23 May, 2019

Blog

Further Disregard Of Tamil Polity Will Further Justify Federalism

By Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

The Northern Provincial Council led by its Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran has passed a resolution for the government to take up in the constitutional reform process. The main feature of the resolution is to merge the Northern and Eastern provinces into a single federal unit. This has been the long standing position of the Tamil polity which came into national prominence in the aftermath of the passage of the “Sinhala only” law in 1956 by which English was replaced by Sinhala as the sole official language of the country. The language law was a measure that was resisted by the entirety of the Tamil-speaking polity which numbered about 30 percent of the country’s population at that time and wished that Tamil too should be an official language. As the Sinhala population was numerically dominant, the Sinhala only law won easy passage in parliament.

The rationale for federalism in the context of Sinhala-Tamil conflict is that the Tamil people, being a regional majority in the Northern and Eastern provinces, will also be the political majority in those two provinces. They can therefore make their own decisions in the regional unity, without being subordinate to the Sinhala majority in the country taken as a whole. The attractiveness of federalism as a political solution to those who are a numerical minority in the country as a whole but are also a regional majority is that it guarantees that the central authorities cannot arbitrarily and unilaterally impose their decisions of the regional authorities or overrule them. This does not mean that the regional authorities can do anything they want, but it does mean that the powers given to them by the constitution cannot be unilaterally taken away by the central authorities.

Wigneswaran and SampanthanThe problem of the merger of the Northern and Eastern provinces is, however, compounded by the fact that Muslims who are the largest community in parts of the east, are not in favour of becoming a minority to the Tamils in a merged north-east region. On the other hand, both the issues of federalism and the merger of the Northern and Eastern provinces have been opposed for an equally long period of time by the Sinhala polity as being a precursor to the division of the country and the undermining of national sovereignty. Their apprehension is that federalism will be the first constitutional step towards ultimate secession in the same way that the federal states of the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and several African countries have ended up becoming two or more countries. Except for some of the ideologically leftist parties and liberal groups whose vote banks are not large, the rest of the Sinhala-dominated political parties have not been prepared to take a stance in favour of a federal solution to Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict.

Testing Relations

The only exception to the anti federalism sentiment in the Sinhala polity was in 2002 during the ceasefire when the government and LTTE agreed to explore a federal solution in the peace talks. The willingness of the government to be open minded on the issue was due to the protracted nature of the war, and the stalemate situation that had arisen. There was willingness to compromise for the sake of peace on the part of the government and the political wing of the LTTE, but this proposal does not seem to have been taken up seriously by the dominant military leadership of the LTTE. However, with the military victory that was obtained by the government in 2009, this willingness to compromise for the sake of peace became less necessary to the Sinhala polity. However, the Northern Provincial Council’s proposal to the constitutional assembly shows is that the vision of a federal state continues to live in Tamil politics.

It is also a historical fact that the Tamil position in favour of federalism has grown stronger every time there has been an issue on which the wishes of the Tamil polity, and their sense of justice, has been ignored or violated by the government. The initial boost to federalism came with the passage of the Sinhala only law by the Sinhala majority in parliament. Thereafter the Tamil polity found itself outvoted whenever there was an issue on which Sinhala and Tamil perceptions differed, such as the issue of university admissions, where quota systems came into operation that caused Tamil admissions to plunge sharply. Likewise the proposals made by the Tamil parties to the drafters of the new constitutions in both 1972 and 1978 were disregarded. Much to their dismay the Tamil people began to see that whenever it came to a Sinhala-Tamil issue, they would invariably be on the losing side as they were a numerical minority, even if justice was on their side.

With this background, it is most ironic that once again, when the Northern Provincial Council has presented its proposal for a federal solution, another issue is arising in which the Tamil polity in the north and east is at loggerheads with the government. The disagreement has arisen on the issue of the government providing houses for people in the north and east who lost their homes in the course of the three decades long war. The government has pledged to build 65,000 new houses in the next four years. This would supplement the 70,000 houses that have been built in the past four years with the assistance of foreign donors, most specially the Indian government, but also by the EU, Australia and Switzerland. It is indeed very tragic and unnecessary that the building of new houses for those who lost their homes and lives, and which is a form of reparation by the government to them, should become a matter on which government-Tamil relations should be tested.

Costly Project

The problem with the government’s housing plan is that it is a novel one of building prefabricated metal houses and is being done without the participation of the political representatives of the Tamil people in the north and east. Both the Northern Provincial Council and its Chief Minister, and also the entirety of the TNA parliamentary group from the north and east, have together voiced their opposition to the government’s proposal to build steel houses for the war affected people who live in some of the hottest parts of the country. It is not surprising that the steel houses should be viewed with disfavor and as being inappropriate to the warm climate of the north and east, especially in these days when the impact of global warming is being sorely felt all over the country. It is a pity that one of the government’s biggest acts of economic reparation to the war affected people of the north and east should become such a matter of controversy.

The technical criticisms of the housing project have been confirmed by a team of senior professors from the Moratuwa University, which is Sri Lanka’s leading engineering university. The team of experts have said that “The steel houses suffer from the following drawbacks compared to block wall houses: inadequate foundations, insufficient roof support, risk of corrosion despite the coatings provided, poor ventilation, absence of hearth and chimney, poor or non-existent capacity for extension or repair, much shorter lifespan, unlikely to create a sense of ownership, very unlikely to foster the local economy and generate employment, at least double the cost.” (A comparison of the proposed “Steel houses” with constructed block wall houses in the Jaffna peninsula: Preliminary Findings by Prof. Priyan Dias, Dr Rangika Halwatura and Architect Varuna de Silva, April 2016)

So far the main argument of the government is that the financing for this mega project is available through a commercial arrangement. Each steel house that is built will cost Rs. 2.1 million,as against Rs 550,000 to 600,000 for the houses financed by donors, including the Indian housing, but the argument is also made that the houses will be fully furnished with a computer, wireless, and other add-ons, but which will certainly be only a small fraction of this large cost. Thus, the government will incur a foreign debt of about USD 1 billion for the 65,000 houses, to be paid back over a 10-year period. This is like some of the loan-based projects of the previous government, which came in for much criticism for being overpriced and white elephants, but for which financing was plentifully available so long as the country paid it back.

TNA leader R. Sampanthan, who is also the leader of the opposition in parliament, has written to both President Maithripala Sirisena and to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe raising his concerns on a number of issues in relation to the housing project. First is with regard to the tender process which was flawed, and where it appears that the company that got the contract was given it before the tender was called. Second is that prefabricated metal houses will not have a long life span and will start to corrode. Third is the unsuitability of metal as housing material in comparison to traditional brick and mortar. Fourth is the cost of houses which are two to three times that of comparable houses of which 70,000 have already been built. Ignoring the viewpoint of the Northern Provincial Council and the TNA on this matter will serve to further justify the demand for federalism.

