7 July, 2022

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Need Of The Hour: A ‘National’ Provincial Council For The North

By Rajasingham Narendran

Dr. Rajasingham Narendran

Elections for the Northern Provincial Council are scheduled for September’2013, although the date has not been announced.  Although the Provincial Councils are institutions established under the 13th amendment to the constitution (November’1987), they have not served the function they were expected to, for various reasons that have been highlighted, analyzed, discussed and debated over the past twenty five years.  There are also recent calls for abrogation of the 13th amendment and amendments to the 13th amendment to negate police and land powers granted to the Provincial Councils, despite the impending Northern Provincial Council elections. The preludes to the on-coming elections have already commenced and indicate that the campaign itself is bound to be quite bitter, violent and divisive.  It is also likely the results would favour the TNA overwhelmingly.

This prospect has aroused fears as to how the TNA would conduct itself in office, in terms of questions relating to full implementation of the 13th amendment as originally envisaged, improvements to the Provincial Council system and the perennial question relating to the so-called internal self-determination.   The potential for conflict between the Northern Provincial Council and the Sri Lankan government, and the adverse outcome are also of concern to many. These fears cannot be dismissed as baseless and unwarranted, given our history and the nature of prevailing sentiments. These fears assume critical significance as the war-torn north is yet in the early stages of the recovery process, with a multitude of problems confronting the war-affected.

The question now is how to make the best out of a potentially hopeless situation, while furthering the cause of the war-affected, national healing and establishing a Provincial Council for the north.  It appears that the time is ripe to break out of the deadly embrace of conventional thinking and conceive an ‘out of the box’ solution. The 13th amendment as it is now and the impending elections are a reality. While the 13th amendment with the problems in its design  and having been further undermined, is not what the Tamils expect, it is also unacceptable to the Sinhala polity at large. There is not a only a structural deficit in the Provincial Council system, but also national trust deficit pertaining to operating the system in the north

What can be done to operate the Provincial Council system as it is, optimally in the north, considering that the elections will be held and a Council will be constituted? This is the reality that demands that demands serious thought.

I suggest the TNA take the lead in contesting the election in partnership with the UPFA – a coalition of many parties of a diverse nature, the UNP and the JVP.  While the TNA should be the majority partner, it should strive towards bringing in a ‘National’ perspective into the first Northern Provincial Council, considering the present circumstances.  The best possible candidates should be nominated by all parties. The TNA should name its Chief Ministerial candidate and make sure that the person is the right person for the times. It would be advisable to leave out politicians of the old mould and ex-militants of all hues. Persons of standing, education, experience and ability should be painstakingly sought.  They should also be a mix of the middle-aged and the old.  A Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) should be signed between the constituent parties  on issues such as sharing seats, the composition of the Council of Ministers, the nominee for the position of Governor and the envisaged program of action. The Provincial Council and the Council of Ministers should have also Sinhalese and Muslim members, probably in a larger proportion than their numbers in various electorates warrant (at least in the Council).

Mr.Sambanthan should take the lead in opening discussions with the President and Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe on this possibility immediately.  The public should be kept informed of progress. If there is an agreement in the form of an MOU, it should be made public.  I can only hope and pray that wisdom will come to the fore.

If this option is exercised and taken forward in good faith, it would ensure the following:

  1. Pave the way for the non-adversarial operation of the Northern Provincial Council for at least one term.
  2.  Help take forward the recovery of the war-affected people and areas in an enlightened, consultative  and non-partisan manner.
  3. Pave the way for trust to be established that the Northern Provincial Council is not the first step towards separation.
  4. Pave the way for a new political culture in the country.
  5. Identify objectively the problems with the present Provincial Council system, and pave the way for a national consensus to improve it or replace it with something better.
  6. Promote national reconciliation by setting an example that the different communities and political formations can co-operate in the provincial and national interest.
  7. Dissipate the distrust between the largely Sinhala South and the largely Tamil North, on the question of insipient separatism among the Tamils.
  8. Enable the entry of quality persons into the political arena.
  9. Forestall political issue that would potentially arise in the operation of the Northern Provincial Council, igniting divisive passions anew.
  10. Pave the way for the other eight provincial councils to learn from the experiment in the north.

Will Mr. Sambanthan, The President and Mr.Wickremasinghe rise up to the occasion and act in unison with wisdom?

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Latest comments

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    Brilliant let us live as slaves, we must listen all modayas…

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      J.Muthu

      You have a choice. Stop reading his writings.

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      Dr. Narreendran’s plan has common sense. It is how we should try to move forward in our country. Specially in the much troubled Northern Province. One step at a time. By being solution oriented. Even though you may not find all elements in his proposal to be of you liking.

      Compromise, Trial and Error, Sincerity all very important in winning hearts and minds in the Northern Province.

      Mr. Sambanthan may well be the man of the moment. But, will he rise to the occassion? Will he cease the moement? Become the statesman Tamils never had. My heart & brain says he should. By all means. But I do not think he will. Unfortunately.

      Mr. Sambanthan is currently involved in a different, secretive ball game. He wants reconciliation process to collapse dramatically. Then use it to convince UN & IC to intervene in Sri Lanka.

      I hope sanity will prevail. And that Mr. Sambanthan will become the elder Tamil statesman the South will grow to appreciate as well.

      Mr. Sambanthan will at the very least should take a serious look at ideas in Dr. Narendran’s suggestion.

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        “Mr. Sambanthan may well be the man of the moment. But, will he rise to the occassion?” What about Rajapkses rising to the occasion?

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          Forget Rajapassa. They are not the future of Sri Lanka. We have given up on them.

          They are involved in a dynasty building, money making project. Rather than building Sri Lanka.

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    Foolish!

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      And your solution being?

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        The solution is simple if we understand the history and factual evidence. Tamils and Sinhalese have a long history in the island of currently known as Sri Lanka (Formerly, Ceylon/Various other names). The North and East part of this island have been populated mostly by Tamil speaking people and the administration of this part was done by Tamils until British united all administrations. Tamils jointly worked with Sinhalese for independence of this island but the power was handed over to Sinhalese who promised a better governance. Unfortunately, Sinhalese who took the power of the island failed to provide a fair and unbiased governance to all and to provide the necessary security to its people (Tamils) and the government machinery was politicised and sinhalised. The state itself become part of violence and destruction of the Tamils and the law and order and justice system fully become institutionally racist. The tamil people lost the trust in the unitary system and it is no longer a viable solution to the problem.
        From the initial stage of the problem even Sinhala political leadership clearly accepted that North and East of the island is the homeland for Tamils. Tamils agreed for sharing power with Sinhalese as equal citizens and it is the Sinhala extremism that is the barrier for the implementation of such arrangement. The Sinhala people should realise that the centralisation of power did not provide peace and harmony to its people and it has created a dictatorship and even Sinhala people have lost their true independence and the image of the country has fallen to the lowest level.

        The people must understand that Neither Tamils nor LTTE did not ever fought to occupy Sinhala Nation and fall into the hands of Regional or International Powers. Pirapakaran wanted independence for the people of the land. He did not negotiate with China or India or US to hand over Trincomalee Harbour or Hambantota Harbour or Norcholai Power plant as Sinhalese leaders did. He did not bomb ordinary Sinhalese as your rulers did to Tamils. He did not bombed hospitals as your government did. They loved their land more than you.

        Recognise that each and every citizen of the island has the right to expect justice and rule of law. If you believe in the fundamentals of human rights and human values the solution is simple. Buddha showed you the correct path. You don’t need Dahoba’s, you need change in your mindset think twice:

        Is it right to attack innocent civilians?
        Is it right to attack Journalism?
        Is it right to Sinhalise Tamil Land?
        Is it right to occupy Tamil land with Sinhala Military?
        Is it right to Criminals to rule the nation?
        Is it right to unlawfully arrest and murder your political opponents?
        Is it right to bomb the hospitals?
        Is it right to bomb the unarmed civilians?
        Is it right to burn the library?
        Is it right to kill innocent 12 year old child?

        Buddha never preached to kill innocents even he is your enemy!

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          Ajith

          Let me suumarise you response.

          1. Everything entirely the fault of the Sinhalese.
          2. “Talented Mr. VP” or “Sun God” was a great leader by all means.

          Apart from this utter rant about our past, do you actually have any ideas, suggestions about how to resolve these grave problems?

          Do you have any solutions? We have people who keep whining endlessly. And keep blaming the other side. All the time.

          This is why Dr.Rajasingham Narendran stand out from the pack. Compared to many Sinhaelse, Tamils or Muslims.

          He has ideas about how to seek a resolution to the problem peacefully. They are not afraid to share these ideas with us. Despite getting hammered by people like you.

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            The factors that contributed to all these problems are:
            1. State sponsored Colonisation of Sinhalese in the North-East to change the existed demography. The available historical populations estimates indicates that over 97% of the population was Tamil speaking people in the North-East before independence. Similarly rest of the country had a population of 97% from Sinhalese. The first ethnic riots took place in Trincomalee because of the state sponsored colonisation.

            2. The second most important issue was introduction of Sinhala only and superior status of Buddhism. This lead to the institutionalisation of race based policy and structural changes. For example,99% of the armed forces are sinhala, all institutions are dominated by Sinhala and language based standardidsation of university admission. The armed forces failed to stop riots (one sided) or protect civilians from attack, murder or destruction of properties.

