25 October, 2020

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If The 13th Amendment Is Next In Line For Change

By Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

The primary justification for the government’s campaign to replace the 19th Amendment with the 20th has been the need to strengthen the president’s hand to govern the country in the aftermath of the misgovernance that took place under the former amendment. The argument that the strengthening of the presidency is needed for decisive action to be taken on behalf of the country spills over into other areas of governance. As presently formulated the 20th Amendment seeks to weaken institutions at the level of the central government itself to the extent they will find it difficult to check and balance the presidency. This includes weakening parliament and the cabinet and also institutions such as the judiciary, public services and the auditor general.

As the 20th Amendment will give the president the power to sack any minister at will, it is no cause for wonder that dissent from within the government ranks is mute. It has been left to those outside the government to make their objections known. The state auditors and the bar association have made strong arguments against the weakening of the audit function and the lack of accountability of the president that has been proposed. The framers of the 20th Amendment have sought to capitalize on the high level of trust placed in President Gotabaya Rajapaksa by the general population. As he is new to politics and not tainted by having been a politician but respected for being a public official as defense secretary the general population does not seem to be unduly troubled by the 20th Amendment and its potential for misuse.

Accompanying the attempt to weaken other institutions and to strengthen the presidency beyond the point of reasonableness is a parallel bid by nationalist and anti-minority sections of the polity to seek to weaken the institutions of devolved power, most notably the provincial council system. There are calls from within and outside parliament to abolish the 13th Amendment which the majority of the population may be prepared to go along with. Despite the benefits to the people of having devolved government and having their problems settled within the province, the provincial council system has not delivered on its potential and has been depicted as a white elephant. The problem with the 13th Amendment is its origins in the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord which the then government accepted due to the force of circumstance in 1987. This has made it susceptible to criticism on account of being a foreign imposition.

Indian Pressure 

The provincial council system is the nearest that the country has come to resolving the longstanding ethnic conflict between the state and the Tamil people on the issue of ethnic majority-minority power sharing. Prior to 1987, there had been several indigenous attempts to find a solution to the problem commencing with the Bandaranaike-Chelvanyakam Pact of 1957. But they failed to be implemented due to lack of support. The 13th Amendment has been the most lasting legacy of the Indo Lanka Accord that sought to put an end to the internal war that had been gathering in intensity for a decade at that time. It comprised three main features, to disarm the LTTE, to ensure that Sri Lanka’s foreign policy was cognizant of India’s security and a framework for political power sharing that provided for limited Tamil self-rule in those parts of the country they were in a majority.

So far the government has made no official pronouncement regarding its intentions regarding the 13th Amendment. At the recent virtual summit between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Sri Lankan position was carefully articulated without any direct mention of the 13th Amendment. This has increased speculation that the government is contemplating doing away with the provincial council system, at least as it exists at present. In the joint statement put out at the end of the meeting, it was recorded that “Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa expressed the confidence that Sri Lanka will work towards realizing the expectations of all ethnic groups, including Tamils, by achieving reconciliation nurtured as per the mandate of the people of Sri Lanka and implementation of the Constitutional provisions.”

However, in a separate statement put out by the Indian side, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was reported as having told Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister that implementation of the 13th Amendment was essential. “He emphasized that implementation of the 13th amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution is essential for carrying forward the process of peace and reconciliation,” said an official Indian press release. This Indian position needs to be seen in the light of India’s concerns to meet the expectations of its own Tamil population in the state of Tamil Nadu and its interest in maintaining its credibility with the Tamils in Sri Lanka. The Indian state is also conscious that over a thousand Indian soldiers died in Sri Lanka on account of the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord which the LTTE refused to accept.

Well Entrenched 

In this context, the government would be aware that any decision to repeal or downgrade the 13th Amendment would have major domestic and foreign policy implications. Within the country, the Tamil polity in Sri Lanka has been demanding self-rule in the areas in which they are a majority that includes both the Northern and Eastern provinces from the mid-1950s. All Tamil parties are united on the issue of Tamil self-rule although they differ as to the quantum of power that they wish to have devolved. Even the government’s main Tamil ally, Douglas Devananda of the EPDP, who enjoys ministerial status within the government, has been consistent in calling for the full implementation of the 13th Amendment as the way forward.

