Justice Wigneswaran delivers ITAK’s Chelva Memorial Lecture
Marking the 36th death anniversary of S.J.V. Chelvanayagam Q.C., Justice C.V. Wigneswaran delivered this year’s Thanthai Chelvanayagam Memorial Lecture, titled “Whither Sri Lankan Tamils,” at the New Kathiresan Hall in Colombo on Friday. The Lecture was organised by the Colombo District Branch of the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK), formerly known in English as Federal Party and is currently the leading constituent party of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA). Justice Wigneswaran’s lecture gains significance, as there are speculations about TNA fielding him as Chief Minister in the Geneva Resolution-urged Northern Provincial Council elections. Despite logic and eloquence in aptly bringing out the cause of Tamils, the lecture was ultimately reeking of the agenda of India and the USA, political observers in the island commented.
Justice Wigneswaran compared the non-implementation of the 13th Amendment by Colombo to the abrogation of the Banda-Chelva pact and the Dudley-Chelva pact.
He brought out the history of cheat committed on Tamils, once the Sinhala leaders achieved their purposes in the past with the help of Tamils. He traced it back to the times of Sir P. Arunachalam. “Muslims are the latest group of minorities taught that lesson,” he said.
According to him, the SL government is reluctant to hold the provincial elections for the North, even four years after the war, because of the fear that a democratically elected PC would affect the powers of the “Central Government.” He used the federal terminology, Central Government, even though the PC model created under a unitary constitution doesn’t justify it.
There was also a luring hint in his lecture that a democratically elected Northern PC could call for the withdrawal of the Governor coming from the SL military service, and the PC could also call for garrisoning the SL military in barracks.
The Eastern Provincial Council elections took place in May 2008. The USA and India blessed it.
Every one knows the extent of ‘democratic’ manipulations, militarisation, colonisation and the accelerated structural genocide that have taken place in the East under the ‘democratically’ elected Eastern Provincial Council in the last five years.
But no one asks the USA and India about their logic behind sticking to the same model for the North too, and their logic in internationally binding the solutions to Tamils to the PC election, even in forums like the UNHRC, commented Tamil alternative political activists in the island.
Wigneswaran was briefing the history of cheat faced by Tamils, every time after the Sinhala polity fulfilled its agenda. But are we not going to learn from it in facing today’s context of possible cheat coming from the USA and India, once their agenda is fulfilled after making Tamils agree to their ‘reconciliation’ deception, the political activists in the island asked.
While there is a powerful demand from several quarters for the IC to bring in an internationally organised interim administration for Eezham Tamils in the island, in order to stop the on-going structural genocide, TNA parliamentarian Mr. Suresh Premachandran was demanding ‘international monitoring’ of the Northern PC elections.
Justice Wigneswaran implying positively on the Northern PC has to be read along with Suresh Premachandran’s call for international monitoring, political observers said.
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Justice Wigneswaran was logical and eloquent on the cause of Tamils in the island. Tamils in the island were never a minority, but were made a minority, he said.
“It was when the evil genius of a foreign conqueror subdued the whole island with its separate and sovereign people, pulled down age-old national frontiers and for no other reason than his own ‘supervisory convenience’ made the island a single political and administrative unit that the Tamils became a minority […],” he cited M. Vythilingam.
He cited Chelvanayagam talking of “genocide against the Tamils,” in 1974 itself to the CHOGM delegates who had come to Colombo.
In his lecture, Justice Wigneswaran brought out the entire dimensions of the past and present genocide as well as the future agenda of the Sinhala polity in a nutshell.
He also asserted on historical sovereignty and remedial sovereignty of Tamils, even though he has not mentioned them by name.
He cautioned the Sri Lankan State that, “The very repression adopted to prevent a clamour for separation, might give rise to the International Community becoming convinced that separation is the only solution to the Group affected. The ground situation could convince them that external self determination is to be preferred to internal self determination in the light of what they observe.”
Gaining the confidence of the majority community by the tactic of denouncing separatism has not worked, he said citing especially the current plight of Muslims. He said that he fully endorses the view of the TNA in not joining the bandwagon in a Parliamentary Select Committee for talks without working documents to start with.
Justice Wigneswaran was saintly in talking on the unity of Tamil people, unity of Tamil political parties, exclusivism that relegated an inferior and insulting position to a section of our people, the Karmig boomerang, collective approach, engaging with the Sinhalese people to educate them on shared history and on the injustices meted out to Tamils etc.
He made a valuable observation on accepting the injustice caused to the Muslims and forging solidarity with them.
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However, the latter part of the lecture of Justice Wigneswaran implied that he was telling all the above just for the ‘reconciliation’ process with non-descript solutions and without bearings, alternative Tamil political activists in the island commented.
Further comments from them follow:
The only well-defined bearing in the lecture was once again ‘treading the failed beaten path’ shown by the Establishments in retaining the unity of the State in the island.
But he was critical of Tamils bent on continuing to tread the beaten path and one of them was the path of separatism.
He was careful in avoiding the word Eezham and was asserting to the identity “we Sri Lankan Tamils,” while in his ancestral district Trincomalee the occupying Sinhala military was assaulting people of the village Ilangkaith-thu’rai for even uttering the word Ilangkai in the name of their village; demanding them to say “Lanka-patuna” instead.
Like the ICG reports, he detracted the diaspora polity. He implied scepticism on expecting anything positive from the feelings prevailing in Tamil Nadu.
Pre-empting any mobilisation of masses addressing against the ultimate culprits, he painted a rosy picture that the International Community has just now only realised the diabolical and double-tongued nature of Colombo’s polity.
Detracting Tamils from internationalising their cause for liberation, he was harping on agitations for internal self-determination.
He called for the diaspora to contribute to ‘development’.
He was talking of meeting legal challenges faced by affected individuals, challenging illegal state ventures, seeking justice for those who lost all during the war, pursuing accountability of those who caused it etc., and ‘internationalising’ only such issues.
Encouraging Tamils to fight by counting trees, but politically tiring them by giving time and space to the Sri Lankan State to create more trees, ultimately to make Tamils to compromise with the larger issue of their own structural genocide is the on-going game now, commented the political activists, citing that all what was said in the latter part of the Justice’s lecture was nothing but what the Establishments that waged the war against Eezham Tamils had told them after the war.
The Lecture only shows that in his intellectual prowess, skills and approach, the Colombo-born-bred and educated retired Justice Wigneswaran could easily surpass any one currently in the TNA, or for that matter any one currently ‘articulating’ in the diaspora polity, in insinuating Tamils with the agenda of the Establishments, the alternative political activists further commented.