20 September, 2020

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Constitutional Reforms: A Brief Survey Of Our Past & Present

By C.V. Wigneswaran

C.V. Wigneswaran

C.V. Wigneswaran

Following my request addressed to the Swiss Ambassador to invite to Jaffna the Swiss Institute for Federalism of Fribourg, Switzerland for a series of Seminars and Conferences on devolution of power, Mr. Davide Vignati, First Secretary, Political Affairs of the Embassy of Switzerland, Colombo contacted Dr. Eva Maria Belser who is here, the Director of the Institute who confirmed her availability. It is she who identified Professor Nico Steytler from Cape Town and Mr. Maurizio Maggetti to accompany her. I had considered such a Seminar urgent on account of the Constitutional drafting process which was being put in motion early this month.

Thus with the support of the Institute for Constitutional Studies of Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne we have jointly organized this Seminar. I considered the Hon. Members of the Eastern Province important since our political problems are intertwined and sufficient knowledge in respect of the subject in hand was critically needed not only by us in the Northern Provincial Council but also by the Members of the Eastern Provincial Council.

I had suggested the University fraternity as well as the Civil Society too be given this opportunity. I am glad it has been possible to arrange such a Seminar for them too this afternoon and tomorrow respectively. While the Seminar today will predominantly be a platform from which our Resource Persons, Professor Eva Maria Belser of the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, Maurizio Maggetti, Research Fellow at the Institute of Federalism (Incidentally he has worked in Sri Lanka with the Berghof Foundation and Sarvodaya) and Professor Nico Steytler of the University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa would be sharing their knowledge and wisdom, both theoretical and practical on the whole issue of different constitutional models for power sharing during this two hours’ session, their inputs would be beneficial to all of us Sri Lankans to identify constitutional mechanisms that would suit our particular ethnic background and context. Solutions would have to be later identified on the basis of the knowledge we receive to suit the existing circumstances.

Let me give a brief survey of our past and present.

97 years ago two Sinhala political leaders Sir James Peiris and Mr.E.J. Samarawickrema wrote and pointed out to a National Leader and Tamil, Sir Ponnampalam Arunachalam, that the Tamils have been the majority in their own areas from time immemorial while the Sinhalese have been in their areas. Those areas could be identified more or less to fit in with the Northern and Eastern Provinces from where most of our honourable Members present here have come from on the one side and the rest of the Provinces to the South of these two Provinces on the other.

Though there have been a tendency to doctor and change history after 1956 the statement by those two Sinhala Leaders are still accepted as historically correct. The two communities Tamil and Sinhala have occupied this Island from time immemorial. The existence of the Kingdom of the Tamils or the Jaffna Kingdom upto the coming of the Western Nations have been historically recognized.

Incidentally the TNA Manifesto of 2013, by which a large majority of us were elected to the Northern Provincial Council, inter alia with regard to our stand on a political solution states as follows –

OUR STAND ON A POLITICAL SOLUTION

The principles and specific constitutional provisions that the TNA considers to be paramount to the resolution of the national question relates mainly to the sharing of the powers of governance through a shared sovereignty amongst the Peoples who inhabit this island. The following salient features of power sharing are fundamental to achieving genuine reconciliation, lasting peace and development for all the Peoples of Sri Lanka:

  • The Tamils are a distinct People and from time immemorial have inhabited this Island together with the Sinhalese People and others
  • The contiguous preponderantly Tamil Speaking Northern and Eastern Provinces is the historical habitation of the Tamil Speaking Peoples
  • The Tamil people are entitled to the right to self-determination
  • Power sharing arrangements must be established in a unit of a merged Northern and Eastern provinces based on a Federal structure, in a manner also acceptable to the Tamil Speaking Muslim people
  • Devolution of power on the basis of shared sovereignty shall necessarily be over land, law and order, socio-economic development including health and education, resources and fiscal powers.

It is in this context that we are seeking solutions for our ethnic conflict. Of course our learned Lecturers would give us the knowledge with regard to the various models of power sharing, the challenges we have had in pursuing various models of power sharing and the various perspectives that prevail in multi ethnic societies. We Sri Lankans will have to identify mechanisms that would suit us as we sit down to prepare a new Constitution for us.

It might be useful at this stage to refer to what the majority decision of the Supreme Court said with regard to the 13th Amendment when it was introduced as a solution to the ethnic conflict in 1987 when an action was brought stating that the 13th Amendment affected adversely the “Unitary character of the State” and the “Supremacy of Parliament”.

Let me quote

“The Unitary character of the State of which the characteristics are the supremacy of the Central Parliament and the absence of subsidiary sovereign bodies remains unaffected. The Provincial Councils do not exercise sovereign legislative power but and are only subsidiary bodies exercising limited legislative power subordinate to that of Parliament. Parliament has not there by abdicated or in any manner alienated its legislative power in favour of any newly created legislative authority. The concept of devolution is used to mean the delegation of Central Government power without the relinquishment of supremacy. Devolution may be legislative or administrative or both and should be distinguished from decentralization. The scheme of devolution set out in the Bills does not erode the sovereignty of the People and does not require the approval of the People at a Referendum”

Our experience of the past two years at the Northern Provincial Council have proved the words of the majority of the Supreme Court Bench to be in fact correct. The Provincial Council system has not altered the unitary character of the state.

But in modern times it appears difficult while one examines the various Constitutions to strictly categorize them into unitary, federal or confederate.

Robert Garner and others in their book published in 2012 under the heading “Introduction to Politics” said (I quote) “States no longer feel that they have to make an exclusive choice between either unitary or federal systems. They sometimes devise hybrid combinations”. (unquote)

Thus the classical distinction between federal and unitary state is giving way to more complex forms of the nation states. There are States which are unitary mainly or federal mainly. But there are also States which are unitary in some dimensions but federal in other characteristics. There are even those which are neither unitary nor federal. There can therefore be several types of combinations. India and China are examples of mixed characteristics, I believe. Thus we cannot limit us to look at the problem of devolution from a binary reasoning standpoint of unitary or federal only.

There is no doubt that our Parliamentarians are probing into various such possibilities of permutations and combinations.

Yet it is essential to keep in mind the fact that a strictly unitary state places power in the hands of the majority and the consequent authoritarianism, majoritarianism and domination of the majority-centre would affect the minority-periphery. Decentralization is the device of a unitary state but devolution is different. We are going to examine how through devolution the individuality of People different from the majority could be preserved and maintained.

We Tamil Speaking people of the Northern and Eastern Provinces feel that the people of the North and East of Sri Lanka are fully qualified to be categorized as People entitled for self determination in terms of the characteristics and qualifications delineated in the U.N. Covenants. How to recognize our right of self determination within this Country which is multi lingual, multi ethnic and multi religious is the larger problem facing the Country.

Federalism of course limits the extensive State power by creating two sovereign powers – the National governmental power and the state governmental power thereby restraining the influence of both, as in the United States. Of course Separation of Powers imposes internal limits by dividing any government into legislative, executive and judicial arms giving different branches separate functions and thus forcing them to share power. By this way there are checks and balances maintained.

There are a very broad range of political options for settling ethnic conflicts today. I believe we would be examing these options today.

Being conscious of our Northern Provincial Council electoral manifesto and what have befallen on our community since especially 1956, namely the broken promises following the tearing up of the Bandaranaike – Chelvanayakam pact until the rejection of Post Tsunami Operational Mechanism (PTOMS) in 2005, it is imperative to bear in mind the need for a constitutional framework that promotes power-sharing and protects the identity, language, culture and right to self determination of communities who call Sri Lanka as their home in their areas of historical existence.

It is imperative for us to be collectively aware of and learn lessons from other Countries so that we do not repeat the same mistakes with regard to our collective future in Northern and Eastern Provinces bearing in mind our need to protect our identity and to manage our internal affairs to ensure our safety and security, based on existing UN and International Covenants, Conventions and Principles, within a united Sri Lanka.

It is worth noting at this juncture, even an agreement reached with Madam Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga’s government on the basis of negotiation and consensus to utilise the international pledge of funds to address post natural disaster/Tsunami rehabilitation, reconstruction and development, was challenged by a constituent member of the then regime in the Supreme Court and the mechanism was sidelined.

Having been in office for more than two years I am now acutely conscious of the limitations of the 13th Amendment, which when conceived in 1987 was intended to provide for asymmetrical power-sharing for a merged Northern and Eastern Province by the Government of India on behalf of Tamils of the North and East in its negotiations with the then Government of Sri Lanka under President J.R. Jeyewardene to resolve the ethnic conflict.

However, at that time there was lack of integrity on the part of the then Sri Lankan Political Leadership in granting what was discussed and agreed upon. This was very succinctly brought out in the letter written by late Mr. Amirthalingam, Mr. Sivasithambaram and the present TNA leader Mr. Sambandan in their letter dated 28th October 1987 addressed to the then Indian PM Shri Rajiv Gandhi. (copies can be distributed).

As Tamils we need to be very clear in our mind as to what should be the basis of constitutional reform process and political settlement that should be reached, in order to avoid the bitter past experience!

It is this recognition that prompted me to ask the Swiss Ambassador for help. We needed to know about the scope, nature and model of well established power sharing structures found either in Switzerland via Cantons and through confederation, or elsewhere.

Northern Provincial Council is a new structure and all of you including the Councilors and the Administration are for the first time as elected representatives and bureaucracy (having been under the Governor’s rule until end of 2014) called upon to work the devolution process. It is therefore imperative to learn and familiarize with the practices of the federal principles in multi lingual, multi ethnic, multi religious societies to live in peace, security and harmony!

As for the Councilors and Ministers, acquiring knowledge in this subject area will enable you to become very successful and effective future leaders of our community.

For the Administrators, acquiring knowledge and appreciation of federal principles will enable you to work effectively with the Central Government to serve the post war needs and priorities of the people of Northern Province and Eastern Province.

As for the war battered people of Northern Province and Eastern Province the Councilors as leaders at the grass-root level will be able to interact effectively and practically serve people better whilst developing themselves intellectually.

ln fact as advised by me recently I will share with all of you Councilors belonging to the Northern Provincial Council documents relating to how you could perform effectively as Councilors and develop your capacities and capabilities to become effective political leaders in the near future!

Let me welcome the Guest Speakers and our Organisers and look forward to a fruitful Seminar this morning.

Thank you.

*Justice C.V.Wigneswaran – Chief Minister, Northern Province. Speech delivered at the deminar on “Constitutional models of power sharing, challenges and perspectives in multi ethnic societies”
organized by Institute of Constitutional Studies in Collaboration with Fribourg University, Switzerland – Supported by the Government of Switzerland on 18.01.2016 at 10.30 am at the Public Library Auditorium, Jaffna.

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Latest comments

  • 16
    5

    It is for the Tamil people in the North and East to decide how they wish to settle the Tamil question, let the Tamil people have their say. It is time that Tamil people everywhere, whether in the Tamil speaking areas, or in the rest of the country, or abroad, demand their right to an open forum in which to have their say. Create the conditions for the Tamil people to exercise their right to enter the debate and negotiate the final answer to the Tamil question that concerns them most before formulating a constitution to solve the Tamil issue.

