Sri-Lanka Murali’s spin on Human Rights is chucking this time

By: Dr C P Thiagarajah

No one disputes Muttiah Muralitharan’s (Murali’s) slow spin balls in his international cricket matches except of course umpire Mr Hair and Ross Emerson of Australia.

Australian umpire Darrell Hair speaks Muttiah Muralitharan

Unfortunately his political spin to discredit the Tamils victims of the genocide to Hon David Cameron, Prime Minister of our beloved UK is bad chucking of a political ‘gundoo’ (an explosive ball). His “Foundation of Goodness” charity’s much admirable work with the Tsunami affected children of the Sinhala South is praiseworthy. I doubt if he contributed to the Tsunami affected Tamils of North and East where 30000 Tamils were swallowed by the giant waves. This is the highest death toll in South Asia. Recently in order to show to the world that he cares for the indigenous Tamils as well, his charity also initiated cricket games improving strategy in selected school in the North. Notwithstanding that sport work he cannot prevent the tsunami of bad critique from the North and East indigenous Tamils (by descent) of Sri-Lanka.

Murali and his parents are Tamils of Indian origin and got their citizenship by registration as stipulated in the Ceylon Citizenship Act No. 18 of 1948. This Act also known as the Indian and Pakistani citizenship Act came into force with effect from 5 August 1949.. This Act disfranchised all the Tamils of Indian origin, majority of whom worked as Tea estate coolies from British colonial times. But some estate Tamils like Murali’s father trickled down from the estates and did business in Sinhala villages. To run a successful business in a Sinhala area an Indian origin Tamil has to be submissive to the Sinhalese and show they have no tug with the indigenous or Tamils by descent from the North and East of the island. This is an endeavour, or rather an unwritten law of the Sinhala politicians to divide and rule the Tamils.

In short Tamils of Indian origin are second class citizens to the Sinhalayas and invariably many pay protection money to local Sinhala thugs and heroes. Even then when the Sinhalese get cross with these Tamils they abuse the latter in derogatory epithet like ‘Sakily Tamils’ or ‘Para demela’. ‘Sakily’ means those people who clean bucket latrines in the towns and ‘Para’ means a very low caste in the Hindu caste system. An ugly incident in a cabinet meeting was widely published in the media when president Rajapaksha’s brother, the economic development minister Basil Rajapakshe slandered an Indian origin Tamil minister, Muthu Sivalingam, ‘Para Demela’. The Tamil minister had to put up with the insult in order to cling to his ministerial post like the other 108 ministers in Mahinda Rajapakse’s giant cabinet.

Mano Ganeshan: Leader Democratic Peoples Front
This insult is in spite of Muthu Sivalingam’s party the Ceylon Workers Congress being one the constituent party of Rajapakse’s UPFA coalition government. Muthu Sivalingam did not ask for any apology from Mahinda Rajapakse for his brother’s humiliation. This is how the Tamils of Indian origin survives among the Sinhalese in the up country areas like Nuwara-Eliya and Kandy.

Therefore, Murali’s comments to Hon David Cameron that Tamils in the North and East are living in peace, contrary to the present reality, was to give support to besieged Rajapakse his benefactor. The terrible situation the Tamils in their traditional homeland (TH) faces at the moment is repression by the government Sinhala army; the ratio of army to civilian is 1:5 (according to Groundviews of 7/10/12). Every Tamil civilian is being watched by the army. The TH of Tamils is more or less a police state now. I quote part of a very good concluding paragraph in an article in Economic and Social weekly of 14 July 2012 titled Notes on the Military Presence in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province “In the Northern Province, the military presence has transformed itself into militarisation, not only because of its overwhelming presence and its imprint on the everyday life of people but also because the military is effectively engaged in governance of development, a task it is most unsuited for”.

Praba Ganeshan, MP
Murali further went on to explain his stand to forget the horrible war crimes committed by Rajapkse’s regime. In the interview with the newspaper Daily Mirror (Sri-Lanka) on 21 November he said “I told them how we were affected after the riots in 77. Our factories and houses were burnt down and we had to restart our lives again. It was difficult and painful but we forgave and forgot and then moved on”. Here is the vital clue to Sinhala hegemony and their concerted effort to impoverish the Tamil community in Sri-Lanka. If the indigenous Tamils of the North were fighting the government why should the Sinhala hoodlums riot against the Tamils of Indian origin who had no tug with the Northern Tamils? Where is democracy and the rule of law? What were the police doing without taking firm action against the hooligans? There are lots of newspaper reports that police remained passive during these Sinhala instigated riots aimed at ethnic cleansing the Tamils and crippling the prosperity of Tamils. This statement itself shows Murali’s shallowness of knowledge about the political issue that indigenous Tamils face in Sri-Lanka. The only way to find the truth to these human rights violations is to have an international inquiry. The world is a different world now and it wants reasons for HR violations and not forgiving a war criminal.