The metal housing project is a decision of the central authorities that is being imposed on the people of the north and east, despite being inefficient, arbitrary and unilateral, and which is one of the failures of centralized governance that federalism is meant to prevent.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 18
    6

    Jehan

    Am I allowed to kiss you?! Wonderful article. I am surprised you are a living Sri Lankan! I thought I had to wait for another 50 yrs for a Sri Lankan mother to give birth to a child who would grow up and become a leader with passion and respect for all Sri Lankans.

    • 15
      3

      Thanks Jehan for a wonderful article.

      One of the tragedies of Sri Lanka is that the Sinhalese have never understood the meaning of federalism or they pretend not to understand. Federalism is not separation and it is the rights of North & East Tamils. Only its denial will force the Tamils to seek separation. Tamils may have lost the war but they have not lost their rights to federalism or self-determination.

      Whatever said, nobody can change the demography of North & East of Sri Lanka (Tamil homeland). At the same time, the Tamils have no intention what so ever (they never had) to take the Sinhala-Buddhist part of Sri Lanka. A self-confident Tamil nation will have no need to conquer and rule the Sinhala people.

      The North & East of Sri Lanka was Tamil, is Tamil and will be Tamil forever. If the Sinhalese continue to deny the rights of Tamils and insist that the whole of Sri Lanka belongs to them, it will only push the Tamil leaders to seek alternative measures like mobilizing large masses, if not all of the Tamil people, for a Non-violent campaign with Direct Action or even go further by calling for a UN sponsored referendum to be held for the North & East Tamils in Sri Lanka to establish a separate state like just like ‘Kosovo’, ‘East Timor’, ‘Montenegro’ and ‘South Sudan’.

      • 4
        15

        The point is there is no basis for a federal SL…..there has never been a tamil nation in SL. what we have had was simply a tamil presence never ever a tamil civilisation

        • 10
          2

          sachooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo the stupid II

          “.there has never been a tamil nation in SL. “

          What is a nation?

          Was there a Sinhala/Buddhist nation?

          When was this Sinhala/Buddhist nation established and on what basis?

          “what we have had was simply a tamil presence never ever a tamil civilisation”

          What is civilisation?
          Was there a Sinhala civilisation?
          If ever there was one how was it constituted?

          What is the difference between you and a knife?

          “The point is there is no basis for a federal SL”

          What constitute a Federal state?

          What is your point if there is one?

          Why SWRD Banda was interested in a Federal state of Ceylon?

          Kandyan too showed some interest in the idea of a Federal state. Why?

          Why don’t you go to bed or play with Irathina Valli?

          • 1
            3

            NV

            Why do the Tamils want federalism instead of separation?

            Soma

            • 7
              1

              somaaass

              “Why do the Tamils want federalism instead of separation?”

              You should raise this question with your Tamil brethren.

              However I believe in Federalism for the entire island as it allows the local people to run their own affairs as they see fit. The centralised state cannot and will not address local issues. It is part of democratising process which is urgently needed if the does not want to alienate its people. Democracy does not stop at the Federal level of governance, it should reach out to the local people.

              Let the local people find solutions to local problems.

              More power to the local units definitely will make the rulers accountable. Few bums in the parliament and bureaucracy cannot and should not be allowed to dictate rest of the people (21 Million).

              Why do the Sinhala/Buddhists want to build a Sinhala/Buddhist ghetto in this island?

              • 1
                2

                “However I believe in Federalism for the entire island as it allows the local people to run their own affairs as they see fit. The centralised state cannot and will not address local issues. It is part of democratising process which is urgently needed if the does not want to alienate its people. Democracy does not stop at the Federal level of governance, it should reach out to the local people.

                NV, then why are they demanding North and East to be joined? Why not allow local people to run their own affairs as they see fit? Why not we break Tamil, Muslim and Sinhala areas in the East into separate units to allow local people to run their own affairs as they see fit?

                Soma

                • 3
                  1

                  somasss

                  ” then why are they demanding North and East to be joined?”

                  You should ask the Tamils.

                  “Why not allow local people to run their own affairs as they see fit?”

                  In principle, you agree that the local people should run their own affair where they live and call it as their habitat.

                  “Why not we break Tamil, Muslim and Sinhala areas in the East into separate units to allow local people to run their own affairs as they see fit?”

                  I have no problem.

                  I also believe if two or more units/provinces want to merge the people should have the right to do so with the consent of the people for economic and social reasons.

                  Bums in the parliament or bureaucracy in the centre (which loves to command an empire) have no idea as to what the local people need and how the needs should be catered for.

                  Are you for or against Federalism?

        • 6
          1

          Late Dr. Colvin R de Silva, leader of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party and a Minister in Mrs. Srimavo Bandaranaike’s government recognized the two nations in the country (Sinhalese & Tamils) when he professed the famous dictum…

          “One language two nations, two languages one nation”.

          The same Dr. Colvin R. De Silva said in 1956,

          “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).

          What Dr. Colvin R. De Silva 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 and it is our right.

          • 1
            4

            That is why we have two languages now…did you forget that?

            • 6
              1

              sachoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo the stupid II

              “That is why we have two languages now…did you forget that?”

              Since when?

              Why do I have to converse in one language and one language only whenever I needed deal with officials at various state institutions, including police, …..?

              Why do I get official letters in one language and one language only.

              Why the officials don’t respond to us if we wrote to them in two other languages?

              Why do you have to utter stupid things when you have no knowledge of the matters under discussion.

      • 2
        6

        Suresh

        Like you wish North and East to be Tamil I wish the areas outside North and East to be Sinhalese. Like many Sinhalese I do not want the whole island to be Sinhala ownership. Both our wishes can be realised if all Tamil speaking people who are presently living outside North and East are physically relocated into North and East. The problem is you guys are insisting that North AND East are for us and the rest is for all of us which gives me indigestion.

        Soma

        • 5
          1

          somaasss

          “Like many Sinhalese I do not want the whole island to be Sinhala ownership.”

          However like a few you do want to build a Sinhala/Buddhist ghetto in the entire island.

          “Both our wishes can be realised if all Tamil speaking people who are presently living outside North and East are physically relocated into North and East.”

          It can be done only by a stroke of a pen, get your parliament to pass the relevant Act which could facilitate the process.

          Probably most liberal Sinhala speaking people too want to live in the NE rather than in a glorified Sinhala/Buddhist ghetto as they are aware of the pitfalls of staying back in a ghetto.

          • 1
            4

            “Probably most liberal Sinhala speaking people too want to live in the NE rather than in a glorified Sinhala/Buddhist ghetto as they are aware of the pitfalls of staying back in a ghetto.”

            Like Wingeswaran and Sumanthiran, I too would like to live in this ghetto.

            • 5
              1

              somaasss

              “Like Wingeswaran and Sumanthiran, I too would like to live in this ghetto.”