    • 12
      2

      The solution to the Tamil problem is long overdue. It is time for the Tamils to wake up.

      The Northern Province Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran should be commended for forming the Tamil Peoples’ Council (TPC) in order to find solutions to the problems of the Tamil speaking people in the country.

      We had moderate leaders like SJV Chelvanayagam, we had militant leaders like V Prabakaran and now we have a non-militant not-so-moderate leader C V Wigneswaran to continue our struggle for self-determination.

      A few years after the war ended, the TNA leader Mr. Sampanthan said in a speech,

      “…Our patience however, will not be everlasting. Our patience too, has its limits. Once we have reached that limit, we will move onto the stage of our effort. We will not hesitate to gather our people together and with the support of progressive forces in our country, and the international community, even engage in a non-violent struggle. We will decide on specific deadlines and when the time comes for such action, we will act…”

      Now it is time to act.

      When it comes to non-violent campaigns, the Non-Violent Direct Action exemplified several decades ago by the Civil Rights Movement under Martin Luther King in the USA is a very practical alternative technique to militancy-cum-terrorism. There are several features in this strategy which are positive and relevant to the Tamil people everywhere.

      Firstly, it will involve large masses, if not all, of the Tamil people. Secondly, it will preclude the enormous waste of resources in the purchase of arms, which could be far better spent in rehabilitating the North and East, presently lying in ruins. It also provides a less unethical, less immoral and certainly less mortal route to the same experience of involvement – and it is open to every Tamil.

      Non-violence with Direct Action is not naive, but a rough factor for real politic based on careful study of human psychology. It will enable the Tamils and the parties to appeal with confidence to the conscience of the international community, as expressed in international law, world opinion and international institutions. It will realistically facilitate an UN-sponsored armistice and UN-supervised referendum that will hand back the traditional Tamil lands to the Tamil people.

      Every opportunity should be grasped by the Tamil people, parties and organizations alike to establish links with the International community (including India) and also with groups of enlightened Sinhalese opinion that perceive the good of all implicit in breaking the hold of the present Sinhala ruling class over the affairs of the country, defeating majoritarianism and replacing the present Unitarianism and centrist structure of government by a new confederative structure or consociation of nationalities. This, in a plural society such as ours, is the only suitable vehicle for democracy, according parity, equality and tolerance at all levels of government and society and culture and liberating the down-trodden and oppressed, whether Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher or other, so that they may live in peace, dignity and concord, without either class or ethnic bias and where there is scope for all without the one subsuming the other.

      • 5
        1

        Please read my detailed response to the article of Prof. Laksiri Fernando titled “Some initial proposals for a new constitution” in Colombo Telegraph website below, where I have explained how the Tamil demand for power and territory could be accommodated.

        May I ask the Sinhalese who are against, the following:
        1. Is it unreasonable for Tamils to demand for a federal set up of sharing power within Srilanka, when minorities in other parts of the world who had faced similar situations at the hands of the majority, have either got independence (East Timor, Bosnia, South Sudan) or de-facto separation (North Cyprus, Kosovo).
        2. Is it unreasonable for Tamils to demand that their lands of historic habitation not be divided when Sinhalese do not want Srilanka to be divided. In this context, There is ample evidence to show that Tamils were the first settlers in eastern province by historical, political and archaeological means.
        3. Is it unreasonable for Tamils to demand that they enjoy the same rights and privilages enjoyed by the Sinhalese at least in their lands where they have lived for over 2000 years, so that they can live as first class citizens with dignity and safety free from interference from Sinhala supremacists.

        From my past experience with close contacts with Sinhalese, as far as I am concerned there will never be a just and equitable solution that will emerge from any local initiative which is dominated by Sinhala racist mindset. As in other countries where similar situations existed, foreign intervention is necessary to bring about a just solution and permanent peace. Initially it could be diplomatic but if it fails it should be military in order to formulate it and implement it. Whether international community will execute it or show double standards and let down Tamils, we have to wait and see. Please remember justice will always win, and justice is on the side of Tamils.

        • 1
          2

          Gnana,

          “1. Is it unreasonable for Tamils to demand for a federal set up of sharing power within Srilanka, when minorities in other parts of the world who had faced similar situations at the hands of the majority, have either got independence (East Timor, Bosnia, South Sudan) or de-facto separation (North Cyprus, Kosovo).”

          Certainly not. This would be Ok for North.Even here Sinhalewe have many concerns. Will it stop from there. Will you use this federal/seperate state to launch attacks on the other parts,since there are more Tamils living in outside North.

          “2. Is it unreasonable for Tamils to demand that their lands of historic habitation not be divided when Sinhalese do not want Srilanka to be divided. In this context, There is ample evidence to show that Tamils were the first settlers in eastern province by historical, political and archaeological means.”

          Your area of habitation in the East is along the Coast (10 miles from the coast) and does not extend to most of the present day Eastern Province which is a creation of the British.

          Even along the coast of East there is no Tamil Contiguity, there is Tamil speaking Contiguity. Muslims won’t throw in their lot with you.Muslims have a separate leadership. While on one hand you accuse the sinhala people for not giving your due rights (As you perceive), you are doing the same to the Muslims.

          Would like to know what this archeological evidence is. If you had any, i wonder why you don’t take it up at the UN like the war crimes.

          “Please remember justice will always win, and justice is on the side of Tamils. “

          You will only win if you demands become just. You are so selfish , that you don’t even see how unjust and selfish your demands are.

          • 2
            0

            ravi perera Sinhala speaking Demela

            It’s you again,

            “Certainly not. This would be Ok for North.Even here Sinhalewe have many concerns. Will it stop from there. Will you use this federal/seperate state to launch attacks on the other parts,since there are more Tamils living in outside North.”

            Will the stupid Tamils stop at Federal state or go beyond it to establish a separate?

            A good question. You should ask RAW. It does depend on how friendly Sri Lankan establishment treats the Hindians. Leave the worrying to Hindians and get on with your mundane humdrum existence.

            Do you think the stupid Tamils ever dare to start another war? It depends on the goodwill of the Hindians.

            If the Sinhala/Buddhists are unhappy about the slow progress of building a Sinhala/Buddhist ghetto in this island they should speak to the Hindians get their approval to launch an arm struggle to establish their own exclusive separate state (ghetto) in the down south near Hambantotta.

            You will have a choice of living in the ghetto or the rest of the island.

            The choice is yours.

            Once you have gone on your separate ways don’t mourn about the living conditions in your ghetto.

          • 1
            0

            Ravi,
            Your answers confirm that you are a racist who is distorting the truth to portray a false picture about the situation.Please note that 90% of Tamils living outside north and east are Tamils of recent Indian origin. The fact that there had not been a single Srilankan Tamil elected to parliament outside north and east proves it. Please qualify your statement. Just because Sinhalese have many concerns does it mean that Tamils cannot have their legitimate rights. Please elaborate the Sinhala concerns which are in the way to grant justice to Tamils, so that we can address them and relieve the distresed Sinhala psyche. You are talking about Tamils waging war to annexe other parts of the country. This is atavistic fear based on inferiority complex. Has Srilanka ever tried to annex Maldives, which was once a Buddhist country.

            You are again wrong about the presence of Tamils in eastern province. The legitimate owners of eastern province are the Tamilised descendants of veddhas and not Sinhalese, Muslims or even other Tamils like Mukkuwas. Historically there is no evidence to state that Tamils were settled in eastern province by anyone at anytime. You cannot deny that Muslims who were fleeing the persecution of Portugese were settled by King Senerath in eastern province, may be because they being Tamil speakers will be more comfortable among the indigenous Tamil population. There is no evidence in history that Sinhalese were forced out of eastern province at anytime by anyone. Bulk of the Sinhalese were settled recdntly by the successive Srilanka governemnets in order to distort the demographic pattern and deny Tamils their lands.

            The present day eastern province boundary was not the same as what it was when British left. There were only Trincomalee and Batticaloa districts. Revenue districts of Padiyatalawa and Mahaoya were removed from Uva Provinnce and attached to Eastern province in order to create Sinhala majority Ampara district. In the riots of 1956, Tamil families who had been living around Kodavattuwan tank were driven out by the Sinhala colonists, which is the first act of ethnic cleansing done in Srilanka. There were ancient Sinhala settlements in around Lahugala in Ampara district and Gomarankadawela in Trincomalee district. Kantalai which was a Tamil majority town was ethnically cleansed by Sinhalese in 1977.

            If you take the census carried out since 1981, it is quite clear how the demographic pattern has been manipulated. Sinhalese were only 2% in Trincomalee and 10% in the entire eastern province while Tamils had been the majority race. If you take the map you will find that all names were in Tamils of which some have now been changed. You are totally ignorant of recent archaeological findings which has laid to rest the Sinhala racist propaganda about eastern province. Since the last 05 years evidence have been unearthed in Vaharai, Kadiraveli and Mahiladitivu in Batticaloa district and Weber Stadium in Trincomalee district which suggest the presence of Tamils for more than 2000 years. If an archeological survey is conducted with modern instruments more such eveidence will come to light. Will the Sinhala government ever allow this to happen and throw off the Sinhala position of sole owners of Srilanka. How can muslims who were there only for 500 years and bulk of Sinhalese who were there only for 70 years deny Tamils of their legitimate claim to eastern province.

            Please read my detailed response to Prof. Laksiri Fernando’s article “Some initial proposals for a new constitution” where I have indicated clearly how eastern province boundaies could be reconstituted and merged with northern province. Muslims have a separate leadership and let they demand for their rights, but that should not deny the inherent rights of Tamils. If Muslims cry loud about appropriation of lands of Arabs by Jews, how can they justify appropriation of lands of Tamils by them. Muslims first landed in the southern and western provinces and even now 70% of Muslims are living there where only 30% of Muslims are living in north and east. Unlike the Sinhalese Tamils have stated that they are prepeared to grant them autonomy within the merged north eastern region like the Pondichery model of non-contiguity.

            Regarding whether Tamil demands are just or not, please read what Eric Solheim who masterminded the downfall of LTTE has said, “The ethnic problem in Srilanka cannot be settled in a just manner by any internal mechanism, and requires international intervention”. This is exactly what I have stated. When LTTE was intransigent and took the blame, the international community was told by Srilanka government that if LTTE is finished off, a solution can be found on the basis of justice. LTTE was crushed in 2009, but during Mahinda’s reign it did not happen, and even now there is no light under the tunnel with Sinhala people uttering racist sentiments to deny Tamils their rights. In future you will hear the same thing from other figures also in the internatinal arena. It is a golden opportunity for Tamils to demonstrate to the world in a patient manner that it is the Sinhalese who are intransigent in arriving at a just solution and not Tamils.

          • 4
            2

            ‘ Goni Billa’ stories based on uninformed speculations are not helpful. If the Sinhala polity at some stage after assuring equal citizenship, equal opportunities and a reasonable degree of effective devolution, even comes with an offer of a separate State, a vast majority of Tamils will reject it. This has happened before, as related by D.B.S.Jeyaraj recently. They feared federalism at one time, for the reason that it will isolate the northern Tamils from the rest of the country. This sentiment will be stronger today in view of the isolation and embargoes these had to endure during the war years.

