25 September, 2020

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Sri Lanka: 13A And Its Nine Lives

By R Hariharan

Col. (retd) R.Hariharan

Indian Ministry of External Affairs took the unusual step of issuing a strong press statement cautioning Sri Lanka not to dilute the 13th Amendment (13A) at the end of a Tamil National Alliance (TNA) delegation’s meetings with Indian leadership including the Prime Minister on June 19, 2013. It was in response in to Colombo’s hectic moves to dismantle the constitutional provision of 13A that confers a level of autonomy to Tamil minority.  If 13A is abolished it would not only be negation of the promises President Rajapaksa made to the nation and India but  it would set the clock back on the national reconciliation process that is stalled at the start line since 2009.

The much maligned 13A reached its episodic climax during May-June as the September 2013 Northern Provincial Council (NPC) elections neared. There was a flurry of activities in Colombo as the President was averse to allow the Tamil National Alliance(TNA) – erstwhile political ally of the LTTE– to capture power in the NPC. There was a bit of confusion as the President was making up his mind on how to go about doing this. This resulted in the administration and Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the all powerful Defence Secretary sending confusing signals on future course of action. Lalith Weeratunge, President’s Secretary, added his penny’s worth in twitter justifying the dilution of powers of the “while elephant” provincial councils had not served any purpose, a discovery that came 23 years too late.

In this context TNA MP Sumanthiran’s twitter was interesting: “If PCs have not worked so far, then why has this discovery not taken place all these years? Only when the Tamil people were going to vote did they decided that provincial councils are not required… This shows their malfeasance,” he added.

In a political tear jerker that would vie with mid-day television soap, the last two episodes saw the dramatic change in the ruling UPFA coalition’s political strategy. It hopped from bringing an “urgent bill” to replacing 13A with the 19th amendment (a morphed 13A with its non-flyer wings clipped) to refer it to yet another parliamentary select committee (PSC). Obviously, the quick change of mind came after India hinted dark forebodings and some of the coalition partners loudly protested, while Tamil parties watched.

The President has used the PSC as time-tested weapon to bring to heel recalcitrant Tamil political nit-pickers as much as chief justice. The PSC has two advantages –it buys time and rarely it produces acceptable results because key parties usually do not participate in it. In the present instance also, only the ruling UPFA coalition was quick to nominate 19 members while the main opposition UNP and yesterday’s opposition JVP remained non-starters. TNA’s participation is anybody’s guess, as the troika that pulls it ensures it runs in the same place without moving forward.

As the government appears to be reconciled to hold the NPC elections as scheduled in September 2013 without any change in the 13A, the PSC’s purpose is probably to delay a decision on the issue till the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) is seen through in October 2013. As the President has appointed a PSC to “to speed up the process,” Colombo hopes to smoothen India’s ruffled feathers lest it decides not to participate (India never boycotts) in the CHOGM. We can expect the PSC to stretch itself to see through the CHOGM where the President would be anointed lead the CHOGM for two years.

Sri Lanka needs to seriously introspect why the 13A still survives when all politicians, including President Rajapaksa and his brother Gotabaya speak periodically about changing it or getting rid of it.

The 13A fathered by the wily of Sri Lanka neta JR Jayawardane as political expedience to weather a brewing confrontation with India in 1987. It was a deformed child at birth, with low life expectation. It was never allowed to articulate fully and remained a cradle baby after Prabhakaran massacred hapless policemen and other Tamil activists of EPRLF in hundreds in 1990 and killed the hopes of the Northeastern Provincial Council ever functioning. Prabhakaran’s stand against 13A to give substance to his quest for a free Tamil Eelam suited Southern Sinhalas who were in any case averse to “Tamil terrorists” – regardless of their stripes – coming to power.

However, political parties in the rest of Sri Lanka took to provincial council system with surprising agility because it created one more layer of dispensation of power and favours. It also gave local politicians and their underlings the trappings of non-existent power.   So the 13A continues its ambulatory existence as Sri Lanka polity has not been willing to find a suitable substitute that would provide decentralized powers to the provinces.

As the 13A owes it to the India-Sri Lanka Accord 1987 (ISLA), it has another “useful” political purpose – to make India the whipping boy. India is an essential “evil denominator” in Sri Lanka politics; political and military memoirs written by Sri Lankans are replete with instances to describe this phenomenon. Tamil and Sinhala leaders of all hues ranging from Rajapaksa to Prabhakaran to Weerawansa have emphasized 13A’s as an Indian machination thrust upon an unwilling Sri Lanka.

