19 September, 2019

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The Irrelevancy Of The 13A In Finding A Solution To The National Question

By Kumaravadivel Guruparan

Kumaravadivel Guruparan

Kumaravadivel Guruparan

The Irrelevancy of the 13th Amendment in Finding a Solution to the National Question: A Critical Note on Sri Lanka’s Post-War Constitutional Discourse

The 13th amendment to the Second Republican Constitution that established the Provincial Council system has become the centerpiece of the discourse on constitutional reforms in post-war Sri Lanka. For two decades between 1989 and 2009, the provincial council system was rarely mentioned in the constitutional reform debate, except when it found mention in the President Mahinda Rajapaksha- appointed All Party Representative Conference (APRC)’s Interim Proposals in 2008. But since the end of the war in May 2009 the 13th amendment has made a definitive come back to the constitutional reform debate. Today the solution to the ethnic conflict in some way or the other is proposed by way of reference to the 13th amendment. President Rajapaksha’s Government would like to water down as much as possible the 13th amendment (‘13-‘), whereas the Tamil National Alliance’s stated position (derived from the Indian position) is for the full implementation of the 13th amendment and moving beyond the 13th amendment towards ‘meaningful devolution’. This main purpose of this article would be to demonstrate that a solution to the National Question, based on the 13th amendment would not be possible. It will seek to problematize the minimalistic argument for ‘full implementation of the 13th amendment’, demonstrate the impossibility of ‘13+’ and ‘meaningful devolution’ within a unitary state, seek to locate the role of the Supreme Court as an arbitrator of devolution disputes and as to why a solution within the unitary state will not be possible and more importantly why its unlikely that the majority community will agree to a solution beyond the unitary state. There is sufficient literature on the law of the 13th amendment and hence this article will primarily seek to reflect critically on the politics and constitutional praxis of the 13th amendment.

Read the full article here

*Kumaravadivel Guruparan –PhD Candidate, University College London and Lecturer, Department of Law – University of Jaffna. This article published by the Junior Bar Committee of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka

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Latest comments

  • 3
    5

    Then what is Vigneswaran and Ananthi doing in 13 amendment created NPC?

    Aren’t they traitors to the Tamil cause then?

    When LTTE was around these traitors who compromised on the Tamil position could not survive! Sigh!!!

  • 2
    7

    There is no national question.

    But, there is a TAMIL ETHNIC – QUESTION. THAT IS ONLY FOR TAMILS>.They migrated all over the world and speak every language except Tamil. So, they want a country to establish Tamil as the language while they enjoy material wealth else where.

  • 0
    6

    Tamils have every thing except a country where the majority language is tamil.

    that is the TAMIL NATIONAL QUESTION.

    It is not THE NATIONAL QUESTION IN SINHALE.

    • 1
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      Tamil national question:

      ”Our fertile lands are taken over by the Army and they are cultivating them and selling the produce to the owners of such lands! Fishing is in their hands. IDPs have not been allowed to get back to their residences. As Chief Minister I was not allowed to go and visit the area where two temples and a school had been purportedly razed to the ground” – The Future Is Not Ours To Say C. V. Wigneswaran By Easwaran Rutnam, 12 January 2014,, http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2014/01/12/the-future-is-not-ours-to-say-c-v-wigneswaran/

      Sinhala national question:

      ‘‘Sri Lanka’s international business prospects have brightened tremendously after the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) held in this country late last year. The meeting helped to popularize Sri Lanka among Commonwealth countries as a highly promising business destination” – CHOGM boosted SL’s global business opportunities’ Sri Lanka Chamber of Small & Medium Industries, 16 January 2014, http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=95990

  • 2
    2

    The author is politically wrong if he purports to speak for Tamil interests. 13A gives national and international legitimacy to some degree of devolution. Devolution in the rest of the country is a fake, even in the NPC it is partial, but it does give Wigneswaran some space to act. Therefore protecting and building on 13A, instead of childishly rejecting it, is the way forward. Insisting on the rights conferred under the Constitution (13A), as Wigs is doing, is a convincing argument at home, and abroad (eg Geneva).

    The Garuparan-Ponnambalam approach is just sour grapes after the TNA landslide and huge voter turnout at the NPC poll. G&P only want to add grist to the mill of the LTTE rump in the diaspora.

    • 0
      1

      Forget about this author.

