26 February, 2020

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Ethnic Issue In SL: Power Sharing Is Counterproductive

By Dinesh Dodamgoda

Dinesh Dodamgoda

Dinesh Dodamgoda

Many political and opinion leaders consider power sharing as a solution to the ethnic issue in Sri Lanka. Yet, power sharing is counterproductive and more likely to bring a recurrence of escalating conflict.

SL is for Power Sharing:

President Sirisena recently sought cabinet approval for an eleven-page draft of a national reconciliation policy based on the principle of power-sharing. In Delhi last year, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe also explained their effort in finding a power sharing and devolution based solution to the ethnic problem. The leader of the House Mr. Kiriella said that equal rights of the people should be ensured through power sharing with the periphery. Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP Sumanthiran stated that they want a mechanism of power sharing consistent with federalism. Even the former President Rajapakse promised India the full implementation of the 13th Amendment plus.

Therefore, it is evident that almost all the mainstream political leaders believe power sharing as a magic formula that could solve country’s ethnic problem. However, power sharing is a counterproductive mechanism.

Power Sharing:

According to the Oxford Dictionary, ‘power sharing’ entered the English language as a term in 1972 in conjunction with the short-lived settlement in Northern Ireland. Power sharing institutions are to formulate institutions that distribute decision making rights between the state and society and within the state, among governmental organs and with a defined decision making procedure. As Arend Lijphart, the main consociational theorist, views, power sharing is a mechanism that secure participation of representatives of all significant groups in political decision making. Therefore, in an ethnically or religiously divided society a power sharing mechanism should secure participation of representation of ethno-religious elite from all significant ethno-religious groups in the making of governmental decisions.

Power sharing gives power to ethno-religious elite that comes from parties and groups which contributed or took part in creating, maintaining or ending ethno-religious conflicts. Therefore, the power that they would be given enhances these elites’ capabilities to press for more radical demands especially, once the violent phase of the conflict is over and the peace is in place. These capabilities give opportunity and power to these elites to ‘escalate conflict in ways that can threaten democracy and peace’[i]. This is evident in most of the conflict theatres especially, after severe conflicts such as civil wars.

These dangers are inherent parts of any power sharing mechanism, despite constitutional architects’ ability to include institutional constrains to limit such powers and capabilities that ethno-religious elites would be given to influence and control governmental decision making processes. Yet, power sharing institutions seek to ‘guarantee inclusive decision making, partitioned decision making, predetermined decisions, or some combination of these’[ii].

Inclusive decision making mechanisms in power sharing aim to include ethno-religious minorities’ will by guaranteeing participation of representatives of elites from main ethno-religious groups in the making of governmental decisions. This aim is to be achieved through mandates that guarantee allocated positions in the government such as appointing cabinet ministers from main ethno-religious groups or by providing opportunities for such ethno-religious groups to secure their representation in the state’s institutions through proportional representation (PR) systems.

Partitioned decision making mechanisms in power sharing is to give ethno-religious elites the power to deal with their own affairs on the basis of the principles of ‘territoriality’ or ‘personality’. The principle of territoriality would be used to consider territory as a proxy for ethnicity creates Ethnofederalism to establish and administer autonomous regions within the territorially based state. The principle of personality creates Ethnocorporatism to have jurisdictions that would be extended only to members of the ethnic community that they want to consider and not all residents within the territory. Ethnocorporatism can create communal legislative chambers, communal bureaucratic administrations, separate school systems for different ethnicities, etc.

Predetermined decision making in power sharing is to include formulas for proportional allocation of governmental resources. For example, it would guarantee a certain percentage of the GDP to education of a particular ethnic group or a predetermined ethnic composition for the Army. Sometimes, predetermined decision making arrangements in power sharing come with requirements of a two third majority in the parliament and a referendum to amend such predetermined provisions.

As such, power sharing guarantees inclusive decision making, partitioned decision making, predetermined decisions, or some combination of these for ethno-religious elites. However, there are different approaches to power sharing such as consociational approach or integrative approach. The consociational approach aims to protect interests of ethno-religious segments by adopting grand coalitions, provisions for mutual veto, proportional allocations in the governmental bodies, and autonomy. The integrative approach seeks to manage conflicts through the use of incentives to promote interethnic cooperation in parties and electoral campaigns[iii]. Despite these approaches, power sharing is against democracy and also counterproductive in terms of achieving sustainable peace.

Power Sharing is Counterproductive:

The main weakness in power sharing is that it privileges ethnicity or religion in creating institutions and devising policies rather than taking into consideration rest of the dimensions in a given society such as non-cultural identities. Therefore, power sharing mechanism discriminates identities other than the ethnic or religious identities and stands against democracy.

As I noted in my previous article[iv], Sri Lanka is a country that has a society with multiple and often cross-cutting identities. For example, a person in SL can and with regard to non-cultural identities be a ‘labourer’ who is a part-time ‘farmer’ in a ‘rural’ village. Therefore, he simultaneously maintains at least three multiple and cross-cutting non-cultural identities, namely a labourer, farmer and a rural community member. At the same time he can have a cultural identity and be a Tamil-Buddhist as there are 22,254 Tamil Buddhists (another cultural minority) and eleven Tamil Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka. Therefore, it is evident that a person’s ethno-religious identity is not the only identity he/she has and by privileging a person’s ethno-religious identity, power sharing discriminates rest of the dimensions in the Sri Lankan society. It is not only undemocratic or stands against a plural society, but ‘creates both motives and means for the ethnic elites empowered by power sharing to escalate ethnic conflicts’[v].