            The Banda-Chelva fact proposed Regional administration by Tamil in the North-East. Similar proposals were agreed between Dudley-Chelva.

            So the basis for any solution should be based on an decentralisation of power to the administrative body of North-East based on population distribution by the time of indepenence.
            It is upto the Sinhalese to decide what level of power sharing within Sinhala majority area.

            It is a precondition that is essential for any successful implementation of any system is the rule of law and institutions including armed forces and justice system should be independent of any political influence and strict laws to limit the unlawful activites of the politicians.

            The key to solving the problems ” No one is above the law” whether he/she is elected or selected by the people.

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              Ajith

              I see many good points in your response.

              Rule of law can solve a lot of problems Sri Lanka. Judiciary is utterly ruined by uneducated Rajapassa clan right now. We have to rebuild its dignity and independence.

              Armed Forces and Police should reflect the nation. It should be truly Sri Lankan. Multi-ethnic, multi-religious & multi-lingual etc. Protecting and serving the nation in accordance with the constitution. Their prime task. Not White Vanning citizens or covering up mass graves. That era must end. Now.

              No to so called colonisation. Of course. But, one cannot enforce pre independence demographics now. What will happen to Tamils who are doing just fine in the Western Province then? Among their Sinhalese or Muslim bretheren. Please note Colombo is a bastion of Tamils now. Tamil population is growing in Colombo. So what? They have a right to be there. Come and go as well. Sri Lanka belongs to all of us. Any part of Sri Lanka.

              We should build a nation where anyone can move around. Live anywhere they want in Sri Lanka. Raise a family. Operate in a national language. Practice their faith. Be themselves. And be protected by law.

              Please note North and East were demerged by our Supreme Court. Accept it. Further, the population in the East is very happy with it. East does not want to be a part of the North. Fact. Accept that too. And we can move on.

              Devolution is to empower local government. Not to clear a pathway to seperatism in the future. This is what makes the Sinhalese very uneasy. Racist forces among Sinhalese thrive on that fear. Think about it. We must remove this doubt for good. Sinhalese will back a much higher degree of devolution in return then.

              Country will sail to prosperity. Overtaking almost all Asian Tiger economies. Sooner than you think.

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          Ajith
          According to ben hurly, Jaffna library burnt by LTTE. You explaining this to Damn fools. Dont wasting your time. We tamils paid huge price becos let Praba to decide our future. we should have force LTTE to change course action after 2002 Ceasefire, we missed it. Hope our time will come live in peace in our own land.

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            Muthu

            LTTE burned the Jaffna Library. And blamed “Sinhalese racists”. LTTE scorded a big propaganda victory formany years. Even I bought that pack of lies directly from “Sun God”.

            Read Retd. DIG Edward Gunawardena’s Memoirs on this matter. Mr. Gunawardena was present in Jaffna has given a definitive account of what took place in one chapter of his book.

            Having read former policeman’s account of what happened in Jaffna then, I too believe that this was the correct version.

            Gunawardena over several pages gives a very detailed account concluding that the real culprits for the burning of the library was the LTTE which sought to maximize the propaganda value of this destruction by blaming it on the government and the police.

            Gunawardena says in page 349 of his book that: “The tactics the LTTE adopted to confuse the police reached a crescendo on the night of June 1. The target for the LTTE to destroy to give them maximum propaganda stood out like a sore thumb. There was nothing else for the LTTE to destroy in Jaffna than the Jaffna public library.

            `To the world the Jaffna library was symbolic of the Tamil Hindu culture. It was the repository of classical Hindu treatises and the pedigrees of the Hindu Vellala aristocracy. But the world knew little or nothing about the rigid caste structure that dominated the social fabric of Jaffna.

            “It (the library) was certainly not an institution to be admired and venerated by the non-Vellala Tamils. What better target for destruction?”

            Truth hurts Muthu. But, it liberates you as well.

            Hope you will find peace and make peace with the Sinhalese.

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              Dear friends, Please see below two famous quotes from former President Ranasinghe Premadasa and the current President Mahinda Percy Rajapakse. I am you will need further evidence to prove who did it.

              In 1991 the then president of Sri Lanka Ranasinghe Premadasa publicly proclaimed that

              “During the District Development Council elections in 1981, some of our party members took many people from other parts of the country to the North, created havoc and disrupted the conduct of elections in the North. It is this same group of people who are causing trouble now also. If you wish to find out who burnt the priceless collection of books at the Jaffna Library, you have only to look at the faces of those opposing us”

              He was accusing his political opponents within his UNP party, Lalith Athulathmudali and Gamini Dissanayake, who had just brought an impeachment motion against him, as directly involved in the burning of the library in 1981.

              In 2006 the President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapakse was quoted as saying,

              “The UNP is responsible for mass scale riots and massacres against the Tamils in 1983, vote rigging in the Northern Development Council elections and [the] burning of the Jaffna library”

              He was also further quoted as saying in reference to a prominent local Tamil poet, reminding the audience that

              “Burning the Library sacred to the people of Jaffna was similar to shooting down Lord Buddha”

              He concluded in that speech that as a cumulative effect of all these atrocities, the peaceful voice of the Tamils is now drowned in the echo of the gun; referring to the rebel LTTE’s terrorism

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              U pathetic and absolute moron, We tamils of ealam knows whats your evil budistshit barbarians doing in our beloved land. Again it shows your ignorence, man I am true tamil and lived in jaffna and allways, that night still i am remember all sinhala budistshits behaved like animals. those days Nobody knows how many ltte…thatnight gamini bastard dissnayake, syril mathew devils gang..ordered all atrocities against our people. truth never hurts but continuous lies hurt. You sinhala budistshit’s never learn and never will, ltte gone for good use it or face it. You cant change history but you can change truth between civilzation and evil sinhala budistshit barbarism…

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              Are you going to say from 1948 to still against tamil violence coursed by LTTE, You called yourself progressive sinhala budshit. Accept your crime against tamils since independence. SHit lanka never going to be peaceful country until you rectify your evil crime against our people…get lost i dont need your answer…

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              Ben Hurling

              “Mr. Gunawardena was present in Jaffna has given a definitive account of what took place in one chapter of his book.”

              Mahanama was present when asylum seeking Vijaya and his thugs arrived in my ancestral land. He was also present when Buddha visited the island.

              Mahanama also gave several pages of origin of Sinhala history about their bestiality, incest relation, parricide,………..

              If you believe Gunawardena you would believe anything. Would you like to buy ice cream from Richard Nixon?

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    This Doctor says “It is also likely the results would favour the TNA overwhelmingly.” Then he argues that the Democracy is not by the people for the people and of the people. Therefore he suggests that the overwhelming winner should not act according to the wishes of the electorates but only according to the JVP, UNP,GOSL and other parties in SL. Yes Dr. the new concept of democracy/autocracy may be 0ne of the ways to prevent your arch enemy TNA from winning..

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    Where in the world are you living Dr Narendran? I used to read your comments and had a lot of respect for you. Now, what are you writing? You must address your proposal to the President, not TNA or UNP. Ask him to take the lead and invite TNA to lead a common list.

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      nimalD writes: “Ask him (Mahinda) to take the lead and invite TNA to lead a common list”

      The ever resourceful Rajapaksa clan (led by the strategic brain Gotabhaya) are taking the lead once again in this endeavour by getting another of Prabhakaran’s associates Daya Master to act as the family mouthpiece and maybe become the CM of the North. This new figure will no doubt form a cabinet consisting of other past figures from LTTE times like KP and Col Karuna thus showing the govt’s commitment to keeping the memory of the LTTE alive for posterity whilst not seeing the irony of blasting nations like Canada for being pro-LTTE mouthpieces.

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      It is amusing that you do not see the significance of Sambanthan inviting MR and RW to contesting the election on the basis of an MOU? Sambanthan transforms himself into an elder statesman overnight and will undo much of the damage the Tamil politicians and militants have done to the Tamil cause over decades. He will change the ball game in this country.

      We have to at some point in history look beyond the horizon!

      Dr. RN

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    Narendran.

    Do you think Sambandan is interested in your formula?.

    Sambnadan’s priority is to topple this admistration and pave the way for Ranil to form a Govt,

    That is what the Diaspora IC wants.

    And hope that he will get his SGA for the N and the E.

    Being a punting man , it is better than even money that the TNA plan is to create a confrontation and get the UN and their IC to intervene.

    President has said even as late as yesterday that he is open for a solution through the PSC.

    Why do you think Sambnadan wants a private treaty?.

    If the President promises anything to Sambandan in any private deal it is political harakiri

    And Ranil will get in even without the UN and the “IC”.

    Sabandan knows that he is in a win win situation.

    But my concern is the death and destruction that can follow if Sambandan plays his brand of polics yet again.

    My biggest concern is that the people who are going to suffer most are the same people , That is the rural poor innocents.

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      Sumanasekera,

      What I was suggesting was not a private treaty. Please read my words carefully. The win-win situation you talk of is both an opportunity and possible calamity. The latter more likely, in the current circumstances. What I am suggesting is to make it an opportunity to begin sorting out an hitherto intractable problem. Sambanthan owes it to the Tamils to chart a wise a course. MR and RW owe it to all Sri Lankans, including the Tamils to do so too.

