Monday, 29 June 2020 06:47

Voters must keep eye on big picture: MR

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday called on the public to keep the “big picture” in mind when voting at the General Elections, faulting the Opposition for what he termed as “questionable actions” in persecution of nationalist politicians, signing agreements negative to the country and paving the way for foreign interference in Sri Lanka in the past five years.

Speaking at an event yesterday, Rajapaksa said that the actions of the previous Government, its reconciliation efforts including attempts to formulate a new Constitution, were deeply problematic and were only stopped with the Presidential Election in 2019. He insisted that the Government was seeking a two-thirds majority to establish a strong rule that would be able to bring these “foreign and domestic conspiracies” to a halt completely.

“The situation that prevailed in this country following the assumption of power by the Yahapalana Government in 2015 was akin to having been taken over by a hostile foreign invading force. They systematically persecuted the nationalist political camp in this country.

“They jailed leading Buddhist monks on trumped up charges in order to intimidate the Maha Sangha which has always been at the forefront in protecting the sovereignty of this country. They went after the elephants and tuskers belonging to the temples in a major way, in order to put an end to the perahera traditions of the Buddhists.”

“They moved to demoralise and render ineffective our armed forces which defeated terrorism and ensured the territorial integrity of the country. Selected members of the armed forces ranging from the lowest ranks right up to the Chief of Defence Staff were arrested, kept in jail for weeks, months or years and cases were filed against them on trumped up charges.

“The intention behind all this was to create the impression in the minds of the local population and also to convey to the world the idea that these were not war heroes but thieves and murderers,” he said.

Rajapaksa went on to severely criticise Sri Lanka’s co-sponsored Human Rights Council resolution, the establishment of the Office of Missing Persons and other reconciliation efforts. He also attempted to downplay the recent controversial comments of Karuna Amman pointing out that the United National Party (UNP) had also undertaken questionable actions in 1989 and argued that while Karuna Amman has given up killing people, the UNP had not given up its attempts to divide the country.

He also said issues such as social distancing at Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) leader Arumugam Thondaman were “minor” points and it was important for voters to distinguish between the two.

“My request to the people of Sri Lanka is to always have the broader picture in mind when it comes to politics. Given the threats we are up against, we will be destroyed if we fail to distinguish between what is politically important and politically unimportant.

“Various things can be said about the question whether social distancing was observed in the proper manner at Arumugam Thondaman’s funeral or whether someone had been guilty of fixing a cricket match back in 2011. However these are not politically important matters.”

“If we allow ourselves to be distracted and forget the broader picture even for a moment, the consequences could be disastrous. That is why I always stress the importance of the broader picture. If people cast their votes on the basis of various minor distractions, we will lose everything, our country, our nationhood, our religion, our culture and the future of unborn generations.

“The people should always ask themselves who can rule this country effectively, ensure economic development, eliminate terrorism and ensure the security of the nation? Who can safeguard democracy by holding elections on time? Who can build a Sri Lanka where future generations will be able to live freely and be proud of? I need not spell it out, every Sri Lankan knows the answer to those questions,” he added.


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