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Thursday, 27 June 2013

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WHAT ACCORD?

India underwrote the Indo-Lanka Accord in the interests of justice, democracy and the ennobling values of fairplay in Sri Lanka writes M. A. Sumanthiran TNA MP, with reference to the government's planned amendments to the 13th Amendment to the constitution. He is loud and clear -- he implies by this logic that India is the guarantor of democratic values in the region.

If that is so, India must be even handed in upholding those 'values' but India's own celebrated intellectuals such as Arundathy Roy say that in Kashmir the Indian government has ridden roughshod over those values.

She says the Indians tortured -- yes tortured -- upwards of 1000 people in Kashmir to put down the rebellion, and she adds that Kashmir's people are oppressed and denied their just rights by the Indian state.

There are many other eminent Indian writers such as Sanjay Kak who share in those sentiments.

Curious then that India the guarantor of 'freedom and democracy' for Sri Lankans cannot ensure that those values are sustained back home, for the benefit of Indians, not forgetting that Kashmiris are Indians too.

People such as Sumanthiran plainly put -- should stop talking through their hat. Indian intervention in Sri Lanka had much to do with regional realpolitik, and it is pertinent to remember that all major newspapers in the West such as the New York Times and the Washington Post editorialized against the Indian incursion/adventure at that time. Dr Susantha Gunatilleke reminded readers about it recently quoting chapter and verse, writing to this newspaper.

Justice would have been done much faster with respect to minority Tamils if the Indians had not done what they did and conjured up the Indo-Lanka Accord which stalled the military operation against the Tamil Tigers.

Those who try to sanitize the past with regard the Indo-Lanka Accord seek to make Sri Lanka appear a satrapy of India, but their slip shows when their true motives are revealed for what they are. They want to stymie legitimate constitutional change which if carried out would reflect the wishes of the mass of people that elected the government to power.

Framing the issue as one of justice and freedom would not do when India simply cannot live up regionally to that reputation, even assuming it was acceptable for a larger neighbour to police a smaller one. People who purport to be experts on these things should think about those perspectives before they seek to bamboozle the people with their petty excuses for seeking Indian stewardship on what are after all strictly domestic issues by any yardstick.

As lawyer S. L. Gunasekera pointed out recently in a commentary, the Indo-Lanka Accord has for long been a dead letter. Not even Shivashankar Menon will attempt to assert otherwise unless he deliberately wants to look rather sheepish.

The accord was a contract that was breached and now since that much is clear, the Sumanthirans of this world desperately want to frame the issue in a different way to show that India somehow plays a role as a moral force for change -- when they know that under the circumstances of regional realpolitik nothing could be further from the truth, to put it as gently as possible.

India's 'truth and justice' record in Kashmir was so bad that the country had to stave off a resolution in the UN Human Rights Council -- in case Mr. Sumanthiran was not aware of the fact. The staving off was possible as India commands more heft as a regional and ultimately a global player than most other nations, but that does not detract from the fact that India cannot aspire to be a moral force for change in the region with a record that is questioned in the UN Human Rights Council. As for Sumanthiran, well that's another matter. To put it succinctly, he sounds pompous as usual, and typically out of this depth.

Kuruvita’s island feats: AMAZING LANKA

Chef Peter Kuruvita tells Nur Aqidah Azizi what’s cooking on his new show, which started recently:

Sri Lanka is an amazing island. Thirty years ago it was a massive tourist destination and then a horrible war that killed nearly half a million people basically froze the place, and it stopped where it stood 30 years ago. Now it’s opened up and it is one of the most diverse islands in the world. It has everything. Some of the best surf breaks, to high, cold mountainous regions, waterfalls and beaches,

Full Story

In Focus

Life Abroad – Part 32:

Old country

Revisiting my old haunts has been a tremendous experience starting from a weird encounter at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo where a panicked passenger on Flight WY 0372 on May 26, 2013 had removed my baggage inadvertently after going through the security screening machine before I could pick my bags.

Full Story

 

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