      Dr.RN

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        Sumanasekera,

        Whether Sambanthan is interested or not is not the issue. What is important is that a possibility has been laid for him to see. It is obviously his choice. His choice will of course have an impact on our history. In that sense he is the man of the moment. Not MR and not RW. If he makes the right decision, he will be the leader the Tamils never had.

        Dr.RN

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    Narendran is a well known whitewasher & sycophant of the Rajapakse Regime and his “proposals” are to make an elected nothern provincial council to function as a subserviant entity of the regime.
    There is no need whatsoever for the TNA to contest along with UPFA, which is a conglomerate of parties which uphold the Rajapakse Junta so that they can survive with all the bogus powerless portfolios,and also enjoy the perks,position and power at the same time – knowing full well that the real power lies in the executive presidency.
    Provincial Councls ARE units of ‘internal self-determination’ under the parliamentary system.
    None are going to make “Unilateral Declarations of Independence”.
    The UNP & JVP have their own goals.
    The 17th amendment is functional,and all other councils are functioning fairly well,after members from various parties having been elected by citizens.
    Of course there are squabbles,but these are part of the process.
    Of course the Military Governer of the NP,will try to subvert all proposals for just governance to benefit & ensure equality & justice to tamils,but this situation has to be faced squarely by the elected council.
    The military & EPDP will try all tricks to subvert the election as happened at the last provincial council election.

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    Dr.Rajasingham,why only for the north.Why can’t it be for the whole country.First we should start with the southern provincial council which should have at least one fifth of members 20 % from TNA and 30% from UNP.Then After setting up the provincial councils one by one on that ratio last of all we can do it for the northern provincial council.The reason for it to be the last is because it is going to have the elections last,so let us do it on a first in first out basis,starting with dissolving the southern provincial councils with and appointing one fifth of the members from TNA.Don’t you think that is fair and will not give rise to accusations that the northern provincial council is not being specifically targeted or discriminated,because it is the only one that will not have a government stooge as the chief minister?

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    Sorry,it should not be 20% TNA,but 10 % TNA.I forgot the SLMC.They should have 10% too in the southern provincial council.With 30 % UNP.

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    Looks like Gotabhaya has taken the initiative to recruit a group of ex-LTTE members to the UPFA and challenge the TNA. Deal made under duress?

    TNA in the past have won on their own merits. Depends on the situation and support they have from the population.

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    What a crab Idea? Why CT waste our time allowing this guy to write. In Tamil he is “marai kalanda manusan”. CT please stop this guy writing in CT. Why don’t he try his idea at national level. Doesn’t realise the basis for PC system.

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    I believe that Dr.Narendran is not a human doctor. He must be an animal doctor. That is why he is getting these types of stupid ideas.

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    A national govt should be in the centre, not at the NPC. Rewrite this article..!!

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    Those who clearly have the ear of those who rule the roost in the North, who in turn have influence with policy-makers in Colombo, should remember the Special Arrangements for Kashmir during Nehru’s
    days when the State even had a Prime Minister. Special situations require special instruments to deal with them. The PC system in Sri Lanka has failed badly. It was given to all the PC’s except for the one it was really meant to be. OK! For arguments sake let us accept the
    then ruling Tigers made certain this did not succeed to upset their own Agenda. There then is that alternative in using the absolute power of the Govt in Parliament and doing away with the rest of the PCs but allow the North to have theirs – as a compromise leading to meaningful reconciliation.

    Tamil candidates of the UPFA and UNP contesting in partnership with the TNA is not an altogether bad idea. But such a progressive move can only come in a political culture of a more mature and tested mettle.
    I wonder if we have reached that stage yet. Meanwhile, trying to pack up the North with outsiders – like in the Valikamam North case – with clear intent of changing the demographic ratio to fall in line with current political ambitions should be abandoned forthwith. The plan is fraught with far too much danger – in years to come.

    Senguttuvan

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      Senguttuwan,

      Please do not confound a confused situation. I am writing about the Northern Province in Sri Lanka and a possible way to find solutions to obvious problems. My suggestion is location and context specific.

      If you have an alternate solution, please suggest it, without trying to beat around the bush, with assumed insinuations.

      Further, if you think the idea , ” is not altogether bad” , which in plain English means good ( two negatives make a positive) , why not say so? You are big enough to make no bones about it! I am sure you understand that what I am trying to do is to pave the way for the political culture, you lament is not there. We have to reach the stage you obviously recognise as important. However, we have an opportunity here and now to bring forward that stage. We have to try, try and try. The ball is in our court in this instance. If we try and fail, it will be yet to our credit.

      Issues such as Vallikamam north, can be sorted only in a non-adversarial political climate.

      Dr.RN

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        Whose idea was this? Basil’s? I suspect so !
        This syncopate is just repeating what was taught to him, remember remember lest we forget the “lauding” that he did at the request of the government as part of the “diaspora” group.
        Money talks and bullshit walks !!!

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    A balanced approach to a problem requires encouragement from all quarters. Rather than criticizing please suggest/offer alternate solutions. Intellectuals such as Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka, Dr. Rifai Naleemi Dr. Laksiri Fernando, Justice C.V. Wigneswaran, Dr. Thrishantha Nanayakkara and others should join the author and pool their knowledge and experience to work out a solution to their country.

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      Maghrabi,

      Thanks for your sensible comment. I am also awaiting comments and alternate suggestions from the likes you mention.

      Dr.RN

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    Oh my God.. oh my Gosh… less said the better! DR should consider using his title only in when he expresses opinion in his field of expertise.

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    Partnership with UNP and JVP to a certain extent is ok but with UPFA? ?? UPFA is an alliance mainly depend on sinhala Buddhist vote bank and party not interested in national reconciliation on the contrary undertook subjugation project by subverting democrazy. Author’s idea I feel genuine might help only to soften some of the hard talk and not beyond that because UPFA won’t risk their electoral share.
    TNA can’t play an oppounistic politics because we need friends internal and external, keep our moral high and trust worthy, transparent
    If TNA secures a handsome victory in the imminent election then there will be action committees, working groups UPFA can be accommodated there
    Then how to move forward ? We are no different from rest of the world, political struggle a democratic movement on the ground gain bargaining power and use it subtle

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      Jay,you say”UPFA is an alliance mainly depend on sinhala Buddhist vote bank”.

      That is the whole point,why there some substance in a national government proposal consisting of the TNA and UPFA because the TNA too is mainly depending on the hindu nationalist vote.The extremists are brought together and made to work togethr for the common good of the country instead of pulling in diffrent directions and tearing the country apart.

      However the only flaw in the proposal i feel is that it should first start with the southern provincial council.It should be dissolved and reconstituted on the basis of 50% of members from UPFA and its affiliates,25 % from UNP,10% TNA,10%SLMC,and 5% CWC.Culture permeates down from the top to the bottom they say.Mahinda is at the top.So if he does this starting with the southern provincial council the culture and politics of the country will gradually change from adversarial to cooperative with srilanka first.Mahinda has to make the first move and change the political culture of the country,not Sampandan who is a leader well down in the pecking order.

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        Shanker

        I quote here What DR.Laksiri Fernando said “What can prevent a major disaster, in the context of the NPC elections, is a coalition between the opposition forces i.e. TNA, UNP, JVP etc. (SLMC included) and a possible breakaway SLFP/UPFA in the future. There is nothing left in the present UPFA leadership or in the government in saving the country.”

        We need democratic forces to unite together, we need some body who can listen to us, we can’t make partnership with a party who determined to thwart any proposal involves power sharing with tamils for their survival. I don’t believe if we make an electoral/administrative alliance with UPFA will dissipate the mistrust between north and south rather it will be looked upon oppourtunisic stunt and probably short lived, mistrust will disappear when we are part of a change for entire island and the common man get his dividends along with feeling of rightness mere exchanges will take us no where.

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          Jay,you say that TNA can work together with the JVP in a coalition government.So why can’t it work with the UPFA?Take your mind back to the eighties.The most racist sinhala party at that time was the JVP.Also you say that the TNA can work with the UNP.Take your mind back again to the eighties and reflect on the racist arrogant UNP that wreaked havoc on the tamils until Prabha taught them a lesson by bumping all their leaders one by one.Has mahinda or sirima or chandrika ever allowed the riots that took place in 1977,81 and 83.I was in wellawatta on a visit when chandrika was in hospital from the bomb blast and wellawatta was full of security,even from hospital she did not allow anyone to riot.

          Now you say that the TNA can work with the UNP because everyone knows that unlike his predecessors Ranil is not a communal minded man and as a result the UNP has softened its stance towards the tamils.The JVP also has softened its stance(though i think it is just a ploy because they are on the ropes getting bashed by the Rajapakshes so you think that the TNA also can work with the JVP.Similarly if the north is demilitarized and the UPFA also softens it stance and becomes less war mode then don’t you think what you say about the JVP and UNP will apply to it too.

          Where DR.Rajasingham is going wrong is thinking in the current circumstances that it is possible for the the TNA to work together with the UPFA in the northern provincial council.His idea that a unity government is better than one with the TNA only is however correct.For that to take place Dr.Rajasingham has to do the following

          1.Persuade mahinda to demilitarize the north and also hand back all the lands belonging to the people back to them from the military.Bring back a civilian governor and civilian administration to the north.