The 13A’s ISLA linkage has been bringing India into the Sri Lanka political scene now and again, though less frequently after India’s unpleasant experience of direct intervention from 1987 to 90. Even the present Indian interest in 13A came about only after President Rajapaksa thawed it out of cold storage when he came to power in 2005 to use it as a political ploy to ward off sermonising Western powers and retain India’s support.

To sustain Indian support during the Eelam War, Rajapaksa went through various committee manoeuvres and promises to “improve” the 13A, which was never fully implemented. Fortunately, for him, New Delhi with its own other internal and external preoccupations had accepted his arguments during the Eelam War. However, after AIADMK dethroned DMK from power in Tamil Nadu using Eelam War issue, New Delhi was pushed into action.

The pay off time for Sri Lanka’s double speak on the subject came at the UNHCR, after the Rajapaksa chose to ignore mounting allegations of war crimes at home and abroad. And New Delhi had little option but (to do the “right thing” as Hardeep S. Puri puts it in his op-ed piece in The Hindu “Why India is right on Sri Lanka”) to vote for the UNHRC resolution calling for Sri Lanka’s accountability for its conduct during the war.

The political scene in India is undergoing change and Sri Lanka will increasingly find its manoeuvring space getting more and more constricted even if the Congress-led alliance comes back to power in 2014.  As Hardeep Puri wrote, “To dismiss popular sentiment in Tamil Nadu as the machinations of politicians is both a misreading of the situation and a recipe for disaster. Why should Sri Lanka not be held to account for not respecting understandings given bilaterally to India, such as those of April-May 2009?”

Unless Rajapaksa finds an answer to this vexing question, any government in India will find it difficult to wish away the issue because Sri Lanka’s “accountability” is as much applicable to its promises on implementing 13A and devolution of powers to Tamil minority, as investigating allegations of war crimes.

The simple truth is devolution and 13A issues have come to haunt President Rajapaksa because he squandered four years of peace in strengthening his political base rather than bringing back Tamils to political mainstream. This has compounded his accountability problem with the international community. Even now many are not convinced that he would go through the NPC election as planned because he has given sufficient indications that he would like to do what he and the Sinhala right want, rather than accept the inevitability of the TNA gaining control of the NPC.

Surprisingly, the Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa while rightly recognizing the rise of Eelam protagonists abroad as a threat to Sri Lanka’s national security, has failed to recognize the hot house conditions Sri Lanka is providing for them to propagate their cause. Acts of Sri Lanka Buddhist extremism increasing everyday against Hindu, Muslim, and Christian minorities, allowed with studied indifference of the state reinforces the growing belief that the Rajapaksa regime is becoming an inward looking, and intolerant.  Political speeches on tolerance and brotherhood sound no more credible.These add to the climate of suspicion.

The present mess has given hope for revival of the Eelam Cause among Tamil Diaspora, though there is little enthusiasm among Sri Lankan Tamils. Thanks to Sri Lanka’s indifference to war crimes allegations and implementation of LLRC recommendations, anti-Sri Lanka sentiment is lodged in Tamil Nadu’s local politics. This poses a serious threat to not only India-Sri Lanka relations but also the interest of Tamil Nadu as has living links with Sri Lanka Tamils.

Like all half cooked and warmed up food, 13A seems to have finished its shelf life. It has neither met the aspirations of yesterday’s Eelam secessionists nor satisfied Sinhala triumphalists. However, in the absence of a suitable substitute it stands as a sop, if not a symbol of hope, for Tamils. It also apparently satisfies President Rajapaksa’s “liberal sentiments” to leave it for the time being while his coalition members are pandering to Sinhala right wing elements. And it keeps India at bay. Given this curious setting I expect the 13A, truncated or otherwise, to survive its nine lives.

I am one of those who had believed that Sri Lanka at the end of the Eelam War had a wonderful opportunity to open a new chapter in equitable ethnic relations. But what is happening in Sri Lanka mocks at my simplistic belief. I realise Sumanthiran’s words “The Sri Lankan government from the word go was never interested (in devolution of power). The victory in the war meant, take it all….” are probably more than political rhetoric. And that is sad.

