17 June, 2021

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Amendment Of The 13th Amendment

By R.M.B Senanayake

R.M.B. Senanayake

It would appear that the Government is going ahead on amending the 13th Amendment.  The Thirteenth Amendment is an agreement between the Sinhalese and Tamil political parties backed by India. The Indian Government pressurized the LTTE to accept it although they did not do so in good faith.

Article 154(G)(3) is a safeguard built into the provisions of the Constitution to safeguard and preserve the devolution of power to the Provincial Councils. It prevents the central government from legislating on subjects allocated to the Provincial Councils (PCs) without first obtaining the consent of all PCs. In the event where one or more PC does not consent to a proposed bill, the central government has the option to either pass the bill by a simple majority, in which event the bill will become law applicable only to the Provinces for which the PCs agreed to the bill, or to do so by a two thirds majority in which case the bill will become law applicable to the entire country.

This move to do away with this provision shows that the Sinhala political leadership will not keep its word. In 1958 the B_C Pact was unilaterally abrogated by SWRD and in 1966 Dudley Senanayake and Chelvanayagam gave up the Agreement they had come to because of the same opposition by the Buddhist monks, who  are the opinion makers for the Sinhalese people. In the 1980s the devolution of power to the District Development Councils  was undermined and ultimately they were scrapped.

In 1987/88 the Sinhalese political leadership agreed to the 13th Amendment devolution proposals and enacted them into law. This was also under the sponsorship of the Indian Government  which pressurized the LTTE to accept it.  There were problems in implementing  it however because of the Concurrent List which required attention to make clear the  powers of the Provincial Councils. Now instead their powers are to be emasculated and the very existence of Devolution of Power to the Provincial Councils is at peril.  It will give an excuse to the Tamil politicians and parties to reject and boycott the PCs and after election to the Northern PC they may well agitate outside it in other fora both locally and internationally.

Keeping one’s word of honor or abiding in good faith seems to be an ethical value not in the  conduct of relations of  the ancient Sinhala State with  other States or with its own citizens. A friend of mine once suggested to me that keeping ones word is not an ethical value in either Hinduism or Buddhism which makes social intercourse with them unreliable.

What this action also shows is that  the Sinhalese will not  treat the Tamils  as a  distinct ethnic group with legitimacy  for their  rights to language, religion and culture to be safeguarded.  The UN Declarations respects such rights and does not permit discrimination against minorities. The breach of faith by Sinhalese governments ( not only Sinhalese political leaders)  will convey the message to the International community that there is no worth in any undertakings of  the Sinhala majoritarian governments. This would strengthen the case for an independent Tamil state in the eyes of  the International Community.  It is a situation similar to the Kurds who were discriminated against by Iraq, Syria and Iran. They were militarily harassed in Turkey. So the UN established Kurdistan as an autonomous region and now the Kurds from Turkey have also moved into Kurdistan. We may be digging our own grave. Note that China has  supported the UN  sanctions against North Korea its closest ally.

Related posts;

Constitutional Amendment Delayed

Full Text Of The Constitutional Amendment

Trouble For Muslim And Left Parties Over New Amendment

CPA Strongly Urges The Govet To Not Proceed With The Proposed Constitutional Amendment

Exposed: De Facto CJ Advises President To Amend 13A

Government Considering Amending The Thirteenth Amendment Before NP Elections

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    “What this action also shows is that the Sinhalese will not treat the Tamils as a distinct ethnic group with legitimacy for their rights to language, religion and culture to be safeguarded”.

    One cannot agree with this statement because the views of the majority of the sinhalese on this issue has not been ascertained. If we have a referendum in which all the issues and implications are clearly explained, I am confident that the majority of the sinhalese will agree with a measure of devolution. It is the Government ( which wants to centralise power) and the extremist parties which are engaged in this exercise; even they are probably not able to understand the implications of what they are doing.