            Further, in terms of the 13th amendment, why not ask the citizens of the eastern province, whether they want to be merged with the north? Was’nt this the basis on which the Supreme Court rescind the temporary merger. Having been to Batticaloa and Trincomalee several times, Ihave doubts whether the Eastern Tamils will opt for a major, if devolution that treats all communities living there, equitably , is ensured. The playing of one community against the other in the east must stop. This is dangerous tactic that was much used to the advantage of the government and the LTTE during the war years and subsequently by the government.

            Dr.RN

            • 1
              2

              Dear Narendran,
              Now the situation is different in the eastern province. Tamils feel that they are being marginalised and will lose out and it is better to unite with Tamils in the north. The claims of Muslims that they have now become the majority in the east has sent an alarm bell to Tamils. Tamils in east have suffered more than Tamils in north at the hands of Sinhalese and Muslims, with their people killed and driven out, properties destroyed and lands appropriated. I have clearly explained in my reply to Prof. Laksisiri Fernando’s article on constitutional reforms how a north east merger could be effected in a just manner.

      • 3
        0

        Sri Lanka has had many ‘new constitutions’ but none have worked – because the problem lies with the CORRUPT politicians and political PARTY culture.

        A new Sri Lanka constitution needs to have a CHAPTER ON GOOD GOVERNANCE OF POLITICAL PARTIES and a CODE OF CONDUCT for Politicians, and an Independent Commission to enforce them and hold politician and political parties which are the basis of democracy ACCOUNTABLE to the people.

        Bringing Swiss experts to Lanka will be of little use, because post-colonial states of south Asia and Africa have different issues. This is part of the colonial mentality to bring Swiss “experts” rather than South Asian experts.

        While it is indeed correct that the Tamil people should have their say and federalism and devolution of power, the fact of the matter is that even the most perfectly designed Federal Constitution will not solve Lanka’s problems, because the ROOT CAUSE OF the so – called ethnic problem is in fact the country’s rotten and CORRUPT POLITICAL CULTURE, including Political party cutlure, and POLITICIANS who use racism and religion to DIVED, DISTRACT AND RULE the uneducated masses. This is true of Sinhala, Tamil nationalist and Muslim politicians who sit the the Diyawenna Parliament of Corrupt morons.

        Let the example of the violence in South Sudan which got independence be an example that devolution of power and even a separate State in the northeast of Lanka to which I personally have no objection, would not sort out the problem of RACISM the root cause of which is Political corruption and the perpetuation of Hate Speech and hate culture to win votes by corrupt politicians who distract the masses from their criminality and corruption with racism/

        2. The second problem is the hold that Lawyers particularly CORRUPT LAWYERS have on the Political Culture of the country and judicial system including the corrupt clown who is Minister of In Justice – Wijedasa Jarapsassa – the Avant Guard Man.

        Wigneswaren is a lawyer and Ranil Wickramsginhe is a lawyer and they thing that another new constitution will be a magic bullet to sort out the corrupt political culture.

        All the hoop la over a new constitution is a distraction. This legal emphasis on a new constitution to deal with racism rather than changing the culture of racism is a big mistake and nothing will change until the corrupt politician like Mahinda Jarapassa and is cronies are held ACCOUNTABLE.

      • 8
        0

        Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who four years back favoured the idea of ‘13 Amendment Plus’ to address the Tamil question is now saying that the scheme of devolution in the proposed Constitution should not exceed what was implemented under the Amendment of 1987. The Tamils cannot trust any Sinhala leaders.

        Just like the Scottish independence referendum held in September 2014, have a UN sponsored referendum for the North & East Tamils in Sri Lanka. Let the Tamil people decide their future whether they want a separate state for the Tamils as it existed before the European colonial invaders came to the island or they want a federal state under a united Sri Lanka or whether they want to remain under the present unitary state.
        C.V. Wigneswaran should negotiate with the UN and other international organizations to arrange the referendum like what was held in Scotland. For any solution, involve the international community and apply the international laws.

        The Sinhalese have no rights what so ever to decide the fate of the North and East Tamil people. Just because the British made a blunder in uniting the Tamil North to the Sinhala South and leaving the country with the Sinhalese, the Tamils cannot continue within a unitary state anymore. We need to get back to our original state as it was before the British united it.

        • 0
          1

          Ravi

          “The Sinhalese have no rights what so ever to decide the fate of the North and East Tamil people. Just because the British made a blunder in uniting the Tamil North to the Sinhala South and leaving the country with the Sinhalese, the Tamils cannot continue within a unitary state anymore. We need to get back to our original state as it was before the British united it.”

          I am one Sinhalese who agree with this. I too wish to see the Country as it was before the colonialists. I am also thinking day night how the problem of +50% Tamils presenly living outside North and East. Surely you won’t tell me what the British did to you is not our problem.

          Any solution to the Tamil ethnic quetion along the lines proposed by you invariably entails physical relocation of +50% Tamil speaking people presently occyping areas ouside North and East into North and East. Any comments?

          Soma

          • 1
            0

            Soma,
            You are once again distorting the truth. 90% of Tamils living outside north and east are Tamils of recent Indian origin. Can you name a single Tamil MP elected in the south who is originally from north and east. Problem of relocating Tamils of Indian origin is, who is going to do the slave labour that they are doing in the estates, without basic human facilities. This is the reason why Srilnaka did not deport all of them in 1964, as they knew that tea industry will crash with no Sinhalese willing to work in those harsh condition. Tamils from north and east are in the south for economic reason as the economy of Srilanka is south centered. If autonomy is granted with shifting of adminstrative capital to north/east, I am sure most of Tamils of north east origin will move there. Once Tamil rule is established, economic activity will be shifted to those areas which had been neglected in the past. If I can move out of Colombo after 44 years to UK, I think anyone who want to live in peace and dignity will relocate.

      • 0
        1

        I call upon the Sinhalese to form an active Sinhala People’s Council to deal with the problem of Tamil people living outside North and East.

        Wingeswaran must be stopped in his tracts.
        He is taking the Tamil people back to square A.

        Soma.

      • 0
        1

        Any solution to the Tamil ethnic quetion along the lines proposed by Wingeshwaran invariably entails physical relocation of +50% Tamil speaking people presently occyping areas ouside North and East into North and East.

        Soma.

    • 3
      2

      Kumar

      Although there may be a need for ‘debate and negotiation” the fundamental precepts of “Sovereignty” and “Unitary State” should never be compromised. And pray, what does shared sovereignty (as envisaged by CVW) really mean in practice?

      While listing some “salient” points of power-sharing the good judge quietly sneaks in the following point:

      “The Tamil people are entitled to the right to self-determination”. Is this a direct call for Tamil Eelam all over again?

      The history of many nations show that so-called “traditional homelands” theory has been debunked (USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealnd etc). So what may have been the case a century ago is certainly not written in stone.

      We need to be able to comprehend that with time the changed socio-political dynamics call for different imperatives for the sake of peace and harmony. People don’t need defined spaces for that.

      • 5
        2

        MNZ

        It is immaterial whether you call it a traditional homeland or whatever. The ground reality as everybody had seen and still seeing is that the Sri Lankan Tamils had and still have a clearly defined (Tamil speaking) territory, the North & East of Sri Lanka where they lived and still living as a separate majority with a separate culture.

        Scotland is a federal state of Great Britain. If Scots had all the rights to go for a referendum for separation because Scotland was an independent country before it was annexed by the English to form the Great Britain, then the Sri Lankan Tamils have even more rights than the Scots to go for a referendum for separation because the Tamil speaking North & East of Sri Lanka was an independent State (Kingdom) before it was annexed by the British to form the unitary Sri Lanka.

        The East Bengal or East Pakistan was not known as Bangladesh, a separate nation or even a nationality by anybody in this world until India intervened and made them a country. No state (country) on this planet has designated South Sudanese as a nation until UN intervened and made them a separate country. The same story continues with several others who have become a nation. All nations (separate countries) that have come into being in recent years following the United Nations intervention and referendums such as ‘Kosovo’, ‘East Timor’, ‘Montenegro’ and so on were NEVER recognized by any state/country or international organization in this world as a separate nation or nationality until they were established as separate countries.

        The North & East of Sri Lanka has all the necessary criteria to become a separate nation (Tamil Kingdom/homeland was grabbed by the Portuguese and later given to the Sinhalese on a platter by the British). It is time for Britain (who created this mess) and the International Organizations such as UN and other states/countries (where Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora lives) to call for a referendum for the North & East Tamils of Sri Lanka.

        Remember what Dr. Colvin R. De Silva said in 1956,

        “if you mistreat them (Tamils), if you ill treat them…. if you oppress and harass them, in the process you may cause to emerge in Ceylon, from that particular racial stock with its own language and tradition, a new nationality to which we will have to concede more claims than it puts forward now… If we come to the stage where instead of parity, we through needless insularity, get into the position of suppressing the Tamil … federal demand… there may emerge separatism.” (Dr. Colvin R. De Silva, Opposition Member of Parliament, Hansard, June 1956).

        Whoever Dr. Colvin R. De Silva was, but what he predicted in 1956 may become a reality in the future if (I repeat if) the Sri Lankan government further delays in solving the Tamil problem. We are NOT asking for a separate country, what we need is a federal state to look after our own affairs.

        • 0
          1

          Buddy Kumar,

          I chase you away from one corner, you then come to the other and repeat crap yet again.

          North & East of Sri Lanka was an independent State (Kingdom) before it was annexed by the British to form the unitary Sri Lanka.

          What “Scottish”? Tamils are a feral culture in Sri Lanka.

          This is an amazing map, that is found at the Beeldbank National Archives, the Netherlands. We were astonished to see that more than 85% off all villages in Yapanaya or Jaffanapatnam in the early Dutch era, were in fact Sinhala. More so shocking, when today, not a single Sinhala family lives in the North!

          http://www.jaffnahistory.com/Northern_Province/Sinhala_Villages_of_Jaffna_1695.html

          • 0
            0

            Vibhushana

            “I chase you away from one corner, you then come to the other and repeat crap yet again.”

            When I was about to respond to you in the other corner, Suresh has already given you a WONDERFUL reply (on my behalf) that you fully deserve. He has explained with a lot of references how your ancestors came from Thoothukuddy in South India and got converted into Sinhala Buddhists. I am sure you must have read all that and checked with your parents. However, you ran away leaving your amude when you saw Suresh.

            Btw the map you have posted is a photo shopped one created by a Sinhala-Buddhist (Tamil convert) like you.

          • 3
            0

            Vibhushana

            Please go to the other corner/thread and see for yourself who got chased away, LOL!

          • 2
            0

            Vibhushana

            You must be ashamed of yourself. Go to the other corner and see how badly you got chased away.

            Are you still visiting this Fake website created by some Sinhala racists? All those maps are fake photoshpped by the same people.

            Anyways, CT readers know very well that Vibhushana is a Dim vit so no worries.

