22 March, 2019

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New Constitution & Contestation Of North East Merger

By Aboobacker Rameez

Dr. Aboobacker Rameez

Dr. Aboobacker Rameez

Universities are a place of intellectual discourse and debates on thoughts and findings. It fosters an environment of critical thinking and skills necessary to build a profound understanding of the discipline and the existing thoughts. It also serves as a touchstone of the community to spur them to engage in crucial issues relevant to the community.

As such, a group of academics gathered at a place in our University-South Eastern University of Sri Lanka yesterday and engaged in a discourse on the proposed new constitution and the contestation of North East merger, a topic that has become a talk of the town in popular discourses of media. Unlike Mahinda era where we found it difficult to organize such a discussion of contemporary issues at the University since our head of the institution at that time did not permit us to do so, because he felt permitting such discourses in the university would compromise his position, we have now full academic autonomy to engage in such discourses in our University, thanks to the Yahapalanaya government that ushered in January 2015 and appointed a learned professor as the Vice Chancellor of University.

Eastern Province is model of pluralism

Interestingly, majority of the members who gathered there felt that the existing set up, that is, the de-merger of North East would be ideal to not only Muslims, but to Tamils too. In fact, the separate provincial councils, as everybody knows, have proved to be a successful episode so far, for it provided opportunity for members from Tamil as well as Muslim community to occupy the post of Chief Minister in both provinces. Most importantly, the Eastern Province which is diverse both ethnically and religiously has had Chief Ministers from both Tamil and Muslim communities previously. Moreover, the Eastern Province representing 37 % Hindus, 35% Muslims, 23 % Buddhists, and 5% Christians respectively has become a living example of multi-religiosity and pluralism that provided a space for diverse communities to exist and live amicably over the years. It is indubitable that education and health resources coupled with employment opportunities in the province are shared equitably in the province over the years. Thus, they felt that the North East will have to remain as a separate province.

Controversy in allocation of resources

Majority of the members contended that allocation of resources such as state lands, forests, wildlife, and water will become a contentious issue, if North East were merged. There is a danger of it being misappropriated by the central government in the event of North East merger. As we all know, Wattamadu land and Wilpattu wildlife sanctuary have been a hot issue in the popular debates in recent times. Under such circumstances, not only Muslims, but Tamils living in the North East will also be seriously affected.

While Tamils and Muslims are currently entangled in a number of issues in terms of administrative set up and educational administrative divisions in various districts in the Eastern province, the proposed attempt of North East merger will exacerbate those issues further, pitting Tamils against Muslims in the NE. For instance, there is a long tussle percolating in the administrative divisions in Kalmunai of Ampara district, where Tamils have been bargaining for a separate Divisional Secretariat in Kalmunai area, as they feel reluctant to work under an administration largely dominated by Muslims in Kalmunai DS division. Interesting question raised by a member in the forum that how can the TNA parliamentarians request for the support of Muslims in the North East for the merger of two provinces, while they themselves are not happy to work with Muslims in Kalmunai administrative division and struggle for a separate DS administrative divisions for Tamils. These are contentious issue that require solutions via a healthy discussion.

In the context of government drafting the new constitution to resolve the ethnic crisis in the country, it is important that it will have to seek consensus of people living in the Eastern Province whether to go for merger or de-merger of NE. Succumbing to the pressure of Western agenda, geo-politics and TNA for merger will not help for the government to consolidate coexistence and harmony among different communities. Moreover, it is believed that the government will not discount the concerns of Sinhalese living in the North East when it comes to the NE merger. I am optimistic that the government will take heed of all these legitimate concerns of various communities when deciding the fate of North East province in the proposed constitution.

Dr. A.Rameez is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Department of Social Sciences, South Eastern University of Sri Lanka. He can be reached at aramees2001@gmail.com

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Latest comments

  • 1
    14

    10 million Sinhalese people must be settled immediately before seek any consensus of the people in Eastern province.

    There will be a war between Tamils and Muslims if the government is unable secure Sinhala Buddhist dominance in the province.

    • 3
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      Dr. Aboobacker Rameez

      RE:New Constitution & Contestation Of North East Merger

      “that time did not permit us to do so, because he felt permitting such discourses in the university would compromise his position, we have now full academic autonomy to engage in such discourses in our University, thanks to the Yahapalanaya government that ushered in January 2015 and appointed a learned professor as the Vice Chancellor of University.”

      “Interestingly, majority of the members who gathered there felt that the existing set up, that is, the de-merger of North East would be ideal to not only Muslims, but to Tamils too. In fact, the separate provincial councils, as everybody knows, have proved to be a successful episode so far, for it provided opportunity for members from Tamil as well as Muslim community to occupy the post of Chief Minister in both provinces.”

