18 03 2016
Ex-Judge Wigneswaran is Like a Jaffna Lagoon Lobster Caught in the Tamil Diaspora Net!
By Don Manu
Perhaps it’s the long exposure to the balmy breeze that blows in from the Indian Ocean. Or the cultivated taste for the Palmyrah treacle that flows liberally to the waiting pot. Or even the pungent onion that sprouts in abundance from Jaffna’s fertile soil and is rumoured to make grown men lose their marbles in tears if consumed in excess; but certainly something funny has happened to this former Supreme Court judge Vishwanath Wigneswaran to befuddle his mind and muddle his reasoning ever since he was elected northern chief minister and quit his Colombo born and bred residence to take abode north of the border.
Gone the penetrating legal mind able to hold spell bound both judge and jury with sparkling advocacy suavely advancing the merits of his brief on the grounds of fairness, reason and applicable law. Gone to brutish beast is the sagacity of the judge in him able to adjudicate on disputing issues objectively, equitably and wisely with an eye on public policy. Burnt out now, like the fate of the star of hope he once was to northern Tamils when he first assumed leadership of the northern provincial council, is his enlightened vision to forge a unified Lanka: dried, like a flaccid red chilli, under the harsh merciless Jaffna sun.Long gone and long forgotten in so short a time is his avowed position not to be a politician but to use the office of the chief minister only to serve his suffering people. He told the Sunday Times on the eve of launching his campaign to be chief minister in September 2013 on the TNA ticket, “I’m not a politician. I’m interested in bringing some relief to people who are suffering. For me, the chief minister post is not a political office. It is an office by which, I could serve the people. I am not a politician. ”
But in recent times he has amply demonstrated that he has not only stepped into the rabble rousing chappals of the normal run of the mill TNA politicians in earnest but that he is willing to emerge as the new jingoist of the dwindling Tamil parade bent on reviving the now dying utopian dream of establishing an Eelam on Lankan soil. If Bodu Bala’s saffron robed Gnanasara is the archetypal southern Sinhala chauvinist then verti-wrapped Wigneswaran is in danger of becoming the northern Tamil lay prototype.
Last year on February 10, much to the shock and embarrassment of the leaders of Tamil National Alliance (TNA) of which he is a member, Wigneswaran chose, for no apparent reason, to denounce the Sinhalese as racist, accusing them of committing genocide against the Lankan Tamils.Tabling a resolution at the Northern Provincial Council which claimed to “provide an overview of the evidence demonstrating successive Sri Lankan governments genocide against Tamils,” Wigneswaran urged the “ongoing United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) to investigate the claim of genocide and recommend appropriate investigations and prosecutions by the International Criminal Court.” The resolution further claimed to provide evidence of historical genocide.
This resolution was obviously timed to create the maximum damage to Lanka at the 28th sessions of the UNHRC in March. But in view of the request made by the new Maithripala Government the report on the Lankan war crimes probe was deferred till September and there the resolution was dismissed as containing insufficient evidence to warrant a genocide investigation at present. What Wigneswaran failed to realise was that instead of using his office to promote further reconciliation between the two communities which he had stated to be his aim when he first occupied the post of chief minister, his unwarranted canard levelled at the majority race deeply hurt Sinhala sensitivities and served only to make the divide wider.
Then on January 22 this year — the months of January and February seem to bring out utopian Eelamist epileptic fits which cause him to burst out in spasms and froth out anti-Sinhala babble — he charged his own party the TNA for betraying its commitment to secure for the Tamil in Lanka the right to self-determination.If a rose by any other name smells the same then an Eelam by the name of right to self-determination stinks the same. It is but a stepping stone to Eelam. He told members of the Northern Council that the TNA which had called for self-determination in 2013 had not listed the same in its 2015 manifesto for the general elections and he charged the TNA leadership for dropping the demand and striking a cosy deal with the Government. But the TNA leaders refuted the charge.
