23 June, 2017

Sampanthan Calls For Devolution Of Powers & Human Rights Accountability

By Pitasanna Shanmugathas

Pitasanna Shanmugathas

Pitasanna Shanmugathas

In an exclusive interview I conducted with the leader of the opposition, Rajavarothiam Sampanthan, he discussed several grievances facing the Tamil speaking people and the prospect of constitutional reforms under the Sirisena government.

Mr. Sampanthan, in an attempt to counter opinion that there is no change under the new government, highlighted that under the Sirisena government there is a change in attitude and approach in contrast to the actions of the Rajapaksa government. Mr. Sampanthan asserted that under the Rajapaksa government, land was taken away, the white van culture was dominant, members of Parliament were assassinated, journalists were assassinated, independence of the judiciary was under attack, and overall the people did not feel free. Mr.Sampanthan asserted that viewpoints under the Sirisena government have changed but there are still many matters that must be attended to.

R. SampanthanAs it pertains to the issue of land occupied by the military, Mr.Samapanthan asserted that, “people in the East have received land that was released in Sampoor, and in Jaffna some land has been released but the process has been very slow.” Mr.Sampanthan claimed that one of the reasons the process is slow is due to “opposition being mounted by the Rajapaksa audience.” Mr. Sampanthan recalled that shortly after the end of the war he and his colleagues went to about 30 villages in the Vanni and prepared a report and gave the report to Rajapaksa and asked him to give the people housing. According to Mr.Sampanthan, Rajapaksa replied, “Where do I go for the money?” Mr.Sampanthan said that he told the Indian Prime Minster about the dire situation in the Vanni and the Indian government responded by providing 50,000 houses to the people in the North.

Upon being asked why it is taking so long to withdraw the military from predominantly Tamil populated areas, Mr. Sampanthan said that, “there are sections within the military and sections within the bureaucracy who do not quite agree with the thinking of the government” and thus they are trying to “obstruct and prevent the government” from carrying out its duties. In addition, Sampanthan asserted that there are people who carry out propaganda claiming that when the land is released to the Tamil people and the military is withdrawn the national security of the country will be in danger.

In early 2016, Ranil Wickremesinghe asserted that any missing persons are most probably dead and are not being held in detention centers. Mr.Sampanthan did not want to respond directly to Ranil’s comments. However, Mr. Sampanthan did refer to the President’s Commission on Missing Persons which cites that over 20,000 reports have been made of missing persons. Mr.Sampanthan conceded that it is unlikely that those numbers of persons are still being kept in containment. Sampanthan, nevertheless, insisted that a proper investigation must take place and a mere statement speculating the missing individuals’ whereabouts will not suffice.

In March of 2016, the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister announced that the government is undertaking a process of repealing the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). However, Mr.Sampanthan stated that there have not been any steps taken since the initial announcement by the foreign minister. Mr. Sampanthan furthermore reiterated that even the government regards the PTA as a draconian law and Sampanthan has insisted that he will continue to raise the matter in Parliament until the law is repealed.

The Sri Lankan government favored a hybrid justice mechanism with international involvement to investigate human rights abuses committed during the ethnic conflict. There have been certain criticisms voiced about the hybrid justice mechanism such as: the language around the mechanism is so vague that it gives the Government of Sri Lanka a lot of freedom to design the mechanism in such a way as to make the involvement of the international community minimal; Sri Lanka could appoint international lawyers of ill repute who would perform no other role than to provide cover for an otherwise domestic process

I asked Mr. Sampanthan what progress he believes President Sirisena has made as it pertains to cooperating with the UN and allowing a comprehensive investigation into war crimes and human rights violations to take place. Mr. Sampanthan pointed out that the resolution adopted at the United Nations Human Rights Council last year has not been implemented. Mr.Sampanthan stated that there has been some concern that the judges appointed would not be foreigners which runs contrary to what was explicitly stated in the UHRC resolution. The reason why this matter has come up according to Mr.Sampanthan is due to the “lack of independence in the judiciary.” Sampanthan cited a case where the Rajapaksa government impeached a former chief justice, Shirani Bandaranayake. The local judiciary, Sampanthan insists, cannot be trusted upon by the victims and their families to conduct a comprehensive investigation. “The government must find ways and means to implement the resolution they have co-sponsored and which is adopted by the UNHRC. The language may not be strong, but it is clear enough to emphasize the need for foreign judges to emphasize the credibility of the process,” Sampanthan stated.

