21 November, 2018

Blog

Douglas Devananda Undermines The Northern Provincial Council

By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Prof S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Many Tamils who have suffered at the hands of the LTTE have tended to see others on LTTE hit-list with some sympathy. For those on the list, with a dedicated sense of service to the Tamil people and unquenchable thirst for justice, the choice was simple when faced with assassination by the LTTE – run abroad into oblivion or seek protection from the army and do the best they could under the circumstances.

Thus the much respected Mr. R. Sampathan and my uncle Neelan Tiruchelvam of the TULF, T. Sritharan (a.k.a. Sugu) and Robert Subathiran of the EPRLF, and TELO’s Sivajilingam are people who, while staying on in Sri Lanka, sought the protection of the army and lived at Summit Flats in Bambalapitiya or in their well-guarded homes without turning their back on their policies. Despite the protection Tiruchelvam and Robert were to get assassinated. But all of them retained the love and respect of the Tamil community because they never joined the army in its perverse attacks on the Tamil people and they kept underscoring the sufferings of the Tamil people under the Sri Lankan state and seeking solutions within the system.

Then there are others who carried arms and sought the protection of the army and joined in its military operations or intelligence work, often against the Tamil public. Prominent among these is Douglas Devananda. Because he consistently spoke up for devolution, many of us believed that he possessed at least the remnants of the sense of justice that drove all Tamil militants to take up arms and was therefore redeemable.

It was widely reported in the press (19 May, for example, The Sunday Leader) that Minister Douglas Devananda is heading the group of 31 government parliamentarians against removing land and police powers from provinces and that they were prepared vote against such a move in parliament. That leadership role seemed to prove his pro-Tamil rights credentials.

We rejoiced that these 31 parliamentarians would halt the government’s efforts to undermine Tamil desires to have even a slight say in our affairs by denying government the 2/3 vote for a constitutional change – only to be jolted back into reality just now. Douglas has pronounced like a wise Solomon Rajah “If there is no delegation of such powers when forming the Northern Provincial Council, the Tamil people will be concerned. Likewise, Sinhala people will be concerned if these powers are delegated. Therefore, it is advisable to hold it back for the moment until there is understanding.”  (Daily Mirror, 20 May).

The trick is this – because a province already has these powers, to hold back those powers the constitution needs amendment and the 30 parliamentarians Douglas leads would be persuaded to vote for it. A big favor indeed to his masters. To give these powers back later would need another amendment!

Machiavelli and Chanakya with their combined chicanery would be put to shame. By taking over the leadership of the 31 parliamentarians opposing the withdrawal of powers from the provinces, Douglas has undermined those noble Sinhalese men and women who were prepared to speak up for Tamils and block a constitutional change. He has shown his true colors as a person prepared to serve rabid Sinhalese nationalists against fellow Tamils.

If provincial council elections are ever held, the Tamil people should vote against this Rajapaksa-Devananda combine. Who is the Tamil who wants a provincial council without land and police powers? Only Devananda, it would seem. He is reportedly wanting to be the chief minister candidate. For what? To hand out a few street sweepers’ jobs?

Tamils want a provincial council so that a) we Tamils have at least a local government to which we can speak of our needs and be understood by, b) land settlement cannot be used for ethnic cleansing and c) the police will not be used to beat up protesters – certainly not to show India and the West that President Rajapaksa has given us self-rule in his great generosity flowing from his love for the Tamil people when in fact we would have no real powers at all.

Douglas Devananda and his government know that the TNA will be resoundingly elected and all the government’s ongoing underhanded efforts to change the demography of the North and control political protest will come to a halt unless these powers are withdrawn. With a Chief Minister around, Devananda cannot act like a colonial governor and summon high ranking government servants to be suddenly present at his Srithar Theatre to answer to him.

The 30 other well-meaning parliamentarians have been tricked by Devananda unless they too are in league with him in this game. If they mean well, let them prove it by electing another leader for their group and stand firm against any constitutional change.

Whatever happens, the TNA must not withdraw from the elections. If they do, it would give the powers of the province, however hollow, to the government and let the government claim the moral high ground. Even if it is a province without powers, the TNA must contest and rout the government to show how the Tamil people feel about this government. The rest of the world has to wake up at long last when after all these struggles Tamils’ representatives are elected to a Provincial Council without any meaningful powers. It is time for India and the world to see how empty the 13th amendment is and offer us some other redress.

Douglas Devananda by his devious behavior has shown that any sympathy for abject collaborators like him, was and continues to be misplaced.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    Ratnajeevan,

    When did you get enlightened?

    If you are to be taken seriously, could you please provide evidence of articles Douglas or MR that you wrote before you were turned back empty handed by the regime after teasing you with VC post.

    We need people with foresight to write in this forum – not mere whiners trying to claw-back some respectability one way or another.

  • 0
    0

    I agree. But even to vote for TNA, TNA must field effective candidates and NOT persons like Mavai. If jokers like Mavai / Suresh becomes the CM, It will be another disaster to the Tamils.

