23 October, 2017

The Myth Of “No More Minorities”

By Muttukrishna Sarvananthan

Dr. Muttukrishna Sarvananthan

The Northern Provincial Council (NPC) election that took place on September 21, 2013 was relatively the most peaceful election in the North after the 1977 parliamentary elections, in spite of couple of violent incidences and numerous threats, intimidations, and abuse of public property. The first-ever NPC election was also relatively calmer than the elections in the North Western Province (NWP) and Central Province (CP) that took place on the same day. The government, security forces, Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP), and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) should be jointly lauded for the peaceful conduct of the elections.

Tamil nationalism was at its peak in 1977 when the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF – predecessor to the Tamil National Alliance) secured highest number of seats at the parliamentary elections and even more importantly highest-ever share of votes (57%) amidst 84% voter turnout in the combined eastern and northern electoral districts. The landslide victory resulted in TULF becoming the single largest opposition party and hence securing the position of Leader of Opposition in 1977.

TNA’s campaign during the provincial elections 2013, despite claptraps of internal self-determination and re-merger of the East and North in its manifesto and lauding Prabhakaran a hero, was subdued compared to the blood-curdling fiery speeches during the 1977 parliamentary elections campaign.

Here we compare and contrast the share of votes secured by the TULF-TNA at the 1977, 2004, and 2010 parliamentary elections and at the provincial council elections of 2012 (in the East) and 2013 (in the North). We are particularly interested in comparing the results of 1977 and 2012-2013 elections due to the fact that these were held during relatively more peaceful times devoid of interference by armed groups (state and non-state).

In 1977 the voter turnout in every single electoral district of the East and North exceeded 80%; Ampara 88%, Batticaloa 87%, Trincomalee and Vanni 85% each, and Jaffna 81%. The voter turnout in the East remained very high (>80%) at the 2004 parliamentary elections, but dropped in the North (47% in Jaffna and 67% in Vanni), which was held during the ceasefire and the LTTE openly supported and campaigned for the TNA. At the 2010 parliamentary elections voter turnout dropped throughout the East and North; Ampara 61%, Trincomalee 58%, Batticaloa 51%, Vanni 40%, and Jaffna 21%. The voter turnout has increased at the 2012 provincial elections in the East and 2013 provincial elections in the North; Vanni 68%, Ampara and Trincomalee 62% each, Jaffna 60%, and Batticaloa 59%. The voter turnout in the combined Eastern and Northern Provinces which was 84% in 1977 dropped to 64% in 2004 and 42% in 2010, and then has increased to 62% in 2012-2013.

The TULF-TNA secured 67% of the total valid votes polled in Batticaloa district in the parliamentary elections of 1977 which had dropped to 51% at the provincial elections in 2012 in spite of the rise in the share of the Tamil population between 1981 (71%) and 2012 (73%) in the district. Similarly, TULF’s share of 29% in the total valid votes polled in Ampara district in 1977 has dropped to just 16% in 2012 partly due to the drop in the share of Tamil population in the district (20% in 1981 to 17% in 2012) and more significantly due to the drop in Muslim votes to TNA (it is important to note that there were no Muslim ethno-religious political party in 1977). In Trincomalee district, the share of the TULF-TNA vote has marginally increased from 27% of the total valid votes cast in 1977 to 29% of the total valid votes cast in 2012 in spite of the drop in the share of the Tamil population in the district from 34% in 1981 to 32% in 2012 (population share was still higher than TNA’s share of votes in 2012).

In the North, in Jaffna electoral district (which includes the administrative districts of Jaffna and Kilinochchi) TULF-TNA secured 84% of the total valid votes cast in 2013 (in spite of lower turnout) in contrast to 72% of the total valid votes cast in 1977 partly due to the rise in the share of the Tamil population from 95% in 1981 to 99% in 2013. Similarly, TULF-TNA secured 68% of the total valid vote cast in the Vanni electoral district (incorporating the administrative districts of Mannar, Mullaithivu, and Vavuniya districts) in 2013 in comparison to just 54% in 1977 mainly because of the rise in the share of the Tamil population in these districts from 77% in 1981 to 87% in 2012.