In addition, the provincial council system is now well entrenched in Sri Lanka. The government may find it useful to utilize them to groom up and coming politicians from its own ranks who could not find places in parliament. This may be why the government is talking about provincial council elections in the near future. Interestingly, ruling party parliamentarian Akila Saliya Ellawala seconding a motion in parliament said, “Provincial councils were beneficial to fulfill the specific needs of people living in those areas and to carry out economic development projects. The Provincial Councils were able to provide specified and customized service to people. Most of the recurrent expenditure of Provincial Councils is salaries for employees. Even if these employees are absorbed into the Government, the same payments should be made. So, abolishing PCs to cut costs is not a valid argument.”

Recent actions of the government, such as the ties it is seeking to rebuild with the Muslim political parties, indicates that it seeks to follow an inclusive and pragmatic strategy with the intention of securing a 2/3 majority in parliament to ensure the success of the 20th Amendment. Similarly, it can be expected that the government would not wish to alienate the Tamil political parties, but would instead prefer to obtain their support to govern the country according to its vision. A reduction in powers to the presidentially appointed governors would facilitate more to be done for people by the provincial councils. There is no need for the central authorities to look into education, agriculture, health for instance as they are devolved. Land and police powers to the provincial councils have still not been devolved even after the passage of 33 years. Such changes to the provincial council system will need to be done in consultation with the ethnic minority parties who are key stakeholders.

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Latest comments

  • 20
    12

    It is then paving way for a referendum from north and east whether to detach from south as they did not vote for GR to power.

    • 11
      17

      Not just north and east. Tamils in other parts of SL must also fully relocate to north and east for the creation of Tamil Elam nation and a Sinhala only nation. One island two nations, perfect. Muslims should be allowed to decide what they want.

      • 9
        3

        Gatam –
        =
        In 1956 till the Banda led SLFP swept into power Ceylon was well-liked and known as the granary or rice bowl of the east.
        Am I right or wrong.?
        =
        Ever since that fateful year, Ceylon, as it was then known, went downhill and is now today in 2020 is the leading beggar nation in the colony of the beggars.
        =
        Who’s responsible for this downfall.?
        It’s none other than the petty-minded racist Yakkos who by their brainless inefficiency and criminal actions have brought the once rich wealthy decent isle into one of corrupted criminal begging on their knees colony.?
        =
        As professed by you wherever the Tamil’s go the Muslims will tag along.
        What on earth will happen to the economy of the Kota uda cursed nation.?
        =
        You should think before you write my friend – think.

      • 0
        4

        GATAM
        Muslims are Tamils practising Islam as their religon.
        They should go with the Tamils.

        Soma

        • 8
          0

          soma

          All those bigoted Sinhala/Buddhist leaders and their b***s carriers hid themselves behind various camouflages when their going got tough, for example
          Sinhala Only,
          Chapter II of the constitution,
          University Entrance,
          PTA,
          War,
          LTTE,
          Sinhala/Buddhist country,
          Saffron Brigade,
          Import control,
          Sovereignty (whatever that is),
          Unitary state,
          Nationalisation,
          National Security,
          Sinhala Siri (ශ්‍රී)
          Being Anti Indian



          Gota has Suddenly discovered the usefulness of another camouflage “INDIAN OCEAN ZONE OF PEACE” or Nuclear-Free-Zone.
          Like the failed weeping widow Gota too has taken up these unattainable goals, thinking he could fool the people that he is smart, with greater vision.

          Why don’t you strip him naked and give him a good honest bath, tell him off?

    • 6
      12

      Ad,
      How dare these descendants of Dravidians brought to Sinhale by Portuguese to work in their tobacco plantations talk about a referendum to detach North and East of the country from South. North and East of the country is where Sinhala Buddhist civilization flourished under Sinhala Kingdoms Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa. Descendants of Dravidians are occupying land belong to Native Sinhalayo thanks to colonial rulers. Please vacate Sinhala land and hand over the land to rightful owners.

      • 9
        2

        Good jokes…
        jokes aside, nowadays, even the “Aryans” of India are trying to disown the Aryan – Dravidian theory which makes them the invaders of the peaceful Dravidian India. because the origin of the Indo-European languages is not in India and Dravidian languages are indigenous to India and are only found in the Indian sub continent which obviously includes Ilankai.
        only the “Kalu-Aryans” of srilanka are very adamant in still believing what some 19th century westerner proposed and have moved on. sometime back an Indian “Aryan” friend of mine, while watching cricket, couldn’t tell who was “Aryan” and who was Dravidian between Murali and Sanath. ( I hope you don’t try to disown Sanath )

        • 0
          0

          Eagle
          “How dare these descendants of Dravidians brought to Sinhale by Portuguese to work in their tobacco plantations”
          Ah yes, these guys are Dalit Sinhalayo now, including your relatives from Ambalangoda.
          I fully agree with you.