An independent investigation would also reveal human rights abuses and war crimes committed on the part of the LTTE such as the LTTE’s use of civilian as human shields, and the LTTE’s point-blank shooting of civilians who tried to escape. An independent investigation would ultimately lead to the prosecution of members of the Tamil community. I asked Mr. Sampanthan whether he would be willing to accept that responsibility. Mr. Sampanthan replied, “If war crimes have been committed… and reports of international investigations—whether it be the commission appointed by the UN Secretary General or inquiries and investigations conducted by the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights—their reports are that war crimes were committed by both sides… so one cannot run away from it… those who have been guilty of such war crimes will have to face an inevitable process that is something no one can avoid.”

In Parliament, Mr.Sampanthan has repeatedly asserted that the Sri Lankan Tamils have given up their fight for a separate state and the ethnic problem will be resolved through a “united and indivisible Sri Lanka.” I asked Mr.Sampanthan whether this means that he does not approve of and thus condemns the actions of Tamil diaspora organizations such as the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) when they are repeatedly calling for a UN referendum within predominantly Tamil populated areas to determine whether there should be a separate state.

Mr. Sampanthan asserted that he respects a diversity of views and went on to say that all Sri Lankan Tamils have long suffered whether they live in Sri Lanka or abroad and “their opinion must be taken into consideration with whatever decision we make.” However, Mr. Sampanthan reiterated that, “even though those in the diaspora may disagree with us, they must be prepared to understand our views just as we are prepared to understand their views. We are all striving for the same goal which is the emancipation of our people.” I agree with Mr. Sampanthan and believe it is immensely irresponsible of groups such as the TGTE to push a separatist agenda without taking into consideration the political viewpoints of Tamil politicians based in Sri Lanka. The Tamil politicians based in Sri Lanka, who advocated for solving the ethnic issue under a united Sri Lanka, were elected in vast majorities by the Tamil speaking people living in the North and East. Thus diaspora organizations must listen to and not disregard the political will of elected Tamil political leaders in Sri Lanka.

Mr. Sampanthan firmly states that, “the Tamil speaking people have historically inhabited the North and East of Sri Lanka and are entitled to have it as one unit of devolution.” Mr.Sampanthan referenced historical attempts to implement constitutional reforms such as the Indo-Lanka accord and the creation of provincial councils which resulted from the accord. Mr.Sampanthan asserted that such a constitutional reform process should be taken forward and under certain governments, especially the Chandrika government, there was progress in that front. Sampanthan stated that, “during the Chandrika government she did not have a majority and could not implement what she wanted to do…the 2000 proposals were not the best, but they were certainly better than anything we had before and were certainly workable… but the solution of a united Sri Lanka must be on a basis of shared sovereignty, maximum devolution of powers, and to ensure that it is not power that can be interfered with either by the center or central agent of governance.”

On December 30th 2015, the TNA delegation led by Mr.Sampanthan and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress delegation led by Rauff Hakeem met in Colombo for preliminary talks on power-sharing arrangements.

I asked Mr. Sampanthan about what progress has been made since the initial talks. Mr.Sampanthan clarified and said that the talks were largely “not about power sharing but about a unit of devolution.” Sampanthan asserts that the “SLMC would like to leave power sharing to the Tamil political parties because we have been much clearer and much more consistent; our position has been clearly enunciated from the time of SJV Chelvanayakam commencing from the late 1940s and early 1950s.”

Sampanthan stressed that an agreement must be reached regarding the units of devolution, “in order to ensure that the Tamil people and the Muslim people are satisfied with the demarcation of the unit of devolution. We also want to ensure the Sinhalese people living in our areas have justice and they are able to live as equal citizens”

The SLMC General Secretary Hasen Ali on January 10th 2016 asserted that, “The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) will submit a proposal to the Constitutional Assembly for a unit of devolution for the Muslims of the North and East based on party’s founder leader M.H.M. Ashraff’s demand. A unit of devolution encompassing the non-contiguous geographic areas of domicile of the Muslims of the two provinces, with power-sharing arrangements on par with the Tamil community, has been the SLMC’s demand from the inception”

I asked Mr. Sampanthan as to whether he would support and whether he believed the SLMC’s demand for a “unit of devolution encompassing non-contiguous geographic areas” was feasible. Mr. Sampanthan asserted that, “there has been no definite proposal put forth thus far by the SLMC.” However, Mr.Sampanthan refused to immediately answer whether he could support such a demand voiced by the SLMC.

