30 September, 2023


The Northern Election And Historical Stumbling Blocks

By Dharisha Bastians

Dharisha Bastians

The weight of political memory is proving a crushing force in the island’s north and south, as the country prepares for one of its most significant elections since the end of the war. Will Sri Lanka’s political baggage result in the loss of a major opportunity to move forward?

Earlier this week, Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa made what was possibly the most remarkable ruling party promise yet during its electioneering in the Northern Province. Thus far, UPFA election speeches have been confined to pleas of gratitude for liberation from the LTTE and post-war reconstruction, coupled with dire warnings about the ulterior motives of the Tamil National Alliance, which is likely to claim victory in the 21 September poll. Minister Rajapaksa struck a different note. Addressing a meeting in the Vaddukoddai electorate, considered a historic location in the timeline of the country’s ethnic conflict, Basil Rajapaksa vowed to hand over the Government’s much touted Uthuru Wasanthaya or “Northern Spring” programme over to the Provincial Government on 22 September, once the poll results were declared.

Under the Minister’s Northern Spring programme, the formerly embattled province has seen rapid reconstruction and astounding infrastructure development, arguably the ruling administration’s one major accomplishment in terms of genuine nation building in the post-conflict phase. The reconstruction and physical development is constantly lauded, by visiting dignitaries, cynical locals and even the UN in Geneva, which views the fast-paced growth as being an important milestone in bringing former conflict zones up to speed with the rest of the island.

Giving away the trump?

If the Economic Development Minister is serious about what state media has called his ‘Vaddukoddai Declaration’ that would mean the Rajapaksa Administration is poised to give up one of its most prized trump cards to a provincial administration over which it will likely have little influence when the election is fought and likely lost, on 21 September. Perhaps that is why Minister Rajapaksa added a caveat: “There is a choice for the people on September 21. They should decide whether they want freedom, peace and development with self rule in the province by their own representatives or on the other hand they want a group that will lead them back to the dark era with rhetoric of self rule without any means or resources to develop the province.” The allusion is clear; a provincial administration backed by the Government will be heir to virtually unlimited resources and therefore able to carry Northern development activities forward at the same pace, while a TNA led Council will possess limited funds with which to improve living conditions in the North. The statement encapsulates in an almost tragi-comic way, the Government’s dilemma with regard to the Northern election.

Why won’t Northerners bite?

From the outset, Government insiders say, there has been a sense of resignation within the ruling coalition about the outcome of the Northern election. The UPFA is fighting in the Northern Province in essence to prevent a TNA sweep of the poll. The resources at its disposal are immense and the full might of the regime, including the formidable factor of personnel and military infrastructure available in the region, are being put behind candidates fielded by the Douglas Devananda led EPDP, a coalition ally of the Government. From the perspective of the regime, the Northern people have no reason not to vote for UPFA candidates. The end of war has meant the most to the people in former conflict zones and the areas are seeing more modernisation and development than any other part of the country. Economic growth in the region has been immense. A great deal to be thankful for as far as the ruling party is concerned. From its ‘reconstruction is reconciliation’ paradigm, the Rajapaksa regime will continue to view the peoples’ overwhelming preference for the TNA as being ethnically motivated or more likely consider it an endorsement of its own opinion that all those who reside in the north continue to be sympathetic to separatist ideologies – because after all, its own candidates in the fray are ethnic Tamils too. Why else would a ‘liberated’ people decline to support its ‘liberators’ and choose time and again the proxies of their enslavers?

Human factors

Earlier this year, long before the Northern election was declared, the same questions were posed to a group of residents from the Northern Province by a senior polls monitor touring the area. The ‘opinion poll’ of sorts found that a majority would vote with the Tamil party if an election was held for the provincial council. “Why,” the monitor asked the crowd, “wouldn’t you rather vote for the party that gave you new roads and buildings, the party that could continue to develop this region?” The answer from a Tamil resident of the North was succinct. “What is the point of new roads without dignity?” The message was conveyed to the highest echelons of power in Colombo, but whether it was heard and understood is another matter altogether. Four years after the war, physical reconstruction alone has proven woefully inadequate in terms of addressing the issues facing the Tamil people of the Northern Province. After decades of oppression and tyranny at the hands of the LTTE, the northern political reality has been replaced with militarisation, land acquisition, disappearances, loss of livelihood, unfair trade practices by the military establishment and resettlement problems. New roads and railway tracks simply cannot compete. And yet, with just over one week to go before the historic Northern Provincial Council poll, Government leaders are still talking development and infrastructure at election rallies in the region.