As observed by Donald Rothchild and Philip G. Roeder, “in ethnically divided societies, power sharing institutions have given rise to at least seven key problems that have thwarted the consolidation of peace and democracy” [vi]. Accordingly, power sharing limits democracy; empowers ethnic leaders even to challenge power sharing agreements; by privileging interethnic allocations for power and resources, power sharing discriminates other minorities such as non-cultural communities; even where ethnic elites are initially sincere in their commitments to power sharing, ‘the second-generation problem’ arises when ambitious, upcoming leaders with more radical demands try to replace moderates; expanded representation in power sharing causes governmental inefficiency as mechanisms such as vetoes can end up governments in deadlocks; as power sharing institutions tend to be inflexible and unable to adopt to changing social conditions during a transition from intense conflict, it may not meet challenges posed by a post-conflict environment and result in governmental rigidity; and as it may be difficult to enforce the rules of a power sharing arrangement against opportunistic behaviour by the leaders of ethnic groups that are major parties to the agreement, power sharing may suffer from inadequate enforcement problems.

Furthermore, since power sharing strategies privilege selected ethno-religious or cultural identities, power sharing gives powers to ethno-religious elites to cultivate monopolistic identities through separate schooling, public celebration and propaganda. As a result, individuals from rest of the identities such as non-cultural identities either will be discriminated or may suffer from unfair treatments.

As the power sharing privilege the leaders of specified cultural communities with mandated resources and powers that are not available to the leaders of other communities such as leaders of non-cultural identities, power sharing threatens pluralistic societies and civil society organisations including NGOs that represent interests of non-privileged identities. Therefore, in terms of maintaining a healthy pluralistic society, power sharing creates obstacles.

The power sharing arrangements give cultural politicians expanded agenda control power and means to frame agenda items as cultural conflicts. So, these politicians can reframe their demands as challenges to their allocated decision making rights and aim to gain expanded agenda control powers over various subjects such as sole control over natural resources in their homeland. Any opposition to such demands may be interpreted by those cultural politicians as challenges to their sovereign rights. The danger is that these claims and counter claims can result not only a debate over constitutional provisions, but even a civil war that threatens the peace.

Moreover, as the power sharing privileges a number of elites from selected cultural communities, it concentrates state powers into their hands. The danger in this dimension of power sharing is that it enhances those leaders’ ability to threaten the existing constitutional order as a few can impact on many of the governmental institutions and stability. Any opposition to such a move can result again even a protracted conflict or a civil war.[vii]

Power Sharing is not a Magic Formula:

Therefore, power sharing is not a magic formula that can solve the country’s ethnic problem. Instead, the power sharing strategies will create serious undesired effects that are counterproductive in terms of establishing a sustainable peace process.

However, power sharing can be an attractive mechanism to parties to an ongoing conflict as it tends to provide a quick solution to end intense conflicts[viii]. Yet, power sharing is counterproductive and more likely to escalate the one overarching cultural conflict later. To conclude this article it is important to note that as Philip G. Roeder observed, once a state has begun to govern itself under power sharing it is unlikely to make the shift to alternatives and more have locked in to a course more likely to bring a recurrence of escalating conflict[ix].


[i] Rothchild, D. and Roeder, P. G. (2005) ‘Power Sharing as an impediment to Peace and Democracy’ in Rothchild, D. and Roeder, P. G. (ed.) (2005) Sustainable Peace: Power and Democracy after Civil Wars, Cornwell University Press: London, p. 29

[ii] Ibid. p. 30

[iii] for a further discussion, see, Ibid., pp. 30-36

[iv] https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-un-rapporteurs-remarks-on-sri-lanka-are-against-peace-pluralism/

[v] Rothchild, D. and Roeder, P. G. (2005), op cit., p. 36

[vi] Ibid., pp. 36 (for a further discussion, see, Ibid., pp. 36-41)

[vii] For a further discussion, see, Roeder, P. G. (2012) ‘Power dividing: The multiple-majorities approach’ in Wolf, S. & Yakinthou, C. (ed.) Conflict Management in Divided Societies: Theories and Practice, Routledge: London, pp. 72-80

[viii] Walter, B. (2002) Committing to Peace: The Successful Settlement of Civil Wars, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, pp. 27-31, 80-81

[ix] Roeder, P. G. (2012), op cit., p. 72

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Latest comments

  • 14
    0

    Power sharing is not moving people around according to religious or ethnic basis and then giving power to those people. Power sharing is based on regions or areas. Yes there will be one ethnic group more in one area, but it applies to the entire country. In every part of the country and in every region (which ever what a region is divided ultimately) will have one ethnic group out numbering the other groups. Power has to be shared, there is no point in centralizing power. Only those who have very racial and primitive ideas will oppose regional based sharing of power. When power is transferred based on regions the center will also have power to reign in the regions if they are moving out of the law/constitution. Let us not be racists, let us all be Sri Lankans.

    • 1
      12

      Power sharing is based on regions or areas.

      So what happens to Colombo which is mostly Tamils and Muslims ?

      • 11
        0

        jim softy,

        “So what happens to Colombo which is mostly Tamils and Muslims ?”

        Let’s go by the Census of Population and Housing – 2012. This is available online at: http://www.statistics.gov.lk/PopHouSat/CPH2011/Pages/Activities/Reports/FinalReport/Population/FinalPopulation.pdf

        On page 4, you will see Colombo District’s total population as 2,324,349, out of which 1,778,971 are Sinhalese. This is 77%.