        • 1
          0

          Kumar

          Many thanks for your response.

          Certainly the Tamils in Sri Lanka have genuine grievances, and nobody is challenging that. And of course, it is incumbent upon government to find amicable solutions, with compromises required from all stakeholders in order to achieve lasting and durable peace.

          Firstly, my comments were directed at CWG, with his continuous ill-advised hard-line rhetoric. He should stop rabble-rousing as it is not helping the cause. The talk of “self-determination” is in my view provocative, and may create opposing monsters from the anti-eelam side.

          I also do not dispute the historical facts re the creation of various little regions into new nation-states as you have mentioned. However, whole countries such as USA, Canada, New Zealand were completely stolen from their rightful owners. Should these countries be returned to the aborigines, Maoris and Red Indians? Methinks not, because, and I repeat “we need to be able to comprehend that with time the changed socio-political dynamics call for different imperatives for the sake of peace and harmony.”

          Kumar, unlike CWG you appear to take a more pragmatic approach with the comments in the last paragraph of your response. Good luck with that.

      • 2
        0

        When SWRD Bandaranayake came with the BC pact to solve the Tamil problem, the UNP lead JR Jayawardena gathered the Buddhist monks and opposed it and finally stopped it. When Dudley Senanayake came with the DC pact to solve the Tamil problem, the SLFP leaders gathered the Buddhist monks and opposed it and finally stopped it. The Indo-Lanka pact and the 13th amendment brought in by leaders of two countries (Rajiv-JR) to solve the Tamil problem was faced with JVP and SLFP resistance but survived, however is not sufficient and not fully implemented.

        Now, MS & RW are trying to solve the Tamil problem but we all know for sure that Mahinda Rajapakshe is going to opposed it and finally stopped it. TNA leader Sambandan appealed to Mahinda Rajapakshe to support the new constitution but he very clearly says nothing more than the 13th amendment. Mahinda Rajapakshe is a crooked politician and he knows how to convert this issue into a political opportunity (advantage) for him to capture power again. Like what happened to BC & DC pacts, MS & RW’s attempt to solve the National question will also come to an end with a failure.

        The Tamil leaders must be naïve if they still believe that the Sinhala leadership (whoever it may be) will solve this problem. The TNA is internally divided because some of them (Sambandan and Co.) believe that the present regime will solve the Tamil problem and therefore we need to be very moderate and accommodating while others (Wigneswaran and Co.) believe that the Sinhala leadership will never solve our problem and therefore we need to be very assertive and look for alternatives.

        The above comment by James is very interesting. The Tamils should be always ready for a Non-violent campaign with Direct Action by involving very large masses in North & East, Colombo and also in the West. Always involve the international community in the struggle. As Kumar says above, if the Scots had all the rights to go for a referendum for separation, the Sri Lankan Tamils have even more rights than the Scots to go for a referendum for separation because the Tamil speaking North & East of Sri Lanka was an independent State (Kingdom) before it was annexed by the British to form the unitary Sri Lanka. If the attempt by MS & RW to solve the Tamil problem fails due to Rajapakshe and his cronies, the Tamil leadership should be ready for an immediate alternative action by not only involving the entire Tamil population but also the international community via the Tamil Diaspora.

    • 9
      7

      Unfortunately, there is vast gap between the thought process of the Tamils in Sri Lanka and the Diaspora Tamils.

      C V Wigneswaran does not understand the basics of administering a provincial council effectively and have moved away to engage in national politics without earning any credit to his administrative function.

      He was very popular when he was elected but has lost his credibility soon and he remains isolated. He has associated himself with the rejected politicians propped up by the screaming minority lot in the Tamil Diaspora.

      He should abandon his hate crusade and organise himself to discharge his responsibilities for which he has been elected for.

      A comprehensive list of failures of CVW will confirm why he has no choice to take this divisive crusade. It is to hide his downright incompetence and backed by his progressively failing judgemental capacity.

      • 4
        6

        Jayadevan,

        There is no gap between Diaspora Tamils and Tamils in Sri Lanka in relation to the attitude of Sinhala political leadership. As our chief minister said the change that came in January 2015 with the full support of Tamils and Muslims are more beneficial to Sinhalese than Tamils. In fact Tamils and Muslims saved Sri Lanka from a monster and dictator family. The Sinhalese political leadership appears to play a double game to escape from the international pressure by show case dramas with delaying tactics.
        Wigneswaran is an honest and reliable person who has all the characteristics to lead Tamil politics.

        • 6
          2

          Ajith

          Denial of Tamils right to vote in the 2005 election brought about the so called ‘monster and dictator family’ you have claimed. Who is responsible?

          CVW is playing his insincere game without doing what he should do as the chief minister and strengthening the hands of the TNA.

          I am not doubting the honesty of Wigneswaran but his reliability is very much doubted. Put your emotions aside and think. He is such an incompetent and an untrustworthy person who is trying to cover up his inability and failures by stirring the emotions of the people which is palatable to the segment of the Diaspora Tamils.

          He should be sent on a training course to manage a pubic institution. Northern Provincial Council will be a failure under his leadership for the Sinhala leadership portray our inability to run even a landmark constitutionally devolved power.

          • 2
            5

            Mr Jayadevan,

            Don’t put the blame on CVW for the boycott of 2005 election. TNA lead by Sampanthan was also part of the decision to boycott that election. How do you know that Tamils would have voted for Ranil (UNP) instead of Rajapakse (SLFP)? Do you think that Ranil would have solved the problem if he was in power 2005?

            CVW is not playing insincere game. It is Sampanthan and Sumanthiran are insincere to what they have said in the election manifesto. Do you deny the presence of military in the North? Do you deny the violation human rights of SLA? Do you deny the massacre of Tamil civilians by SLA? Why can’t they tell the truth to people about the agreement they had with the UNP?

            Have you got any sort of research findings of the evaluation of the efficiency of other provincial councils administration to compare with NPC?

            • 6
              2

              Ajith

              I gave a direct response to your comment on the installation of a ‘monster and dictator family’. I did not implicate CVM.

              ‘Do you think that Ranil would have solved the problem if he was in power 2005?’ – Yes of course, he would have gone a long way if not for the conspiracy of Anton Balasingam to pull the rug under him and claiming that the LTTE defeated Ranil thus defeating a massive international conspiracy.

              If Sampanthan and Sumanthiran are insincere then what about CVW. His employment contact with the people of the Northern Province remains violated. He has abandoned his job specification and duties and straying all over the place.

              With regard to the forces. Are you referring to the past or the present. I just returned from Sri Lanka and there is no visible presence of army in the north or east. They are confined to the barracks. They are made to account for every bullet they discharge. They have been even pulled out from civilian duties.

              Yes, the forces must be made to account for the human rights violations against the Tamil civilians and the same applies to the LTTE and the paramilitary groups.

              Have you got any sort of research findings of the evaluation of the efficiency of other provincial councils administration to compare with NPC?

              • 6
                1

                Ajith

                I could not finish my earlier comment at 5.07pm due to key board mishap.

                ‘Have you got any sort of research findings of the evaluation of the efficiency of other provincial councils administration to compare with NPC?’ — The very functioning of the NPC and its failures have been analysed and published by reputed writers. I am in the process of writing my own findings and there is seriously worrying concerns.

                I regret, you appear to be living in the past and appear to be muddy the past and the present as a result of not making any effort to find the true situation in Sri Lanka. I will not say the situation for the Tamils is absolutely fine or satisfactory. Issues facing our people are wide ranging. Even our own people are exploiting the vulnerable and the weak.

                The land grab of the Tamils by the Tamils does not it the ear drums of the Tamils living abroad.

                • 0
                  3

                  Jayadavan,

                  On point 1, I know you implicated LTTE but if TNA lead by Sampanthan knew that Ranil will solve the problem why they did not ask the people to vote for Ranil in that election? Do you know that UNP lead by Ranil lost its parliament elections in 2004 just one year before president election in which TNA had a massive win in that election? You are trying to give excuses to defend Ranil. Can Ranil tell the Nation how he intend to resolve the ethnic question and what is his proposals? Will he go beyond 13+ and grant police and land powers to North Eastern Provinces?

                  On your point regarding forces, yes you don’t see the presence of army in public as before but the army structure and strength has not changed. Why do you think the same strength of military should be there if they have no intention of involved in public affairs. Why can’t they move to other provinces where they come from and where they are comfortable?

                  You have not produced any evidence to my question regarding the research findings. I am not bothered about your findings as you are not a neutral researcher.

                  I am not living in the past but you can only predict the future based on the past. The behavior of the past indicates how the future is going to.

                  We need to respect the voices of the people irrespective who he or she is. Wigneswaran has the right to raise his opinion as Sampanthan. If Wigneswarn is not fit for the purpose then People have the opportunity to remove him. It is also applicable to Sampanthan and Sumanthiran. As a leader of TNA if Sampanthan has legal power to remove Wigneswarn from his post it is up to him to remove him and appoint another.

                  • 2
                    0

                    Ajith

                    The election of 2004 was stage managed by the LTTE. This is after threatening Mr Sampanthan of dire consequences by Anton Balasingam in the House of Commons in London to tow the LTTE’s line.

                    I was told by the LTTE cadres in Vanni how they rigged the voting and forced the Tamil people to vote in 2004.

                    I was involved in the initial process of the 2001 peace agreement and I know to the extend Ranil went to reach an agreement with the LTTE and then going out of the way to convince the world to bring permanent peace through political resolution if he is elected as President. Anton Balasingam sabotaged his effort.

                    It is not Ranil’s UNP government at present. It is cocktail of all the elements. We must hope something is gained from the current effort to change/amend the constitution. TNA has a role to play and Sampathan, Sumanthiran and others are doing their best whilst CVW is sunk his irresponsible cheap politics. Please wait patiently and see what will be the outcome without posing the questions that does not deserve a response.

                    The government is in office for only one year. It has taken some meaningful steps and I hope it will be extended further. Let the army be in the barracks. They are in the barracks all over SL. Let the relationship between the government and the TNA find an answer to your demand and the process is on going.

                    Please read at least the write ups of Sooriyasegaram and DBS Jayarajah about CVW. I cannot spoon feed you in these columns and request you to go and make your own reading.

                    ‘I am not living in the past but you can only predict the future based on the past’ — You will be a person who will live in the cocoons nest predicting the future thinking the past all the time. We have gone a long way and we must work to strengthen the process of reconciliation without glorifying the past and discharging hate based on the past.

                    Removing CVW is in the hands of the TNA and the NP council members and even saying good bye to him is in the hands of the people at an NP Council election. Let us debate about failures that undermines his contractual obligation to the people.

      • 1
        6

        Dear Jayadevan,
        Please do not make comments based on your personal agenda. Basic problem is with the Sinhala racists. They do not want northern provincial council to exist leave alone function. Northern province was resurected due to pressure from India and not due to any genuine action of the Sinhalese. Government is waiting for an opportunity to dismiss it, but is unable to do so due to India. Government is drawing up a new constitution not only to get rid of the Presidential system, but also to do away with provincial councils sytem. Unfortunately Chief minister is a thorn in their flesh for their manipulations and standing in the way to cheat Tamils. They will continue to sabotage and create problems, and put the blame on the council saying that it is inefficient. No self respecting Tamil in the world could do an honest job as chief minister of northern province in these circumstances.

