27 February, 2024


How Negotiations With The TNA Failed – Documentation From The Past

By Rajiva Wijesinha –

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha MP

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha MP

When the President put me on the delegation to negotiate with the TNA, in April 2011, I found that no response had been made to suggestions they had made a couple of months previously. I thought this was absurd, and urged a response. These are the notes I made.

Unfortunately there were no meetings of our delegation to review such matters. We could not take things further, even though I did manage, by insisting by dates for the next meeting being fixed whenever we met, to have regular meetings, whereas previously these were few and far between, and there was no continuity. It was perhaps because there was some progress that Sajin Vas Gunawardena stopped telling me about meetings.

1.   Points for discussion with regard to the proposal submitted by the TNA in February

a) While abolishing the concurrent list is desirable, there are areas in which joint action is required, for instance –

Rivers and Waterways, Continental Shelf, Mineral Resources of certain kinds, National Examinations and Quality Assurance, Energy, Tourism, Price Control, Epidemics.

Some sort of mechanism must be devised for this.

b) There are fields in which the national government must be involved, for instance –

National Cultural Activity, for instance the establishment of multicultural dance and drama institutions

National Sports activities

National Museums, which should not be confined to the national capital, and Archives

The Environment, albeit with provision for provincial and other input

c) Negotiations should also advance responsibility to the people on the principle of subsidiarity where possible, ie in education for instance the primary decision makers should be not central or provincial governments, but local schools accountable to local parents. Agreement should be reached on legislation that will take educational administration out of the control of either near of distant bureaucrats.

In this regard, it may be salutary to entrench provisions for local government also into the constitution, so that in areas such as transport there would be statutory responsibilities for the provision of basic services to the local population

d) With regard to the existing concurrent list, planning in the areas of responsibility at all levels should be entrusted to that area. Education, subject to the points above, should be devolved, and the same should go for Higher Education, subject to National Quality Control. With regard to Housing, there should be clear central regulations, relating to environmental requirements, but otherwise it can be devolved. The same should go for social services, with provision for minimum standards, though Rehabilitation as currently understood must remain with the centre. Other items in the current list, except for irrigation, may be devolved subject to the suggestions above.

e) With regard to all levels of government, provision should be made for strict financial accountability. The responsibilities of a second chamber at the Centre, and perhaps second chambers in provinces which were made up of local government representatives without separate payment, could include financial control, with encouragement of a bipartisan approach in bodies without executive responsibilities.

2.   Correspondence with Sajin Vas Gunawardena in May 2011, when I thought he was serious about trying to reach agreement with the TNA. Typically, the discussion about a Senate was not taken further, and instead G L Pieris, at the next meeting, produced suggestions about Local Government, after I had been informed that I should not suggest anything new. Again I think he had put my idea to the President, who was much more sensible about such matters, and told him to go ahead. Mr Sambandan was positive, saying that the TNA would not go against a Gandhian concept, but again the topic was not taken up again at the next meeting.

On May 14, 2011, at 5:23 AM, Rajiva Wijesinha wrote:

Just seen the newspaper accounts of our meetings on Thursday. Should we not be thinking of a way to use the press productively to take things forward, rather than allowing individual ‘leaks’ to contribute to apparent polarization?

Not sure why, after I had been told the Senate should not figure too large, it became the centrepiece of the government proposal on Thursday – which led to a predictable response in the Daily Mirror. Did you know that was going to happen? Since, after introducing the idea at the previous round, I had been mandated to send my draft to Sumanthiran, it seems strange that a new version should suddenly have been produced, without my having the slightest idea that was going to happen.

It was a pity about the pledges you had made not being fulfilled. The other two told me the reasons, but some sort of explanation earlier might have helped, whereas now the TNA can claim we are unreliable. I am sure this will accumulate until they come out with it publicly. Sambandan seems itching to do so, and that could be very worrying.

