30 September, 2020

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It’s All About Power In The North

By S. Sivathasan

S. Sivathasan

S. Sivathasan

Self-reverence, Self-knowledge, Self-control
These three alone lead life to sovereign power” – Lord Tennyson

Treasuring the above values conveyed by the poet or valuing the substance, whatever the language, men of worth emerged as leaders and thrust themselves in people’s service. Before venturing into public life, they had discipline in their personal lives. That was in times past. In little Ceylon too, even as late as at the time of independence both pre and post, men of learning considered it proper to engage in public life. They came in because of the eminence they had reached. Self-control was basic to the disciplining of their body and mind. Knowledge of the self, gave them a sense of their worth. High or low they revered themselves and respected others. The people in the mass placed their trust in them and were happy to see their affairs managed by them.

National Degeneracy

In so short a time, what a fall and why so much, we are forced to exclaim. The descent always started at the top. Those in rungs below took their cue for emboldened degeneracy, while those above protected them. How should Members of Parliament in Sri Lanka weigh themselves? Selected to legislate at one per lakh for the benefit of society. Repositories of moral rectitude one would wish. Nowhere in the world has it existed and at no point of time in history has it prevailed.

Who doesn’t know it? But can it be reason enough for electors to reach for the bottom of the barrel to pick the more repulsive? Come elections and what is the sequence? So called leaders turn the barrel upside down, those below spill over and strut about as the king of the walk. This is the sense of self-worth the electable have of themselves. Their obligation is really to be lode stars to their electors. But in recent decades this has never been so. Sri Lanka has failed at election after election to make a change. In this regard the nation is well integrated with no ethnic distinction or religious difference. Little do we realize and much less concede that six decades are wasted. To sink together seems the credo.

Wigneswaran MahindaThe British House of Commons, the Mother of Parliaments had a chequered history. For once in recent centuries the King was beheaded in 1649. Why? For treating Parliament with scant regard. That much was the mean standing the House had descended to. Oliver Cromwell who got the King executed, himself chased away the Members of Parliament later. In his speech he said “You have sat too long for any good you have been doing….Depart, I say, in the name of God, go”. He did away with Parliament altogether for 7 years (1653 – 1659). Parliament itself brought on its own destruction. Ayub Khan did away with democracy in Pakistan in 1958. Should Sri Lanka fall into similar abyss? So much for the need for quality and character in MPs. Power is in the hands of the electors in August 2015, to rescue the nation.

The North

If the need for political clarity is great in the country, it is paramount in the North. For far too long have we clashed with lotus eating idealistic philosophies. We have argued for ideologies which seemed scantily practicable, but are shown to be untenable after 2009. After much critical examination the TNA, has captured the people’s endorsement to proceed further in a clear direction towards a realizable arrangement.

At this point of time when the political configuration in the country is yet fluid and even a little murky, Tamils have not had a difficulty in January in choosing the most appropriate course. Lately they showed their acumen in lending their weight to Maithripala to make him President and writing off Mahinda. Now is the time for consolidating that victory and to garner the fruits.

Render Unto Tamils Land That Is Theirs

What are the grave issues? Tens of thousands of Northerners are dispossessed of their lands by the state, a process that went on over decades. The loss of ownership is deprivation of the very basis of existence and of employment. It means loss of livelihood itself. Not to have property is no less than living with citizenship rights denied. This denial is all the more hateful when this has been done by the state through the instrument of the armed forces.

The strident call now is to expropriate the expropriator (the state) and to restore land to the rightful owners, the Tamils. This sore point, an abrasion to all Tamils has been central to the political demands of the TNA, the vocal champion of all Tamils. Aggrieved Tamils are not confined to the North alone. It is a very large problem in the East as well. Many who have become semi-permanent residents in Colombo are losers of housing assets who yet have their hearts in Jaffna. They all want their land back. Never will they temporize and the issue is non-negotiable.

Phased Withdrawal of the Military

Not a day has passed since May 2009, without raucous calls and insistent demand for the phasing out of the military from the North. Never ever was a request or a suggestion made for total pull out. People know the levels in 1958, ’71, ’77, ’83, near total withdrawal in ’87 and to saturation point by 2009. Knowing the facts, the figures, the repercussions, the compulsions of the present and the possibilities of the future Tamils and their leadership can certainly peg the levels at realizable points. Timelines too can be worked out realistically and mutually agreed upon. However bedtime stories of a Tiger come back will take no Sinhalese or Tamil to sleep in cold sweat. Neither can it pull wool over the eyes of the international community. Government must abandon such infantile aberrations.

After ruling Japan for a few centuries, Shoguns (Commanders of Troops) got wiped out by 1867. Meiji Restoration dates to 1868. Have the Shoguns made a comeback? In the fierce Spanish Civil War 1933-36, half a million perished from all sides. Were the Republicans able to return? Only monarchy was restored. Another half a million perished in Indonesia in October 1965. Did the communists assert their strength ever after? In Sri Lanka, blood baths in 1971, 1989 and 2009 left no signs of a repetitive attempt. Ethics is not the issue at discussion. A clean wiping leaves no room for a recurrence is the lesson learnt and the point made.

Then why deploy military personnel in the North at 1 for 5 individuals?

A New Leaf

A vote to the TNA is a call in unison to assert their will for a fundamental demand. It is basic for the pursuit of community needs, firstly education, not nominal but covering the widest spectrum and reaching to post graduate university instruction. Having such a facility in the area of residence to be managed by the better elements in their own society is the essence of development. Health services too engage the attention of the Tamils in the North. Investment in very high magnitudes is needed primarily in these two disciplines. Highly trained personnel in incredible numbers are available to respond to a call when facilities are built up.

