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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 113

Tamil Franchise Restoration in Sri Lanka: US talks of Colombo-Jaffna rapport

By Daya Gamage - Asian Tribune Media Note
Washington, D.C. 24 SEP. (Asiantribune.com):

Failing to acknowledge the restoration of the Tamil franchise in Sri Lanka's Northern Province as the prime move by the Rajapaksa government toward reconciliation process of ethnic groups, the United States Department State in an official statement issued Monday urged the GSL to establish a working relationship with the Northern Provincial government as a step toward reconciliation.

The U.S. which promotes democracy, rule of law, human rights and good governance worldwide, in the Monday statement, completely ignored the fact that the Tamil population in the Northern Province was denied their free expression for three decades under the brutal and ruthless autocratic rule of the LTTE led by Vellupillai Prabhaharan.

And that the Rajapaksa administration restored those inalienable rights to the nation's Tamil minority as a major step toward bringing them to the political mainstream which Prabhaharan prevented all those thirty years.

The overwhelming (beyond 77%) endorsement given by the Tamil people to the Tamil National Alliance and the very high voter turnout was a very clear indication that , except for some sporadic incidents, the Tamil people were allowed to use their franchise in a free and fair manner under largely peaceful atmosphere.
Such election incidents were reported in other two provincial election too.

But, ignoring all these strengths in Sri Lanka's democratic polity, the State Department was harping on one word that it has got used with completely out of context: Reconciliation.

The US statement read:

"The United States congratulates the people of Sri Lanka on their successful elections in three provinces on September 21. These polls were a historic first for the Northern Province since the end of decades of civil war in 2009.

"Now that the people of Sri Lanka have chosen provincial councils to represent their interests, it is incumbent upon the Government of Sri Lanka to support the new civilian leadership of the provinces. In particular, we urge the Government of Sri Lanka to take advantage of this opportunity to expand efforts toward greater reconciliation by working with the newly elected Northern Provincial Council."

Obviously the State Department took the cue from the statement made by TNA's Chief Ministerial candidate Justice Wigneswaran at Sunday's press conference held in Jaffna following his party's landslide victory:

“It is not a symbolic victory for the Tamils, it is a symbolic victory for the Sinhalese and for the government. Because, for the first time, they seem to be really coming to terms with the fact that the people of the North have certain individuality of their own and that they would like those to be taken into consideration and that is why they have given such a vast majority for our party. So, this is a matter that actually concerns the government and the Sinhala people as to come to a conclusion as to whether they are prepared to live with us in peace, handing over to us powers, which are legitimately ours, reasonable powers which stands in line with the international covenants and if they come to that conclusion then there is no need for us to worry because then there would be easy agreement as to how we should work this out. So, it all depends on the government as to what steps they want to take in the light of such vast majority given by the people of the North in this election”

Colombo's American Embassy is always swift in apprising Washington's South Asia Bureau through its cable traffic about the ground situation in Sri Lanka and developments. The State Department, which did not hold its daily media briefing on Monday, used the contents of the political cables dispatched from Colombo following the development in the Northern Provincial election to issue a special note.

And obviously Justice Wigneswaran's Jaffna statement to the media was one that helped the department to issue the special note emphasizing 'reconciliation and working with Jaffna'.

- Asian Tribune -

Tamil Franchise Restoration in Sri Lanka: US talks of Colombo-Jaffna rapport
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