      Thanks for the write up.

      LTTE, VP and Tamils have clearly shown that merger of NE will not work, and will work Only if the Tamils have Hegemony, and keep their Castism and Racism.

      What’s next, the Tamils to ethnically cleanse the Sinhala and Muslims from the East, the way way did in the North, and start the next Civil war?

      Yes, only the current de-merger will work.

      • 5
        2

        The basic principle in humanity is that law should be equal to all. When it is said Srilanka cannot be divided, then how anyone could justify division of Tamil Homeland. What is being said to support this division is distortion of history and truth.

        There was no eastern province before British created it. At the time of Portuguese conquest, area north of Mahaveli river including Trincomalee and Kantalai were under Jaffna Kingdom. Only that south of Mahaveli river was under Kandyan Kingdom.

        Original people of eastern province are the Tamilised descendants of Veddhas who are the rightful owners and not others. It is in History that King Senerath settled Muslims fleeing persecution of Portuguese in eastern province about 500 years ago.

        90% of Sinhalese in eastern province are settlers less than 100 years. There is nothing in history to state that anyone settled Tamils in eastern province. Also 2000 year old stone inscriptions in Tamil have been found in the east province.

        The present day eastern province is not the same as when British left. After independence, revenue districts of Padiyatalawa and Mahaoya were removed from Uva and annexed to eastern province in order to create a Sinhala majotity Amparai district.

        If you see the first census taken in 1881, Tamils had overwhelming majority in eastern province while Sinhalese were only 2% in Trincomalee district and 5% in the entire eastern province. This clearly suggest that eastern province belongs to Tamils.

        The present day scenario is the result of factors such as large scale state sponsored Sinhala colonization, Murder and ethnic cleansing of Tamils carried out by both Sinhalese and Muslims as well as uncontrolled Muslim population explosion.

        Therefore to deny a right to Tamils in order to satisfy whims and fancies of Sinhalese and Muslims is grossly unfair. 13th Amendment which is an internationally accepted document grants merger of northern and eastern provinces as Tamil Homeland.

        If there is a will, then there is a way. Problem is that so called moderates in Sinhala and Muslim community are not willing for any compromise, and are sticking to their guns. There are several ways to solve this issue as a win-win situation for all.

        One is to bring back the Tamil majority as before independence. There are several Tamils from east who are living as refugees in other provinces and in India. Resettle them back in their original places, and settle Tamils from upcountry who wish to.

        The other is to redraw the eastern province boundaries. Remove Amparai electorate and Lahugala AGA division from Amparai district and link it to Uva, and remove Gomarankadawela AGA division from Trincomalee district and link it to North-central province.

        By this 90% of Sinhala areas will removed from eastern province. In order to compensate land loss, remove Puttalam electorate which has villages with Tamil names and has Muslim-Tamil majority, from Puttalam district and link it to northern province.

        Once these changes are made, link northern and eastern provinces and carve out Muslim majority areas to form a sub-council with a Muslim majority. If Muslims do not want to be ruled by Tamils, on the same way they cannot justify Muslim rule over Tamils.

        For permanent peace, there should be justice. If anything is to be forced on Tamils against their inalienable rights in order to satisfy Sinhalese and Muslims how can you justify it. For any fair settlement, international intervention is necessary.

    • 6
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      John

      “10 million Sinhalese people must be settled immediately before seek any consensus of the people in Eastern province.”

      Brilliant idea.

      Did you mean Eastern province or Eastern India?

      • 2
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        Native Vedda

        “10 million Sinhalese people must be settled immediately before seek any consensus of the people in Eastern province.”

        Are the Para-Sinhala going back home to Bihar and Orissa?

        When are the other Paras, Para-Tamils and Para-Muslim going back to South India?

        Then, the Land of Native Veddah Aethho will be pristine, except for a few Para-Stragglers.

    • 2
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      They must settle 15 million Tamils in the east before a referendum.

  • 5
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    Aboobacker Rameez

    What a misleading headline to espouse an unrealistic thought.

    What is contestation? A creative word indeed! It only reflect that the writer is really constipated.

  • 1
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    Surely but sadly politicians for a near century have manipulated the situation of ethnic differences to jostle for power and cling on to their perks and kickbacks whilst the country drifts and bleeds. Why do we focus only on the NE, when two military revolutions originated from the south cost the country a similar toll in both life and property as did the separatist war that originated in the north. The crux of the issue is not race nor religion but the concentration of power in the centre and the gross inadequacy of power to the regions (provinces) resulting in half baked solutions to the pressing needs of the provinces.
    All that is needed to kickoff self determination is for the provinces to be given responsibility for revenue and expenditure whilst the centre takes responsibility for coast and waterways, arterial roadways, rail, ports, airports and airspace. When the provincial governments are accountable to the people they will have to deliver or be thrown out rather than shifting blame to the centre and wash their hands away from any and all responsibility as happens now.
    VAT revenue sharing in the promotion generated by the provinces will provide the incentive for provinces to compete with each other to grow its own economy and focusing on improving living standards of its constituents. Media and Judiciary should be decentralised to create checks and balances on the provincial governments.