The bitter truth that it may have won the war but lost hearts and minds in the North is being cast aside by the ruling regime however, in favour of other more convenient narratives.

Months of anticipation and its historic significance always meant that the Northern Provincial Council election would be the only one to really matter although three provinces go to the polls next Saturday. Locally and internationally, all eyes are focused on the battle for the Northern Council. After the TNA election manifesto was unveiled last week, the animosity between the Government and the main Tamil party has reached a crescendo, with the regime focusing an inordinate amount of its remaining campaign time relentlessly slamming the offending document. Viewed as a moderately phrased document by hardliners in the North, the TNA manifesto is being demonised in the South to an extraordinary degree. Following weeks of a largely uneventful campaign season, the TNA manifesto lent itself to increasing suspicion in the South about the much debated election and the likelihood of a TNA victory. The suspicion is fuelled for the most part, by sections of the Rajapaksa Administration.

A problem of language

At the 2013 Defence Seminar last week, Terrorism expert Prof. Rohan Gunaratne charged that the TNA manifesto was an avatar of the LTTE. On Monday, the Government’s Sinhala hardline coalition partner the Jathika Hela Urumaya quit the latest parliamentary process to field devolution proposals, vowing to defeat the 13th Amendment alone if it had to. Party strongman and Minister Champika Ranawaka claimed the TNA manifesto was proof that a TNA led Provincial Council would pursue a secessionist agenda. Ranawaka said it was in anticipation of such danger that the JHU had demanded the repeal of certain provisions of the 13th Amendment before the Northern election was declared. At a news conference on Tuesday, Minister Dulles Allahapperuma claimed the document was aimed at provoking the people of the south and keeping the Sinhalese and Tamils divided forever. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, addressing an election rally in Vavuniya yesterday, pledged he would not allow “anyone else” to divide the country after he prevented Prabhakaran from achieving that goal. References to the Vaddukoddai Resolution adopted by the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) in May 1976 at its national convention are being bandied about liberally, even though the TNA document makes no reference to the creation of a separate state. The TULF’s resolution, for which it received a thumping mandate from the Tamil people in the 1977 election, made specific mention of Eelam and the ‘freedom of the Tamil Nation.’ The TNA document, clearly contentious in the south where the political lexicon has altered unimaginably in the past eight years, nevertheless constantly reiterates the necessity to find a political solution within a single country, even though the Tamil Party’s vision of that solution lies within a united, rather than unitary constitutional framework. The TNA’s position, as put forward in its policy statement for the Northern election is clear. It stands for a federal solution, with maximum devolution to the provinces. It seeks the re-merger of the North and East – a political non-starter, given the Muslim demographic realities of the East and certain opposition from the central government – and ‘self-determination’ or the right to govern themselves through their chosen representatives for the Tamil people. All of these proposals, for which the TNA is seeking a democratic mandate, are legitimate ideological positions within a democratic, pluralist political process. If ‘Federal’  has come to mean Eelam and ‘self-determination’ is defined as secession, the problem lies more with the prevailing lexicon in the south and less with the TNA’s policy statement itself.