      THE APRC PROCESS: FROM HOPE TO DESPAIR, ohan Edrisinha, 3 February 2008,
      http://groundviews.org/2008/02/03/the-aprc-process-from-hope-to-despair/

      ”Let’s first be clear about the serious limitations in the Thirteenth Amendment itself. As Professor G.L Peiris, when he was Cabinet Minister under Kumaratunga and Wickremesinghe often said, under the Thirteenth Amendment there was only a “veneer” of devolution of power because “what was given with one hand was taken back with the other.”(Rajapakse’s Minister Peiris, not surprisingly, is singing a different tune). Under this Amendment there is not a single subject or function over which a provincial council has complete control and the centre possesses several mechanisms by which it can regain power to itself. In the twenty years of its implementation, the central Parliament has used the “National Policy on all Subjects and Functions” rubric to undermine devolution of power and take power to itself. Central Government Ministers have waved their Ministerial wands and converted schools and hospitals into national schools and hospitals and in a twinkle of an eye, such schools are brought under central government control. The three lists are drafted in such a way that the powers assigned to the centre are comprehensive and inclusive, while the powers assigned to the provinces are limited. Unlike in India there is no state or provincial representation at the centre to act as a watchdog to prevent Parliament’s encroachment into the provincial domain nor is there an independent public service to limit central executive interference in the affairs of the province. Devolution of power under the Thirteenth Amendment has proved to be fragile and vulnerable in a political culture that is centralized and hierarchical”

    • 0
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      EW Golding,
      I totally agree with you. 13A will take shape in due course. 13A is a checkmate for Mahinda. Let us wait until the probe at Geneva.

  • 1
    2

    13th Amendment solved the ‘stateless’ problem in Hill country. Dont this fool know it?

    Jaffna man is always a self centered creature who always think how much he can make. They have no idea of serving the public.

    When Tamil became compulsory in schools in 1957, Catholic church and Selvanayakam sent telegrams to Queen to stop it. Then Jaffna University was founded by late Rt.Hon. Sri Mavo Bandaranayake, the Selvanayakam gang opposed it. This guy is now working and making a living in the same university.

    13th Amendment is good for Tamils but not good for Americans and British. That is why these Jaffna men always barking at 13th Amendment and send back millions to treasury.

    • 0
      1

      Sivananthan
      Can you please give a link to any website or book or article or the section of the constitution that says anything about what you say?

      I thought it was the pact between Prime Ministers Srimavo and Shastri that ”solved” stateless problem.

      • 0
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        Idiot!
        You check the JR-Rajiv agreements.

        • 0
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          Sivanandan
          Pl mind your language.

    • 0
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      13A is not good for logic:

      https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bxbk4wYolphwYzRkMjI2ZWUtNmY1OC00NTUwLWEwMDYtNmFlM2VhOTY0MjAx/edit?hl=en#
      Submission by Harim Peiris to LLRC, 7 October 2010:
      ‘’ We may have united the nation geographically, but remain polarized ethno-socially. It is not possible to simultaneously argue the need to maintain Emergency Law, the need for war time levels of defence expenditure and deployment of a network of security installations in the North not found anywhere else in the country and still maintain that the Tamil people are not alienated from the Sri Lankan State.
      ….. The immediate short term measures that are required are the humanitarian needs of the conflict affected people of the North and East ……
      If General and Presidential Elections can be held in the North and the East it is impossible to argue that the Northern Provincial Council’s elections need to be delayed any further. However, I would also respectfully submit that the frustrations experienced by the elected Chief Minister of the Eastern Province – incidentally an ethnic Tamil, in relation to the unelected Governor – incidentally a retired Sinhala Military Officer should not be allowed to be repeated in the North, if devolution is to be meaningful, and indeed such issues should be resolved, in the East.
      Strengthen individual human rights and fundamental and democratic political freedoms, by acceding to Sri Lanka’s international and treaty obligations and in keeping with Supreme Court Judgments in this regard, through the passing of enabling domestic legislation, that will fundamentally strengthen the rights of the individual citizens. Its fundamental Human rights.’’ (Harim Pieris was civil servant and Advisor to a former President)

    • 0
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      This brain dead Sivananthan should be sent to Angoda.

  • 1
    1

    KG,forget about 13,13+,13- or square root of 13.Forget about MR also.As long as MR is in power Tamils are not going to get anything politically.What do you think about Chandrika’s peace proposal?Did you ever support Chandrika’s proposal?If you really want peace in SL,have you condemned those who torpedoed the C’s proposal?.You neither supported nor condemned those who torpedoed the proposal.Because you were based in Colombo at that time and propagating the Tiger ideology clandestinely.Have you ever condemned the killings of the Tigers? Now your leader Gajendrakumar Ponnampalam(grand son of GGPonnmpalam,who was branded as a traitor by the FP for accepting the minister post)is asking confederation.You can even ask for a separate state.We have to think whether it is realistic.