  • 2
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    I would like to ask few questions from the author regarding methodology used to make this conclusion.
    How many were participated in this discussion? How many from each ethnic group participated in this process?

  • 2
    1

    The demerger of North-East would be ideal to not only Muslims,but to Tamils too says the essayist.
    On the contrary,the demerger would be ideal for the Muslims and Muslims alone.
    The Muslims were settled in the former Batticaloa region by King Senerat in the 16th Century.Just 6000 odd Muslims to whom the Tamil Mukkuva chieftains played host.With an exponential increase in their numbers and a decrease in the Tamil population due to various causes the Muslims will soon outnumber the Tamils in the East!
    The argument put forward by the essayist is akin to a Wolf in Sheeps clothing.

  • 3
    1

    what a load of rubbish.

    They guy is talking about Wilpattu wildlife sanctuary…and concludes that demerger of the NE is good for the Tamils.

    He fails to articulate how ?

    but then completely ignores the Wilpattu wildlife sanctuary

    Dr. A.Rameez is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Department of Social Sciences, South Eastern University of Sri Lanka. ….really?

    It seems he is one of the candidates who got through standardisation

  • 0
    0

    Even a separate PC for the East will not consolidate coexistence and harmony among the three communities given the population percentage of the different communities and the differences that have taken root among them. What should be considered is the thinking of the JVP on the issue as stated in their Election Manifesto of 2015 as reproduced below –

    JVP ON POWER TO THE PEOPLE – FROM JVP ELECTION MANIFESTO 2015

    Establishment of Peoples’ Assemblies amd Democratisation of the Village Administration instead of Devolution of Powers to Provinces. Assemblies should be created on the basis of ethnicity, culture and the state of economic development. Existing boundaries of the Provinces to be redrawn.

    • 4
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      Mohamed Marzook – UK

      Do you take JVP seriously?

      When did the party embrace democracy?

      JVP is another Sinhala/Buddhist party of chauvinists, anti upcountry hard working people whom they branded the 5th Column, …. had been in bed with MR (this alone should disqualify them), who do not have any fresh workable ideas, still living in Cloud cuckoo land, … never surrendered their arms, never said sorry to the people in no uncertain terms, …… soft on China and anti Indian in all its forms, many members including Somawansa sought refuge in when DIG Udugambola and Gota were after them while being anti Indians, ……

      The JVP theoreticians never argued their case as to why devolution was not beneficial to the country.

      They are living in communist cloud cuckoo land.

      • 0
        0

        My response to your questions –

        1. Yes, I would considering the experiences had with the other parties over the last sixty years.
        2. Can the other parties be considered democratic just because they participate in elections. What is the experience when they are in power?
        3. They do not talk of the rights of the people as Sinhalese, Tamils or Muslims but of the rights of all people equally and equitably. How can they be Sinhala/Buddhist.
        Reading their Manifesto of 2015 will enlighten you on their stand for the rights of the up-country people.
        Yes, they were not only with MR but also with Chandrika; but left them when they could not agree without compromising their principles like the old left.
        Did not the SLFP and the UNP responsible for the killing of thousands of innocents, besides the JVPers, themselves when they were in Govt. Did they say sorry?
        Allegations of seeking refugee in Udugampola and Gota are made-up stories.
        Of supporting China; do not you know that they have opposed land being given to China. About India, yes they oppose Indian policy of expansionism and domination of Sri Lanka.
        It is admitted that they made some faults when they were young as a party but they have matured and their policies are laid down clearly and are committed to a just rule for the country. Long live the JVP

  • 1
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 5
    1

    The Eastern Province, during and before British times, remained a pre-dominant Tamil area with a minority of Tamil-speaking Muslims, living peacefully side by side over the centuries. The culture, religion and livelihood of Muslims was not harmed by the majority Tamils during this time. But the arrival of Ashroff’s ambitious politics in the early 1980’s and the conspiracy of Islamic fundamentalism in the Arab world to conquer the entire globe through a Jihastic agenda has caused in Sri Lanka as much great uproar as in those countries where Muslims form minorities. For the first time in history, Muslims ousted Tamils as the Provincial government in the EP recently. In various ways Tamils in the area have lost their agricultural lands, villages and political strength etc. to marauding Muslims whose sharp population growth has been more politically based than natural. Sinhalese in the rest of the country fear if this fate and that which overtook the Maldives recently may be their lot – sooner than later. This is a powder keg that is likely to explode soon. Tamils have lost their rightful opportunities in the State, in the professions, in commerce and in other fields. There is much fear and a state of deep distress in the region. Tamil villages and towns have been islamicised through Madrasas and the like. Weaknesses in Coalition governments is one of the major causes of this new development. This new enthusiasm in the Muslim community in the country is something which other communities watch with distaste and horror. Already organised groups of Sinhalese and Tamil communities have joined hands to protect their interest and save themselves from a dangerous global agenda of subtle conquest.

