Facebook icon
Twitter icon
e-mail icon

Economy cannot flourish without justice for genocide - Shritharan tells parliament

Leader of the lankai Thamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK) Sivagnanam Shritharan speaking to parliament told the house that “Sinhalese leaders waged a war against their own brethern and turned into a genocide," adding "in a country where justice does not prevail, the economy cannot flourish”.

Shritharan referring to Sri Lankan president Ranil Wickremasinghe’s speech in parliament said the president spoke squarely on the economy as if there are no other issues prevailing on the island. He faulted successive governments citing that they borrowed heavily to strengthen the army but struggled to pay it back 

“You turned the war into a genocide and the world is asking that it be investigated. People continue to search for the victims of enforced disappearances. Even today they don't have an answer to this question,” he told the house. “The tears of those people and their miserable lives continue to be meaningless in this country. In such a situation when justice doesn't prevail, the country is in deep economic crisis.”

He said that Sinhalese leaders must try to ascertain the cause of the problems and work towards resolving them. “You are speaking about the economic issues now but for the last 80 years, there have been issues in areas where Tamils live that are yet to be addressed.”

“There’s no obstacle to building a Buddhist Vihara in this country, there’s enough money and there’s widespread support to grab lands belonging to Tamils for this purpose,” he said. Shritharan referred to the army calling it “bloated” adding that the size of the army should be comprabale to size of the country’s economy and only when there’s an economy that is pluralistic with a mindset of respect for all its ethnicities, can it flourish.

“When the Tamil nation comes to the fore, you will be able to build up the economy of this country but in the present day, the identity of the Tamil nation that is living alongside you is being destroyed, their thoughts, their demands, their race is rejected,” he added.

The newly elected ITAK leader said the leaders of this country should prioritise a political solution to the Tamils concerning their Tamil aspirations before anything else. “There was nothing about these issues referenced in the President’s speech. He is talking about the economy as if no other problems persist. The fact that he didn't speak about it, is another act to hoodwink the Tamils.”

He told the house that all or any attempts to talk about social cohesion have been completely shut off. He said that this has been the practice of successive governments who’ve disregarded every agreement that the Tamils entered into. “All leaders in the past have taken this same path. It's like we’ve been pushed away and there’s no need to entertain a thought about us. This is very sad.”

Shritharan said that it took the country an aragalaya to realise that from the ground up, the sentiments of the people and the changes it can bring. “I ask you to go to the Passport office at 4 am and see for yourself how many people queue up and wait up until night time just so they can get a passport to leave this country," he said. "Their hearts have been hardened.”

“The leaders of this country cannot fix the economy, cannot fix the law, neither are they law-abiding and nor can they even educate the people on their rights,” he concluded. “Year after year, awards and medals are given to those who fought the war but the families of the missing continue to search for their loved ones.”

We need your support

Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist. Tamil journalists are particularly at threat, with at least 41 media workers known to have been killed by the Sri Lankan state or its paramilitaries during and after the armed conflict.

Despite the risks, our team on the ground remain committed to providing detailed and accurate reporting of developments in the Tamil homeland, across the island and around the world, as well as providing expert analysis and insight from the Tamil point of view

We need your support in keeping our journalism going. Support our work today.

For more ways to donate visit https://donate.tamilguardian.com.