| by Our Foreign Affairs correspondent in London
( November 09, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) Each year the Sri Lankan High Commission in London host’s the Diwali celebrations and invites a cross section of Tamils and other Sri Lankan expatriates irrespective of their religious faiths based in the UK to celebrate the occasion at the mission in Hyde Park Gardens.
|The Sri Lankan High Commission’s insult is not only just limited to the Sri Lankan Tamil Hindu community in the UK on the issue of Diwali celebrations but also the Muslim community who have equally been shunned on their celebrations of “Eid”.|
However this year it was noted that the Diwali celebrations did not go-ahead. Part of the reason for not celebrating Diwali at the mission was that President Mahinda Rajapakse under intense scrutiny whilst visiting Australia was in panic mode and hence summoned in his business partner and political appointee in crime Dr. Chris Noni , High Commissioner to the UK to visit him in Perth, Australia. Dr Noni also sits as Deputy Chairman of the Royal Commonwealth Society and henceforth it was all important for him to be with his partner in crime President Rajapakse in Perth, Australia.
Angered members of the Sri Lankan Tamil community were infuriated by the insult of the Sri Lankan mission not hosting a Diwali celebration merely on the account of the High Commissioner Dr. Nonis not being in office. One ardent Tamil community member and political activist quoted that “all they are interested in his hosting pro-government meetings and Buddhist celebrations and they don’t give two monkeys about us Tamil Hindu’s and our sentiments”.
The Sri Lankan High Commission’s insult is not only just limited to the Sri Lankan Tamil Hindu community in the UK on the issue of Diwali celebrations but also the Muslim community who have equally been shunned on their celebrations of “Eid”. Surely the PR consultants of “Bells Pottinger” who have been paid millions of pounds by the Sri Lankan government in a bid to clear their public image would have advised the UK mission of the risks associated in shunning both Tamil Hindu’s and Muslims for both these festive occasions.
The Sri Lankan government have come under increased scrutiny in recent years over war crimes being committed during the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the run up to May 2009 and in the aftermath. Newly appointed High Commissioner to the UK Dr. Chris Noni is said to be quite articulate unlike his predecessor. Justice Nihal Jayasinghe was also a political appointee and non-career diplomat who now ironically sits on the Cambodian War Crimes Tribunal.
The UK government led by Prime Minister David Cameron have also played into the hands of President Mahinda Rajapakse and his regime. The recent deportation of failed Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers from the United Kingdom was a worrying example of their blatant, deliberate and complete ignorant complacency on Sri Lanka.
Whilst the whole world including leading human rights agencies not to mention Channel 4’s “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields” acknowledges the inhumane war crimes that were committed against the Sri Lankan Tamil people in Sri Lanka that is still continuing till this very day, world leaders including the European Union, United Nations including NATO choose to ignore this grave war crime that was committed against the Sri Lankan Tamils. Instead they choose to go after Libya where there is oil and Iraq, but not Sri Lanka.
China which has a history of human rights abuses including Russia, are the only two main superpowers backing Sri Lanka which is not the least surprising. Sri Lanka also coincidently has close ties to Iran who are deemed to be a threat to world peace.
India simply chooses to ignore the issue and hoodwink the Sri Lankan Tamil community by appeasing them including the Tamil Nadu government and its people at every opportunity. Simply dispatching India’s Foreign Secretary or External Affairs Minister to Sri Lanka on a hoodwinking exercise and making statements in the media encouraging talks between the Tamil leaders and the Sri Lankan government is not good enough.
What Sri Lanka needs is a total regime change. The Sri Lankan Tamils in Sri Lanka require total devolution to be implemented under the terms of the Thimpu Principles (1985) and 13th Amendment of Sri Lanka’s constitution under the Indo-Lanka Accord (1987).