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Crocodile tears

The ruler of heaven, Sakra, is said to be sitting on a thermo-sensitive seat which responds to pleas of earthlings in distress and transmits them to him in the form of heat. In other words, the heat of his holy seat rises whenever humans get into trouble and importune him thus jolting him into action; whenever that happens we are told Sakra looks down through clouds and, if needs be, embarks on a humanitarian mission exercising his R2P (Right to Protect).

Some foreign governments also act in a similar manner as regards this country. Their leaders get thrown off their hot seats whenever an incident of political violence happens on this teardrop shaped tiny island. Some of them have already expressed their grave concern over the situation here in the run-up to next week's presidential election. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has also joined them in sending messages calling for a violence free presidential election.

Election related violence has, no doubt, caused concern to one and all. Ideally, an electoral exercise must be devoid of even a single incident of violence or malpractice like in advanced democracies. Unfortunately, it looks as if political violence had come to stay in this country. All elections since 1977 have been marred by violence and rigging to varying degrees.

But, an attempt is being made in some quarters to make next week's presidential polls out to be the worst ever election in the country. Those who peddle this view seem to have conveniently forgotten the presidential elections in 1982 and 1988, the by-elections and the referendum under the JRJ government, the general election in 1989 and the Wayamba PC polls of 1999.

We smell a rat! Some of the foreign governments that are making a song and dance about election violence here did not utter a whimper of protest when people in most parts of the North and the East were deprived of their franchise by the LTTE under successive governments. Nor did they protest against LTTE terrorism which made life hell for millions of people. Instead, they sponsored the LTTE, which suppressed democracy and destroyed life and property. And when the LTTE finally fought its way into a cul-de-sac and was about to be decapitated, the foreign governments and the UN chief expressing concern over political violence here, let out a howl of protest in unison and some of them even sent their foreign ministers to Colombo in a desperate bid to take the cornered terrorists off the hook but in vain.

It was while the LTTE was unleashing violence that the seats of the western Sakras should have got as hot as the kottu plates in wayside eateries. But, their rockers surprisingly remained as cool as the floor of an igloo. Their strange silence and unspeakable leniency towards the bloodthirsty LTTE terrorists cost them their moral right to condemn violence from other sources. Why is it that those who emulated the three proverbial monkeys, refusing to see, hear and speak, while people were being killed in their hundreds in bomb attacks and massacres by the LTTE, are now crying blue murder about a few people perishing owing to political violence? Loss of human life must surely be condemned irrespective of the number of people killed but how can those who take thousands of killings at the hands of terrorists for granted be considered genuinely worried about a few deaths due to political violence?

Regrettably, Sri Lanka's detractors do not appreciate that fact that after nearly three decades, people's right to vote and freedom of movement have been restored in all parts of the country. Nobody is dying because of war any longer and democracy is slowly but surely reviving in the conflagration-ravaged areas. Children have resumed schooling in the North and the East without fear of being abducted by terrorists on the way.

The battle plan of foreign governments still smarting from their failure to rescue Prabhakaran because of Sri Lanka's defiance is clear. They want to take the gloss off Sri Lanka's victory over terrorism by blowing political violence out of proportion and giving the country a bad name. A prerequisite for sustaining the momentum of their war crimes witch hunt against this country is to confer pariah status on it. Hence their attempts to deny the victor at next Tuesday's presidential contest legitimacy.

It behoves all those who are resorting to political violence to be mindful of the fact that theirs is an exercise in futility as thuggery drives away voters and they are ruining the image of the country irreparably besides taking precious lives.

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