Anand Sagar If the rising waves of social and political unrest are any measure of the gathering turmoil in Sri Lanka, it is unlikely that the island nation will regain its serendipity soon, and the snap parliamentary poll scheduled for April 8 may only make matters worse by exposing the deep fissures of frustration as it expands. And for this rather disturbing state of affairs, the Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse may soon realise that he has no one else to blame but himself. Having won a protracted but major war against the formidable Tamil Tigers last year, he has now unnecessarily got embroiled in a petty political battle with his former comrade in arms against the dreaded rebels. The pettiness of it all is all the more obvious considering that Rajapakse despite defeating Sarath Fonseka has now chosen to detain the retired four-star general. The countrys Defence Ministry has said that Fonseka will face a court martial on unspecified charges of conspiring against the government. Why the charges remain unspecified is not clear, unless the intention is merely to implicate and discredit the former general and the many supporters in his ranks. Incidentally, Defence Minister Gotabhaya Rajapakse has alleged that Fonseka had clearly been plotting a military coup. If so, it is a serious accusation that will have to be answered seriously - for it involves somebody who not so long ago was being hailed as a national hero for his role in finally crushing the Tamil Tigers. Not surprisingly, the opposition has stepped up its campaign for Fonsekas immediate release and there have already been violent clashes in the capital Colombo and in other parts of Sri Lanka between Fonseka loyalists and ruling party activists. The president, who clearly does not view the situation as being in any sense politically precarious, is confident and counting on silencing his critics by once again routing the opposition forces in the forthcoming parliamentary elections. In the presidential polls, he had secured a solid 58 percent of the votes cast. But even a second successive victory against his rivals may now not be enough to protect him in power against a battalion of critics. After all, when it comes to the more crucial task of rebuilding a nation so ravaged by civil strife and chaos for more than a quarter of a century, Mahinda will have to marshal all his resources and secure the support of all segments of a deeply fragmented society. Also at stake is the revival of Sri Lankas $40 bn economy, beginning to recover its vibrancy on the strength of post-war optimism sweeping across the island. The political popularity the president enjoys at present may prove to be quite fragile, if his political credibility ruptures any further in the Fonseka affair. And this may happen all too easily even before the parliamentary polls since the countrys Supreme Court has already agreed to hear an appeal filed by Fonsekas wife claiming that the ex-generals detention is illegal and a gross violation of his fundamental rights. The court is scheduled to reconvene for a further hearing of her petition on February 23. But the very fact that the court has decided to take up Anoma Fonsekas petition against the governments decision is widely being projected as a major victory by the presidents detractors. However, the US, EU and the UN have expressed concern and the expected international aid, so vital for the planned reconstruction and rebuilding of the war torn nation may be jeopardised, bringing more misery to a people who have already suffered too much for too long. Mahinda Rajapakse has already proved to many of his compatriots that he is a consummate politician. What he now needs to prove is that he can also be a statesman. And for that, he will have to rise above the politics of pettiness he is pursuing. If not, he must remember that vendetta invariably leads to violence - of which Sri Lanka has already had more than enough Khaleej Times