In an exclusive interview with Asian Tribune, Dr. Subramanian Swamy said that Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is anti-Indian outfit and hence President Rajapakshe deserves our highest honor of ‘Bharat Ratna’ for exterminating them.
Bharat Ratna is India’s highest civilian award, awarded for the highest degrees of national service. Out of the 41 awards so far conferred, two non-Indians, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (1987) and Nelson Mandela (1990) were given such award.
Dr. Swamy was in Sri Lanka on a private visit on 7 & 8 of February. According to Dr. Swamy he was in Sri Lanka to participate in the Thai Poosam religious celebrations and rituals at the Lord Muruga Temple in Kataragama located in the South of Sri Lanka.
When he was in Sri Lanka he met some of the political party leaders representing the Up Country Tamils of the Indian Origin in the Central hill country region.
When Asian Tribune asked Dr. Swamy whether Sri Lanka should look for third party mediation in the devolution process as proposed by the TNA?
Dr. Swamy, a pragmatist was very brief and to point with his response, “TNA is a pro-LTTE outfit. By pass them. Then Tamils will also be with you.”
Given below the excerpts of the Interview Asian Tribune had with Dr. Swamy:
Asian Tribune:What was the purpose of your visit to Sri Lanka? I read it as a private visit, but you have held meetings with Tamil politicians.
Dr. Swamy: It was a religious pilgrimage but I had time on my hands, so I met a few leaders of the southern malai Indian vamsa leaders.
Asian Tribune:How many days were you in Sri Lanka and what did you do apart from visiting Kataragama?
Dr. Swamy: Two full days. Good part was spent driving to and fro the temple.
Asian Tribune:You have said you are anti-LTTE but in favor of a political solution. Why do you make this proclamation when many of the south Indian politicians take a pro-LTTE stance ?
Dr. Swamy: That is what I told them. LTTE is anti-Indian and hence President Rajapakshe deserves our highest honour of Bharat Ratna for exterminating them.
Asian Tribune: The Government has set in motion a process to formulate a framework for devolving power to peripheries. But there seem to be a tug of war between different stake holders; the TNA, UNP and some of the coalition partners of the Government. Conflict of interests and petty politics have hampered every attempt in the past to find a lasting solution to the problems of the North East people. Your comments?
Dr. Swamy: Yes that is the history. But two things are clear to me. First that Tamils have a right to devolution of power within the framework of united Sri Lanka. Second, the majority community has broken past agreements such as with Chelvanayagam. Now as a hero of Sri Lanka and President, Mr. Rajapakshe must be assertive and within this year end should push through 13+ Amendment or something similar or fail in Parliament trying to do that. This is the view of Sri Lanka’s well wishers in India, US, Israel, and China. This is our friendly view– and not a diktat– since Sri Lanka is a proud sovereign nation.
Asian Tribune: Do you think a federal system is an ideal structure for devolving power in Sri Lanka?
Dr. Swamy: No. But it can have a unitary Constitution with subsidiary federal principles. The central government must have overriding powers to dismiss provincial bodies as also a central police that overrides provincial police in national security matters.
Asian Tribune:Should Sri Lanka follow the Indian model? There are some of the local political parties who voice this proposition.
Dr. Swamy: No. Sri Lanka has to take into account the recent history and the treachery of the LTTE. I am also disappointed that Tamils voted en bloc against Mr. Rajapakshe in the Presidential elections, thereby missed a chance to celebrate a great victory against terrorism. Tamils should regard themselves as Sri Lankans first and Tamils second. We have in India smashed this sectarian mentality of Tamils to regard themselves as Tamils first when as Union Law Minister in 1991, I got dismissed the DMK state government. Tamils of Tamil Nadu then overwhelmingly supported the Centre.
Asian Tribune: Do you think Sri Lanka should look for third party mediation in the devolution process? This is proposed by the TNA.
Dr. Swamy: TNA is a pro-LTTE outfit. By pass them. Then Tamils will also be with you.
Asian Tribune: The Asian tribune reported that you said India is indebted to Sri Lanka for eliminating LTTE. But the Government has been battling international wrath over Sri Lanka’s ‘war on terror’ ?
Dr. Swamy: Nothing to battle. Financial orphans of the LTTE can make some noise but it is of no consequence anywhere in the world except in London’s Trafalgar Sq.
Asian Tribune: Do you think India should help cushion international pressure on Sri Lanka. How do you describe current relations between the two countries in this context?
Dr. Swamy: The problem in India has been the covert support to the LTTE by Ms. Sonia Gandhi and her Italian family. But if your President is assertive on a reasonable devolution package with short time line, then even Sonia can do little.
Asian Tribune: Is LTTE still active in South India. ?
Dr. Swamy: If any LTTE is left in India it is clandestine, covert, burrowed underground and under aliases. Instead of puli [tiger] they have become eli [rat].
Asian Tribune: You are an Economist of Harvard breed. Do you think Sri Lanka is on the right track economically?
Dr. Swamy: You have had a head start in Quality of Life Index and Human Development Index. So anytime you can revive your economy. India will stand by you in the long run.
Asian Tribune: Please feel free to add anything else you want to say.
Dr. Swamy: Please don’t call your conflict as ethnic anymore. Sinhalas and Tamils are by genetic DNA studies of the same blood and race. We have some linguistic difference but even in this we are united in the common Sanskrit vocabulary. Bhagwan Buddha is revered by Hindus. Buddha is our God too. We both thus are professing the same religious theology. Let stay together against our common enemies.
– Asian Tribune –