16 January, 2022

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The Tamil National Question Was Not Merely An Internal Matter

By M.A. Sumanthiran

M.A. Sumanthiran PC

Thank you, Honorable speaker for this opportunity to say a few words at the committee stage discussion on the votes of the ministry of High ways, Transport and of labor. The disparity that our population faces was well exposed when on the day the Kelani Bridge new entrance was opened, the Kinniya ferry tragedy also took place. Then we have two or three bridges entering Colombo from the North and we celebrated the third bridge. There were three children dying by capsizing of a ferry without a bridge to cross that lagoon. But before I say anything more on the matters under discussion today, with your permission I want to place on record certain other matters relating to the visit by the Tamil National Alliance delegation to the United States of America, Canada and Britain, because while I was away there were speculation in the media and other places as to what this constituted. So let me first make a brief comment about those matters before I speak on these ministries.

There is concern that some people express saying what is essentially an internal matter, matters of internal affairs, are being internationalized and that the Tamil National Alliance is inviting, foreign interference into internal affairs. But one must look at the history of how these things came to be, the Indo–Lanka accord was signed in 1987, consequent to years of involvement by the government of India, after July 1983, the Government of India extended or offered its good offices to resolve the Tamil National question of this country. The offer of good offices of India was accepted by President Jayewardene. It is thereafter that the special envoy was appointed, and negotiations took place and eventually on the 29th of July 1987 Indo –Lanka accord was signed, Mr. speaker should remember these events very clearly because you even lost your seat in Parliament when you protested at those events. Sri Lanka continuously made promises then to India and thereafter to the whole International community about how a new form of governance arrangement would be made. The 13th amendment to the constitution was passed consequent to the signing of Indo – Lanka accord, but even at that point in time it was deemed insufficient, in fact in November 1987 President Jayewardene visited New Delhi and gave in writing that those defects that were identified would be rectified. So this issue was not confined within the country, with the consent of the government of that day India was invited and an International bilateral treaty was signed. That subsists even today. In international Law there is a concept called, “Pactum Sunt Servanda” that these agreements cannot be breached, you cannot even sight domestic law to get away from the obligations under International treaties.