    • 0
      0

      Kumar,I agree with you that TNA can field a better candidate than Mavai Senathirajah.As wignesvaran seems to be putting his hand up he is the best candidate.We need to bring some top professionals into politics if we are to get out of this rut we are into due to the poor quality of parliamntarians we have had in this country.Anyway if senathirajah becomes the Chief minister then we will Gota and co making allegation after allegation that he is undermining the country,whereas with wignesvaran they will find it more difficult to convince the sinhalese.

      The past records of wignesvaran and senathirajah speak for themselves.Wignesvaran has a clean record of non communal past whereas senathirajah with his support of The LTTE will be rightfully considered by the sinhalese as a Tiger Nominated Agent.It is time for the TNA to clean up its stables of that foul smlling odours of the tiger smell if it truly wants to embark on the political solution path and win the trust of the sinhalese.The biggest impediment to a permanent political solution in the future will be the lack of trust between the two communities and having leaders who are tainted by a history of communal past will not be helpful to bridge that gap.

      New faces are needed for a new future.We can’t have the past polluting the future.I,am glad they brought Sumanthiran into the TNA,but alas I fear that his colleagues from the north will just use and dispose him.When they are in deep shit they will turn to others for help but when they get back their confidence they revert back to their selfish and arrogant selves and put the tamils into some more trouble.They never think of the tamils as a race of people,but only think of the tamils in the north as the one and only tamils.That is their gravest mistake and having tamils from that region leading the tamils is a recipe for disunity.Even among themselves they will be fighting all the time let alone unite the tamils countrywide and worldwide.

    • 0
      0

      You had ministers like pilliyan, karuna and douglas? No disaster?

  • 0
    0

    I think for the time being MR & his siblings can do better things for the benefits of the people of NP. There is a change in their attitude towards the economic development in the NP and that way MR & Co are far better than Suresh Premachandra. It is not the question of being a Colonial Governor, but the question of benevelent Governor that matters for the people of NP.

    • 0
      0

      Yes, MR is capable but at what expense?

    • 0
      0

      Citizen,what kind of benevolent governor tries to take over 7000 acres of prime land in the heart of the jaffna peninsula and says to the owners they will be given land in the coast elsewhere to become fishermen.Anyway i don’t think the tamils are interested in benevolence today and the bullying tomorrow.They don’t want to be under the thumb of the sinhalese leaders and have to go through all the trials and tribulations they went through at their hands since independence.They want a permanent solution where they can in future manage their own affairs just like in tamilnadu where the dravidians are not under the thumb of the aryans.In srilanka Psuedo aryans(many dravidians from south india who came to lanka and call themselves aryans now)want to control and bully dravidians in their own patch of land.How is that?The aryan lands are North of the Indian peninsula whereas srilanka is south of it.Are you in your right mind to even think that future generations of sinhalese can expect dravidians in their own lands to be grateful for the benevolence from a few aryans.

      If you continue with this talk of benevolence and arrogant behaviour your future generations may have to face more than 300 million dravidians in their own land who would have gut full of you.Dravidians by nature are not aggressive so you can easily live with them as long as you don’t try to use the normal aryan thug tactics with them.You can compare and see the the crime rates in south india with the rest of india and you can see the behaviour of the two major races.You should feel blessed to live with dravidians and try to be like them.

  • 0
    0

    Thank you Ratnajeevan for highlighting the fact that Douglas D & VP are two sides of the same coin.
    The former is part of the regime while the latter helped bring it to power by preventing the Tamil people from exercising their franchise.The only difference is that VP was killed for his intransigence and DD is helping in the perpetuation of the regime, and therefore he is kept alive and kicking just as Karuna Amman and Daya Master are.

  • 0
    0

    The police powers granted to PCs under schedule two, of the 13th amendment, remain mute at this point in time. The PCs that are functioning now have not been granted the police powers, yet. If the north is to be granted police powers, the other provinces have to provided the same.

    Without mentioning position or name, someone very high ion the government once said in my hearing that he fears granting police powers to the PCs in the Sinhlala province and would have no problems in granting them to the north and east. He feared the Sinhala Chief Ministers will become power centres challenging the hegemony of the central government, using the provincial police. Those in power at the centre have misused the police so much that they fear the Sinhala majority provinces will do the same too and will challenge the authority of the centre. This kind of thinking is rather deeply ingrained. Many on the Tamil side of the political equation may find it hard to believe this. But it is a fact!

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

  • 0
    0

    Dear Ratnajeevan
    At the rate Sinhalisation of the North is going, TNA has no chance of winning. Rajapakses will make sure that they hold the elections after making sure of their ”victory”.

    • 0
      0

      The international community will be talking about ”free and fair” elections. What is ”free and fair” is the question in the context of North SriLanka?

  • 0
    0

    So does that mean we cannot hold NPC elections?

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.