COLOMBO: Gopalkrishna Gandhi, a former High Commissioner of India in Sri Lanka, has urged Lankan leaders, not to spurn and disappoint moderate Tamil leaders who, braving threats of elimination from Tamil extremists, have advocated a united Lanka in which the Tamil minority can live alongside other communities enjoying equal rights.
“If the Ponnambalams and Chelvanayakams had not been disappointed, spurned and marginalized, Velupillai Pirbakaran would not have been required. We may not have those great leaders today, but we have in the Tamil leaders of Sri Lanka today, let us not forget, persons who have survived terror. The Tamil nationalist who has striven to find political solutions within a united Sri Lanka is a terror survivor. The very presence of such a politician is a huge acknowledgement of the efficacy and strength of perseverance,” Gandhi said in his keynote address at an event to mark the first anniversary of the Maithripala Sirisena regime here on Friday.
“The Tamil Lankan who is a constitutionalist, a parliamentarian, and believer in a united and just Sri Lanka, must not be disappointed, spurned. The old vicious circle must not be repeated. An early and sincere meeting of Lankan Tamil aspirations is non-optional. Sri Lanka must do all it can to prevent new disappointments, new spurnings, new marginalizations, to lead to a revival of the Eelam goal which lurks in the Tamil Diaspora’s alienated mind. A return to vengeful violence, in some new second coming, and its twin, hideous repression, would be disastrous,” Gandhi said.
The new constitution that Lanka is working on, should have a “federal spirit within a unitary system,” the former envoy said. He advocated the use of the India-Sri Lanka Accord-inspired devolution package enshrined in the 13 th. Constitutional Amendment. According to him, “there cannot be a better anchor for the ship of Sri Lanka’s unity than that Indo-Lankan Accord, even as there can be no truer friend of a united Sri Lanka than a reassured India.”
While urging the majority Sinhalese to give up “majoritarianism” Gandhi appealed to the Tamils to give up “Tamil racism and minorityism”. The Tamils must realize that just as it is hurting to be a “spurned” Northern Tamil, it is equally hurting to be a “scorned” Southern Sinhalese, he said.