, then sadly the poor man is suffering from a serious mental disorder. Equally his henchman's latest appeal to have a Parliamentary Select Committee on the Defence Secretary blows the whistle that it is high time that a Parliamentary Select Committee be appointed to investigate the UNP and its Leader's activities in the good name of Sri Lanka and her people.