Trust you are much better now, and that yesterday’s meetings with the Indian delegation have paved the way for a positive visit when you go there. Regards, Rajiva


On Sat, May 14, 2011 at 8:25 AM, Sajin  wrote:

Dear Rajiva,

The proposal on the Senate was to be provided to them as was discussed quite some time back.
When considering the modus operandi of the TNA I think it is best that we deal with them “Collectively” rather than individually.
On the “pledges” that you have mentioned, this is factually incorrect as i did not “pledge” anything. When the matter of the “Data Base” keeps coming up I took it upon my self to answer same.  It is a matter that I am still talking with the MOD. The TNA knows the exact situation however they will as stated by you come out publicly very soon against me.

There was no meeting with a indian delegation. I think there visit was postponed. I am out of Hospital and back at work. Now that the draft of the senate has been provided lets work on same.
The concurrent list can follow……………in due course.  My perception on this is for us to take a “birds eye view” of the whole matter. Lets perch ourselves on a tree and see how the TNA act their role down below.  Devolution is a must which is accepted by all. However credible devolution as per the “Mahinda Chnitanaya” which is acceptable to the larger polity of this nation is the herculian task that MR has to face up to and take to the end and he is the only politician who can do this as well.

The TNA will be happy with the existing powers under the 13th Amendment coupled with Land (as per 13th amendment powers currently), Tamil Speaking Police force (under the national set up), senate, with a proper mechanism, they will accept. They are just playing the game now as shylock did. Let us wait and see.

Thank you for your mail and concern.



On Sat, May 14, 2011 at 11:24 AM, Rajiva Wijesinha  wrote:
Subject: Re: Newspaper reports
To: Sajin
Cc: Sajin Vas Gunewardene , Lalith Weeratunga

Thanks very much for the quick reply. I quite agree that we need to talk collectively, which is why I was surprised that a document was given to the TNA that I had not seen before, and the content and rationale of which were strange. I should add that it is not likely the TNA will be enthused by a document in which the points to be discussed concerned quotas for women.

After I had brought up the question of the Senate at the April 29th meeting, where the impression was given that this was new, and was not a priority for the TNA, it was agreed that I should send you and them the basic draft simply to look at. Later, when you and I spoke, the view seemed to be that we would put something on the table but this was not really for discussion. The decision to go further may have been due to the President, who has from the start understood the importance of something like this, but it was interesting – and predictable – how the TNA rejected our efforts to make this the central point of the meeting.

I should add that I am fully appreciative of your efforts re providing some satisfaction where possible, without compromising our interests. My point to the others is that we should not be seen – or presented as being seen – to break our word, which is when I was told the commitments were yours. With regard to Sampur too, my recollection is that you said you would check and get back to them, not that you would ensure access to the temple, which is what they seemed to suggest – another excuse for Sambandan to give us religious history, which I realized even Sumanthiran and Suresh found entertaining.

Underlying my concerns is that they seem to keep minutes, which Sumanthiran said he sent you, but we do not seem to have our version. Please correct me if I am wrong, and send me what you have. I worry because, when I took over the Peace Secretariat, I found that the SLMM kept the minutes of meetings, which I had to change, and initially I had to press very hard to have a version that could not be used against us. After a few weeks of insistence, they gave up.

In this context I brought up a couple of important points on the 12th, which might well be forgotten. One was the need to get over the Centre / Province dichotomy, which means a struggle for power, whereas we should take a leaf out of Sambandan’s book and talk about our responsibilities to the people, the Tamil people being as much the President’s responsibility as Sambandan’s. Thus we should try to move closer to the vision of the Mahinda Chintanaya, and restore power to smaller communities, as for instance with education on a school base, which he enunciated in 2005. If we really restore power to the people, the obsession with power at the Province as opposed to power at the Centre will reduce.

The other point was a mechanism for following up on decisions. We are bad at this, for institutional reasons — look at what happened to the LLRC Interim Recommendations – and this means it can be flung in our faces when opponents choose, with allegations of bad faith.

I think the strategy you enunciated might have been appropriate a couple of months back, but the Darusman report has changed things considerably, and you can see it in Sambandan’s demeanour. My great fear is that talk of the merger might once again be taken seriously, and that would be appalling for security as well as the integrity of the country.