In like manner, human resources have to be developed to exploit physical resources, to generate wealth and to create avenues of meaningful engagement. A few areas to be highlighted for pointed attention are: 1) Information Technology (IT), a discipline with over abundant talent among Tamils living abroad. 2) Agriculture, Irrigation, Animal Husbandry, Fisheries. 3) Industries. 4) Foreign Direct Investment.

What needs to be noted perceptively and acutely and taken fullest cognizance of is that in all developed economies, 1) Services Sector is the highest contributor to the GDP, Industries come next followed by Agriculture. In OECD economies counting over 30 developed countries, agriculture thrives with heavy subsidies both production and consumer. Services and Industry generate the income to make agriculture support affordable. The law of life seldom seen or realized is, develop non-agricultural sectors more in order to foster agriculture. In this regard, IT and Tourism – real money spinners – having great potential in the North should claim precedence for Agriculture to thrive.

Needless to say, a quarter century is needed even to get to the fringe of comprehensive development. Public Private Partnership is the current mode in many an economy the world over. But preceding that should be North-South dialogue, with the North taking the initiative. The South should set the pace for it, not through theatricals but by a solid gesture in releasing lands taken in war after 1980. What was made to appear necessary in war is irrelevant in peace. Six wasteful years are past for which government is at default. Let the 1000 acres pledged to be released in January be handed over before August 31, 2015. Let the world see whether Sri Lanka sinks in the Indian Ocean or the world flies off its orbit when this is done. Let there be a timeline prescription to release all lands for goodwill to be generated.

Changing Environment

When a set of circumstances seems favouring the coming together of ethnic entities, Mr. Sampanthan has expressed optimism at resolving national issues before end of 2016. The country is said to have a President who can steer clear of ethnic pulls. To some among the percipient the UNF is going in for a clear majority. The fortunes of the UPFA are declining by the day. With TNA and JVP going close to 30 plus, UNF approaching two-thirds is a greater possibility. Progressive measures, investment friendly legislation, pro people administration and essential constitutional amendments can be seen.

A good political environment is emerging one may say and hope. It is over six years that the TNA has built a clear stance and taken cautious steps to pronounce in measured tones “Sharing of the powers of governance through a shared sovereignty”. It is further added, “To determine our destiny within a united and undivided Sri Lanka”. The maturing political wisdom of the TNA has gained acceptance among the Tamils. The core of the TNA is the legatee to the FP and the TULF, thus having been in the fray for 65 years. It is this coalition of forces that is seeking a mandate and the leader Sampanthan is insistently canvassing for 20 seats. What for? To capture the opportunity and to negotiate with strength. This is the moment for non-initiates to wait and watch. Instead they have selected it for a display of their antiques as the fifth column.

Fifth Column

What is the fifth column? In the nineteen thirties was the civil war in Spain where half a million perished. Franco the dictator sent four columns to fight in battle while creating a fifth column from among the opponents, to ally with the four and to serve as traitors. The term connotes enemy within, which undermines its own ranks. This is the role that non-entities are playing in the North. Sampanthan has gone in with four columns in one (four political formations under his leadership). The fifth column will show up and get crushed.

Nondescripts have ganged up as the fifth column to play the traitor. Totally without clout and getting votes in units and tens they are of ruinous value under proportional representation. The worst in this bad lot is a formation which with murderous activity brought forth a minister in earlier times. It has no chance now and yet is seeking to damage the TNA’s vote strength. The lament of the Tamils is that though Boycott has exited after 85 years, the fifth column has unleashed itself at 30 candidates per seat.

Power and Portfolios for the TNA

What is an election for? To spare the bullet, save one’s blood, to capture power through the ballot and to do good to the electors. That is the goal for a major party. A minor party like the TNA has to make do with a share of power. It will materialize with two or three portfolios. Being within the vortex helps greatly in the ebb and flow of information, not to mention massive opportunities for interaction. Above all are services from the higher bureaucracy for information and advice. Tamil politicians have been away from them all and the people still further away to know of their value

Whenever an offer of portfolios was made to the Tamils, their representatives ran away from it. Ostensibly through a faulty sense of values. A wrong sense of modesty, prating we are above desires. A false sense of humility by being on par with the lowest common denominator. Where do Tamils stand now? With total ignorance of governmental institutions and the process of government. No different is non-acquaintance with international institutions. Tamil public servants are away from Colombo and from the higher echelons with none in cabinet rank to take them in or to see to their growth.

When there is a knowledge vacuum on restitution, redevelopment, reparations, FDI, IT, financial institutions and the like; sovereignty, self-determination, nationality, nationhood etc. fill the space.

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Latest comments

  • 7
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    An excellent article in my opinion except for the concluding paras with which I don’t agree. I shall come to that later. Drawing the examples of historical parallels to show that the re-emergence of the LTTE is is absolutely impossible, is really excellent. It is through the dissipation of this type of knowledge and information that we can dispel the unnecessary fears in the South about a possible return of the LTTE. Some speak of a rump of the LTTE existing overseas. But I doubt whether there is even a sizeable rump as such except for a collection of few individuals here and there, even though an unachievable Tamil Eelam may be still there in the dreams of many. Hardly anyone has openly advocated the resurgence of violence to achieve such a goal. That itself is as much salutary as the JVP totally sealing its violent past.

    Now, to the other sub topic. Getting all the occupied lands released, downsizing the military and on top of that holding two vital portfolios, all in one go? Surely, the basket is overloaded!

