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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2706

The art of the impossible

By A Patabendi

Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe (RW) has got his pecker up again. His timing has been painful. This was about one week before the fashion conscious Indian PM Modi’s intended visit to SL on 13 March 15.

RW forgetting he was not talking to fawning SL businessmen or the geriatrics of his party, played the hard man and said in an interview with Indian Thanthi TV as reported by the ‘Hindu’ on 6 March 15, “in some instances they (SLN) have to shoot because they (Indian fishermen) are poaching in SL waters”.

When the interviewer said “...Poaching waters, can this be punished by shooting?” RW responded with a “koheda yanne male pol’ (completely aimless if not silly answer) “Why did you pick up Italian sailors?” The interviewer nonplussed and bewildered, told him that the arrested Italian marines had shot and killed Indian fishermen.

RW then off the well worn cuff, elaborated “If someone tries to break into my house I can shoot him. If he gets killed, law allows me to do that … on fisherman issues I have strong lines…. This is our waters”. …‘You are entering into our waters. You are taking away the livelihood for our fishermen”.

Interviewer:”That can’t justify taking lives Sir”(600 fishermen killed according to the interviewer). No expression of regret by RW followed.

So breaking and entering RW’s house and Indian fishermen poaching in SL’s territorial waters and taking away the livelihood of SL’s fishermen mean one and the same thing legally to RW. It also presumably justifies shooting the offenders! Is this meant to be the new face of SL’s HR approach to titillate UNHRC ?

This is also an amazing interpretation of the right to take life in the protection of property law - for a man who has a law degree and hopes to be an executive PM. Would someone be wrong to believe this right by law extended only to burglary by night or if at other times the intent of the intruder was to cause harm (grievous hurt or death)? So a fired up RW, now no longer Leader of the Opposition but still good at tossing around law lessons to laymen, justifies killing Indian fishermen for poaching in SL’s territorial waters. How much fish is one human life, an Indian fisherman’s too, worth? Who in the North was he trying to politically impress, attract, woo? Will it win votes in April?

RW also said “In 2005 if the people of Jaffna were allowed to vote, I would have prevented what took place in 2009”.Good man RW –playing God now that the Sun God is dead. He continued “There was a deal between Rajapakse and Prabakaran. That’s well known… We would have come to a resolution”. However he gave no idea of what that resolution was to be. Thankfully our intrepid military pre empted RW’S ‘resolution’ whatsoever ‘took place in 2009’.Today people in SL have peace after 26 years of bitter conflict in which tens of thousands including 23,000 military died.

RW again “Then again Prabakaran (committed) genocide. I blame him for having destroyed, decimated the Tamil political leadership”. Should it be asked whether the latest definition of genocide by lawyer RW covers only politicians? Some would then call it a benediction even as an election looms!

RW also gave smart geography, history and cookery lessons to the Indian interviewer, even telling him that “… and of course Andhra which is in 2 places….” (Can it be?!). Actually Andhra is not and cannot be in 2 places. It has lost about 114,540 sq kms to Telangana, the 29th state of India from which it separated last year. He could not stop himself from telling the interviewer about Pandiyas, Pallavas, Sri Vijaya and Cholas adventures in SL etc. He was also told about who uses coconut oil in cooking. If all this registered with the interviewer he did not show it.

RW may do marginally better about ‘resolving’ the fishing dispute with India by reading up on his 2nd favourite country (UK) ’s Cod War with Iceland (whose income is almost totally dependent on fishing). The ‘war’ began nearly 125 years ago and lasted about 90 years. It cost both sides quite a lot of money although only about 5 lives were lost.

Alas for SL. First it was a ‘cow and calf’ jibe by JRJ, referring to Mrs. Gandhi and Mrs. Bandaranayake that led to India arming and training SL terrorists. It culminated in a virtual invasion of SL by the IPKF. Next, Rajiv’s head was nearly hit for six by a sailor at a guard of honour (1987).This was followed by Premadasa gifting weapons, ammo, money etc to Prabakaran, a sworn enemy, to fight the IPKF. The IPKF, if it was not considered an ally by most was by law an ally. There was an agreement between SL and India -even if it was forced on SL. Now (21st century) RW tops SL’s perfidy by saying it’s perfectly alright to shoot Indian fishermen in SL’s territorial waters and sadly offers no regrets at all for the 600 already killed.

Delhi if not Geneva here we come in September, naval cannon blazing to the left and then to the right, as RW thunders on quoting chapter and verse of law.

By the way Mr. Modi, Sri Lanka jana hai? Ayubowan and Vannakam if you do. When you vapas chalo to India please remember we reciprocate your good wishes for the world cup cricket. You must now know SL ‘loves’ Indians, especially its fishermen. Next month we have a General Election. SL wishes your fishermen the best of Palk Strait luck.

Jai Hind.

Poitutu varan. Come again.

- Asian Tribune -

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