Former Tamil United Liberation front (TULF) Parliamentarian and Constitutional affairs expert Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam who was extremely sympathetic towards Muslim aspirations found the idea unworkable. Neelan summed up the situation succinctly by observing thus -“A kind of devolutionary arrangement which will involve areas which are not territorially contiguous and coming together in some kind of shoestring manner… Perhaps a non-contiguous devolution will be extremely difficult to administer because of the heterogeneity of the population. It will be administratively and politically difficult to distinguish between one category of citizens living in the same village or in adjoining villages being responsible to another. So while there is the legitimate concern that the security and identity of the Muslims… need to be protected (and we need to find a mechanism to do that), I think the idea of non-contiguous areas linked together would pose problems of implementation.”

I asked Mr. Sampanthan, in sum, what provisions he believes should be implemented within Sri Lanka’s constitution to give a greater political voice to the ethnic minority groups in Sri Lanka. Mr.Sampanthan told me that there must be “sharing of powers on the basis of shared sovereignty, subjects assigned to the regions or provinces must be subject to political economic social and cultural aspirations of the Tamil people and Tamil speaking people… and everything which can be addressed at the local level meaning there must be very substantial devolution of powers and sharing of powers. [There must be] sufficient financial resources, foreign loans and domestic foreign grants, foreign investment, capacity to raise revenue through taxation, and ability to exercise these powers…[there must be] no interference with these powers either by the center or any agency of the center and must ensure these powers be exercised freely. Apart from powers that need to be at the center such as defense, foreign affairs, emigration, immigration citizenship, national communications, national transport, major ports, major harbors…apart from these, everything else should be devolved”

Mr. Sampanthan’s solution of a united Sri Lanka perfectly echoes the constitutional reforms Neelan Tiruchelvam and G.L. Peiris proposed in 1995 referred to as the GL-Neelan package. The package details a sharing of legislative and executive power between the center and the provinces with significant autonomy over law and order, justice, education, public service, finances, and the regulation of cultural activity. I believe this proposal remains workable to this day, however, the political will must be present under the constitutional assembly set up by the current government.

If you would like to listen to the audio of the interview I conducted with Mr.Sampanthan; you may do so by clicking here.

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Latest comments

  • 9
    0

    Tamils need security and protection for their Physical. spiritual, material and mental entities. Under the united majoritarian SL it is not possible. The trust on SL justice , fairness and security is nil. If those helped and helping SL want the Tamils all over the planet to believe Democracy and human values They should act now boldly without hesitation or fear. Not only that there should be a genuine motive to establish a system of administration embodied with democratic and human values in North east. The Douglas System is prevailing since the 1950’s to ruin the administration , trust , and fairness. and it is at its peak. Rest of the SL is left to them for their own affairs.

  • 3
    0

    Well Pitasanna Shanmugathas, These Tamil/ Muslim leaders of North and East and the Sinhalese leaders are all politicians. A politician is not going to find a final or a good deserving solution for the good of Sri Lanka. They live at the expense of the common folk. The common folks live on hope and promises made by the politician. It is this hope and expectation of a good future that makes them vote again and again for these bad politicians. The politician is well experienced in keeping up this expectation of the folks and use them to come to power again and again and enjoy their life. What a good real opportunity these minority leaders have lost even after the UN took up the case against the Sri Lankan forces for committing war crimes with impunity. Do you feel these politicians will ever do anything good after this lost opportunity? The elected leaders want to be recognized by the Colombo leaders to better their prospects, and the voters want to depend on them to better their lives!

  • 3
    0

    A timely, objective and sober interview. I hope it paves the way for an objective discussion on current problems confronting all three communities-Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims-in this country , as equal citizens and distinct communities.

    Let the media also give more prominence to such sensible thoughts and opinions, rather than to statesments of the likes of Gammanpila and Weerawansa. Even CT, which yet my preferred website, should exercise more editorial control over the comments it permits, which are increasingly becoming incindiery, extreme and rotten.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 1
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      I take this opportunity to bring to the attention of the TNA and the Tamils if the north in general the depths to which the Northern Provincial Council has sunk. The CM has appointed a committee to investigate corruption charges against his ministers, after a prolonged delay and much public pressure. The fact that there was plenty wrong with the NPC was obvious to anyone observing what was unfolding. The CM was politicking, while there was muck accumulating under his very feet.

      The following is a link to video clip on the CM announcing the inquiry being instituted against his ministers. It is in Tamil.

      https://youtu.be/QnqcWDpj_X4?list=PLXDiYKtPlR7NwBsyV3i_ijuyurHIifi00

      Mr.Sambanthan, what action do you propose to take to make the NPC work as it should, in at least what little is left of its term? Isn’t it time to act?

