By Shreen Abdul Saroor
“We see only Muslim villages have been developed, but not the Tamil villages. The only way for Catholic and Hindu villages to get developed is to vote for Gota.” -Namal Rajapaksa in Mannar.
“We have to act against Muslims. We Tamil youth have to think and act.”
– leaflet by Kiran youth front for SLPP.
Mannar voters who are living in Puttalam are banned to come in hired private buses to cast their votes – Assistant Election Commissioner, Mannar.
If Muslims do not vote for Gota they will get it properly
– Ali Sabri, PC
Whatever the reason given, in 2005 the vast majority of the Tamils from the North and East and even in Colombo did not go to the polling booths to exercise their franchise. The result, as they say, is history.
Yet it is imperative for that history to now be reflected upon seriously. The President who got elected partly due to the decision taken by Tamils not to exercise their franchise ruled over the entire country for the next 10 years, with grave effects for all.
On the eve of another Presidential election, where some are calling for new boycotts or putting up candidates deliberately to draw votes from the main contenders, the lessons of the 2005 boycott are particularly worth considering.
We have only five more days before we know, what fate lies ahead for minorities in this country. In every campaign platform in the north and east, what I see is racism and hatemongering centred around minorities.
Divide and rule has been the norm of Sinhala Governments since independence, but in this election it has reached a level we have never witnessed before.