      • 7
        0

        Idiot Eagle

        You are right , You Sinhala kallathonis must go back to Bangladesh after handing over the Land to the rightful owners the Tamils.

      • 6
        1

        “North and East of the country is where Sinhala Buddhist civilization flourished under “
        Eagle,
        Small correction;I don’t think you would object it.

        “North East of the country is where Buddhist civilization flourished under the teaching of Manimehala.” That’s it, Nothing more. Thank you!

      • 1
        6

        Our Mission & Vision very clear wiped out and clear North & East from Terrorists Oriented leaders and people. Take a little bit of time the same as how LTTE and LTTE leadership wiped out from North & East. How king DUTUGAMU did for HELADIVA. The Buddhist Sinhalese Aryans country will flourish again in the world

        • 3
          0

          “Buddhist Sinhalese Aryans” ??
          The ‘frog-in-the-well’ thinking of some Sinhalese is shocking! Look around, just about every aspect of the Sinhala Buddhist culture is borrowed from South India. Are South Indians Aryans or Dravidians??

        • 1
          0

          N Perera@

          what kind of MISSION AND VISION are you bubbling ?

          Not only Northerners, but since the war is no longer there, bitch s sons went on continuing their high crimes up to 2015. Ironically, the very same stupid people got caught by the tricks being played by the criminals and let them lead this nation again.
          :
          Today the situation is, we the sinhalayas should be ashamed to be born to this race.
          :
          Not even a tiny issue such as KEEPING ONE PRICE FOR COCONUT, which is the fat provider to the nation, is out of control by the rascals today. Reason has been their so called VISION is hidden in their backsides.

          Defeat of LTTE was a collective act. Not RAJALKSHES but collectivity defeated them. But the credit was grabed by the medamulana musalayas, . as they it with poor man s gold – which is the UNIVERSAL franchise.
          :
          By today, Bitch s sons have failed it also in COVID containtment process.

      • 3
        0

        Dude, you are so good at making up things, you should go work for the Trump administration!

      • 0
        0

        Eagle,
        “How dare these descendants of Dravidians brought to Sinhale by Portuguese to work in their tobacco plantations”
        Ah yes, these guys are Dalit Sinhalayo now, including your relatives from Ambalangoda.
        I fully agree with you.

  • 16
    2

    “Recent actions of the government, such as the ties it is seeking to rebuild with the Muslim political parties, indicates that it seeks to follow an inclusive and pragmatic strategy with the intention of securing a 2/3 majority in parliament to ensure the success of the 20th Amendment.”
    My dear Sinhala Buddhist Brothers and Sisters,
The above statement is a clear example of Srilankan opportunistic politics. Opportunitism plays in all political parties whether it is UNP or SLPP or SLFP or Muslim and Tamil political parties. There is no difference between them and their claim as they are the patriots and savers of the country and Buddhism. Before elections there was massive propaganda against Muslim politicians like Rishard Badujudeen, his brother, western politics including MCC agreement. It is now evident that MCC is coming back, Rishard and his brother is free from terrorism. You may have forgotten, it is the same Muslim politicians gave two third majority for 18th amendment and now for 20th amendment. similarly Karuna and Pilliyan of LTTE. During the 2018 October Constitutional plot, Viylanthiran was bought by Mahinda and now he is a minister. You all trusted their claim and you will forget about what they told at that time.

  • 17
    7

    Even after 33 long years the various Indian governments have not been able to get the govt in sad sorry Lanka to be gentlemen and implement the promised by them 13th amendment.
    A.
    Now that the rajapukas are hell-bent on implementing the draconian 20th amendment the PM of India should have the impetus to use all the powers at his beck and call to force the hands of the truant vagrant Lankan hoodwinking deliberately rulers to honor their commitments.
    B.
    If military muscles need be used to resolve this vexing issue may it be used.
    An air/sea blockade to economically weaken the already brittle shit of an economy is recommended by me.
    C.
    In 1987 when the blockade of the East and the North was being enforced by the autocratic racist Yakkos. India despatched an aircraft which did a few airdrops of much needed food and threatened further action.
    D
    Immediately the president of Lanka JRJ pleaded with the then Indian PM the late RAjiv Gandhi that he would be willing to do anything to appease the legitimate rights of the much maligned suffering since 1956 minority races of this sad shitty island.