        The total Sinhalese population in Sri Lanka constitutes only 75%. So, on average Colombo has more Sinhalese as a percentage than the island’s total count.

        Let me know if my math is wrong.

        • 6
          1

          instaPundit

          “Let me know if my math is wrong.”

          Don’t worry even if your math is wrong jim softy the dimwit won’t notice it.

          Garbage in Garbage out.

          Colombo City should consider dumping all its garbage in his mouth.

      • 2
        0

        [Edited out]

      • 8
        0

        You can follow Malaysian example, where power has been devolved to states on a federal basis, with state of Penang having a Chinese majority. Kuala Lumpur which has a Chinese/Tamil combined majority over Malays is declared as a federal territory. Similarly City of Colombo and suburbs can be declared a federal territory. If you have a will to do something you can find ways to do it. If you want to continue injustice to Tamil you can come with various excuses.

    • 10
      0

      If Power sharing is counter productive, what about the unitary system? Srilanka had power sharing mechanism for many centuries before it became a unitary system after British merging the different kingdoms.During the power sharing period, there was no suffering as we had within the past centuray under unitary system. Unitary system is the one that gave previlages to ethnicity and relegion and continuous violence against smaller ethnicities and relegions.

      This is a practical example we experienced in this island and evidence proves that unitary system was a failure.

    • 0
      0

      “Partitioned decision making mechanisms in power sharing is to give ethno-religious elites the power to deal with their own affairs on the basis of the principles of ‘territoriality’ or ‘personality’. The principle of territoriality would be used to consider territory as a proxy for ethnicity creates Ethnofederalism to establish and administer autonomous regions within the territorially based state. The principle of personality creates Ethnocorporatism to have jurisdictions that would be extended only to members of the ethnic community that they want to consider and not all residents within the territory. Ethnocorporatism can create communal legislative chambers, communal bureaucratic administrations, separate school systems for different ethnicities, etc.”

  • 3
    17

    There is no short term solution to the Tamil ethnic problem in Sri Lanka primarily because it is not clear for which category a political solution is sought. Is it only for Hindu and Christian Tamils in the North or is it for all Tamil speaking people in the island including those who practise Islam and those arrived during the British. If it the former the numbers are insignificant and if it the latter no Einstein can formulate a devolution model.

    However a long term solution exists if the Tamils (Tamil speaking people) who presently exceed 50%:in the South can be encouraged to move North. Vingeswaran and Sumathithran must set the example.

    Soma

    • 12
      0

      Soma,

      It is fit for the north, east and the seven other provinces as presently constituted. Nothing more and nothing less.

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

      • 1
        8

        Dr RN

        This is precisely what I am struggling to establish.

        Dear doctor, is a person who believes that people should not be OFFICIALLY distinguished on the basis of ethnicity or religion a ‘racist’? How do the law enforcement authorities know of my biological father or what I actually believe? Vingeshwaran’s grand children belong to which ethnicity?

        Soma

        • 7
          1

          somaaaas

          “Dear doctor, is a person who believes that people should not be OFFICIALLY distinguished on the basis of ethnicity or religion a ‘racist’?”

          Those reasons are incidental to your intentions. However, I am surprised a born/groomed racist should ask this question as if you already didn’t know the answer.

          A stupid can make a wrong judgment which is pardonable. However one should question the intentions of a public racist.

        • 4
          1

          Soma, What are you struggling to establish? Your racist vile thoughts are not going anywhere? Is that what you are struggling with? Too bad, Tamils and all other minorities are there to stay. You don’t like it, then you could go back to Orissa where you came from. Tough bloody luck for you eh!! that minorities can tell you racist hoodlums to get lost now and not get killed. It must be hurting you badly, correct???? The good Sinhalese and all good minorities are there to stay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • 4
            2

            Tamil from the north

            “You don’t like it, then you could go back to Orissa where you came from.”

            You are wrong. Their ancestors came from South India and it would be appropriate if you sent them back to Tamil Nadu or Kerala.

            I am counting on you.

            • 4
              0

              NV, no body has to go anywhere as long as well meaning individuals remain. Many years ago, Indians invaded this beautiful country and took the land from your people. The least they can do is live in peace with everyone instead of instigating another civil war. These idiots just don’t get it and the Tamil idiots abroad also don’t get it. They are promoting a civil war using this as an excuse.

      • 1
        2

        If there is ETHNIC power sharing there NEED not be 9 provinces.
        North , East and the rest left over is CALLED SINHALE for Sinhalese (Buddhist & others Sinhalese)

        So NO NEED TO WORRY ABOUT other 7 provinces . YOu look after Northern province OK.

        I would like to ASK the same question>>>>>>

        Dear doctor, is a person who believes that people should not be OFFICIALLY distinguished on the basis of ethnicity or religion a ‘racist’? ….

        There is NO Racism in Sri Lanka BUT there is ETHNIC COMPETITION. No on regards Tamils as second class human beings. Of course, there have been violence and there will be violence in the future. But it is NOT based on racial theories like those that drive the KKK (Ku Klux Klan)….