          2.While this is going on persuade mahinda to dissolve the southern provincial council and have a unity government as the good Dr proposed for the north,consisting of 45% UPFA members,30 % UNP,10% TNA,10 % SLMC and 5% CWC.Leave the JVP out.

          3.Do the same to all the other councils one by one and last of all tackle the north in a similar fashion with 45% of members from the TNA.It will be difficult for Sambanthan to refuse to dissolve the northern provincial council and reconstitute it in the same manner as the other councils without embarrasing himself in the international forum as a chavinistic politician as opposed to mahinda who will become elevated to a statesman like Mandela.

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      Jay,

      Have you forgotten that the TNA backed Sarath Fonseka at the last presidential elections? What vote bank was SF aiming at?

      Dr.RN

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    I reproduce here my response to Anpu in the thread relating Justice Wigneswaran’s speech:

    “Anpu,
    I quote Joan V.Bondurant from her book, ‘ Conquest of violence:The Gandhian Philosophy of Conflict’ ( University of California Press, Berkeley, Los Angeles, London- 1971), to provide a concise answer.

    “In Satyagraha, dogma gives way to an open exploration of context. The objective is not to assert propositions, but to create possibilities. In opening up new choices and in confronting an opponent with the demand that he make a choice, the Satyagrahi involves himself in acts of ‘ethical existence’. The process forces a continuing examination of one’s own motives, an examination undertaken within the context of relationships as they are changed towards a new, restructured, and reintegrated pattern.

    Satyagraha goes beyond the pressure tactics of strike, sit-in, fasting, and other limited efforts characteristic of passive resistance.”
    She also goes on to say, ” Civil disobedience without creative action may, indeed end in alienation”.

    I hope this answers your question.”

    Please note the initial sentences expressing the meaning of Satyagraha.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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    Dr. Narendran,

    Spare to us the pedagogic approach. I have earlier had much cause to suggest you often arrogate to yourself the omniscient mentality. You will grant others have a little thinking capacity as well. The Tamil readership is far too familiar with where you stand and they have told this to you in appropriate language. Forgive me, but you are not the only one with all the right answers, Sir.

    Since you seem confused, be assured I am writing about the NP as well.
    I am satisfied the TNA is fully aware, capable and know the ground situation sufficiently well to offer to the Tamil people what is just and necesary. They probably know you are trying to muddy the water to confound issues – that you strangely accuse me of. They will not agree that issues such as Valikamam North can be sorted out later – after all the legitimate owners are dis-possessed out and the security establishment and their personnel are firmly on the ground.

    Senguttuvan

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      Mr Sambandan acts like the victor although he has been with the vanquished all the way.

      He is trying the same old tricks, this time with the hope of getting the Diaspora IC to carve out a homeland.

      The pathetic UNP and the other losers in the Opposition have put their personal interests before the interest of the Nation.

      As Dr Narendran says it is totally and absolutely in the hands of Sambandan to allow the people who have been permanent residents of the North and the East to live as one with the rest as Sambandan and his mates have been doing all along and have done well.

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      Senguttuwan,

      Please read my article, your comment, my response and your response in return. Where lies the pedagogy , the omniscience and omnipresence? Your last response reflects everything you are accusing me of . Do not start conducting popularity surveys based on comments here.

      Dr. RN

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        We all know you ! You sold your soul for personal glory and you as Segu as correctly suggested seem to assume that you have all the answers !!!
        You are the last person who should comment !!! You ran away during the war and then returned like vultures and hyenas after to make us suffer–we too have been to the Vanni and Jaffna and live there fort long periods of time even now, unlike you who is part of the “diaspora”
        Before suggesting solutions to us Tamils in Sri Lanka (you are not part of this since you migrated abroad) I suggest you set up the public fund you suggested for the ex-CJ !!!!

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      You are exactly correct. His writings shows where he stands. Animal Dr N and KT Rajasingam ect ect in the field with specific agenda. Tamils are not fools as he thinks. If they really want to try, they have to start with South.

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    The experiment of forming an all group administration was a debacle and destroyed due to narrowness of minds, in 1987.

    Your vision of bringing all brilliant positive minds (who shun politics and politicians) into executive setup for reconstruction will not be permitted by power seekers operating in the North.

    We don’t have a Lee Kuan yew in Jaffna – Sri Lanka to look forward into 21st Centaury and out of box thinkers to develop and implement a program to relief the misery of the Tamil people.

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    It is a good idea,no argument.But there is a big if,that is,IF the funders of the TNA allow such an arrangement which is clearly against their aspirations. Something similar to what Dr.Narendran suggests is a must for a workable PC in the north. Having said that,just may be, the gov.would like to test their stregnth or in other words check the popularity of the TNA in the north at the present moment.
    Whatever the out come of the elections a consensual administration will ensure its continuity.

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    If the ‘promised’ election for the NPC is going to be violent, as Dr Narendran has indicated, that needs to be prevented or minimized as much as possible perhaps through an agreement between all parties contesting, TNA, UPFA, UNP, SLMC etc. An initiative could come from the civil society with the backing of perhaps the Commonwealth. Since the Commonwealth is going to come to the country, at least they should deliver some service. The Commonwealth also should ensure that the military does not interfere in the elections.

    But to prevent the TNA or its CM acting ‘adventurously’ in the event that they win the elections, as Rajasingham indicates ‘most likely,’ and also “to make the best out of a potentially hopeless situation,” I am not convinced that his proposals would work, the UPFA as a major partner, under the prevailing circumstances leaving aside the rationality or irrationality of some of them. However, his 10 point objectives are quite noble. If the purpose of his proposed coalition is ‘reconstruction, development and normalization’ then it is too late by four years on the part of the government or the UPFA.

    What can prevent a major disaster, in the context of the NPC elections, is a coalition between the opposition forces i.e. TNA, UNP, JVP etc. (SLMC included) and a possible breakaway SLFP/UPFA in the future. There is nothing left in the present UPFA leadership or in the government in saving the country.

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    Laksiri,

    It does not require a rocket scientist to say the NP/PC elections will see much violence. The Rajapakses so far survived, against a collapsing economy that was slowly biting the ignorant masses fed on a high diet of triumphalism, invoking the daily mantra “we beat the LTTE and saved the Sinhala Nation. We kept the country from division” But this is losing steam with the JVP, NLSSP and other Sinhala parties being welcome and inter-acting with the Tamils almost on a daily basis.
    More importantly, many of the soldiers where the regime has pampered the officer-cadres, is fed with the same diet of cons and poor treatment in the barracks. If the Govt-nominees lose it will a tremendous loss of face for the Rajapakses. Their proxies do not have much mass support in the North. The only hope is violence through
    gun-toting cadres in the islands and in the mainland – with help from the army. Strong and neutral monitors from outside in large numbers is absolutely necessary.

    An absolute TNA victory is far too early to be certain in a theatre anything can happen. Remember Wayamba in the South? Well! the main actors of that dubious campaign are still around with the regime.

    An Indian journo notes with a megalomaniac at the helm and a narcissist
    with his hands on the guns anything can happen.

    Senguttuvan

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    I am glad readers like Dev have their eyes open. Running with the hare and hunting with the hounds is an old English game. Jaffna is far too small and people know who is who among them – and who talks to whom – openly and surreptitiously.

    Senguttuvan

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    Dr.RN

    That was a political mistake of TNA and the decision to support SF probably under pressure from UNP after Sambanthar fails to cut a deal with Rajapakshe and the question was at that time be neutral or alliance with either UNP or UPFA, today the choice of UPFA is not existing because they have clearly demonstrated what they are upto and capable of, doesn’t matter you are with us or with out us. Do you really believe that making an alliance with UPFA will do some thing for us, if so, please justify it, and draw a parallel line why Douglas devananda being a cabinet minister didn’t achieve any tangible results.

    You may aware many TNA members were uncomfortable/opposed the decision to support SF

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      Jay,

      The UPFA is currently under tremendous pressure both internally and externally. This does not mean it will collapse soon. It has yet a popular base, though it is not as secure as before. The UPFA weakness in the north and east was the extreme security related paranoia that overtook it soon after the war. Yet, it turned down the recommendation of the then Army Commander, General Sarath Fonseka to drastically increase the size of the army. It also did a good job with the IDP situation and rehabilitation. The resettlement process also proceeded satisfactorily, given the ground realities and the pressures. The government has done an excellent job on the infrastructure building front. The government has definitely failed on the reconciliation front and in some instances damaged it further. Of course, it made a grave mistake in trying manipulate the political process in the north and east in favour of persons of its choice.

      Thus, its record is a mixed bag of A’s, B’s, C’s , D’s and F’s, in the north and east. The war-affected people in the north do not need political turmoil, at this point in the recovery process. I do not see any harm in making a deal with the UPFA, if a reasonable MOU can be negotiated by the TNA. If such an agreement cannot be reached or if the UPFA undermines it subsequently, TNA would yet receive credit for trying to do what was right in the circumstances. Further, do not forget that the experiment would be under close scrutiny. The TNA should of course make sure that it does not make its share of mistakes or is trapped into to doing so. It may be a difficult marriage at times, but every effort should be made to sustain it.

