29 May, 2022


Some Notes On Regime Change And Power Sharing

By Imtiyaz Razak

Dr. Imtiyaz Razak

Dr. Imtiyaz Razak

Recent regime change in Colombo, Sri Lanka did not take place in vacuum. There was international support and networks to depose the former regime led by Mr. Rajapaksa who provided political leadership to defeat the Tamil Tigers and local political actors contributed to the scheme planned by powerful actors.

One of the key developments with regard to deposing the regime apparently staged in Singapore. As TamilNet correctly pointed, there was agenda and that was coined as the 10 points formula. “The 10-points agreed between the Sampanthan polity and the regime changers including the new SL Foreign Minister, Mangala Samaraweera, at Singapore in 2013 follow:

Singapore Principles

1. In describing the nature of the State what is important is the substance; the labels are secondary.
2. The Constitution shall be based on basic constitutional principles and values including sovereignty of the people, participatory democracy and supremacy of the Constitution which shall form an unalterable basic structure.
3. Power sharing shall be on the basis of self-rule and shared-rule within an undivided Sri Lanka.
4. The Executive Presidency shall be abolished and the form of government shall be Parliamentary.
5. The pluralist character of Sri Lankan society as well as identities and aspirations of the constituent peoples of Sri Lanka shall be constitutionally recognised.
6. There shall be a strong and enforceable Bill of Rights consistent with universally accepted norms and standards.
7. There shall be a separation of powers and an independence of judiciary which includes a Constitutional Court.
8. Important institutions shall be independent and accountable. Appointments to these and High Posts shall be through a transparent mechanism that provides for a national consensus, example Constitutional Council.
9. Institutions of the State shall reflect the pluralist character of Sri Lankan society.
10. The Republic of Sri Lanka shall be a secular state. The Foremost place to Buddhism and equal status to other religions shall be assured.

Sri Lanka needs seek better ways to arrest the ethnic tensions. There need to better mechanism to arrest the fears people of Sri Lanka have been harboring for years. This is the toughest task, but if there are sincere interests at elite level, better ways can be found to ease tensions and to seek solutions. I am by and large in agreement with the 10 points provided the new regime would take measures to safeguard the interests and security of Muslims of the North and East in particular and Muslims in general in the troubled island.

Mangala MuslimsThe problem now among nationalists Tamil circle is rather interesting as expected. Tamil nationalists want to win a solution that would go beyond the 13th Amendment , and want the merger of the North and East plus de-militarization of Northern Sri Lanka. These measures, specially the merger of the North and East and de-militarization of Northern Sri Lanka very likely compromise the security of the Muslims. Hence, it is the responsibility of Muslim politicians to negotiate power actors to seek better solutions for Muslims while not compromising the security of others. The Muslims of Northern and Eastern already have spilled enough blood. So, when and if there is a forum to seek solutions to what’s dubbed as ethnic crisis , the special problems of the Muslims require political solutions as the Tami grievances deserve.it is the responsibility of the Sri Lanka government to search for a solution conducive to all communities. Such a solution as I argued elsewhere, can be found based on consociationalism, which proportionally allocates political power among the communities – whether religious or ethnic – according to the percentage of their population.

*A.R.M. Imtiyaz is currently teaches at the Asian Studies Center, Temple University, USA. His primary research interest is in the study of ethnic conflict, both in Sri Lanka and in other countries. His articles have been published in several journals and presented at the international conferences on ethnicity. He served as a lecturer in Political Science at the South Eastern University of Sri Lanka.

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  • 3

    Dr. Imtiyaz Razak

    RE: Some Notes On Regime Change And Power Sharing

    Thanks for the write-up.

    Looks like a mini-US constitution with some adjustments,

    “The problem now among nationalists Tamil circle is rather interesting as expected. Tamil nationalists want to win a solution that would go beyond the 13th Amendment , and want the merger of the North and East plus de-militarization of Northern Sri Lanka.”

    Remember, the Tamil Nationalists Ultimate goal is a separate North and East Tamil Eelam, where only Tamils can live. They want their own East Timor., which the Sinhala and muslims, will not agree to. A lot of Tamil Mutaals( முடால்ஸ்) vanished in this endeavour.

    If the tamilமுடால்ஸ் nationalists want a separate Tamil Eellam in Sri Lanka, they need to move to Tamil Nadu in South india, where they originally came from as Paras, to Lanka, the Land of Native Veddah Aethho.

    Same for Para SinhalA Buddhists. They need to go to South India or Bihar/Orissa.

    The DNA in their bodies is Proof.

    • 2

      Imtiyaz Razak –

      RE: Some Notes On Regime Change And Power Sharing

      Well, some comparison on Sri Lanka and Norway. We all know about Sri Lanka. What about Norway?