    Needless to add, Muslims have a right to live peacefully in the country and are entitled to protection by the laws of the land. But anything beyond that endangers the wider interests of the two main communities will surely be resisted. It has been a popular complaint among Muslims their political leaders are only interested in amassing personal wealth and care less for real issues affecting the Muslim community. It is time this changed.

    Dravidian

    • 2
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      Dravidian

      Could you define the word Dravidian.

      • 0
        0

        Dear Native Veddah

        Verily, defining Dravidian is a far more complex challenge than to come to grips with the etymology of Sri Lankan, as you might imagine. The latter has baffled even super-experts since 1972.

        Dravidian

  • 2
    3

    It is true that the 1972 and 1978 constitutions were drafted by the respective Governments at that time excluding the other major party and the Tamils.

    Now the context is different, it is not possible for the government alone to prepare a constitution because of the requirement for a two third majority in Parliament and a victory at the referendum.

    The circumstances compel an inclusive process. You and me may have a say in the final product and that is a welcome development.

    I too are not in favor of North East merger. because a merged North East will be cumbersome to govern because of frequent bickering of the communities.

    The power sharing or devolution arrangements contemplated are not ethnic based but territoriality based.

    The Tamils and Muslims must learn to live together for their mutual advantage. They will realize ultimately that cooperation will benefit both communities.

    The present coalition administration of TNA and SLMC is only the first step. But unfortunately the TNA both in the North as well as in the East are not sophisticated enough to be effective.

    The regional parties in India as well as Muslims and upcountry Tamils in Sri Lanka are much more suave in gentle bargaining and effectively sharing power along with the major actors.

    I agree with you that separate Provincial Councils are beneficial to both Tamils and Muslims. If both could learn to live amicably in the East, then north East merger is a viable option, but not before.

    • 1
      0

      Sri Krish? Unusual name for Sri Lankan Tamil. Are you Indian or of Indian origin? This sort of name is more common amongst them. when reading your comment I am of the opinion you are not an indigenous Eelam Tamil from the north or east but someone else. This is why you are so nonchalant about the ancient Tamil east and giving it away to the Muslim usurpers from South India or to the Sinhalese or to both. A indigenous Eelam Tamil from the north or east will never, they will fight for it as it is their land. It is not yours so not bothered. Just like the false mother with King Solomon in the Bible. She did not mind the baby being cut and shared, as it was not really hers.

      TNA or any other Tamil party will never be allowed to be effective by the ruling Sinhalese establishment, government or armed forces that want to sabotage the island’s indigenous Tamils. This is the reason the TNA that had the highest amount of votes individually in the east was not allowed to form a government, by both the Muslims and the Sinhalese.

      “The regional parties in India as well as Musims and upcountry Tamils in Sri Lanka are much more suave in gentle bargaining and aeffectively sharing power along with the Major actors” . You must be joking . It is not the fault of the TNA or any other Tamil party for failing to obtain results but the inbuilt racism and hatred that the Sinhalese have for the island’s Tamils. When I say they island’s Tamils. I mean the indigenous Eelam Tamils from the north and east and not the Indian origin estate Tamils or the South Indian origin Dravidian Tamil Muslims now incorrectly classified as Moors.

      The Tamil parties had negotiated many agreements but all these agreements were broken by the Sinhalese governments , including the 1987 international Indo Lanka agreement that was negotiated by the then Indian government and Sri Lankan government. You mean to say even the Indians cannot negotiate? It is not the fault of the Tamils or any Tamil party that the Sinhalese are a very racist and chauvinistic people with a Mahavamsa mindset.

      The Sinhalese will always be afraid of the island’s indigenous Tamils from the north and east and will try to destroy them, as they are the only other people in the island who have an ancient history in the island, rivalling the Sinhalese, ruled the land and still own large portions of the island as their homeland, despite large scale Sinhalese colonisation and refugee immigrant Muslims stealing huge chinks of it in the east with the help of the Sinhalese. They are the majority in 6 out of the 24 district in the island and the coastal belt of the Trincomalee and can still form a continuous homeland for themselves. This is why the racist insecure Sinhalese with a chip on their shoulders a adamant that nothing should be given to them and they should be destroyed as a people and have been denying them language rights education, employment and stealing their lands. They are also aware that they are far more industrious and hard working than the average Sinhalese and given a chance they will beat the Sinhalese hollow in all spheres. After all throughout history even the so called Sinhalese kings, royal family and aristocracy are all of Tamil origin. Not just the Kandyan Nayake kings.