      The greater devolution exercise is likely to be centered around the provincial council system and even if substantial, are we capable of benefitting from it?

      Dr.RN

      Dr.RN

      • 0
        0

        ” The CM has appointed a committee to investigate corruption charges against his ministers, after a prolonged delay and much public pressure. “

        at least he has done that.Sirisena and ranil haven’t.They have taken the bribe takers into the government using national list.Also they have not taken any action against the coal tender losses,bond scam losses,agriculture dept rental losses,etc,etc,etc

        if as you say CM has submitted to public pressure,then tamil public must be less tolerant towards corruption than the sinhala public.Sinhalese have got used to it as a way of life it seems and don’t want to throw stones.

      • 1
        0

        Dr RN,

        Thank you for your comment and the link. Today the Daily News (see the link below) gives information on the new committee. I wonder how “clean” are the members of the committee despite being retired judges and a GA? Who are they?

        http://dailynews.lk/?q=2016/08/08/political/89799

        If there now is even evidence and there have been complaints during several years is a committee enough? What can it achieve? The CM as a retired judge should be able to decide if the evidence is enough to initiate a police investigation that ends up in a court case. If found guilty the accused should be punished not just removed and asked to return the money that is likely to have been taken.

        The AG has found many irregularities at Jaffna University and this is no surprise. In these cases also there appears to be only the idea of recovering money not punishing the culprits. See the link below.

        http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/47648

        In my opinion as long as the maximum punishment is a transfer, removing from office and making a promise of returning stolen money our government servants and politicians will continue their illegal activities.

  • 2
    2

    ” Perhaps a non-contiguous devolution will be extremely difficult to administer because of the heterogeneity of the population. It will be administratively and politically difficult to distinguish between one category of citizens living in the same village or in adjoining villages being responsible to another. So while there is the legitimate concern that the security and identity of the Muslims… need to be protected (and we need to find a mechanism to do that), I think the idea of non-contiguous areas linked together would pose problems of implementation.”

    Majority of Tamil speaking people live in non-contiguous areas scattered across the island. SAMPANTHAN HIMSELF AGREES THAT THERE IS NO CONCEIVABLE DEVOLUTIONARY MODEL THAT CAN SATISFY POLITICAL ASPIRATIONS OF AT LEAST 90% OF TAMIL SPEAKING PEOPLE.

    THIS CRAZY IDEA OF ETHNIC AND RELIGIOUS ENCLAVES MUST BE DISCARDED FOR GOOD.

    In case of a separate federal unit (units?) for North and East Sinhalese must demand that all Tamil speaking people presently living outside North and East are required to be physically relocated to North and East.

    Sampanthan tactfully avoids (or the interviewer tactfully avoids) talking of Tamils who arrived during the British.

    If they consider themselves to be a separate ethnicity deserving to be living separately Sinhalese too SHOULD have the right to live seeparately from Tamils(Tamil speaking people).

    I am one Sinhalese who agree for a separate states for Tamil speaking people – North and East for all Tamil speaking people and the rest for the Sinhalese.

    Everybody seems to be pushing this “North AND East for us and the rest is for all of us” racket which Sinhalese must reject out of hand.

    Let us not forget that Sampanthan is the man who promoted Tigers as the sole representatives of Tamils. His new “united Sri Lanka” is the biggest ruse to deceive the Sinhalese.

    The greatest lesson the Sinhalese should never forget is that Sampanthan cabal were not even satisfied with RW-VP agreement which virtually handed over the entire North and East to Tamils but decided to go for the final goal of complete separation irrespective of the cost in blood.

    Fedaralism will require massive military resources to maintain it federal.

    Soma

  • 7
    0

    Whether Sampanthan asked for it or not, Tamils and Sri Lanka as the whole, deserve this.

  • 1
    6

    I would have been delighted if you asked Mr Sambandan, the following.

    Where do Mr Sambandan , the Leader of the the Vellala Alliance, and his coterie of fellow Vellalas plan to live, when the the new Federal Constitution, kicks in with all the above Powers which Mr Sambandan will get from Batalanada Ranil the PM?.

    • 0
      0

      Alright, please vote our genius Sumanasekera to become the next leader of this country. Then we can have 8 years of absolute comical entertainment. We can all laugh to our hearts content with his brilliance. He will entertain us all as he has entertained us on CT. Ok, when is the election?