      Some Notes On Norway.


      25 Reasons Norway Is The Greatest Place On Earth
      The Huffington Post | By Lisa_Miller
      Posted: 01/07/2014 12:22 pm EST Updated: 12/31/2014 8:59 am EST

      Norway is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places on Earth. It’s home to more natural wonders than we can count and it has stunning cities, fascinating history and really happy people.

      Norway’s not cheap. But it’s worth it. Here are 25 reasons why.

      1. It’s actually one of the happiest places on Earth.

      In the United Nation’s 2013 World Happiness Report, Norway took the second place spot. The report surveyed 156 countries and looked at a number of factors, including life expectancy and health, freedom and social support.

      2. It’s really safe. ( No White Vans and abductions)

      The crime rate in Norway is incredibly low. The murder rate is low. The incarceration rate is low. As one wise law student once said, “happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.”

      3. There’s a law called “allemannsrett.” ( Mo Monk Mahanamaism)

      Allemannsrett literally translates to “all men’s rights.” It’s a “freedom to roam” public rights law that allows the right of access to and passage through all uncultivated land. This means you can pitch a tent or hike through any land that is “utmark” (non-cultivated). Also, wild-berrying is permitted everywhere. This little rule is extra awesome because there tons of jaw-droppingly beautiful places to see in Norway and few barriers stopping you.

      4. Trolltunga is the perfect photo op.
      Trolltunga is one of those insanely gorgeous locations.

      5. So is Kjeragbolten.
      See that boulder? You can stand on it. Where else can you hover thousands of feet above solid ground, suspended in the crevice of a mountain?

      More with the link


  • 3

    If the agreements reached in Singapore will be implemented, it will be a good start for the future. Will the present government honour it or simply abandon it in the wake of opposition, as what had been done in the past to similar agreements, we have to wait and see.

    North-east merger is something that is sacrosanct for the Tamils, even to those who did not favour a separate state. This is why India insisted on it in 1987 agreement. Despite this agreement being an international one between two countries, where one party cannot unilaterally change any part of it, Srilanka through the supreme court de-merged it. There are methods to re-merge it as suggested by the then Chief Justice who gave the judgement to de-merge. Unfortunately India remained in silence when this occurred, but when Srilanka breached the agreement on allowing foreign war ships to use srilankan ports was made, India protested and was instrumental in toppling the then regime.

    Law has to be equal to every one. If the Tamils have been forced to abandon division of Srilanka, then Sinhalese and Muslims have to be forced to abandon dividing North-east. If this is not done, then the talk of equal justice to all falls apart.

    The concerns of Muslims and Sinhalese living in North-east should be accommodated within an undivided north-east, just as much as what we hear about accommodating concerns of Tamils within undivided Srilanka.
    There can be no doubt that North-east has been the lands of historic habitation of Tamil speaking people as clearly mentioned in Indo-lanka accord of 1987, and has been accepted internationally.

    Those who say that this accord was thrust on the Sinhalese without their consent, must realise that several things have been thrust on Tamils without their consent. In 1933, British merged the Jaffna Kingdom with rest of Srilanka without the consent of Tamils. In 1947 British forced the Constitution on Tamils assuring them that section 29 will protect them, which we know that it was not to be. British also failed to return the sovereignty to the Tamils when they left which was snatched by Portuguese without the consent of Tamils. The constitutions of 1972 and 1978 were also thrust on Tamils without their consent. So if Sinhalese keep harping about forcing things on them, then they should remove all that had been forced on Tamils.

    One possible solution to merger of North and East provinces, you could remove Amparai electorate which is almost Sinhala due to colonisation, from eastern province and attach it to Uva province and to reciprocate it, remove Puttalam electorate which has a large Muslim and Tamil population with names of villages in Tamil from North-western province and attach it to Northern province. Once this is done carve out a Muslim sub-council under the merged North-east incorporating only the Muslim villages in a Pondichery model. If Muslims say that they do not want to be ruled by Tamils in a merged North-east, then the same rule must apply when asking Tamils to be ruled by Sinhalese in Srilanka.

    Time has come to settle the ethnic problem comprehensively so that it will not rise up again. If you want to act tough with Tamils, then you have to act tough with Sinhalese and Muslims also. If you cannot do that in granting the legitimate rights of Tamils, then you should stop talking of equal rights, justice and peace.

    • 0

      East has never been a part of 400 year old tamil kingdom. East was a part of Kandyan kingdom.

