18 December, 2017

Blog

An Appeal To Tamil Political Leaders On The ‘New Constitution’

By Laksiri Fernando

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

I make this appeal to all Tamil political leaders without limiting to the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) or its affiliates. This includes not only the leaders in the North and the East, but also the rest of the country, although many of my submissions may directly relevant to the first category. I make this appeal as a citizen of Sri Lanka based on my experience, concerns and respect for the country and its future.

The context to make this appeal is the ongoing negotiations within the Steering Committee of the Constitutional Assembly to bring a consensual draft for a new constitution that can be put before the whole of Parliament and then before the people at a Referendum. My basic appeal is for you to moderate your positions, as much as possible, on the questions of ‘unitary state, federalism, merger of the North/East and foremost position to Buddhism,’ among some of the other controversial matters.

I am not implying that your present positions are extreme, but many of them have not changed enough to accommodate within a broadly acceptable and viable solution to the national question. It must be accepted that no constitution would be perfect. What could be achievable is a viable broad framework within which flexibility is given for its customary/practical development. I admire and appreciate your active participation in the Steering Committee and the concluded Sub-Committees. In the last two instances of 1972 and 1978, where two constitutions were promulgated, either you were not given that opportunity or your predecessors didn’t have the patience to participate and negotiate. Those were the days of extreme political polarization which we need to burry behind to achieve a viable political solution.

Unitary/Federal

I understand that many of your leaders were fighting for a federal solution since the formation of the Federal Party in 1949. Therefore, some of your present positions are understandable. It may also be partly correct to say that only after the failure of that effort that some of your leaders opted, directly or indirectly, for a separate state. However, there have been ambiguities from the beginning as pointed out by such scholars like Eric Hobsbawm (“Nations and Nationalism since 1780”). Analysing a passage from the Federal Party document on “The Case for a Federal Constitution for Ceylon” in 1951, he said:

“The purpose of this passage is clear: it is to demand autonomy or independence for an area described as ‘over one third of the island’ of Sri Lanka, on grounds of Tamil nationalism. Nothing else about it as it seems” (p.6).

Those continuous ambiguities could be one reason why some of your constitutional proposals/formulations have become controversial.

There are many forms of federalism. India is considered a quasi-federal system although the federal term does not appear at all in the constitution. What appears is the ‘union of states.’ Although there were some Sinhala leaders who were even considering something near this formulation (union of regions) in the 1990s, that was soon dropped because of controversies. That formulation suits very much to a large country.

It would have been possible to completely give up any such formulation (federal, unitary or union) like in the 1947 constitution, if we were free from a separatist war. Under the present circumstances, some would think or argue that ‘no formulation’ leaves room for the resurrection of separatism.

Therefore, I would request you to moderate your objections to the unitary term. Surveys and expert opinion have indicated that people perceive the ‘unitary’ concept differently. The majority equate it with ‘unity.’ Therefore, the deletion of that for them means ‘disunity’ or ‘division.’ This may be different among the Tamil people. Therefore, the best option would be to request a qualification to the formulation. As I had suggested to the Public Representations Committee (PRC), the best might be to reformulate it as ‘Sri Lanka is a unitary state with devolution of power in nine provinces.’ I am sure you would have an objection to the number 9. I would come back to that question soon.

It should be mentioned that Devolution is an increasingly popular concept adopted in many countries to address diverse issues of ‘power sharing, balanced regional development and democratization of state structures.’ You should appreciate that a large majority of the Sinhalese people have now accepted that solution. It was not the case before.

The federal/unitary debates are becoming old fashioned. However, it might be little premature to characterize ‘Sri Lanka purely as a devolutionary state.’ It could also be misleading. The retention of the term ‘unitary’ could be considered a formality and for the sake of continuity. Devolution of power naturally originates within unitary states, although not unknown to federalism.

North/East Merger

The merger of the North/East is another matter that I think you should moderate your positions on. A solution with 9 provinces might be the best. It is difficult for me to say that all provincial demarcations are natural or ideal. But if you just look through the map, a merged North/East might be the most artificial entity under devolution. The justification for such an entity has changed overtime among your leaders: ethnic homeland, a linguistic division, need for protection etc.