    I do not for once say that Tamil leaders, especially with their honesty, should not hold portfolios. But, we should not mix up the priorities. First things first. Let there be no haste. We can go in steps. Let us first cautiously see how good governance moves. We should also be aware of the level of ‘acceptance’ by the social psyche especially in the South. What is most important is, as warned by Wigneswaran, for the TNA to not get into the trap of ‘collective responsibility of cabinet’ after accepting portfolios.

    I know that as a very Senior Administrator you would have known first hand the benefits of holding one or two vital portfolios. Well and good. But, in my opinion, that should not be too soon.

    Sengodan. M

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      A correction. It should be dissemination and not dissipation.

      Sengodan. M

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      “”Drawing the examples of historical parallels to show that the re-emergence of the LTTE is is absolutely impossible, is really excellent.””

      It is not the question of re-emergence of the LTTE that is a problem in Srilankan politics. It is not the LTTE fear that lead to 1958, 1977 & 1983 bloodbath in this island. I read a news item this morning in a Tamil website referring to a speech by the Head Monk of Nagadeepa Buddhist Temple Hon Navanthagala Pathumakeerthi Therar (நவந்தகல பதுமகீர்த்தி தேரர்) in a meeting of 61 Buddhist & civil organizations with Mahinda Rajapakse to sign an MOU.
      The essence of his speech
      ” I live in Jaffna for 42 years. I know the truth about the situation in Jaffna. Recently Ranil Wickremasinghe came to Jaffna. He made his election campagin in a stage Withe “Ealam stamp”. Wijekala Maheswaran was also present there. She said if UNP comes to power we will remove all police stations in Jaffna.
      The pilgrimages coming from Colombo and other places to Nagadeepa are attacked. Their vechilces are damaged. We are living in a fear there.Worse things are happening there. To protect the Nation Sinhalese should vote on 17th of August. We should show who we Sinhalese are”

      This is the nature of politics of Srilanka. Not a single leader including President Maithiripala Srisena is capable of stopping this sort hatred speeches from a priest. This is not specific to SLFP. Similar things happened under UNP as well. It is Sinhalese leadership & Religious leadship who create or destroy fear among Sinhalese. You can give examples but the matter is who is going to take the truth to the Sinhala masses. In May 2009, Sihalese leadership wanted to show they destroyed LTTE. They got two third majority. Now Sinhalese leadship wanted to create LTTE. Similarly, they will use TNA or any Tamil political leadership if they needed and thorow out when they are not needed.

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        Things cannot change overnight. But they will certainly not remain the same forever. We have to have hope and flexibility in approach. There is absolutely NO other way. You just think of alternate paths, one by one and start eliminating the impracticable ones. It will not be hard to realise the Truth. What is most important is to bear in mind that one day or other the solution has to be found within the country through dialogue. No external force be it the UN, US or even India is going to deliver it!

        No doubt, it is going to be a fairly long haul

        Sengodan. M

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          It is true that things cannot change overnight but it looks like we did n’t have nights for 65 years. For example, the priest in Nagadeepa has not changed over the period of 42 years. I don’t know how long you have to wait for that change to happen. Already within the past 65 years Tamils lost half of the population, half the land, & half of the rights. The remaining half is waiting for the change with hope but not sure what will be delivered finally.Whatever happens, Tamils have no alternative other than to accept what is delivered by the owners.

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          Sengodan

          Much sense and reason in your comment.

          Ajith

          Misunderstandings into hostility and then to bloody confrontation for so long. To go to status quo ante 1920, we need half a century.

          “Fruit trees fruit and ripen only when the time comes”- ancient Tamil wisdom.

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            Yes, Fruit trees fruit and ripen when the time comes if you add good water and manure to the soil but if you add the bad water and bad manure it will kill the plant. That is what happening since 1920 to this beautiful island.

  • 1
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    “When there is a knowledge vacuum on restitution, redevelopment, reparations, FDI, IT, financial institutions and the like; sovereignty, self-determination, nationality, nationhood etc. fill the space.”

    Sinhalese must welcome our Tamil brothers and sisters with open arms to fill the space for “knowledge vacuum on restitution, redevelopment, reparations, FDI, IT, financial institutions and the like”

    This is the way forward.

    But as for “sovereignty, self-determination, nationality, nationhood etc.”
    Sinhalese must flatly reject any hypocritical demands for separate geographical enclaves exclusively for 50% of the Tamils WHILE occupying the rest of the by the other 50%.

    You can’t have it both ways.

    Soma

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      soma-skantha

      “Sinhalese must welcome our Tamil brothers and sisters with open arms to fill the space for “knowledge vacuum on restitution, redevelopment, reparations, FDI, IT, financial institutions and the like”

      Suck their brain.

      “hypocritical demands for separate geographical enclaves exclusively for 50% of the Tamils WHILE occupying the rest of the by the other 50%.”

      And kick them to their natural Habitat.

      You can live in your own Sinhala/Buddhist ghetto happily ever after.

      By the way they need not to physically be present in your ghetto to fill your knowledge vacuum.

      “But as for “sovereignty, self-determination, nationality, nationhood etc.”

      Oh by the way you can keep your sovereignty in your ghetto which means nothing in this globalised world.

      You are confused with nationhood and Sinhala/buddhist ghetto. Both are mutually exclusive.

      In any democratic country nationality/citizenship are as important as air/water to every person who chose to live in that country.

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        “In any democratic country nationality/citizenship are as important as air/water to every person who chose to live in that country.”

        Plus another area demarcated exclusively for them?
        Soma

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          soma-skantha

          “Plus another area demarcated exclusively for them?”

