28 November, 2020

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Presidential Election: 13th A & The Dilemma Of Politicians

By Ayathuray Rajasingam

Ayathuray Rajasingam

Ayathuray Rajasingam

The President Mahinda Rajapaksa and common Candidate Maithiripala Sirisena have not given a clear solution for on the implementation of the 13th Amendment, strengthening of the country’s economy, Press freedom, and Constitutional Reforms so far. What Mahinda Rajapaksa asserts is about development while Maithiripala Sirisena asserts about curtailing the powers of the Executive President without a clear explanation. Rajapaksa kept on dodging on the above issues while Maithiripala Sirisena has just ignored the 13th Amendment and had not spelt about the required Constitutional Reforms for the betterment of the country.

Mahinda Rajapaksa as usual avoid answering the implications of the 13th Amendment. Since the 13th Amendment has provided Land & Police powers for the Provincial Councils, one ponders how Maithiripala Sirisena will address his mind towards this issue, though he asserts Military Force will not be removed, which will be an obstacle for the civil administration in compliance with the 13th Amendment. But Maithiripala Sirisena & his supporters are only keen to oust Mahinda Rajapaksa without touching the implications of the 13th Amendment.

In case, the Common Candidate become victorious, whether Maithiripala Sirisena bring in a new Constitution or Amendments to clip the wings of the President is still not clear. Both candidates failed to pinpoint to the people that this hybrid constitution requires change for a vibrant democracy. If both candidates are to adapt a meaningful step, then it would be to establish an Upper House which should have the power to monitor the activities of the President and refer it to the Judiciary with its report thereof. But both Presidential candidates are silent in doing away with the uni-cameral system, which has been the curse of Sri Lanka. The manifesto specifies that the cabinet shall consist not more than 25 members. But it would have been meaningful had the manifesto proclaimed that a bi-cameral system is a must, with a Cabinet that includes Two members from the Upper House (preferably for Justice and Foreign Affairs). Both candidates have avoided this aspect. Even if they pass a new Constitution ignoring the provisions of the 13th Amendment, it will be regarded as a challenge to the Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord.

Maithripala MahindaSince candidates have hurled allegations at each other amidst cross-overs from each party, the possibility that Mahinda Rajapaksa may utilize his enormous powers to arrest Maithiripala Sirisena on fabricated charges, as was seen on the impeachment of Dr.(Mrs). Shirani Bandaranayake or in the alternative a tense scenario may be manipulated into a communal violence (it is difficult to predict whether the Islamic community or the Tamils will be targeted) and declare emergency, paving way for the military regime, cannot be ruled out. Likewise, if Mahinda Rajapaksa feels that his defeat is imminent on account of the luxurious living by his children and of his siblings together with corruption, there is a tendency to flee the country to some destinations known to them. However, a military coup is an impossible exercise given the fact that Sri Lanka is a signatory to the SAARC and India will not just watch and remain silent because of maintaining the supremacy in the Indian Ocean over China. In such a complex situation, the share market is certain to drop terribly paving way for deterioration of the country’s economy. Had the 13th Amendment been implemented in its true perspective such an unpleasant scenario would not have taken place.

Though majority of the Islamic community opposes Mahinda Rajapaksa because of the activities of the BBS, they are yet divided in supporting either Mahinda Rajapaksa or Maithiripala Sirisena. Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Party had signaled its support to Maithiripala Sirisena, but its leader Rauff Hakeem states that they had not negotiated with any party. The attack on the Mannar Magistrates’ Court by Rishard Bathiudeen and the speech criticizing the decision of the Impeachment by Rauff Hakim at a time Maithiripala Sirisena intends to appoint Dr.(Mrs) Shirani Bandaranayake as the Chief Justice, has already sent the signal that the Islamic political leaders feel uncomfortable and are in a dilemma with their double standard pertaining to the independence of judiciary. In addition, the mysterious death of Kumari Cooray in Hakim’s compound and of Maithiripala’s silence over his son’s assault of a DIG’s son may also be reconsidered by average Sri Lankan voters, because justice was denied in both instances.