Even under federalism, there is no rule to say that demarcations should purely be on ethnic or linguistic lines. Switzerland is the best example. There are only four main ethnic groups. But the number of Cantons are 26. If demarcations are purely on ethnic lines, it leads to ‘ethno-federalism’ or ‘ethno-devolution.’ That is not good for a country. The polarization could increase and not decrease. That is something Sri Lanka should avoid. I have held this view for a long time. I am a liberal socialist in my general conceptual (not ideological) orientation and don’t believe in strict ethnic identities. Nevertheless, I am quite ready to understand, acknowledge and protect ethnic identities when they are threatened or even otherwise. However, we should try our best to transcend strict identities as much as possible.

Administrative/political devolution is the best which could also accommodate ethnic identities as necessary. Under the existing provincial demarcations, the Tamils can achieve exclusive ‘control’ over the Northern Provincial Council, of course within the devolved sphere. On the other hand, the Eastern Province is in the best position to experiment and achieve co-existence and reconciliation between all three communities. A merged North/East would go against, I believe, the interests particularly of the Muslim community. We should not neglect the interests of the Muslim community in that province or outside. Therefore, I appeal you to reconsider your demand for a merged province in the North/East.

Even the request to take a decision based on a plebiscite would not be advisable although that is there in the 13th Amendment. It would divide the people than uniting them. If such a plebiscite is given to the North/East, it must be given to other provinces. If it is given on ‘merger,’ it should be given on other issues as well. This will lead to chaos. A plebiscite for ‘separation’ also can be a similar demand. The new constitution should not allow any plebiscite that would challenge the ‘unity and integrity’ of the country. That is the basic ‘social contract’ we should have for a new constitution, whatever the idealists would say about it. If such a plebiscite is included in the new constitution, it would not simply be approved at a referendum.

Foremost Place for Buddhism

It is with much appreciation that I note that many Tamil leaders do not have much objection for giving ‘foremost or principal’ place for Buddhism. Even in the present constitution, that foremost place does not amount to a state religion. And much would depend on the practice, especially in this case, than what is written in the constitution. What it recognizes is a historical fact and not an overriding place for one religion over the others. Anyway, Buddhism comes from the same tradition of Hinduism and it has gained a special place in this country for historical reasons. I don’t see anything wrong in recognizing it and such a recognition also might pacify extremist tendencies.

I am completely a secular person and not at all a religious one. However, I recognize that there is a growing need for all religions to come forward unitedly, as much as possible, and play a role in moral and social issues, completely refraining from politics. If the new constitution can assure unequivocally the religious freedom to all religions, I believe that is a workable solution to the situation. The fundamental rights chapter also could strengthen the situation.

Other Issues

I have the impression, correct or not, that many Tamil leaders and MPs who were participating in the Sub-Committees were making extreme proposals. Even some of the experts who were assisting these proceedings have supported these proposals for one reason or the other. There is a tendency on the part of some experts to be radical or idealistic. If an expert is from the Sinhala community, there is also an added tendency to patronise. I don’t think that is a correct approach. I like to point out matters point blank.

Even some of these proposals have gone into the Sub-Committee Reports. That is one reason why these Reports were not submitted to Parliament. That is also the reason why the Steering Committee so far has not been able to come up with a comprehensive constitutional proposal, among other reasons. Also, those who were planning to oppose a new constitution have been apparently lying low, without expressing their views, for the proposals to go to the extreme. There must have been some others who were genuinely not clear.

This is however not a reason to become disillusioned about the whole constitution making process. Constitution making negotiations are one of the most difficult negotiations like peace negotiations in a war situation. It is also difficult for me to blame those Tamil leaders or MPs, as they were apparently expressing their views. However, I would like them to reconsider some of their apparent positions. Some of these extreme positions are reflected in the Centre-Periphery Sub-Committee Report. There are some others in other reports. If some of those proposals are put into practice, most certainly Sri Lanka would become a dysfunctional polity or state. That is not going to help any community.

Towards a Realistic Vision

We also must keep in mind that a new constitution must go before an all island referendum. It is true that the Tamil community played a major role at the two elections in 2015 in bringing back democracy to the country. That is appreciated. But that should not be overestimated. Others also played a role. Some of the constitutional issues can be quite emotional and there can be several dents based on these issues not only within the present SLFP, but also in the UNP. I am not referring to the Joint Opposition here at all. Even if the leaders of the UNP and the SLFP agree for some radical changes (I however doubt it!), their own supporters might not.