          Their lives can be build without being destroyed by Sinhala/Buddhist stupidity, greed, rage and envy.

          I am sure they will thrive.

          Don’t you think Sinhala/Buddhists are not only a drag on minorities but also on rest of the people?

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            “Don’t you think Sinhala/Buddhists are not only a drag on minorities but also on rest of the people?”
            What do you propose to do about that N.V.?
            One possible solution is to get out of the Sinhala Buddhist ghetto – paradise is just 20 miles away.
            You want a holiday destination in the North and East, eh?
            Soma

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              soma-skantha

              “What do you propose to do about that N.V.?”

              My proposal:

              Send the Sinhala/Buddhists and Tamil/Saivaites back to Thamil Nadu whence their ancestors came on Kallathonies.

              Send the Latin/Christian born again back to Vatican.

              Send Arab/Muslims back to Saudi Arabia where they are comfortable with their fellow medieval merchants.

              You should catch the first boat back to Rameshvaram. Don’t wait until a bridge is being built.

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    Mr. Sivathasan,
    So, you want TNA top-three to become cabinet ministers. And, what do you want to become? Before delving into British history, know about contemporary history of your own country. Your egotistic expressions will not help, so long as you sound like an ignoramus vis-à-vis local history. (Neelan Tiruchelvam’s father) M. Tiruchelvam Q.C. of the Federal Party was a cabinet Minister of Local Govt., in the Dudley Senanayake govt (1965-70). What happened to him? Do you remember his ignominious exit? Do you know why?. Ethnic tension is more explosive and toxic today than it was 50 years ago. For a while, I guessed your writings were quite engaging, in-depth analysis. Then, it dawned on me that they are symptomatic of navel-gazing. Ignorance is bliss!. Let me cite another instance.
    I recall what you wrote (in CT 16/01/2015) on President Sirisena’s victory. Sri Lanka’s first “Bloodless Revolution in April 1956 and “second in 2015”. (CT 16/01/15) . About the 1956 “Bloodless Revolution” you alluded to SWRD Bandaranaike’s coalition (MEP) victory. But, was it not accompanied by lot of bloodshed Mr. Sivathasan – Tamil blood- on 5 June 1956 at Galle Face Green (metaphorically, rendered red), just across the Parliament, Even as Tamil leaders Chelva, Mr. Suntharalingam, Rev. Fr. Thaninayagam and others performed peaceful Satyagraha in protest against SWRD’s ‘Sinhala Only ‘Act which was being introduced in Parliament on that day, as mandated by his election victory., the leaders and volunteers were set upon and beaten up and left bleeding by SWRD’s hirelings and hardcore criminal gangs. Dr. EMV Naganathan was stripped to his undies and chased into Galleface Hotel premises. Mr. Amirthalingam MP who entered the House, with blood-stained bandage around his head, to participate in the Sinhala-Only debate, was mockingly greeted by the Oxford-scholar Prime Minister SWRD, “Here the warrior is coming with wounds of war.” As a follow-up to the “Sinhala-Only’ gory saga in Colombo, around 150 innocent Tamils were massacred by Gal Oya Development Board Sinhala laborers and local criminals during the 5 days savagery, 11 to 16 June 1956 in Gal Oya. . And, you called it a 1956 “Bloodless Revolution” Sivathasan.
    BEWARE OF FALSE PROPHESIES!

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      May the readers know a bit about the ignominious exit please?
      Younger generation(I rang up several Tamil University students and staff in Political Science departments of 3 universities) is clueless on it.

  • 7
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    “Where do Tamils stand now? With total ignorance of governmental institutions and the process of government. No different is non-acquaintance with international institutions. Tamil public servants are away from Colombo and from the higher echelons with none in cabinet rank to take them in or to see to their growth.”

    This must be the greatest achievement of our leaders.

    • 3
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      Indeed!

      Dr.RN

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      The leaders alone cannot take the blame for historical circumstances.
      Sengodan. M

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        The ‘leaders’ who from 1921 misled the generations must indeed be apportioned the blame.

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      Tamil leaders mostly reacted to what(ie oppression, eg Citizenship Act, Sinhala Only, …) the governmets were doing. But not having contnued Satyagraha 1961 onwards is the greatest folly of the leaders AND the citizens.

  • 1
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    Sinhala and Tamil chauvinism and Ethnic outbidding during elections season is one of the problems of democracy.
    Politicians fanning the flames of ethnic and religious hatred to win votes and distract the moda masses from their (politicians) corruption and criminal records is as old as the hills..

    Now that we are in election season, ethnic outbidding by various political parties and opportunistic politicians is reaching a height with JVP rejecting TNA’s demand for merged northeast and federal structure to win votes of the Tamil masses that TNA otherwise ignores..

    Meanwhile, Mahinda Jarapassa with the BBS is running the SInhala Buddhist nationalism vote-for-me-to-save-Sinhala-culture side show with a distorted national flag..Both TNA and SLFP are opportunists.. talking stupid masses for a good ride.

    Civil Society must grasp the bull by the horns and EDUCATE the moda Sinhala and Tamil masses on the fact that they should not be fooled by ethnic entrepreneur politicians who promise to “save culture and nation” while spreading ethno-religious hatred in order to win votes.

    Civil society must challenge JVP’s Anura Kumara to explain to the masses that the demand of the TNA for a Federal State is because of the failure of the Mahinda Jarapassa regime and the UNP to bring GENUINE peace and reconciliation and EQUALITY to the Tamil people and the country after LTTE was defeated…
    The root issue is equality for all.