Merger: a non starter

The North-East re-merger will remain a heavily polarising issue, but again one that is better addressed through a system of democratic checks and balances rather than Eelamist labelling of the party the Tamil people of the north are likely to resoundingly back at next week’s election. Even if it controls the Northern Provincial Council following the election, the TNA led council cannot unilaterally declare the North and East administratively merged. The Eastern Provincial Council will have to concur and that Council rests firmly in the hands of the ruling Government. Furthermore, the political ground realities in the East simply do not favour re-merger. The region’s large Muslim population enjoys significant political leverage in the Province, leverage that will be lost if the provinces are re-merged with the Tamil population becoming a commanding majority in the merged provincial unit. In an alternate reality, if the Eastern Province Muslims agree to the merger, the Government still has recourse to the rulings of the Supreme Court whose dictate in 2006 de-merged the two provinces after they were declared one in the 1987 Indo-Lanka Accord.

As much as the Government is attempting to rile up southern opinion against the TNA manifesto, and by extension the TNA, the only real problems with the document from a moderate perspective would be the persistent use of the words ‘Tamil Nation’ that leaves ample space for misrepresentation despite the fact that it appears to refer to nationality rather than statehood, and the party’s decision to stop short of condemning the LTTE, even when it refers to the expulsion of the Muslims from the North under the Tigers’ regime. As the campaign wears on, the TNA suffers from its own crises of faith and ideology, torn between pacifying Tamil hardliners and continuing its redefinition process to take over again as the country’s main Tamil political representative in post-war Sri Lanka.

Political observers note that while the party’s Chief Ministerial Candidate Justice C.V. Wigneswaran struck a moderate chord in the early days of his candidacy, the rigours of campaigning among sections of his party that were strongly opposed to him appears to have pushed him to adopt a more Tamil nationalistic position in his campaign rhetoric. Hope lies however in the fact that Wigneswaran remains an anathema to the pro-LTTE Diaspora, as glaringly evident in Tamilnet’s constant criticism of his candidacy and more recently, the opposition to him emanating from the direction of Tamil Nadu. Observers say the shift in Wigneswaran’s rhetoric could be posturing from the stump and Tamil moderates are hoping once the electioneering is over and he turns to the running of the Northern Council, Justice Wigneswaran will return to his moderate positions and reiterate his determination to work with the Central Government.

Tough job for Wigneswaran

The mistrust of the TNA that the ruling regime is whipping up in the south will undoubtedly make a future Chief Minister Wigneswaran’s job harder. The former Supreme Court judge is pulling no punches lately, taking on the military hierarchy in the North and insisting that the armed forces leave civilian matters to the civilian administrators and the police force. TNA Leader R. Sampanthan has echoed these calls in a letter to President Rajapaksa on Monday (9) demanding that the army be confined to barracks to ensure the poll next Saturday is a free and fair one.

A Tamil National Alliance in the process of redefining itself as a political party in the post-war democratic mainstream has proven a thorn in the Government’s side more than once. In the absence of credible and effective opposition from the United National Party that is beleaguered by its internal battles, the TNA has emerged more than once, together with the JVP led DNA, as the alternative opposition. For the Government, in all its major political battles in the recent past, whether the Divi Neguma legislation, the impeachment of the Chief Justice, Northern land acquisition or the dilution of the 13th Amendment, the TNA under the leadership of Sampanthan and his trusted lieutenant M.A. Sumanthiran have proved formidable opponents. Sumanthiran, easily one of the current Parliament’s most eloquent and knowledgeable legislators, strengthens the TNA position by virtue of being untainted with the party’s LTTE proxy avatar since he entered the Legislature in the post-war Parliamentary Election of 2010. In the reinvention process the TNA is undertaking, Sumanthiran is the embodiment of the party’s moderate future. Justice Wigneswaran holds similar appeal. Despite the fact that the TNA is deeply divided over its future direction, if the Sampanthan-Sumanthiran-Wigneswaran faction prevails Tamil politics may not necessarily be in dire straits. To do so, the Tamil Party will have to withstand the compulsions of Tamil nationalists in order to guard against returning the political discourse to Vaddukoddai. That would be a case of playing into the hands of Sinhala hardliners in the south who would prefer that the debate were to rest specifically at that point. This will be especially relevant in the event that the TNA wrests control of the Northern Council.