In drafting a new constitution, we must also keep in mind that we are largely determining the future of several generations. Our feelings might be quite bitter now given the past, but that might not and should not be the case in the future or of the future generations. We have seen the devastations created because of extremism on both sides in the past. That should not be the case in the constitution making process today. A failed attempt at a new constitution, or a flawed new constitution might be equally damaging to the country.

It is possible that some of the people who were making some of the idealistic proposals were banking on the international community. That should not have been the case anyway. Conflicts should best be resolved within. Otherwise, those resolutions would not last. There are lessons and even support that need to be taken from outside, in resolving internal problems/conflicts. However, that should not be taken to an extreme. The main efforts should be within the country and among the communities. Anyway, the international situation has now changed substantially, also exposing the fragile nature of the international efforts and the ideas (or dead ropes) given.

Without making this appeal too long, I also wish you to make a departure from the ideological baggage of the past, as much as possible, in approaching the new constitution making process. There are many positive things on your part, among the negatives, and this is not the opportunity to talk about them all. There is nothing wrong in you keeping the interests of the Tamil community foremost in mind, in approaching the constitutional issues. But soon it should be for the common good of all communities, and the country at large. The basic premises of our common effort should be for democracy, social justice, equality, human rights and development. In structural terms, cooperative devolution might be the best that we could achieve through a new constitution.

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Latest comments

  • 6
    1

    The basic premises of our common effort should be for democracy, social justice, equality, human rights and development.
    When the powers that be are totally unprepared, so stubborn as a mule not to have a proper infrastructure of viable system to inquire into the excesses, crimes, etc committed during the war I would like to know how social justice can be done justly.
    My basic appeal is for you to moderate your positions, as much as possible, on the questions of ‘unitary state, federalism, merger of the North/East and foremost position to Buddhism,’ among some of the other controversial matters.
    Then why were there so many human lives lost or killed, why so many losses of property just to give in every thing.
    In the last two instances of 1972 and 1978, where two constitutions were promulgated, either you were not given that opportunity or your predecessors didn’t have the patience to participate and negotiate.
    In 1972 the FP members had to leave not because of lack of “the patience to participate and negotiate” but due to the intransigent nature of the leader.
    In my humble opinion the constitution making has less or nothing to deal with solving the ethnic problem in a way acceptable to the majority of the Tamils. Even in the years preceding Independence the British constitution makers were successfully wangled not to agree to 50 -50 how optimistic can Tamil be in the current process

    • 0
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      Shan:

      inquire into the excesses, crimes, etc committed during the war

      Need to see how similar wars against Terrorists were engaged. Then we need to bring all the Tamil financiers of the war and escaped LTTE warriers.

      • 6
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        jim softy dimwit

        “Then we need to bring all the Tamil financiers of the war and escaped LTTE warriers.”

        Financiers:

        Hindia
        R Premadasa’s boys
        MR’s clan
        KP (the CEO of LTTE international operations)
        Karuna (Mass murderer, former vice chairman of SLFP, Minister, …)
        …..

      • 0
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        You leader Rajapakse made these finanaciers a cabinet minister. As I always told you that you are a hypocrite

  • 2
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    If there is no change in the unitary character of the state, no merger, maintain foremost place to buddhism etc etc, also it appears that the executive presidency will remain intact. then there is no need for a referendum. there is no need for a new constitution. 13th amendment is quite adequate.

    • 5
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      Unitary character of the state is already changed under devolution. Present is quasi-unitary. Article 2 however does not reflect it. It should be properly qualified. Merger is a demand. Not directly in the constitution. Concerns about ‘foremost place’ can be appeased either by qualification or through other formulations. The executive presidency should be abolished. Executive should be vested with the Cabinet. However, the president can be elected like in Singapore or Ireland with special responsibility on security, reconciliation and anti-corruption (Singapore). No need to go from one extreme to the other. A new constitution is needed for multitude of other reasons. Changing the electoral system is one. Public service and public finance also should be reformed. Local government should be accorded a special place. Economic, social and cultural rights should be justiciable to the maximum. These are only some examples why Sri Lanka needs a new constitution. The 13th Amendment is ambiguous. That is a major controversy and an obstacle for proper devolution. Concurrent list should be reduced and centre-periphery cooperation should be established. In 1987, the 13th Amendment didn’t require a referendum. Any further change might not be considered in the same manner (5 to 4) by the Supreme Court. Referendum is also a moral requirement for a new constitution.