      Under the prevalent circumstances, both the TNA and the UPFA need each other. There cannot be better circumstances to try the approach I have suggested in outline. Of course the UNP and the JVP should be part of such a deal. I do not think a separate deal has to be made with the Muslim Congress, as it is a constituent of the UPFA. The President has to negotiate within his coalition.

      I also take this opportunity to remind readers that there is a significant Sinhala presence in the Vavuniya and Mullaitivu ( Weli Oya) districts, and significant Muslim presence in the Vavuniya and Mannar districts. They will be represented in the Northern PC and their aspirations and needs have to be taken into consideration. This will be also a challenge to the northern PC, to set a trendsetting precedence.

      Dr.RN

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      Jay,

      My reading is at the time when the anti-Tamil Sarath F was campaigning for President, TNA joined others to support him on that old theory “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” Remember, Sarath F’s strategy to increase the army to 400,000 (“to attack Tamilnadu, as they are becoming a threat”) was shelved by the cunning Rajapakses because they feared – and rightly so – this unpredictable and ill-educated man might attempt a Coup with the army under his control. The other reason was the Rajapakses have – and were subverting into paralysis by then – all aspect of governance – Parliament, the Armed forces/Police, the judiciary, the Opposition, the media, the State administrative machinery and even many strong apolitical sections of the private sector.

      Douglas Devananda’s usefulness is long gone. He is now subordinate to the Governor in the running of the NP. He knows his days are numbered. It is a pity, He was a useful asset to the Tamil cause at the inception – but circumstances went against him. Nonetheless, he had many years of tasting the fruits of governance- which seems to be the priority in politics now. Service to the people or development of the region and the country is all but forgotten.

      Many Tamils feel TNA must go alone and prove to the Tamil Nation and the world, the spirit of the ancient Lankan nation is alive and well and cannot be totally destroyed. They have seen wars and destruction before.

      Senguttuvan

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    Thanks Dr Rajasingham Narendran for the out of the box suggestions.

    These are excellent proposals,but we must take into account ground realities.

    The government is now on a downward trend and therefore will ill afford to face a defeat and the Tamils also will definitely expect immediate results.

    Hence I am afraid that your suggestions are not feasible.

    Further it requires revolutionary changes in the mindset of both communities whioch are highly likely!
    Let us look at it from another angle.
    First we must accept that the elections based on the 13 A or the constitution of the NPC is not the political solution the Tamils wanted.
    The political solution to the ethnic problems is so complex that a short term solution is highly unlikely.

    Everybody on both sides of the ethnic divide should accept this reality and consider the Provincial Council as another level of government like the Local Authorities- Municipal Councils and Pradesha Sabas,but at a little higher level in-between the Central Government and the Local Authorities.

    If the Tamils had participated in the Local Government, Parliamentary and Presidential elections why cannot they participate in the Northern Provincial Council with the same mindset and without any higher expectations.

    But of course continue the struggle for a viable political solution with the support of the international communities.

    There will be a tgemporary set back but is is worth the risk!

    Then there is the possibility that the Provincial Councils could be the instrument as the second tier of government that could promote participatory democracy and regional development which no doubt empowers Tamil people in the North.

    Let the expectations be very modest!

    The TNA must contest the elections and win. I prefer Mr Sambanthan to lead and become the Chief Minister as he had already built up rapport with all the shareholders.

    He is the only none who could control the militant groups among the Tamils.

    The first few months after the elections are very crucial.

    The police powers, land powers or even changing Governor may not be the priority whereas the high security zones, government sponsored colonizations, the release of detainees and livelihood supports are!

    Both parties should ensure that the Northern Provincial Council willnot col;lpse and not be a short lived one and the early dissolution will definitely will raise communal passions with disastrous consequences and it should be avoided at any cost.

    Is this is not a way out at this juncture?

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      Sri

      Thanks for engaging in a positive manner. I would take a century or more to change the mindset of the people, whether Tamil or Sinhalese, on some matters, if the present tendencies continue. However, the common factors binding both are they do not want another war or further turmoil. The other factor is an overwhelming desire to live together peacefully. There is overwhelming sympathy for the plight of the war-affected Tamils. Even Wimal Weerawanse is today talking about the shared attributes of the Sinhalese and Tamils.

      Unfortunately, the Sinhala people are also yet quite suspicious about the long term intentions of the Tamils regarding separation and whether the Northern PC will become an instrument for this. The words and actions of the Tamil political formations and sections of the Diaspora have added fuel to this fear, even in the post-war context. This fear has to be addressed and dissipated.

      It will take longer to change mind sets than take actions that would lead to it. This is where leadership capable of innovative solutions is required. The cart has to be pulled by a horse or horses!

      The UPFA government may be on a downward slope, but it is not down yet. It may last longer than many expect because a viable alternative has not emerged yet. President Rajapakse is yet popular , though his irrational actions in many spheres are making people look askance. It is not too late for him to take corrective actions. I hope he is not stupid enough not to do so.

      Further, we, the Tamils, cannot live for ever in the hope that miracles will happen. No government in Sri Lanka will act differently, given the circumstances. Remember how Ranil Wickremasinghe changed his stance from federalism to a continuation of the unitary state prior to the last presidential elections. We have to learn to deal with political parties both in and out of government on the premise that they will not change their stance, unless political compulsions dictate so. A change of regime is not our objective as Tamils in terms of our problems and solutions. however, it can be so in a larger context as Sri Lankans. The two stances should not be permitted to be confounded.

      This will only happen if the majority of the Sinhalese are convinced that devolution through PCs and/ or power sharing at the centre is the right thing to do. The conditions for this have to be created by the Tamil side. Some may ask why the onus should be only on the Tamils? It is so because the Tamils are asking for devolution and power sharing, while the Sinhalese have no need for these and would like to continue with things as they are now. Itis the Tamils side that tried to force the issue though even a violent militancy, but failed miserably.

      What I have suggested in this article is how this can be done to convince the majority among the Sinhala people through practical demonstration that the Tamils have no ulterior or sinister motives, but genuine grievances that require devolution and/ or power sharing as solutions, within a united and if imperative a unitary Sri Lanka. This cannot be done without finding an accommodation with the political forces that represent largely the Sinhala people and principally the poltical party or grouping that is wielding power.

      The onus is thus on the TNA and the Tamil people. Wisdom and political compulsions also make it imperative the Sinhala political formations respond in kind.

      Sri, I thank you once again for affording me the opportunity to present my arguments.

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran.

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    Dr.RN
    Anybody who knows the history and the treachery of the Tamil leaders like Sampanthan (I also don’t want to call him sir) very well wont not only accept your views but also will laugh at your arguments. It is true that Sampanthan is not only educated but also a landlord(how he acquired the lands in Trincomalee is a different story) .First of all ,if you want to achieve something the thirst,the desire should come from the bottom of your heart. The Tamil issue has been going on for decades. To solve the ethnic issue really,the desire should come from the hearts of the Tamil leaders also. We cant simply put the blame only on the government and the Tigers .There were opportunities to solve the ethnic issue.
    Treachery of Sampanthans
    North and East were separate provinces until the Indo-SL accord was signed. North and East became one unit only after the signing of the Indo-SL accord and remained one unit for more than two decades(even though temporarily). What did the Tamil leaders like Sampanthan do to make temporary merger permanent? Did they accept the 13th amendment? Do they accept it now?Even in a recent interview to BBC, Sampanthan said 13th amendment is a dead body and they wont even touch it.For argument sake ,lets say the 13th amendment will not fulfill the aspirations of the Tamils . Since 1987, have they achieved anything better than the 13th amendment? Nothing,zero. Had they achieved something better than the 13th amendment we could have justified their rejection. Dr.RN,had they accepted the 13th amendment ,don’t you think that thousands of lives could have been saved?
    When Madam Chandrika brought a proposal to the parliament in August 2000,Dr.RN, what did Sampanthan do?Did he support it opposed it?Do you remember Madam Chandrika provided bullet proof car and so many body guards? In return Sampanthan not only stabbed madam Chandrika but also the Tamils at the back.Tell me from the bottom of your heart,will the Tamils have a golden opportunity like that one?Dont you think what Sampanthan did was nothing but treachery to the tamils? Had he supported the package in 2000, don’t you think thousands of innocent lives could have been saved?
    Birth of violence
    It is true that some actions of the successive governments made the Tamil youth resorted to violence.At the same time the Tamil leaders sowed the seeds of violence among the tamil youth. Tamil leaders branded their political opponents as traitors and announced publicly that traitors wont die naturally(iyatkai maranam illai ). Thuraiyappa was killed by theTigers,but the Sampamthans got him killed.Dr.RN,do you accept that the Tamil leaders sowed the seeds of violence among the Tamil youth?Wont they do that again?Didnt Sampanthan say recently in Trinco “we will have to resort to some other means”.What does this mean Dr.?

    The easiest way to bag the votes of innocent people is to speak communalism,fiery anti government speaches.That is what the Sampanthans have been doing.As long as they adopt the policy of confrontational politics you cannot find the solution.As long as the problem exists ,Sampanthans can bag the votes easily.

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      Gayathri K,

      Thanks for highlighting the history of shortsighted Tamil politics. I have discussed these issues in several articles and comments over the years. I have been named a traitor for doing so over the years. To some I am also a pedagogue an omnicient because of this. A grave crime in the world of Tamil politics today!