The weight of memory

If the election campaign season is anything to go by, the future of the Northern Provincial Council will be tenuous at best. Accustomed to seeing LTTE spectres everywhere, the Rajapaksa administration will move swiftly and with brutal force to crush any kind of political administration in the North that signals a shift towards a more extremist position. Rhetoric in both the north and the south in the election run up proves that the weight of history is a crushing force. In the south, memories of Vaddukoddai are evoked alongside reminiscences of Trincomalee in 1990 when North East Chief Minister Vartharajah Perumal declared Eelam after the IPKF withdrew, prompting the Ranasinghe Premadasa Government to dissolve the Council. For a hawkish Administration that considers the defeat of the LTTE its seminal moment, it is a difficult memory to cast aside.

Hemmed in by its commitments to the international community, the Government has no room to manoeuvre with regard to conducting the election in the Northern Province, whatever its reservations about the TNA. Dissolving an errant Council post-facto on the other hand, is an eminently feasible prospect, bringing the status quo firmly back to square one in terms of devolution and a resolution to the country’s ethnic struggle. Between 21 September and perhaps the end of November or March 2014, a TNA administration in the North will have minimal wiggle room. What it does with that space, in terms of genuinely addressing the problems of the Tamils of the North and building bridges with the Government in Colombo will determine the lifespan of the soon to be constituted Northern Provincial Council. 

Courtesy Daily FT

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Latest comments

  • 0

    The author misses one important point.

    The elections are held because the international community compelled it and not because SL government desired it. From this also flows another reality (i have evidence!) that the economic development will be enforced by the international community, by passing the missing aids such as tractors, home building and large sum of finance. Only a trickle of the current aid provided for N-E is being spent in N-E.

    So the author has a duty to analyse and educate the voters properly rather than scaring them to become slaves again. People are winning and the good international community will intervene as they have unresolved war crimes to take care of. Rajapakses are only gasping with threats of non economic development in N-E if they do not win.

    • 0

      international community forced how ? you are an idiot chump like this writer , they dont realize that TNA will do nothing for the tamils in the north period . They are taking the poor fools down a road of another mullivaikkal . It is time to stop raicial politics in Sri Lanka . period

  • 0

    If the army is sent to barracks and there is a free and fair election,then the verdict will be one chosen by the nothern tamils.

    Already the army has attempted to murder Ananthy Sasitharan – TNA candidate – for telling Pillay about her husband missing after seeing him being taken away with hundreds of surrendees at the end of the war.

    The army has fielded bogus candidates to upset/dilute votes for TNA
    One UPFA candidate’s father has fired a handgun at his son’s opponent and has not been arrested.

    I hope that observers will observe,record on tape/video all incidents and also be present at counting centres where all the manipulations usually occur.

    • 0

      Why are you shamlessly lieing like this and call yourself justice or is it just-ice.The father of the candidate who allegedly fired a gun was apprehended and produced before a magistrate and remanded.

  • 0

    Darisha Bastians,

    Good analysis. We have to wait and see how things will turn out after the Northern Province elections. We the BBS are not at all alligned with any of the stakeholders in the creation of provincial councils. It is a divisive process and will augur no good in the long run. The much touted ‘Tamil Nation’ rhetoric is all to clear to us though not for you Darisha. You are not decided whether “Tamil Nation’ refer to nationality or statehood. For all Sri Lankans rhetoric based on “Tamil Nation”, by TNA and any other organisation means only one thing – separate nation. We paid a heavy price and underwent untol miseries to keep Sri Lanka whole. If TNA should deviate from the path of a united Sri Lanka in whatever form it may be, they must be ready to bear the consequences. I assure you such consequences will tragically effect every Sri Lankan left alive.