        Those who say Sinhalese are racists , should also point the same finger at Tamils and Muslims in Sri Lanka too…

        Why is it that when Sinhala person esp of Buddhist world view talks about an ISSUE his view become RACISTS ???..Most of the time it is at most bigoted NOT racist view……

        MAY BE IT IS T

    • 14
      1

      Tamil ethnic problem! Tamils are not ethnics and they are not a problem. They are nation in the island indigenous to the north and east and not ethnics like Sinhalese racists like you want to imply. Problem is not with the Tamils or the Tamil speaking people but with Sinhalese Buddhist racists like you, largely descended from Tamil ethnics from South India. Go and read the meaning of ethic. most probably you do now the meaning of ethic but are deliberately using this to imply Tamils do not belong

      • 2
        11

        Sambandan demands that ‘Tamils’ be recognised as a distinct ethnic entity the logical conclusion of which is Sinhalese are a distinct entity.

        It is Sambandan who has defined me to be a Sinhalese.

        Soma

        • 7
          1

          Ethnic identity and ethnic have two different meanings and connotations. Please read before posting . The word ethnic used as a noun is often regarded as offensive in British English and better avoided. Basically is means does not belong to the mainstream and an outsider. Ethnic identity is something else

        • 10
          1

          somaaasss

          “It is Sambandan who has defined me to be a Sinhalese.”

          He is wrong again. He should know better, you are a Sinhala/Buddhist ghetto builder which means you are neither Sinhalese nor a Buddhists.

          • 2
            7

            Stupid response!

            • 6
              1

              Nuisance the stupid I

              “Stupid response!”

              Have you misplaced your padikkam again? Ask sach.

    • 4
      0

      Where a person chooses to live in any part of the world is his own. In Srilanka Tamils are in south due to economic reasons. Administrative centers and economic activity are concentrated in Western province and plantation areas. 90% of Tamils outside north and east are Tamils of recent Indian origin, while 90% of indigenous Tamils live in northern and eastern areas. If you devolve powers adequately and administrative and economic centers are shifted to North and east, most of the Tamils will get back to where they came from as they then can live there as first class citizens in dignity and safety ruling themselves. If you grant any half baked solution or no devolution at all then it will not happen. Of the 100,000 Sinhalese in UK, except a few, the rest are not going to relocate to Srilanka, and are happy to continue to live in UK as second class citizens due to the economic benefit.

  • 13
    0

    “The main weakness in power sharing is that it privileges ethnicity or religion in creating institutions and devising policies rather than taking into consideration rest of the dimensions in a given society such as non-cultural identities.”

    Isn’t that exactly what the Sri Lankan state has done since Independence? use numerical majority to provide privileges to Sinhala Buddhists. If Sri Lanka was governed fairly, giving all communities, equal privilege, Sri Lanka wouldn’t have experienced a civil war, or would not be bitterly divided along ethnic lines even now.

    It is the policies of Sinhala majoritarianism of the Sri Lankan state and the inability and unwillingness of the ruling Sinhala elite to share power that was the root cause of the conflict. If power sharing was established in Ceylon in 1948, the country would be a lot different place.

  • 12
    1

    This writer must go back to school to learn politics and the art of governance. In a country like Canada, it is power sharing under a federal structure that is holding the country together. If not Canada would have been broken up long time ago. In a democracy sovereignty lies with the people, including ethnic minorities. Without the people one can exert physical force but not authority. This is the situation in Sri Lanka. If democracy is government by consent, then the successive governments from the time independence did not have the consent of the Tamil people. Hence the compulsion to use military force to lord over the Tamil people. The 150,000 armed forces deployed in Northeast is to enforce authority through the barrel of guns even after the end of the war 7 years back. The civil war could have been averted if the first constitution had adequate provision and safeguards for national minority rights in regard to their language, religion and culture.

  • 10
    1

    China, US, India,Canada, Germany , Switzerland, France, Australia,Japan are some among many countries that exists for many years.From well before 1972 and have some form of devolved political power system.
     
    The leader who put the genie out to capture power wanted to put the genie in again and brought the BC pact. But he had to tear it or burn it because he could not the genie back in the bottle and has to die prematurely at the hands of a terrorist backed by  a group.

    DC pact too failed and Dudley had to gracefully leave SL politics.

    JR- Rajiv pact could not be implemented fully even after Mahinda promising India, why ? That is the type of politics practiced in SL particularly after 1947.

    Imagine if Rajiv had serioulsy injured or died by the Naval Officer’s calculated blow. The Navy terrorist still lives and Rajiv no more to make sure of the implementation 13th amendment . Unfortunately for the Tamils Rajiv’s cricket instinct made him to duck at the right time and he survived. The fortune favoured the SL goverments and the majority race.

    Looks like Dinesh Dodamgoda is a backer or follower of clergies who claim Saman Kantha is exclusively a sacred place of Buddhists and it can not be shared with Christians, Hindus & Muslims.

    • 3
      8

      Non phd

      “UNFORTUNATELY for the Tamils Rajiv’s cricket instinct made him to duck at the right time and he survived.”

      Subsequently Tamils gladly executed it themselves.

      Soma

  • 1
    10

    As 68% of the Tamils are living in areas other than the North and East, Power for Tamils should be devolved in the South.

    Because north and East include only 32% of the Tamil population.

    when there will be a power devolution, as Vellala Tamils are already powerful and are running dalit affairs, Other Tamils should be given the power, so that Vellala and Otther Tamils will be equal in power.

    • 5
      0

      Actually 52% of the Island’s Tamil population live in the north and east. 70% of the indigenous Eelam Tamil population live in the North and East and more than 90% of the remaining 30% live in the greater Colombo region. Largely for economic reasons.