              Then you may have to move to Hambantotta where Sinhala/Buddhist ghetto builders are planning their next move.

            • 3
              1

              soma,

              you wrote in response to DR Brian Senevaretne’s article:

              “They will realize the magnitude of the threat and it is no time to be complacent.”

              I asked you what is in your view “the magnitude of the threat”?

              You have not answered; why?

              • 1
                2

                Sorry BI, Jayalalithaa roaring from Tamil Nadu, Wingeswaran barking for federalism and meger, LTTE highly active all this appear to be a coordinated exercise.

                The greatest lesson the Sinhalese should remember is that even Rw -VP pact did not satify you but supremely confident of your terror machine you decided go for the final goal irrespective of the cost in blood.

                Soma

                • 2
                  1

                  soma,

                  Jeyalalitha’s roaring from Tamil Nadu frightens you does she? Isn’t this the fear-psychosis that has been drummed into the Sinhala? Have you any evidence that such noises would indeed tantamount to full-scale invasion? Is it in the interest of India to divide Sri Lanka?

                  Please, the real reason behind you hide behind the so-called fear-psychosis is that you do not want to give anything to the Tamils. This intransigence stems from your collective Mahavamsa mind-set. This you do not want to accept publicly thus employ prevarication!

                  Federalism is a concept within the nobel concept of Democracy in order to decentralise power. This concept is suitable to Sri Lanka in resolving the ethnic question. The Tamil language is here to stay and the Tamils require a share of the power. It is about time you come to terms with this reality. You can point your fingers at Tamils living outside of the N&E; it will not make an iota of difference. By all means, the Sinhala can move into the N&E by their freewill just like the Tamils and Muslims.

                  So soma, you can shout all you like and confuse the Sinhala people by lumping both separation and federalism together, but it will of no consequence! The change is set in motion and coupled with the international resolve to finding a political solution for the Tamils, it will become a reality sooner than later. You can pray for MR to return to scuttle the progress as you pleaded in one of your earlier contributions, but it will be of no consequence once again.

                • 4
                  1

                  somaaass

                  “Jayalalithaa roaring from Tamil Nadu,”

                  This the election season.

                  “Wingeswaran barking for federalism and meger,”

                  I thought you are for Federalism.

                  “LTTE highly active”

                  Why are you reluctant to inform the authorities. Is it because you are a secret admirer of LTTE or you are on their payroll?

                  “all this appear to be a coordinated exercise.”

                  Your paranoia hitting on the Ricter scale.

                  “The greatest lesson the Sinhalese should remember is that even Rw -VP pact did not satify”

                  No, signing of the pact was the beginning of the end of LTTE.

                • 1
                  1

                  Soma,

                  “Did you here Jayalalithaa last week?”

                  Haven’t you heard the phrase ‘A drowning man will clutch at a straw’? That is exactly what Jayalalithaa is doing. Jayalalithaa is going to lose the election very badly and she thinks by stirring the SL Tamil issue she can get some votes. The SL Tamils will never trust the Hindian politicians whether it is Tamil Nadu or New Delhi. They are using the SL Tamil issue for their political gain.

        • 7
          1

          Soma

          Having federal states in a country does not mean dividing the country into many separate countries. Anybody and everybody can move from one state to another without any restrictions.

          Take some examples of countries with federal states like the USA, India, tiny Switzerland, etc. If an India wants to go from New Delhi and settle in Tamil Nadu or an American wants to go Texas and settle in New York, he/she does not need any passport or change in citizenship. Similarly, in a federal Sri Lanka, if a Sinhalese wants to settle in the NE or a Tamil wants to settle in the South, he/she does not need any passport or change in citizenship.

          As I said earlier, the Sinhalese have never understood the meaning of federalism. They think a federal state means a separate country where the Sinhalese will be sent out.

          • 1
            2

            Suresh

            “They think a federal state means a separate country where the Sinhalese will be sent out.”

            Did you here Jayalalithaa last week?

            Let us not fool ouselves. Our case is different. Remember RW-VP pact?Were the Tamils satified? Remember Perumal? Remember Mavil Aru? Remeber Sri Maha Bodhi and Dalada relic? Sri Lanka will need huge military resouces to maintain it “federal”.

            Forced to choose I will go for separation than federal. For it is only two weeks difference. Why bother.

            Soma

            • 2
              1

              Our memory is still after saving Don Stephen from british prison, what did to Tamils. Our memory is still in 1958 and Banda-Chelva Pact. We still 1961 Satyagraha. We still remember 1977,1983,International Conference on Tamil Research, Chavakacheri Carniel, Jaffna Library, Navali , Chemani, Krishanti…………….. You are remembering Dalada maligawa, but 2700 Hindu temples are destroyed by the Sinhala Government. What kind selective memory you have? RW did not keep the promise last year he gave to UNHRC. You think Leader Prabhakaran was bound to complete his part, but not RW his part? But you foolishness is not allowing you to remember Sirimavo 1971 and Richard.P’s 1989, Weliweriya, Suriyachari, Premachandra, Athulathmudali cases…. So it seems the history is bound to repeat at your end.

              Soma, you are writing some Blah Blah to show your insincerity in your talks. When your mind is so openly outflowing from your writing, whose attention you are trying to take by saying” Remember RW-VP pact?Were the Tamils satisfied? Remember Perumal? Remember Mavil Aru? Remember Sri Maha Bodhi and Dalada relic?” Are trying to out beat the truth by dodging the talks. Isn’t it why Tamils keeps asking for international Investigation for the war crime.

              Federal solution first proposed by the Kandyan Sinhala Intellectual Solomon West Ridgeway Dias to keep Low Country Sinhalese and Tamils away from Colombo Federal administration. As Tamils did know the purpose of the call, they asked for 50:50 on the central government. Further, they thought Tamils in the upcountry would be converted as low country Sinhalese like the Negombo and Puttalam side. Tamils assumption were proved right by Don Stephen by disenfranchising the upcountry Tamils.

              Soulbury was instructed by the British government not to spoil the deal that they were trying to make for Cheenanakuda airport with Ceylon government. So he arranged to implement a government without calling for referendum to get the approval from Tamils.

              Now there is different interests from outside world like India, America and China. Thier actions during the war time indicated they would like to see Lankawe remain one country, so their techniques to deal with its dodging politics can be simple and single one. Tamils understand the geopolitical nature and Aapa Diplomacy GOSL use to be befriended with these super powers and cheating them, will deter the support they can get from these countries for separate state. That is why they are asking for Federal State now. The small consolation Tamils can expect from the Federal Constitutions is, once the deals are made, the Sinhala Intellectual Goverment not be able to change the constitution for its whimsies, or when the power changes hands in colombo. Whether they get Federal State or no, the Tamils will have to keep agitating IC until the Sinhala Intellectual Government in Colombo leave them live peacefully. That means, after the Federal constitution, the Sinhala Intelectual Government cannot send its army for fun to intervene into the matters of Tamils.