      Of course, an authoritarian ruler or a system does not require a new constitution or a referendum. Amendments might be appropriate! Manipulations in Parliament can be done like in the 18th Amendment. If there are obstacles from the judiciary, then the CJ can be impeached.

      • 0
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        Dr Laksiri Fernando

        social and cultural rights should be justiciable to the maximum.

        New pirce to the puzzle.

        Looks like Establish christianity dominated western culture very well.

        Already we have Brothels, Casinos, so many liquor shops, male and froeign prostitutes, pedophilia. Only thing is prostitution is no tlegalized.

        It is no longer a Sinhal -buddhist civilization.

        You want more ?

        Who will fight it then, christians and muslims ? Set up muslims against buddhists and christians will continue their conversion.

      • 2
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        Dear Prof Laksiri,
        If there is will there will always be a way. The problem is except a few Sinhalese, the rest including the so called moderates, do not want to effectively share power or territory with Tamils. 13th amendment was passed by supreme court as not needing a referendum only by five votes to four. Of the five judges who voted in favour barring chief justice Parinda Ranasinghe, rest were minorities: two Tamils, one Muslim and one Burgher. All those who delivered judgement against were Sinhalese. This clearly shows the ethnic divide on devolution to Tamils.

        You are saying that 13th amendment is quasi-unitary, while it should have been at least quasi-federal. Yes it has only a bare minimum of federal features, with provisions for government to interfere and take back by one hand which was given by the other. Behaviour of successive Governors in Tamil dominated provinces proves it. You can easily circumvent this unitary federal debate by following British example of devolution to Scotland where there is a demand for secession. In any form of unitary constitution, the legislature controlled by Sinhalese will be supreme over Tamils in all aspects. This is what Tamils want to be ended.

        Tamils had sovereignty over certain parts of the country at the time of Portuguese conquest, extending from north of Mahaveli river in Trincomalee, through Wanni to parts of Puttalam district. British forcibly merged this land with rest of Srilanka without the consent of Tamils and this sovereignty was not returned back to Tamils when British left. Is it unfair for Tamils to demand that at least some form of sovereignty be returned to them within an undivided Srilanka. This cannot be accommodated under a unitary constitution however much you argue against it.

        Regarding north-east merger, there is a way to effect it which will be fair to all. Rightful owners of eastern province are Tamilized descendants of Veddhas. There is archaeological proof with Tamil stone inscriptions that Tamils lived in eastern province for more than 2000 years. There is historical record that Muslims fleeing persecution of Portuguese were settled by King Senerath in eastern province only 400 years ago. Also 90% of Sinhalese in eastern province are settlers less than 100 years ago. In which case how do you justify the denial of the rights of Tamils for a merger to please Sinhalese and Muslims. I have given in these columns how to effect a merger which will be a win-win situation for all, which does not seem to have any effect.

        • 3
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          Dr Sankaralingam,

          Even if your history is correct, the task of a new constitution or a solution to the national question is not about going back to the 16th century.

          • 1
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            Dear Prof Laksiri,
            I am not asking you to go back to 16th century. Go back at least to 20th century, particularly prior to independence, when eastern province had a Tamil majority. Do you justify willful alteration of demographic pattern to make Tamils a minority. When Sinhalese objected to presence of large amount of Tamils of recent origin in plantation areas, government moved swiftly, to disenfranchise them first and then to deport half of them. Government did not bother about their presence in those areas for over 100 years. You can follow the same procedure in eastern province to bring back Tamil majority. There are several atrocities that have been committed on Tamils after Independence by successive governments. At least correct them.You cannot have double standards if you are honestly striving to find a fair solution. Lands appropriated by Sinhalese and Muslims from Tamils in eastern province must be given back to Tamils even if it is going to displace Sinhalese and Muslims who had committed the crime. Kantalai which was a Tamil majority town is now completely ethnically cleansed of Tamils. Only way Tamils will get justice is when they rule themselves without any interference from Sinhalese.You are only appealing to Tamil politicians to give up their basic right, but you are woefully silent in asking Sinhalese politicians to rise to the occasion and grant Tamils their right to territory and power. Problem with people like you is that you do not want to dismantle anything that previous governments have meticulously done to uphold Sinhala dream of owning and ruling the entire Island, in order to deliver justice. You are trying to take the easier path of forcing Tamils injustice than to force Sinhalese and Muslims a solution based on justice. Foreign intervention is mandatory like what has happened in other countries with similar problem, for a lasting solution based on justice and international norms.