      Colombo and many of its surrounding areas have had a Tamil presence since ancient times. These areas plus the entire western littoral north of Colombo to Puttalam was part of the Tamil homeland a few centuries ago. You can see most of the place names including Colombo are all of Tamil origin.

      Most of the Tamils living outside the North and East are Indian origin estate Tamils, largely living in the Central tea growing area, where they were settled by the British in the 1850s. They had always lived there. Stop trying to distort facts.

      Anyway what has 48% of the island’s Tamils largely of Indian origin living outside the north and east got to the with devolution to the ancient historic Indigenous Tamil provinces and homeland in the north and east? Where the majority of them live. You may call the Indian origin Tamils as ethnics, like Somass loves to imply to the entire Tamil population in the island but the indigenous Eelam Tamils are not. We area an ancient nation belonging to the island, just like the Sinhalese and have always lived in the north and east from prehistoric times and have ruled there. We are still the majority there despite large scale Sinhalese settlement and ethnic cleansing activities, by all Sinhalese government since independence and have every right to ask for self determination and a federal status for our lands, irrespective of any amount of Tamils living outside these areas. What have they got to do with the Tamils living in the north and east?

      There are more people of Scotttish and Welsh origin living outside Scotland and Wales this did not stop the British government granting a federal status to Scotland and Wales. irrespective of this as this is their land. Similarly the North and East of the island is Tamil land and has always been.

      Deliberately chasing and ethnically cleansing hundreds of thousands of Tamils to flee the north and east, not developing their areas, thereby forcing them to move to the Sinhalese south to seek employment and a living and lastly not allowing Indian origin estate Tamils who are citizens of this country to move to the north and east to settle, especially in the east , as many times when they tried to flee to the north and east from Sinhalese persecution in the central areas , the army forcibly deported them, as they do not want the Tamil presence in the north and east further strengthened.

      Irony is Tamil citizens of the country who do not originate from the north and east are not allowed to settle in the Tamil North East by all Sinhalese governments but Sinhalese who are complete strangers to the north and east in every way are allowed to and brought in their hundreds of thousands and settled in the north and east on stolen Tamil land, to deliberately change the demography and reduce the Tamil majority in the north and east. Basically outside Tamils are not allowed to settle in the Tamil north east but non Tamils especially Sinhalese can.

      They then use all this as lame excuses to deny the Tamils their rights. Oh but most Tamils do not live in the north and east. Why largely due to deliberate non development of Tamil areas and large scale ethnic cleansing activities by all Sinhalese led governments to empty the Tamil areas of Tamils and then settle Sinhalese here and they also hide the fact that the vast majority of the Tamils in the Sinhalese areas are the Indian origin estate Tamils who had always lived in the central parts of the island but are denied any rights even in the areas they predominate and are also deliberately not allowed to settle in the Tamil north and east by the Sinhalese establishment and armed forces, despite being citizens of the country.

      Why? because they do not want the Tamil presence in the north and east to further strengthen, they want to further dilute it with ethnic cleansing and large scale Sinhalese settlement. If Indian origin Tamils fleeing Sinhalese persecution settle there just like the what the Muslim Tamils did a few centuries ago in the east. The Tamil presence is further strengthened and no excuse to state most Tamils live outside the north and east and even in the north and east they are now a minority so cannot give devolution, the land is now truly Sinhalese and Buddhist that it never was.

      This is what Sinhalese extremist like Jimmy Softly on the head, Nuisance, Somass, Max not very smart, Bad student, Recent South Indian origin Ramona all want. Most Tamils to live in the south, reliant on the Sinhalese, the Tamil majority in the north and east further reduced by Sinhalese settlement. Devolution and a federal status to the Tamil north and east will put a stop to all this. Tamils will be allowed to rule and develop their own lands and the deliberately cultivated Tamil reliance on the Sinhalese south, by all Sinhalese led governments since independence will stop. A nightmare to them and they will fight this tooth and nail and will use the Tamil population living down south both indigenous and Indian origin as pawns. If you ask for further Tamil rights, the lives of the Tamils down south will be in threat.

      Tell me Jimmy softly on the head are the linguistic and other rights of the 48% of the island’s Tamils living down south guaranteed and are they treated equally like the Sinhalese down south? The answer is a definite no. If it is not so then devolution and Tamil rights should be provided in their lands in the north and east Understood. Just like Scotland and Wales in Britain or Quebec in Canada.

      • 0
        3

        RSSS

        Does your ‘indigenous’ Tamils include those who practise Christianity and Islam as well?

        Soma

        • 4
          1

          somaaaasss

          “Does your ‘indigenous’ Tamils include those who practise Christianity and Islam as well?”

          His indigenous Tamils not only include Christians and Islam but also include most of the Sinhala-speaking Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Muslims, …..

          • 1
            0

            Then why is this Sambandan insisting that ‘Tamils’ be recognized as a distinct ethnic entity?

            Soma

            • 2
              1

              somaasss

              “Then why is this Sambandan insisting that ‘Tamils’ be recognized as a distinct ethnic entity?”

              You should ask him this question if you want his answer.

              Perhaps he does not want them to convert to Sinhala/Buddhism as your Kallathonie ancestors (from South India) had done ages ago.

              Why are you insisting on building a Sinhala/Buddhist ghetto in this island?

              Let the people be who they are, Sinhalese, Buddhists, Tamils, Hindus, Christians, Muslims, ……. let them live in their habitat, with their multiple identity and dignity intact.