    • 0
      1

      We know that Jehan Perera is one man Peace council who is the paid agent of Norvegian LTTE boss Eric Solhime. Is a peace wallah marketing federalism and other interests working against sinhala Buddhists. WHAT else a traitor like jehan Perera can write to satisfy his pay masters and to earn his bread and butter.

  • 6
    19

    Silly plonker repeats the same thing again.

    Federalism you plonker was introduced somewhere 1952. That was how the name came about filthy muttering moron! – “The Federal Party”.

    The idea you gutter sniveling trollop is to obtain a thing called “Parity” – look it up in a dictionary you filthy worm.

    “Sinhala-only” was not a policy you mee-haraka. It was Sinhala – with Tamil in Tamil areas. The “Sinhala-only” was FP slogan.

    The Tamil filth kept racial muck raking until they win. Have a look in Tamil nadu – they do the same thing there.

    • 8
      4

      Vibushana:

      I am very, very, very glad that you got into into your thick skull at last. Yes, the Tamils won’t stop annoying you donkeys until you realise the futility of it all. Carry one you bunch of monkeys.

    • 13
      2

      I thought of using an animal as a prefix to the name “Vibushana”, but I didn’t because it is very cruel & insulting to that animal. But by looking at the language this guy uses to spread his hatred, I am sure this guy must be very old & sick human with lot of hatred within..
      And my second language skills are not good enough to express my feeling about ugly things like “www.jaffnahistory.com” web site this guy uses (developed) to jeopardise the future of his sons and my sons living in SL..

    • 8
      1

      Vibhushana,

      ““Sinhala-only” was not a policy you mee-haraka. It was Sinhala – with Tamil in Tamil areas. The “Sinhala-only” was FP slogan.”

      What was the fuss then (with Mahinda and Wimal) when the national anthem was sung in Tamil in the north?

    • 5
      1

      Vibhushana,

      The term Federalism came way before 1952.

      In July 1926, S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike went to Jaffna and delivered his famous talk on federalism. The report that appeared in The Ceylon Morning Leader can be viewed at:
      http://www.tamilmahasabha.com/articles/swrd.html

      Here are some additional quotes including ones from the Kandyan assembly:

      “A thousand and one objections could be raised against the system, but when the objections are dissipated, I am convinced that some form of Federal Government will be the only solution”
      – S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike in 1926.

      “We suggest the creation of a federal state as in the United States of America”

      – Kandyan National Assembly in 1927.

  • 5
    3

    Let us pave the way for a lasting solution to the National Question through the new constitution.

    Punchisingho

  • 6
    3

    A neat presentation that effectively complements the arguments for a Federal structure.

  • 3
    3

    MR will be back at the merest hint of federalism. Is that what the writer wants?

    • 5
      2

      paul:

      There is a saying whether who cares whether Rama rules or Ravana rules? How much has changed since Sirisena became the President. There is also talk that it would have been better if Mahinda had been re-elected as the UNHRC inquiry may have gone international. The cosmetic crumbs has meant that the Tamils got cheated, yet again.

  • 3
    6

    Jehan,

    On the ‘Federal option’ you have outlined the problems we are already quite aware and bedeviled us for decades. What I want to know from you and others like you from the majority community, is what the solution could be? We should be talking of innovative solutions.

    On the 65,000 housing project too, you are reiterating, what I would call a much maligned scenario. Has your NGO investigated the issue and sifted the facts from fiction? Are they ‘really’ steel houses, like railway goods wagons? Aren’t they houses with walls and roofs built of insulating material sandwiched between steel sheets? These building materials have better heat insulating properties than concrete blocks and other traditional building materials, other than timber. Did anyone ask the Moratuwa University engineers whether they had inquired whether the holes drilled in the steel framework, will be pre-drilled for bolting, before being galvanized to prevent rust? Have you investigated the extent politics has enveloped this project? This housing project has been made a political issue by vested interests, which are an extension of Sinhala-Tamil politics. I recently took photographs of concrete block and tile roofed houses, built by the government/NGO in Senkaladi in Batticaloa. They were a horror in terms of comfort and aesthetics!

    I have sent photographs of these houses to the editor, CT. I hope he will publish them in CT.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 5
      1

      Solution is provincial councils!
      Federal summa!
      All Sri Lankans must be vigilant on the manner which these changes are forced upon us,
      The game plan is massive and ambiguous.
      All the vultures are active together,
      I am not sure the man in the top chair has clue since he takes everything from the news papers.
      Need to keep eyes wide open and ears up!

      May be Tissa Attanayake was right all along?

      • 3
        1

        srinath.gunaratne

        Could you share your thoughts(?) on Federal state?

        Please for the benefit of readers like me define, discuss, weigh the pros and cons, state your fears, aspirations, paranoia, … various other important aspects and then dismiss the idea of Federal State.

        • 1
          3

          Yes, The Tamil mentality is they do not want Sinhalese people ever to come to their so called home land and they come up with every excuse in the book to achieve this!

          They cannot be trusted in their motives and always promoting segregation and separation! Apart from few, have they ever admitted their mistakes apart from blaming Sinhalese for everything?

          When is that attitude going to change!

          Meanwhile we as Sinhalese marry, merry, and welcome and treat with brotherhood any one living in our neighborhood. After July, have we ever seen a Tamil been attacked in a street of south?

          The island belong to every one! devolution should not be based on race religion! by the convenience of administration, What is the devolution if someone in Batti has to go to Jaffna to get some work done?

          When we ban formation of race/religion based political parties, may be we can talk about devolution

          Lastly, Now we have only one herd to maintain in one parliament!
          Bring another nine? Even the provincial councils waste of money!
          So let us keep one herd in one location where we can monitor them easily!

          • 2
            0

            srinath gunaratne,

            “Yes, The Tamil mentality is they do not want Sinhalese people ever to come to their so called home land and they come up with every excuse in the book to achieve this!”

            Ignorance among the Sinhala is indeed startling! On the other hand many of them chose to pretend ignorance ostensibly!

            Can you show in deeds that the Tamils objected to the Sinhala moving within the N&E? You need to show that when Sinhala by their freewill with their hard-earned money attempted to settle within N&E and the Tamils showed opposition. If you can show such evidences, I will join with you to fight against such racist behaviour.

            • 0
              2

              Every time when I hear this counter argument, I hear, “by their (Sinhalese) freewill with their hard-earned money”! Why cannot government implement a scheme and invite people from all over the country to North?

              Tell me few estate agencies, I can buy land in Jaffna?

              It always boils down to one reason, Land!
              Tamils are scared they will be a minority in North and East, Every time government start up a development scheme, they call it invasion of their traditional land!

              • 1
                0

                srinath gunaratne,

                You cannot give me a straight answer can you? Government development means Sinhala only settlements! You must be thinking that the Tamils are fools!