Two brothers, EX MP Mano Ganeshan and Praba Ganeshan MP who entered parliament by popular vote ridiculed Murali’s political gaffe. Mano Ganeshan when interviewed on Lankasiri radio in November 2013 said “Murali has created a wrong opinion and created a wrong debate over Cameron’s visit. He was involved in a matter in which he was not connected in any way or any understanding or knowledge of the subject. Yet he talked on it and created problems. Truly if he wanted to give prop to the government let him give a prop. We have no problem with that.---He can tell many things in praise of the government but to speak on a subject that he has no understanding and a subject that involve lots of emotions and feelings; disappeared and abducted persons, humanism. He gave out a wrong opinion on it and created a disturbed situation. It is condemnable. Therefore he should apologise to all those working for such people”.

Praba Ganeshan, according to web news Tamilwin of Friday 22 November 2013 had told the paper that he was not surprised by Murali’s opinion given to the media. Reason being that Murali has never identified himself as a Tamil to the public. Therefore it is pointless talking about his views and playing politics. When Murali was at the height of fame he never identified himself as a Tamil and never made public speeches in Tamil. He never thought about humanity and human affairs and lack feelings for humanity. He opened up to Chanel 4 in order to support the government. Praba Ganeshan has publicly apologised to the Tamil victims of war for Murali’s blunder with David Cameron.

Murali telling Cameron that Tamils in the North are living in peace is like chucking a fire-ball ball against the Tamil Nation to prop up the Sinhala president who was cornered over HR violations in the CHOGM. The real situation in Jaffna, as seen by David Cameron, is that Tamils are in a subjugated state undergoing cultural and structural genocide.

Muralitharan is a record holder in cricket. He has an unbeatable and amazing record of 800 Test wickets. Tamils are proud of him. Why degrade himself by supporting a falsehood in order to protect a war criminal? Leave the indigenous Tamils alone. They are a down trodden people at the moment. The world human rights activists are trying to get justice done to the 150000 Tamil by descent who were killed criminally-genocide. He should read the UN expert panel report and watch the Channel 4 videos to enlighten him on the subject.

If Murali wants his children to live well he should give good Karma and merit to his children. Do service to your countrymen ie Tamils of Indian origin in the estates who are still living in one-roomed household built in a line, called Lines for the last 150 years when they were brought to Sri-Lanka by the British. They cook, sleep and enjoy sexual pleasures in one room. Their prayers to their gods are also done in this room I wonder what the children do when their parents enjoy life’s pleasures.

Muralitharan should have shown these Lines to King Charles and Cameron and sought some redress through their help. The Sinhalese government is not bent on improving the Demala (Tamil) lot. It want to pressure the Indian origin Tamils through denying them basic human needs. It wants to frustrate them. Subsequently these Tamils would lose faith in themselves and fall a prey to Sinhala assimilation/absorbtion. This is violation human rights in itself.

I will give one example out of many I am fully well aware of to highlight Sinhala assimilation. There was one Ramiah who worked as kankany (supervisor of tea pluckers) in a small tea estate of 500 acres that was located among Sinhala villages in Rikillagaskada. He became a stateless person due to the Indian and Pakistani Registration Act of 1948 that denied automatic universal franchise to Indian Tamils when Ceylon gained independence. Due to this inhuman act of the Sinhalese Ramiah was forced to seek some way of survival. The easy way was to get assimilated by the Sinhalese.

A Sinhalese lady (Kandyan) called Ran Menike, was one of the tea pluckers who worked under Ramiah. Ramiah had a marriage of convenience with Ran Menike. To be respectful among the spouse’s friends and community he changed his name. He called himself Ran Banda a Kandyian Sinhala name. He was good at producing children. He begot eight children. All of them bore two names, one Tamil and other Sinhalese. While in the estate they used their Tamil names and when in the Sinhala villages they enforced their Sinhala names. Assimilation was complete. Ramiah alias Ran Banda is going strong as a Sinhalaya. I had worked in estate areas like Badulla, Agrapatana, Kotagala, Lindula, Ulapana, Nawalapitiya etc. I had attended on patients in these lines and really my heart still aches when I think of their plight; lack of basic amenities in life. Murali, do something to them through Rajapkse if you are keen on charity work. Get them adequate wages instead of holding ‘pandams’ (candles) to your Sinhala kings. Indigenous Tamils can work out their case if Tamil lackeys of Rajapakse do not interfere into their democratic civil rights. The international community is awake now and fully acknowledges the fact that war crimes did occur in May 2009 in the war against the LTTE. Mr David Cameron has as promised to British citizens flew to Sri-Lanka to attend the CHOGM and to shine the light, on Tamils plight subsequent to the war. He is a British and no Sinhalaya nor a ball spinner could distract him.

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