        You are claiming that the chief minister has lost his credibility and remains isolated. You do not seem to understand the meaning of the word credibility. What lies has he told, what underhand activity has he done. Please do not use words if you do not know the meaning of. He is not isolated as claimed by you. From our relatives and friends in Jaffna, he has immense support from the people as a forthright person. He also has majority support in the assembly, and I am sure that no one will dare to throw him out. From the time he was appointed as chief minister the Sinhala politicians did not like it and had been working to get him out. He is a person who will be listened to by foreigners and has far more internatinal stature than Sumanthiran or Senathirajah.

        • 2
          1

          Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam

          Unfortunately, your comments do not concur with the reality. Giving blind support for just because he is espousing our emotional demands without delivering his duties as CM is the sad saga facing us.

          The funds allocated to the NPC is not fully spent. Because, the NPC has not passed the relevant statues to spend the money. Moving away from the Council duties the NPC is preoccupied with passing resolutions and after resolutions on the Tamil political and human rights issues. If this is done in line with passing the statues there won’t be any qualms. But unfortunately, NPC is struggling. As a result the development work is at a standstill.

          You have the right to give your own meaning for the word credibility. It is the wider view that CVW’s credibility as CM has gone down the drain.

          Unfortunately, he has lost many friends who praised him so much in the past. The only backers now is the screaming Diaspora Tamils who are divorced from the reality of the Tamils in SL.

          • 2
            3

            Dear Jayadevan,
            Please do not be hasty and wait for the events to unfold. There had been an attempt by some to unseat the cheif minister but it failed miserabley. A meeting of TNA provincial council members were called by few members, who had obtained the signatures of some by force, while others refused. In the meeting only four were against the chief minister, and the connection of them to some TNA parliamentarians have been found. Now Sampnathan is saying that chief minister will not be removed and he will be working with the chief minister. You are saying their is wider view about his credibility, who are these people who you are talking about. Please read the reply given by Northern provincial council for the allegation about the allocated funds being not spent fully. The talk and actions of Chief minister may not be politically correct, but he is giving his views in a forthright manner and he is a person who cannot be bought over by Sinhalese.

            • 2
              2

              Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam

              ‘Please do not be hasty’– who is hasty? Facts are sacred and it is person’s like you who are deliberately trying to cover him up with your patronising statements.

              Let us patronise CVW if he had exercised his mandate and then going further on the national issue. But not for undermining the first with the second.

              He promised a local community project of delivering wonders from his NCP budget but he has not delivered them so far.

              The NCP is not doing what the Jaffna MC is doing though NCP’s mandate is much bigger. If you travel around the NCP secretariat you will find the NCP doing petty council work of roadside tree planting etc. It has become a thamasha driven body.

              • 0
                0

                Dear Jayadevan,
                The best judges are the Tamils in Srilanka, not you and me. If the Tamils in Northern province did not like the way the chief minister is functioning, by now they would have been on the streets demanding his removal. There is nothing preventing them to do it as the chief minister does not have any police powers to suppress dissent by force. There is no point in us arguing about this and for your information I am a fiercely independent person and never held a candle to anyone.

                • 0
                  0

                  Dr. Gnana Sangaralingam

                  ‘by now they would have been on the streets demanding his removal’ – Tell me of one such campaign in the past against a Tamil politician?

                  They will respond in kind at the next elections. CWV must read the pulses of the people there and act wisely before it is too late. You know how non performing politicians got their exit in the elections. Premachandran is the latest one.

                  In conclusion, hope you will agree that CVW is a failing NCP leader as he is negating his responsibility to undertake the much needed development work by passing necessary the statutes. Instead, he is using his position to engage exclusively in national politics by quarrelling with the TNA.

                  His primary priority is his responsibilities attached to his CM position and then working with the TNA on the wider Tamil issues.

                  He is unable to exercise his executive powers as CM and is engaging in emotive and hate politics of the yesteryears.

    • 0
      0

      Kumar

      “It is for the Tamil people in the North and East to decide how they wish to settle the Tamil question, let the Tamil people have their say.”

      Agreed. Let the Sinhala people have their say over the Tamil people who live outside North and East. I want them to relocate to North and East and intend to vigorously campaign for that.

      Now mr Kumar does your ‘Tamil people’ include those Tamils who practise Islam as their religion or only those who practise Hinduism and Christianity?

      Soma

      • 3
        1

        Irrespective of whether they practice Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, or Buddhism, all the people of Sri Lanka who speak Tamil as their mother tongue are considered Tamils.

        You do not need another new Sinhala People’s Council, already there are many of them, Sinhala urumaya, Sinhala ravaya, BBS, Jathika chintana, PPM, and so on. Recently another one started with the sinha-le label. All BIG time Jokers.

        For Tamils occupying areas outside North and East, do what India did when Pakistan was formed. simple!

      • 3
        1

        Soma,

        Tit for tat arguments will not help anyone in the country and are ultimately counter productive. We need to live together in this country, under democratic norms that ensure the equality of every citizen and protects the communal identity of all citizens. United we stand and divided we fall. We have experienced an unprecedented calamity lasting almost three decades and much blood letting before that. A multitude are yer suffering immensively from the aftermath. Let us not forget that lesson. Let us all work towards healing long festering wounds. The SinhaleseTamils and Muslims, have to be restrained in their word and deeds and not only encourage, but also be helpful in evolving a consensual solution. If it is the best possible and acceptable to all responsible and reasonable citizens;,it will be better. Do not think of devolution in terms of Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims, but in terms of the provinces, districts and villages. Let us empower the people to attend to their local problems and through that enrich this country.

        Dr.RN

        • 2
          2

          Dear Dr RD
          I am humbled by your words. It is hard to articulate how I feel towards the calamity of ordinary poor Tamil men women and children. It is crystal clear to me that we have no option left for our future generations than living in one country , one political unit sharing as citizens equal in all respects. There is no practicable political solution or devolutionary model which may not lead to conflict and bloodshed. Kindly read

          [Edited out]

          • 0
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            [Edited out]

  • 12
    6

    Well reasoned and thoughtful position. It is unclear why anyone would want to deny what Justice (retd.) Wigneswaran is saying. I suppose the Sinhala nationalist won’t tolerate a Sri Lanka where Tamils are seen as indigenous people?

    • 1
      0

      JVP is correct – a hundred new constitutions will not solve Lanka’s political problems!

      Indeed the new constitution is a political game used by Ranil and Sirisena to cover up bi-partisan (SLFP-UNP) corruption and keep the political circus going!

      Tamil politicians like Wigneswaran are also part of the problem.

    • 0
      1

      Alex

      Any solution to the Tamil ethnic quetion along the lines proposed by you invariably entails physical relocation of +50% Tamil speaking people presently occyping areas ouside North and East into North and East.

      Soma

      • 2
        0

        somaass

        “Any solution to the Tamil ethnic quetion along the lines proposed by you invariably entails physical relocation of +50% Tamil speaking people presently occyping areas ouside North and East into North and East.”

        Here we go again.

        I have answered you boringly repeated question in the past why don’t you go back to my earlier comments and deal with it.

  • 5
    2

    97/98 years ago this transpired. Still not rectified and core areas of problems have not changed. Minority safeguards, Tamil homeland and either a proper share in governance or separation (the Jaffna Association then reserved the right to negotiate direct).

    From Sri Lankan Tamil struggle (Chapter 18) by late Mr. T.Sabaratnam:

    Arunachalam also negotiated on the basis of Sabapathy’s offer and persuaded James Peiris and Samarawickrama to concede the Tamils …………..

    Arunachalam was satisfied with the pledge given by James Peiris and Samarawickrama. He sent their letter with a note by him to Sabapathy the same day. Text of Arunachalam’s note”

    Ponkar,

    Horton Place,

    Colombo.

    7th December 1918

    Hon. Mr. A. Sabapathy,

    Jaffna.

    Dear Sir,

    Referring to your conversation with me on Thursday Afternoon, I enclose a letter from Messers James Peiris and E.J. Samarawickrama, Presidents of the Ceylon National Association and Ceylon Reform League respectively giving assurances which would satisfy your Association as the bona fide desire of the Sinhalese leaders to do all that can be done to secure as large a representation as possible to the Tamils consistent to the principles of the resolutions adopted by the committee with the concurrence of delegates from Provincial Associations.

    The assurance means that you have three seats for the Northern Province and two for the Eastern Province (or more if you can get it) and that there will be one seat reserved for a Tamil Member in the Western Province on the basis of the territorial electorate, in addition to the chances of Tamils the other provinces and in the Colombo Municipality. No doubt also, the Government will nominate a Tamil to represent the Indian Tamils. Our Sinhalese friends are also willing to support the claim for a Mohammedan Member in the Western Province on the same footing, should the Mohammedans make such a claim. The conference is deliberately restricted to essential principles only, there being a conflict of opinion among the Sinhalese themselves on matters of details. Such details should be hereafter submitted by the government by the various interested parties.

    I trust that nothing will stand in the way of a large number of delegates from Jaffna (including yourself and Sir A Kanagasabai) from attending the conference and making common cause with the rest of the island. I understand that the Governor is coming to Jaffna on the 14th or perhaps on the 13th by which time we hope to pass at least half the resolutions.

    Yours very truly,

    (Sgd.) A. Arunachalam

    On the basis of the pledge James Peiris and Samarawickrama gave and Arunachalam’s note Sabapathy persuaded the members of the Jaffna Association to attend the second meeting held on December 13 and 14 December 1918. He told the members that he had been persuaded by Arunachalam that Tamils should do their part for the political advancement of the country.

  • 12
    4

    We should congratulate our chief Minister of Northern Province to organize such a valuable seminar to educate the people about power sharing to resolve the problems of this island. These type of seminars should be organised in the South as well and progressive Sinhalese political and educated leaders takes it to the people in the South. It is sad that Sinhalese mainstream politicians including those in the current regime to utter confusing messages and use words like “We will not divide the Nation, the solution is within a unitary state etc”. These people opportunistic and they have no intention of finding a peaceful solution.

  • 10
    7

    Drafting of a new constitution is to hood wink the international community and cover up war crimes under carpet….

    Tamils are not ready to take sugar coated poison anymore….

    Tamils can’t live under Sinhala thuggery anymore……..

    Kids are growing in North-East after witnessing the massacre of Sinhala security forces….

    These kids are asking where and what happened to their loved ones….

    No amount of changes or verbal assurances will not satisfy these kids ..

    No force on earth can’t stop the division of this cursed Island….Now Sinhala racists are showing their color again to the world…..thanks for them…

    Cheers

    • 0
      0

      Cholan

      “These kids are asking where and what happened to their loved ones….”

      Tell them that some fought Ealam war IV and martered with Thalaivar and others ran away from Talaivar and sending money to them for boozing and womanizing.

      Ask them to light a candle for those 12,000 who took cyanide instead of surrendering.