    • 5
      11

      rj1952,
      Only uncivilized people with tribal mentality interfere in internal affairs of other countries.

      “Even after 33 long years the various Indian governments have not been able to get the govt in sad sorry Lanka to be gentlemen and implement the promised by them 13th amendment.”

      • 6
        2

        Remember that Vijaya your antecedent, who was chased away for being uncivilised in a boat?

        • 2
          8

          Ari,
          Based on latest findings of Archeologists on pre-history of Sinhale, the Vijaya connection has been discarded and removed from history books. Sinhalayo lived in Sinhale at the time Vijaya came. According to history of Bengal, Vijoy Singh landed in the island called Seehol Deep.

          • 0
            0

            Eagle,
            Is this latest finding like the bogus edited DNA findings you keep talking about?

      • 9
        2

        Mahindapala, why are you repeating your trash. I told you before that 2500 years ago a bunch of 500 uncivilized people led by a convicted criminal interfered in internal affairs of country of Kuveni. Since then history has repeated itself and will continue to do so, whether you like it or not. Ask your veerayas Sarath Weerasekera and Mahinda Rajapakse what was told to them, which had silenced them and made them to sing a new tune.

    • 1
      5

      With Rajiv Gandhi and JR, the 13A amendment also buried more than now 30 years, and India learned a good lesson from the LTTE suicide bomber and Sinhalese sailor who gave the world’s best guard of honor to Rajiv Gandhi due to his double standard. After the killing of Rajiv Gandhi entire India’s politics also changed and BJP came to power also. Sinhalese Aryans country Heladiva (Sri Lanka) never ever bow down to India or Indian leaders.

  • 7
    20

    13A and provincial council system needs to be done away,

    1. It creates ethnic enclaves
    2. its the pre-cursor to creating of separate autonomous states and thereafter separate new countries, look at what happened to Kosovo – which went this road.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/22/world/europe/how-the-saudis-turned-kosovo-into-fertile-ground-for-isis.html
    3. Sri Lanka is smaller than some of the states in India but India wants to create sub-political areas.
    4. will 13A if implemented allow provinces police power and ability to borrow abroad?
    5. what is more name boards are coming with Arabic names
    6. More funds from ME to build only certain ethnic people in that province?
    7. how many layers of politicians does the island nation have? provincial council ministers, municipal council MEMBERS , RW went to increase that number by another 6000 saying a hybrid first past the post + pref system due to being scared of his minority vote WHAT A MASSIVE COST TO THE COUNTRY…

    SUCH A WAST OF TIME AND MONEY – TAX PAYER CASH AND PEOPLE LIKE YOU WHO GET PAID BY SOLEHIME AND ALL PUSHING THIS AGENDA?

    If you really worked and got paid for effort, they you would understand the feeling of uselessness when u pay tax and they spend cash of 350,000 worth chairs to sit on!!..

    • 1
      6

      http://www.dailymirror.lk/breaking_news/Death-row-inmate-seeks-permission-to-attend-Pradeshiya-Sabha-session/108-197335

      Mafia Boss goes to parliament, Lieutenant goes to PC , and the Sargent will go to municipality council and Jehan will go to Norway to collection his pension… :)

      our children will suffer.. Jehan’s kids will be citizens in Norway or UK doing post-graduate studies in conflict management and come to make up the new constitution for the 2 new UN recognized countries..

    • 6
      0

      SAM

      I hope you know what you are talking about.

      You should review your typing then come back and tell us why you are wrong in the first place.

      “1. It creates ethnic enclaves”

      Why?
      The way the successive stupid racist governments and state treat people it looks like and sound like and indeed they are building an ethnic enclaves, Gota now calls it a Sinhala/Buddhist country (meaning a racist enclave). This is what the saffron brigade, crooked war criminals, and the crooked politician overtly desire.

      This island should and will remain a multi linguistic, multi ethnic, multi religious, liberal …………. country. If you don’t like it please go back to your ancestral homeland in Southern India. When you go please take Dinesh Gunawardena, Wimal Sangili Karuppan Weerawansa, Sarath Fonseka, Sarath Weerasekera, Gota, …… and your fellow bigots with you.