      The past has been discussed enough and more from various perspectives and I do not think it is worth rehashing now. Our concern should be about the future, especially what should be done in the coming months. This is also an opportunity, that is likely to be missed, as you point out. However, should it be? Should not the Tamil intelligentia – if there is yet such an enity yet?- apply pressure on the TNA and Sambanthan, to do what is wise, instead of being mute spectators, while the rabble rule , dictate terms and rouse passions. The Tamil intelligentia has failed the Tamils more than the ploitical formations.

      CT is reporting elsewhere today that the government is planning to amend the 13th amendment prior to the September PC elections. It would get the two third majority hook or by crook to do so. I am not a fan of the 13th amendment as it was designed or stands today, but it will be worse when amended. The only guarantee that it would be implemented in the spirit it was conceived was the involvement of the Indian government in 1987. This likelihood was blown to smithereens by the LTTE and by the then castrated TULF. Its usefulness has been downhill since. The only hope i see to give the 13th amendment some relevance and revive at least the spirit in which it was conceived is to work towards a ‘ National’ PC for the north as I have suggested. Failing this we have to get ready to perform the last rights for the unlucky numbered 13th amendment! The international community can only condole with us on its demise!

      The TNA was grandstanding during the post- war years to popular, but shortsighted, applause. Instead of capitalising on the post-war circumstances, to work with the government to resolve the war-related problems in the north and east, it consciously took on a an adversarial role . It criticised everthing and failed to acknowledge what was also right. It was acting as the representative of sections of the Diaspora, rather than the war-affected Tamils here. It also tried to play the King- maker in national politics, by supporting Sarath Fonseka’s presidential bid.

      I think the time has come for the TNA to do what is right by the war-affected Tamils and this country. It cannot continue to play the role of an archetypal lawyer in Tamil and national politics any longer , by just arguing a case in a selective manner with much eloquence, bombast and little regard for the truth. They will win a case, but lose the plot for the Tamils.

      This comment does not exonerate this government either, for what it has miserably failed to do and did in the post-war years, in its excessively paranoid security consciousness, and attempt to fashion a Tamil leadership to its measurements.

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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      CBK’s sudhu nellum was one the rare sucessful program managed to dissipate the hatred between north and south, LTTE was so foolishly weaken CBK’s hand instead strengthening, even some diaspora groups promised CBK they will push LTTE to compromise but facist nature of LTTE made the whole process collapse apart from sinhala hawlks including JVP.

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      Dear Gayathri,

      “North and East were separate provinces until the Indo-SL accord was signed.”
      Don’t change the history of North East. You are talking about the nine provinces created by British. History does not start from British invasion to Sri Lanka. There were three separate administrative units (Kingdoms) and NorthEast is one of them. Sampanthan is absolutely right that 13th amendment is not the solution to the NorthEast people. Any solution under unitary system is not workable. This has shown time to time. You may have short memories. Tamils accepted District Development Council as a solution and we all know how it lead to 1981 burning of Jaffna library and 1983 massacre of Tamils.The Sinhala politics did not even grant a power to appoint a peon to the DDC. Tamils accepted Regional Councils for North East in 1956 and the response from the Sinhalese was 1958 massacre.
      It is not that some actions of the successive governments made the Tamil resorted to violence. it is because all the peaceful and democratic means by Tamils were responded violently by the successive Sinhala Governments lead the Tamils to take the arms to defend the violence of Sinhala.

      Do you know when was the violence reported against Tamils in Sri Lanka?
      Do you know how many Tamils were massacred in 1958 by Sinhalese?
      Do you know when Tamil passengers in “Kumuthini Boat” was butchered by Sinhala Navy?
      Do you know how many political prisoners were tortured and butchered inside Welikade Prison?

      Do you how many innocent civilians were killed by Sinhalese forces after an attack on SriLankan military personal?

      How many of those responsible were brought under the Sri Lankan Justice system?

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    Ajith,

    “History does not start from British invasion to Sri Lanka. There were three separate administrative units (Kingdoms) and NorthEast is one of them”

    Did the jaffna kingdom contain the present day Eastern Province ?
    Besides wasn’t the jaffna kingdom in existence only for 300 yrs of the 2500 yrs of history?

    Blank statements like this which could not be backed up either by historical facts or shear numbers were the main reasons you could not win your seperate state with international backing

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      Raviperera,
      The fact is fact. Whether it is 30 years or 300 years or 3000 years it was there and Tamil speaking people were living in that part, not Sinhalese.
      North East of the island is the homeland for Tamil speaking people over 800 years according to you. That is enough period to be a separate state or a state within united island since the unitary system under Sinhala rule failed its obligation to protect Tamils. You talk about evidence, Can you give statistical evidence to prove that Sinhalese were living in substantial numbers in the North East for the past 800 years before you got it from British?

      I don’t know whether you know the history of Sinhala in this country? Where did you and ancestors came from to claim that this island is yours?

      Winning or Loosing depends on various factors and it is not an end to the journey. Over the past 500 years of history, you just had 65 years of Sinhala rule. Within this 65 years of rule, North and East was not under your control for 30 years and it is under Tamil rule though you had international support. You may call LTTE as a terrorist group (In fact your state has the same terrorist characteristics)but you have sat in the same table negotiating sharing the power with Tamils. Do you know what a low level you went to defeat LTTE. You were begging the International Community to ban LTTE and you have to get the support of the LTTE to win LTTE ( after paying ransom to that former LTTE leader who were part of the Terrorist group).

      You may have won the armed conflict but there is no guarantee to you that the international partners and the environment will remain unchanged. Don’t think that the struggle for freedom has ended and it is now becoming more and more relevant. The dictatorship and the violent nature of your behaviour masked your eyes and you are continue to ignore the importance of rule of law and rights of the people. You think having a large number of Sinhala military and unlawful activities such as white vans can save your nation from destruction.

      I love the land I born and grow as much as you. I want to see a land that respects the right of each individual. If you think Sinhala are superior to others, then you are an enemy of the land. You understand the principle of sharing and love that is fundamental to buddhism.

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        Ajith.

        Your are correct only with regard to the historicity of the Tamils. They were living not only in the north and east, but all over the island, throughout known history and likely beyond. There was also a historical presence of the Sinhalese in the north and east. The Tamils may have predominated in the north and east, but their presence was not exclusive. Further, parts of the present East, were not parts of the ancient east. There were several Kingdoms in the island, which in the colonial period were organised first into five provinces and then nine. The Kandyan Kingdom, which was conquered last by the British, was fragmented deliberately by the British and parts attached the Eastern, Uva and Sabbaragamuwa provinces. The Kandyans have the most grounds to complain because their traditional lands have been stolen and colonised by others!

        Tamils have also become Sinhalese and Sinhalese have become Tamils over time. We were also probably of common origins but evolved differently in terms of language and culture. Tamil and Sinhala Hindus became Buddhists at one time and the Tamil Buddhists either became Sinhalese or reverted back to being Tamil Hindus. If not for these ebbs and tides, storms and Tsunamis of history, we will not be what we are now and yet share a common genetic profile.

        There have been also more recent migration from South India, especially during the early colonial era and these people have become Sinhalese or remained Tamils, depending on where they located themselves. The Tamils from India who settled in the north in the 13th and 14th centuries, of course not the first Tamils in the Island. Similarly, the Tamils who settled among the Sinhalese, have become Sinhalese of distinct castes over a few centuries. There are also Tamils and Telugus, who were brought into the rubber and tea plantations as indentures labour, who continue to be Tamils or have become Tamils. There are also many Keralites , formerly called Malabari’s , who have either become Sinhalese or Tamils over time. Because of the intonation of Tamil in the north and east, the colonialists referred to the local Tamils as Malabaris. This usage has created much confusion among modern day partisan historians.

        Both the Sinhalese and Tamils have to understand their history in a holistic sense, We are like Abel and Caine, the children of Adam and Eve, in the Judeo- Christian-Islamic tradition. One may consider the other evil, but yet we are of the same origin. What we were engaged was a fratricidal war and now what we are increasingly getting entrapped in is a fraternal war of words. The former has been proven futile and tragic. The latter is bound to be the same. Rhetoric and grandstanding have to be recognised and left out of the inter-communal dialogue in this country.

        We can be proud of ourselves and our culture and seek to preserve and improve it. But this should be done within the larger imperative of respecting each other as people who are more like each other, than any other. To keep on talking of the past in terms of what is ancient and hence hazy, and of the more recent that is yet too close to be viewed objectively and rationally, does not behoove us, as humans in the 21st century.

        We have to think of only how we can chart a better future for all, as humans and cultural entities.

        Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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    I agree with Gayathri that had TNA backed Chandrika’s proposals in Parliament we would have got a better deal for the Tamils than the 13th amendment. But Gayathri should not blame Sampanthan alone for TNA’s refusal to back Chandrika. I was told by my friend former Batticaloa Parliamentarian and presently Eastern Provincial Councillor Thurairajasingham that Sampanthan argued at the Parliamentary Group meeting almost a whole day that TNA should back Chandrika’s proposals. Some other TNA MPs opposed the move because they did not want to earn the wrath of the LTTE. The most prominent among them was Batticaloa MP Joseph Pararajasingham who finally compelled Sampanthan to drop the idea. Sampanthan’s hands were forced by other TNA MPs and he was unable to get them support Chandrika. Even if Chandrika went ahead and got the proposals accepted by Parliament I do not think LTTE would have accepted the formula. They would have continued to fight and prevented the implementation of the proposals.