              Remember a person has multiple identity, they do not want to be packaged into some sort of standardized commodity. You may find the concept of multiple identity weird. That is your problem.

              Following your footpath RSS wants all Indians to be packaged into Hindian/Hindus. Prepare yourself for next conversion.

  • 8
    1

    Probably this 68% will be encouraged to partially settle in the North once the
    unacceptable militarization is removed. This is very possible and why do you not
    consider this, even after a joint UN resolution and the war ended, is a reasonable question by Tamils in the South.

    • 2
      4

      p
      Now I got it!
      Southern Tamils are not moving north because of military settlements. I guess Vignasewaran is also stuck in Colombo because of the same scenario.
      Nice try!

      • 5
        2

        Nuisance

        Where is your padikkam (spitoon)?

  • 7
    1

    Jim S: Probably this 68% will be encouraged to partially settle in the North once the
    unacceptable militarization is removed. This is very possible and why do you not
    consider this, even after a joint UN resolution and the war ended, is a reasonable question by Tamils in the South.

  • 8
    0

    When one ethnic group is unjustly treated, tortured and murdered in any coutnry to the extent of genocide, it is definitely a very serious problem.

    For the past 67 years, this problem caused by the major Sinhala political parties the UNP and SLFP, never could be resolved internally and the UN was forced to intervene.

    The UN has the expertise to resolve similar issues. Recently, the UN Chief Ban Ki Moon suggested federal type of solution for SL and Burma.

    He had very good reasons for saying so, probably the reasons of protection of ethnic groups from Genocide, war, nondiscrimination, torture and murder based on the ethnicity. Economic development will definitely be enhanced to the benefit of local citizens.

    It will take another 100 years to make the Sinhalese non racial against Tâmils.

    Under these circumstances amongst the alternatives, Federalism is the best, as we see in India, RSA, USA, UK and canada.

    If the sinhalese still want to be racists and dominate the Tamils, they will insist on a failed unitary state formula.

    And, Donald Trump the next president of the USA, might come up with the brilliant idea of building a wall between the North-East and the South !!

    • 1
      1

      Are you a genocide survivor?

      • 4
        1

        Nuisance

        When you find your padikkam, make sure you tied it to your neck. You should train yourself to spit in the padikkam whenever you get the urge.

        At this age in your life, it is difficult to padikkam (or potty) train you.

        This forum is only for discussion and not for anything else.

  • 3
    0

    Well,if Power-sharing is not the solution in the short-term or Long-term will total separation resolve the issue?

  • 3
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    The tossed idea of power-sharing for more than half-a-century is but an illusion. As if we are just hearing this bluff, this joker is again taking us back to where it all started – the path of lies and deceit. Power-sharing will never happen. Look at how the UNHRC is made the butt of jokes by a seasoned regime that has taken everyone for a ride. THE SOLUTION IS NOT POWER-SHARING. THAT HAS NEVER BEEN A SOLUTION, IT WAS JUST FLOATED TO MAKE FOOLS OUT OF THE WHOLE WORLD AND INDEED HAS BEEN FOOLED. THE ONLY WAY TO RESOLVE THIS NEVER-ENDING IMPASSE IS SEPARATION.

  • 1
    1

    Let’s give it a ‘Go’.

    Whatever we have now, hasn’t worked.

    Since independence we have had 03 massive uprisings against the state. 02 Sinhalese, 01 Tamil. Thousands dead, displaced. Millions spent. A good job we have done politically, as is.

    So, let’s give it a Go.
    Who knows, we might even like it.

  • 2
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    Dinesh Dodamgoda

    22,254 Tamil Buddhists and 11 Tamil Buddhist monks. Where did you get these figures except from the article appeared in Daily lier. Who counted and how many in each district? When did they become Buddhists? By force or enticement?

    Are those 11 Tamil monks taken from an orphanage started after the war mainly for Tamil orphans/ destitutes and run by a Sinhala Buddhist monk somewhere in Vavuniya district. By the way didn’t you hear that same sinhala monk, who started the orphanage with ulterior motive, was accused of sexual abuse of children under his care but Mahinda government as usual allowed the monk to go free without any question.

  • 5
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    Dinesh concludes that Power sharing is not a magic formula.
    He fails to articulate any alternatives.

    Well if power sharing is not a magic formula:

    Share the country equally.
    Give equal share to the Tami language in the constitution
    Give equal share to all the religion in the constitution
    share the job opportunities equally
    share the economy equally

    there is no need for power sharing if everyone is empowered.

    • 5
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      Rajash Sinhalese racists always state that the majority of the island’s Tamils live in the south and not in the north and east. In fact the majority live in the north and east 52% and most of the Tamils living in the south other than in greater Colombo are of Indian origin who have always lived there.
      However even here they will never give equal language land employment economic and other rights to the Tamils living there, especially to the Indian origin Tamils, who are in fact a majority in many areas in the central province. They deny this and justify this by stating that the south is historic Sinhalese land and does not belong to the Tamils.
      If this is so then Tamils are justified in asking for devolution and federal status for the ancient historic Tamil lands in the north and east that is theirs. However even here they are trying to deny this to the Tamils by settling Sinhalese on a large scale on stolen and ethnically cleansed Tamils lands, to deliberately change the demography. Keeping hundreds of thousands of Sinhalese only armed force police and others as a racist occupying presence.