      “2. its the pre-cursor to creating of separate autonomous states and thereafter separate new countries, look at what happened to Kosovo – which went this road.”

      Let the Hindians do the worrying about this island is being partitioned into two countries. As you it is the Hindians who have been keeping this island in one piece.

      What are you ranting about from 3 to 7?

      • 4
        0

        Dear NV:
        You call it out right.

        I have noted elsewhere too someone, possibly the same commenter, peddling the idea that “ethnic enclaves” should not be permitted in SriLanka, and, at times, using the term “ghettos” to refer to the supposed “ethnic enclaves”. No doubt that these folk mean to say that minority ethnic concentrations are ghettos.

        Such folks are peddling forced integration. In other words, dilution of the ‘minority’ ethnic voter base in the North and East for obvious gains to their majoritarian nationalist agenda. These folks want to see more state-run settlements of Sinhalese citizens from the South into the North and East.

        While I am all for everybody living together harmoniously as neighbours, it is incredibly stupid for anyone to peddle forced integration even for that reason. And I don’t believe for a moment that ethnic harmony is the intention of the particular commenter.

        Also, important to note that no ethnic group is restricted from living in any part of the country. The reality is that some of us are fearful of even visiting certain areas of the country to this day.

        • 0
          3

          Peddling or not – that is the strategic answer to keep this island nation intact. DS started it in 1950’s with Gal Oya transfers and JR+ Gamini did it with Mahaweli A-D zones in 1980’s –

          You need to do these kind of projects and remove the “Ethnic enclaves” being built which is a risk to the sovereign state. :))

      • 3
        0

        Well said!
        The hypocrisy of those who rant against ‘ethnic enclaves’ but yet want to call the whole country ‘Sinhala Buddhist’ is shocking. They are too foolish to notice the irony.

  • 9
    21

    Getting rid of 13A is a good thing. Even those who oppose 20A support removing 13A.
    13A failed to deliver anything. It certainly did not stop the war.

    Devolution of power is not suitable for a tiny island the size of SL.

    • 21
      5

      GATAM,
      Can you tell me whether Unitary system bring peace and economic development or unity of the people? Fundamental problem is Buddhist Sinhala Fundamentalism. It didn’t allow any system to work. Devolution worked many countries, even countries smaller than Sri Lanka.

      • 2
        5

        Well SL is still a unitary country! (according to the constitution and 13A!)

        Federal is good for large countries. If SL becomes a federal country it will be the smallest of them all.

        I support Tamil Elam and a Sinhala Only nation in the island equitably split. Certainly not a federal joke.

        • 5
          0

          So according to you Belgium and Switzerland should be large countries, they are well advanced compared to Sri Lanka, based on any indicators of development! What is it that you are scared of in federal governance?

      • 8
        9

        Ajith,
        Fundamental problem is racist separatist mentality of the descendants of Dravidians brought to Sinhale by Portuguese to work in their tobacco plantations. Native Sinhalayo gave citizenship to these Dravidians when they were abandoned by colonial parasites assuming that they will become loyal citizens of Sinhale/Sri Lanka but instead of being grateful to Native Sinhalayo for giving the opportunity to these ‘Para’ people to live in this ‘Paradise Island’, they started to slaughter Native Sinhalayo to grab a part of their country to create a separate State.
        It is high time at least now these Dravidians realize the political realities within this Island nation and learn to co-exist with native Sinhalese without continuing to be a painful thorn in their eyes.

        • 8
          1

          Eagle Brain Dead Blind Eye

          Who exactly were/are these Native Sinhalayo?
          Are they the same Sinhala/Buddhist Kallathonie converts from Southern India?

  • 7
    16

    Only benefit of 13th amendment is creating an income for another set of corrupt politicians and helped major parties to create some positions for their ranks who could not get in to the parliament.

    • 3
      6

      And an income source for MPs’ wives, kids and relatives.

      They at the PC collude with their relative in parliament and this was how most frauds are done without a trace.

      13A is such an unfortunate amendment that must be removed and not replaced.

      No 13A. No 20A.

      • 5
        0

        Revert to pre 1972 constitution and there would be no need for any such amendments!

