There was a time in this Country when the name on practically everybody’s lips was “Prabhakaran”, There was an earlier time when it was “Wijeweera”. Still later the name on practically everybody’s lips was “Shirani Bandaranayaka”, the allegedly ‘former’ Chief Justice. Today, it is “Wigneswaran”.
Wigneswaran’s name is looked upon with horror, by one segment of the people; and with hope, by another, who regard him as a second Chelvanayagam.
Chelvanayagam, to my mind, was an avowed and unrepentant racist cum hypocrite.
I recall writing an article to the ‘Island’ way back in 2001 criticising a speech made by Mr. Justice Wigneswaran (as he then was) upon being welcomed as a Judge of the Supreme Court at a ceremonial sitting of that Court. I had no doubt from that time onwards that Wigneswaran was an out and out racist. Indeed, his recent utterances only confirmed that belief.
It is this fact that has, presumably, sent tremors down the spines of those who view his nomination as the alleged “Chief Ministerial candidate” of the TNA for the Northern Provincial Council elections with horror? If so, those people are clearly perturbed for nothing. The so called Tamil National Alliance which proposes nominating him as the alleged “Chief Ministerial candidate” (I say “alleged” because there is no provision in law for any candidate to be a “Chief Ministerial candidate”) is a racist party or a coalition of racist parties. Thus, any person whom that party nominates or hopes to put forward as the candidate to be the Chief Minister would necessarily be a racist. I, for one, am extremely happy that, that party has chosen Wigneswaran, and not some rabid and uncivilized racist.
Wigneswaran as a Judge of the Supreme Court was one who was, in my view, an exemplary Judge. He judged cases on their merits, and not according to the identities of the parties before him or their counsel.
I recall that despite my having criticised publicly, the speech he made upon being welcomed as a Judge of the Supreme Court at a ceremonial sitting of that Court, he was absolutely fair by me whenever I appeared before him thereafter.
He gave me an excellent hearing and I have nothing to urge against a single judgment given by him in any case in which I appeared before him thereafter. This is the stuff of which Judges are made and/or should be made. Wigneswaran was one who was able to and did divorce personal and/or political views from his professional judgment as a Judge of the Supreme Court.
From this point of view Wigneswaran would, in my view, be an excellent Chief Minister if a Chief Minister there must be. I cannot, even in my wildest dreams visualise Wigneswaran putting his hand in the `till’ or being party to wasting public funds by countenancing them being spent on luxuries for himself and/or the other members of the Provincial Council.
Indeed, it is my belief that except in matters relating to the alleged devolution of power, Wigneswaran would, if he is elected to office and functions as Chief Minister, set an example of what a Chief Minister or for that matter any Minister must be.
That is one side of the picture. Let us now look at the other side of the picture. Wigneswaran as I said earlier is a racist and if he was not a racist he would never have been nominated by the Tamil National Alliance, a party that espouses totally racist policies, to be its `chief ministerial candidate’. Indeed Wigneswaran, who appears to be a great admirer of Chelvanayagam, follows and/or must be presumed to follow the same racist policies as he did. It would be recalled that the TULF manifesto of 1977 which was presumably prepared and published while Chelvanayagam was still alive [he died on 26.4.1977 while the General Election was held on 21.7.1977], contained the wholly racist pronouncement that the Northern and Eastern Provinces together with the coastal area between Chilaw and Mannar are the exclusive homeland of the Tamils [not even of the “Tamil Speaking People”].
I say racist because, the word “Exclusive’’ rules out the possibility of that party visualising any portion of those parts of the country being the homeland of any person other than a Tamil, such as for example a Sinhalese or a Moor who lived there for many years, even if his ancestors had lived in that area before him. Thus, Padiyatalawa, according to the manifesto of the TULF which, no doubt, the likes of Wigneswaran follow would, according to them, be the “exclusive homeland” of those such as Sivalingam of 2nd Cross Street, Pettah but a place where Piyadasa of Bintenne would be an outsider and not have the same rights as Sivalingam in that area. The absolute racism of the TNA and hence of its Chief Ministerial candidate can also be assessed from the fraudulent pact that the racist Chelvanayagam entered into with the late Dudley Senanayake three days before Dudley Senanayake became Prime Minister in 1965.
That pact arose out of a meeting held at the house of the late Prof. M.V.P.Pieris before Dudley Senanayake became Prime Minister where Chelvanayagam pledged the support of the so -called Federal Party which he led, to the UNP to enable it to form a Government upon certain terms; and the promise of far more than a pound of flesh that Chelvanyagam succeeded in extracting from Dudley Senenayake. That promise was that in the distribution of land in the Northern and Eastern Provinces in and around any irrigation scheme, the first preference should go the landless residents of the District where the scheme was located, next to Tamils and Tamil speaking persons resident in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. Thirdly to Tamil citizens [`not Tamil speaking’ citizens or Tamils who were not citizens such as the `Estate Tamils’] who were resident in other Provinces of the country, and if there are any lands left over, to others, namely, the Sinhalese, the Moors, the Indian Tamils who were not citizens etc ! Neither Wigneswaran nor the TNA has still abandoned from any of these racist policies of Chelvanayagam.