*Col R Hariharan, a retired Military Intelligence specialist on South Asia, served with the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka as Head of Intelligence. He is associated with the Chennai Centre for China Studies and the South Asia Analysis Group. E-Mail: colhari@yahoo.com   Blog: www.colhariharan.org

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    Col R Hariharan,
    13A was a dead rope given by Junius Jayawadene to Rajiv the idiot who swallowed it, but no any RAW/South Block idiots ever knew until Rajive was was blown up by very same LTTE. Are there any more idiots, say 1.2 billion idiots still in India ?

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      Most probably, there is a plan in the ruling party. MR just says yes to 13A to stay, many of the govt MPs vote for the complete abolition, they win the vote and do away with the 13A, MR gets off without any consequences with India.

      Partial amendments to 13A will never work. There will never be agreement between parties. If at all there will be a vote for complete abolition.

      Amendments will never be successful. It is an utter waste of time trying to dilute the 13A, which will never be successful. Plan of the ruling party might succeed, India has no control over this.

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        Ranjith L writes: “they win the vote and do away with the 13A, MR gets off without any consequences with India”

        You are aware that there’s another US-led human rights council vote in 2014 (and beyond) where questions will be asked like ‘what steps has sri lanka taken on ethnic reconciliation?’ You are aware how India diluted the last US-led resolution after MR guaranteed NP election therefore scrapping 13A is not exactly a bright idea as it will encourage USA to adopt tougher stance. The minority parties TNA and SLMC are fighting tooth-and-nail to keep 13A as it is better than nothing (MR is not going to present an alternative immediately, only seek to waste time by setting up a PSC).

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          Just like ISrael did it, Move away from the UNHRC.

          UNHRC can not dictate terms when US itself do not stop DRONE ATTACKS IN PAKISTAN.

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            “UNHRC can not dictate terms when US itself do not stop DRONE ATTACKS IN PAKISTAN”

            Jim you are aware that Israel is USA’s key ally and it’s the USA bringing resolutions against Sri Lanka at Mahinda’s former hangout UN human rights council? Therefore do you have any bright suggestions as to what will not cause increased tensions with USA after Mahinda scraps 13A and accumulates more power at the centre?

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      John writes: “but no any RAW/South Block idiots ever knew until Rajive was was blown up by very same LTTE

      Yes but which idiots are not understanding the emotional significane 13A has to the dominant Nehru-Gandhi family (Rajiv’s widow and son) as party of his political legacy? Why was Indian security minister Shivshankar Menon shouting at TNA in 2009 to accept 13A as the solution to tamil problem and that India knew what was best for SL Tamils? You do not think then that the TNA will be compelled to desperately cling to 13A (and thus the Indians) in the face of rising Rajapaksa autocracy?

      “Are there any more idiots, say 1.2 billion idiots still in India ?”

      I wouldn’t be so enthusiastic about giving a shout-out for idiots amongst the indians when the majority sinhala community have produced such educational luminaries as Mervyn Silva and Wimal ‘google’ Weerawansa to represent them in parliament

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        “..idiots are not understanding the emotional significane 13A has to the dominant Nehru-Gandhi family (Rajiv’s widow and son) as party of his political legacy? ..”

        Which idiots decide on constitutional matters on Emotional of a family ?
        Even in India this Italian Housewife & her Kid led congress losing in Elections they was able to hang on to power only with regional parties ever since the death of Rajiv & now Modi (BJP) rising in politics & popularity has even chased away frightened Rahul Gandhi from being PM candidate of Congress Party & has reportedly said he won’t contest PM post or even get married. You idiot better read Indian Press.
        Do you think they have any time to devote to failed Indo-Lanka Accord of 1987 ?

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          “hey was able to hang on to power only with regional parties”

          Yes and one of these will be a major indian Tamil party (DMK or AIADMK) who will have their own self-interests like reclaiming Katchatheevu island from Sri lanka and speaking up for SL Tamils, therefore which idiot is thinking SL scrapping bilateral agreements with india will only lead to good things and no consequences?

          “said he won’t contest PM post or even get married. You idiot better read Indian Press”

          Will John the non-idiot like to provide us with the bone-fide article where Rahul has said he will never marry or proceate? Plus not taking up high-profile PM role is a smart move on Rahul’s part because he has seen both his father and grandmother killed in that role and realises he can have just as much power as Congress part chief with a figure-head as PM.