  • 8
    3

    Since the Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord was signed by two heads of Governments, it cannot be abrogated unilaterally. The Peace Accord was signed because it was essential for regional cooperation and to check Wahabbist terrorism in the East which had been a threat to India. Accordingly North and East Provinces were merged which stood as a check mate for the for the growth of Islamic terrorism and this was not realized by stupid R.Premadasa. Moreover, India was always for a united Sri Lanka and for federalism. Separation for Tamils in the North & East is dangerous. It is suicidal if the 13th Amendment is removed for the Tamils as it is only a guarantee for the Tamils. The Sinhalese are under the false impression that if separated Tamil Nadu will join it. There two Tamil regions in India – viz Tamil Nadu State & Pondicherry Union Territory. The leaders of Tamil Organizations failed to come at a concrete decision at the Thimpu Talks & the LTTE never participated in it. When two heads of Governments sign an Accord, there is no need for the LTTE to participate in it. Sri Lankan leaders only thought of the benefits of the Tamils but not of the entire country.

    • 3
      7

      AYATHURAY RAJASINGAM,
      Should get rid of 13th Amendment and Draft a new constitution safeguarding the interests of Native Sinhalayo and their aspirations. Why should Sinhalayo give guarantees to ‘Para’ Dravidians (aka Tamils) who slaughtered them to grab their land to create a separate State for the descendants of slaves brought from Hindusthan by colonial parasites. 20th Amendment is meant to give powers to the President to save Native Sinhalayo from ‘Para’ Demala and ‘Para’ Muslim terrorists, extremists and separatists.
      —-
      “It is suicidal if the 13th Amendment is removed for the Tamils as it is only a guarantee for the Tamils.”

  • 5
    0

    Both sides expressed satisfaction over several high-level exchanges and interactions
    and Indian offering millions of loan in millions in exchange what will sri lanka offer a authority position in the light of India’s concerns

  • 6
    7

    Sampanthan, says “Government cannot escape Indian pressure”.
    President should remind him and his separatist colleagues of the Terrorist National Alliance that they have violated the Constitution of Sri Lanka by promoting separatism and the punishment for that crime is stripping Civil Rights and confiscating movable and immovable property.

  • 7
    1

    The bulk of the expenditure by the Provincial Councils is payment of salaries for employee.
    Who are these employees?
    They are the Principals and teachers, Doctors and nurses, Engineers and Accountants, officers in the Departments of Agriculture, AP&H, Irrigation, Roads, Co-operatives. Indigenous medicine, Local Government employees, Rural Development, Sports and many others..

    Even if the Provincial Councils are abolished, these staff will be continued to be paid this time by the center. There are hardly any savings.

    The claim that Provincial Councils are white elephant is nonsense.

  • 8
    5

    There was no separatist clamour in the Soviet Union (which had federated states and autonomy for minorities within each federation) until after its fall.
    Separatism in China (which recognizes over 50 nationalities and grants them autonomy of various forms) is not because of autonomy but because minor grievances of communities are exploited by external agencies. There is still no move to weaken autonomy.
    Nicaragua devolved power to tiny minorities as well following the Sandinista revolution.
    Nepal took a bold step towards devolution of power to all ethnic groups three years ago.
    I can pile examples of how devolution of power has united countries and their people.
    *
    What is needed is trust among ethnic groups. Without it nothing will work.
    Unity cannot be imposed from above. We live in a land badly divided by chauvinism and narrow nationalism. Can we seek solutions based on either?
    What we need is recognition of Muslims and Hill Country Tamils as nationalities and grant them too autonomous units. We should also respect the right of small national minorities to their identity and cultural uniqueness.
    *
    As a people we should rise above pettiness arising from our narrow outlooks.

    • 7
      1

      Well Said SJ,
      Thanks for taking examples from then communist countries like China and Soviet Union, but countries like Nicaragua and Nepal. also.

      India is another example, Except in Kashmir, India has a series of autonomous and semi-autonomous regions with different degree of autonomy, in the Northeast regions.

      When there is a will, there is a way!

      Celebrate diversity, it is your strength

      • 2
        1

        srikrish
        SJ types:
        “There was no separatist clamour in the Soviet Union (which had federated states and autonomy for minorities within each federation) until after its fall.”

        This man completely forgotten attempted “Russification” of entire “Soviet Union”.
        Former SOVIET UNION was an Industrialised Russian Empire with the same ideology of ” autocracy, orthodoxy and ‘Russian-ness”.

        The party leaders were and are unaccountable to the people although present day Russia is portrayed being a democratic country which periodically exercise adult franchise.