      Soma

  • 7
    4

    Thanks to Mr. Wigneswaran CM, NPC for having organised such a seminar at the right time and delivered a meaningful speech, although it is
    the duty of TNA to have organised such a seminar.Such seminars are a
    a necessity to educate the majority that all communities should be
    treated equally, with their lands, religion and language protected by the govt.and live together in peace and harmony. TNA is maintaining absolute silence for some reason and Mr. Wigneswaran seems to have taken over the reins. One wonders whether trouble is brewing between TNA and the Govt.as they were not there to greet the PM and govt.reps at the National Thai Pongal festival held in Jaffna,last week, which they should have done as matter of courtesy

    Tamils should put forward the Switzerland model of devolution to the
    govt.and its high time TNA engages the Govt. for discussion on the type
    of devolution Tamils prefer and affordable to the govt. of Sri Lanka.
    This time , Tamils cannot be taken for a ride as the International
    community is strongly behind an amicable settlement for the Tamil problem and IC had committed to the Tamil community,as they have given up terrorism and other undemocratic methods to achieve their goal and Tamils did not make any anti govt. moves since the last election as a precondition, demanded by the IC for their intervention to solve the long lasting issues of the Tamils.

  • 8
    3

    To think of all the years wasted in bickering over rights and territory, the stagnated life of SL and the bloodshed that have flowed prompts one to ponder – isn’t it enough.

    Isn’t it enough to realise that amity between the Sinhalese and Tamils are never going to happen. They can live in one island but they cannot live under one leader. Whatever other countries may impose their needless ideologies or intent, it will spare the island more unnecessary heartache and bloodshed. You think the Sinhalese have won the war? Have they won the peace? How many stand accused of war crimes?

    Before even looking at any option/s, are the Sinhalese happy with their own society being torn apart despite the Enlightened One having graced this island. How many people have been murdered? What more, shamelessly the disputing parties are at each others throats and common sense seem to have despised and deserted SL. Even more shameful, foreign arbiters have to be brought in indicating a glaring truth – both parties/races cannot surely and safely admit that any arbitrated position will ever hold firm.

    Isn’t it enough of this madness? To what extent will this bloody path continue that it even prompts to think that this is the SL that foreign interested parties may want to encumber under their domain. What would and could have been nurtured as “offering hands of brotherhood” has been up at each others throats. Not that it may not have dawned on some sensible ones, but hoping for SL to ever emerge as a healthy paradise may be doomed if that eludes SL.

    Today, it is an irrefutable truth that MR lost his presidency because of the Tamil votes. Looking at the voting patterns, he will still be the president if Tamils had not taken part in the elections. The Tamils contributed much to the difference and the Sinhalese are now in turmoil. Let us be frank. The current President had poked fun at Mahinda for such a large cabinet but what is the reality today? And why he has to resort to pleasing politicians to keep them on his side? The jumbo cabinet may be here to stay.

    The ever shifting posts and what we hear everyday do not inspire us. The UNHRC investigations are looming heavily. Does it ever look like the politicians across the divide can ever reach a consensus to pave the way for a peaceful resolution to the age old problem? Those who had believed that the end of the war would have been the end of the problem will now have to think otherwise. Funny isn’t it – what would Buddha say to the SL politicians if he was alive today? The truth is Buddha is just a pawn, that’s all.

    The country that should be at the forefront in resolving this is pretending as if nothing is on its radar. I allude to UK and it should be the concerted effort of the UK and its allies to stop pretending and establish two different nations for them to decide their own future. Surely they already know how the two communities were in their domain during their time that ensured the peace.

    • 0
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      Jansee

      ….Today, it is an irrefutable truth that MR lost his presidency because of the Tamil votes….

      Truth is that if the Tamils and other minorities HAD come out and voted in 2005, Mahinda R would never have been elected President then.

      • 0
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        Spring Koha:

        True and precisely that is the point I am trying to make.

    • 3
      1

      Jansee,

      “Today, it is an irrefutable truth that MR lost his presidency because of the Tamil votes. Looking at the voting patterns, he will still be the president if Tamils had not taken part in the elections. The Tamils contributed much to the difference and the Sinhalese are now in turmoil.”

      If the Muslims had not gone against MR, he would have been still king.
      He could have won without the Tamil vote. in 2010 Tamils votes for SF but large number of Sinhalese and Muslims voted for MR.
      This time a large number of Sinhalese too voted against MR. So he could have won without the Tamil vote if he had not antagonised the Muslims.

      Sinalese are not in Turmoil man, Sira coming to power at this moment was probly a good thing. No Constitution will go through a referendum if the Sinhala people are against it. If you sound fair in your demands international community will back you. That’s is your only hope

      Cheerio

      • 1
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        ravi perera:

        My understanding has been that the Sinhalese voted overwhelmingly in favour of MR (and against Sarath Fonseka) in 2010. MR was riding very high soon after the war. In 2015, the sinhala votes were somewhat split and were against “Dutugemunu”. I do agree with you Muslim votes almost entirely deserted MR this time.

        • 1
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          jansee,

          Sinhala people did not overwhelmingly vote for MR in 2015 although Overall Sinhala votes were stll in fav of MR.

  • 4
    3

    A new constitution is quite unnecessary, but is being foisted on the people.
    The prevailing constitution is quite adequate especially after the cancellation of the 18th Amendment and introduction of the 19th Amendment.
    The NP Chief Minister has proved this, in his statement at the seminar.

    The only alteration which is required is to abolish references to religion, and make it a Secular Constitution, and this maybe established by a new 20th Amendment.

  • 3
    0

    Yes it indeed a very good move in trying to settle the Tamil problem which drags on with all the Governments which comes to power without solving. However in trying to solve this, it is very necessary to take into serious considerations that majority Sinhala people who speak Sinhala language only live in this Country.

    • 3
      3

      chimpa

      ” to settle the Tamil problem which drags on with all the Governments”

      Please note it is a Sinhala/Buddhist problem which is imposed on rest of the people, including Sinhalese, Buddhists, Tamils, Hindus, Muslims, Christians Burgher, …..

  • 1
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    The past is important in building the future. But how is it going to proceed when you pretend war crimes in Sri Lanka is a common feature and the culprits cannot be caught and charged because they are in the majoritarian Government party. Don’t you feel if you let it go unheard it is going to repeat. Crimes that are promoted will definitely happen again. You are thinking of a new beginning without the past sorted out? How far will you be allowed to go by the same criminals? Unless the criminals are brought to books, you are only taking a temporary measure to help the criminals go free!

  • 1
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    There may be some wondering why the Jaffna Association and its leaders were unwilling to follow the accepted “democratic” principle of seats proportion to population. Here is the argument:

    Ceylon Historical and Social Studies Publications Board., 1977

    Referring to the composition of the House of Commons where the Irish were represented “out of all proportions to their population”, and much nearer home, India, where under the Congress-League scheme of 1916 the Muslims were given larger representation than their numbers warranted, Sabapathy called upon the Sinhalese to be equally generous to the Tamils in allocating seats.

    Both Ireland and Pakistan became separate countries as they knew the simple principle of democracy was not practical where different cultures,races or religions lived and their populations were not equal. Needless to say Sabapathy’s illness and death at about the same time as Sir P.Arunachalam’s permanently damaged the political direction of Tamils. This is my view based on reading archived material.

  • 0
    4

    After all the help of Modi’s Hindians to Vellalas to make Yarlpanam the sister City of Madras, now Wiggy wants to go full Swiss.

    I can understand that,

    I mean who would want to be Madrasis..

    Besides Swiss Eelaamists A.K.A ex SL Thamils are not on good terms with the TNA and the GTF in London.

    But my main concern is the disregard this ex SC Judge shows his fellow Elite in Colombo, who are trying their best to help the PM fulfil his Yahapalana promises to them and to the TNA Sambandan in particular, who has signed an MOU with the UNP London… .

    And bring home the Bacon.

    That is after jailing War Heroes, castrating the Armed Forces, down grading Buddhism and granting Federalism to Samnandan & Hakeem through his new Yahapalana Constitution.

    Does Wiggy read only Swiss News now?.

    Because JVP discard and Batalanda appointed MP Handunnatta even bags his own camp,

    He says mass protests which kicked Rajapaksa out are about to come back .

    But Rajapaksa is no more.

    IGP orders CCD to investigate how Englesi Ass managed to put that Colombo chick’s Bra around his neck, on stage and in Public

    The other chick who was smooching him is not in the brief.

    But a more serious political issue which the Economist raises is that Yahapalana Directors in charge of our Govt Institutions are giving the Yahapalana PM one finger salute, when asked to tender their resignations so that UNP Bakir Hassim can appoint new ones.

    PM summoned 180 Govt Directors who were appointed by Galleon to a meeting at the Temple Trees .

    Only 50 turned up . No one gave resignations.

    Wonder what the issue is , Aren’t Galleon and Bakir both UNP heavies and both UNP Yahapalana Ministers?..

    May be Wiggy has no heart..

    • 2
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      KASmaalam KA Sumanasekera

      “I mean who would want to be Madrasis..”

      To begin with how about you? I wouldn’t say you are a refined Madarasi but probably a fifth generation Tharangambadian, from Nagapattinam.

      Tharangambadi means “place of the singing waves”

      Only a few generation ago your ancestors would have arrived here with Thanjavur Nayaker as his personal palanquin Carriers. I suppose you are continuing their traditions, only difference is instead of Nayaker’s palanquin now you carry MR’s b***s.

      Don’t you feel you have betrayed their aspirations.

  • 6
    3

    Dear Mr.Wigneswaran

    Constitutional Reforms: A Brief Survey Of Our Past & Present.

    *** First of all I want to give you my wholehearted support for your unremitting persevarance and unbending will in trying to achieve what you were elected to achieve in the face of adversity and hostile forces.

    I want to reflect on a few things

    1) Thus with the support of the Institute for Constitutional Studies of Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne we have jointly organized this Seminar. I considered the Hon. Members of the Eastern Province important since our political problems are intertwined and sufficient knowledge in respect of the subject in hand was critically needed not only by us in the Northern Provincial Council but also by the Members of the Eastern Provincial Council.

    *** They are important only in so far as to be inclusive but anyone who considers himself Tamil has a straightforward task.It is not terribly difficult to declare

    2) The two communities Tamil and Sinhala have occupied this Island from time immemorial. The existence of the Kingdom of the Tamils or the Jaffna Kingdom upto the coming of the Western Nations have been historically recognized.

    Incidentally the TNA Manifesto of 2013, by which a large majority of us were elected to the Northern Provincial Council, inter alia with regard to our stand on a political solution states as follows –

    *** The above is abosolutely spot on and a Starting point and if TNA were to depart from this stated Principles History will judge them as Traitors.