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      Mahinda Rajapassa, the corrupt dictator is running scared!
      Bugger is Worried that loosing the Northern Provincial Council will put a break on his power grab and looting of the public wealth, so the CORRUPT and FOUL bastard is trying to undermine the whole system to ensure that the power he has grabbed by various illegal constitutional amendments is unchallenged..!
      Chandrika Bandaranayake should take a stand NOW and save the SLFP (and Lanka) from the Rajapassa’s corrupt dictatorship – which is what the dilution of the 13th Amendment is all about. CBK needs to “SAVE THE SLFP” and run for a third presidential term as leader of the joint opposition..
      Meanwhile the Sinhalay modaya grins and bears the cost of living and electric tarrifs – satiated by Sinhala un-buddhist nationalism!
      What a Banana republic is the debacle of Asia!
      The Muslim Congress and Dead Left must quit Rajapassa Dictatorship now – before it is too late to save the Muslims and Buddhists of Lanka from the distorted versions of these religions used by politicians!
      The Muslim Public should protest Rauf Hakeem – the most venal Muslim politician ever!

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    Once again the senior and experienced RMB – former Govt servant,
    major private sector-banking figure and peace-religious activist –
    offers wise counsel to the ruling clique.

    “Buddhist monks, who are the opinion makers for the Sinhalese people” is an unwelcome and recurring feature that has been the cause of much of our political complexities from 1952/56. The truth is extreme Buddhist activists are an increasing parallel political power in the country rendering, often, Parliament ineffective and irrelevant. This has been Sri Lanka’s most serious disadvantage so far in the matter of realising unity and reconciliation. We are no different to a theocratic society – meaninglessly calling ourselves democratic.

    Senguttuvan

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      Christianity and Islam are the two major political religions.

      Sinhala-buddhists are a culture and a civilization.

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        JimSofty

        “Sinhala-buddhists are a culture and a civilization.”

        What is Sinhala/Buddhist Culture?

        What is Sinhala/Buddhist civilisation?

  • 0
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    We Sri Lankan do not have a “People Project” to understand and solve the national issues relates to education, employment, justice, freedom, economic stability etc..

    We have intellectuals, journalists and activists who are emotionally patriarchy but lacking a pluralistic vision within them.

    We have religious bodies that are busy to deal with their domestic discourses and those bodies too never come with any proposals to build mercy and compassion to humanity at large including entire citizens of Sri Lanka. Instead these bodies too became a victim of their own vacuum and unable to come with a people project to spread mercy and compassion toward humanity and their focus too narrowed to the community that represent for.

    On the other hand we have political parties that have neither local vision in their history since independence nor visionary structures. Instead we have have political parties with outdated autocratic structures.

    In addition we do not have thinkers, opinion makers and journalists to address these vacuum and take these projects in to the grass root level and demand creative solutions within academic and activist domain. Our higher education institutions and those who provide provide education too do not have a vision within themselves to pass in to the next generation and the higher education institutes (Universities) became just a job market that would favor very few.

    If we rightly get the the context, we can understand that the problem lies within political, intellectual, academic and activist domain in addressing and mobilizing the burning national issues and coming up with various people projects within each domain.

    Unfortunately we used to address these issues in an ethnic based mentality which is a side effect of the failure to find better ways to address the national issues and ensure every citizen is being free from all sort of poverty.

    Today, with all the side effects we need an intellectual community that is free to think within them and address the root causes with proper way forward to the next generation to come with proper alternatives. In the absence of such people projects Sri Lanka is going to face continued tension as it was the case for last 50 years from the independence.

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    Keeping one’s word of honor or abiding in good faith seems to be an ethical value not in the conduct of relations of the ancient Sinhala State with other States or with its own citizens. A friend of mine once suggested to me that keeping ones word is not an ethical value in either Hinduism or Buddhism which makes social intercourse with them unreliable…

    …It is a situation similar to the Kurds who were discriminated against by Iraq, Syria and Iran. They were militarily harassed in Turkey. So the UN established Kurdistan as an autonomous region and now the Kurds from Turkey have also moved into Kurdistan. We may be digging our own grave. Note that China has supported the UN sanctions against North Korea its closest ally.