        SJ enjoys typing his own weird sense of history, what else can one expect from a person who justified the ideology and practices of Stalin, Mao, SiriMao, Pol Pot, Abimael Guzman and it took him many many years to mildly criticise LTTE.

        Some people believe leaders are justified irrespective of whatever atrocities they commit on the basis of their claim to being socialist/communists/Maoist/Stalinists,… . For him and people who profess to be Maoist, Stalinists, Siri Maoist atrocities never took place in Soviet Union, China, ….. Sri Lanka, …. Cambodia, ….

        As far as our own Maoists are concerned nothing progressive or good come out of India.

    • 2
      4

      There is no trust among ethnic groups. End of story.

      There were many separatist movements within the Soviet Union. For instance Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Ukraine always wanted to leave it. There were military clashes just before the collapse of the SU. Military might kept the federal nation together. British India was a federal country. It separated into 3 nations!

      Devolution of power is useless for a tiny island like SL. Sinhala Only nation and Tamil Elam is a better option than devolution. Let’s split the island equitably and peacefully into mono-linguistic nations. There will be permanent peace. No trust is required. No agreement is needed. Thereafter if Tamil Elam wants federalism, they can have it. Sinhala Only nation will be a unitary nation. Happy?

      • 4
        0

        You are mistaken as regards British India, it was not a country but a dominion of the British Empire!

    • 5
      0

      Yes Yes we can have a long long list but in communist countries majority do not have autonomy, so minorities enjoy that. Some commentators think all the readers are Kenaiyals or Modayas.

    • 5
      0

      SJ

      This is what late Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, former Prime Minister of Singapore said about us in 1998.

      ‘We have got to live with the consequences of our actions and we are responsible for our own people and we take the right decisions for them.’ When 1 went to Colombo for the first time in 1956 it was a better city than Singapore and they had sterling reserves. They had two Universities with a thick layer of educated talent. So if you believe what American liberals or British liberals used to say, then it ought to have flourished. But it didn’t.

      One-man one-vote led to the domination of the Sinhalese majority over the minority Tamils who were the active and intelligent fellows who worked hard and got themselves penalised. And English was out. They were educated in English. Sinhalese was in. They got quotas in two universities and now they have become fanatical Tigers.

      This is what Mahathir Mohamad the Prime Minister of Malaysia said when he visited us,
      In multi-ethnic societies/countries like Sri Lanka where the ethnic differences is usually enough to create tension in the relation between races, if one race GRABS all the political or economic power for itself just because it is a majority, there will definitely be strong antagonism from other races, which causes political instability and violent confrontations as we see today.

      Continued…

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        Continued from above…
        In such situations, no economic growth or development takes place, and therefore, the race which takes all for itself will find that it would be owning all of nothing of the country that is politically unstable and with an economy that not only fail to grow but would actually be shrinking, in the end, the race which grabs everything will find that it has nothing.

        On the other hand, if the races decide to share political power and economic wealth under a federal (decentralized) system within a united country, the chances are the country would be stable and the economy would grow, each race will get less than 100% of the political power or economic wealth but the growth of the country in both spheres will ensure that the portion that each race gets would actually be bigger than the 100% of the original political power and economic wealth.

        If I put in simple terms, it is better to own a slice of the political or economic cake which grows healthily than to own the whole of the cake that shrinks and disappears. That is, the races share political power and strive to redistribute wealth from the growing economic cake so as to ensure that every race has a fair share.

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          LC
          Thanks.
          The national question is complex. It entered the political scene after the nation state arrived with the dawn of capitalism.
          National oppression is partly historical, partly outcome of colonial and imperialist aggression.
          Lenin first proposed the right to self determination, which had no ‘agenda’ but enable nations (now extendable to nationalities) to co-exist. Woodrow Wilson’s (a few years after) arose out differences among colonialists and imperialists. It was hypocritical, as the US while preaching self determination to Europe gathered colonies in its backyard. It did not stop the US from carving up China.
          *
          One of the best definitions of nation was by Stalin, but needed to be restructured in the post-colonial context. Whatever said, the USSR was a good model to address complex national questions.
          *
          Race and ethnicity are not identical; and race does not coincide with nationality. (Telugu-speakers of India could not co-exist as a singled state. The Punjabis of India defined themselves as three nationalities based on religion.)
          I cannot comment in detail about your analysis of the national question.
          All I can say is that electoral politics of the kind we know in capitalist democracies in ex-colonies is divisive, based on any feasible identity.