    • 0

      Here we go again; do we need to read another racist minded comment by a BBS rep. One could only perceive that his Sinhala community had been and are being brain washed to such an extent that they feel that they own the Island and all other communities are just interlopers living at their mercy. This rhetoric in your comments are just threats to cover the historical facts. The Successive Sinhala majoritarian governments went on with massive misinformation and fabricated lies, to conclude that the Island was visited by Buddha not once but three times before he died. He wanted the Sinhala Buddhist to save guard this Religion. When these were repeated for the past seven to eight decades, it now appears to you and other extremists as the gospel truth. Get out of your box and find out the facts, without acting like all mighty! You are only trying to demonise the Tamils who are the really true sons of this Island. Yes the author of this article has too, not understood the truth and the facts. Do you know that Sinhala language was not in existence when Buddhism was introduced to this Island. Sinhala as such came only into existence in the 8th century AD. A mixture of Pali, Tamil and elu. The Sinhalese are again a mixture of Tamils, Malayalies, Bengali’s, Orison’s, Portuguese and Dutch.
      When Emperor Asoka send his emissary Mahinda to spread Buddhism around 200 odd years after Buddha’s death into south India and Lanka. The King of Lanka was a Tamil person son of king MuthuSivan called King Thevanambyatheesan. All his citizens piously adopted Buddhism, as so in South India. By 3rd to 7th century after Christ, Hindu Saints started to convert all in south India back into Hinduism. Frightened Mahanama Thero was thoroughly perturbed by the surge of Hinduism, he went to south India to write these chronicles. Cullavamsa does not reveal anything about Vijaya and 700 scoundrels, who later married the women from Mathurai Kingdom . But, according to Mahanama’s fabrication Sinhalese came as Vijaya’s descendants. He also wrote that Buddha visited Lanka three times asking to preserve Buddhism in Srilanka. However the rhetoric starts from a Catholic born turned Buddhist Anangarika Dharmapala with his twisted mind sowed the communal hatred in the early 20th century, British helped to flame this hatred to carry on with their divide and rule policy. This was pursued all around their empire. This flame are still burning not only in Srilanka, but in many countries around the world. Pakistan, Nigeria are two good examples. If this rhetoric of yours goes on there may be another Ramayana story to come.
      Tamils have all the right to call themselves a Nation. Before the Foreign inversion in the 16th century we had our kingdom in the North and eastern present day provinces. We Tamils lost our sovereignty to Portuguese in 1621. Southwest Sinhala Kingdom lost their sovereignty in 1545 to the same Portuguese. It was British who captured the Kandyan kingdom in 1815. The last King of Kandyan kingdom was also a Tamil so was his fore fathers who ruled Kandyan kingdom from 1739-1815. These Tamil Kings came from Vellour in South India. British unified the three kingdoms in 1833 and made the Tamils a Minority group.
      You talk about 30 years of war, who had created this misery ? It was the Sinhala politicians. Since independence the Sinhala politicians without building on a unified nation played this dangerous game and dismantled the pseudo unity that was created by British after the unification and missionary education. Tamil Politicians had been trying to keep this unity by asking for a federal state in 1949. If you care to remember this federal state was asked by the Kandyan Sinhalese from the British. Tamils should have joined with the Kandyan then. But wanted a single rule with the Southern Sinhalese, but did ask for equal rights for all by calling for a 50:50 share of administration. This was mainly misunderstood by all Sinhala politicians. At present the Tamils now unable to trust the hegemonic chauvinist Sinhala people like you. This government had four years during which it could have helped to resolve the political question that is undeniably festering. I hope I have given you some facts. finally don’t runaway with the concept that you and your government won this 30 year old war. Your government had been helped by 20 other countries; because Mahinda lied to them that he was clean but was fighting the terrorist. The Deluded nations after 9/11 of 2001 all had to jump into George Bush’s bandwagon of counter terrorism.

    • 0

      BBS Rep

      “I assure you such consequences will tragically effect every Sri Lankan left alive.”

      I assure you every descendants of kallathonies will be evicted from my ancestral land in the fullness of time.

      This land once belonged to my ancestors which is rightfully ours.

      Tamils and Sinhalese have no right to grab my land nor determine our future.

      Please go away, go back to your ancestral homeland North/South India and continue your family feud within India.

  • 0

    If all that the Tamils could hope for is to ‘remain afloat’, then the stand taken by the author may be construed as correct. But the reality is that the Tamils want to move forward,however slowly it may be at the start. To do that we cannot mince our words. We have to call a spade, a spade. If the oppressing government thinks that the Tamils have no option but to embrace it, it will be sadly mistaken. The government is equally responsible if not more than the Tamil leadership to see that the past is not repeated. If the government takes one step forward, surely the Tamil leadership will take two steps. Let us wait and see what happens.