                You want to buy a property in Jaffna; check the website jaffnapropertymanagement. You will not by anything you are just empty talk but dish out anti Tamil rubbish liberally; how sad.

                • 0
                  0

                  I could start with thesawalame.. and analysing hypocritical utterences of TNA politicians.

                  “Government development means Sinhala only settlements! You must be thinking that the Tamils are fools!”

                  I never mentioned that government schemes to be Sinhala only, But it shows your inner mind!, Admit it, Even you do not want Sinhalese in North and East!

                  I am not anti Tamil, I am anti racist! Sri Lankan Tamils as well as Sinhalese are racist to the core. Look how the Viggie a retired supreme court judge is promoting racism!

              • 0
                0

                Idiots of your kind have always been against a fedaral state.

                I am pro to federalism having lived in germany for the last 30 years.

                Boru billa making cannot succceed. If they dont agree with Federalism being introudced as entire world request, they have to strenghten the hands of PCs …. by giving more powers to them.
                Then only we can see regional devlopments accordingly.

                But anyforms of extremists should be punished not leaving them space to destroy the nation and country again.
                I dont think just becuse NE or other councils have just got passed their views, meaning necessarily that central govt have to accept them all.. sure, if there are valuble parts, they should be studied and considered.
                This small island should be for all srilankens … regardless of race relgions or whatever.

                • 0
                  0

                  FEDERaLISM may be acceptable only on condition it must be optional for every state to be a federal state or not or to join the central government and all federal states must be self financing. Central Govt. funding must be limited to a percentage of direct and indirect taxes earned from such federal states. I lived in Canada for Expo’86 in Vancoover’ when any thing is sold to a resident outside British Columbia we had to recover from customer tax applicable to that state and we were advised to avoid this requirement by issuing a receipt in the name of the hotel he was residing. that is the tragedy of federal option. let all tamils opt for a federaral state of eelam in the north and on condition all Tamils living outside will be considered as temporary residents of Sri Lanka as holders of Eelam Passports on payment of visa fees applicable to Europeans-non Indians. good-luck to you Federalists. I shall start campaigning for a post of Ambassador Extraordinary Plenipotentiary of SriLanka in the state of Eelam.

          • 4
            0

            srinath.gunaratne

            Could you share your thoughts(?) on Federal state?

            Please for the benefit of readers like me define, discuss, weigh the pros and cons, state your fears, aspirations, paranoia, … various other important aspects and then dismiss the idea of Federal State.

    • 7
      1

      In a devolved democracy [though partially] as in Sri Lanka, you need to take the opinion of the democratically elected devolved body into account. This is a fundamental principle – how come you do not know this A, B, C of political science. Why are you writing about “vested interests?”
      Sumanthiran asked Sillynathan some serious questions about how the tendering process. Like you, S’nathan is taking rubbish, but not answering Sumanthiran’s legitimate questions. Did you get any kickbacks from Mittal like S’nathan. With your loads of questions, you appear to be interrogating and terrorizing the poor CT readers!! Direct your questions at the M’tuwa engineers!

      Grow up, Doctor, please, grow up fast!

      • 1
        4

        Real Peace,

        No. It is our right to question them and their motives. They should lead us, after making us understand where they want to take us. We cannot let them lead us again into a nightmare. Blind obedience and subservience, should never again be the norm.

        Blackmail! What do you mean? Is it the inability to digest an opinion, which is different to your’s , a political establishment you favour or from the Moratuwa University that has given two contrary opinions?

        Are these houses for the displaced living under terrible conditions, a political battle front or contest? Why should these houses be called steel cages or ovens and compared to housing in German extermination camps for Jews. Scientific data and the fact that many people are now living in similar units, confirm that they are attuned to our climate and are futuristic. Why the stubbornness to accept facts?

        Dr.RN

        • 4
          0

          Rajasingham,

          I agree with Real Peace in “With your loads of questions, you appear to be interrogating and terrorizing the poor CT readers!! Direct your questions at the M’tuwa engineers!”. You are not suggesting that each commentator will need to write a list to Moratuwa about every concern that comes to his mind – are you?

          On a broader perspective, would you consider it fair that the “steel-house” be not a Hobson’s choice? Why not let it be one among alternative choices, whereby the “future” owner is given the flexibility to make his choice. One option would be to extend soft-term housing loans, tied to house-construction compliant with pre-defined safety and quality guidelines. Why is it necessary that you or the Government see the need to make such a restricted selection on behalf of 65,000 future owners?

          Remember the “plastic crates” initiative that ultimately ended up in a massive savings account deposit in Singapore for the thuppahi Minister who insisted on compliance! Such is Sri Lankan potics, and politician’s concern if not generosity!!

          • 3
            0

            MITTAL has given a big MITTAI (sweet) to Sillinathan and Dr Rajasingham to sell his METAL houses…!!

            • 1
              0

              Mittals billions have dwindled by 3/4 , So he need this kind of corrosion project to make money, Indian government is all ready to bankroll him!
              Give 1/4 of money to kand owners, they will make their own houses of their own choice, release the funds in stages, Use the grama sevakas.

        • 2
          0

          Dr.Rajasingham Narendran,Kumar R. and all other commendators

          Click the link where you will see a Mittal’s model house.

          http://www.tamilwin.com/
          articles/01/102258

  • 4
    4

    USA will make sure this happens. By the way, Mr.Perera, wasn’t it SWABASHA meaning tamils studied in Tamil and Sinhalese studied in Sinhala ? Malaysia has a smaller percentage of Muslims (60%) than there are buddhists in Sri lanka , and yet they have an official Religion:Islam. Sri lanka only says pre eminence to Buddhism. Just wanted to expose the hypocrisy of some of you christians and Muslims who are silent on this aspect of Malaysia.

    • 7
      1

      Why take Malaysia as an example? There are several counties that practice secularism and why not talk about those counties?

    • 5
      1

      PattiGona

      “Sri lanka only says pre eminence to Buddhism. Just wanted to expose the hypocrisy of some of you christians and Muslims who are silent on this aspect of Malaysia.”

      Buddhism flourish and survive not because of crooks in the parliaments and preeminence given in the constitution. Buddhism flourishes simply because it is rational, a way of life, preaches peace and non violence.

      Do you need crooks in the parliament to protect the teaching of an awakened one? Are the crooks capable of learning, comprehending and observing what Buddha preached some 2500 years ago.

      Perhaps you must be one of the crooks who conveniently found Buddhism a convenient place to hide from his own karma.

      Are you living in planet Sith?

    • 1
      1

      Patti Gona

      The demography of Malaysia is different from that of Sri Lanka. The Tamil Hindus of Sri Lanka are not just a minority, they are a territorial minority, a minority with a separate territory (N&E) and they are the majority in their territory.

