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JVP - the patriotic farce

JVP has come out with true colours with their withdrawal from the Government after giving an ultimatum to the President to withdraw the P-TOMS. They have done this after all their big wigs made repeated pronouncements to the public that they would never allow a rift within the UPFA and bring about the down fall of the Government.

All their recent actions have proved that they have not shed their undemocratic and violent manipulations, though they profess to be ardent followers of democracy and are dedicated to ensure the rights of minorities. It is obvious that they are engaged in a double game.

On the P-TOMS issue they are not prepared to listen to the majority view, when the two major political parties support the said mechanism. In contrast, the JVP wants the withdrawal of P-TOMS to safeguard the interests of the majority Sinhala race. This line of action also nullifies the rights of the minority Tamil and Muslim communities in the North-East as P-TOMS is designed to ensure equitable distribution of aid and resources to the two most devastated areas.

Many people, specially the young who have forgotten or are not aware of the past actions of the JVP, keenly supported the formation of the UPFA as they strongly believed that it will take the country forward through united effort of the progressive forces. But unfortunately this was not to be. The JVP going back on all their promises shattered the hopes of the large majority of people and has exposed the Government to the risk of collapse.

The few who care to follow the actions of different political parties in Sri Lanka over the past several decades are well aware of how they acted on issues of national importance and how those actions brought about prolong misery to the minorities and disaster to the nation.

We are aware, how the JR-Premadasa regime handled the issue of minorities after winning a 5/6 th. majority in Parliament. Their actions set in motion a series of events that culminated in an unending war and an impasse that is unlikely to overcome in the near future, even after two decades of destruction and loss of human life in thousands.

We could still remember how the JVP teamed up with the Premadasa faction of the UNP against the Indo-Lanka Accord and went on a destruction spree, burning hundreds of buses and many more public properties. Their patriotic opposition to the Accord in 1987 commenced with a brutal blow to the head of the Indian Prime Minister - Rajiv Gandhi and extended to several years, engulfing the country in total anarchy and terror.

The country was turned into a killing field with Government and JVP killer squads going at each other at a rapid pace. Many innocent people, some with high reputation lost their lives.

Vijaya Kumaratunga, Prof, Stanley Wijesundera, Premakeerthi de Alwis, Sagarika Gomez, Nandalal Fernando, Harsha Abeywardena were some of them. This period of terror also claimed the life of their own leader - Rohana Wijeweera and that of several leading figures of the JVP.

As the party was facing total annihilation, its present leader escaped to a western country to take refuge under a socio-political system that the JVP has sworn to eliminate. The estimated loss to the country as a result of patriotic actions of the JVP - Premadasa combine ran into millions as large number of government property, specially AGA offices, Court Houses and vehicles were burnt or destroyed.

Though, the so called Patriots launched a massive agitation campaign against the Indo-Lanka Accord, as stated above, the Accord did not divide the country nor did it give a special recognition to the LTTE internationally.

In this regard, it is important to stress that the agitation of the UNP-JVP combine against the presence of the Indian Peace Keeping Force and its final dispatch back to India by President Premadasa, deprived the opportunity to capture Prabakaran. Establishment of Provincial Councils was another area that the JVP strongly opposed. But now they are keenly involved in the very same Councils' even going to the extent of laying down conditions and ultimatums to fulfil a better service to the people.

In this context it is pertinent to recall that the JVP took an unprecedented step to protect democracy in Sri Lanka by threatening to kill persons who cast their votes at the first Provincial Council Elections. They also launched another patriotic drive in the height of their campaign under the 'Deshapremi Janatha Viyaparaya' banner, with orders to members of the security forces to resign or face death, for committing the sin of protecting the legally constituted government and the sovereign state of Sri Lanka including its territorial integrity.

Old habits die hard, the JVP has once again started to beat the same old patriotic drum against the P-TOMS. In their agitation, they have not forgotten to bring forth the Indian invasion theory too, as we see in their recent posters. Wijeweera called it Indian expansionism.

Any one with an iota of knowledge is aware of the importance of India in settling this conflict. Time will prove that the P-TOMS is a harmless arrangement but it is doubtful whether it will bring about the desired results knowing well the efficiency displayed in implementing such projects in Sri Lanka and the possible sabotage by interested parties which include the JVP, JHU and the SLMC.

Tsunami victim survived only on coconuts for 25 days

Waving a flag made of his clothes a tsunami victim Michael Mangal dressed only in his underwear, had been rescued after surviving for 25 days only on coconut fruit and drinking its water on a flattened island in India's Andaman and Nicobar archipelage. The tale of survival reached Port Blair, the capital and the region's only city on Saturday January 22 as the authorities slowly established normal communication links with far away island.

A total of 1899 people were declared dead across the Andaman and Nicobar islands following December 26 tsunami and at least 5553 were missing. Hope had run out for the untraced people. But on Saturday January 22, 2005, officials on Campbell Bay island reported that a Nicobarese man named Michael Mangal had been spotted on deserted Pillow Panja island on January 19 wearing underwear and waving a flag made from rest of his clothes.

Mangal was sucked into the sea when the first tsunami wave retreated, but an even bigger second wave dumped him back on the shore. However he found no one else had survived from his village.

Injured and desperate he survived for next 25 days only on coconuts before being rescued. The survivor had been eating coconut fruit and drinking its water for 25 days.

Many Asians are fortunate that amid the devastation that occurred in their lives on December 26, 2004 as a result of the tsunamis, the fallen coconuts helped them survive those first few days with so much of death and disease around them. Medical teams rushing into such areas would be wise to include coconuts and coconut oil with their boxes of medicines.

Reference - Associate Press January 22, 2005

Ethical policy index - why not?

Your editorial, inspired by the importance of P-TOMS, of July 5 on the above subject advocates that "policies and practices of important entities, such as states and even non-state actors, need to conform to an Ethical Policy Index, if the world is to experience a degree of peace and security".

The Ethical Policy Index, recommended first in January 2004 by Dr. Jayantha Dhanapala was to be based on the six values set out in the Millennium Declaration of Heads of Governments in 2000 -Freedom, Equality, Solidarity, Tolerance, Respect for Nature and Shared Responsibility.

The trouble with an Index is that it exhibits one selected aspect of the 'entity's' performance. An Ethical Policy Index would exhibit the 'entity's Ethical Policy. And since Policy is usually high and performance low, why not have an Ethical Performance Index. Many other indices, such as in Economics and in Health, are not policy indices but performance indices.

So far as the people coming under the state or non-state actors are concerned, the primary requirement is that their basic needs are met (food and water, clean air, sleep, shelter, clothing, health, psychological needs), what we would welcome is a periodical statement by the relevant Ministry of the achievements as well as the failures in the supply of each of these needs.

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