      The Sinhalese are not threatened or afraid of the other two Tamil communities in the island, or hold this historic hatred towards them, as they are of recent origin, have no ancient history in the island and really cannot demand much, like the indigenous Tamils from the north or east. They are like the immigrant Afro Caribbean or South Asian communities on Britain, whilst the indigenous Tamils are like the Welsh and Scots in Britain.

      Trying to compare these two recently immigrant communities with the ancient Eelam Tamil nation that has lived in the island from time immemorial have ruled an ancient history in the island , is stupid. It is like comparing chalk and cheese. The rights and the obligations the nation has to the Eelam Tamil nation is very different to the rights of the Indian origin Tamils and the Tamil Muslims also from South India. This is like comparing the rights of indigenous Scots and the Welsh in Britain with the rights of recent immigrant communities in Britain. All should be treated with respect and justice but Britain owes more to the Scots and Welsh in land and other rights and the right to self rule compared to what it owes to other recent immigrants. Similarly Sri Lanka owes more the indigenous Eelam Tamil nation in matter of land self rule, language and other rights compared to what is owed to the Indian origin Tamils or Tamil Muslims both recent immigrant communities from South India. Trying to compare the negotiations and crumbs thrown by the Sinhalese two these communities with the far greater obligation the Sri Lankan state has to the Eelam Tamil nation from the north and east and their rights is silly and stupid. Just because all these communities are Dravidian and speak forms of Tamil, blurs this difference. Whereas in places like Britain these differences are more clear cut.

      Unlike the indigenous Tamils who still own large chunks of land, these two Tamil communities do not own much land one is only a majority in the coastal area of the Amparai district and the other in the Nuwaraeliya district, they cannot do much with these lands, one land locked surrounded by Sinhalese majority areas and the other just a coastal belt in the deep south of the east, otherwise their population is spread largely amongst the Sinhalese and some amongst the indigenous Tamils. Further the Indian origin Tamils are so down trodden and poor, doing the most menial work,that Sinhalese are in the least scared or threatened by them. They can always bring them back to line if they protest too much. Therefore giving crumbs to them and to the Muslims is not a big deal to the Sinhalese, compared to what they have to give to the Eelam Tamil nation. Especially to the Muslims who betray and backstab the other two Tamil communities, so that more crumbs from the Sinhalese table fall to them. From the way the Indian origin Tamil leaders have negotiated, I can see they have not been successful at all in alleviating the plight of their people. Looks like they only feather their nests at the expense of their people. As for the rich Indian Tamil trading community in Colombo and Kandy, the Brahmins, Nadars and Chetties. They are selfish to the core and are only concerned about themselves and their wealth, just like the Tamil Muslims and care two hoots about the Indigenous Eelam Tamils or the Indian origin estate Tamils and their plight. That is why they were making lots of pro Rajapakse statements to any foreign visitor, as they will not allow anything to affect their trade and welfare. They have no love or loyalty to the island, as if anything happens they can return to India. You can see this same sort of outlook from other Indian Tamil communities that arrived earlier. The Colombo Chetties and Barathas or Paravans. With your name Sri Krish. you may be one of them.
      As for negotiations in India and the regional parties, they work because they want it to work and find a solution so does the Indian government. However in Sri Lanka the only solution the Government including the current on that came with Tamil votes want is a Sinhalese Buddhist solution only. Nothing else. It does not mind throwing a few crumbs to the Indian origin Tamils or these backstabbing Muslims, as they do not pose any threat but it will never allow or want anything just or lasting to be provided to the island’s indigenous Eelam Tamil nation, as they pose a threat to them in everyway.

      Please analyse and think before posting but am I asking too much from an Indian?

  • 1
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    its’ interesting that the Arthur is touching on Wilpattu
    without naming rishard badhurdeen..

    why is every one scared of him?

  • 2
    1

    Interestingly, majority of the members who gathered there felt that the existing set up, that is, the de-merger of North East would be ideal to not only Muslims, but to Tamils too.

    I would like to see if any essays have ever written by this author supporting devolution of power at Federal Level, Semi-Federal Level. If the author is not an anti-devolution campaigner, I wonder if the author is in complete understanding of Federal system.