  • 2
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    Sri Lanka voters are stuck between Sinhala and Tamil nationalism – between Devil and deep blue sea… Mahinda Jarapassa and dodering Sampanthan..

    Why has TNA asked for Federalism now? To win votes so that they can then go to the Diyawenna parliament of corrupt clowns and have a luxurious life while forgetting about the Tamil masses.. Likewise Maihdna Jarapassa is wrapped in the Buddhist flag and polluting Buddhism to vin votes to carry out his corrupt criminal crony looting luxury lifestyle.

    TNA and SLFP may deserve each other. But decent people of Lanka who want to live in peace with different communities are hostages of the dirty politics and political culture.

  • 6
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    Mr.Sivathasan,

    You conclude:

    “When there is a knowledge vacuum on restitution, redevelopment, reparations, FDI, IT, financial institutions and the like; sovereignty, self-determination, nationality, nationhood etc. fill the space.”

    I concur. However, the CM of the NPC, many front line members of the TNA, a section of the residents in the north and east, and sections of the Tamil Diaspora feel otherwise. I think they are putting the cart before a crippled old horse, that is overdue for culling!

    The following is an article reproduced from the New Indian Express that has been reproduced by the Asian Mirror:

    “TNA, Wigneswaran May Be Heading For Split Featured

    Monday, 03 August 2015 23:31

    C.V.Wigneswaran, who became Chief Minister of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province in 2013 thanks to the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), appears to be drifting away from the party which propped him up.

    Well placed sources in the TNA told Express that the rift, which is being kept under wraps in view of the August 17 parliamentary elections, could surface after the polls.

    The TNA, which is playing a key role in Lankan politics in the post-Rajapaksa era, is inching towards a more moderate and accommodative line on the Tamil question, in keeping with domestic compulsions and its international commitments. But Wigneswaran has veered towards a more radical line, inviting censure in Lanka as well as the international community.

    The once apolitical former Supreme Court judge has now developed independent political ambitions. Apparently, he no longer wants to be a lackey of the old war horses of the TNA. After he agreed to get the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) to pass the controversial “genocide resolution” initiated by a radical member, Wigneswaran won accolades from extremists in the Tamil Diaspora.

    Locally, he is said to be under the influence of the radical Tamil National Peoples’ Front (TNPF) led by Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam. According to some sources, his recent US trip was arranged by a radical group. Recently, Wigneswaran issued a statement saying that he would be “neutral” in the run up to the parliamentary elections thus distancing himself from the TNA.

    Differences with top TNA leaders came to light when he fought with Mavai Senathirajah over money allocated to MPs by the Central government. TNA leaders have been complaining about Wigneswaran’s administrative incompetence due in part to his failure to interact with Ministers, Departmental Secretaries and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The NPC’s administrative inefficiency has become an election issue.

    The Sunday Times reported that US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Nisha Biswal, had ticked him off for harping on “genocide” when he ought to be cooperating with the Sirisena government to solve the Tamil question. And India was apparently embarrassed when, against advice, he made a political speech during Modi’s visit to Jaffna.

    (The New Indian Express)”

    CVW, has expressed opposition to the TNA accepting ministerial positions in a future national government, claiming that this will divert the attention of the TNA from the ‘Political’ issues that are the foremost concern of the Tamils. He has also proclaimed that he will remain neutral during the coming elections and work with whoever is elected. Can a person who could not establish a rapport with the government at the center and hos own party leaders, be expected to do so?

    I think he is wrong. What can be called the ‘Bread & Butter’ issues of the Tamils in the north and east must be addressed first. These are alarming and are compounded by issues concerning water for drinking, farming and industry. I can see how poverty and the resulting want are destroying the very soul of the north- values, mores, decency, honesty , hard work and elevated thoughts. We are becomg a caddish community, quite visibly. I am sure it is happening in the east too.

    Is the TNA confusing the people with its eel-like political stance? Is CVW doing right by the party that backed him and the people who voted for him with high expectations?

    What is your opinion?

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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      Correction:

      The following is an article from the New Indian Express that has been reproduced by the Asian Mirror:

      Dr.RN

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      Dr RN,

      I hope that Mr Sivathasan replies now that a question is made by a person not hiding his/her identity.

      My opinion is that there is a growing but mostly silent conflict between the now radical CM and the more moderate “Sumanthiran-Sambandan wing”. How many politicians support each group is not known. There is a lot of fighting inside the TNA and ITAK.

      Would the UNP really devolve more power to the NPC led by the CM or demand another CM? In my opinion the TNA of NPC is more radical than the MPs.

      The TNA manifesto wants to unite Northern and Eastern Provinces once again. I wonder if this is a serious wish because the current power of the TNA would be diluted by the Eastern Muslims and Sinhalese.

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    “Render unto tamils the land that is theirs.” how can part of Srilanka
    be the land of Tamils when the rest of srilanka is the land of Sinhalese,tamils,muslims and others

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      Sinhalese must flatly reject any hypocritical demands for separate geographical enclaves exclusively for 50-% of the Tamils WHILE occupying the rest of the by the other 50+%.
      Soma

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        soma-skantha

        If you resent the Tamils living amid Sinhalese please feel free to kick them back to their natural habitat.

        The very compassionate act would free the land which is being occupied by them outside their natural habitat which will provide you enough space to build your Sinhala/Buddhist ghetto.

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          “you resent the Tamils living amid Sinhalese please feel free to kick them back to their natural habitat.”
          I love to live with them all,my dear N.V.. What I am objecting to is this idea of a holiday destination.
          Soma

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      Jaya

      Did you read my article before you wrote your comment? My reference was to the expeditious return of land taken over in the last 3 decades and wrongfully held by the state.