      Then stating too bad now these lands may have been historically yours but are not yours anymore as we have used government and military force to steal it from you and will now treat you as third rates even here and further due to all our deliberate ethnic cleansing and other activities in the north and east most of you have been forced to move to the south, where we again treat you as third rates but tell the entire world that you prefer to live as third rates amongst us than as third rates in your own land, under a racist army occupation with lots of Sinhalese hooligans, extremists Buddhist monks and settlers roaming around freely, allowed to do anything to you. Damn if you did ask for rights and damn if you don’t ask for it. Just look at all the comments from the Sinhalese basically stating this.

      • 3
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        On the spot.For the Sinhala racist there is no solution for the current ethnic issue in Sri Lanka.
        The strategy of the Sinhala politicians is to swindle the country and keep the racism boiling to fool the ordinary Sinhala people and the racists like the author and the likes of the Sinhala-Voice

    • 0
      4

      NOT EVEN so called great countries have equal share of wealth.

      Please investigate which country has equal share of wealth. Even USSR which had socialist , communist setup has NO equal share of wealth of the country….what about USA does it have equal share of wealth ???

      What about UK ??? what about New Zealand…..

      Don’t bring up silly arguments Rajash to coverup the fact that ETHNIC DEVOLUTION of power is NOT the solution.

      BUT from a SInhala point of view this may be not a bad idea. THAT IS TO get a Sinhala Homeland in Sri Lanka

      • 3
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        Sinhala_voice

        “THAT IS TO get a Sinhala Homeland in Sri Lanka “

        you hit the nail on the head.
        People like you are imprisoned within your own mentality of “majority with a minority complex”

  • 0
    1

    totally right Tamils in sL want not power sharing. It will not end the issue at all they wan independence apparently
    Mostly you n all countries aware of

  • 0
    0

    Power Sharing will work ONLY if there is a District-based administration. It is definitely a way to permanently resolve Majority and Minority-based issues as equitably as is possible, and establish long term stability in the country.
    Power-sharing will NOT work with the current Province-based
    ethnic and territorial divisions.

  • 0
    0

    Power Sharing at the Center through an equitable Cabinet arrangement based on Parliamentary Representation can work, but ONLY if there is a District-based Parliament and administration.

    It may be a way to permanently resolve Majority and Minority-based issues as equitably as is possible, and establish long term stability in the country.

    Power-sharing will NOT work with the current Province-based
    ethnic and territorial divisions.

    • 4
      1

      CountryFarce

      “Power-sharing will NOT work with the current Province-based ethnic and territorial divisions.”

      Could you tell us as to why Province-based ethnic and territorial divisions won’t work.

      When you have a majority which controls the presidency, parliament, government and the state institutions what makes you believe the “Power-sharing” arrangements within the unitary state would survive, effective and deliver the the most equitable form of governance?

      Remember you opposed Tamil Anthem (which was a cosmetic public relation exercise) along with the retired Admiral.

  • 1
    3

    Native Vedda: Oh! you remember that little exchange? Good for you!
    Yes, I came from a position that even ‘cosmetic exercises’ are subject to Constitutional constraints.

    Anyway, to answer your question…the reason why the Provinces will not work is because of:
    1.the lure of territorial merger that could once more evolve into a bone of contention and war despite any Constitutional deterrents.
    2. The Provinces, with greater devolved power than the current 13A will also likely lead to economic and other disparities which would be a serious challenge to Peace.

    As for a possible Central Power-Sharing alternative—
    1. The District being a smaller unit and an already a familiar and accepted workable one – is an established administrative arrangement that is stable and does not yield itself to ethnic dreams of greater territorial power by any group including the Majority, via merger, unlike the Provinces. The current demographic distributions can be expected to generally prevail. No mass migration of the citizenry will be involved.

    2. As for Majority/Minority insecurities, Central Power Sharing could in time, with equitable economic prosperity lead to greater confidence among the different ethnoreligious groups, sufficient to persuade that war is not the route to peace. Minority territorial split-offs have not really worked towards a sustained peace, in many countries, e.g., India and Pakistan, Kosovo and Serbia,and more recently South Sudan. Any such separation in Sri Lanka will only ensure more war, more killings, and more wasted finances better spent in elevating the lives of the many underprivileged.

    Of course all this presupposes wise leadership from all sectors.
    Just my two cents…

  • 1
    0

    Mr. Dinesh Dodamgoda, and all Participants,
    Please understand how Sri Lanka is different from all considered norms in all other peaceful Countries. In Sri Lanka racism has been the open verdict for a Political party to take most seats in Parliament and rule the Country. This Majoritarian rule enjoyed by all the Majoritarian Governments from 1948 to date is the cause for today’s situation in the Country. However much the Tamil parties peacefully requested, and even signed pacts for Parity of status, they all were trashed or abrogated by the Majoritarian Governments.
    Even though the new Yahapalanaya Government is supposed to make reconciliation with Tamils after the war, what is happening in North and East is continuation of the same genocide that started from the time of independence. The major U.N.P and S.L.F.P. parties alternatively have abolished the traditional livelihood and education of the Tamils from the South and now continued in the North and East, the traditional home of the Tamils. Every time pogrom of Tamils occurred, they run to take refuge in North and East. Prior to 1970, all Government Departments, Corporations, Ministries, Education, Police, Army, Navy, and Air Force were manned by both Sinhalese and Tamils. At this time Ceylon was rich and was the envy of India and other Asian Countries.
    Sri Lanka is altogether different from all other Countries that disregarded race, caste and religion as factors left to be enjoyed by individuals and not to be forced by the rulers to its citizens. The priority for Sri Lanka at any cost is becoming a Sinhala Buddhist Nation.
    To this end Politicians who allowed the Armed forces and Police successfully destroy properties belonging to minorities and allowed their supporters to pilfer and occupy the lands won the most votes. Governments successfully continued with this genocide with the help of a few ambitious Tamil leaders who enjoy the perks along with the friends in the Government.
    You cannot expect any change from this wide spread racist politics in Sri Lanka embedded in the minds of those who supported the Majoritarian Governments. Besides benefitting by the use of force from the minorities it is not possible to change overnight because of the so called change in January 2015. The Yahapalanaya Government is now fooling the international Community.
    Because Power is blind and this power has succeeded for the last 70 years in fooling the majority in the Country and enjoying power is not going to do anything different soon. This is the message we get from what is happening even after cosigning the UN referendum from this Government and other similar minded individuals.