    13th amendment is not the ideal solution, but Tamils could have used it as a base for further improvements later. That was what Rajiv Gandhi promised to the Tamil groups which came forward to support the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord. Even after the withdrawal of IPKF Rajiv harboured the idea of reviving the Indo Sri Lanka Accord and I believed that he would have done that had he not been assassinated by the LTTE. In this regard Rajiv had given a personal promise to ENDLF leader Rajan. Rajan told me that Rajiv promised to him that if he becomes the Prime Minister again one of his first tasks would be to find a permanent solution to the Tamil problem and that Tamils will almost get an Eelam.

    It is a fact that the present TNA leadership does not want to settle for the 13th amendment but there is no way that they will get a better deal from this governmen on their own. India is still prepared to compel the Sri Lankan government to implement the 13th amendment in full with some improvements. But New Delhi has signalled that it wants all Sri Lankan Tamil parties to get together and make that appeal to India. In fact an attempt was made through Natchiappan MP to get such a consensus through the New Delhi conference but that attempt failed in the face of stalling by Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam and because of the lukewarm support from Mavai, Sumanthiran and Premachandran. At that New Delhi conference ENDLF made that proposal but most the constitutent parties of TNA rejected that proposal. It is high time that a similar conference is organised, consensus obtained and joint approach made by the Tamil political party leaders to New Delhi. Congress leadership is keen to do something for the SL Tamils before the forthcoming Lok Sabha Elections. It is high time the SL Tamil leadership make use of this opportunity and approach New Delhi with one voice. I am confident that this time a unified voice of the SL Tamil leaders will be heard in New Delhi. This is where the in-fighting in TNA should stop and all the constituent parties of TNA and others outside the alliance should close ranks. What is important today is not the Northern Provincial Elections but the full implementation of the 13th amendment with the merger of Northern and Eastern Provinces and improvements to the devoluion package ensuring that elected provincial councillors enjoy executive powers unhindered by the Governor appointed by the President. The million dollar question is whether SL Tamil eaders will come forward and make that call on India.

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      ” Rajan told me that Rajiv promised to him that if he becomes the Prime Minister again one of his first tasks would be to find a permanent solution to the Tamil problem and that Tamils will almost get an Eelam.” – This could be true because I too heard similar views that Jayalaitha and Rajiv was thiniking on same line in 1990 when they formed coalition.

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        One is left to wonder, therefore, if this is so why is there such a widespread believe the LTTE conspired and killed Rajiv?

        Senguttuvan

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          Senguttuvan,

          There are two groups of people in TN, one who believe Indian government investigations which declared LTTE was behind assassination.The other group declines that LTTE was not behind it. And to back that claim they have 32 points, and still no answers from any quarter on that. God only knows.

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      Several attempts were made both by GoI and GoSL interests separately and together in recent times in various cities of India. The most recent one was in mid-April where only Indian experts gave their views on what should be done to bring peace and unity in Sri Lanka. One was held in Bangalore a few months ago where speakers from both sides were present. One in the Lankan delegation did not speak Sinhala or Tamil. Even his English was far from perfect. He was there because he happened to be someone a leading Opposition politician LIKED. There is a further one that is due to be worked out early May where the speakers/subjects on both sides will be decided. It is a pity that Nambiar, son of the famous late movie star, died somewhat pre-maturely.
      He had some good plans.

      But for all this the Rajapakses must offer their fullest cooperation.
      In the Bangalore Workshop, it is understood, the Rajapakses laid down no discussion on the 13th amendment will be tolerated?????

      Senguttuvan

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      I cannot understand why you want the TNA to go and lick the backsides of the congress to implement the 13th amendment in full.It has got nothing to do with the tamils as it was a government to government agreement signed over the heads of the tamil leaders who were not even consulted nor did they participate in his formulation.The indo lanka accord has to be implemented because it is a indo lanka accord whetherv tamils want it or not,just like the kachativu agreement has to be honoured whethr tamilnadu dislikes it or not.

      The TNA’s stance on this should be “we are not going to oppose the Indo-lanka accord nor support it.It is entirely upto india to implement it or not.

      As for rajiv’s statement that he will give tamils eelam,it should be taken with a pinch of salt.This is the man who asked his army commander to kill prabha when he came to talk to him.This is the man who sullied the Ghandhi name by taking bribes in the bofors scandal.This is the man who let loose on the tamils the Indian army to rape kill and destroy and did nothing to prevent it or take any disciplinary action.A pilot who would never have made it to the prime ministership on his own merit,who was strutting about and bullying everyone smaller than India,good riddance of bad rubbish and i for one believe he got his just deserts at chennai bomb blast for all the atrocities committed by the IPKF.

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        This comment was for naga

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    If Tamils want land and police powers over N & E, admit at least 25% Sinhalese into N & E. What do you stand to loose in taking some Sinhala people there? Do you loose your culture? religion? political majority? land? Absolutely nothing. Its an extremely small price to pay to assure the Sinhala South that you do not intend to create a mono ethnic Eelam.

    As long as Tamils try to keep North near exclusively Tamil, given all the things that have happened in the past, given all the things that are happening at present elsewhere in the world, the South will do all that it can to make sure its interests are protected.

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      It is fundamentally a misconception and propaganda by Sinhala extremists that Tamils are trying to create a mono ethnic Eelam. Eelam concept was originated in 1970s after all other means of sharing the power (or power devolution) such as regional councils (Banda-Chelva Pact, Dudley-Chelva Pact, district Development Councils) denied and reacted violently. We all Sinhala only act, Colonistaion of North East by Sinhalese to change the natural demography changes, and the structural changes such as Sinhala only armed forces and violence and ethnic cleansing in the form riots.
      Tamils are not enemies of the Sinhalese. Tamils never opposed to Sinhalese come to live in the North_East Region. Sinhala was taught in Tamil schools before 1958 riots. North East region is a dryzone areas ,agricultural and industrial potential was limited and Sinhalese from South did not volunteered to move from high potential South. Under the British administration Colombo was the capital and Tamils had opportunities to study and get employment and Tamils moved into Colombo. It is not a state sponsored Colonisation, in contrast to Colonisation of North East.
      Out of the nine provincial councils, only in North and East Provincial councils the population distribution has shown significant change and the rest seven provinces did not show any change.

      North East is not only homeland for Tamils but also for Muslims. Nobody asked those Sinhalese who are living in the North East to vacate. After the end of this war TNA started negotiations with the Government to find a peaceful solutions within a united framework. Like South has majority of Sinhalese, North and East has majority of Tamils. Like South has a parliament which has the land and police powers along with other powers why should not North East ave the same powers to its multi-ethnic, multi-cultural people. The six decades of politics under unitary system favoured to Sinhala only. Tamils are not asking for military power or entire nation. Who is not willing to talk and find a solution? Is it the Government or TNA? Tamils have concern about their rights and security as Sinhala people. The past clearly shows the concerns of both Sinhala in the South and Tamils in the North are indifferent. You don’t need to think on behalf of extremists but you should think in a rational manner that what sort of power sharing mechanism can help to bring peace and trust between both sides. This is what International Community wants, The LLRC recommendation wants, rational thinking people wants. Who has to take the steps first? Most rational people think it is the responsibility of the Government? Can the Government come forward honestly and openly?

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      Navin,It would be okay to bring in the 25% sinhalese into the north,but it has to be done carefully.I remember in the former yugoslavia the break up occurred because Serbs who were living with the muslims complained to milosevic that were not being treated properly by the muslim administration in muslim majority areas.Milosevic said he will teach them a lesson and dismantled all the threads of devolution that Josep Broz Tito,a croat himself had used to stich up the country together.It resuted in the break up of Yugoslavia.

      Similarly if the sinhalese in the north complain to the president and he decides to teach the tamil administration in the north a lesson by dismantling the provincial councils,then there is possibility of the north one day breaking off and forming a separate country such as singapore breaking off from Malaysia.

      If the tamils in the south are treated badly by the sinhala administration they can only complain to the sinhalese president who might not do anything about it,but when he hears complaints either true or false from the sinhalese in the north he will get angry and might do something rash like Milosevic did.

      I agree that sinhalese will not move to the north unless there are sufficient incentives given.Ideally i would like the northern provincial council administration to provide various incentives from funds got from the center for sinhalese to come and buy or rent property and settle in the north and live within their midst just like the tamils did in colombo, without these colonisation schemes.A rental subsidy and a easy payment scheme to purchase land and property is a must to get the migration flowing.It is better for the tamils to control that migation so that future problems don’t occur.

      I agree with you that tamils must ditch that mentality that the north should be for tamils only,but it has to be programmed properly.The current manner of forcing it down the throat is not conducive for good for good race relations in the future.

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        Shankar,

        The present low key ad hoc colonization schemes are the result of Tamil intransigence towards bringing in Sinhala people to North/East. Instead of being totally against any form of government mediated settlements, what Tamil politicians should do is come to a compromise with the government where settlements are tied to power devolution and development goals. That way, both communities get what they want. Why would Sinhala people want to steel land from Tamils in the North when there is plenty of unused lands or why should they be against giving priority for settling displaced people?