        • 2
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          “In any form of unitary constitution, the legislature controlled by Sinhalese will be supreme over Tamils in all aspects. This is what Tamils want to be ended.”

          I fully agree with this statement. The most important factor is the security of Tamils, the security of their lands,and security of their language & culture. Sinhalese forces cannot give security to Tamils. There should be a Tamil security force to protect Tamils and Tamils land. Can the constitution include the necessity of diversifying the military force in consideration of ethnic reality as in India?

  • 4
    2

    A very sensible appeal. I hope it is heeded by those who can understand its relevance . It is not words that matter, but the substance. The substance is whether we will be equal citizens in all matters that pertain to our lives, regardless of our diversity. Can we rise above our parochialism in this instance and give ‘THE’ broader vision an opportunity to bloom?

    Thanks, Prof.Laksiri. I hope your appeal will stimulate a thoughtful discussion.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

  • 2
    9

    Final solution to the Tamil problem: Deport or exterminate. This is a Sinhala country.

    • 3
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      The Sinhala Aryan (Neo Anagarika Dharmapala – The Homeless One)

      “This is a Sinhala country.”

      What is the Sinhala country? You mean South India?

      • 5
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        NV, he is from the slums of Orissa.

        • 3
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          Most probably like most of the present day Sinhalese not from the jungles of Orissa but from the slums of Tamil Nadu. Just like the gay Catholic born low caste Indian Tamil origin Salagama or Durawa homeless one, who created this Sinhalese Aryan myth.

          Anyway the people of Orissa have never been Aryan. They are largely Dravidian/Australoid, Dravidian or Australoid now speaking an Indo Aryan language just like the people of Bengal largely a people of Dravidian/Mongolian origin.

          This is typical rural Odissha and its people. Nothing Aryan. Looks like the folk dance of tribal South India, to which they really belong. Look at the flat wide Australoid nostril of most of the population. Sinhalese Aryan indeed

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnKGceVQ-6Y

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRQlpVdzYxg
          Moderator please allow these, as a picture is worth a thousand words

    • 2
      0

      Yes, you can dream your little pranks in your pea sized brain. But if you really try, you arm will be broken. Remember we are everywhere. We will hunt you down and destroy you. Buddy, this is not 1970 anymore, you are living in a different era. We will find your stinking arse and burn you.

    • 4
      0

      How can it be a Sinhala country. Recent excavation in Ibbankatuwa between Dambulla and Galewela has unearthed urn burial sites and other ancient artifacts resembling those found in Mohejadaro-harappa proving that the same people inhabited the land mass from Indus valley to Srilanka. Incidentally the first historically recorded Kallathonies are Vijaya and his 700 hundred friends, who betrayed Kuweni who gave them asylum, by killing her and usurping her land. This curse of Kuweni will never go away and all future generation of Sinhalese will have to face.

    • 1
      0

      Throughout the entire history, right from the beginning, Sri Lanka had NEVER been a mono-ethnic (Sinhala) country but was always multi-ethnic country and the best evidence to prove it is found in non-other than the Mahavamsa.

      Even in the recent history, Sri Lankans were multi-cultural and was practicing secularism as we saw in Kandy where the people accepting the Vadugar Kings of Madurai, South India (presently Tamil Nadu) as their rulers.

      It was only after the British gave Sri Lanka independence and handed over the entire country including the historical Tamil homeland to the Sinhala leaders, the Sinhala leadership came up with a hidden agenda. They wanted to transform the multi-ethnic Sri Lanka into a mono-ethnic (Sinhala-Buddhist) country.