In September 2013, the still Colombo fresh Wigneswaran had told the Sunday Times he was not concerned about the dogmatic positions held by the Tamil Diaspora. His answer to the Diaspora he said was “you keep your views to yourself, as I would like to do some service to the people who are suffering. So let me do my work. You go on talking what you want to talk. I’m not concerned.” “They, the Diaspora, would like me also, to take up their cause and all the rest of it,” Wigneswaran further said. “These don’t concern me — whether it is self-determination, separation, that or this. That is a long-term plan. I am talking about short-term plans, of what we should do for these people.”
Wormed and weaned after a two-year sojourn in the north and now on a staple Jaffna diet, has Wigneswaran now shed his short term aims of serving the Tamil people to rise from their hardships caused by war and instead cottoned onto the role of being the chief Diaspora spokesman in Lanka to give effect to their long-term goal to achieve self-determination first and Eelam thereafter? Even on a personal note, Wigneswaran has never shown any sign of being a closet Eelamist. On the contrary, before leaving to Jaffna two and a half years ago he spoke on the marriages of both his sons to two Sinhalese girls and said, “When my parents were living and we were young, we never had any of these ideas, except of a unified Sri Lanka. Ceylon was a unified country. We had no problems at all. That is why, my two sons married Sinhalese. We don’t feel anything alien with regard to any aspect of life here. I feel completely at ease in the whole of Sri Lanka, with friends in all nine provinces.”
But two years living in the heartland of Thesawalamai law, a system of laws applicable exclusively to those Lankans who can claim Tamil descent from Jaffna, his views on mixed marriages between the two races have somewhat changed. Eleven days ago, addressing the 8th Annual Scouts Jamboree at the Jaffna Central College with President Sirisena in attendance, he said that though he is not against mixed marriages, “Give the rights of the Tamil people first. Give all the rights that should be given legally to them. Let the mixed marriages happen later.” No doubt his two sons would have heaved a sigh of relief that they had wed their Sinhala brides long before their father had his change of heart. Or else love would have had to wait for Eelam.
Then this week, the 76-year-old former judge turned chief minister turned politico turned Tamil fanatic delivered a statement which must cause worry to all those concerned over his declining years. Addressing a group of academics who had returned to Jaffna after studying in India, Wigneswaran said he believed India would intervene again, and come to the assistance of Tamils in politically sensitive situations and provide a federal solution to help the Tamil minority as India had done in the past in 1987.
“The Tamils are currently caught in political turbulence once again since the end of the military campaign of the LTTE in 2009 and a federal solution is best to address the issue, As a direct result of the Indian invasion in 1987, two provincial councils were created in the north and east,” Wigneswaran was quoted as saying by the BBC. But invasions, like rainbows in last year’s revolution, are now out of style. India has in no uncertain terms ruled out any physical intervention to solve any minority problem. And except for a few rumbles from a now discredited Jayalalitha in Tamil Nadu, India has mainly focused on using the UN war crimes probe as a means of wresting from the Lankan Government its cooperation to further India’s defence goals in the region and economic interests in Lanka.
Has he gone soft in the brain to let Diaspora babble reign?
Even the TNA hasn’t pushed its luck to make a song and dance in high-pitched operatic notes about self-determination realising it’s neither the right time nor the right place to go for the aria. They have stuck to a low key and are seen to be more engrossed with joining the Government in promoting reconciliation between the two races rather than brew racial hostility even stronger. Perhaps they are waiting for the draft of the proposed new constitution to be presented to the constitutional assembly to make their pitch.
But far removed from the sea of action, and seven years after the 30-year-old war to establish Eelam has ended and the promise of peace and prosperity has dawned upon the Northern Province, poor old Wignes is acting like a Jaffna lagoon lobster caught in the Diaspora net. And the only way he can disentangle himself from the Diaspora-spun diabolical web of deceit and find release is to fight — and fight relentlessly — for the rights of Lanka’s Tamils to gain their just and due place in the sun as equal citizens of this nation within the framework of a unitary Lanka, in the way that 165 states out of 193 UN member states are governed. Else hallucinating further that Mother India will send her cavalry to the rescue and the implications of inviting a foreign power to interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign Lanka may well land him in boiling hot water.
Courtesy:Sunday Times dbsjeyaraja.com 06 03 2016