      Buddhism and Hinduism/Brahmanism are the two main religions that existed and flourished in Sri Lanka from the very early period. The Buddhist archaeological sites in the Tamil speaking North & East, or the Hindu archaeological sites in the Sinhala speaking south are not strange phenomena in the island because both Sinhalese and Tamils practiced Buddhism and Hinduism. Even today, if we visit any Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka, there is always a Hindu Devale/temple with Hindu Gods inside the Buddhist temple. Hinduism is much older than Buddhism in Sri Lanka and is still followed by not only Tamils but also Sinhalese and Veddas. Tamils, Sinhalese and Veddas worship the Kataragama God Murugan at the ancient Hindu temple in Kataragama.

      The state religion should be both Buddhism and Hinduism or do not have any state religion at all.

      • 0
        0

        Suresh,

        “The Tamil Hindus of Sri Lanka are not just a minority, they are a territorial minority, a minority with a separate territory (N&E) and they are the majority in their territory. “

        True for North, absolute bull where East is concerned

        • 1
          0

          [True for North, absolute bull where East is concerned]

          Even after conversion, those Tamils are always Tamilians (Tamil Speakers). No exclusion.

  • 4
    1

    Thank you Jehan for highlighting the problem of the housing. I will go along with the Moratuwa Univ engineers and architect on the issue. The houses built by the NGO, Govt or the Indian govts cost more than the funds given. The owners pawn what they have to make the house livable. The cost to even that is more than Rs800,000. just for basics.

    The prefab houses are not the best for the money. Has anyone polled the beneficiaries whether they prefer the prefab or a house of Brick and mortar that cost about a million rupees?

    As for Federalism proposal, has anyone read it? Is it published anywhere?

    • 2
      0

      n.ethirveerasingam

      Where can we access a copy of Moratuwa report on Mittal Houses?

    • 0
      2

      Dr.Edirveerasingam,

      The reference to a Moratuwa University Report that had not faulted this housing project appears in an interview with Minister Swaminathan published in early April in the a daily news. I have not been able to source either the first or the second Moratuwa University reports in a Google search. Obviously the first was submitted to the government. To whom was the second submitted? Who commisioned the second report?

      http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=2016/04/11/features/78815

      The cost of the Ancellormital hosing per-se as stated in the above interview is only 1.3 million. The furniture, other accessories and additional facilities are additional to the basic house cost.

      There appears to be some selective reporting in the media.

      The government should publish the first University of Moratuwa report to clear the air. Anyone who has the second report should also publish it.

      Dr.RN

      • 5
        0

        Rajasingham,

        Your insistence on transparency is indeed very welcome, and is very much appreciated. The number of pointed questions you formulate, day after day, asking for truthful details from the CM, from TNA, from the Government, from perhaps even Moratuwa are all very illustrative of your present appreciation of the need for absolute transparency – nothing less would do!

        Now, here is one nagging question I have had for years now.

        After several years of dragging your feet on explaining your free, luxury trip at tax payer’s expense to meet with MR’s regime, just a couple of months ago you tangentially conceded that you participated in that luxury all-paid trip as an official “delegate”. However, you would clam up on any further explanation beyond that. That reluctance for transparency was very intriguing.

        Now that you have seen the light on the need for absolute transparency and rightly appreciate its importance, can I ask you again, for the sake of transparency, could you elaborate some detail on that delegation – Who selected you as a delegate and on what basis? Who arranged your travel and agenda? Who were the other delegates with you? Who and who did you meet with? What were the issues discussed and addressed? What were the tasks the delegates under took to accomplish following the trip? Did the trip encourage you to seek Diaspora funding for Northern development? Were you influenced to take any initiatives to discourage the Diaspora in their pursuit of international intervention in seeking transparency in the war crime allegations?

        I am in no way bringing this up to discourage you from your seeking transparency on several issues from the many individuals and parties your list of questions were addressed. That pursuit should go regardless (but perhaps with less of what seems to border on snake-oil salesmanship)

        I thought your recent enlightenment on the merits of transparency may help you rethink the need to clear up your own dark shadows of your not-so-distant past. And clearing that up would do wonders for the credibility of the issues that you seem to enthusiastically champion now, which, as you can see from the many thumbs-down, have not been received as well as you would have hoped.

        As they say, First things first! Would you agree?

      • 0
        0

        Dr.Rajasingham Narendran,

        Every time you raise a point over a comment of n.ethirveerasingam, you audaciously mangle his name.

        Dr. Nagalingam Ethirveerasingam is a celebrity. Is there a reason why you choose to address him as, Dr. Edirveerasingam?

        I recall him admonishing someone who spelled his name incorrectly, on CT.

        Would you care to give him his name, at least. Or, you are simply not going to change!

        • 0
          0

          Nathan,’

          Error noted. Names are proper nouns and there is some laxity permitted in the spelling. I notice the IPad mangles many words and unless edited carefully, the meaning of entire sentences are lost as a result.

          My apologies to Dr.Ethirveerasingam, if he has taken offence.

          Dr.RN

  • 2
    2

    The writer has mixed two subjects. There is no doubt that ultimately the government will reject the environmentally unfriendly & expensive Mittal Steel housing project and learn from the experience of the Indian housing project, to follow the same model.

    The more controversial subject is the motion by the Northern Provincial Council to form a Federal State. According to the 2012 census, Tamils numbering 991,122 form about 94% of the population of the Northern Province. They account for 4.9% of the population of Sri Lanka. Hence,it is absurd to consider a Federal State for Tamils in the northern province.

    They constitute 39.4% of the population of the Eastern Province. Hence, the population of Eastern Province will never agree to merging of these two provinces.

    This resolution has undone all the good work done by this government towards ethnic reconciliation.

    • 1
      0

      Falsified Truth,
      If you intend to reduce the Tamil population in numbers it will be proven ethnic cleansing. We cannot forget so soon the UN report and the situation Sri Lanka faced with the international community. Just showing the world and overcoming a situation is a process taking place in Sri Lanka always. Remember you can fool all the people sometimes only and not always! The proposal for a Federal solution will be the best for overcoming problems and finding a real solution. If Sri Lanka cannot do it even now, it will be another bad blow for Sri Lanka when it is done by the International Community!The International Community is fully aware what was and what is going on regarding the issues at hand. Oppression and treachery cannot be tolerated against any humanity and it is very obvious in Sri Lanka.

    • 3
      0

      Truth

      ” They account for 4.9% of the population of Sri Lanka. Hence,it is absurd to consider a Federal State for Tamils in the northern province.”

      I hope you are not the reincarnation of P.C. Mahalanobis Indian statistician nor the eminent mathematician Ramanujam.

      All those statistical estimates also can be used to counter your pointless pursuit of “no to Federalism”.

      First what is Federalism?

      Why it is absurd to consider a Federal state for the people of this island?

      Does size matter?