  • 3
    0

    A fine presentation covering a wide range of issues in the Political landscape.All the more so,coming from someone so young as Pitasanna[unusual name though].The interviewer is in his 30s? going by the Photo!

    • 2
      0

      Thought it was Prasanna. In Tamil, there are two interesting letters/sounds for ‘r’. For all other letters, when a basic sound (say, ‘k’) is used with a vowel (say, ‘ka’), the consonant will carry the basic sound. There are two ‘r’ sounds in Tamil, one of the ‘ra’s is pronounced like ‘ra’ and the other is more like ‘ta’.

      Hope this makes sense.

  • 3
    0

    The follwing are some of the proposals fotward by the governments of Srilanka under the leadership of both UNP and SLFP governments since independence of Ceylon in 1948. Today there is a government in power with necessary power to make the changes in the constitution based on those proposals. If both party leaders have a will,faith,and courage it is not difficult to convince the people of this Nation.

    1957 Banda -Chelva Pact (1957) & Dudley-Chelva Pact (1965)
    Key Statements:
    • the language of administration of the Northern and eastern Provinces be Tamil, and that any necessary provision be made for the non-Tamil speaking minorities in the Northern and eastern Provinces.
    • The Northern Province is to form a regional area whilst the Eastern Province is to be divided into two or more regional areas. Provision is to be made in the Bill to enable two or more regions to amalgamate even beyond provincial limit;
    • Provision is to be made for the direct election of regional councilors.
    • Parliament is to delegate powers and to specify them in the Act.
    • It was agreed that regional councils should have powers over specified subjects including agriculture, cooperatives, lands and land developments, colonization, education, health, industries, fisheries, housing, social services, electricity, water schemes and roads.
    • It was agreed that in the matter of colonization schemes the powers of the regional councils shall include the power to select allottees to whom land within their area of authority shall be alienated and also power to select personnel to be employed for work on such schemes.
    • The regional councils shall have powers of taxation and borrowing.

    Indo_Lanka accord (1987)
    • recognising that each ethnic group has a distinct cultural and linguistic identity, which has to be carefully nurtured,
    • Also recognising that the northern and the eastern provinces have been areas of historical habitation of Sri Lankan Tamil speaking peoples, who have at all times hitherto lived together in this territory with other ethnic groups.

    Proposal From the Peace support group (1995)
    • promoting a vision of the Union of Ceylon where all communities can live in safety and security and their human dignity is valued and equality of treatment is an accepted norm of public life;
    • The Union will have a confederal structure, consisting of two States, each being internally autonomous and committed to the furtherance and maintenance of the principles and values declared in the Preamble, including in particular the protection of the fundamental human rights declared in the Constitution and the maintenance of democratic principles.
    • This framework document provides the basis for a new constitution for the Union of Ceylon, which shall consist of two internally autonomous States — one for the primarily Tamil area and the other for the area which is mainly Sinhalese. This reflects the fact there have been identifiable homelands (historical and existing) on the island for the Tamils (in the North and East provinces) and the Sinhalese (in the rest of the provinces) for over two millennia. Relations between the States will be governed in accordance with generally applicable principles of international law and justice.
    • Subject to these principles, the internal autonomy of each State will extend to the adoption by each State of its own internal constitution (e.g. size and structure of the legislature, frequency of elections).

    Peace Talk Sri Lanka _LTTE (Oslo communique)
     “agree on exploring a solution on the principle of internal self determination in areas of historical habitation of the Tamil peoples based on a federal structure within a united Srilanka” (Oslo communique, Dec 2002)

    2009 President Rajapakse Proposal
     The President said the basis of his devolution plan would be the “13th amendment plus 1″ – meaning implementation of the existing constitutional provisions for provincial councils, but adding an upper house to Parliament, modeled on the U.S. Senate.”

    • 0
      0

      1. Separating nation states or uniting nation states does not make much of a difference to the ordinary people, IF the system of governance and administration is not changed, though it does make a difference to those at the top of the “political ladder” and others who aspire to replace or join them.

      2. Changing the political system of governance and administration to one with multiple units with different functions in different spheres throughout the country would facilitate to strengthen the bond and lead to the self-empowerment of the people that would naturally contribute to an All Inclusive National Government which is the need of the day to bring about reconciliation that would lead to peace, prosperity and a pleasant life.