Overall in the East and North, however, the share of the TULF-TNA votes has dropped from 57% of the total valid votes cast in 1977 to just 50% of the total valid votes cast in 2013 almost entirely due to combination of drop in the share of the Tamil population in the combined Eastern and Northern Provinces from 69% in Census 1981 to 62% in Census 2012 and lower voter turnout of 59% in 2012 in Batticaloa district compared to 87% turnout in 1977; especially, there was 20.6% drop in the population of the Jaffna district between 1981 (734,474) and 2012 (583,071) because of mass migration to other parts of the country and overseas. In sum, while in Ampara and Batticaloa districts TULF-TNA’s support has relatively declined between 1977 and 2012-2013, its support has increased in Trincomalee and all the Northern districts between 1977 and 2012-2013.

The revival of Tamil nationalism is clearly evident at the 2012-2013 provincial elections vis-à-vis 2004 and 2010 parliamentary elections. The revival of Tamil nationalism appears to be tit-for-tat for the revival of Sinhala nationalism in post-civil war southern Sri Lanka. The majority community appears to be solidly behind the Rajapaksa regime whatever wrongs it does; such as the impeachment of the Chief Justice and total inaction against the hate campaign against the Muslim community (most likely instigated by the regime itself), inter alia. The Tamil community appears to counter Sinhala nationalism and popularity of the President with its own nationalism. One wrong cannot justify another wrong; that is, hardening of Sinhala nationalism cannot justify hardening of Tamil nationalism or vice versa.

Every time the President asserts that “I am the President to everybody in all the regions of this country”, which is true and he is legally entitled to claim, he is contributing to TNA’s popularity in the East and North and Tamil nationalism. Similarly, every time TNA leaders eulogise Prabhakaran and the LTTE as “heroes” they are contributing to President’s popularity in the South and Sinhala nationalism. The competing nationalisms do not augur well for reconciliation in the country. Rising popularity of TNA in the East and North could be subdued by a moderate national government in the future.

However, the revival of Tamil nationalism should not be misconstrued as resurgence of sympathy or support for the LTTE. The supporters of Ananthi Sasitharan (alias Elilan) contend that second highest number of preferential votes (80,000+) obtained by Ananthi is because of the popularity of the LTTE and her (missing) husband who was a district political leader of the LTTE since 2002; firstly in Vavuniya district and lastly in Trincomalee district. Conversations with former LTTE combatants and our assessment is that 50% of her preferential votes was due to sympathy for widow (historically a South Asian political windfall phenomenon), 25% was due to the support for LTTE and her husband, and the rest 25% was due to the impulsive sympathy generated by the violent attack on her office day before the elections (suspected to be by the military intelligence).

The outcome of the provincial council elections in the North is thus far the clearest people’s verdict on ‘Reconciliation through Development’ mantra of the government led by President Rajapaksa during nearly five years of post civil war period. The results of the presidential election in January 2010, parliamentary elections in April 2010, and local government elections in 2011 in the North have been reinforced at the provincial elections held in 2013. Undoubtedly the regime led by President Rajapaksa had committed the highest ever public investments in the districts of Vanni mainland (Kilinochchi, Mannar, Mullaithivu, and Vavuniya) in the post independence period. Even a Tamil political administration in the North would not have committed such huge public investments in the Vanni because of the Jaffna-centric/dominated politics of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka.