      Majoritarianism is not democracy.

      Hindians will assure you that Federalism for the entire island would not lead the country to separatism by the Sinhala speaking people.

    • 2
      1

      Dear twisting the truth, according to your statistics and the government statistics 42% of the indigenous Eelam Tamil live in the north and around 30% of them in the east and the rest largely around Colombo. This means the vast majority of them live in their ancient traditional lands. Even the 30% living around Colombo have very close ties to their ancestral lands in the north and east . A very high percentage of them will return to their lands if conditions will return to normal in the north and east, most have them have been forced out of their homes due to the ethic cleansing activities of the Sri Lankan government and the armed forces and also due to the deliberate policy by all Sri Lankan governments to keep the Tamil areas underdeveloped so that the population will be forced to leave and be reliant on the south.
      Even if the population of the north was 1% instead of 5%, what is it to you or the rest of the Sinhalese? It is not your land it is the land of the Tamils, they are only asking for what is rightfully their not Sinhalese lands down south. It is the Sinhalese who are trying to steal Tamil lands with all sorts of flimsy excuses like this.
      Scotland’s population is around 5% of Great Britain’s population and there are more Scots living outside Scotland than within Scotland. This did not prevent the British government granting them federalism or self determination. There are more Jews and Irish living outside Israel and Ireland than within these lands. As per you and the rest of the Sinhalese racists( which consists of around 90% of the Sinhalese population) Scotland should not have had self determination or self rule and there should be no Israel or Ireland.
      The Tamils are the real owners and the indigenous population of the east. They were an outright majority in the east until 30 years ago. They have now been reduced to a 40% minority due to large scale killing and deliberate ethnic cleansing activities and the illegal settlement of around 250000 Sinhalese in the east by all Sinhalese led Sri Lankan governments since independence, especially since the 1970s. They used plain thuggery and the racist Sinhalese Sri Lankan armed forces and the Police to achieve this. Everyone knows why this racist occupying Sinhalese armed forces almost amounting to 300000 are in the North and East. Nothing to do with national security but are being used to Sinhalise the Tamil north and east. This is why they have illegally confiscated more than 70000 acres of privately owned Tamil lands in many strategic towns and villages in the north east. Under guise of security and development hundreds of thousands of Sinhalese are to be settled in these Tamil lands, whilst their real Tamil owners remain destitute or are given some useless substandard housing and lands elsewhere that is fit for nothing. Just like what the whites did to the black population in pre Apartheid South Africa and Zimbabwe.
      In 1948 the Sinhalese population in the east was only around 4% now 23% and growing. This Sinhalese population who were illegally settled on ethnically cleansed Tamil lands in the east, using the might of the Sinhalese government and the racist Sinhalese armed forces and police should not be allowed to take part in the referendum on the joining of the north and east. People who come here illegally using the might of a racist government, just like the white Apartheid government in South Africa or the Nazis in Germany, forcibly occupying Tamil lands in the last 40 years should not be allowed to vote on the fate of the Tamils in the east and their ancient lands. This will be a travesty of justice. It is like some thug forcibly occupying part of your home and then using force to dictate and decide what should be done to your home that was within your family for generations.
      The Sinhalese did not want that in the Central Sabragamuwa and Uva provinces for made more than 1 million Indian origin estate Tamils stateless after living there for more than 150 years and earning most of the country’s foreign exchange, however want all this Sinhalese hoodlums and murderers illegally settled in the east using government force and thuggery,in the last 40 years to decide on the fate of the eastern Eelam Tamils and their lands.
      There are more than 100000 Eelam Tamil refugees in India, many of them
      from the east and the more than one million Eelam Tamil diaspora, most of whom were again forced to leave our lands by the racist Sinhalese establishment and armed forces. We should be allowed to take part in this referendum of our own lands, just like what happened during the referendum for southern Sudan independence or East Timor. This is our land and heritage, where our ancestors lived for thousands of years not the land of some 250000 illegal Sinhalese thugs and hooligans who were forcibly brought in here using the might of racist government in the last 40 years to deliberately sabotage the rights of the Tamils.
      These illegal Sinhalese thugs and settlers in the north and east have not contributed to anything in these areas other than creating chaos and pain to the Tamil speaking people in the north and east

  • 2
    0

    So, ‘now’ we are building totally unsuited houses to the people in need at over 3 times a brick and motor house will cost.
    Very smart.Congratulations. A truly intelligent lot we are.

    And we blame Rajapaksa et al for their economic misadventures. Sigh!

  • 3
    0

    A good reasoned out article. A good history of how no political consideration was given to Tamils and where the prime responsibility of the 30 year old war lies. Imagine if a federal system was introduced in the 1950s where Sri Lanka would be now?

    I have written this before in other threads and will write it again, the reason Sri Lanka does not have a federal system of government is, the Sinhala ruling elite see a federal system as a threat to Sinhala hegemony rather than a threat to the unity of the country but will never admit to that. To maintain the hegemony, the ruling elite need the Sinhala masses to view the Tamils as the ‘other’ as ‘foreigners’ as a ‘threat’, to view the demands of Tamil people to be treated equally as demands of ‘special’ treatment. Instead of looking at the mature political models of multi-lingual, multi-ethnic countries like Canada and Switzerland, the Sinhala elite continue to whip up anti-Tamil hysteria to maintain the hegemony. I understand the merger of the Northern and Eastern provinces is complicated but can be worked out by reasonable minded people if everyone gets something but not everything. But that is not how the Sinhala elite have ruled Sri Lanka since Independence have they? Sinhala hegemony, Sinhala domination is all they are interested in and Tamils get nothing.

  • 1
    3

    What’s important is what you can enjoy under federal system that’s impossible under non-federal.

    The idea of traditional Tamil homeland is racial so Tamil people, please give up that idea.

    That does not mean that others can come and grab your personal wealth. If military occupy land unlawfully make a voice democratically, Sinhalese also will support you.

    For vast majority the whole island is traditional homeland .

    That’s the actual conflict here.

    Both Sinhala and Tamil are official languages now and we have English as linking language.

    There was no 100% Sinhala only rule; however it’s past so we can forget it now.

    Understand; Tamil people have more opportunities in non-federal system than in federal system.

    Don’t be so fond of the UN, and UNHCR. They are instruments for western powers to interfere with internal matters of other countries.

    • 5
      1

      sr

      “There was no 100% Sinhala only rule; however it’s past so we can forget it now.”

      If you are referring to language policy you are right there is no 100% Sinhala only rule, however have you ever thought about how the new rule (1988) is being practiced in day to day life?

      “Don’t be so fond of the UN, and UNHCR. They are instruments for western powers to interfere with internal matters of other countries.”

      You do not need to worry about instruments of western powers as long as you treat your family well. Going by the post independent history of this island you do not have anything to celebrate.

      Forget the western power, get treatment for your paranoia, live well let others too live well, treat your family well if you want to stop strangers groping your female folks.