  • 0
    0

    ”I was asked to make the presentation for the Third World and for this purpose I needed to study the constitutional structures in many Third World countries. What emerged was that in many of these countries their constitutional structures were such as to permit the growth of authoritarianism with a resulting denigration of basic rights and liberties” – Justice Weeramantry tells Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, SriLanka, 29 November 2010, http://www.scribd.com/doc/127226195/Sri-Lanka-Justice-Weeramantry-to-Lessons-Learnt-and-Reconciliation-Commission

  • 0
    0

    ”In 1978 when President Jayewardene sought to introduce the Presidential system, I realized, in the light of these studies, that the proposed constitutional structure opened up possibilities for authoritarian rule through a violation of the principle of separation of powers and a departure from the basic tenets which had thus far protected the liberty of the subject in Sri Lanka.

    I was then in Australia and I requested a meeting with him to discuss this matter, which he kindly granted me. I came from Australia for this meeting and in a long interview sought to persuade him not to pursue this course. My submission to him was that Presidential power under the proposed constitution was so great as to place democratic principles in danger. I also submitted that even if he himself would not misuse his powers, he had created a dangerous concentration of Presidential power with serious implications for the future. I was not successful in convincing Mr. Jayewardene that he should desist from this course.

    In light of my study of the growth of authoritarian power in many other countries, I had my fears that this could lead to an erosion of the rule of law in contradiction of the principles we had been accustomed to since independence. I believe many instances of this surfaced from time to time, especially through the weakening of the traditional independence of the administrative service.

    In February 1984 when I was a Visiting Professor at the University of Florida, when the separatist problem had reached acute proportions, I wrote from Florida to President Jayewardene suggesting the implementation of a number of principles, among which were that:

    * No denial of fundamental human rights is to be without appropriate and easily accessible remedies under the law;

    * For this purpose, an entire range of human rights procedures and instrumentalities will be set up, in light of the latest international knowledge and experience;

    * All personnel administering the human rights machinery of the state will be completely independent in the discharge of their duties.

    I believe it was the Presidential system that stood in the way of the proper implementation of these proposals. Since these steps did not take place, Presidential power continued to be exercised for 5 years on the basis of the Presidential Constitution. Without the checks and balances that would have resulted from the implementation of the proposals referred to I believe that many denials of justice and violations of human rights occurred thereafter, which were a direct result of the continuation of the Presidential system”
    Justice Weeramantry tells Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, SriLanka, 29 November 2010, http://www.scribd.com/doc/127226195/Sri-Lanka-Justice-Weeramantry-to-Lessons-Learnt-and-Reconciliation-Commission

  • 0
    0

    ”In 2005 on the eve of the Presidential Elections I saw the need for a candid assessment of our national weaknesses and national institutions and wrote A Call for National Reawakening, listing a number of these. Among the institutional reforms which I urged was the abolition of the Presidential system, giving a number of reasons why this needed to be done.

    Among the reasons given were the lack of adequate checks and balances, the possibility of abuse of power and the possibility of personality clashes if the Prime Minister and President came from opposite parties. Around the same time I was greatly reassured to note that the Mahinda Chintana of 2005 promised the drafting of a new Constitution with a promise also of the appointment of a Constitution Redrafting Commission, a Referendum on its proposals and immediate steps to implement such new Constitution.

    The excessive use of power, in denial of democratic rights, which I anticipated even in 1976 when I first studied this question received strong confirmation in the Mahinda Chinthana of 2010 which said that while the present President had been particular1y careful when exercising the powers of the “Executive Presidency”, the Executive Presidency had in the past been used “to postpone elections, to topple elected governments, to disrupt the judiciary, to ban political parties, to suppress demonstrations and lead the country towards a violent culture, to sell state institutions at under-valued prices, to defend criminals and to grant concessions to unscrupulous businessmen. Agreements that betrayed the country were entered into using the powers of the Executive Presidency’.”

    This categorical statement was a very strong indictment of the Presidential system, coming as it did from the President himself, with access to all the sources of information. Indeed this Presidential statement confirmed the worst fears I had entertained, when the Presidential system was conceived, of possible abuses of Presidential power. If Presidential power was capable of being used to disrupt the judiciary, to ban political parties and to betray the country, the fundamental principles of democracy were in danger and this was the strongest possible reason for subjecting it to the necessary checks and balances.