Alas, whilst the people of Vanni were longing for bread, the self-proclaimed “people’s dynasty” offered them cake; outcome of which is the results of the northern provincial council elections. Six-lane (three in each direction) super highways (in Mullaithivu district), international sports stadium (in Kilinochchi district), and deities and places of worship where there are no devotees are not the priorities of the people in the districts where cattle population outnumbers human population and populations and population densities are lowest in the country (population of Mullaithivu district is 91,947 and population density is 38 persons per square kilometre; population of Mannar district is 99,051 and population density is 53 persons per square kilometre; population of Vavuniya district is 171,511 and population density is 93 persons per square kilometre; population of Kilinochchi district is 112,875 and population density is 94 persons per square kilometre). The spectre of Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport and Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port hounds the Vanni.

The provincial council elections in the East (May 2012) and North (September 2013) debunks the myth of “no more minorities” and “one country one voice” signature campaigns of the self-proclaimed “people’s dynasty” against the minority communities in Sri Lanka.

*Muttukrishna Sarvananthan is the Principal Researcher of the Point Pedro Institute of Development, Point Pedro, Northern Province. http://pointpedro.org He can be contacted at sarvi@pointpedro.org

Parliamentary Elections 1977, 2004 & 2010 and Provincial Elections 2012 & 2013

Results in the North & East of Sri Lanka

2012 & 2013 data – http://www.slelections.gov.lk/2013PPC/nppc.html for the North;
                                                http://www.slelections.gov.lk/2012PPC/eppc.htm for the East
2010 data – http://www.slelections.gov.lk/parliamentary_elections/province.html
2004 data – http://www.slelections.gov.lk/District2004/district2004.html
1977 data – De Silva, K.M, Universal Franchise 1931-1981: the Sri Lankan experience,
Department of Information, Colombo, July 1981.

 

Notes: (i) Jaffna electoral district includes Kilinochchi and Jaffna administrative districts.

(ii) Vanni electoral district includes Mannar, Mullaitivu & Vavuniya administrative districts.

(iii) Digamadulla electoral district is Ampara administrative district.

(iv) In 1977 Tamil National Alliance (TNA) should be replaced by Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF).

(v) TNA votes in 2010 include TULF (Batticaloa, Jaffna & Vanni) and All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC)

(Jaffna only) votes as well.

(vi) Population data – 2013 data pertains to the Census 2012; 2004 & 2010 data are estimates.

Census 2001 could not be undertaken in all the districts in the N&E, except Ampara;

1981 data pertains to the Census 1981.

 

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    Thank you Dr Sarvananthan for your analysis.

    “couple of violent incidences ” – I remember hearing more than “couple of violent incidences”.

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      “The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence, by the end of the elections, recorded 32 incidents of violence on the northern provincial map.

      Click here to explore the map for individual descriptions of each incident.”
      http://www.tamilguardian.com/article.asp?articleid=8784

      • 0
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        Ha ha Ha -Rudra’s government ministers got caught in child molestation in Sudan

        What you expect from this barbaric terrorist where ever they live

      • 0
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        [Edited out]
        (Report on election violence is going to UN! Dr Saravanamuthu has told reporters in Jaffna. ) http://www.tamilwin.com/show-RUmrzARWMYiv3.html

    • 0
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      Thanks a lot Muttukrishna Sarvananthan for the no nonsense indepth, analysis.

      Basic bed time reading for idiots in both south and north of Sri Lanka.

      Cheers!

    • 0
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      Hello Anpu — don’t you think the intimidation this time was much less than in 2005 when Prabhakaran threatened to chop the hands of people who voted, and help Mahinda Rajapakse win the elections? Are you not aware of this little episode in the history of Tamils?? What do you think about that?

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        Definitely much less than what happened in may 2009.

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          What elections in 2009? In which planet?

          Stay with the point in discussion, Anpu, don’t divert to May 2009. Tell us what you think about Prabhakaran putting Mahinda Rajapakse in power by intimidating the Tamil voters. Apparently VP took a bribe for that service? Have you not heard? If that is true, do you think Prabhakaran should be regarded as a hero (veeran), or even a great hero (maaveeran). How about the terms coward (kOzai) and great coward (mahaa kOzai)?