Moreover, when India and the Western democratic countries had welcome the idea of the merger of North-East Provinces in pursuance of the 13th Amendment resulting from the Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord with the view to monitor the activities of the Islamic terrorists in South Asia, there is no reason why Rauff Hakeem and other Islamic politicians insist on the Muslim Administrative Unit in the Eastern Province. Average Sinhalese and Tamils will also consider the dilemma of the Islamic politicians on the establishment of a Muslim Administrative Unit in the Eastern Province, at a time Hisbullah is suspected to have of monitored the activities of the US Embassy, in spite of some Islamic politicians in the SLFP and UNP, instead of focusing on the merits of the 13th Amendment (which is a step towards the expansion of democracy). The developments that took place since the introduction of Wahabbism (which speaks of the characterization of Islamists domination in the Islamic countries) in Sri Lanka to date, cannot be easily neglected by the average Buddhist Sinhalese. The visit of Pakistani Naval Chief to Jaffna and the presence of about hundreds of Pakistanis in the Eastern Province (Kathankudy area) coupled with the arrests of some Pakistanis in Tamil Nadu lend suspicion whether Sri Lankan Islamic politicians are influenced by external factors to continue with their mission of laying a foundation for their Islamic Administrative Unit in the Eastern Province and shatter the merits of the 13th Amendment, when, in fact, it promoted a good will among all communities, especially between the Sinhalese and the Tamils. The BBS is yet to give an explanation on this issue. Such a confusion among their stand prompts an average Sri Lankan (especially the Sinhalese) to ponder whether they are staging a drama to cling on to the winning party with the view to render the 13th Amendment inoperative. Moreover, the maintenance of silence by Islamic politicians when Islamic Terrorist Organizations targeted the West, is also another factor for the average Sinhalese to consider their support to Mahinda Rajapaksa. In such a scenario, the Sinhalese will be alert and may reconsider that a known devil is better than an unknown angel, upon learning that Islamic politicians insist for vital portfolios, especially in relation to Justice, Shipping & harbor.

The burden is on the Islamic community to explain whether they intend to identify themselves as a separate community or as Sri Lankan Nationality within the purview of the 13th Amendment. Islamists are a religious community and not a race. Either they are Tamil speaking Sri Lankan nationality or Sinhalese speaking Sri Lankan nationality. The time is ripe for them to give up the self-alienation and join the main stream of the concept of nationality. Both Mahinda Rajapaksa and Maithiripala Sirisena should decide whether Sri Lanka Islamists belong to a specific race. It is a complex issue. Such a complex issue compels the Sri Lankan Islamists to allay the fear in the minds of other religious people. It is at this juncture a necessity has arisen for them to address themselves in terms of nationality and if they identify themselves with their religion instead of nationality, it leaves room for unnecessary issues.

As far as the Tamils are concerned in the North-East Provinces, they will oppose Mahinda Rajapaksa because of the barbaric behavior of the Military Force on the Tamil youths which have left a scar which cannot be erased forever. The results of the NPPC election had reflected it. Both candidates have not openly declared whether the Tamil detainees in the prisons be released, despite the fact that Maithiripala Sirsena too was arrested during the 1971 JVP insurrection. Nevertheless, if the Tamils in the Northern Province stupidly boycott the election then Mahinda Rajapaksa has a good chance of gaining more votes. However, there can be manipulation with the assistance of the Military Force. As far as the Hill country Tamils are concerned, it is a fifty-fifty chance. Thondaman has flopped himself with the tragedy resulting from the landslide. Yet it cannot be ruled out that he could make a U-turn because of his unsteady policy.

If the Hill country Tamil politicians can arrive at a consensus with the TNA, then it will be a decisive factor as to who will form the government. Perhaps this may be a beginning for the unification of the Tamils in the North-East Provinces and in the Hill country because of C.V. Wigneswaran’s firm and steady policy. The Tamils too should re-consider of joining the main stream of the concept of Sri Lankan nationality and agitate for the implementation of the 13th Amendment. If the Tamils will listen to C.V .Wigneswaran and Ranil Wickremesinghe who also commands the respect of the Tamils in Western Province, their votes will be a decisive factor, as this is a crucial period for the Tamils to determine their future prospects. This is the hour to accept the stretching friendly arm from the Sinhalese. As such, the task is on Ranil Wickremesinghe and C.V. Wigneswaran to restore back the fond memories of democracy with meaningful steps (granting of Land and Police powers to the Provinces within the respective Provinces) as specified in the 13th Amendment, when supporting the Common candidate.

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Latest comments

  • 1
    0

    A. Rajasingam,

    You always have a totally different viewpoint shaped from your own mind. You know actually there is a theory in Political Science that says nations and kind of the power sharing type thing mentioned by you in your article actually are determined by how they interact. More hostility between one another tends towards more power sharing, and less hostility tends towards no power sharing and a unified nation with many nations. So you know with the Muslims obviously there were some riots so they are upset. Actually future events only depend on what is done in the present. That is how it will work in the next few years in Sri Lanka.

  • 2
    1

    We all know under what environment and circumstances this 13th amendment was virtually “imposed” upon the country by the then Indian authorities.I believe this writer too would have been in Sri Lanka during that “episode” or if not would have had access to news media to know what happened in the country. To make a long story short, the vast majority of people, perhaps excepting the Tamil community in the North, resisted it and revolted against it. Even the President at that time had to “imprison” his group of Parliamentarians in hotels to get the vote to pass it.

    So it is simple logic and understanding even to this writer to know that what is “imposed” on people without a consensus of the people and that too at the “insistence” of a foreign country cannot stand on its feet legitimately to bring the desired results. That fate had fallen on this much spoken “13th Amendment” and “PLUS” thereafter. In short the vast majority of the people “HATE” to hear it than even to think of implementing it. If any one or a political party go on the “slogan” to implement it, it would be a “HARA-KIRI”. So better not to speak of it.

