Keep extremists on a tight leash
Moderate opinion in this country could derive some
relief from the knowledge that an action plan is taking shape
for the systematic implementation of the LLRC recommendations.
The public was kept guessing as to what the outcome was of the
presentation of the LLRC report to the state authorities but now
we have it on the authority of Deputy External Affairs Minister
Neomal Fernando that the agencies of the state are putting their
heads together in bringing out an implementable plan on the
recommendations, many of which, we believe, merit the urgent
attention of the authorities.
It is of the first importance that there is no ambiguity in
state circles on these issues. The LLRC was established for a
clear purpose and the perception should not gain ground that the
authorities are blowing hot and cold on the LLRC
recommendations. These and kindred issues need to be cleared up
because even perceived foot-dragging could prove
The recent tensions at Dambulla were a clear proof of this.
The event proved that there is more than just a clutch of
extremists waiting to stoke and exploit tensions among
communities. The polity must ensure that the opportunities to
trigger disaffection among the communities are not offered on a
platter to hungrily lurking hard liners.
While the normalization process must be persisted with, there
needs to be a coming together of hearts and minds from all local
sections which are desirous of establishing enduring peace and
harmony. Since the silent majority is also the moral majority, a
coming together of such opinion is vitally important. Among
other things, this would help in isolating the extremists who
are in the minority in the local polity. This important majority
should make its voice clearly heard in the policy-making and
decision-making processes and thereby translate its numerical
strength into a formidable force for positive change.
There is a very unfortunate tendency for unscrupulous
politicians from all sections to exploit times of tension for
the projection of their selves in public and to translate
existing and exacerbating tensions into substantial popular
support and, eventually, votes.
This fatal tendency has cost this country very dearly and the
trend was very much to the fore in July 1983, when the worst
riots of a communal kind erupted in this country. Needless to
say, Sri Lanka is yet to recover fully from this terrible trauma
which brought upon it a plethora of divisive problems.
‘It would be a crime to seek political gain at the expense of
national reconciliation’, says Deputy Minister Faizer Mustapha
and these sentiments need to be subscribed to by the majority of
our politicians and state functionaries. Inasmuch as none has
gained from the hell- fires of 1983 and their aftermath, none
would gain by tensions of the like that erupted in Dambulla. The
reasonable sections in our midst need to speak as one man
against attempts to convert tensions among social groups into
The state is clear on the point that national reconciliation
should be speeded-up and that peace among communities must
prevail. The state is duty-bound to ensure that the prevailing
social stability is in no way undermined. It should think of
legislative and other measures to ensure that no bankrupt
elements have recourse to the ‘communal card.’
Besides, we notice that the tendency on the part of some
sections to keep the Dambulla issue alive by taking to the
streets has not ceased. Such practices too could be pregnant
with perils and we call on the authorities to do all that is
legitimate to ensure that these divisive tendencies are defused.
The Lankan polity and public need to understand, in no
uncertain terms, that this country is a home for all its
communities and social groups.
This principle could not in any way be questioned. ‘Unity in
Diversity’ is our motto and it is on this premise that this
country would forge ahead. Any attempts to violate this
postulate would be tantamount to hurtling this country in the
direction of division and discord.