  • 0

    Swami Vivekananda in a poem said;

    “Know slave is slave, caressed or whipped not free;
    For fetters though of gold are not less strong to bind”
    These two lines will explain why roads and tinsel that glitter will not dazzle the Tamils. Till it is understood, those in governance will continue to be peeved. When it is comprehended they will seek to resolve the issues rather than to wield the bludgeon.

    The inimitable words of our renaissance poet Bharathy show the spirit and the psyche of the Tamils.

    “Those determined on having freedom; will they they accept anything less?
    Those desirous of savouring nectar; will they settle down to measely toddy?”

    No survey can bring forth wisdom when the greats are never understood.

  • 0

    It is not possible for a PC alone to develop the province without the cooperation of the center. Hence the future PC needs to have cordial relations with the Govt. A good example is the Colombo Municipal Council which is a UNP stronghold. Yet the Mayor has pursued a pragmatic policy of cooperation with the Govt which has yielded good results for the city.

    It is hoped that the confrontational attitudes and ethnic sloganeering will cease afetr the election and all will join hands for a better tomorrow.

  • 0

    This really constitutes little but praise for an exercise in showing “the rest of the world” what a great job the government is doing in “infrastructure building,” with no real attempt at analysis of the fact that that it is an exercise in little other than bread and circuses.
    Highway and bridge building serving no one is only an excuse for people in power to line their pockets and THAT IS A KNOWN FACT.
    Giving this nonsense “respectability” while thousands of families, literally, don’t have a roof over their heads is promoting the problem not even acknowledging the real heart-wrenching problem of people sans livelihood, shelter and DIGNITY!

  • 0

    A clear analysis of the ground realities, political parameters and possible consequences of the Northern Provincial Council elections. The analysis has positioned the major players and the intertwining dimensions of the political process. Admirably, the analysis gives a convincing rationale for the political positions taken in the TNA Manifesto. Unlike that incurable sycophant, ever ready to provide ammunition to the Rajapakse Regime, Dr. Dayan Jayatilleke, Darisha Bastians gives reason as to the TNA’s democratic demand for a federal solution-within a united country. Dr. Jayatilleke simply wishes the TNA and the Tamil people to appease the Sinhala racists and the Regime by forgetting about any form of self-determination. The right of national self-determination is a fundamental democratic right that cannot be expected to be just bargained away- and for what? Just to kneel in abject subservience to the unitary State? A highly centralized, Sinhala supremacist, hegemonic-chauvinist-militarist unitary state set up to perpetuate the Rajapakse dynasty, which has turned its guns against any and all who would dare to resist? A unitary State backed by neo-fascist religious extremists who have sworn to negate even the minimum democratic rights won by the Tamil Nation in the form of the 13A. Perhaps the TNA does not have the same reading of the LTTE as does Dayan, who once declared that the LTTE is fascist in its very DNA! Perhaps the TNA has a reading that while the LTTE did have fascistic elements in its political line and practice, it did represent the Tamil people’s aspirations for self-determination. Perhaps the TNA recoginzes that the Sri Lankan State is the causal, generative structural factor accounting for terrorism and that the LTTE is an effect. Perhaps the TNA has a reading of historical memory where the crimes of the LTTE pale before the repeated and intensified litany of barbaric communal pogroms, abductions, enforced disappearances, extra-legal killings, mass massacres, gang rapes, accompanying the systemic and systematic discrimination and violation of their fundamental democratic rights in terms of the ‘Sinhala Only’ policy, Standardization, cultural genocide in terms of burning the Jaffna library, political genocide in terms of liquidating the political status of the Tamil Nation and so on. Yet, it has made an open call for forgiveness and reparations to be made to the Muslim people who were forced to abandon their homes,by asking them to return to their homelands. In a scenario where the future of the 13A is threatened by the State, underlying an abiding commitment to wipe out any form of nationhood to the Tamil people – whatever the outcome of the elections- is cause for the TNA to express its hope that the ‘international community’ would come to its rescue? Certainly, with people like Dayan Jayatilleke around feeding into the Sinhala supremacist, militarist-chauvinist agenda of the most corrupt and dictatorial Regime in our history with his call for abject appeasement to the South, the TNA does need to appeal to the ‘international community’ for some guarantee of its continued existence as a distinct, historic Nation and to exercise its right to coexist in the Land of Lanka, with equality, dignity, autonomy, security and democratic freedom.
    Thanks Ms Bastian, for a reasoned, humane and profoundly democratic perspective.