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    ”Six-lane (three in each direction) super highways (in Mullaithivu district), international sports stadium (in Kilinochchi district)” ???????????????????????????????????????????????

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    The Tamil people of North – East people believe that their home is North-East Sri Lanka (Ceylon). They believe that the Government of Sri Lanka is biased towards them and they are not secure and they don’t get justice under a unitary system. They believe that a federal system within a united country or separate states for sinhalese and tamils is the best form of solution for peaceful existence of people of island of Sri Lanka. They are in favor of any political institution that demonstrate their ideas and believes. They respect the decisions and actions of leadership of Federal party (TULF,TNA)and LTTE and they believe that these institutions represented them in the long standing liberation struggle.
    The election results throughout the history are outcome of their believe and there was no force on their decisions.

    Investment is not an issue in the North Eastern elections. There is a huge difference between investment and development. Development is about income generation, social development and security. The investment made by Rajapakse government did not meet any of the requirements. Most of the analysts fail to discuss one key election results, that is 2010 Presidential election where Tamils voted for a notorious person who is equally responsible for the suffering of the Tamil people and personally described minorities as slaves, Sarath Fonseka. Why did they vote to him? It is because Tamils had a faith on TNA and believed that TNA will make the correct decision for them.

    • 0
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      The Myth Of “No More Minorities”: It is not a myth, this is what MaRa regime is doing right now re-engineering the demography of the Noth-East.

      In fact, Gota has openly said that he wants North to have 75% Sinhalese.

      We all can talk endlessly pitting our brains on this and that. MaRa regime know what matters eventually is reality – fait accompli!

  • 0
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    There will be no minorities if common people are allowed to live as they are, sinhala, tamil, muslim and burghers, side by side in our villages and sunurban and urban areas. I can vouch for that, because I have lived so. The problem is caused by power crazy politicians, and educated people like this analyst that think that they are clever dicks by dissecting the society and putting their version of pigeon holing the society and their pet theories. In effect they end up with creating division, egging on the uneducated among the common people into rioting and causing havoc. Even the writer can ask the question from himself: Have I got sinhala, muslim and burgher friends in my private life? Do I get on well with them, and even ready to eat, drink, and if necessary even intermarry? If so, then why projecting pet theories into the masses that you do not mingle with. Those members of the masses out there are also good friends or relatives of other ethnic groups that live contented. Please do not disturb the apple cart by loading rubbish at the top; the pile is sensitive, so is the society out there.

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    Tamilians are NOT a SL minority. They are INDIANS. There are 70,000,000 of them in Endia which is their homeland.

    • 0
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      The Singhalese aren’t ‘Sri Lankans’ either, you lot originate in Bengal and absorbed many South Indians into your fold. So your ‘Homeland’ is also India.

  • 0
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    Tamils are a minority in Canada. But do they get their language rights, self determination (self-termination) rights in Canada?

    NO!

    No reason why SL should be different.

    • 0
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      If those born to lions can get self determination, why not for human?

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    Hi,

    I never considered myself as a minority in Sri Lanka.Though I was the south I was treated as a minority several timesover several incidents I went away thinking – Its a pity they do not understand their own HISTORY.
    Well,here we are and I still do’nt think of myself as a MINORITY.I know where my homeland is.I do not have to wade through statistics and pages of indepth studies to know whether I am a minority or not.
    Everyone knows where their homeland is.period.

  • 0
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    Excellent analysis on development. Please provide more on development – effects on peoples livelihoods, both North, East, West and South.

  • 0
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    Dr Sarvanandan is perfectly right about the “development mantra”. His point about the ludicrousness of six lane highways and other mega projects applies to the south as well. Infra-structure is necessary but it should be part of a coherent and integrated economic plan. These mega projects seem to be driven by the need to build imposing structures for political gain, and corrupt profiteering. Everybody talks about how clean and beautiful Colombo is, but that is an illusion when the city of a million is served by a sewage system designed for a 100,000 people. Beautification of the city must not be an aberration, but part of overall plan for development of which there is no evidence. Drive ten minutes into the suburbs, you’ll see the open drains, and swarms of flies, mosquitoes and the rest of the squalor.