      • 0

        Hi,sach; If you say so what is your explanation for the Kandyan kingdom that had been ruled by Vellore Tamil Nayakar kings from 1739 till 1815. The last king signed the treaty with the British in Tamil in 1815(proof could be view in the British Museum). One can understand Dr.Imtiyaz Razak apprehension! Which is unreasonable! Since independence in 1948, Muslims who’s mother tongue is Tamil, few Sinhala(but it is a religious group) not an ethnic group which had the plum within the troubled politics in the Island. They,[elitist Muslims] who knew how to play their opportunistic card have done very well for themselves(politicians) irrespective of their poor brethren. The Sinhalese silently had accommodated them to spike the Tamil community either knowingly or unknowingly. But the Muslims got the ‘lion share’ out of the Srilankan political game. Razak hides in his article how his community had played out its criminalities jointly with the Srilankan Ruling elitists and their army intelligence. He tries to portray that Muslims are the victims of the separatist war. The Muslims in the east carried out more atrocities than LTTE did to them. They were collaborators with the Sinhala Army during the war. This was the reason for evacuating them from North, mainly for their safety not as how it was portrayed by the Sinhalese ‘ethnic cleansing’.
        The 400 year of glorified Tamil rule had spread to Indonesia up to Bali, Cambodia and Vietnam. Let us forget all these as past events. No point blowing our own trumpets. Let us now build a united Srilanka especially after removing a tyrant autocrat from his realm through the Ballot box. Let every individual in Srilanka be given unstinted equal opportunities irrespective of their ethnic or religious background.

      • 1

        When deciding a course of action you have to either rely on the very beginning or the present times, not just pick a point which is favourable to you. There were no Sinhalese or Tamils in Srilanka in pre-historic times. It has now proved genetically that majority of both Sinhalese and Tamils have migrated from South India, and only few from North India.

        Of the ancient inhabitants, those in the western, southern and central areas have been absorbed into the Sinhala race and those in the Northern and eastern provinces have been absorbed into the Tamil race. Of the veddas, those in the central areas who were essentially hunters are either remaining as veddas or have become Sinhalese, and those in the eastern plains who were essentially farmers have become Tamils. The ancient Murugan Temple in Kataragama, belongs to these coastal veddas, and they were Saivaites. It is these Tamilised descendants of coastal veddas, who are the rightful owners of Eastern province and not the subsequent Tamil, Muslim or Sinhala settlers.

        There are several Muslims in eastern province who are still practicing matrilineal customs of the Kerala Malabar community similar to that practiced by the Tamil Mukkuwars in eastern province who also came from Kerala, proving their kinship.

        In pre-historic times there were no organised kingdoms, but there were several tribal chieftains, one of whom was Kuweni in the Puttalam area. Kuweni was not the ruler of entire Srilanka. First established Kingdom was in Anuradhapura and the Kings were Saivaites. First king to be converted to Buddhism was Devanampiya tissa, which is a Tamil name and not a Sinhala one, meaning person who believed in god. His father was Muttusiva which is a Saivaite name in honour of Siva. To make claims citing boundaries of Kandiyan Kingdom which was established much later, is racist.

  • 0

    Isn’t ” consociationalism” what is practiced in Lebanon? From my understanding that country’s government seems to be on the edge of collapse, and the society on the verge of civil war in perpetuity.

    Is that what is best for Sri Lanka?

  • 0

    “which proportionally allocates political power among the communities – whether religious or ethnic – according to the percentage of their population”

    Would not proportional representation we now have achieve precisely that if they form parties along ethnic lines — particularly in the Eastern province?

  • 0

    Along with the merger of North and East will there be proposals to move Tamil speaking peoples presently living in other parts of the country to North and East?

    • 1

      Srilankan Tamils living in the south migrated there for economic reasons. British merged the Jaffna Kingdom with the rest of the country and made Colombo the administrative and business centre. Ancient economy based on traditional agriculture was disbanded and a new economy based on Tea and Rubber plantation was introduced. Entire economic activity was in the South and hence Tamils had to move down in order to get jobs and to transact activities with the rulers.

      This migration did not occur during Portuguese or Dutch time as they ruled Jaffna Kingdom separately from the South. When a genuine autonomy is granted with power centre moving to Tamil areas, then most of the Tamils will move out of the south, as they can have the same facilities in the north, where necessity to move south does not arise.
      Several Tamils who had lived comfortably in Colombo have moved to foreign countries due to circumstances, and therefore moving to Tamil areas for a dignified and save life will not be a problem.

  • 0

    [Edited out]

  • 1

    It is Tamils and muslims start talking along ethnic and religious lines.

    then when BBS starts their talking every body says it is racist and Sinhala Extremism, Supremacism.

    what BS.

    How many buddhists and christians have their rights in muslims countries ?

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