The Sinhalese leadership's reluctance to end the political stranglehold exercised by themselves so far is the fundamental cause of ethnic tensions in Sri Lanka, said the Northern Provincial Council Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran.
Mr Wigneswaran noted that the UN Special Rapporteur on Truth, Justice, Reparations and Guarantees of Non Recurrence had also made similiar observations during his time working on Sri Lanka and the reconciliation process.
Stressing the need to enlist international pressure to ensure the rights of the Tamil people , the chief minister said,
“The International pressure politically should mount too. We must try to obtain our rights under the International Laws. At the same time it is desirable that we must enlist the support of our Sinhalese brethren who are supportive of our causes to bring about change in the thinking of our Buddhist Sinhalese leaders.”
Lamenting Sri Lanka’s inability to even repeal the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act eight years since the end of the armed conflict, Mr Wigneswaran said the Tamil community “must try to obtain our rights under International Laws."
Mr Wigneswaran added that history showed Sinhala leaders had repeatedly been reluctant to tangibly devolve powers despite forming agreements with the Tamil community.
“Even if the Sinhalese leadership concedes to grant some powers to the Tamils it will wriggle out of its obligations in no time. What happened to the Banda-Chelva Pact and Dudley-Chelva Pact and such other Agreements would be reenacted again or what happened to the North –East merger after 18 years would happen belatedly,” he said.
“It is their reluctance to share such power which is the fundamental cause for our communal impasse. There is a misapprehension that has engulfed the Sinhalese political leadership. They feel that what has been obtained by in whatsoever dubious means if shared would lead to the destruction of the entire Sinhalese Buddhist race. Hence they would try to jealously guard their political hegemony over the entire country,” added the Chief Minister.
Mr Wigneswaran stressed that a primary cause of the inability to meet Tamil aspirations was the Sinhala leaderships failure and reluctance to highlight that “granting internal self-determination to the Tamils does not bring any disadvantages to the Sinhala Buddhists but only advantages.”
Mr Wigneswaran was speaking in Tamil during a weekly interview with media in Jaffna. The translations are obtained from Colombo Telegraph.