      In a multi-cultural society, if one particular race, religion or culture is given the foremost place, then that particular race, religion or culture becomes the first class citizens and all others will automatically become second class.

      The new constitution should guarantee equal status for all ethnic groups that live in Sri Lanka as its citizens, and equal status for all religions that are practiced by the Sri Lankan citizen. There shouldn’t be any foremost place for majority religion or majority race. All religions should be equal and should be independent of politics. This is the most fundamental thing that a constitution in a country with a multi-society should have.

    • 0
      1

      “This is a Sinhala country”

      Dear Sinhala Aryan

      If you take the Sri Lankan flag, the orange stripe represents the Northern Province (Tamil country), the green stripe represents the Eastern Province (Muslim country), and the all others represents the rest of Sri Lanka (you can call it Sinhala country or Sinhale or whatever).

      • 2
        0

        When did eastern province become Muslim country. Even after years of ethnic cleansing of Tamils by Sinhalese and Muslims, eastern province still has a Tamil majority. Tamils are the original settlers in eastern province. Muslims are there only for the past 400 years having arrived there as refugees. If you go through the census conducted, the original composition was 60% Tamils, 35% Muslims and 05% Sinhalese. How then the Muslims could claim that eastern province belongs to them. This is the reason why western countries do not want Muslims to settle as refugees.

      • 2
        0

        Mohideen

        “the green stripe represents the Eastern Province (Muslim country),”

        You are mistaken.

        Islamic Republic of Kattankudi (Area 6 km2)is not Eastern Province (Area 9,996 km²).

        I suggest you learn Arithmetic and Geography.

    • 0
      0

      The Sinhalese are Aryans?? ha ha!

  • 5
    2

    Laksiri F,

    This is all well and good, but, why don’t you appeal to the government
    To remove the armed forces from the north and east, hand back all lands they occupy, stop state sponsored colonisation, stop “Buddha statue/temples” intimidation, allow NPC to function like all PCs in the south, allow citizens to resume their normal lives and livelihoods,
    stop arrests under the PTA, allow courts to function normally, allow only the police to enforce the law, and, allow worship in temples and universities to function without interference.

    If all this is allowed, there will be peace and contentment.
    There will be no need for a new constitution.

  • 2
    0

    The Sinhala Aryan: Your comment took my mind back to the day I was about to be conceived in my mother’s womb. Did I have the freedom of choice of becoming a Sinhalaya; Tamil; Burgher or even a Native Vedda. Thank you for giving stimulus to my thinking energy.

    Dr. Laksiri Fernando: Why you appeal only to Tamil Politicians? Have you forgotten those “Bring Back Mahinda” campaigners formed into a “Joint Venture” (sorry) “Joint Opposition” who have now decided to withdraw from all the Sub Committees of Constitution making?

  • 3
    0

    We already have “Unitary” State. We also have “Democracy”. But what is happening now?.Almost 8 years after the war against rebels, army is still occupying the North. the UN report still proves there is torture and kidnapping. Tamils and Muslims are being intimidated by Buddhist groups headed by Monks. Sinhala colonization goes on in the Tamil people’s lands. They set fire to Catholic churches.
    When anti Tamil pogroms occurred in 1983 our “democratic” President JR..Jayawardane allowed the riots and massacre to go on for 3 days and the police watched the fun. IS THIS THE UNITARY GOVERNMENT THAT WE CAN TRUST ?.

  • 3
    0

    Dear Dr. Laksiri Fernendo and all participants,
    Thank you Dr. L.F. it is a good thought for all Sri Lankans at this time. We must also think the ways how a Country needs organized by all top Administrators and concerned politicians for bringing back dignity and good future. If the Administration is honest in improving the situation, what should have been happening by now? Instead of joining hands and do all the spade work required, what are they still doing? Division, division, and division starting from the top President down to the journalists and supporters. Do you think any other Country would have allowed this? Sri Lanka is the only Country violating all human rights and the fundamentals of life for their own citizens. If they know anything, before this rewriting of Constitution, forcible intimidation, occupation of victims’ lands and threats should have been abandoned for the minorities to get some confidence in what is said. It is the minorities who have been asking for fundamental rights from the majoritarian Governments and not the other way around. From the beginning it is the minorities who were disappointed and driven to the wall. Don’t you think any other Country would understand the background and make justice help the victim first?