    It appears there is some opinion spreading out there that the merger is sought to benefit Tamils. So the author starting his discussion with an assumption that no-merger essential benefiting Muslims and he is expressing his opinion as de-merger may go beyond that. He feels like his opinion on this is one of the first in kind in that way of argument. The Eastern Sinhalese seems to going out not considered by any of these arguments. This deficiency in the opinions has to be filled up by the TNA, who is seeking the merger.
    The author has at least two approaches. 1). They can invite TNA politicians to the university and ask to explain the intricacies of the merger or 2). They can send a selected group to meet TNA and they can come back and lead the discourses and the debates at the university.

    North-East have been leading provinces and has fallen much behind after the freedom to Ceylon. The reason Sinhala governments selected to ignore them is they are predominantly Tamil-Muslims provinces. Federal system is sought believing that area people’s industriousness will help to rise above the Government’s suppression. North-East politicians believe that the country, comparatively with other countries in the neighborhood, was much stronger and it can be brought back by observing equal treatments policies that British colonists followed with the communities

    The merger proposed is to benefits both Provinces, rather than a community. These provinces relationships remains established from time before colonist came to Ceylon. The population change engineered by the Sinhala governments is not expected to change this relationship in the coming near future. Developments proposed for these provinces take into consideration of this relationship.

    Merger is only to identify the deprived geographical area and not to identify or isolate any community. For example, TGTE’s proclamation is saying that all three languages have to be official languages. This is similar to the situation in Singapore.

    Merger is for deprived provinces, not for Tamils. It is recognized by Tamil politicians that almost another half is living outside the proposed merger area. And also, it is further recognized that the Up Country Tamils economic situation is different from the North-East. (There remain some details to be worked out.) Unlike SLMC, which is only for eastern Muslims, TNA is for North-East, not even just for Tamil speaking community. It must be looked the current fact that TNA has agreed to be the opposition party for all Lankaweyan communities, Tamils, Muslims, Sinhalese and other smaller ones. (The opinions have to be developed from that core practical fact rather than the pure academicals theories. Further Sampanthar has insisted that the solution has to acceptable to all, may mean a need for referendum to check all’s opinion) Tamils are deprived by the Sinhala governments. Here TNA is asking for a geographical area attributable their identity to develop separately not depending on the Sinhala government racist policies. It does not mean North-East Tamils will be selected to develop or privileged to develop. There is no proposal for ethnic cleansing after merging. That is an erroneous part of authors’ essay.

    The solution asked for by FP, TULF, & TNA-TPNF is they want their Singapore. They are not asking for a Taiwan within China. Taiwan doesn’t want to be with China because it believes on that they are more than China or beyond China. Singapore wanted a land for its accelerated development, while they are having their relationship with Malaysia. To be short, anybody coming within the two provinces or come with these provinces will be enjoying the Singaporean equal treatment and Singaporean’s accelerated developments. These provinces will not practice partiality to create another civil war and to make commission on arms deals, they will not spend $200 billion. Form the day they hit on the road of material devolution it will be the show of Molson Indy of the North-East or Daytona of the North-East for a foreseeable future. This is for all communities, Tamils, Sinhalese & Muslims,san the very small Veda community. They have to be left alone for their own planning and administration. By these general developments for everybody, some feudal leaders and workers for them may feel inconvenient to their local administration. But the resources will be shared equitably for all community.

    Unlike so far the Middle East development brought into East were only to tied Muslim community, the developments of North have spread to entire North, not for one sector of the North. Iranamadu development is a classic example. It development will supply water to Kilinochchi farmers and drinking water to Peninsula. Neither Kilinochchi nor Peninsula is prioritized here. Same principle will be applied to the merged North-East.

  • 2
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    Aboobacker,
    excellent points. Very importantly, the Tamils will have two Chief Ministers instead of one if their traditional homeland is divided, is an excellent point. Perhaps, you should help the Tamils and ask them to divide Mullai and Trinco into a third Province, so that they will have 3 Chief Ministers. Yes, the Muslims and the Sinhalese must determine what the Tamils deserve, and it will be called their self-determination. The Tamils must learn to listen to the Muslims and the Sinhalese and they know what’s good for the Tamils.

    -Simon

  • 1
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    Unyielding Sinhala Buddhist majoritarian politics, that began in the mid-1950s, has grown exponentially since. It is now dominated by thieves and the grossly indisciplined riffraf. Whereas the Buddhist priesthood should have been within the confines of the Temple inculcating pious values on the Sinhala Buddhists they chose – and were encouraged by the Buddhist public – to be seduced by the trappings of material politics. They blindly entered the minefield of immoral and unethical material politics. This has divided forever the Sinhala-Tamil chances of building the country together – the lofty dream of patriotic and decent Sinhala-Tamil-Muslim leaders from the early 1940s. The Sinhala politician wanted to eat the entire plate alone but now the food itself is fastly running out – to repeat an analogy of the learned Colvin R. de Silva.