Sorry that the Indian visit was postponed, the Tamilnadu election result will now make your task even more difficult. And we need to bear in mind that the European Union resolution was not a satisfactory one, and rest on laurels because something worse did not get through. Sometimes those opposed to us use this technique, good cop / bad cop, and we end up embracing what the good cop does, not realizing how dangerous that too can be.

Perhaps we should meet when both you and I are back.

Regards and best wishes for India,


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Latest comments

  • 5

    Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha,

    It very good to expose the TNA Charlatans. The one trick Nazi pony, says one thing in Tamil but completely the other in English.

    Please enlighten people what happened after APRC with Tissa Vitharana. Dr. Vitharana spent a considerable effort preparing the plan. Although afterwards TNA did not respond. I know Rajitha Senaratne MP for example went chasing behind TNA without any results.

    TNA Sumithranathan came for a discussion on TV few months ago and humiliated himself when he did know a basic question about the Jaffna Police. The guy was caught with his pants down when the Police spokesman called the show in live and corrected him. Either the guy was lying or had no clue.

    These Tamil landlords spends 90% of their time in Colombo doing their own thing but visit Jaffna when it comes to elections. Ask any of them basic questions relating to Jaffna administration they would have no clue.

    TNA wins 80% of the NP. AIDMK does similar thing in Tamil Nadu. Its the same old trick. Rouse racial hatred playing to the gallery, then do nothing when coming to power. As long as they keep re-hashing ‘grievances’ mostly illiterate Tamils will keep voting.

    • 5

      Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha and Vibhushana

      “TNA wins 80% of the NP. AIDMK does similar thing in Tamil Nadu. Its the same old trick. Rouse racial hatred playing to the gallery, then do nothing when coming to power. As long as they keep re-hashing ‘grievances’ mostly illiterate Tamils will keep voting. “

      Interesting observation on the Para-Tamils.

      Deja Vu…. Have seen it before…

      Here ids another example…from the Para-Sinhala side

      UPFA wins 55%% of the South. AIDMK does similar thing in Tamil Nadu. Its the same old trick. Rouse racial hatred playing to the gallery, then do nothing when coming to power. As long as they keep re-hashing ‘grievances’ mostly illiterate Sinhala will keep voting to enrich the Family and their cronies…

      Listen to Anura Kumara Dissanayake

      JVP May Day Rally 2014 – Anura Dissanayake’s Speech


      Anura Dissanayake’s Speech at Muslim Youth Ceremony – 2014


      • 7

        Sinhala political leaders since D S Senanayake negotiate with Tamil leaders, come to agreements and then dump them in the waste paper bins.

        This is going on for ever as mis-described by the author – nothing has changed.

        Unless the international community exerts tangible pressure on the Sinhala rulers they will not yield any power to Tamils, full stop.

        See what is happening to NPC.

    • 2


      Is that you picture? Why is point of dropping it here? Are trying to intimidate Prof. Wijesinha?

      Its appears even you may have got one or two points that is in the letter Prof. Wijesinha sent to Sajin Vas Gunewardene. But Sajin Vas Gunewardene did not understand any damn on that letter so that January 17,18,19 meetings were cancelled and PSC was brought in. For your information. TNA is still in the meeting. Royal Government is the only one got out the meeting. Any time Royal Government wants to restart the meeting, TNA is waiting for it.

      TNA not going to do this through any representation of parliament because two constitutions and 18 changes to those were made in the Parliament against TNA representations. King gave promise to the foreign countries, which gave arms, that after the war it is the Royal Government is going to solve Tamils problem, not the parliament. IC has to hold the Royal government to honor the word, not the parliament.

    • 7

      Vibu……… read, understand and then comment.


      • 1

        Understand? what is that…?

    • 0


      Can you summarise as to what exactly Prof. Wijesinha exposed about the TNA? Also summarise the exposed shortcomings of GOSL collectively that you have deciphered from the article?

    • 3

      Vibushna you Sinkalam:

      What rubbish are you talking and what is the connection between the following two.