  • 2
    2

    I think the most damaging idea to unity is the merger of the Northern and Eastern provinces.

    People in the east, even the Tamils, do not want to be dominated by the Northerners.

    Thus the most practical way to get buy in from the marjority of the people is to accept separate northern and eastern provinces.

    • 3
      1

      The thinking of Tamils in eastern province is changing. Tamils in both Trincomalee and Amparai districts who bore the brunt of racist attacks by Sinhalese and Muslims wanted a merger, while Tamils in Batticaloa district did not want it. Bow now they too are realizing that their future as first class citizens can only be achieved through the merger. Recent Tamil rally in Batticaloa with overwhelming support proves it. Eastern province was a Tamil majority province, where there has been a deliberate change in demographic pattern that took place over the years to make them a minority. Both settlement of Sinhalese from outside the province by successive governments and murder end ethnic cleansing of Tamils by both Sinhalese and Muslims have contributed to this.There are so many Tamils from eastern province who are languishing in refugee camps in northern province and Tamil Nadu, whom the government is not concerned in resettling them in their original lands, as this will to some extent bring back the ethnic balance that existed before. Recent high handed actions by some Muslim extremists in eastern province have made a resolve among Tamils to back the north east merger.

  • 3
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    I don’t think there is a solution within a unitray system of governance where the constitution can be amended or changed by majority (sinhalese) without any concent of minorities (Tamils).

  • 1
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    “Even under federalism, there is no rule to say that demarcations should purely be on ethnic or linguistic lines. Switzerland is the best example. There are only four main ethnic groups. But the number of Cantons are 26.”

    The population of Switzerland is roughly 8.4 million. We cannot compare Switzerland to Sri Lanka because only a Sinhala Buddhist can become a head of state, and so far they have adopted racist policies towards its minorities.

    In Switzerland, executive power is vested in a federal council consisting of seven members. The seven members are elected to four years term by the federal assembly. The Federal Assembly elects one of the seven members as President and another as Vice-President for a term of one year. The constitution prohibits their re-election for the following year.

    Switzerland always has a coalition government based on the ‘magic formula ’ of 2:2:2:1 established in 1959. This political arrangement is strictly followed even though it is not a formal requirement. The major communities the Germans, the French and the Italians are represented in the federal council.

    Sri Lanka has a population of about $21 million and can have a federal constitution instead of unitary constitution. Sri Lankan unitary state has not achieved anything so for (69 years of independence). In fact, Sri Lanka being a country closer to India should offer more than what India has offered to its states.

  • 0
    0

    I am beginning to “Like” this Yhapalana Professor now..

    Specially after reading the last write up of the non Professorial Yahapalana sucker who is a domesticated Aussie in his own take, and has been sucking Batalanda Ranil big time,

    Unlike Dr Laksiru, The domesticated one doesn’t care what happens to the Country, the Nation, its Future and the Future generations to come, if Batalanda Ranil F*** up the Constitution to please the Joint Venture of the Vellala Tamils TNA and the Diaspora UNP in London.

    Yahapalanaya has stopped the Development with the growth rate only 4% according to the 2015 CB Report.

    Rice is rationed, The main agri product paddy is now in the hands of the Rice Mafia in Pollonaruwa,

    1400 small scale Rice Millers have gone bust..

    Foreign Bond Holders are fleeing the country, pushing the FX reserves to an all time low.

    With 4 Biilion USD to be paid in 2019,Bbatalanda Ranil will have to use the same dealer , his buddy from Singapore to bail him out.

    That is if he is still around.

    Ravi the Treasurer calls the new CB Governor a Hospital Attendant.

    And recommends buying the Yahapalana Ruppiah to bolster its value against the Dollar. when the new CB Governor wants to use good Fiscal Policy to strengthen the Dollar through development.

    But Batalanada PM who now calls himself Dr Ranil is busy doing Constitution making behind closed doors to give the ex LTTE supporters their wish list.

    And give the great Sinhala majority 7 crooks with Land, Police and Economic powers to rule them the way they want , while the Tamils and the Muslims have only one each.