    Long delayed internal rule to the Tamil majority in the North-East can be further mindlessly delayed, as it has been, but it cannot be denied indefinitely. The Status Quo cannot be continued by the Sinhala leadership any longer without mortally wounding the available economic future upon which Sinhala economic survival is dependent. The Sinhalese, have in many different ways, squandered the chances of working shoulder to shoulder with the Tamils to build a united country. Ranil, Mangala, CBK, Ven. Madulwewe Sobitha Thero and the like in the liberal leadership alone will not do. The vast majority of the much prejudiced Sinhala minds is necessary for the testing journey. Like Taiwan from China and Singapore from Malaya, the Lankan Tamil political reality must soon receive its long due potential from the Sinhala grip – in the local case without a physical break-up. Sinhalese must take their minds to both the decades old Language parity and the Citizenship issues in which it was argued, even in well educated and informed circles, the majority Sinhalese will not yield. It was argued both matters were attached to the Sinhala psyche. However, eventually historical imperatives forced them to give in. So it must in the matter of internal self-rule to the Tamils. Introducing the Muslim red herring into Sinhala-Tamil negotiations can further delay matters but it cannot deny Tamil dues.

    It is in the wider interest of the Sinhala Nation to wisely consider the inevitable now rather than in a repeat scenario of a bruised and bloodied future.

    R. Varathan

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    President advices to extend the Wilpattu sanctuary area & declare a ‘Wild Life Zone’, by a gazette notification: PMD- Gold FM News

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    This author like most of the Muslims commentators here looks very South Indian Dravidian Tamil but like all of them, ignore their actual Tamil Dravidian Hindu origin from South India and in the name of Islam want to Arabize the island’s Dravidian Muslims, create an artificial division based on religion and divide the island’s Tamils, for some sort of imagined advantage for the island’s Muslims but an advantage for their elite, who will benefit from this divide and rule. They are aided and abetted by the Sinhalese as it suits their divide and rule agenda to weaken the Tamils.

    The east as what we know now from ancient times has always been Tamil. Not Sinhalese or Muslim. The history the place names ( before 1950) and all the ancient ruins in the east are Tamil Hindu or Buddhist. Not Sinhalese or Muslims. Many of the ancient ruins are Mahayana and Sinhalese were and are not Mahayana Buddhists but Tamils were.

    There are still some Tamil Mahayana Buddhist establishments (Palli) in the east and possibly in the Jaffna peninsula. The best known was Velgam Vehera, which was renamed Rajaraja-Perumpalli after the Cola emperor. Another was the Vikkirama-calamekan-Perumpalli. The number of ancient Buddha statues found other than in Sri Lanka was in Tamil Nadu showing a strong presence of Buddhism.

    The temptation to consider that everything Buddhist in Sri Lanka is necessarily Sinhalese has to be resisted, as it must be remembered that the Tamils, Andhras, and Kalingas, also were at one time Buddhists, and had a very large share in the dissemination of Buddhist culture in the countries of South-East Asia.

    From time to time parts of the east came under the loose benevolent rule of the Tamil/Sinhalese kings of Kandy, but it makes no difference to the Tamil position in regard to the inhabitancy of the Eastern province. The Tamils would have had and yet have no objection what so ever to the benevolent and accommodating rule of the Kandyan kings whether they were Kalinga or Nayakar, and see no inconsistency in the Tamil claim to the Eastern province even under the Kandyan rule.

    On the other hand, have never come across a Sinhala person or family that claimed an Eastern province habitant or origin. If you speak to the Sinhalese living in the Eastern province, each one of them will say that their grandfather or great grandfather is from the South where as there are any number of Tamils who hail from the East and proudly proclaim their habitant.

    Muslims only came to the eastern province a few centuries ago fleeing the west and the central highlands first from the Portuguese and then from Sinhalese persecution. At the request of then king of Kandy Senarath, the Tamil chiefs of the east, gave refuge to these Muslims who originally migrated from South India, mostly men and even gave them Tamil Muslims women to start a family.

    Sinhalese only arrived in the east from the 1950s onwards and the vast majority from late 1970s and 1980s. Deliberately settled there to change the demography. Even as the 1970s the east still had a Tamil majority. Now due to large scale state sponsored Sinhalese settlement , large scale killing and ethnic cleansing of Tamils in the past 30 years and a very high birth rate amongst the Muslims largely spurred by Wahhabi Muslim fundamentalism, to take over the east and steal it from the Tamil Hindus by any means. If many of the Tamil refugees from the east, languishing in refugee camps in India or in parts of the country are returned to their original lands in the east. the Tamil will become a majority again in the east, however the illegal Sinhalese settlers, the Muslims refugees and the Sinhalese government will not want it, as they all want to steal the east from the Tamils for their own agenda. The Sinhalese to make the entire island Sinhalese Buddhist. The Muslims who largely live down south, but powerless there want the Tamil east, for themselves, as they feel the Tamils are now weak and with Sinhalese help they can steal the east from the Tamils to create in the name of religion an Arabized Wahhabi Islamic enclave in South Asia. Already they are changing many ancient Tamil Hindu place names to Arabic. They are blatantly doing this and the Sri Lankan government is turning a blind eye to this or giving the nod. This will not allowed in the Sinhalese south. They tried it around Aluthgamma and were met with violence.

