Sri Lanka’s future with a ‘Karuna’ in politics
by Ifham Nizam (Sunday Leader)
Some politicians and intellectuals praise Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman for his latest move in forming a new political party, the Tamil United Independent Front -Thamilar Aikkiya Suthanthira Munnani. According to Karuna Amman, the purpose of forming a new party is to provide livelihood opportunities to former LTTE cadres and to assist widows of LTTE cadres and war victims.
The party will be based in the East –Batticaloa- and be more focused on issues pertaining to the North and Eastern parts of the country and the people living therein.
However, some sections of society believe people like Karuna Amman, who worked against the democratic process and particularly against the sovereignty of the country should not be part and parcel of a political party.
Lacille de Silva – Former Secretary to the Presidential Commission on Serious Fraud and Corruption
Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman, had been a top military commander and onetime body guard of the LTTE leader Prabhakaran. Karuna defected from the LTTE in 2004, along with his deputy Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan. They thereafter established a political party cum armed military group known as Tamil Makkal Viduthali Puligal (Tamil People’s Liberation Tigers), which became a powerful military/political force in the Eastern Province.
However, Karuna, fled to the UK in 2007 on a fake diplomatic passport, who had later been arrested, jailed and deported to Sri Lanka in 2008. Karuna had been appointed thereafter as the Deputy Minister of National Integration by the former regime in 2009. It is pertinent to mention that numerous alleged assassinations including the massacre of Buddhist priests in Aranthalawa had been committed by this faction. Pillayan is presently in jail for the assassination of former MP Pararajasingham allegedly committed by the same group.
In the past, there had been various others, including criminal gang leaders, who had close links with powerful politicians of both UNP and UPPFA/SLFP. Gonawala Sunil, Beddagane Sanjeewa, MoratuSaman, NawalaNihal, Wambotta, Olcott, Chandi Mali are some of the underworld criminals who had terrorised the country for a considerable period of time due to political support they had in the relevant areas. Gonawala Sunil had been one of the prominent gang leaders who had strong links to the UNP leadership, who was responsible for the massacre of 53 inmates in the Welikada prison in 1983 and raping of a 14-year old girl in 1982. It may be pertinent to mention that he had been a convicted murderer serving a jail term. He was made an All Island Justice of the Peace by the then President JRJ, who granted a presidential pardon and was released from jail just prior to the first Presidential elections held in 1983.
(Such was the “quality” of JR who was supposed to be an intellectual and a “devout Buddhist” who established “Dharmista” government. -TW)
There is violence, terror, atrocities, murder, extortion, mayhem and indiscipline, lawlessness, disregard for rules, regulations etc., in Parliament, in society, on roads, in schools in universities, even in homes etc., due to all these. Owing to this, there is a perception, that politics is ‘bad’ or ‘dirty’. Similarly, politicians, who are mostly criminals lack vision, foresight, wisdom, dedication, altruism, trust, kindness, affection and other pro-social behaviours to guide the country to greater heights.
They use violence, force etc. by the state in efforts to quell demonstrations etc. without being able to find long lasting prudent solutions as we do not have men of calibre in politics. In my view, during the last two decades, flood gates had been opened for all types of criminals to enter Parliament, Provincial Councils and local authorities. Political violence became institutionalised having created a negative impact in society.
The criminals in politics have thereby created a highly centralised and violent political culture, whereby the distribution of scarce resources had been curtailed unjustly and having paved the way for increased occurrences of self-centred abuse of power and corruption. Owing to all these, there is a serious crisis of governance that the politicians do not show any desire to take necessary steps to improve service delivery of the public service including fair and efficient utilisations of public resources for the benefit of the citizens in the country.
Furthermore, these types of politicians are also the products of the present education system over the last several decades. There are school children too who use violence perhaps because the education system does not produce disciplined, well-mannered decent citizens because they as leaders to set the wrong example in their day to day life. The leaders therefore need to set the right example if we are keen to take this country forward. Let me add, democratic politics in the early independent Sri Lanka, created a strong, disciplined, and a well-structured humane society.
When criminals entered politics, according to the Buddha, rulers fail to provide ‘rightful shelter, protection, defences and the resources needed for the poor to live a decent life’. In such a society, poverty, violence and crime escalate because –“In this way, monks, money not being given to the poor poverty flourished; because poverty flourished, theft flourished; because theft flourished, weaponry flourished; because weaponry flourished, murder flourished;” Buddha.
Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka, Academic, Diplomat and Politician
I regard Karuna as a hero who rebelled against Prabhakaran and thereby helped defeat him and save the country.
I applaud his new party and look forward to an alliance between Karuna and Douglas Devananda who are the only two leaders who have proven that they can be trusted as partners, to play a responsible and rational role in the search for sustainable peace and a truly Sri Lankan identity, by the vast majority of this country’s citizens.”
This blogger treats this fellow as a “intellectual” crank -TW
Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, Executive Director, Centre for Policy Alternatives
Everyone has a right to form a political party: It is upto the rest of us to decide whether they deserve our votes. Criminals should be dealt with under the law without fear or favour.
Chandima Weerakkody Minister of Petroleum & Petroleum Gas
Karuna Amman forming a new party is going to be a total failure. Though Karuna is now out of the LTTE, his ideology would not suit with many. As for me as a person from the Southerner we have different ideologies. I would not agree him forming a party.
Dr. Jehan Perera – Executive Director,Natio nal Peace Council
It is a well known legal principle that people should be presumed innocent until proved guilty in a court of law. Karuna has not yet been proved guilty in a court of law. There are many accusations levelled against him, and some of these allegations have been taken to court.
There is a belief that he was responsible for the massacre of 600 policemen who had surrendered in the east during the war, but he has still not been charged for this crime.
In a similar way, many leading politicians who are in active politics today are accused of various offences, including criminal offences. Some of these allegations have been taken to court. However, those who have not been proved guilty in a court of law are free to do active politics, and they continue to hold leadership positions in the country.
Ranjith Madduma Bandara Minister Public Administration and Management
Giving up earlier military rule and abiding democratic way is much appreciated. I believe it is a good move by Karuna to be in the democratic process rather than being militarily involved. I think it is a good move.