17 May, 2022


Sri Lankan Leader Seems To Reject Greater Autonomy For Tamils

By Gardiner Harris –

Gardiner Harris

The president of Sri Lanka appeared to rule out greater political autonomy for the country’s Tamil ethnic minority on Monday, despite promising for years to support the idea in the wake of a bloody civil war.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa traveled to Trincomalee, a city on Sri Lanka’s east coast that was once claimed by Tamil separatists, and delivered an Independence Day speech that both rejected new power for Tamil-dominated provincial councils and warned foreign governments not to interfere in the country’s internal affairs.

Read more in New York Times

*Gardiner Harris, South Asia Correspondent, The New York Times.

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  • 0

    It is not only autonomy but their basic human rights are not given. Their lands and properties are seized by the military for setting up cantonments for mainly sinhalese. They are deprived of any news of the disappeared loved ones. They are harrassed under continuous military surveillance. They are denied the right to vote and elect their own representatives for the provincial council. Autonomy great or small is a long way off. First give them their basic fundamental rights.

  • 0

    This sea-change on the part of President Mahinda Rajapakse will not surprise those analysts studying the Lankan scene. Rajapakse has the dubious reputation of reneging on verbal and written promises. This
    new stance could well be answered by the speculation there is division at the top. Defence Secretary Gothabaya, 2 years ago, contradicted his elder brother and laid down “there will be no more devolution to the Tamils. We have given them all we possibly can” This new development
    can mean GR is gaining vital popularity among the more influential and numerically strong ultra-Buddhist chauvinistic parties, which many foreign students, believe is the real source of political power in the island where over 75% of the population are Sinhala Buddhists. This shift is also a slap on the face of India, who were fed assurances that a home-grown solution for power-sharing will be produced along the lines of the 13th amendment. The fear is Rajapakse is convinced the meeting of the UNHRC in the coming weeks will go against him and,
    therefore, as his shrill message on February 4 at Trincomalee suggests, he may work up the extremists in the country to the streets both against India and the international community. Like in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, this has so far worked in favour of the Rajapakse regime.
    But the more savvy Lankan citizenry is not Zimbabwe. Already there are
    signs the usually gullible Sinhala masses are beginning to wake up to reality. Anti-regime Sinhala extremist parties – notably the JVP and the influential University teachers and students – are beginning to see things in perspective. There can be visible fissures in government ranks soon.

    Sri Lanka appears to be slipping into a dangerous period of anarchy and country-wide disorder.


  • 0

    Years ago he started to talk about 13 plus. Then many have guessed he is NOT going to give any at all.
    .‘’The umpteenth Indian delegation (Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, National Security Advisor Shiva Shankar Menon and Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar) went back empty handed: President Rajapakse handed them a flat ‘Nyet’ and for once in a lifetime he spoke the truth. “If I make any devolutionary concessions to the Tamils, 13A Plus, Minus, Divided or Subtracted, it will be curtains for me” – Sri Lanka: Indian Delegates go Home Empty Handed, Kumar David, Southasiaanlysis, 15 June 2011

    If one looks at the way he has been treating the Tamils since the end of the war, he is a lowly person.

    As soon as the war was over he would up the Peace Secretariat and the Commission of Inquiry into serious human rights violations.

    What sort of person refuses to release the reports of 15 commissions he appointed in the last seven years – commissions on murders, abductions, disapppearances and corruption at high levels of govt institutions.

  • 0

    President Rajapakse should spell out his vision (provided he has any) for the minorities within Sri Lanka and their role in national affairs, in detailed and concrete terms. Platitudes,placebos and meaningless words are meaningless now. Those who held on to the hope that he would find concrete solutions to the issues of specific concern to the minorities, have been let down badly. His PR exercises will not work. The cat and mouse game should end now. Communalism is coming to the fore in Sri lanka once again, promoted by lumpen elements in society and their political masters.

    If the president is opting for sharing power effectively at the centre, instead of devolving power to the periphery, let him say so cleary with all the details in place. I had always felt that the president was inclined towards the first option and was amenable to that option, considering that real devolution of power was unlikely to come about. However, considering the manner in which power is being concentrated in the presidency and the sycophancy that is being institutionalized, I have my doubts whether even this option will provide effective solutions.

    The window of opportunity that opened after the war has almost closed now due to both the failures of the president and the Tamil political formations.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

  • 0

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    Irrespective of who rules Sri Lanka the centralising tendency of the state and its rulers since 1948 have already arrived at a point where one needs to apply for permission to ease oneself.

  • 0

    We are a nation brainwashed into believing we originated from a Lion. Our true heritage replaced by a narrow minded racist view that we have Aryan blood. All of this was accomplished by first burning down all historical records once housed in the Libraries of Anuradhapura. I am talking about the dawn of the Mahawamsa. It has been realized by many archaeologists who do not wish to make too much of an issue lest they get themselves into trouble that our history has been hijacked and that we have a collective amnesia. This curse until it is lifted will never bring peace to this country. No politician will dare to grant concessions to the Tamils for this reason. They have all learnt the bitter lesson of what happened to SWRD who was shot dead by the very clergy whom he championed.

  • 0

    Tamils could learn,under any circumanatence NOT possible to undermine country and nation sovergenity,terrorital intergrity and Indepenedence,to compensate for greater autonomy only Tamils in Sri lanka.By and large Sri lankan Tamils can live with harmoney other races,until come to certain level of civilization.
    Tamils and thier political Parties,its leaders and social forces not living limites and up to vital interest of Our Nation progress as well as developement.
    They( Tamils) always are beyond our national interest ,politically living DOUBLE STAND.
    Action of politics of TNA indeed proved,that they belived Western nation will be their libitrator.Tamil autonomy will NOT decided by Oridinary Tamil people,but by leaders of Tamil Politicians.
    Oridinary Tamil people are voiceless and powerless,sound Tamil voice raise by Eelam politicians whatever political party they belongs and its leaders racist interest.

  • 0

    If anybody could remember the story of how Anderae ate a coir mat full of sugar……….

    President’s Independence day speech is no difference.

    While he is robbing tamil land……he tells he is going to implement 13th amendment.

    But he cannot play to gallery (buddhist clergy and Sinhala extremists) much longer……


    Remember me when these will come to past.

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