    The native languages of the island are Sinhalese and Tamil and the native indigenous cultures are Sinhalese and Tamil. Not Arabic or Arabic culture. The Sri Lankan Muslims who hardly have any Arab blood in them but are of South Indian Dravidian Tamil origin, just like the author of this article, are slowly trying to bring Arabic language, culture,dress forms, names and even the Wahhabi/Salafist cult in the name of Islam and pass it off as native and indigenous to the island and slowly Arabize the island. This should never be allowed. No one is against Islam or Muslims but not Arabized Salafist/Wahhabi Muslims, who a generation ago were Tamil Muslims.

    The British, after conceding all claims of the Sinhalese from the earlier Northern and Eastern Provinces determined the boundary the two provinces as Tamil Provinces after conceding all Sinhalese claims. The Sinhalese claims and the British accommodation were very much conditioned by the perception all Kandyan territories were Sinhalese which it was not, as well as there was a Sinhala Buddhist Aryan civilisation in Sri Lanka which was a product of realm of imagination but purported to be real.

    This imagination was the foundation of establishment of North Central province. Much of the territories that were ceded from the cardinal North East as well as the creation of North Western Provinces included substantial territories that were well recognised Tamil and Veddha territories that have stood there for many centuries.

    The name Tamil Province being used to indicate the two provinces of the North and East are apparent from the paragraph found in the Ceylon Manuel :-

    With the other Tamil Province (Northern Province), the Eastern Province shares the honour of being the richest timber producing portion of the Island.- Ceylon Manuel 1910: Page 313.

    The recognition that the territory of these two provinces were Tamil is further evident from the paragraph of the Ceylon Manuel :

    The Sinhalese & the Tamil districts – Ceylon is also divided into the Sinhalese district and the Tamil district. The former comprises the Western, Southern, Central, North-Western and North Central Provinces, with Uva and Sabragamuwa and the latter the Northern and Eastern Provinces. In the former the Sinhalese race and language predominate, and in the latter the Tamil. – Ceylon Manual – 1908 – Page 34.

    The initial territorial boundaries of the Northern and Eastern provinces were determined by considering Jaffna and Trincomalee as their administrative capitals, taking into consideration the influence that these two centres of economic and political activity had over the respective areas.

    Trincomalee was part of the Kingdom of Jaffna and at times an independent principality. Its importance as a centre of religious and political activity emanates from the existence of the natural harbour as well as the great religious centre of Koneswaram. The villages in the Trincomalee District are linked to the temple of Koneswaram through their servitude.
    No talk about Muslim or Islamic lands or enlaves as they were never there.

    Now recent arrivals to the east. The Sinhalese 99% of them illegal settlers on ethnically cleansed Tamil lands from 1950s onwards, settled by all Sinhalese governments since 1948 to present to deliberately change the demography of the Tamil majority east and the Muslims who arrived in the east a few centuries ago, as refuges fleeing persecution along the western and central parts of the island, as were given refuge and asylum by the eastern Tamils, are now ganging up to deny the indigenous Tamils of the east and the Tamilised Vedda of east the real owners of the land and steal it from them, each for their own agenda and are trying to force a settlement on them to suit there interest steal their land and further marginalise them. This should not be allowed.

    They cry about the dispossession of the Tibetans and Palestinians but do the same thing in the east. The newly arrived using force and government might are now trying force a settlement and steal the land from the original inhabitants. With various lame excuses.

    This is the reason many people are wary of giving asylum or refuge to Muslims in the west, as they begging for refuge and within a few generations, after establishing themselves and breeding like rats, start claiming the land from the original population, want an Islamic land. Eastern Sri Lanka is a good example. If they can do this to their own fellow Dravidian non Muslim Tamils in the name of religion, what will they do to another people. In Europe 100 years ago Kosovo was 90% Serbian. This place is the cradle of Serbian culture. Albanian Muslims started to migrate there 100 years ago and made the Serbs a minority in Kosovo and the rest is history. The same thing is happening in neighbouring Macedonia, arrived there as migrants around 100 years ago or less and now make up around 40% of the population and are demanding their own state in Macedonia.

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