    Post 1956 rule of all governments has been destructive of the confidence of the minorities in belonging to a single nation. Before that, despite the majority being Sinhalese, the minorities had a sense of belonging. 1956 caused its collapse, and like Humpty-Dumpty, it cannot be put together again. What is now possible is the frank acceptance of a diverse society by means of meaningful devolution. The newly elected NPC gives us ample evidence that it has the capacity to govern the province efficiently and democratically while belonging to a wider Sri Lankan nation. Will the Sinhala leadership get the message at least now? It probably will not, but will rather plunge the nation in greater misery than it is in now.

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      Scott what made you take 1956 as a reference year?

      Sri Lanka’s Parliament found it necessary to enact the Prevention of Social Disabilities Act No. 21 on 12 April 1957, an year after your year of reference. Do you know why?

      Then in 1971 fifteen years after your year of reference they saw the need for a Prevention of Social Disabilities (Amendment) Act No.18 of 1971 to add teeth to the act of 1957 Do you know why?

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    Infrastructure development and economic (employment and income generating) development should have gone hand in hand. Unfortunately, in the whole island they have not been in tandem. While the horse- infrastructure development has galloped ahead, economic development- the carriage- has not been coupled in the north-east (a non-starter) and uncoupled elsewhere.

    In the north and east the divergence is greater because of the post-war circumstances and the tiger-centric decision making of the government.

    However, the infrastructure development should continue on the scale it has, while the productive economy is kick started. The population bases in the Mullaitiviu and Kilinochchi are small, while large extents of land are available. The economic development in these areas should be based on commercial agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry and fisheries projects, requiring more mechanization and less manpower. In the peninsula, small industrial units, mainly based on value addition of agricultural products should be the base. Vavuniya district should concentrate on agriculture, horticulture and animal husbandry and the value-addition of the products there-of. Mannar of course should concentrate mainly on fisheries and value addition of the catch.

    All areas in the north have potential for internal tourism. The lagoon belt in the peninsula should be exploited with visionary internal tourism and entertainment projects. The landscaping I have seen in the major army camps in the Vanni and in the peninsula- especially those located near the lagoons, could serve as an example for what could be done to start with.

    The highways and the railways will make the movement of goods and services to and from the South time and cost saving, providing for the agricultural and industrial ventures in the north economically viable.

    While the South will be the principle market, export markets should be sought as Kerala (India) has done for its agricultural produce.

    The Jaffna river project should be a priority to provide the extra water required to cultivate larger extends of land and meet the requirements of industries, without depleting the quantity and damaging the quality of underground water resources.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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      Beyond these, human resource development is fundamental for economic development.

      • 0
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        Ajit,

        I agree. Human resource development, geared to the economic goals envisioned, is a sin-qua-non.

        Dr.R.N

  • 0
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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 0
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    The writer is too polite in giving thanks to EPDP and the SL security services, I on the other hand can be blunt and state that neither of them deserve anything but scorn and criticism.

    They deliberately engaged in dirty tricks (fake Uthayan Newspaper edition)and various forms of intimidation including violence. The only reason they were constrained from doing much more is because of Common Wealth Meeting, World attention, UN attention and US criticism. Absent any of these external influences there would be no Northern PC in the first place and any protests would have been met with wanton violence.

    No need to credit these 2 forces in such circumstances.

  • 0
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    Ha ha ha long and he short of is clearly ,that those in the north have brains. They ate the cake, may not actually use the highway, but then again stupids in the south too do not( mostly)they also got to Kilinochi by train with the people’s president. They shut their mouths and vote for long term gain. This really scares the likes of Modawansa and Pataliputra!!!! Way to go northerners!!!!