      1) TNA wins 80% of the NP. AIDMK does similar thing in Tamil Nadu. Its the same old trick.
      One has power at her disposal ( AIADMK) to do things and deliver but the other one ( TNA ) although elected by 80% is a prisoner of MR.

      2) Rouse racial hatred playing to the gallery, then do nothing when coming to power.
      But MR is doing everything when in power playing to the Racist Gallery like yourself and keeping the flame of hatred alive like a Towering Inferno .

      3) As long as they keep re-hashing ‘grievances’ mostly illiterate Tamils will keep voting.

      Who are these illiterate Tamils you idiot and are you suggesting that the 20 million Racists of which you are one are all highly educated and that is why they understand the message from the Hambanthotta Thug .

      It takes a Regional Bully( Modi) to Bully a small time Bully (MR ) and have you read MRs comments on Modi. MR lamented that he expected to be treated like a big player but Modi humiliated him and if it is like this in the first week how bad will it get in an years time. MR got a taste of his own medicine.

  • 2

    This is unbelievable ,Oxonian Prof Wijesinhe corresponding with Sajin vass gune a high school drop out ( studied only upto grade 8) and former warf clerk for Trico in Dubai , on a complicated matter like this.Even this fellows reply does not guaranteed ,consist of his own words but those most likely dictated by Lalith W. Sajin is a moron and Prof W must be out of his mind to have dealt with a moron.No wonder we are not getting anywhere on this important issue.

    For a start Prof W ,would you please get some background info. on Sajin’s intellectual capability from you dear friend Dr..Dayan J , who has plenty of experience in dealing with this knit wit , before you waste time again with that idiot and a half.Or he may take a look at how the moron runs the Foreign Ministry and the mess it is in .

    Come on Prof Wijesinhe please don’t waste your precious time ….. don’t repeat this mistake for at least Oxford’s sake !!

  • 4

    Hey Vibushana

    It is racist scoundrels like you who are bringing this country down. It is you people who are causing such disgrace by attracting the wrath of western countries and India.Any race or religion which identifies itself with BBS terrorists in SriLanka are bound to be wiped out by the international forces.

  • 2

    I was in college along with Sajin de wass G. Intellectually the man was ZERO. Always at the bottom of the class, a failure and a school cutter. So the Hon Monitor would have had difficulty in understanding words used by dr. Rajiva like ” dichotomy” “rationale” and “demeanour” . He must have surely thought the phrase ” bad faith ” is the same as ” bad breath”.Byt the way Sajin had halitiosis too.
    Rajiva you’re being very mischievous in using these words and phrases aney. You would have done so with a wink in your eye ha?

  • 1

    This man sajin has really made it. From been unable to pay the monthly installment for his Volvo in the 1990s to now own four helicopters is super.The route to his riches is as every body knows was of course Mihin Lanka !! No wonder Sri Lanka is the Wonder of Asia. Uncle Nivard Cabral are u listening? Ohoma yang putha !!

  • 1

    Dear Professor
    Pl let the public know about these ”talks”:
    i.aim of the talks
    ii.the dates and venue of the meetings
    iii.attendees of each meeting
    iv.proceedings of the meetings