  • 0
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    Mr. M.B.B Senanayake,

    “It would appear that the Government is going ahead on amending the 13th Amendment. The Thirteenth Amendment is an agreement between the Sinhalese and Tamil political parties backed by India. The Indian Government pressurized the LTTE to accept it although they did not do so in good faith”

    Q1. Did the Election of President Premadasa in 1988, a ratification of 13A?

    Q2. If so, can an constitutional amendment approved by parliament and by the People be amended by only the Parliament without the Approval of the People?

    Q3. Does it mean that an agreement between the Sinhala and Tamil, can be unilaterally abrogated by the Sinhala or by the Tamils

    Boston Lanka With Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

    Q4. What does the constitution say about this?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kE-bPcFkZ2M

    Published on May 27, 2013
    An exclusive interview with Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka who is Political scientist, author and who served Sri Lanka as a diplomat.

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    “So the UN established Kurdistan as an autonomous region and now the Kurds from Turkey have also moved into Kurdistan. We may be digging our own grave. Note that China has supported the UN sanctions against North Korea its closest ally.”

    Looks like , the UN and EVEN China has principals and Morals compared to the Sinhala.

    The Racist Monk has trained the Sinhala “Buddhists” well.

    DeJa Vu, pardon my French.

  • 0
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    There will hardly be anything left of the constitution after the 18A. The all powerful EP can do as he pleases. Also it is doubtful if the lot in parliment are capable of any ethical behaviour although they promulgate such laws for others, then too to suit their aims.

    It is a good lesson for India, Commonwealth and the International Community. Not that they are intersted in doing any good for the people here, other than fulfilling their selfish commercial interests.

  • 0
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    One more well written article in a long list of well written articles. Day after day, hour after hour, well intentioned articles of all hues trying to make sense of this madness. Honestly, I am quite tired of reading and commenting on this never ending drama. To each race, it’s own. So we beat on, as boats against the current, drawn back ceaselessly into the past. Another day …. another devalued rupee.

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    ” A friend of mine once suggested to me that keeping ones word is not an ethical value in either Hinduism or Buddhism which makes social intercourse with them unreliable.”

    Mr.Senanayake your friend is wrong. Among Tamils, two words, ‘Vaaimmai’ and ‘Poimmai’, refer to truth and untruth, respectively. Thiruvalluvar, the greatest Tamil sage says, ‘Poimmai’ becomes ‘Vaaimmai’, if it results in unimpeachable good. If a lie would save an innocent life, it then becomes the truth! Hindus, value truth and honesty to the extent that they conceive their God as someone who blesses us by destroying everything that is a lie (Poiaayinavellam poynthahala vantharuli). Truth is a part of Dharmam. Satyam is truth. Satyagraha is an act of truth. In the Mahabharatha, Dharman lost his Kingdom, to honour his bet/promise to Sakuni. King Arichandran, lost his Kingdom, wife and son, and became a cemetery-keeper to honour his word. These are the stories we are taught as children and learn to understand and value as adults. The weaknesses of a few amongst any community should not be used to characterize entire communities.

    I hope a Buddhist-Sinhalese will come forward to briefly explain their perspective on this concept.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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    “The Thirteenth Amendment is an agreement between the Sinhalese and Tamil political parties backed by India.”

    One does not expect a veteran political analyst like RMB to distort history. It is public knowledge that other than the UNP, no other political party including Tamil political parties approved 13A. Even the UNP Even the Parliamentary group which was overnight corralled in a Hotel before they were brought to the Parliament for the debate on the subject were under threat by JR. It is reported that he had said, “Well, when I bring legislation to Parliament and Parliament does not pass it, then I’ll dissolve Parliament.”
    RMB must for the benefit of the public name the political parties, Sinhalese or Tamil, which approved this ‘made in India’ piece of legislation.