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    The problem is that our country is not pulling together in unison. 13A is a way forward. If implemented in earnest that may draw in input of the Tamils as well.
    Modi may come, Modi may go, but India is going nowhere.

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      MR uses Douglas Devananda to create an appearance that there is Tamil participation in the country’s affairs. But, DD is virtually silent with MR on 13A.

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    a small lobby group through LTTE violence promoted the 13 amendment. This cursed provincial governments have destroyed the country, bred corruption and allowed unsuitable rascals to become provincial councillors.

    Today we all suffer due to the provincial councils.

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      deepthi silva

      “a small lobby group through LTTE violence promoted the 13 amendment.”

      Are saying a small lobby group was so powerful it persuaded Hindians to send their Air Force, Navy, Army, …. to this little island and occupy it for just over 3 years and suffered losses.

      “This cursed provincial governments have destroyed the country, bred corruption and allowed unsuitable rascals to become provincial councillors.”

      The provincial councils were set up after 1989. What did happen between 1948 and 1988? Didn’t we have any bigoted, racist, corrupt, politicians, functionaries, armed forces, .. .. human rights abusers, crooks, …. ? You should check your knowledge or ignorance of this island’s past.

      “Today we all suffer due to the provincial councils.”

      Didn’t the ordinary people suffer between 1948 and 1988?

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      Hello deepthi silva, I thought that 13A was an answer JR formulated with India. Was it not SL violence that drew India in?

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      Deepthi, LTTE promoted independence not 13th amendment through violence. That is why they fought IPKF who had come to disarm them and implement it. The provisions in the 13th amendment were inadequate even for Tamil moderates. (see TULF rejoinder of 1987 and report by Varatharajaperumal of 1980 ). India diluted powers as well territory on the request of JR, who unconditionally surrendered and agreed to co-operate fully with India. Do not blame provincial council for corruption. Bribery was rampant in 1970 to 1977 which was one of the cause of downfall of those rulers. Commission taking was in existence for a long time, but large scale corruption began after 1977 when liberal economic policies were implemented. All these were before provincial councils were established. Corruption is more rampant in government than in these councils. Except a few, the rest of Sinhalese do not want to share power or territory in fair manner with Tamils and are giving lame excuses to sabotage it.

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    Moderate – No 13A. No 20A.
    Sinhala racist – No 13A. Yes 20A.
    Tamil racist – Yes 13A. No 20A.
    Slave – Yes 13A. Yes 20A.

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      Moderates would prefer Westminster style parliamentary governance that existed pre- 1972!

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    The main reason for The Provincial Councils, to survive, is the politicians of the major parties themselves, because an abolition of it would reduce the opportunities to be an “elected representative” thus committing political suicide in disabling themselves for car permits and other perks, both legal and extra legal. In that context the fears expressed by the author for doing away with the 13th amendment is premature. It needs to be restructured so that its need and usefulness must be felt by the public. The author linking a devolved structure based on areas to solve an ethno-religious issue is a non-event because more than 50% of so-called minorities (To me they are equal citizens of the country) live outside the claimed “homeland”, and the rumblings would therefore still continue. One of the problems of the thirteenth amendment is the copying word for word from the Indian Constitution. But say an Indian Administrative Services officer working for a State Government in India is looked after by the Central Government in every respect. Similarly, our public services must be protected with independence free from political interference whether it is from the centre or province.

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    Government can negotiate with India to get rid of 13A in return for an Indian military base and ammunition depot in Nallur and allowing 1,000 Indian fishermen a day to the sea off Jaffna for fishing. India has no need of 13A.

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    Eagle Brain Dead Blind Eye

    Who exactly were/are these Native Sinhalayo?
    Are they the same Sinhala/Buddhist Kallathonie converts from Southern India?

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    13th Amendment was the “POISSON-PILL” given to then government of Sri Lanka. Objective was to destroy Sri Lanka forever. If implemented fully, there will never be a Sovereign and Unitary state in the neighbourhood of the “biggest beggar bully” in Asia. NGO ravens or crows in the country living among us and the LTTE remnants are allied with the regional bully. Regional Bully has attempted more than 5000 years to subjugate us and destroy, but every attempt failed. Those naive fellows born in recent years should realized, before the introduction of the 13th amendment, the bully north to us established Five Tamil Terrorist Training camps in Southern India. The objective was to to prepare the ground for introducing a “Poisson Pill” one day to destroy Sri Lanka forever.

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