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            Ramanan the bloody mutt,
            You bloody uneducated Tamil’s poor knowledge is not my problem, it’s your problem, before making comments read more & gather knowledge of the subject.
            So you idiot I’ll give you one link

            Date 04/April/2013 TOI

            http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Becoming-PM-and-getting-married-are-irrelevant-questions-Rahul-Gandhi/articleshow/19377522.cms

            Readers most reccomended comments (top rated ) by popular choice

            1) Rahul baba if you are capable, please challenge Modi for live debate on TV… but since you know that you are mandbuddhi(unintelligent) you dont have guts to do that !
            2) RAHUL IS THE BIGGEST QUESTION AND PROBLEM OF INDIA…
            3) why rahul gandhi is still unmarried ?? . . because he believes in his party symbol HAND :P
            4) Impotent for both endavors.

            Ramanan,
            You Tamils are in fact real mutts but think know everything , no wonder lost the war & left some one million as Toilet cleaners to western countrie.

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              “Readers most reccomended comments (top rated ) by popular choice”

              So let me get this right John, you are basing your assertion that Rahul will never get married on a diffuse web straw poll where the only requirement is to press a ‘like’ button in front of a computer screen, a feat which can be achieved by most primates given enough training. Do you think it might be possible for you to imitate being a human being and read your own link where Rahul makes no attempt to answer comments about his marriage. Therefore before you hilariously start calling people idiots, please closely examine your own moronic behaviour because I stated in my previous reply to you that I wanted ‘evidence’ of Rahul not marrying or occupying PM post in the future. As sad as it is for me to bring you back to reality (though I’m forced to in order to save you from yourself) neither your moronic comments or even my futile attempts to educate you to a basic standard with my replys on CT web page have any meaning in real political life. Next time when people ask for ‘evidence’ they mean authorised statements from the persons themselves or their representatives. Even a debate about the subject amongst key political players would count as evidence of sorts. Please remind yourself of this next time you play the court jester on here

              “no wonder lost the war & left some one million as Toilet cleaners to western countries”

              Thank you John for yet another one of your brilliant insights. I feel saddened at having tell you at what kinds of activities your sinhala army are doing at the moment like fishing, farming, political activities, cleaning, making tea for tourists and cleaning their toilets etc. Normally after a war is ‘won’ the army disbands and soldiers are allowed to resume their civilian life so the fact that so many of your fellow ethnic kin are happily engaging in menial servant tasks like toilet cleaning as part of the armed forced i.e the government and getting paid by them, gives a unique insight into how many of John’s people are happy occupying the lowest rung of the social ladder. We should only look to remind him of this when he makes disparaging comments about Tamils (many of whom were actively blocked in the past from occupying university places in Sri Lanka so simpletons like John might scrap through onto the campus)

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    “The 13A fathered by the wily of Sri Lanka neta JR Jayawardane as political expedience to weather a brewing confrontation with India in 1987”

    From the above statement it appears that Col Hariharan is no expert on South Asian matters. It is surprising that he has not Dixits version of the origin of the 13th Amendment.

    According to Dixit (Page 181-‘Assignment Colombo’) the authors of the proposals in the 13th Amendment were the Indian Ministers Natwar Singh and Chidambaram.

    One has to agree with the Col.that “Like all half cooked and warmed up food, 13A seems to have finished its shelf life”.

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      Vichara,I agree with you that the 13th amendment was fathered by india and not JRJ.However i think JRJ saw an opportunity in it to set the LTTE and india at loggerheads because he knew that it would not satisfy the megalomaniac prabhaharan.Kind recognises kind they say and one megalomaniac recognised another.

      As for Col.Hariharans that the 13th amendment has reached its shelf life ,I don’t agree with that gloomy prognosis.You can see that the 13th amendment benefits the minorities as i have always maintained, because the traditional mischief makers among the sinhalese,namely modawansa and chimpanzika ranawaka are out to sabotage it and the minorities are fighting back with even mahinda’s alliance with the SLMC in jeapardy if he listens to his cronies and goes ahead with its dilutement or abolition.