    It is true President Rajapaksa gave a categorical assurance that he himself would convert the Executive Presidency into a Trusteeship, which honours the mandate given to Parliament by being accountable to Parliament, establishing equality before the law, being accountable to the judiciary and not being in conflict with the judiciary. Trusteeship is indeed a noble concept and such an assurance by His Excellency’ the President is most honourable and welcome.

    Yet it still is personal to him and does not have the force of law, however noble the intention behind it. Nor does it bind any future holder of the office.

    Each of the preceding items can be elaborated on at length and I only point out here that this is an aspect which assumes prime importance in the context of reconciliation and rehabilitation.

    A constitution entrenching power that can be abused by other office holders in the manner described in the Mahinda Chinthana 2010 is not an institutional measure promoting confidence and reconciliation.

    Since this is an institutional, administrative and legislative field which has such deep implications for the future of a united Sri Lanka living in harmony, peace and equality under the protect of the law, I trust the Commission will give it careful and considered attention”
    – Justice Weeramantry tells Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, SriLanka, 29 November 2010, http://www.scribd.com/doc/127226195/Sri-Lanka-Justice-Weeramantry-to-Lessons-Learnt-and-Reconciliation-Commission

  • 2
    0

    13 +Plus or Minus is what has been forced on the will of the people of Sri Lanka.
    So much so that, a Naval Rating who understood that could not resist but strike Late Rajiv Ghandi for forcing it on us.
    On the other hand Raviv Ghandi did not know how to twist the arm of Velupillai Prabakan & his ltte and that of the silend schemers the TULF.

    Now that Velupillai and the LTTE in Sri Lanka no more, Rajive is dead and the TULF is fractured, what validity of a 13 plus or minus???

    This is LTTE proxy’s & the Roman Catholic Church’s rhetorics that have to dance today.

    • 0
      0

      Foxyb JRJ invited naive Rajiv because he couldn’t deal with LTTE because he had to deal with JVP. Rajiv even didn’t know what was in 13A and was made to sign it though he ressed JRJ to give devolution of power to the Tamils.

      Conscientious Sinhalese academics and lawyers expressed the futility of 13A as soon as it was enacted and after two decades:
      ‘’Recentralization is the hallmark of the system. Today, PCs have become a means by which the centre controls regional resources. They have also become the avenues through which the centre consolidates its political power’’ – ‘Twenty Two Years of Devolution – An Evaluation of the Working of Provincial Councils(PCs) in Sri Lanka’, Institute for Constitutional Studies, 21 December 2010,http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=14340

  • 1
    1

    Good stuff KG. India betrayed tamils through this inadequate lunacy called 13A. However considering the current polictical enviornment, one cannot blame TNA to consider 13A as a starting point but I agree with you on the idiocy of “Full implementation of 13A” which is nothing but a big BS.

  • 2
    1

    Guruparan,

    Why not save yourself a lot of time by screaming out loud?

    “I cannot sleep. Until my perverted, Tamil etnno-nationalist, racist dream is fulfilled. An ethnically cleansed, Tamil only utopic Ealam carved out of tiny, multi-ethnic Sri Lanka. Emcompassing 1/3 of the land mass and 2/3 of the coastline. For only 12% of the population, most of whom live among the Sinahalese in Colombo and in the Central Province.”

    Now that is a fair political solution for you. Isn’t it? Dream on my friend.

    Cheers!

    • 0
      0

      Given the precarious situation the GOSL is in today, the Sinhalese people are in no position to demand anything. They are in no position to demand 2/3 of the landmass and 1/3 of the coastline. Unlike in 2005, they will have to negotiate the borders with the Tamil state from a position of weakness. Given the fact that the security of the Tamil state will be underwritten by the US, they will have to be content with whatever is given to them. If you think that an international intervention is not taking place on the island, then it is you who are dreaming not Mr.Guruparan.