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    Tamil Tradition is Burial what caused them to cremate in the Aryan way

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    TNA is anti-establishment political class and party. TNA not a nation political party, it was build to be installed Tamil rough state to served USA puppet regime in Island.

    TNA working for Tamil Eealm .In fact any constitutional changes are not accepts by TNA only they expect Separate regime is their aim.
    Even present that TNA party leadership has not change politics of Tamil-chauvinism back by UNP-Ranil W…CBK and MS of Tamil-elected President of SL

    They(TNA) seek federal-state that proposed by CBK of Federalist regime which want to partition of an Island.

    There is no compromised between TNA and Majority Sinhalese nation.

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    Kumar

    I agree with you this island always has been multi-cultural. In fact that is the norm for ANY country. Even Japan, which wants to be seen as mono-cultural, has in fact been a multicultural entity for millenia, with the people who are caucasian inhabiting the northern islands, and aboriginal people in the southern islands.

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    It pains me much to watch how Dr. Laksiri Fernando brushes aside all your arguments against his view.

    RMB Senanayake is a genuine Sinhalese moderate. Here is his say on CT:

    ‘The demand for federalism reflects the need for both sides to abide by any Agreement. But in a unitary State the Center is sovereign and there is no shared sovereignty. This means that the Center can unilaterally withdraw from any Agreement or can change the Allocation of Functions and Powers between the Center and the Provinces. Some also point out that the Central Government has not always been respectful of the fundamental rights and even the human rights of the citizens. So the Tamil minority is dissatisfied d with devolution within a unitary state. They would like to constrain the powers of the Center in relation to the division of powers for they fear that the Center may gradually usurp the powers of the Provincial Councils. A Federal Constitution envisages a Covenant between the Center and the subunits. So that the Center cannot unilaterally usurp the powers already devolved. – October 2, 2013’.

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    How about some moderation from the Sinhala leaders, are the Sinhala leaders prepared to loosen the strings of hegemony, something they have maintained since Independence in 1948. Are the Sinhala leaders prepared to stick to promises they made to the Tamil community in the past, something they never have done.

    This article is asking the weaker side to give more (i.e moderate their position) whilst staying silent on the stronger side wanting all.

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    The Sinhala people need a homeland

    Let the Tamils and Tamil speakers (Muslims) be given Northern and Parts of Eastern Province.

    The rest of the South Western region (area ) is the Sinhale.

    We should repatriate ALL sinhala people from Northern and certain parts of Eastern Province.

    So called Indian Tamils should be transferred to the Northern and Eastern Provinces. The homeless Sinhala people should be allocated land in the South Western Region.

    The administration in Sinhale should be Sinhala and English (The language spoken in largest number of countries by most number of people..AND it is a language of modern technology)

    The Sinhale is to be led by Sinhala Buddhists of various castes. (Sub-ethnic groups).

    This is the simple and most EFFECTIVE SOLUTION.

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    “COLONISATION OF THE DRY ZONE
    Colonization schemes did not integrate the Tamil majority and Sinhalese majority areas but further divided them. The population of Tamankaduwa(now renamed Polannaruwa) is a prime example. Upto 1911 it consisted primarily of traditional (Purana)villages of which 22 Sinhalese speaking and 36 Tamil speaking.It haemographic engineering. a population of only 20,900 in 1946 of whom 55.9% were Sinhalese, most of them colonists.By 1981 the Dt. had a population of 263,000 of whom 90 % were Sinhalese and almost entirely Buddhists.The Tamil population of Trinco Dt. was 81.8 percent of the total in 1827, but by the census of 1963, the % of the Tamils had dropped to 39.1% whereas the earlier Sinhalese population had risen from 1.3 % to 29.6%.”(The History of Sri Lanka, Peebles, Patric, Greenwood Press, U.S.A.2006)”. It is not wrong for Tamils to go and buy lands in Colombo or elsewhere at the maket price is not wrong but state aided colonisation of Sinhalese in predominantly Tamil areas is nothing but demographic engineering.

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      When we have the SINHALE you will NOT be able to buy land in the Sinhale.

      You can swap your Tamil Lands in Northern and Parts of “Eastern Province”

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