  • 0
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    Both Dr.Sarvananda and Dr. Rajasingham ( in his response) have given us a lot of food for thought. Six lane highways in an area with such low population density is indeed questionalble. Perhaps they have been constructed with the future in mind or is it for some stratgic defense need? I think the latter issue cannot be separated from the main issue of economic development as far as the North is concerned from the government’s perspective.
    One of the main, pressing issues in the North today is securing the water supply especially for the Jaffna peninsular. There was a time when the Jaffna farmer was considered the most efficient. But this was achieved at a price. Environmental impacts of such effeicent farming was not considered earlier but now need to be addressed urgently. It is hoped that the new provincial government will address this issue on a priority basis.

  • 0
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    Concise and Very good. The northern and eastern people are enjoying their cake while with no bread. Bensen

  • 0
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    Dr Sarva is a known critic of LTTE and Tamil Nationalism.
    In the name of a detailed analysys, just playing with the Election results of 1977 – 2013, he just wrote some rubbish. An Advanced Level student can write better than Dr Sarva.
    He has purposefully avoided the population shift due to colonisations in the Norht-East boarder areas.
    These so called analysts cum intelectuals wont be useful to anyone than to themselves.
    Thiru

    • 0
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      Nanthan

      “Dr Sarva is a known critic of LTTE and Tamil Nationalism.2

      Rightly so.

      ” he just wrote some rubbish. An Advanced Level student can write better than Dr Sarva.”

      Okay, alternatively you have the choice of writing a rebuttal. Lets see who qualifies to be the least rubbish writer.

  • 0
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    “Every time the President asserts that “I am the President to everybody in all the regions of this country”, which is true and he is legally entitled to claim, he is contributing to TNA’s popularity in the East and North and Tamil nationalism. Similarly, every time TNA leaders eulogise Prabhakaran and the LTTE as “heroes” they are contributing to President’s popularity in the South and Sinhala nationalism” write Dr. Sarvananthan.

    Precisely so. That is because, whether one likes it or not, there are
    2 Nations in this island. The Sinhala Nation in the South and the Tamil Nation in the North-East Province (before CJ Sarath Silva did his yaka netuma) The challenge of the present and the future is how
    can these two competing nations live peacefully engaging in the pursuit of happiness and prosperity for their people and the sub-minorities around them. The issue, clearly, is exacerbated by the Sinhala extremists encouraging the Muslims in the early 1980s to dilute the Tamil re-claim for their land and nation. They even saw to it the Muslims engage in unnatural increase of their population particularly in the EP – to weaken the Tamil strength elsewhere.
    But that conspiracy apparently has backfired on the Sinhalese as the Muslims multiplied in incredible numbers in the South as well.

    F.N. Stein

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    Sri Lanka has minorities because Sri Lankan, Sinhala – Leaders, since 1948, were stupid idiots.

    They were the children of Mudliars or Translators to English Colonials. They were dumb, yet they thought they were the most brilliant lot in Sri Lanka.

    If we had intelligent leaders with a vision, they should have asked Colonials – both English and Dutch – to leave with their Tamil slaves. They should have stopped kallathoni – migration.

    They should have looked after all the Keralites settled in Jaffna.

  • 0
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    Dear Dr M. Sarvananthan and Dr R. Narendran,

    Dr MS’s excellent article in Groundviews led me to this article on CT. Dr. MS observes “The majority community appears to be solidly behind the Rajapaksa regime whatever wrongs it does;”

    True but is it due to Nationalism? Perhaps the reason is not that sinister. Perhaps the goodwill generated by eliminating the LTTE and Prabahkaran, standing up to unjustified pressure from the west (when previous govts buckled at the knees) and the astute management of India that brought about the annihilation of the LTTE has not worn off yet. It will in time if the Rule of Law and Justice does not prevail. But at the moment, the war that the experts predicted to be unwinnable, is a blanket that covers other sins.