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      Jeya

      You do not twist the issue about the lands. We are speaking about the privately owned lands. The private lands owned by the Tamils and forcefully taken over by the Government in the pretext of Security have to be retuned to its owners.

  • 1
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    Pathetic cursed lot of people. For thirty years a bunker rat destroyed their future. Now the they have an equally narrow minded lot driving their people down the drain. After sacrificing 27,000 Sinhala kids no goverment UNP or otherwise is going to give an inch of power to the North. Any stunts by UNP will be defeated like the CFA. Tamils should be more pragmatic and should integrate into the larger society and drive the destination of the nation rather than listening to likes of Sambandan who are too old to aspire to live for anything.

    • 4
      0

      Patriot

      “Pathetic cursed lot of people. For thirty years a bunker rat destroyed their future.”

      Premadasa was able to hide behind this bunker rat’s bum. Bunker rat fought of course stupidly to kick the Hindians back to where they belong while armed forces were hiding behind their women folks. The last war against the invaders were fought by this tiny bunker rat. You should be eternally grateful to him.

      As a political crook MR owes his life, status, wealth, …. to this little bunker rat for winning him two elections and a war.

      By the way Patriots hide their own sins in their vociferous patriotism.

    • 3
      0

      Patriot – your comment is the core of the issue. Why should Tamils integrate by force? Should the Scots or the Welsh ‘integrate’. Tamils are indigenous people of Sri Lanka (like the Sinhalese) – if they had indigenous rights there would be no problem.

  • 0
    7

    Vellala Viggy is with the Ponna Party. So says the Indian Express from Hindustan.

    It is not surprising because Vellala CM has to live in Yalpanam unlike the other Vellalas in the TNA.

    Besides the TNA are now totally embedded with the British Vellalas of the Tiger Forum in London. BVTF !!

    Whilst the Northern inhabitants are forced to make hard decisions on the 17, like selecting the right outfit to cast their vote.

    They got a myriad of choices to select from.

    They got the CFD which is made of real LTTE Tigers but want to do democracy and alleviate poverty among their one time backers,

    Then there is Ponna Party whose boss acts like new Tiger Boss , but never went to the Tiger Territory when Pirahabaran was araound ..

    And the grand party TNA who are absentee Land Lords in the main, who barracked for Prabkaran all the way and then made a U turn after Cameron, Surendran and Chamoika with CBK gave them the MOU with the UNP to claim the homeland.

    But the BTF has other ideas like joining with the UNP London and getting the Duals and make money in Sambnadan’s free land in the Eelaam.

    Not an easy choice for the poor inhabitants who have been traumatized by their own, all along.

    And the CM must be having nightmares thinking about it…

    • 0
      4

      KAS,

      “And the CM must be having nightmares thinking about it…”

      He might be dreaming about all the power that will maybe be given to the NPC and him after the elections.

  • 0
    4

    A fair solution on land ownership and self determination would be to partition the country on the basis of population. Minorities which prefer to live with the majority can enjoy that privilege while others who demand self determination could be allocated an area of the country in the area of their traditional habitation on the basis of their numbers. For example, if the Northerners who wish to enjoy self determination are 2 million in numbers they should be given 2/20 or one tenth of the land area of the country.
    Nobody should expect to live with the majority and also be counted in the calculation of partitioned land of the minority.

    • 0
      3

      “Minorities which prefer to live with the majority can enjoy that privilege while others who demand self determination”

      Why would any Tamil prefer to live with genocidal Sinhalede I am confused.
      Soma

  • 1
    1

    What the tamils want is complete equality with all other citizens, in every sense of the word.
    This does not exist now, especially in the north.
    This is what they will vote for, on the 17th.

    • 0
      4

      August the 17th would be a general election, not a referendum to produce a privileged ethnic minority

  • 5
    0

    Mr Sivathasan,
    I totally endorse that the Tamil nationalists should accept and demand cabinet Portfolios
    .
    it is a right.It is a fundamental right.

    Tamils need not only right to their lands,but have right to their language, culture,the right to be part of the administration- the Tamils have a right to government employment.

    Tamils should be in the security forces in including armed forces and Police.
    not merely at the low levels, but at the highest levels as well.

    These are rights long denied to the tamils.

    Most important right is to be ministers.

    The Tamil nationalists should demand and be in the cabinet.

    sharing of power at the perifery is necessary, but not sufficient. The necessary and sufficient condition is that the Tamils participate at the periphery as well as at the centre.

    The priority is to demand and accept important cabinet posts.

    This is very urgent

    • 2
      4

      Sri-Krish

      Excellent comment. This should be the philosophy and the programme for a decade at least.

    • 1
      0

      Agreed to every word except just one.
      Dear Sri-Krish, in the first para can we replace the word “nationalists” with “parliamentarians” please.
      Soma

  • 0
    3

    ” Render Unto Tamils Land That Is Theirs “

    There is no such land in Sri Lanka. ‘Aspiration’ (unmitigated greed in this case) and reality are two very different things. As has been argued in these columns, the Eastern Province WAS NEVER part of ANY Tamil Kingdom.

    The ‘Tamil speaking’ Muslims were thrown out of Jaffna by the glorious leader depriving them of their worldly possessions INCLUDING their private land. For the most part this has yet to be reversed. It is sad to see some Tamil elders still misleading the youth while pretending that the LTTE is dead.

    • 1
      2

      If you don’t command the concentration to comprehend even a single para on “Render… why do you venture to comment?