  • 0

    ”Reiterating the commitment of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to continue the talks aimed at arriving on an amicable political solution for the Tamils in Sri Lanka, the TNA on Saturday urged the government “to honour the mutual agreement reached and not to place new impediments to achieving an acceptable political solution that is desired by all the Peoples of Sri Lanka.”
    Leader of the TNA R.Sampanthan said in a statement that after the talks resumed last month, and as per modalities agreed upon and confirmed in the minutes, it was “agreed that the bilateral talks between the government delegation and the TNA would continue and the consensus arrived at would be placed before the proposed Select Committee of Parliament. The TNA reiterates that its nomination to the PSC must await substantial consensus being reached at the bilateral talks, as was agreed.”
    Outlining the manner in which the talks proceeded after resumption on November 16, he said that parties identified the issues to be discussed and agreed upon in evolving a political solution. The parties agreed on the specific order in which these issues were to be discussed and for this purpose scheduled four meetings – December 1, 6, 14, and 15. Thereafter, a time-table setting out these dates and issues was also circulated.
    At the first of these meetings held on December 1, the Minister of External Affairs, G.L. Peiris indicated that without the TNA nominating its representatives to constitute the proposed Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC), the bilateral talks could not progress as previously agreed, Mr. Sampanthan said.
    When the TNA reminded the government of the commitment already made, it requested time to deliberate and consequently a new meeting was scheduled for December 3. “Today despite lengthy discussions, the government delegation’s position remained inconclusive,” he said.
    Since the government – TNA talks began on January 10 this year, about 10 meetings were held. On August 4, the TNA walked out of the meeting, stating that no meaningful and purposeful dialogue could commence as the government had not responded to the TNA’s comprehensive proposals and that no purpose would be served by fixing a further date for talks unless and until the government made its response available.
    Thereafter, after considerable back-room manoeuvrings, the TNA and the government agreed to recommence the dialogue”
    – TNA Warns Srilankan government not to place new impediments in talks for 13++…, 4 December 2011, http://chennaiguuy.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/tna-warns-srilankan-government-not-to.html

    • 1

      Davidson Panabokke

      “Thereafter, after considerable back-room manoeuvrings, the TNA and the government agreed to recommence the dialogue” – TNA Warns Srilankan government not to place new impediments in talks for 13++…, 4 December 2011”

      More Delaying tactics,

      The best solution is to get the paras to gp to South India, Nagaland where they came from,

      The British failed to do that.

      They made it worse. Got more paras from South India.

      Paras, Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, and Portuguese, when will you go.

      Please go to Nagaland from the Land of Native Veddah,

  • 3

    Different versions and interpretations of two sides are nothing relevance. There should be a mediator and he should publish who said what and what was agreed and what was not agreed with the signatures of leaders of both sides. The only trusted version of what was agreed between LTTE and Sri Lanka government under peace situation should be the one considered for any further discussions. We and International community know the credibility of the words of the President of Sri Lanka and the Govt of Sri Lanka.

    • 2

      LTTE were not elected – they elected themselves by the gun.
      These talks are between the parliamentarians elected by the people.
      Intrastate ethnic conflicts have only been resolved by a third party.
      The author can be relied upon to bring out the truth but he may not be allowed to by the govt.
      TNA will keep shouting for ever and ever.
      We need a third party to resolve this once and for all.

  • 3

    Rajiva, you always say “me, me, me …..” and the result is you were suckered in by the President, you were a tool to delay the process. Don’t you get it, even now? Rajapakse Govt will never give any authority to the minorities unless its pushed by foreign governments. Even after you being used and kicked around you are still with UPFA, I wonder why? [Edited out]?

  • 1

    Prof Wijesinha says – “When the President put me on the delegation to negotiate with the TNA, in April 2011, I found that no response …”

    TNA version –

    “Sumanthiran also noted that India has consistently urged the government to engage with the TNA to arrive at an acceptable political solution. “The Government, after commencing dialogue with the TNA in January 2011, did not respond to the TNA’s proposals for a full year and then, contrary to agreement walked away from the bilateral talks. Thereafter the Government keeps insisting the TNA join the Parliamentary Select Committee. This too is contrary to the agreement reached with the TNA, which are all recorded and confirmed in the minutes of the bilateral talks. This is the reason the TNA is unable to join the PSC,” he added.” – http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2014/02/16/tna-stands-ground/

  • 1

    same old rajiva,a liberal fascist intellectual in his action again. nothing new.

  • 3

    Up to now what was lacking was an honest Intermediary. Sadly we had the likes of Shiv Shankar Menon Krishna and few more who were happy to fill their pockets.
    But things have changed and MR said he felt humiliated by Modis treatment. But this is just the beginning and things are going to get a lot tougher.

    For MR the choice is Stark COMPLY OR DIE.
    Both painful for a born Racist. Day of reckoning is just round the corner.

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