      So why is the 13th amendment important to the minorities when it has no teeth and the governor is so all powerful?The answer is in the direction the country is going to take in the future and sinhalese hardliners know this and are trying to stop this innocuous piece of legislation in its tracks.It is not the power that the legislation confers on the minorities that they are worried about which is platry in fact,but the future direction that the country is going to take due to it.We are at a crossroads where one fork in the road says devolution and the other fork on the road say centralisation and we have been travelling on the centralisation road since independence,unlike India which travelled the devolution road,and now we have turned on to the devolution fork and gone a little way and the racists who belive that minorities should be well behaved guests in this country and not equal citizens are trying bring us back to the fork in the road before we go too far and then turn to the other direction of centralisation which is a continuation of the path we have been traversing so far with disastrous consequences for the country.These are mischief makers who will benefit immensely from chaos again because they cannot come to power in their own right and have to piggy back on someone else to enhance their stature and influence in the country.From the debris they will salvage something for themselves and their ultimate goal is to see that the country is destroyed and they can rise like the pheonix from the ashes one day.

      So to talk of shelf life being over is wrong because the 13th amendment sets us on the correct direction,but how far we can go on it will depend on how much mistrust between the tamil and sinhalese leaders will gradually reduce by acting responsibly in future,unlike their predecessors who used the race card for their own ends

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    Only the north and the east need devolution through provincial councils or some other device. For the Sinhala areas, no devolution is needed. PCs in the Sinhala areas have only been white elephants and legalizations of local thuggery and corruption.

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      Scott,you have an interesting point there and i have also been thinking about that.The 13th amendment was introduced mainly for the north and east,but i believe to not take on a ethnic flavour it was brought in to all the 9 provinces.The problem here is if you apply it only to the north and east,then the sinhalese will be acknowledging indirectly at least that the north and east has some special needs compared to the rest of the country due to the fact that the ethnic composition is different to the rest of the country.So to play down the ethnicity factor they i suppose preferred it to be done for the whole country other than fo the north and east only.

      It is upto the sinhalese to decide whether it should be for the whole country or for the north and east only.As for the tamils it will not matter,but if i was a sinhalese i would prefer it to be applied to the whole country in order to not give any special status to the north and east only,because it may streghen the claims of the eelamists that the north and the east are different from the rest of the country and hence deserve to be separated from it one day.

      A compromise could be reached to reduce the costs by reducing the number of provincial councils to 5,north,south,east,west and central with equal land area and equal funding arrangements.Anyway i think the upcountry sinhalese need some autonomy from the stifling clutches of the low country sinhalese who outnumber them now and will always have a low country sinhalese president in future.Don’t forget that in 1921 the upcountry sinhalese asked the british for a federal state for the upcountry which was refused and also they had their own kandyan kingdom at one time before the colonialists took over.

      The way all the loans that have to be paid forever by future generations which will include upcountry sinhalese too are being utilised to build white elephants in hambantota,there better be some mechanisms for them to have a fairer share of the funds,otherwise we will start to disintegrate like the former yugoslavia one day starting with the north and ending with the kandyans.The best way of stopping this would be to have the 5 provincial councils i mentioned,and to give them the full powers to manage their own affairs for a fair and equitable distribution of national resources without any concentration of it in any single area such as what happened previously in colombo and what is happening now in hambantota resulting in lopsided development that creates unrest in other parts of the country where there is none or minimal levels of development.

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      “For the Sinhala areas, no devolution is needed. PCs in the Sinhala areas have only been white elephants and legalizations of local thuggery and corruption”

      An excellent comment. It’s like the situation in UK where total population is 60million+ but Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own parliaments leaving the rest of us 50million or so living in England with just the central UK parliament where matters like defence, foreign affairs and economy are also discussed commonly.

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    At the moment 13A is the only political devolution package available for the people of the North and East. The rest of the constitution is in tatters due to 18A and the uncontrolled activities of ethno facist groups like BBS, SR and RB. The climate is getting increasingly heated up with racist and religous rhetoric. Crime and injustice are blossoming in this thrice blessed land. So it seems we are heading backwards into the dark days of the 1970’s and 80’s.

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    “TNA’s participation is anybody’s guess, as the troika that pulls it ensures it runs in the same place without moving forward.”

    The TNA indeed has been running on the same old tread mill for a long time. I am disappointed too that it did not start running forward on a new track after the war, as I had expected.

    ” I am one of those who had believed that Sri Lanka at the end of the Eelam War had a wonderful opportunity to open a new chapter in equitable ethnic relations. But what is happening in Sri Lanka mocks at my simplistic belief.”