      3. It would better serve the country – IF the functions of the Parliament are separated with one or more of its functions be entrusted to the appropriate Councils elected for the – Country, Provinces, Districts, Divisions and G.S. divisions at those levels – throughout the country with the different functions of the present Parliament distributed and shared by these Councils limited to the area concerned in such a way the powers and duty do not over-lap and so that no single Council – will have all the powers in governing or administering the country as a whole. Such a system of “Entrusting a part of the Functions of Parliament to different Councils throughout the country” would help in creating an all-inclusive healthy nation with the sovereign and personal liberty of the citizens intact is vital and that this freedom is best preserved within the framework of a truly democratic nation state.

      4. Today’s requirement is not moving towards devolution of powers but “sharing of powers” through an appropriate political structure that would empower and enable a large number of “groups of people” at different levels to actively participate in policy making, planning, administering and implementing projects in the country. Such a political structure would help to prevent discontent among the people, promote harmony and peace, eliminate bribery, corruption, discrimination, injustice and oppression; protect, promote and strengthen the unity and cooperation among the people.

      5. In addition, such a political system would encourage a “shared-facilitating-government” with most of the functions of Parliament passed on (shared with/distributed to) to different groups at different locations with different functions limited to the area concerned.

  • 0
    0

    let power be devolved to the pradeshiya saba. Then minority rights will be protected. Half the tamil population is out side the north and east.

    • 3
      0

      Do you mean that police, military and Land powers for each Pradeshiya saba?

    • 0
      0

      In the suggestions made by me (listed above) power is devolved to the Predesha Saba level as well.

    • 0
      0

      Half the Tamil population lives out of the north and east and most of them are the Indian origin estate Tamil population and the Tamil Muslims. The Indigenous Tamils largely live in the north and east and it is about their ancient historic land .Just trying show these immigrant Tamil populations that arrived from South India a few centuries ago, to deny justice to the indigenous Tamils who have the same right to their land as the Sinhalese will not work. More than half the Scottish population in the UK does not live in Scotland, that does not mean the native living Scottish in Scotland should be denied their rights. Your argument sounds absurd

  • 6
    1

    This bogus experiment for a so called “unitary, united and undivided” Sri Lanka that lasted 60 plus 6 years now,have failed miserably, with continued suppression, subjugation, state sponsored pogroms,colonisation, land grab and more so after the massacre in the Mullivaikkal War of May 2009.

    The “use by date” expired after 100 days into the new unity good-government, now 20 months, that was formed with the help of the Tamils, with another dream of trust and for mutual respect.

    History continues to prove beyond doubt, that a home grown solution is never ever be possible, under any shape or form, by the present or future majoritarian Sinhala regimes.

    The present leadership in the country from both sides, are deliberaly irresponsible, misleading and mischievous, to “make believe”, that Singapore is just around the corner.

    As far as the Tamils are concerned, they want to be left alone to live in peace with dignity, for safety and security, to protect their land, culture, heritage, religions, environment and to develop and prosper in their own homeland, and for regional security.

    As per the UN Charter, a UN conducted referendum – the Tamil Peoples’ Choice (their rights) will decide their future destiny, to this long drawn ethnic issues. Why fear the peoples’ choice?

    If Sri Lanka is refusing to implement their own a co-sponsored resolution to UN body, what fat chance have the Tamils to gain in a unitary united and undivided majoritarian Sinhala country?

    Live and let live, or drain into a failed state.

    Manicka Vasagar

  • 2
    0

    Not a lot of difference between what Sampanthan told Pitasanna and what Federal Party would have said 67 years ago. The discernible difference is superficial – the Maithiripala regime is willing to listen but so did SWRD B in 1957. All the GoSLs in between these were adversarial – it was very intense during MR regime. MR felt insecure, made the armed services very very nearly mono-ethnic and pampered the army and police with perks like monopoly over hospitality industry and the like. The armed services did not allow for a change in GoSL and are reluctant to give up the good life. This has to be untangled.

    An example of MR led GoSL mindset. Mannar is in the news again over human remains. In Mannar late in 2013 early 2014 workers digging to lay pipes discovered human remains. Immediately Gotabaya took charge, the site was cordoned and excavations continued under army supervision. Even the local NPC member was not allowed anywhere near. Again in Mannar couple of weeks back, human remains were found in an abandoned well. The case is being looked into by civilians and police.

    By the way the GL-Neelan package mentioned by Pitasanna was heavily diluted by Chandrika and in due course disappeared. Will Pitasanna ask GL as to what he thinks of the package?

    • 0
      0

      Mr.K.Pillai can you give details of GL-Neelan package?

      By the way the GL-Neelan package mentioned by Pitasanna was heavily diluted by Chandrika and in due course disappeared. Will Pitasanna ask GL as to what he thinks of the package?