    3) OUR STAND ON A POLITICAL SOLUTION

    The principles and specific constitutional provisions that the TNA considers to be paramount to the resolution of the national question relates mainly to the sharing of the powers of governance through a shared sovereignty amongst the Peoples who inhabit this island. The following salient features of power sharing are fundamental to achieving genuine reconciliation, lasting peace and development for all the Peoples of Sri Lanka:

    *** Sharing of power without a Federal Structure will not achieve anything for the Tamils.

    4) The Tamils are a distinct People and from time immemorial have inhabited this Island together with the Sinhalese People and others
    The contiguous preponderantly Tamil Speaking Northern and Eastern Provinces is the historical habitation of the Tamil Speaking Peoples
    The Tamil people are entitled to the right to self-determination
    Power sharing arrangements must be established in a unit of a merged Northern and Eastern provinces based on a Federal structure, in a manner also acceptable to the Tamil Speaking Muslim people Devolution of power on the basis of shared sovereignty shall necessarily be over land, law and order, socio-economic development including health and education, resources and fiscal powers.

    *** I agree with you entirely and you cant put it any clearer than that.

    5) It is in this context that we are seeking solutions for our ethnic conflict. Of course our learned Lecturers would give us the knowledge with regard to the various models of power sharing, the challenges we have had in pursuing various models of power sharing and the various perspectives that prevail in multi ethnic societies. We Sri Lankans will have to identify mechanisms that would suit us as we sit down to prepare a new Constitution for us.

    *** Agreed without any reservations.

    6) It might be useful at this stage to refer to what the majority decision of the Supreme Court said with regard to the 13th Amendment when it was introduced as a solution to the ethnic conflict in 1987 when an action was brought stating that the 13th Amendment affected adversely the “Unitary character of the State” and the “Supremacy of Parliament”.

    *** It was Indias fault not challenging it. 13th Amendement was an agreement between India and Sri Lanka and I think it was Sarath Silva who was intrumental in the Demerger. Sadly India allowed National Law to reign Supreme

    7) Let me quote

    “The Unitary character of the State of which the characteristics are the supremacy of the Central Parliament and the absence of subsidiary sovereign bodies remains unaffected. The Provincial Councils do not exercise sovereign legislative power but and are only subsidiary bodies exercising limited legislative power subordinate to that of Parliament. Parliament has not there by abdicated or in any manner alienated its legislative power in favour of any newly created legislative authority. The concept of devolution is used to mean the delegation of Central Government power without the relinquishment of supremacy. Devolution may be legislative or administrative or both and should be distinguished from decentralization. The scheme of devolution set out in the Bills does not erode the sovereignty of the People and does not require the approval of the People at a Referendum”.

    *** The Federal Assembly should be able to legislate in respect of development, taxation and the rest except Foreign affairs and may be Defence in consultation with CM.

    8) Thus the classical distinction between federal and unitary state is giving way to more complex forms of the nation states. There are States which are unitary mainly or federal mainly. But there are also States which are unitary in some dimensions but federal in other characteristics. There are even those which are neither unitary nor federal. There can therefore be several types of combinations. India and China are examples of mixed characteristics, I believe. Thus we cannot limit us to look at the problem of devolution from a binary reasoning standpoint of unitary or federal only.

    *** Sri Lanka is unique as it is divided along Racial lines Language Religion and where they live. United we FALL Divided we STAND.

    9) We Tamil Speaking people of the Northern and Eastern Provinces feel that the people of the North and East of Sri Lanka are fully qualified to be categorized as People entitled for self determination in terms of the characteristics and qualifications delineated in the U.N. Covenants. How to recognize our right of self determination within this Country which is multi lingual, multi ethnic and multi religious is the larger problem facing the Country.

    *** We are with you on this.

    10) Having been in office for more than two years I am now acutely conscious of the limitations of the 13th Amendment, which when conceived in 1987 was intended to provide for asymmetrical power-sharing for a merged Northern and Eastern Province by the Government of India on behalf of Tamils of the North and East in its negotiations with the then Government of Sri Lanka under President J.R. Jeyewardene to resolve the ethnic conflict.

    *** 13th Amendment is only a starting point.

    As a people we will get to the Promised Land of which I have no doubt.

    • 2
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      Koli,
      Kali conveys death, destruction, and the consuming aspects of reality. As such, this koli sooththu is also a forbidden thing, or even death itself.

  • 1
    5

    We were absolutely right in rejecting all compromise of as follows;

    1 We cannot accept right of self determination for Tamil rough state
    will be puppet regime installed by USA, Norway and UK military
    base in Trincomalee of East part of Island.

    2 The form of terrorist type of anarchist politics of CM of North
    council affairs forced us to make again ruthless struggle and
    use terrorist methods of warfare by CM led New Tamil Organization.

    3 Police power for CM led terrorism from different points of view
    and we are condemned by power of devolution’ for Tamil separatist
    by vacillating Tamil and UNP ,that we knew perfectly well ,it will be
    necessitated by another acute Civil war between Tamil Terrorist
    and State of Sri lanka.

    CM of north council used all kinds of methods against us that including ‘Constitutional Changes’ of undermined principle character of Sri Lankan Sovereignty and Independent state by using USA, Norway and UK influence by civil war ,political power of North Council and political bribery and sabotage of democratic norms.

    In fact CM of north that it has reveal all these conditions be which necessitated to be created by new form of Tamil Armed struggle and the methods of preparation Terror for Tamil Eealm regime in North.
    There for the Sri Lankan democratic forces and right thinking people should not repent it.

    Only we must prepared for new situation that conditions has been created by CM of North Council new struggle gave rise to these acute forms of struggle initiated by Tamil Terrorist leadership by CM of north council.

    In these special conditions of Tamil in North that had been build by CM of NC that we have to have go for national patriotism ,that UNP & TNA to replace ‘constituent Assembly’ with the slogan to “Power devolution”……. to North Council are using to strangle Tamil People in island wide.

    The change and interfere by US Norway and UK international political situation and anti- Chinese propaganda & lobby by Indian RWA is inevitably followed by change in the position of Tamil Eealms that exploited anti-democratic movement in after defeated of LTTE 2009 may.

    This change of heart of Sri Lankan sovereignty challenge by Tamil of CM in NC now occurring in their camp. Currently CM of NC address to US and UK imperialist as their friends that including alliance “Constitutional democracy of power devolution “by
    so-called”rule of law and Good governances”.

    It is appear that US UK and Norway are acting as hangmen of
    Sri Lankan democracy and sovereignty as gendarme playing the part of the Sri lakan blucher UNP and are doing no less effectively to Indian RAW in 1987 Invaded by Rajiv Gandi -Sri lanka.

  • 2
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    Swiss cheese has many holes in it. In fact the Swiss cheese sold in Mr Wigneswaran’s shop has more holes than cheese.

    Bt the way, why has not Colombo Telegraph reported on the “resignation” of the notorious Bishop of Mannar, Rayappu Joseph, famous apologist for the crimes of the Tamil Tigers, and his replacement by an older retired bishop from Trincomalee? What does Mr Wigneswaran make of that?

  • 10
    5

    The TNA approach and position on the new constitution in the making has been spelt out comprehensively by Sumanthiran in a recent interview.

    http://m.newindianexpress.com/world/604196

    He has also explained his take on the TMP in unambiguous terms.

    The shared sovereignty concept advocated by Wigneswaran is a non- starter ,considering where we are now and how we got here. The concept of equa citizenship rights and equal opportunities in law and practice, would ensure equal sovereignty and will be more acceptable . The words ‘Shared Sovereinty’ would once again evoke memories and sentiments relating to the 50:50 and Eelam demands,and doom once again the chance to resolve the so-called ‘Tamil Problem’. What we have to resolve is a long festering ‘ Sri Lankan’ problem’. It is a multifaceted problem confronting all Sri Lankans. If we lose sight of this objective, all of us will be the losers.

    I think the TNA stance, whether it is accepted or not, is the best approach at this moment in history, when local circumstances are shaping in the right direction and is bolstered by international support. The Geneva process also provides the stick part of the very much needed ‘ Carrot & Stick’ of the very much approach.’ I pray that the Tamils in particular and Sri Lanka in general will not miss the bus, once again due to crass stupidity and political grandstanding.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    I am quite apprehensive of CVW’s tactics, at a time when his credentials and those of his cohorts at a low and the Tamils are just beginning to stand up on yet somewhat crippled legs.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 4
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      I have by accident left out the link to Sumanthiran’s interview, although the Indian Express link is also relevant. The.Sumanthiran link is given below:

      http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2016/01/17/pol04.asp
      Dr.RN

    • 1
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      Rajasingham,

      These generalized mendacious condemnation, lacking any specifics, again is suggestive of shady personal agenda rather than being genuine.

      I recall just over a year ago when Mahinda was still in power, Rajasingham bleated in these same columns that Mahinda had completed at least 75% of what he had promised the Tamils! How is that for wisdom and credibility?!

      • 3
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        Here comes my darling to haunt Dr RN and I am very proud of my Lion King..

    • 1
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      Dear Narendran,
      As per what you say, if shared sovereignty is a non starter for the Sinhalese, then unitary state is a non starter for the Tamils. In any negotiations there must be give and take, and on that basis why cannot the Sinhalese agree for half way situation. Best thing is to emulate Scotland model, where there is a demand for independence. Though UK does not have a written constitution, for all intents and purposes it functions as unitary. But it has devolved extensive powers to Scotland which could be termed federal and promised to give more. When LTTE was there they showed intransigence, but now majority of Tamils have said that they are prepared to accommodate their demands within a united Srilanka. With India and the international community guaranteeing that they will not allow Srilanka to be divided, then what is preventing Sinhalese to reach out to the demands of Tamils within Srilanka which the international community feel is a fair demand to grant. Are you saying that Tamils should accept whatever that Sinhalese are going to give, however unreasonable it is, and resign to their fate.

      • 2
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        I returned from a development project related trip to Trincomalee this morning. I made a similar trip to Batticaloa two weeks back. I also spend a considerable part of my time in Jaffna. I also spend some time in Colombo. I see the common problems a majority of Sri Lankan face is economic and cultural poverty of various degrees. This is magnified in the north and east due to long wars and prolonged turmoil. Poverty erodes society and degrades our humanness.

        Concepts such as sovereignty , unitary, federal etc. are not their concern. They want an equitable share of the economic pie, access to employment, support to pursue their chosen vocation in a secure environment, better housing, access to good quality water for personal consumption and farming, cheaper food, good schooling for their children, easily accessible medial services and an honest and efficient public service that does not drive them from pillar to post.

        The concerns CVW, you and others articulate are the luxuries of the elite, whether they be Sinhalese, Tamils or Muslims.

        We have to have a political and governance system that delivers and satisfies the mundane needs of the people and gives them the dignity they deserve as humans. We have to have good governance that reaches the grass roots in terms of every citizen and gives he/her and helps them attain their their individual and community aspirations How we design such a system, given the current opportunity, should be our concern. The past is only a lesson not to repeat mistakes of the past. It should not be be stumbling block to undermine future possibilities.

        CVW has missed the opportunity to DO what he can during a major part of his tenure as CM. He is now engaged in a renegrade political game to cover up his FAILURES with meaningless words and concepts. Most Tanils have experienced the worst due to this type of politics and want to be left alone to deal with their existential problems. They want bread not bricks, as Swami Vivekanada explained to the Americans who came forward to build more temples in India!