  • 0
    1

    To Richard:

    Democracy, which is what we all recognize as the best form of governance that human communities have thus far devised, affords sovereignty to each individual citizen, and it is at the individual level that WE ARE ALL EQUAL. But humans live as communities, and therefore by extension, a majority group receives power from its collective, while a Minority receives its power from its own collective. Within this framework, the Majority responsibly sees to it that the Rights of Minorities would be protected, both at the individual and the collective level.
    This then is what prevails even within a Minority community that has its own Majority and Minorities within it. Thus, it prevails within Northern Jaffna as well as within Eastern Batticaloa.

    That is the reality.

    Perhaps the Minority communities and/or leaderships have another equitable solution (other than the Central Power Sharing model with the District as political/administrative Unit suggested earlier), in order to resolve this reality of the presence of a Majority with varied types of Minorities within the Minorities’ own communities.
    If so, please do tell us.

  • 0
    0

    Dear Country First,
    There is no need for the Government Leaders to ask the minorities for alternative solutions. The minorities were asking for parity of status from 1948. They have elected representatives who are unable to serve their Constituencies as the Armed forces consider them as their captors and treating them like their slaves.
    If Sri Lanka needs to get back its former integrity and become self sufficient, the Leaders must first of all, do changes to normalize and make all its Citizens feel proud of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has done a lot of damage to its integrity introducing violence as a way of winning election. The party that suppresses most wins to be the ruling party. It is very evident for a very long period of time with not only politically taking away the rights and the traditional livelihood of Tamils, but also Leaders of Government have publicly announced their victory for starving the Tamils.
    There is a lot the Government has to take care of now if it is serious in bringing back its former integrity.
    The Government must show transparency in its changes made for the good.
    The Government must do its best to make minorities fully support the Government in its competition for development.
    Like other Countries, get respected by all Countries and get back integrity and support.
    Use the power of your resources in the direction of Truth and Love.
    Leave out factors of caste, race, religion and Language for the individual to enjoy like in all other neighboring Countries. What happens in neighboring Countries has an influence in your Country too. It is peoples nature to improve themselves from the experience of others. What others say or do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. Communicate with others clearly to understand and avoid misunderstanding, sadness, and drama. Be impeccable with what you do and say and do with integrity. You will see your Country prospering like no other Country.

    • 0
      0

      The minorities were asking for parity of status from 1948.

      Parity Status for Minorities.

      Why they are called minorities then ?

  • 0
    0

    Tamils, ethnic Tamils, estate indian Tamils,Muslims, Sinhalese Muslims,
    Sinhalese…… huh Lots of names. Who are these guys. Sri Lankan nationals Or people who born in Sri Lanka.
    Eliminate race from identity cards, birth certificates and constitution.
    Evolve a way to make sure everyone is treated in the same way.
    Only then there will be real peace in any country. There is no any other way. Period.

  • 0
    0

    Tx Richard:
    My request was a rhetorical one as the answer to the issue of a Minority group aiming at equality with a Majority has not been found through Democracy anywhere on the planet.

    So, is there no answer other than the continued confrontational stance and a gaining of Minority objectives through the “little now, more later” route? Separation through Federalism will be an extremely slow process taking a very long time, and there will be more wars, and dead and maimed youth on both sides in between, plus an utter wastage of valuable funds that could have made many lives better. It is indeed sad that you see this as acceptable despite the insight we should have gained with the 30years of war and suffering, the effects of which still continue.

    History shows that even after 250yr, the Federal idea has not really worked well in the USA, where undercurrents of the Civil War animosities still continue, and have perhaps peaked at this election time. And that was a nation created by independent regions coming together to form a Federation, NOT a unitary state that separated.

    Nor has the ‘Devolution to the Max’ idea worked in Britain where signs of immense strain as showing at the seams, especially with regard to Scotland and Ireland. All of this despite the subordinate position of the Periphery to the Center. One can imagine the result if it is the reverse, as is what appears to be the aim via Sri Lanka’s New Constitution.

    It would work least of all when it involves the split/division of a country that has existed as a single civilization for centuries. Separatism seems to be in the cards and will not be good for any side in Sri Lanka. As I said before we would be inflicting upon ourselves what continues to happen between India and Pakistan.

  • 0
    0

    Sorry…my previous comment’s one but last para should read:
    “Nor has the ‘Devolution to the Max’ idea worked in Britain where signs of immense strain are showing at the seams, especially with regard to Scotland and N. Ireland.”

  • 0
    0

    This author is such an immature idiot that there is no point in commenting on his article,unless we too want to go down to his IQ and maturity levels.

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