    • 0
      0

      The world has been watching for a long time but short-termism of geopolitics will protect the oppressers for a long time to come:

      In the forward to the book, CEYLON : A DIVIDED NATION(1963), Viscount Soulbury (British Colonial Commissioner in charge of handing over independence – hence the independence Constitution was called Soulbury Constitution) expressed his regret: ‘’In the light of later happenings I now think it is a pity that the Commission did not also recommend the entrenchment in the constitution of guarantees of fundamental rights, on the lines enacted in the constitutions of India, Pakistan, Malaya , Nigeria and elsewhere. Perhaps in any subsequent amendment of Ceylon’s constitution those in authority might take note of the proclamation made by the delegates at the Arfrican conference which met in Lagos two years ago: ‘Fundamental human rights, esp. the right to individual liberty, should be written and entrenched in the constitutions of all countries. Nevertheless the reconciliation of Tamils and Sinhalese will depend not on constitutional guarantees but on the goodwill, common sense and humanity of the government in power and the people who elect it.”

      • 0
        0

        Davidson Panabokke,

        With all due respect to Brits and in particular to Mr. Soulbury

        None of these states India, Pakistan, Malaya , Nigeria are shininng examples of good nation building.

        Cheers!

  • 0
    2

    Tamils in SL are stranded people.

    They should be taken back to Tamil Madu.

  • 0
    0

    I rely on all the concepts you’ve available for your submit. They’re begging and may absolutely do the job. However, the actual threads have become speedy for newbies. May just you desire stretch these a little bit through subsequent occasion? Appreciate this write-up.

  • 0
    0

    There is a school of thought which believes Constitutional experts on both side of the Straits and their political leaders recognised (1986/87) the 13th Amendment was not going to be the panacea for all our ills. But it was hoped to break the deadlock in the mindset of the Sinhala mass – more the politicised Buddhist priesthood – to the idea of gradual power sharing with the Tamil people so that they (Tamils) could be persuaded from seeking emerging Separation in the light of their own recent history. The widely shared prejudice of the late 1950s against the Tamil people – culminating in the 1956 General Elections victory – appeared to have given the Sinhala majority the country is entirely theirs and everyone else are recent immigrants and, therefore, subject people.

    It is significant the Sinhala south did not go into flames when the North-East was merged from 1987 until 2006. Even the JVP-inspired
    chaos settled down almost quickly as it began. The point is, the country could have been weaned away from a jaundiced majoritarian mindset and made to move towards unity and reconciliation by a better political management aided by consensus among the main political stake-holders. But this better political management, unfortunately, was not simply there. JRJ, who could have brought in the change found his Cabinet factionalised – with some of them even working in cohorts with the JVP. The country has been since inching towards disintegration albeit occasional attention of a superficial nature. Whereas what is required is far deeper action by means of a series of moves resulting in a bold unambiguous political settlement – locally grown, if you like.

    Senguttuvan

    • 0
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      ” …In each, the party previously in opposition gained decisive power on a platform that promised fundamental change. After each election, there were missed opportunities for initiatives that could have addressed many concerns of Tamil community members, while simultaneously respecting the concerns of all but the most radical Sinhalese nationalists. In each instance, however, Sri Lanka’s political leaders chose not to expend their political capital in this way but instead, to accede to demands of the radicals. … it will be useful to seek lessons from periods when Sri Lankan political leaders, like President Mahinda Rajapaksa, had such overwhelming political support that they were in a position, if they chose, to expend political capital by taking concrete steps toward communal reconciliation. …” – Prospects For Post Conflict Reconciliation And Development In Sri Lanka: Can Singapore Be Used As A Model? Prof John Richardson, Text of a presentation at Global Asia Institute Speaker Series (2010), National University of Singapore, Prof John Richardson, http://groundviews.org/2010/11/05/prospects-for-post-conflict-reconciliation-and-development-in-sri-lanka-can-singapore-be-used-as-a-model/

      • 0
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        I hope also the same. Bring Singapore model and ban all the opposition parties. Throw all the opposition leaders in Bogambara! Then the country will be more peaceful than now!

  • 0
    0

    Tamils are looking for TWO NATIONS within one land mass.

    but, when they write articles they write NATIONAL QUESTION.

    Whose national question, Tamils or whose ?

    Stupid donkeys ?

    • 0
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      Who are donkeys?

      http://www.scribd.com/doc/104705097/Conscientious-Sinhalese-Tell-LLRC

      Jayantha Dhanapala’s submission to Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), 25 August 2010: ‘The lessons we have to learn go back to the past – certainly from the time that we had responsibility for our own governance on 4 February 1948. Each and every Government which held office from 1948 till the present bear culpability for the failure to achieve good governance, national unity and a framework of peace, stability and economic development in which all ethnic, religious and other groups could live in security and equality.
      Our inability to manage our affairs has led to the taking of arms by a desperate group of our citizens. We need to rectify this bad governance and the first and foremost task before us is to undertake constitutional reform in order to ensure that we have adequate devolution of power. We need to have State reform; we need to have rule of law established; we need to ensure non discrimination amongst our citizens; we need to have devolution of power and a tolerance of dissent and a strengthening of democratic institutions.