      • 0
        0

        The comment was on the sub-heading, a vulgarised version of a well known Biblical quote, now given an ethnic dimension by the author, when it is well known that this was the most basic of the ‘aspirations’ of the Ealaamites within and outside the LTTE, based on nothing but pure fantasy.

        If the writer was concerned about ‘private lands’ taken over either temporarily or permanently by the government on the basis of ’eminent domain’ he would NOT have used the expression.

  • 2
    4

    It is a very interesting article to read where the author has articulated explicitly the motive power of the ‘Fifth column’obtruding in the North and East Sri Lanka in the forthcoming parliamentary election fray. There is a general conception that a steel blade of an axe alone will not help to cut down a tree but another part of the same tree or of the same species is needed to be used as the axe handle in order to fell the tree.
    It is always with the responsive support from the fifth column the repressive authoritarian regimes use strategies for dismantling and destruction of the essential foundations of the human life of the Tamil people and unforgivably repressed and alienated them. However we hope this election will teach them a lesson and the people I am sure will not easily get swayed by the empty promises and slogans disseminated by this group.
    The quote by Lord Tennyson is again a pertinent one at this moment. The early post independence period too had people of eminence endowed with knowledge and decorum, dominating the august assembly. The debating skill and the rhetorical eloquence displayed on both sides of the aisle were a treat to watch in those good old days.Dr.N.M.Perera, Edmund Samarakkody, Pieter Keuneman, G.G.Ponnambalam, Balasunderam, Vanniasingham, M.D.Banda were few of them who made valuable contributions and maintained the dignity and integrity of the House.
    Thank you Mr. Sivathasan for the valuable excellent article.

  • 3
    6

    Mr Sivathasan

    You have again and again demonstrated that you have some extra ordinary talents in predicting election results. Please tell me the number of seats UNP, UPFA, JVP & TNA are going to win.

    Your article is great. Thank you.

    • 2
      6

      RP

      What is crystallizing in my mind shall have crystallized within a week and I will let you know.

    • 2
      0

      Why don’t you ever see the headline ‘Psychic Wins Lottery’?

      slip..s…n,looks like dung and sound like a bell.

  • 1
    3

    A very well exposed article Mr.Sivathasan. Will the Sinhalese people read it, understand it or realise it, or at least think on their own not to subjugate the minorities, to grant equal rights, allow them to own their private lands. Do they understand the theme of Universal Declaration of Human Rights? To my believe everything is a foregone conclusion. The KumariKandam, an ancient and affluent Tamil Nation ruled by the Pandiyas should raise from underneath the depths of the Indian Ocean and will happen some day.

  • 0
    3

    The KumariKandam from Tamil Nadu extended to Madagaskar to the East and to Australia to the West which land included present Sri Lanka as well.

  • 3
    4

    Mr Sivathasan,

    Nice to see you here.

    You appear to comment on comments from persons hiding their identity. Some days ago you refused to do this.

    Why not reply to Dr RN? He commented on August 4, 2015 at 8:49 am.

    Does your “crystallizing” have something to do with brackish water?

    Thank you.

    • 4
      1

      Heretic,
      It is not nice to see you dick head. Who the hell are you? Reply to me.

  • 3
    3

    The 2015 TNA manifesto as published in Ada Derana(5th Agust’15) states the following:

    “OWER SHARING ARRANGMENTS

    Soon after the anti-Tamil pogram in 1983, attempts were made to solve the Tamil national question by means of an alternate political arrangement in which greater autonomy would be granted to the Tamil Speaking Peoples. An arrangement was introduced in 1987 consequent to the Indo-Lanka Accord. These changes paved the way for the setting up of Provincial Councils with minimal powers, and promises were made at the highest levels that it will be improved upon. Several such attempts resulted in the 1993 Mangala Munasinghe Select Committee Proposals during President Ranasinghe Premadasa’s term, the Government’s proposals for constitutional reform of 1995, 1997 and 2000 under President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and the APRC multi-ethnic expert committee majority report in December 2006 under President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

    While no progress was being made on the political front to solve the burning national issue, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) continued its armed struggle. Successive governments entered into negotiations with the LTTE and in February 2002 the LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka signed a Ceasefire Agreement and later in December 2002 agreed on a set of principles called the Oslo Communiqué, which stated,

    “To explore a solution founded on the principle of internal self determination in areas of historical habitation of the Tamil-speaking Peoples, based on a federal structure within a united Sri Lanka.”

    The reasons why some of the later arrangements failed can be attributed to the TULF/TNA and the LTTE.

    1. The LTTE wanted particular individuals, unacceptable to the JR government in the proposed interim council and drew the ire of India. It gave the stick JR to smash the 13th amendment into worthlessness. It subsequently engaged in a war with the IPKF. The TULF which had participated in the design of the Indo-Sri Lanka agreement and the 13 th amendment, became a mute spectator, that also refused to participate in the subsequent elections for the first North-East PC.

    The LTTE entered into talks with the Premadasa government and was supplied with arms and money by the Premadasa government to fight the IPKF. THIS WAS A MISSED OPPORUNITY and was a manna from heaven for the GOSL. What if the LTTE and TULF had acted differently?

    2. The Chandrika Kumaratunge constitutional proposals drafted with the help of Neelan Thruchelvam & G.L.Pieris, and consultations with the TNA (or was it the TULF ?) was the best the Tamils and this country could have had. However, these were thrown into the dust bin by the combine efforts of the UNP and the TULF/TNA. THIS WAS ANOTHER MISSED OPPORTUNITY. What if the UNP and the TULF/TNA had acted differently?

