After India's recent ‘unexpected' vote against Colombo at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, newspaper columns in Sri Lanka have contended that the relations between the two countries have touched the lowest point.
And now, a Sri Lankan Minister has joined the ranks of these columnists.
“By voting against Sri Lanka, India has not only dealt a killer blow to India-Sri Lanka relations, but also to reconciliation efforts between Sinhalese and Tamils. This in turn is akin to committing an act of diplomatic hara-kiri, as both Tamil fascism and Western imperialism — which India is attempting to protect through its actions — are the real enemies of India,” Patali Champika Ranawaka wrote in the Nation newspaper on Sunday in an article titled ‘Why India voted against Sri Lanka.' He has repeatedly made statements against India.
Days of friendship
Recalling how India stayed firmly behind Sri Lanka in the closing stages of the war in 2009, despite considerable pressure from political parties in Tamil Nadu, the Minister, who is in-charge of Electricity, said, “India's action at the UNHRC clearly has nothing to do with the threats coming from Tamil Nadu.”
It was also not motivated by India's desire to protect human rights, given its own record, he argued.
The Minister touched upon the story that indicated that Congress president Sonia Gandhi became highly distressed after seeing a picture of the body of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam chief Prabakaran's younger son, Balachandran, but stops short of accusing her of being the deciding factor in the Indian vote going the other way.
Another English language newspaper, Lakbima News, has quoted the former Attorney General, Mohan Peiris, as saying that Sri Lanka had fulfilled all the promises that it made in 2009.
“We had a resolution in 2009; we made certain pledges in 2009 and we delivered on those pledges,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.
This, in essence, is where the contradiction lies. Both Mr. Ranawaka and Mr. Peiris — like countless others in the Sri Lankan establishment — have constantly held that Sri Lanka has delivered on the promises that it made in 2009. The United Nations, the United States, India, Great Britain and many other European powers insist that this is not true.
Sri Lanka is yet to deliver on any promise made on political autonomy, and even provincial elections have not been held in the Northern Province, a diplomat said.