By C.V. Wigneswaran –
Someone asked me: What have you to say regarding the Cabinet decision to not grant the Colombo Eastern Container Terminal to India?
My response was: What I have been warning earlier has come to pass. It is no secret that successive Sri Lankan Governments have cheated India many a time. This is another example. I expected this to happen after the Geneva sittings. I mentioned this in an interview with the media a few weeks ago. But it has happened slightly earlier.
There is news that the Sri Lankan Government wishes to lease out three of the Islands close to Jaffna to a Chinese Organization to start certain projects to generate Electricity. This is a serious matter.
It is high time India identified the Tamils of the North East of Sri Lanka as their dependable friends and changed their present political stance making sure that the Tamil speaking in the North and East were granted the right to govern themselves while ensuring their safety. If the Southern Block of India is to be safe, India must ensure self-determination for the Tamils of the North and East of Sri Lanka. It is appropriate for India to take the leadership to ensure a Referendum in the North and East to be conducted by the International Community so that the Tamil speaking people would decide their political future.
What happened to the Eastern Terminal will sure happen to the 13th Amendment soon. India must realize that any solution to the ethnic problem within a Unitary State of Government is bound to fail.
In 1987 during discussions preceding the Indo-Lanka Agreement there was speculation that India preferred the same rights given to their Regional States be given to the Provinces in Sri Lanka. But JR Jayewardene tricked the Indians and brought out a toothless Thirteenth Amendment which gave very little powers to the periphery. After him President R. Premadasa went a step further and pulled out the Government Agents, Divisional Secretaries and Grama Sevakas from under the Provincial Administration and brought them under the Centre. Even the meagre Land and Police powers given under the Thirteenth Amendment have been denied to the Provinces up to date by successive Sinhala majority Governments.
The Sinhalese are generally adepts at giving ropes meaning giving false hopes. They would be subservient until they get their things done. Once done they will take high ground. India must realize this. Unless India gains the goodwill of the Tamils of the North and East both will suffer in the long run!