The importance of PSC process
Politicians never die. This statement means that incidents related to
politicians, good and bad, keep emerging from time to time. It becomes
necessary to recall incidents of the past to learn to face contemporary
When Sirimavo Bandaranaike was the Leader of the Opposition she once
said: "We can provide a solution to the terrorist problem. We are not
going to tell them (the government) the solution. We can solve it if an
opportunity is provided. We need not give solutions when they have Prime
Ministers and many powerful ministers. A solution should be found by the
people of this country." (Divaina: July 30,1986)
S J V Chelvanayakam
Minister Nimal Siripala
Bandaranaike made this statement addressing a rally in Bandaragama.
What was implied by her statement was that even if dead bodies mount
because of LTTE terrorism, even if scores of soldiers died, even if the
people were subjected to many hardships, the solution she was having in
hand will not be given. In an indirect manner, what she told the people
was either to appoint her to power or continue to suffer. This is the
political tradition of the Oppositions in our country.
But there were political parties and individuals who acted contrary
to this stance. Mahajana Party leader Vijaya Kumaratunge, Sama Samaja
Party and Community Party did not think this way. Thus, Vijaya and
several others had to lose their lives. But up to the time of death,
they did not change their political opinion. Even today there are such
people in this government.
Our thoughts run back to such incidents when we study the behaviour
of the Opposition when finding a political solution to the problem in
the North. It is more progressive than the method of the old Opposition.
It seems like Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is taking a
different approach than the traditional approach of the Opposition.
Due to the failure of the Tamil National Alliance to join the
Parliamentary Select Committee appointed to find a solution to the
problem of the North and East, it has become difficult to carry out its
The Tamil National Alliance said the reason is that the decisions
arrived at the bilateral discussions between the government and the
Tamil National Alliance were not announced. To solve the problem, the
United National Party expressed willingness to support the decisions
reached between the government and the Tamil National Alliance.
"The United National Party is willing to assure the Tamil National
Alliance that it will support all the decisions taken during the
bilateral talks held between the representatives of the government and
the Tamil National Alliance," the Opposition said in Parliament.
It became clear that the United National Party has a desire to bring
the Tamil National Alliance to the Parliamentary Select Committee and
carry forward the discussions. From the speech made in response by the
Leader of the House Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, it became clear
that the government's consent for this has been given. The government
cannot adopt a peaceful solution with only the parties that supported it
during the war. It is essential for the government to honestly get the
support of the people who want peace. In the future, the survival of
this government may depend on the national issue. This is clear from the
statements made by the leader of the Tamil National Alliance at their
National Convention in Batticaloa recently.
Parliamentarian Sambandan said: "The Tamil question has come to a new
direction and the path of non-violence will be utilized for winning the
rights of the Tamil people in the future."
Non-violence is the mechanism used by Chelvanayakams, G.G.
Ponnambalams, and later by the Amirthalingams and Sivasithambarams in
the 1950s. On the other hand, this was the nature of the struggles that
prevailed in the North prior to the emergence of the LTTE. When
non-violent and Ghandian struggles, such as, hartals etc. were staged
against governments, Western countries including the United States,
Europe and neighbouring India were with the governments in our country.
The heat of their actions was not felt by the international community
The international community did not consider such incidents as
important. The world situation then was different. There was no
separatist Tamil Diaspora comprising Tamil refugees. Even the Tamils
living in those countries at that time had no desire of segregating this
country and establishing an Eelam.
But the international community today is not like that of those days.
From the recent statement made by the British High Commissioner in Sri
Lanka, it is clear that the Western countries want to even get the army
camps removed from the North.
Parliamentary Select Committee
It maybe the plan of extremists in the North, by demanding a solution
to the national question, to drag the people to the streets through
non-violent methods. The 'Arab Spring' has taught the world that such
actions could lead to regime changes. These people are aware of this
situation. They may not need a regime change in Sri Lanka. But through
these actions they can go up to getting a separate state for the North.
A wave of demonstrations could transform it towards that direction.
It will not become practical to use fire against the Ghandian
measures of the North. If dead bodies reappear in the North following
demonstrations due to accidents or mistakes, the North will once again
march towards a dangerous direction.
At a time like that, our situation, without the support of the West,
will be horrendous. This should be clearly understood by everyone who
indulges in politics at present. We cannot say that the government does
not have this knowledge. If the issue of the Parliamentary Select
Committee is dragged further on without showing consideration to the
dangers lying ahead, it will not be helpful for the country or the