Chennai: Within hours of Gotabaya Rajapaksa getting sworn in as president of Sri Lanka, the Rajapaksas got down to serious business in dealing with Big Brother up north by telling the pro-LTTE parties in Tamil Nadu to talk sense or just shut up.
While these Tamil Nadu parties termed as 'unfortunate' the election of Gotabaya as president -- some of them even said it would be dangerous for Tamils in the northern province as he would resume his state-sponsored violence against the minorities, particularly because they had voted against him and in favour of the rival Sajith Premadasa in a big way -- Namal Rajapaksa, MP and son of SLPP strongman and former president Mahinda Rajapaksa issued a statement telling Tamil Nadu politicians to stop issuing "such self-centric and opportunistic statements" and focus instead on helping uplift the lives of Sri Lankan Tamils.
Namal's two-page statement on Tuesday was significantly in Tamil and it simply tore into MDMK leader Vaiko, VCK chief Thol. Thirumavalavan and PMK founder Dr S Ramadoss for their hostile response to his uncle Gotabaya's victory.
"Some of the leaders in Tamil Nadu have never thought positively and constructively about the welfare of Sri Lankan Tamils. On the other hand, they have used them as mere tools to further their opportunistic political agenda…. the statements by Vaiko, Thirumavalavan, and Ramadoss criticising Gotabaya's election is nothing but an attempt to create further rift," said Namal, a rising star in the Lankan political arena.
Most Tamils in Sri Lanka and also here in Tamil Nadu are apprehensive about Gotabaya's future actions since he had been at the helm as defence secretary when the Lankan Army decimated the LTTE and killed its leader Velupillai Pirabhakaram to end the 30-year Eelam war in May 2009.
Namal in his statement recalled the visit to Sri Lanka by a delegation of Tamil Nadu leaders, including Thirumavalavan, after the war and pointed out that they not only visited the north and the east but had engaged with the leadership (Mahinda) and saw for themselves the various initiatives taken to help the minorities in the post-conflict scenario.
"The new President and the new government being formed will always work with good intentions and in a transparent manner. I appeal to political leaders in Tamil Nadu to stop criticising the President and think constructively about welfare of Sri Lankan Tamils," Namal said.
While Namal's statement may seem bluntly brutal against the pro-LTTE parties and leaders in Tamil Nadu, it must also be seen as a clear attempt to reach out to the rest of the Tamil community-both within Sri Lanka and outside-that the new regime under Gotabaya and Mahinda (he is all set to become the Prime Minister after the Parlaiment poll expected early next year) would do its best to set things right in the north and east in the island nation.
The statement, obviously drafted under the supervision of Mahinda Rajapaksa, could also be an instrument for India to review its Lankan policy and correct the flaws by reaching out to the Rajapaksas.
The north and eastern provinces had voted overwhelmingly for Gotabaya's rival, Sajith Premadasa, in the Presidential election....