Of course, one cannot forget the fact that Dudley Senanayake himself signed that Pact and agreed to Chelvanayagam’s terms. That was the result of a manifest weakness of Dudley Senanayake which prompted him to promise to subject the Sinhalese, Moors and Indian Tamils to unjust discrimination purely on the grounds of race for the purpose only of gaining the reins of power.
This was perhaps the one dirty thing done by Dudley Senanayake in the course of a long political career. However, to my mind this was not merely dirty, but something so utterly treacherous that it is impossible to forgive him for it. It must also be remembered that Dudley Senanayake was himself not a person who was hungry for power or sought power for its own sake. However, he clearly made the big mistake, indeed the fatal error, of not identifying who were his friends and who were his enemies. To him, the prime enemy of the country was Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike because he feared that she would bring Marxists into the Government, and to avoid that he was willing even to enter into this kind of treacherous Pact with the racist Chelvanayagam.
However, what is important now is not history, but how it is that neither Wigneshwaran nor the TNA has yet disowned any of these policies. Let us also remember that Wigneshwaran is undoubtedly a great admirer of Chelvanayagam and that one of Chelvanayagam’s basic policies according to his son-in-law Prof. A J Wilson in his political biography of Chelvanayagam was “A Little now and More later” Thus, when Wigneswaran or any member of the TNA say that all they want is federalism that is the “little now” and the “more later” can only be a separate state.
Another pronounced example of Wigneswaran’s racism lies in his oft repeated demand that our Armed Forces must vacate the Northern Province or be confined to barracks, in that it was those very Armed Forces that freed the Tamil people from bondage under the LTTE which kidnapped their children, abducted their adults, extorted money from them on a virtually daily basis and used them, regardless of age or gender as `human shields’ particularly at Mullaitivu.
The TNA did nothing to help the Tamil people in the hour of their greatest need: it was our Armed Forces that helped them under the most arduous of conditions. Now Wigneswaran, together with the TNA wants them, the only persons who served the Tamils in the hour of their greatest need to get out of the Northern Province while wanting the Tamil people to repose their trust in the TNA which, having secured seats in Parliament together with the munificent perquisites that go with them with the aid of their votes, turned their backs on them and became the obedient servants of their oppressors –the LTTE!
The deafening silence of Wigneswaran about the acts of unmitigated enmity committed by India against Sri Lanka and its people of all races is another matter worthy of consideration. Thus, despite India having trained, armed and equipped the LTTE to commit murder and mayhem in Sri Lanka; despite the LTTE having used that training and equipment to murder and maim innocent civilians of all races, genders and ages and unarmed troops; despite India having facilitated the LTTE to commit countless murders of civilians and troops including Muslim civilians praying in their Mosques, to kidnap Tamil children and use Tamil civilians as `human shields’ by overtly preventing our Armed Forces from destroying the LTTE once and for all in 1987; despite the countless atrocities committed on Tamils of the North by the Indian Army of Occupation euphemistically called the Indian Peace Keeping Force; despite thieving Indian fishermen, with the blessings of the Indian Government trespassing on our territorial waters and stealing the fish that should have constituted the `catch’ and livelihood of Tamil and Moor fishermen of our Northern and Eastern Provinces; and despite the likes of Jayalalithaa making stupid demands that our Northern Province should be robbed of a part of our territory in the form of Kachchativu island by that island being annexed to India, the normally outspoken Wigneswaran has not breathed a word against India, but on the contrary, slavishly craves further Indian interference.
Let us therefore keep all these things, both the `pros’ and the `cons’ in mind and assess the suitability of the nomination of Wigneswaran as the purported “Chief Ministerial candidate” of the TNA” in that light.
There is also one further matter that is made evident by the decision of the TNA to nominate Wigneswaran as the purported “Chief Ministerial candidate”, and that is, that Wigneswaran did not receive such nomination as a result of any significant demand for him from the people of the Northern Province. Indeed, from all accounts, the person who promoted his candidature most was R. Sampanthan, who is not even a voter of the Northern Province but a voter of the Eastern Province.
According to Wigneswaran himself he had no desire to enter politics but his decision to accept nomination was prompted by calls upon him to accept it, from lawyers, students and friends. What is significant is that that does not include the voters of the Northern Province, particularly from those of them who belong to `so called low castes.
It is certainly unlikely that they would have desired or called for a Vellala man from Manipay which is reputed to be the Mecca of Vellala Supremacists to be their Chief Minister.
These matters, therefore, raise the fundamental question which transcends the candidature of Wigneswaran, as to whether the Provincial Council system results or tends to result in the devolution of political power to the people.
COURTESY AILY MIRROR