        TNA should negotiate with the government a medium term plan that includes an annual quota on how many people it is allowed to settle in North/East and an investment/development target that it needs to meet simultaneously. If there are concerns about unemployment etc., those too could be factored in as is common in any immigration scheme.

        While asking for a multi-ethnic secular country, it is hypocritical of Tamils to target a near exclusive Tamil North. No settlements demand is just to keep North mono ethnic for as long as possible. Can you think of one good reason why any non-Tamil should agree to such a demand in this resource starved country?

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          Navin,i don’t think that tamils are against sinhalese settling in the north and east but they are against the way colonisation is being done at the moment.The sinhalese seem to be trying to send the dregs of their society to the north and east just like the way the English sent theirs at one time to Australia.However those australians who were discarded by the British built up a great country,so i feel that people should not be underestimated.

          If some incentives such as loans and rent subsidies are given and skilled sinhalese move into the north and live amidst the tamils without exclusive sinhalese settlements,i think the tamils will be comfortable with that,though as you say there will be the die hard racists and old farts who will not change till they die,but they are on both sides of the divide.The next generation will be much better.

          There may be some merit in your idea of using it as a bargaining tool for more devolution.Certainly that is what i would have done,because it will be a win win situation for everyone.Asking our leaders to look for win win type of results is a waste of time because since independence they seem to have had an unerring knack of ending up in loss loss situations.I don’t know why that is,maybe lack of flexibility,no lateral thinking,not looking at the full picture or maybe just trying to get votes.

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            shankar

            Do you think Navin didn’t know why Tamils oppose colonisation in the North East?

            I oppose state enforced colonisation in my ancestral land for the same reason any other would do.

            Navin does not want your explanation but forces his will on others. His behaviour is consistent with that of victors.

            In other words Sinhala/Buddhists victory over Tamils has given him the right to do anything to keep the Tamils, Muslims and Veddahs mute and hoping for a final solution, assimilation.

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              veddha,I don’t think Navin is naive enough to think that assimilation will take place with this kind of ethnic identity over a srilankan identity unleashed by short sighted leaders who took over the country after independence.To repair the damgae created byhem itself will take another 50 years.

              I think Navin believes in devolution like me,though that was years ago and i don’t know whether he has changed his mind now.His chief grouse has always been that so many tamils are living among sinhalese,but the north is not having sufficient sinhalese,which is a valid point with which i’am also in agreement with,only differ in the modalities of migration.According to Champaka Ranawaka’s statement recently,he said that in 1971 there were 20000 sinhalese living in the jaffna district.They were living peacefully and happily with the tamils,but JR evacuated them after the 1983 riots for which tamils cannot be blamed.They did not get rid of the sinhalese,the head of state did that as a precautionary measure.

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              shankar

              “His chief grouse has always been that so many tamils are living among sinhalese,but the north is not having sufficient sinhalese,”

              The Tamils were forced to live outside of their so called “homeland” by state’s racist policies that deprived them of development and jobs, hence migration to outside their “homeland” in addition to the racist war which was imposed by the racist state and its counter part the racist LTTE driven the Tamils out of their “homeland” where they once thought they were safe.

              Now if you care to look at my people, we have been driven out from our traditional habitats by land grabbing Lankies under the guise of development, a few are determined to sit it out.

              When you lose your traditional habitat you slowly lose your lively hood, lifestyle, identity and dignity and above all your freedom to live the way you want.

              The aim of racist Sinhala/Buddhists is basically land grab and eventual assimilation and make every person in the island a mono ethnic moron. This is not dissimilar to LTTE’s objectives. Their argument has nothing to do with secularism, it has every thing to do with social engineering.

              Navin knows what he is talking about.

              In the 1980’s my people were promised many things by the state before it relocated my people. You know rest is history.

              “but the north is not having sufficient sinhalese,”

              How much is sufficient Sinhalese representation and on what basis?

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              veddha

              you ask,”How much is sufficient Sinhalese representation and on what basis?”

              Maybe the same proportion as the tamils in the western province.I don’t know what percentage tamils are in the western province,but i think that will be fair if sinhalese are also the same percentage in the northern province.

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            Shankar,

            The important point here is that the political solution should be a comprehensive solution as apposed to a piece meal thing. It should address everyone’s concerns; devolution for Tamils and settlements for Sinhala and so on.

            I’m perplexed by the so many complains I see regarding land acquisitions. There is so much land in that part of the country I don’t understand why the government and the military cannot do their business without bumping Tamils off their property. I also suspect a certain degree of mischief in TNA’s complaints. Anyways the best way forward is to first come to an agreement and then do it in a methodical and open way. Unfortunately, TNA needs to be more receptive for that.

            I don’t believe anyone can assimilate Sinhala people into any other community. If they do indeed assimilate, then that would be their own doing. In Colombo we see many Sinhalese who are Sinhala in name only. Can we blame the British for that? Same goes for Tamils. Besides, have the Tamils in Colombo and up country assimilated into Sinhala community?

            Presently, TNA is doing nothing to address the concerns of the majority. We don’t matter to them. When LTTE was live and kicking, Sampanthan et.al believed in VP’s power. Now they seem to be believing in India, USA, UK, BTF, TGTE etc. etc. ISS is already shooting his mouth off about “undeclared, subtle warfare” unleashed by Tamils on Sri Lanka. If majority of Tamils in the post independence civil service were like even one half like him, praising the Brits, bragging about how enterprising and talented Tamils were not to mention the antiquity of Tamil language etc. no wonder they had to face a Tsunami soon after.

            Instead of blaming the government for not coming up with a political solution, everyone should take the lead in making and discussing solutions. If TNA and UNP could strike a dead that they can sell to their respective electorates, then that would be a serious political challenge to Mahinda. Presently the kind of deals that UNP strikes with TNA only fly among Tamils. Hence TNA may think they have the UNP in their bag, but in fact they only have its leader in their hold. Not the voting population. Hence its no use to them or the UNP.

            Dr. RN should stop wasting time proposing national governments.
            Our political system including the judiciary is not designed to work by consensus. It is an adversarial system from ground up. Instead those who play the adversaries should play by the rules including not seeking external intervention to circumvent, short circuit, tilt the balance in the domestic process.

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              Navin,when I talked of assimilation,I was meaning tamils becoming sinhalised,not the other way about.Usually it is minorities that get assimilated,not the majorities.

              As for a comprehensive political solution,that will take time to achieve and in the meantime the Eeelamists will point out to the world that the absence of a political solution proves that the only solution for the tamils is eelam.So going for the comprehensive one is a dangerous path to follow,unless it can be done quickly.To reduce the wind from the eelamist sails it is better to be going in the right direction,so that progress can be showed albeit slowly.Then the world will be satisfied that something is moving after all and turn their attention to other parts of the world.

              The indo lanka accord is an ideal starting point to embark on the path of devolution.It should be done without amalgamation of the northeast,because anyway it had a caluse for a referendum in the east and i’am sure the result would have been a no to amalgamation with the north and thus being dominated by it.

              Then trust has to be built up between the leaders and peoples of the two communities.Without that trust it will be very difficult to continue further than the 13th amendment on the devolution path to come to a final objective of a quasi federal system like in India.You rightly pointed out that The TNA’s honeymoon with the LTTE has created a lot of mistrust among the sinhalese.same way the sledge hammer approach and lack of transparency in the final months of the war and subsequent action by the government has created a lot of mistrust in the tamils.

              To get back the trust will take time we have to be patient for many years to be able to get the trust back for a comprehensive solution.Without that key ingredient of trust it is a worthless task to even try for it. In the we have to be plodding along in the correct direction slowly and surely to keep the eelamists from achieving their objectives through non violent means now that the violent means have failed.

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    Dr Rajasingam Narendran,

    Thanks for your response. I wish to emphasize that your concept is a desirable one.

    But it needs a long gestation period and the present situation is not conducive for such new thinking!

    A national unity front could not be formed without objective conditions. You need reconciliation. It is a long process and every community should come forward and ready to make strategic compromises before such a front coud be even conceptualized

    It needs a paradigm shift.

    In the meantime what we could do is to make the Tamils partners in governance at least in the Northern Province without too much concentrating on the ethnic issues.

    Not that it is unimportant but it has to wait for favorable conditions

    Participation at the centre as well as at the periphery are the immediate possible strategy marginalizing the hardliners.

    We had already lost the center hence we must enter the center stage through the periphery.

    The Northern Provincial Council elections provides an opportunity and the northerners should capture and work with the government in a non-confrontational manner

    Continuously blaming others for our misfortunes is counterproductive. We have to take the initiative as rightly pointed out by Dr Narendran and march forward and we must be eternally optimistic!

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      Sri ,

      I agree ideally the TNA should work with the government in a non- confrontational manner after winning the Northern PC elections.

      However, can they?

      The campaign leading to the voting will be petty, partisan, cantankerous, shrill. divisive, confrontational and violent. Can this atmosphere change after the elections? There will be winners and losers. In our politics, they will view each other as enemies.

      I expect such a campaign to aggravate an already bad situation.

      The winners and losers situation should be avoided at all cost. The campaign itself should become a platform fo present a common vision for the people of the north by all poltical players.

      Dr.RN

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