    The majority of Sri Lankans lived an uncertain life for the past three decades. They were unsure whether they or their loved ones would return home once they left it in the morning. Many of them did not. Many in border villages would not sleep in their mud huts and sought safety in the jungles from marauding and murdering Tigers. Even pilgrims on religious worship were not safe. To them the elimination of that threat was of paramount importance. The chief architects of that win was SF, MR and GR supported by the Heads of the other forces.

    To the Urbanite the misguided and partisan impeachment matters but it have the same affect on the villager? To them elimination of Prabhakaran and the LTTE, was paramount and it still is. As such any support however minute for the LTTE, separation, exclusive historical homelands, transnational govts etc helps build more support for the govt. Hence as Dr MS points out “TNA’s campaign during the provincial elections 2013, despite claptraps of internal self-determination and re-merger of the East and North in its manifesto and lauding Prabhakaran a hero,” and running to Delhi that created and nurtured the terrorists looking for succor is seen as a threat to a hard fought peace obtained at immense sacrifice by the majority, which it was, for nearly thirty years and that majority don’t want it repeated ever again.

    Dr MS observes “Undoubtedly the regime led by President Rajapaksa had committed the highest ever public investments in the districts of Vanni mainland (Kilinochchi, Mannar, Mullaithivu, and Vavuniya) in the post independence period.”

    That is a truism that’s beyond challenge. No govt has done it. Concurrently no govt has caused that much destruction (though unavoidable) in going after an intransigent and ruthless terrorist outfit that held a population of 21 million to ransom.

    Destroying the LTTE and Prabhakaran had to be done and restoring damaged infrastructure after the war had to be done. It can be claimed that the govt did it to catch votes or that it succumbed to outside pressure and was compelled to do so. It is naive to believe the govt’s aim in doing so was to win an election though it can be good politics to say so.

    If that was the case roads, railways, electricity, telecoms, Land mine clearance etc could have been put on the back burner and the money diverted for vote catching projects such as land grants, building houses etc. Would that have won the NPC for the govt? I believe not as the separatist rhetoric of the TNA would have still won the day. Today the TNA led NPC is in charge and they are responsible for the welfare of the Northern people. They need to perform as they have no scapegoats.

    Dr RN raises the need for another very important infra structure that will solve the eternal fresh water problem of Jaffna. The Arumugam plan, popularly known as the River for Jaffna project. It has a long history. In the 1960s an ingenious idea by a young irrigation engineer Mr. Arumugam was recognised an acted on by the then minister of Agriculture C. P. de Silva. The project made slow progress and came to a halt completely when the war started. That it remained a Low Priority for the Tamil Diaspora and the LTTE for 30 years, underlines their concern for the population.

    I fully agree with Dr RN regarding the need to complete this project. But will that help mitigate the current antagonism? Would that have caused the Northern Tamils to vote for the govt on merit? It would be naive to think so. The separatist rhetoric is much more potent than the need for fresh water. That’s why the TNA played that card.

    I believe the major part of the works is complete, Vadamarachchi and Upparu lagoons are now fresh water lagoons. I am not aware of the status of the Mulliyan link channel and the causeway at Chundikulam. The govt should expedite these works if they are not complete yet.

    Infrastructure development, land distribution and house building would not have swayed the majority of Northern Tamils to vote for the govt. Infrastructure and welfare cannot compete with separatist rhetoric designed to arouse nationalistic sentiment.

    Dr SM makes the following important observation “Even a Tamil political administration in the North would not have committed such huge public investments in the Vanni because of the Jaffna-centric/dominated politics of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka”

    What is this Jaffna centric/dominating politics that does not consider the welfare of the public? It seems to refer to a dominating class (25%?) and a servile class (75%?) of Tamils. History tells us that the majority Tamil voice was suppressed while the minority voice prevailed to the detriment of the majority of Tamils. This then would be a Minority Tamil ruling class centric policy that kept the 75% majority Tamils in the North Servile for life. I hope the Pied Piper will stop playing the same tune over again.

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