    3. The internationally 2002 ceasefire agreement was breached mainly by the LTTE inviting the subsequent war and its own defeat. The agreement signed by Anton Balasingham on behalf of the LTTE with the GOSL ” “To explore a solution founded on the principle of internal self determination in areas of historical habitation of the Tamil-speaking Peoples, based on a federal structure within a united Sri Lanka.”, was subsequently repudiated by Vellupilaai Prabaharan. Karuna abandoned the LTTE , fearing for his life, as a result. Rudrakumaran played a big role in encouraging VP to repudiate this agreement. THIS WAS ALSO ANOTHER MISSED OPPORTUNITY. What if the LTTE had acted differently?

    The TNA should educate the people on the failures of Tamil political/militant leadership at various crucial moments in our history. The lost opportunities will not come back. The ceasefire agreement that was decried as a ‘Peace Trap’ by the LTTE, paved the way for the ‘Death Trap’in fell into and dragged the Tamils into. The death trap was the only alternative to a internationally supported political solution!

    The murder of Rajiv Gandhi was another cardinal mistake and sin committed by the LTTE. The LTTE lost India’s much needed goodwill as a result. What if the LTTE had not done this?

    The North-East merger was a temporary measure that should have been taken advantage of and consolidated. However, the thoughtless repudiation of the PC system which India had promised to further improve with time, has proven costly. Much water has flowed under the bridge since, and the prevalent circumstances would not permit it again. IT WAS AN OPPORTUNITY THAT HAS BEEN LOST FOR EVER.

    The TNA, although the only political formation that the Tamils have to side with, in the current circumstances, should be more truthful to the Tamils. The TRUTH should not be buried in emotive rhetoric, amounting to falsehood. The TNA has failed once again to be honest with its people. SAD, in this day and age.

    Dr.RN

    • 3
      3

      There appear to be differences between the TNA manifesto published in CT and what has now appeared in Ada Derana. particularly with reference to the water issue. Is what in Ada Derana, the final version?

      (http://adaderana.lk/news/31849/here-is-the-tnas-election-manifesto)

      Dr.RN

      • 1
        1

        Dr RN,

        You are correct. There are differences between the two manifestos. I don’t know which one is the correct one.

        I also cannot find the water issue in the Ada Derana version. The other version has something about being the “TNA ITAK manifesto” as I pointed earlier in another thread.

        “Soon after the anti-Tamil pogram in 1983”

        They must mean pogrom.

        “Systematic State-sponsored colonization was carried out since independence in 1948 in order to change the demographic pattern of the North-East, which are the areas of historical habitation of the Tamil Speaking Peoples. This has continued with full vigour in the North and the East after the end of the war in 2009.”

        After the war with full vigour? For this I would like to have a source. If it is state sponsored there should be funds reserved for it.

        “Power sharing arrangements must continue to be established as it existed earlier in a unit of a merged Northern and Eastern Provinces based on a Federal structure. The Tamil speaking Muslim historical inhabitants shall be entitled to be beneficiaries of all power-sharing arrangements in the North-East. This will no way inflict any disability on any People.”

        Little bit vague on the rights of the people who do not speak Tamil.

        “Devolution of power on the basis of shared sovereignty shall be over land, law and order, enforcement of the law so as to ensure the safety and security of the Tamil People.”

        What about the safety and security of the non Tamils?

        “Since 6 years have elapsed after the conclusion of the war, all political and other prisoners held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) in relation to war-related activities must be released.”

        I have been told that some of them still refuse to sign a promise of not starting violent acts again.

      • 0
        1

        Dr RN,

        According to the Island newspaper “Minister of Industry and Commerce and ACMC leader, Rishad Bathiudeen visited many Sinhalese settlements of Vavuniya South Sinhala Division yesterday (6).”

        http://island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=129577

        “The villagers informed him that their biggest issue was the water supply, especially drinking water. They also pointed out the need for more infrastructure development in their settlements.”

        The villagers agree with you despite not living in Jaffna Peninsula.

        “During his day tour he visited 15 such settlements in South Sinhala Division, at times visiting individual households.”

        These are maybe the state supported settlements TNA mentions in their manifesto?

        The state supported migration to the North should be seen in the census numbers. There should be more Buddhists and Sinhalese.

        Unfortunately I have no time to dig up statistics.

        • 0
          0

          Heretic,

          Settlements in Vavuniya South were being quietely expanded during the second term of MR. There are Namalgama and Agbopura as a result. There may be more.

          The Manal Aru (Welioya) settlement area was also being stealthily expanded. The current status s not known. What is sad is these were cloak and dagger operations involving politicians, armed forces and the Kachcheri.

          There are also accusations against Bathiuddin Mohamed with regard to allocation of land and housing in the Wanni. He used his political clout to take 600 heads of cattle for sacrificial slaughter from the Vanni to the south, soon after war.

          The TNA has not specifically spelt out the problems. However, I have not heard anything new on these issues since January’2015.

          Dr.RN

  • 0
    1

    Dear Soma,

    Why I mentioned Tamil Nationalists instead of Tamil parliamentarians is because we had people like Douglas Devananda, Maheswaran, Vijeyakala and karuna holding symbolic ministerial portfolios either as collaborators or merely for their own survival.

    But, holding of ministerial portfolios by Tamil nationalists like TNA will make a difference because firstly they continuously represented the majority for a considerable period and secondly they could make a real impact by developing the North East and empowering ordinary Tamils and contribute towards equality qualitatively and quantitatively

  • 0
    2

    Mr Sivathasan,

    “It’s All About Power In The North”

    Really?!

    I can hardly wait for your next revelation.

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