      MR went to Geneva to protect people from being killed by the government of the day, requesting UNHRC to intervene, so did the Tamils.

      You are still living in a world which seems blessed with unlimited hypocrisy.

    • 2
      1

      sr,

      “If military occupy land unlawfully make a voice democratically, Sinhalese also will support you.”

      Ha! Ha! Ha!

      “Understand; Tamil people have more opportunities in non-federal system than in federal system.”

      He! He! He!

      Last week, I was speaking to friends in the Tamil Diaspora who are interested in setting up a hotel in the North East to help generate employment opportunities for Tamil youth. Unfortunately, they are reluctant to invest because they fear that the property will be taken over by the army if the government changes.

      • 1
        2

        Keynes

        Sad to mention that peace loving Sri lankans don’t have concern for Tamil Diaspora.

        However it’s wise to make investments in any part of Sri Lanka for economic gain for you and for the people and finally for the country.

        But please don’t be racial

        Why employment opportunities only for Tamil people

        Provide them for Sri Lankans.

        “Their reluctance due to the fear of taking over by the army”

        That won’t happen, however in that case you have the UN and UNHCR
        Your saviours

        • 2
          0

          The UN and the UNHCR could not save the lives of many Tamils in Mullivaikal. As such, I doubt if they can do so in the future.

          The Tamil youth in the North-East are some of the most marginalized in the country. An employment programme either to reduce unemployment or improve under-employment for the Tamils per se is legit.

          Thus, your comment about providing employment for Sri Lankans as opposed to Tamils is like the horse and sparrow theory. Let me paraphrase Galbraith:

          If you feed the Sri Lankans enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the Tamils.

          You piece of shit.

  • 1
    0

    Thank you dear respected Jehan Sir for a wonderful article. Among Tuan modayas and Soni muttals, there are good intellectuals like you to do reconciliation and to ensure peace among the people.

    Let us ignore and disregard Tuan modayas and Soni muttals.

  • 2
    0

    The present gross violations of GSL, on the UNHRC resolution on SL, are note worthy.

    1. About 120,000 GSL soldiers, who committed war crimes and Tamil genocide are not yet withdrawn from North & East (NE) of SL.

    2. About 96% of Tamil civilian land, occupied by the military, are not yet returned to its rightful owners.

    3. Prevetion of Terrorism Act is not abolished and political prisoers are still held in prisons.

    4. Soldiers continue to rape Tamil women, do white van abductions and HR violations unabated.

    5. War crimes inqiry is not yet started, because alleged war criminals are in parliament and the cabinet.

    6. Devolution of powers to NE are not yet done. A recent survey by CPA confirmed that 80% of Sinhalese do not know what “Federalism” is.

    A leading cabinet minister of GSL said two days ago, in a media conference, that Federalism is extremism.

    Obviously, GSL is, and will be, unwilling to comply with the UNHRC resolution. Dubious and false excuses to the UNHRC are on the cards.

    The UN will be forced to impose Economic Sanctions, Arms Embargo and send UN Peace Keeping force to the NE to implement the UNHRC resolutions, in a manner the UN did in East Timor.

  • 1
    1

    Very good Jehan. Food for thought.The concept of federalism is not a bad thing after all. After the rejection of the proposal of a federal state in 1905 by the LTTE leader Pirapaharan for his own strategic reasons following the recommendations by the Geneva Conference, the Sinhala polity, and especially after January 2015 have been gradually warming up to the federal idea as being an alternative that would not jeopardise their strategic position. The Tamil polity too, being essentially federal in their thinking, is gradually abandoning their quest for a separate State. Bensen

  • 2
    0

    Jehan,

    “This has been the long standing position of the Tamil polity which came into national prominence in the aftermath of the passage of the “Sinhala only” law in 1956”

    Sinhala Only Act led to the destruction of the prosperity and peace of this little island.

    “Why do Tamils want Federalism and not separation”?

    This is a small country and federalism has led to prosperity and peace in many countries such as Switzerland, US, Australia and most of Western European countries.

    Jehan
    “apprehension is that federalism will be the first constitutional step towards ultimate secession in the same way that the federal states of the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and several African countries have ended up becoming two or more countries.”

    It was not true that Soviet Union and Eastern Europe had Federal system, they were union of many countries forcibly brought under communist rule by autocrats.

    Under the present system the rulers like JR-J and MR at the centre will impose their will on the ethnic minorities and persecute them to divert their failures.

    No politician from the ethnic majority ever said how Federalism will disadvantage them except the myth of separation.

    • 0
      1

      Saro,

      Your argument is logical and hence reasonable. However, logic and reason are not part of our national psyche. On many matters such as ethnicity, language, religion, caste, democracy and terminology relating to power sharing , our thinking borders on the insane. The quest for an independent Eelam on behalf of the Tamils has accentuated this madness in the Sinhala polity.

      We have to take this into account, when we are dealing with issues of power sharing. To all appearances the president and the prime minister understand this reality and are charting what I think is a very sensible course| in their approach to a new constitution. We have to start a process to untangle our problems and start afresh. Any new problems that crop up should be tackled in an atmosphere of accommodation and good will. We have to give to take and the Sinhala polity too should do the same. Creating this atmosphere is the first step and the onus is on the Tamils, who already have paid a heavy price. Our present state dictates patience, wisdom and avoidance of minefields in our approach to make a new beginning in communal relationships in this country. I hope those who claim to be our leaders understand this.

      Let us understand this reality and not undermine the process with words and actions that are unwise, if not mischievous. This is a historical opportunity, we should not help anyone to undermine.

      Dr.RN

  • 2
    0

    DR RN,

    I agree the need for diplomacy, avoidance of emotive words and empathy of those in the southern end of political spectrum in dealing with this long standing problem. But any solution similar to 13A will give unlimited power to any ruler in the centre to interpret as he wishes and treat Tamils as political refugees. Once the constitution with unitarianism in in place Tamil speaking groups will be marginalised.

    This is a country where constitution is the property of the leader who can either withhold or ignore. Even today after nearly 3 decades of annexing 13A the PCs are not in a position to use land or police powers though they are in it.

    We also know MR camp is looking for a crack in the government to pierce through with racial upheaval and we must not fall into its trap. It’s not a question what is right but what will avoid march to Dalada Malagawa by the believers of Mahavamsa.

    • 0
      1

      Saro,

      Thanks for your sensible response.

      The 13th amendment I definitely be part of the 13th amendment. It will not be an amendment, but a chapter ]/section/clause within the main constitution. We should take this opportunity to improve the 23th amendment and the many holes in it, like the powers of the governor and the scope that the concurrent list gives the government to rais provincial council affairs. I hope the TNA will take this approach to get something done. We should not aim at something that everyone knows will be impossible under our circumstances and then cry foul.

      Dr.RN

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.