    Surendra Ajit Rupasinghe
    Ceylon Communist Party (Maoist)

    • 0

      Respected sir,

      Nothing said better than this, I am reading a wonderful and sensible comments. Bow to you sir,I call this bloody Racist DJ who has no shame in threatening of consequences when TNA manifesto called for united srilanka. This hell lot of idiots even after seeing the neighbor which flourishes with more than 25 major ethnicity, do not think federalism is best possible solution for just two major ethnicity.

    • 0

      Well said Sir There are many rational thinkers, you are one and I humbly salute you. Best wishes to enlighten the readers of Colombo Telegraph. Thank you Surendra Aijt Rupasinghe.

    • 0

      Surendra Ajit Rupasinghe
      Ceylon Communist Party (Maoist)

      Your comment sound good on paper.

      The issue is not about 13th Amendmends which the Sangha opposes after 25 years of its existence.

      It is about restoring the democratic rights of all people within a united Sri Lanka.

      How do you propose to achieve it given the country is populated by irredeemably stupid people?

  • 0

    I agree with Surendra that it is a well thought clear analysis of the TNA manifesto. The government of Sri Lanka had lot of opportunity to resolve the lifelong cancer of this country. After the end of the civil war the government should have sit with TNA as agreed and discussed the power sharing arrangements and implemented them successfully. They had the mandate from the Sinhala people, the opposition was ready to accept the devolution of power and historically we agreed that North East of Sri Lanka is dominantly inhabited by Tamil speaking people. We all know the people those who oppose to the devolution of power are less than 5% of the population and we should not ruin the beauty of the island into the hands of those extremists. We have to look at the history and what our leaders offered including the current regime to resolve the national problem.
    Have a look at the following carefully:
    1957 Banda -Chelva Pact (1957)
    Key Statements:
    • the language of administration of the Northern and eastern Provinces be Tamil, and that any necessary provision be made for the non-Tamil speaking minorities in the Northern and eastern Provinces.
    • The Northern Province is to form a regional area whilst the Eastern Province is to be divided into two or more regional areas. Provision is to be made in the Bill to enable two or more regions to amalgamate even beyond provincial limit;
    • Provision is to be made for the direct election of regional councilors.
    • Parliament is to delegate powers and to specify them in the Act.
    • It was agreed that regional councils should have powers over specified subjects including agriculture, cooperatives, lands and land developments, colonization, education, health, industries, fisheries, housing, social services, electricity, water schemes and roads.
    • It was agreed that in the matter of colonization schemes the powers of the regional councils shall include the power to select allottees to whom land within their area of authority shall be alienated and also power to select personnel to be employed for work on such schemes.
    • The regional councils shall have powers of taxation and borrowing.
    Dudley- Chelva Pact (1965)
    • Action will be taken early under the Tamil Language Special Provisions Act to make provision of the Tamil Language of Administration and of Record in the Northern and Eastern Provinces.
    • Action will be taken to establish District Councils in Ceylon vested with powers over subjects to be mutually agreed upon between two leaders. It was agreed, however, that the government should have power under the law to give directions to such councils under the national interest.
    • Mr. Senanayake further agreed that in the granting of land under colonization schemes the following priorities be observed in the Northern and Eastern provinces.