  • 6
    2

    Since 1948 till todate, Sinhala and Tamil leaders have come and gone. Lets look at the check and balance of what has transpired in the last 68 years. Approximately seven decades has passed and in another 3 decades it shall be a century.

    We all know why Tamils have to struggle, even to plant a simple tree, just to quote as an example. TNA must not pretend that the Sinhala chauvinism has not grown and exploded like a nuclear bomb that is engulfing the Tamils lands and their culture.

    The way out and to contain the sickness of Sinhala elites is to ask the Tamil people what they want through a referendum. When LTTE was around, the Sinhala elites jumped on the roof and were lying to the whole world that it is only LTTE asking for a separate country. Today the people are asking for it.The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) must stop to serve their interest, but to serve the aspiration of the grass root. They should stop pretending they are not aware of the devilish thought of the Sinhala elitish design.

    The time is ripe and has reached a critical mass to let the Tamils rule their lands, have their own police force and economy. The Tamils living in Sinhala areas can continue living in it and vice-versa. If unhappy, the two ethnic groups can move to their own respective ethnic territory if they wish to. In this way there shall a peacefull and properous Sinhala/Tamil (North and North East) states.

    We have heard a million times over from many Sinhala intellects, why the land cannot be divided. The reasons given are lame excuses because the real reason of the Sinhala elites is, “This is Sinhala Land and this is Buddhist Land”.

    The Sinhalese and the Tamils can at some point in time in the future could decide to co-operate with one another when Sinhala and Tamils masses decide to do so. One final statement, one can discuss with another only, if levelled headedness and equality exist.

    • 0
      0

      N.R.

      “The Tamils living in Sinhala areas can continue living in it and vice-versa.”

      Who are you to decide that Tamils can continue to occupy Sinhala areas?

      “If unhappy, the two ethnic groups can move to their own respective ethnic territory if they wish to.”

      WHICH PROVES WITHOUT FURTHER ADO THAT MAJORITY OF TAMILS AT PRESENT ARE HAPPY TO LIVE OUTSIDE NORTH AND EAST.

      NONE of the Tamils will move out of Sinhala areas. A solution to this problem has to be negotiated along with a separate unit for Tamils in the North and East.

      Soma

      • 2
        0

        soma,

        Your broken record is completely flawed! I told you before on several occasion that, in Britain the Scots, Walsh, and Northern Irish people live in the mainland in numbers yet the devolution powers was deemed necessary and democratic!. It is about time you come to come to terms with this for goodness sake! You cannot take your flawed argument at the international stage; this is why the Sri Lankan government does not make a fool of itself!

        The real fact is that you are weak and insecure as Sinhala Buddhists; It has been programmed into your psyche that the world is against you; this is the top and bottom of the problems in Sri Lanka. You need to be frank about this inherent weakness of yours.

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    Tamils have learnt bitter lessons from the Sinhalese Leaders for more than 60 years. They give false promises and come to power and once in power they forget everything. This is history. Mr. Sampanthan should learn from the history – this time too we are going to be deceived completely.
    The mindset of Sinhala Buddhist clergy and the military and the Government are all together to wipe out the Tamils from Sri Lanka.
    If our Tamil Leaders is deep sleep not bothering to know what is happening the fate of the Tamils will be still miserable.
    It is time for action not patient.

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    N.R.

    “The way out and to contain the sickness of Sinhala elites is to ask the Tamil people what they want through a referendum.”

    Who will be entitled to vote in the referendum? All Tamil speaking people irrespective of their religion or date of arrival or only Hindu Tamils in the North excluding those who practice Christianity and Islam? In preparing the vote list a DNA check will be required?

    Soma

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    Agreed.

    EVERY aspect of ethnicity in Sri Lanka needs to be looked at.How the Ethnic distribution is where they live what is their world view.

    If (there is a Tamil Home land in Sri Lanka) then

    there MUST be a Sinhala Home land.

    There is legal recognition of a Tamil Homeland in the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan constitution.

    So the question is WHERE is the Sinhala homeland and what is the state and the legal rights of those nationals (not minorities) within Sri Lanka.

    The point that Northern and Eastern Province of Sri anka being a historical Home Land of Tamils is raised by EVERY Tamil Politican I think since about 1939.

    So, fine what about Tamils in Sinhala areas and Tamils in Sinhala areas where the British did the ethnic removal to plant commercial crops eg: Tea.