      K.Godage(former Sri Lankan diplomat) addresses LLRC, 15 September 2010:
      ‘’ …. We have persistently discriminated against the Tamil people from 1956…. The Tamils have undergone, and are undergoing immense hardship. We need to reach out to them. It is because we have not reached out to them, that we had Wadukottai resolution in 1976, 20 years after 1956. Then the 1972, Constitution, it removed Section 29 from the Soulbury Constitution. There is no reason for any one to be insecure, as a result of giving into the reasonable demands of the Tamil people. …. Now I must tell you of a very, very sad, bad and dangerous situation. We have in our prisons over 2000 young Tamil men. Some of them have been taken on suspicion. Just picked up and taken. I am the Chairman of the Prison Visitors’ Board. In detention without charges for years.’’

      • 0
        0

        There are truthsayers and liars here:

        https://spreadsheets.google.com/lv?key=0Ahbk4wYolphwdHNSTmUxS1RHd0xnUUQ2SGN0M0pma2c&f=0

        Please don’t let anyone hack it – LLRC website was hacked before March 2013 UNHRC sessions – who would have hacked it?

      • 0
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        Reconciliation is for the parties in conflict. If one party refuse to participate, what is the point of reconciliation?

        LLRC was ridiculed by the Tamil parties and they refused to participate. Mahinda cannot implement anything unilaterally. That is not the so called reconciliation.

    • 0
      0

      There are truthsayers and liars here:

      https://spreadsheets.google.com/lv?key=0Ahbk4wYolphwdHNSTmUxS1RHd0xnUUQ2SGN0M0pma2c&f=0

      Please don’t let anyone hack it – LLRC website was hacked before March 2013 UNHRC sessions – who would have hacked it?

  • 0
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    CEYLON : A DIVIDED NATION, B H Farmer(1963):”…… The truth, unpalatable though it may be to some, is simply that nobody unacceptable to the present second wave of resurgent, Sinhalese Buddhist nationalism has any chance of constitutional power in contemporary Ceylon. The failure of the parties of the Left to make headway in the last two elections (in April and July 1960), for example, is not really due, outside the towns, to the resolution of issues along Left versus Right lines, as was so persistently reported in the British Press; it was simply that the two principal parties concerned had stood for a non-communal policy and, in fact, for parity on the language issue. Similarly whatever Dudley Senanayake and the wiser among the present leaders of the revived U.N.P. may privately feel about the need for national unity, they cannot hope for electoral success in rural Sinhalese areas unless they appear to stand for Buddhism, and for Sinhalese-only. The U.N.P., in fact opposed the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam pact, largely on the grounds that it would have prevented colonisation by Sinhalese in Tamil areas. Christians in the Cabinet, like Felix Dias Bandaranaike, have to prove themselves more Buddhist than the Buddhists. And meanwhile members of minorities, whether caste, communal or religious minorities, feel insecure. There is always the possibility that worsening economic conditions may bring the temperature to the boil again-ofits own accord or because politicians feel the need to divert attention from the plight of the poor of all kinds.

    Ceylon is indeed a divided nation. ……. But need it have been as violent as it was? Constitutional safeguards might conceivably have done something to control the violence of the communal dispute; though, since the Senanayake Government found a way of disenfranchising the Indian Tamils, one is left to wonder what value other safeguards might have had in the event and in the Ceylon setting. ….. But if there is a moral here, it is too late for Ceylon to profit from it; …… But, maybe, it is not too late for the lesson to be learnt elsewhere.”

  • 1
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    Who has a problem, Is it Tamils or Sinhala ?

    • 0
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      There is much space, even today, to solve the “problem” between the Sinhalese and Tamils imposed on both by the political events on both sides in the late 1950s. But the problem is the wrong people are on the driving seat. That includes religious interests too. We must
      begin with a group of experts and academics chosen consensually – leaving aside the politicians for the moment – to come out with ideas to be debated by the political side subsequently. Prof. Tissa Vitharna’s Parliamentary Committee came very close to it – but this
      process was sabotaged by Sinhala extremism when it was in the process of coming out with a breakthrough.

      Senguttuvan

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