Post election Mahinda Rajapaksa declared that the majority of his voters were Sinhalese and that his defeat was solely a result of the ‘terrorists’ supporting the main opposition candidate Maitreepala Sirisena. This assertion is grossly unfounded and uncalled for, as it has been intended to provoke controversy and racism amongst the communities. Surely, the law enforcement agencies and electronic media should have the footage of his utterances made in public.
Even during the Presidential Election Campaign 2015, people witnessed his extremely disturbing unwarranted remarks directed at ethnic minorities, particularly against Tamils and Muslims, inciting racism, intending to swing the majority Sinhalese voters towards him, which really worked to a great extent but lost the election due to overwhelming rejection of his policies by the ethnic minorities.
The people rejected him mainly for two reasons; his ‘divide and rule’ doctrine and also for his blatant failure to observe the rule of law, undermining the independence of the Judiciary, whilst condoning government corruption in an unimaginable scale.
Surely people in this country had enough experience of the ‘divide and rule policy’, which cost this country tens of thousands of precious lives of youth belong all communities since the latter part of the 20th century. And therefore, people of this island nation are not prepared to tolerate advancement of racism any more adopted not just by the Sinhalese but by the politicians representing ethnic minorities as well.
Already there is a Statute in place to deal with such situations and to bring anti-social elements that thrive on inciting racism to justice, under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Act, popularly known as ICCPR Act No 56 of 2007. This law provides necessary power to deal with elements that advocate national, racial or religious hatred that constitute incitement or discrimination, hostility or violence to justice.
And this law provides that every person who, attempts to aid or abet in the commission of or threatens to engage in any such act commits criminal offence punishable with ten years rigorous imprisonment (Section 3).
This law, whilst recognising the importance of promoting harmony amongst all communities vests necessary jurisdiction in the High Court to try cases brought under this law, with priority given over any other business and also to conduct the trial on a day to day basis with no postponements, unless due to any unavoidable circumstances.
Action taken against such elements, shall include not only Mahinda Rajapakse but the Northern Province Chief Minister Vigneswaran as well, who has abused the authority to make disparaging remarks against the majority Buddhist community that respects and practices the philosophy taught by Samma Sambudhdha that completely rejects violence in any form but pervades only love care and compassion to all beings.