    I agree. I had also hoped, prayed and did my miniscule share to make this happen. I however, disagree that it was a simplistic belief or grovelling as one of my detractors has describe it. It was a realistic hope based on the post-war realities I had witnessed and the lofty and convincing sentiments expressed by the president himself in public and in private. There was nothing wrong in us hoping, what was wrong was with the system/parties that failed to make these hopes come true.

    I do not understand who the parties are in what Col. Hariharan calls the ‘troika’. Are they Sambanthan, Senathirajah and Sumanthiran or is he referring to sections of the Diaspora, Tamil Nadu factors and the local elements who subscribe yet to an outmoded ideology-those like the Kilinochchi MP, Sri Tharan?

    What has happened is a tragedy for which both this regime and the TNA have to answer to history. It was tragic case of two hands refusing to come together to clap!

    Dr. Rajasingham Narendran

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      “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” – William Shakespeare

      Call it groveling or “strengthening the presidents arms” or whatever it still is the same for what you did when you came from abroad as part of the “diaspora” group to gain unparalleled access to the Vanni so that you could “laud the president !!

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        Thank God, I saw what I saw! I came, I saw and I learned , which many did not to see because they were afraid to come or did not see, because they did not have the opportunity to come. If being honest is grovelling. So be it. It is a badge I will treasure till I meet my maker.

        Dr.RN

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      Doctor:

      “The TNA indeed has been running on the same old tread mill for a long time. I am disappointed too that it did not start running forward on a new track after the war, as I had expected.”

      I am not seeing a flawless TNA but I wonder how could/should the TNA move forward? I am asking this with an open mind. It has been generally accepted that the MR regime from day one never had the intention of sharing power. In short, it has been fooling around with everyone, be it India and the world. The TNA did sit down with the Govt but as we all know now here, too, the regime took the TNA on a merry-go-round. Even the Northern election are being held grudgingly due to the impending CHOGM. You can’t wake up someone who is pretending to sleep. In fact, if you could see it objectively, this attitude by the MR brothers is not just against the Tamils. Their intention is to consolidate and centralise power in their hands. Using the Tamils as the bogey they had managed to fool the Sinhalese majority to achieve this in the South. They thought they could do the same with the North. Their moves and bitterness is all too apparent that the Northern Tamils are standing in their way to become the “Maharajas” of Sri Lanka. That is the short of it.

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        The TNA needs to put its house in order and show some consistent policy. So far they have only shown a consistent desire to grab power whether through electing Gen. Fonseka as President; bending in three to the Americans, Europeans and the Indians all of who had let them down badly in the past. They make alliances -as in 2010 – which are patently dishonest. The alliances couldn’t even survive the period between the Presidential and General Elections of 2010.
        The TNA is taking the Tamil people of the North (who have no proper leaders) on a ride just like the TULF did in 1977.
        The TNA is so fractured that they lack the courage even to acknowledge the crimes the LTTE committed. OR are thety still only a painted over version of the LTTE?

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          Have you heard of the word “politics”? Even with the best of intentions politicking is a chess game. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. There was and never will be a political dictionary that will embrace the word “consistency” in its totality. You are such an amateur in this. Haven’t you heard of “the intent of man cannot be tried for even the devil knows not the intent of man”

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        jansee,

        Eelam war-4, especially the manner in which it ended with respect of the civilians in the war zone, was an immense tragedy. The focus should have been on the civilians who survived and the rapid restoration of a semblance of normalcy to their lives. The TNA defaulted by not taking up this issue as its prime concern and mobilizing local and international resources to provide help and assistance to these people. Unfortunately, it used this tragedy as an opportunity to vilify and damn the government for every move it made. It was usual politics at the expense of the war-affected. It did not laud the positives, while criticizing the negatives. It did not appreciate and capitalize on the outpouring of sympathy for the victims from all Sri Lankan communities. It lied most times and exaggerated the negatives, in pursuit of its political goal. This has ended in its running in the same place, as it has for decades- the ‘tread mill’ syndrome.

        With time the government has also taken a hardline approach and taken recourse to ‘Communal’ politics. Its distrust in the TNA has turned it towards of the likes of the EPDP, TMVP and now the LTTE defectors. The government that condemned the TNA for representing the LTTE rump, is now riding on the back of ex-tigers!

        It is tragi-comedy of errors, lack of political acumen and absolute deficit in wisdom.

        Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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          Doctor:

          This comes to me as a surprise. Not only there was a veil of secrecy but there was a “curfew” of sorts where except for international guided tours, the local politicians, including from the UPA and TNA, were denied access to the camps. The SL regime denied all and every access despite repeated appeals and protests. Even Ranil was denied access despite his protestation that he is an elected representative of the people.

          Again, there was never any short of help/assistance from the outside world but with the insistence of the SL regime that all assistance should be surrendered to them was not tenantable to the outside world and diaspora simply because it rightly believed that such assistance would not reach its intended destination. It was the regime and not the TNA that blocked legitimate resources flowing into the camps to conceal information on the atrocities to seep out. Despite the best of intentions the gun culture of the regime rendered the TNA helpless as this was clearly understood by the diaspora and the western world.

          You are putting it very coyly when you state “It did not laud the positives, while criticizing the negatives. It did not appreciate and capitalize on the outpouring of sympathy for the victims from all Sri Lankan communities”. To say that of a regime which is nothing but brutal, deceitful and a perpetual liar misses the point of a regime hell-bent on hiding its atrocities. By and large, except for a few, the majority Sinhala people was not even bothered of the sufferings that the Tamils underwent in the hands of regime. This empathetical attitude gave the passport for the Rajapakses to continue with their subjugation of the Tamils unabated. In fact, the Tamils were collectively punished for being in a particular place at a particular period of time. There is not even a single strain of humanity in the Rajapakses. Their uppermost priority is politics, the greed for power and to be recognised as the Maharajas.

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            Long after Rajapake’s fail to criticize the TNA and stop praising themselves you can be sure that Rajasingham Narendran will sing hossanas to them !

            Rajasingham, unlike you the TNA MP’s were not allowed to visit the Vanni !! Even the leader of the opposition (only a few weeks ago) was stopped in Vadamarachi !!

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            jansee,

            Please ask the question why? I had the opportunity to meet a TNA member of parliament ( an LTTE nominee) at that time, who told me that that the LTTE cadres had been scattered in groups of 200 in the Vanni and were ready to pounce back any time! There was definitely fear in the government circles that the TNA was the civilian arm of the LTTE. The TNA did not make the necessary efforts to mitigate this fear. It aggravated it, instead. The government should have definitely tried to draw in men like Sambanthan into the post-war IDP care and rehabilitation issues. Anandasangary was given access to these camps and his opinion was sought. Anandasangary was satisfied with the manner in which the IDPs were cared for.

            The TNA on the other hand chose to play politics with the issue and lied and exaggerated the negatives, to create the illusion of an unfolding nightmare, amidst the tragedy. Players like the EPDP and PLOTE had access to the IDP camps, but played their petty games. One should not ignore that there were several Tamil-sponsored NGO’s involved in providing food for the IDP’s. If I remember correctly, there were 54 NGOs and INGOs involved in the IDP care, including several UN agencies.

            The government in its effort to make political capital out of its victory in that war made mistakes, the principle amongst which was the failure to make the tragedy a rallying point for reconciliation and nation building. Rather than functioning as the state, the government in power acted as the SLFP-led UPFA. This was the fault line that has come to haunt it today. The short sightedness of the TNA approach has also contributed in no small measure to the present crisis at the political level. Fortunately, this crisis is not yet of little concern to most Tamils in the north.

            Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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              Oh please, this from a guy who came rushing back AFTER the war to “laud” the government !
              Is it any surprise that he continues to criticize the TNA?

              Rajasingham and Mahinda have much concern for the Tamil people as Hitler had for the Jews !

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          What positives?

          1) land grabbing
          2) excessive military presence and intervention in civil affairs
          3) White van journeys
          4) Attacks on peaceful assembly of TNA

          Oh only roads, ports, railroads do not make growth when people were not provided home to live. They were laid for different purpose that for what you think.

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    Mr Hariharan. It is Indian interest that matters now. India is so scared of Chinese influence in SL. Chinese is going to surround all parts of SL soon from south to north. It twenty five years time SL will a colony of .china soon like that of Hong Kong. Please wait and see. Then , Indian feel what mistakes they have done.

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      Dont worry Uncle sam unhappily watching it all

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    Why has the writer not mentioned that India armed, trained and financed the LTTE until the 1987 Accord in order to bring pressure on the JR Government and to appease Indian Tamils? Why hasn’t he mentioned that the Indo-Lanka Accord was forced on Sri Lanka at gun point? That an Indian destroyer was waiting at sea near Colombo. That the Indian Air Force invaded Sri Lankan airspace with its jets and ‘bombed’ the North with dhal packets, claiming that it was supplying food. That the Indian government warned Sri Lanka that any attempt to thwart the ‘bombing’ would be met by force.

