What’s so Exclusive, The Hindu, about the Rajapakse Interview?

What’s so exclusive, The Hindu, about Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa denying his Army killed Prabhakaran’s 12-year-old son? Amid all the mounting evidence establishing him as a war criminal, Rajapakse has been giving this denial for weeks. So, what is new in it for The Hindu to carry it as the lead story on page 1?

There is nothing in the so-called exclusive interview to merit any chest-thumping by The Hindu, that, to me, is steadily losing ground as a newspaper of substance.

The IPKF Trap that India Fell Into: What did The Hindu get in return from Sri Lanka for this meaningless exclusive? Or has it been fooled into giving Rajapakse media mileage in India? Just as in 1987, when then Sri Lankan President Jayewardene fooled India into sending a peace-keeping force to his country to deal with the Tamil Tigers. Over the next three years, the IPKF suffered heavy casualties before being asked by Jayewardene’s successor, Premadasa, to pack up and leave the country.

So, no thanks to Rajiv Gandhi, India was at the beck and call of Sri Lanka. The IPKF will remain a blot on India as much for its failed mission as for the strategic blunder made by Rajiv Gandhi in having been used as a pawn by Sri Lanka to fight its battle against rising militancy.

Both Rajiv Gandhi and Premadasa were subsequently assassinated by the LTTE.

Now, in 2013, wily Rajapaksa has just used The Hindu to get front-page coverage for his denial that the Sri Lankan Army brutally killed 12-year-old Balachandran, son of LTTE chief V Prabhakaran.

On the coming resolution against Sri Lanka in the UN Human Rights Council, Rajapakse said “India must know its duty as a neighbour” and support it though “he cannot dictate to India” He also used the interview to allege that “Indian fishermen routinely fish in our waters – thousands of them are crossing and fishing.”

Looks like The Hindu is desperately trying to make inroads into North India, where the sentiment is already pro-Sri Lanka. The Rajapakse interview may be part of a campaign whereby The Hindu is trying to shed its Southern face!

G Joslin Vethakumar

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