    (a) Land in the Northern and Eastern provinces should in the first instance be granted to landless persons in the district.
    (b) Secondly, to Tamil-speaking persons resident in the northern and eastern provinces.
    (c) Thirdly, to other citizens in Ceylon, preference being given to Tamil citizens in the rest of the island.

    Indo_Lanka accord (1987)
    • recognising that each ethnic group has a distinct cultural and linguistic identity, which has to be carefully nurtured,
    • Also recognising that the northern and the eastern provinces have been areas of historical habitation of Sri Lankan Tamil speaking peoples, who have at all times hitherto lived together in this territory with other ethnic groups.

    Proposal From the Peace support group (1995)
    • promoting a vision of the Union of Ceylon where all communities can live in safety and security and their human dignity is valued and equality of treatment is an accepted norm of public life;
    • The Union will have a confederal structure, consisting of two States, each being internally autonomous and committed to the furtherance and maintenance of the principles and values declared in the Preamble, including in particular the protection of the fundamental human rights declared in the Constitution and the maintenance of democratic principles.
    • This framework document provides the basis for a new constitution for the Union of Ceylon, which shall consist of two internally autonomous States — one for the primarily Tamil area and the other for the area which is mainly Sinhalese. This reflects the fact there have been identifiable homelands (historical and existing) on the island for the Tamils (in the North and East provinces) and the Sinhalese (in the rest of the provinces) for over two millennia. Relations between the States will be governed in accordance with generally applicable principles of international law and justice.
    • Subject to these principles, the internal autonomy of each State will extend to the adoption by each State of its own internal constitution (e.g. size and structure of the legislature, frequency of elections).
    Peace Talk Sri Lanka _LTTE (Oslo communique)
     “agree on exploring a solution on the principle of internal self determination in areas of historical habitation of the Tamil peoples based on a federal structure within a united Srilanka” (Oslo communique, Dec 2002)

    2009 President Rajapakse Proposal
     The President said the basis of his devolution plan would be the “13th amendment plus 1″ – meaning implementation of the existing constitutional provisions for provincial councils, but adding an upper house to Parliament, modeled on the U.S. Senate.”

  • 0

    when the opposition get tough the bully gets scared and comes up with scare mongering!,thanks to Ms Bastians for this article

    we await the donkey analysis from our comedian Leela alials K A Sumanasekera or the monkey comments from jimmy the mumbo fumbo!

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    Looks like things are not all that rosy for the TNA. The TNA is planing to truck voters from colombo who are not all that interested in voting and the Diaspora are engaged in a campaign to force their relatives to vote for the TNA.
    The voters in the north on the other hand have the opportunity to chose between candidates who were with them through thick and thin and who will stay that way or the parachutists who will quietly retreat to their comfortable abodes after the election.
    The TNA even if they win will not be interested in doing much for the ordinary folk simply to keep their slogan’Tamils have been neglected’going until their ultimate goal”Dream Eelam”is achieved.
    Even if the TNA wins, this time it will not be the one horse race like the last time!

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    An excellent objective analysis.Bensen

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    Dr Easwaran
    “Tamils have all the right to call themselves a Nation. Before the Foreign inversion in the 16th century we had our kingdom in the North and eastern present day provinces”

    When did you control the east. This is a wild dream. Yes you did have a kingdom for 300 yrs in the North (In fact which is smaller than the present day North) out of the 2500 yr old history.

    Tell me a single country in the world that accepts your mythical homeland. Why can’t you provide facts and figures to the UN and get your homeland recognised

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    Dr Easwaran
    “Do you know that Sinhala language was not in existence when Buddhism was introduced to this Island. Sinhala as such came only into existence in the 8th century AD. A mixture of Pali, Tamil and elu. The Sinhalese are again a mixture of Tamils, Malayalies, Bengali’s, Orison’s, Portuguese and Dutch.”

    Sinhala culture and the languge was born in this country. Sinhala evolved from Hela with strong influence of pali, bengali etc. When Buddhism arrived in Sri Lanka the language spoken was more Hela than Sinhala. This is no different to the Hindi being evolved from Pali.

    Who do you think King Dutugemunu is. May be He is Malayali

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