    Ref the statement-

    “In 1958 the B_C Pact was unilaterally abrogated by SWRD and in 1966 Dudley Senanayake and Chelvanayagam gave up the Agreement they had come to because of the same opposition by the Buddhist monks.”

    RMB should be aware that “Immediately after this agreement on the 26th of July, the Federal Party held a special National Convention in Batticaloa on 28th July 1957. At this Convention the Federal Party went back on the agreement reached in Colombo and reiterated its unalterable determination to achieve-
    i) An Autonomous Tamil Linguistic state or states within the framework of a Federal Union of Ceylon.
    ii) Parity of status for the Tamil Language with Singhalese throughout Ceylon.
    iii) The right of full citizenship to every Tamil speaking individual who has made Ceylon his home.

    This was a typical example of the Chelvanayagam strategy of “little now and more later”.
    So why the Buddhist monks who saw the trap and opposed it. SWRD himself would have realized the lack of sincerity of the Tamil State party.

    RMB must be careful of the facts before he comment on them.

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    Regime characteristics go against the very core of all religions.Keeping one’s word of honour is alien to them.This group has been brought out from a jungle hide out to a civilisation they cannot connect with.Therefore what they know is the law of the jungle killing ,cheating ,greed ,overpowering etc.More you understand them the better it is to know their moves.

  • 0
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    “A friend of mine once suggested to me that keeping ones word is not an ethical value in either Hinduism…” I am afraid you are off track
    here. RMB. Among the most zealously guarded traditions of the Hindu culture is one in which Vaaku-nanayam (the integrity of the tongue)
    is maintained to the fullest. No compromise there.

    Senguttuvan

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    Any politician, let it be a cabinet member, opposition member or a member of the parliament “abstains” from voting on the amendments proposed on the 13th amendment, when a vote is called is a “Traitor” to the true democracy in Sri Lanka. People like Rauff Hakim, Thondaman and some others may say they are opposing the amendments and abstain from voting against it. Abstention in actual fact is a cowardly thing and it truly means that they are indirectly supporting the yes vote. So those support Thondamans and Rauff Hakims of the world will have to keep an eye on these type of individuals and throw them out of the respective parties. Equal rights for all citizens should be there. Only at a times when elections are to be held in the North the Government and its stooges are interested in bringing an amendment to the constitution. What a shame.

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    Hindu readers have quoted instances of Hindus who have kept promises. My friend really meant that it is not an ethical command as in Christianity. Here is what the Bible says Ecclesiastes 5:5 says, “Better that you do not vow than that you vow and not fulfill it.” The term appears many places in the Bible and refers to a promise or pledge. The emphasis is that such promises are binding and when we give our word to do something, we are obligated to do it!
    Jesus clearly indicates that everyone will be accountable for their words and actions on Judgment Day. “I tell you that on the day of judgment people will have to account for every careless word they speak”(Matthew 12:36).
    R.M.B Senanayake

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      MR. Senanayake,
      It is an ethical concept that permeates ‘ Hinduism’ in its many facets.

      Dr.RN

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    Rajasinham,

    “Hindus can utter an untruth to save a life”
    That is interesting! That must be where the Shia Muslims got the same idea, in their case not to save any life but that of a fellow Shia Muslim. My Muslim friend from Al Azar, Cairo who told me when I was there about the Shia position with a chuckle,knowing that I was not a Muslim. He was expressing disapproval. Telling untruth is not in the book of Islam of mainsteam.

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      Uttering an untruth to save a life, is an example I gave to explain the concept where an untruth can become a truth for an ultimate good. Anyway, there are many belief systems shared between the Shias and the Indians.

      Dr.RN

  • 0
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    RMB appears to be selective in replying to comments. He is avoiding making comments on his distortion of historical facts.

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