    WE WANT THOSE LAND BACK TO THE SINHALESE. Yes , we can give Northern and parts of Eastern province to you in recognising your BHUMIPUTHRA rights. But WE WILL ASSERT OUR OWN BHUMIPUTHRA ideals in our part of the country…….

    SIMPLE ! THIS IS THE SOLUTION TO THE SO CALLED NATIONAL QUESTION.

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      The Tamils were not given any incentives by the GoSL to settle down in the Sinhala areas. They paid hard cash and bought the land and settled there on their own to earn a living and they were not settled by the GoSL with a political view to weaken the numerical strength of the Sinhalese.

      The problem arose when the GoSL started mass colonization schemes in the North and East and settled Sinhalese peasants who were living in the South as IF there was no land available for their settlement in the South. These Colonization were done by the GoSL with a political view to dilute the numerical strength of the Tamil people who were already living there. The Sinhalese peasants were given a lot of incentives including crown land FREE of charge FREE rations, Free tools and what not. This is what is being objected and not the settlement of Sinhalese on their own to earn a living
      in the Tamil homeland.

      Hope you can understand the DIFFERENCE.

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        As part of the deal ALL Sinhala people living in Northern and some parts in the East will be moved questions is WHAT ARE you going to do to DO to your Tamils in the Sinhala areas, as we do not recognise them having Bhumiputhra rights in our land….?????

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          Most of the so called Sinhalese living in the Sinhalese areas , were Tamils a few centuries ago. Especially the ones from the western and southern littorals. Most probably these Tamils will also over the years become Sinhalese. You can already see immigrant Tamil communities from South India like the Colombo Chetties and Baratha( Paravans) becoming Sinhalese, Just like the Karawa, Salagama, Durawa, Hunu Hali and many of the upper Govigamma and Radala became Sinhalese a few centuries ago.

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            This is your real agenda isn’t it.

            TO EVEN DENY THE EXISTENCE OF sinhala people.

            Of course certain castes among Sinhala people have history going to SOuth India.

            The so called the Radala caste is NOT the one that existed when the BRITISH came. MOST of them and their children were murdered or exiled..Eg: Moneravila Keppetipola….

            Of course because the Sinhala kings lacked a systematic approach to pass on the kingship this allowed south indian bystanders to the ascendency to the throne of the Sinhala kingdom.

            Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe was a Tamil King, I believe not even born in Sri Lanka…so there you go….

            Bottom line is TAMILS have a big problem of accepting anybody other than their own kind.

            But they are very good at pointing the finger at other people esp. the Sinhalese as racists. Ofcourse, there are racists among sinhalese, but I would say less as a percentage of population.

            Why aren’t Sinhalese welcomed in the Tamil majority areas ???

            Not only sinhalese Tamil speaking Muslims were kicked out as well from Northern province…Is this tolerance ???

            Why are the Sinhala majority provinces the most multicultural , mulit religious , multi caste provinces in Sri Lanka ???

            Does this show a lack of tolerances of the OTHER among the Sinhalese ?????

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    “Sampanthan Calls For Devolution Of Powers & Human Rights Accountability”

    he can call and call,but unless he has some good cards to play,it will fall on deaf ears.VP had some good cards to play but prefered war to peace because he was a military type like gota and fonseka,and so left the card game for the adrenaline flowing war game.Without any good cards to play golden oldie sam is like empty vessels making the most sound.

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    Soma,

    How Long have you lived in SL? Your question, who Tamils are? the answer is obvious. Which Tamil leader rejected the christians or Muslims in Tamil history? It seems you are not well informed the history of SL. Religion is a philosohy and has nothing to do with ethnicity. It’s primitive to think in this way. People have always changed their religion for one reason or another but ethnicity reflects a set of People. Religion is politicised by politicians to serve their own selfish interest. What were the Sinhala people before they became Buddhist?

    Lets not speculate and create confusion. You want to kill the baby before it is born. Your argument is a typical Sinhala mindset. It is not the Tamils who dicriminated the Sinhalese it is the Sinhalese who have inflicted pain and mayhem on the Tamils for the last bloody 68 years. Did you listen to the interview of CM Wigneswaren of the Northern Province published last week. He grew up in Colombo and his children are married into Sinhala families. He had an important function while living in Colombo. The Sinhala elites must have a paradigm shift and it is long over due. We are tired of the shinhalese lies, shifty and windy arguments. The Tamils and IC known of Sinhala mindset. So lets Forward and let the Tamils have what is theirs. The train has Long left and to return is too late and we want to be left in peace.

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