    Are these matters not relevant?

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      You haven’t mentioned why SL could not stop the Sinhala Only Act? You have not mentioned the gross atrocities against the Tamils that was state sponsored. Wait a minute, have you forgotten that India was directly (not indirectly) affected when thousands of SL refugees fled to India? Have you forgotten that?

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    Laughable, Hari and you know it very well. You know what promises mean don’t you? Can young remember when the great lady promised that she would not attack the Golden Temple? The royal party was watching and learning. They have learned from the Hitopadesa and from Kautilya and they have strung together a flexible state that has outfoxed the Indian machine many many times. There are ‘hectic moves’ and certainly no ‘climax’. What you are seeing is the cold blooded and deliberate playing out of a calculated strategy that will see fascism move to India in a sudden feint that will see your Buddhist Army seize power and anchor its strategy on Ravana’s ancient seat at the heart of the island and this is what will be the beginning of a long march that will see bloodshed of a magnitude not seen before as the Indian Serpent and the Chinese Dragon circle each other in search of supremacy until perhaps both lie wasted by the bearded north.

    Mark my words Hari me boy. I dearly wish that I could live long enough to see this happen as it surely will, due largely to the absence of anything like Indian Intelligence – perhaps Kautilya was a Sri Lankan who left no seed in India before entering his tomb.

    Harsh words maybe, but my motive is not to humiliate but to awaken the region to what is around the corner. If I could but find another body before this one falls apart, what would I not give to enter, what dark ritual refuse to perform, but alas it seems it shall not be and I must leave before your fate takes flame before the world.

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    In 1987, Jayawardene fooled India taking advantage of immature politics of Rajiv, after 20 years, MR fooled his wife. For the foolishness of one family, unfortunately Tamils of north and north-east of Srilanka have been victimized.

    You fought against LTTE for not falling in line to 13th Amendment, now Sinhalese head is not also not falling in line. What have you got in your stock Mr.Hari?

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      mani,what do you mean by “MR fooled his wife”.Please elaborate and give all the filthy details.We srilankans love gossip and fighting.

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    Prof. V. Suryanarayan “In order to understand the policies and programmes of the present Government, it is necessary to highlight the basic transformation that has taken place in the Island Republic. Chandrika Kumaratunga and Ranil Wikramasinghe were conscious that there were serious flaws in the nation building experiment. They sincerely believed that ethic reconciliation can take place by devolving more powers to the Provincial Councils and creating space for self-government. The present Government has a retrograde policy, which can be summed as follows. The destruction of the Tigers saw the end of the terrorist problem, which was the only problem confronting Sri Lanka. There is no ethnic problem” – http://www.eurasiareview.com/25062013-sri-lanka-tamil-disenchantment-with-the-13th-amendment-analysis/

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    What is the bottom line here ? What is the maximum India can do if 13a is scrapped or the provincial councils dissolved ?

    Are they going to invade ?

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      “Are they going to invade ?”

      You think it beyond the Indian Navy to take back Katchatheevu island as all the indian tamil parties are demanding?

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        Yeah we need our land back why should we give it to sinhalese navy to attack my own fisher men?

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    India is wrecking Sri Lanka because Indian Central govt politicians want to appease Tamilnadu.

    IF that is the case, Sri Lanka should move away from India.

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      “IF that is the case, Sri Lanka should move away from India”

      If this is to be done geographically then I assume this will involve another loan application to the Chinese with the newly-moved island renamed ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka’

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      Jims thougts”IF that is the case, Sri Lanka should move away from India.”

      easy.all able bodied srilankans should be given oars by rajapakshes.Then we all should go to the coastline and start rowing in one direction away from India.Little by little by little the island will start to shift with millions rowing.Of course this will depend on the density of the water and the gravitational pull of the oars as a inverse reaction to the thermal conductivity and resistance of the ocean waves.

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    Ind,is should send the peace keeping forces to Sri Lankak to safeguard thevTajmils.

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      as long as they don’t rape and kill like last time.slap a good behavior bond on them first.

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    Those who don’t like SL, leave SL with dignity, or live in SL with indignity.

    I bet you will chose the latter.

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