Asked to respond to a poster campaign by the National Movement Against Terrorism (NMAT) calling for the “annihilation” of “white Tigers, media Tigers, leftist Tigers,” Champika Ranawaka, Minister Environment and Natural resources, endorsed the hardline Sinhala organisation’s message, saying if the law can’t crush such traitors, it must be done another way.
The poster in question, plastered in several parts of Colombo and the Sinhala south, exhorts the people to identify and annihilate those opposed to the government’s military drive.
|President Rajapakse (r) and Champika Ranawaka, one of his closes advisors. Photo Daily Mirror.|
Ranawaka, known to be a close associate and advisor to President Mahinda Rajapakse, emphatically endorsed its message.
“I am not a member of the National Movement Against Terrorism (NMAT). However, I am totally in agreement with the poster.”
“Who the hell are these so called journalists in Sri Lanka? Who are these ‘Tamil Youth’? There are no such people. They are all NGO scum who depend on foreign money.”
“What these newspapermen are doing is the selling this country to Tigers under the guise of peace and anti-war.”
“We know about Ravaya and we know what Ravaya is up to. We know that Ravaya sheds tears when Tamils get killed,” he said, using a derogatory term for Tamils.
“This is the same thing done by the bunch of so called Leftists.”
“Nothing can be done because of the wild ass freedom in this country. If these treacherous bastards cannot be crushed by the law of the country, whatever possible method should be employed. Yes!”
“If those can't be dealt with existing laws we know how to do it. If we can't suppress those bastards with the law we need to use any other ways and means, Yes”.
“Of course, people will die. What can we do about it? Are you asking us to leave them alive? These are traitors to the nation!”
“Here, this is what I am saying. If not by poster, we should use other methods to annihilate them. That is why I say that I agree to this poster politically.”
Patali Champika Ranawaka belongs to the ultra-nationalist monk’s party, the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU).
In January, the JHU joined President Mahinda Rajapakse’s government, adding its nine MPs to the ruling coalition giving the latter a majority in the 225 seat Parliament.
In the past, Ranawaka has also expressed anti-Semitic statements comparing Tamils to the Jews and ahs been advocate of ‘Aryan Sinhalese supremacy’.
Minister Ranawaka’s comments were condemned by a group of prominent Sri Lankan media associations saying it “violates basic and inviolable principles of public office and grossly irresponsible for a member of parliament.”
The Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association (SLWJA), Federation of Media Employees Trade Union (FMETU), Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum (SLMMF), Sri Lanka Tamil Journalists Alliance (SLTJA) and Free Media Movement (FMM) signed a statement demanding a clarification.
The media groups condemned the minister for backing the elimination of “those the JHU and NMAT perceive to be aiding and abetting the cause of the LTTE, including all pro-peace civil society activists and media activists.”
“Champika Ranawaka has himself as well through his political party named dozens of prominent human rights and media rights activists, journalists and civil society leaders as terrorists on many occasions in the past,” they said.
“We request all local and international rights and media organisations, as well as the democratic forces within the Government, to be vigilant in a context of heightened threats towards human rights and media freedom activists.”