    Having said that, it is no doubt that the country has to evolve a
    “Political Mechanism” to address certain issues within the frame work of a “undivided Sri Lanka” as already suggested by the main Tamil political party – the TNA. That is what the future government, after the Presidential election has to handle. So let all the “Intellectuals” put their heads together and carve out a “locally made mechanism” and replace this “Foreign Imposed Mechanism”, to address this issue.

    Mr. Aiyathurai, you too are invited to contribute to that process and please do write through this page to draw the attention of the “Authorities to COME”. Please don’t talk anymore of this dreaded and much hated “13th or the PLUS”.

    • 1
      1

      Hi Douglas!

      We could go on arguing the pros and cons for each and every proposal that arises. 13th Amendment is no good for the Tamils. This argument is agreed both by the Chief Minister and the TNA. There is already a transitional Government established in the States for the Tamils in Sri Lanka who now proposes for a referendum for the Tamils in Sri Lanka. The TESO in Tamil Nadu and Mr Seeman of Naam Thamilar organisation have put forward a proposal for a referendum. I personally feel that the Tamils cannot achieve any satisfactory solution from the Sinhala Governments and hence a demand for a referendum for the Tamils in Sri Lanka to determine their fatei is the only way forward.

  • 4
    1

    I think we have to accept that this 13th Amendment has tied up everyone. The 13th Amendment indirectly points out that there should be expansion of democracy. This is the advantage J.R.Jayawardena had done. Those who cannot accept this vital fact are crossing here and there and are in a dilemma. Look what Rauff Hakim has done. Had there been a Provincial Police, he as well as other politicians would have been charged.

  • 1
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    The 13th Amendment is a bi-product of the Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord. The Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord cannot be abrogated by Sri Lanka alone. Therefore some rectification has to be done. As the writer correctly pointed out that the 13th Amendment pave way for an expansion of democracy. As a first step, whoever assumes power will have to do away with the uni-cameral system and re-place it with a bi-cameral system. He has correctly said that the uni-cameral system is the curse of the country – all because of the selfishness of the politicians. Thereafter let there be five Provinces from Nine Provinces. If this is not possible, then Sri Lanka is certain to return to square one.

  • 2
    1

    Ayyathurai,

    Now it’s very clear that you are no difference to BBS. your writing are full of racial elements and it’s very unfortunate CT publish your scraps!

    • 2
      1

      MirakRajBanda,
      Can you please define racism. The writer has clearly exposed the dilemmas of the politicians and pictured the pulse of the people. Just read how many of them have interfered with the independence of judiciary. Have not some politicians misled the government and the people. He ends up with the expectation of restoring the fond memories of democracy.

    • 1
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      He has always been this way. Anti-Muslim to the core with a concussed mindset. Total bullony unworthy of a read. Muslim bashing his favorite pastime. gets satisfaction by showing them in bad light even when there is no evidence to prove his point. Incidents where Muslims were the victims, he portrays them as the aggressors. Inducing false fear and hatred against Muslims is his gain stay. We can do well with the least comments on such crap.

      • 2
        1

        Marwan,
        He has only pointed out the unpleasant incidents committed by Rauff Hakim & others. What is your answer in respect of those incidents. Are there any justifications in those incidents where justice was denied? He even refers to Maithiripala Sirisena over his son’s behaviour. He is only expecting an answer from the BBS. Moreover, he has better connections with Islamists (that is how he calls). He is only concerned with the unlawful activities. Further, you say hatred against Muslims. Are Muslims a race. Arabs are a race, Pakistanis are a race. But they are Islamists by religion. How do you call the Islamists in Sri Lanka. Isn’t this mislead?

        • 0
          0

          Lal, this writer has a history of anti-Muslim rhetoric, if you had been privy to his previous missives you would have been better informed. When everyone wants to forget the recent incidents of violence against Muslims and unite and get over it, he dwells on Muslim bashing to drive a wedge and cause anxiety and displeasure between communities. Just read what he is writing about. He refers to the despicable incidents of Muslim involvement in what is happening outside the borders of our country which are beyond our control. Is there be any justification for such a hate campaign? He is the only writer who writes this way in these forums. Bankrupt of ideas to say the least.

          What ever that individuals Rauff Hakim and Bathiudeen did, it is of their own personal concern for political reasons, and Muslims in general must not be blamed for those misdeeds. There are even worst happenings if you look around you. But blame is apportioned only on those respective individuals and not on the community they represent. Why then should it be any different in their cases. Sure enough wrongs were committed by them and then even others in high positions as well, but it is for those individuals to face the consequences, not blame it on an entire community.

          I never wrote anything on Muslims and them being a race. You are either confused and conjure up things at will, or read one thing and presume it to be something else.

  • 0
    0

    Rajasingham,

    honestly I haven’t seen you write something since 2007.

    • 0
      0

      Murugan,
      He has been writing since 1990s. He has ably guided by the late Lalith Athulathmudali. When an impeachment motion was brought against the late R.Premadasa, it is he who wrote about the Impeachment which was published in ‘The Island’. He has also written some more articles in the Daily News.

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