        Please do not prop up Card Board Caessars, who have ruined us and are seeking to continue doing the same, repeatedly.

        Dr.RN

        • 0
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          RN wites “CVW has missed the opportunity to DO what he can during a major part of his tenure as CM”.

          Will you please spell out what CVW missed to DO as CM?

          • 0
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            Please check google for this infirmation. There is plenty of information out there with details.

            Dr.RN

  • 2
    0

    Supremacy of Parliament – Article 76 of the 1978 constitution –

    ‘Parliament shall not abdicate or in any manner alienate its legisative power, and shall not set up any authority with any legislative power’

    This article was first incorporated into the 1972 constitution (article 45 (1)

    If you want to have a new workable constitution, you have to get rid of the articles relating to unitary state, Buddhism and the above article 76.

  • 2
    4

    Vigneshwaran,

    1)”•The contiguous preponderantly Tamil Speaking Northern and Eastern Provinces is the historical habitation of the Tamil Speaking Peoples”

    2)”•The Tamil people are entitled to the right to self-determination”

    3)”•Power sharing arrangements must be established in a unit of a merged Northern and Eastern provinces based on a Federal structure, in a manner also acceptable to the Tamil Speaking Muslim people”

    Under 1) above you are saying North and East are historical habitation of tamil people. In the East this is correct more along the coast(about 10 miles from the coast). To say that the whole East has been historically inhabited by Tamil speaking people is a damn lie just like your many other lies.

    Under 2) you mention Tamil people and does not mention Tamil speaking people. You want to bring the Muslims under your umbrella to gobble east (To bolster your numbers) and conveniently discard them once that is achived

    3)What you mention here can correct for the North but not the East
    East has always been part of the Sinhala territory, it is the British who created these artificial provinces. Very foundation of East is false. In the East Muslims will always thrown in their lot with the Sinhalese when it comes to the crunch(Despite Booru Balu Sena Antics). Any Sinhalese who goes agaisnt the Muslims will learn a bitter lesson which MR found out.It is the Muslim vote which brought Sira into power.

    You mention Sinhala leaders like James Peries and Samarawickrema of having said North and East been tamil country. This is like the Sinhalese using the names of Kadiragamar and Devanada. Sinhala people by and large look upto D S Senanayake and Mrs B as the greatest of the Sinhala leaders. MR had every chance to be rated in the same league but he screwed it up with his antics.

    It is your unrealistic and utterly selfish demands that brought you no sympathy from any Sinhalese (In SA Mandela had many admirers among the whites).

    Keep putting forward the same demands and see what happens. You are another typical selfish Tamil man

  • 0
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    //I can understand that, //

    WOW… capacity to understand something? Rest of the typed words demonstrate that!!

  • 4
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    It is high time that we forget about labels such as ‘federal’ or ‘unitary’. What is important is that we have a meaningful and effective devolution by means of which no community or group of people will feel alienated or feel that they are ‘superior’ to the ‘other’. All people in the country should have a sense of belonging to the country. That is the only way for having a meaningful reconciliation and a progressive future. The above article is very enlightening but what is most important is that these matters should be discussed and explained in the South a lot more than on the North or East.
    Sengodan. M

  • 6
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    Let us be realistic. We have to go a long way to become a ‘model’ to the rest of the world like how Switzerland is in terms of an excellent devolution which has ensured ethnic harmony there. We have tried a few times in the past but failed each time mainly due to broken promises. Let us make a fresh start and the time is NOW. Let us all hope that it will be a GOOD start in order that there will be GOOD progress in the country!
    Sengodan. M

  • 4
    0

    Dr Gnana Sankaralingam writes

    2. “Is it unreasonable for Tamils to demand that their lands of historic habitation not be divided when Sinhalese do not want Srilanka to be divided.”

    The majority of Sinhalese or their elected representatives want the whole of Sri Lanka remain as one nation. The majority of Tamils accept this policy provided they respect the wish of the majority of Tamil speaking people or the majority of the population that inhabit the Tamil speaking land that their entire region is also remain undivided. This will enable their language and culture be developed without interference from other communities, mainly the majority ethnic community. As Dr Sankaralingam says this policy of unity within diversity is granted to ethnic or religious minorities in other countries as civilised form of co-existence.

    There can be incentives and conditions attached to such a set up for the ethnic minority to remain loyal and the ethnic majority govern in fairness.

    The ethnic majority must look at this proposal favourably and try to end the cycle of violence that erupts time to time. The violence wrecks the economy and rob the common man from leading a fairly comfortable life comparable to other countries in the region, which gained independence later than Sri Lanka. If they are genuine in their analysis they will find that such a setup will not hinder the central or the main government but will facilitate a smooth running.

    • 0
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      “The majority of Tamils accept this policy provided they respect the wish of the majority of Tamil speaking people or the majority of the population that inhabit the Tamil speaking land that their entire region is also remain undivided”

      Tamil speaking card is just to bring the Muslims under Tamil banner to bolster your numbers. You have never controlled East and will never control East. Even North is doubtful without India’s blessings

      • 1
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        ravi perera the Sinhala speaking Demela

        “Tamil speaking card is just to bring the Muslims under Tamil banner to bolster your numbers. You have never controlled East and will never control East. Even North is doubtful without India’s blessings”

        If that is worrying, you could always repeat the 1948 nationality act, pass another unjust law and deport all the Muslims to whence their ancestors came. You should speak to the Hindians who might be willing to relocate the entire people to Kerala.

        It is not a moral issue for the majoritarian minority the Sinhala/Buddhists. Please relax.

        Controlling East is not an issue. Don’t worry too much about it and let the Hindians do the worrying.

        Say hello to somaass.

        • 0
          0

          “If that is worrying, you could always repeat the 1948 nationality act, pass another unjust law and deport all the Muslims to whence their ancestors came”

          Not the Muslims, wish we could do this to you and your Eelam bros

          • 0
            0

            ravi perera the Sinhala speaking Demela

            “Not the Muslims, wish we could do this to you and your Eelam bros”

            Only a few centuries ago they were your blood brothers. Just because you have converted to Sinhala/Buddhism it does not mean that you don’t share their gene pool.

            By the way, when do you plan to send them?

            Remember if there are fewer people chances are better for us to throw you lot out of this island.

  • 2
    1

    Reconciliation is not simply shaking hands, nodding heads and smiling at the offended or aggrieved person. It is resolving the issues that caused the offence and enmity between the offender and the offended.

    Constitution drafting should be based on the historical rights, inherited by the people, when the country was last colonised.

    In our island, now called Sri Lanka, there were two nations with two territories, two languages and two cultures, when the last coloniser, Britain, captured the island.

    Therefore, reconciliation should restore the rights of the people of Tamil nation.

    And constitution drafting should be based on the equal rights of the last two pre colonial nations.

    There is lack of; knowledge, ability and leaderrship in SL, either to do reconciliation or to draft a constitution, necessitating UN intervention.

  • 2
    0

    In terms of fairness, both sides should be treated equally.

    Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam writes:

    “May I ask the Sinhalese who are against, the following:

    1. Is it unreasonable for Tamils to demand for a federal set up of sharing power within Srilanka, “

    Answer: Is it unreasonable for Sinhalese to demand for a federal set up?

    ” 2. Is it unreasonable for Tamils to demand that their lands of historic habitation not be divided when Sinhalese do not want Srilanka to be divided.”

    Answer: Is it unreasonable for the Sinhalese to demand that their lands of historic habitation not be divided when Tamils do not want Tamil areas to be divided?

    ” 3. Is it unreasonable for Tamils to demand that they enjoy the same rights and privilages enjoyed by the Sinhalese at least in their lands where they have lived for over 2000 years, so that they can live as first class citizens with dignity and safety free from interference from Sinhala supremacists.”

    Answer: Is it unreasonable for the Sinhalese to enjoy the same rights enjoyed by the Tamils in their (home) lands as first class citizens (why cant we all be first class Sri Lankan citizens without talking about race?) without interference from Tamil supremacists and don’t say there are no Tamil supremacists because there are.

    So you seem if it is reasonable, both sides should demand it and get it, and merge all the provinces except the North and East and you will have two nations with a great deal of strife between them.

    So the issue is not a vote on Tamil or Sinhala rights but on the Sri Lankan identity and are we willing to live as Sri Lankans without violence and changing the balance of power towards one ethnic group from another?

    Why not give time for economic development and many more years of living in peace bring us to ignore the past and look to the future?

    I am against division, whether it is Sinhala or Tamil or any other type of division. We can all live together but from time to time some people need proclaim the glory of their ethnicity beat their drums and wave flags, paste stickers and photographs- let them do it without hurting anybody else.

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      Dear Vanguard, you are detached from reality. There is no denying of the fact that Srilanka is a divided nation. Tamils have time and again demonstrated this. The duty of every fair minded people is to find out how and why this division is present and rectify it. Land being kept together by force does not mean that minds are together. You cannot bring about unity and peace by force. Tamils have suffered at the hands of Sinhalese since independence and are demanding that injustice be corrected. No government has tried to solve the problem and this government also appears to be taking the wrong path. Read what Eric Solheim has said recently, “Srilanka problem cannot be settled in a just manner by any internal process and thus requires international intervention”. You may hear more such statements in the future from others, when the present government dilly dallies or attempts to force on Tamils an unfair solution not acceptable to majority of them.

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    Simply you are a (Tamil)racist just like ven Galaboda Aththe Gnanasara Thero (A Sinhala racist)

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      bitter truth

      “Simply you are a (Tamil)racist just like ven Galaboda Aththe Gnanasara Thero (A Sinhala racist)”

      Why do you think he is a racist?

      Exactly when did he become a racist?

      Have you read what he has to say?

      You don’t like his beard do you?

      Could you define “racist”.

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    First and foremost I concur with everything that our Chief Minister Wigneswaren has out line in his assessment of the issues facing the Sinhalese and the Tamils in Sri Lanka. I firmly believe that the time for finger pointing is over and find ways of takeing the message to the masses.

    In my dealings with the Sinhalese people and I have quite a few good friends I find them very reasonable and sympathetic to-wards the Tamils.In any even the message has to be spelt out to the masses in a form they could udderstand in plain langusage.

    When I was collecting signatures for an Independent International Investigation into the violation of Human Rights and War Crimes I appealed to the Sinhalese people directly and considerable amount of success. Quite few of them permitted me to place my request in their web site and I truly was surprised and humbled by it.

    My observation is that from the Sri Lankan Press to the Politicians do not send out the message to the country as a whole but for their electorate and their ethnic readership.

    Take our President’s and Prime Ministers Facebook pages, all in Sinhalese and the Same is true say for example Mr. Sumnthiran’s Facebook page Tamil and I must commend Mr. Sumanthiran for doing a few postings in English.

    Please Mr. Wigneswaran take your message to the Sinhalese masses. Please open a Sinhalese Facebook Page and I am sure you will find enthusiastic recepiants to your constructive messeges and they are constructive and the country will prosper.

    If the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister is not man enough to talk to you go over his head. You are good in Sinhalese break the communication barrier.

    Good on You Mr. Wigneswaran and Thank you.

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