Following on this, there were several attempts made, following on the assurance of the Sri Lankan government, that 13th Amendment to the constitution would be improved upon, several attempts were made, under different presidents, and under different governments. There was a Mangala Moonesinghe select committee under President Premadasa that made recommendations. There was Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga government’s proposals in 1995, 1997 and then the constitution bill that was brought to this house in August 2000. There was Oslo communique, in December 2002 by Prof. G.L. Peiris who said at a press conference in Oslo and I quote “Responding to a proposal by the leaders of the L.T.T.E. the parties agreed to explore a solution founded on the principal on Internal Self-determination in areas of the historical habitation of the Tamil speaking people, based on a federal structure in a united Sri Lanka. The Parties acknowledged that the solution had to be acceptable to all communities, and the parties agreed to on that basis, discuss matters further”. So the current Minister of External Affairs Prof. Peiris, in 2002 December said this. Not only that, I have written pieces by Prof Peiris, detailing why he says that the 13th Amendment to the constitution was fundamentally flawed. So this is not only something that we say, this is what prof. Peiris has said time and again, I am quoting from P. Navaratnaraja Memorial oration titled “From the Bandaranaike –Chelvanayakam pack, to the draft constitutional proposals, made on 28th July 1997 at the BMICH where detailing his views on the 13th amendment, this is what Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs said, and I quote “what is more, in my view the 13th Amendment has inflicted irreparable damage on the procedures and techniques of negotiating with regard to constitutional and ethnic amity. This is because the 13th Amendment has bread a great deal of cynicism. This is so because there is wide gulf between the appearance and the reality. At first blush if you look at the 13th Amendment you get the impression that there has been a generous and substantial devolution of power. It is a mirage, it’s an illusion, it is a mere slate of hand because it does not bare scrutiny for one moment. What is given with one hand can be taken back with impunity with the other. The Ipse-Dixit of the Central government that the formulation of a national policy is required in respect to the manner in which has been purportedly devolved to the periphery is sufficient ground for responsibility in respect of the matter to be taken back to the hands of the centre. That is not something hypothetical or fanciful, it happened on at least two occasions. It happened with regard to the agrarian Services bill, and it happened with regard to the transport commission bill.” And we are discussing transport ministry vote today and I find the state ministry of transport and all of that is being handled from the centre, whilst in the 13th Amendment to the constitution it is an entirely devolved subject matter. So what Prof. Peiris said in 1997, that this is not just fanciful, it actually happens, did happened, and we are debating it here in the centre, what is clearly a matter that is devolved to the provinces. I quote Prof. Peiris further, “No authority, no human being can repose the slightest degree of confidence in such mechanisms and structures which can be dismantled, distorted and abused at the whim and capris of those who exercises the levers of power. It is that exercise that has left in the minds of the minorities of this country a lingering sense of cynicism which makes them reluctant to believe that somebody else can be more-sincere and more-genuine than those who were responsible for that regrettable exercise. That is the sum total of the damage which that particular development inflicted on the whole process enacted towards the achievement of communal and ethnic amity of our land. We will not be a party to it. We will not revive or resuscitate under any circumstance what so ever, we shall no take part in what is undoubtedly an insincere exercise.” Now he has continuously maintained that position and that is why in August 2000 when a constitution bill was presented, it had clearly delimited powers between the province and the Centre, there was no concurrent list in that proposal. Not only in that proposal but even under President Mahinda Rajapaksa when APRC was constituted under Prof. Tissa Vitarana now a member of Parliament, the proposals by Prof. Tissa Vitarana, in the APRC also did not have a concurrent list it suggested clear delineation of powers between the province and the centre so that what was given to the province was given entirely to the province, not to be interfered with or taken back by the centre. So those were the developments, those that was the progress that was made, nevertheless, to date, we are to see, any of these actually realized. President Mahinda Rajapaksa made a joint statement on the 26th of May 2009 with visiting Secretary general the UN Ban–Ki moon, now if this wasn’t an entirely an internal matter, why did President Rajapaksa made that joint communique with the Visiting Secretary General of the United Nations? I quote form that joint communique “President Rajapaksa expresses his firm resolve to proceed with the implementation of the 13th amendment as well as to begin a broader dialogue with all parties, including the Tamil parties in the new circumstances to further enhance this process and to bring about lasting peace and development in Sri Lanka”. So not only president J.R. Jayewardene, but president Mahinda Rajapaksa also thought it fit. That a political solution to the Tamil National question was not merely an internal matter. For him to make a joint statement, with the secretary general of the United Nations, on the 26th of May 2009 in Kandy. And thereafter, at least three joint statements were made. One President Mahinda Rakapaksa with Dr. Man Mohan Sighe – Prime Minister if India, and two, with S.M. Krishna, then external affairs minister of India With Prof. G.L. Peiris external minister of Sri Lanka. In all of those three joint statements, it was stated, that Sri Lanka would implement the 13th Amendment in full and build upon it so as to achieve meaningful devolution. S.M. Krishna made statement to this effect, in Lokh sabha and Rajya Sabha, on the 4th of August 2011, on the 17th of May 2011, a joint statement was made in Sri Lanka. And it said, I quote” a devolution package building upon the 13th amendment would contribute towards creating the necessary conditions for such reconciliation”. So Mr. Speaker, you would see, that continuously that promises have been made and I am saying this because today that there seems to be some confusion, even amongst some Tamil Parties. That implementation of the 13th Amendment in full would settle the question. No! the promise time and again given, by successive Sri Lankan governments to India and to the world specifically stated that “going beyond the 13th Amendment”, “building upon the 13th Amendment”, so as to achieve meaningful devolution would only create necessary conditions for reconciliation. Now this did not end here, the matter is before the UN Human rights council, on resolutions that were moved, by the United States of America from 2012 March onwards, with Resolutions titled “Promoting accountability, and reconciliation in Sri Lanka. The last of which was passed in March this year, on the 23rd of March 2021, and the title to that resolution is “Promoting reconciliation and accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka, this was passed with a majority vote, and this is what it says with regard to political solution and I quote “Calling upon the government of Sri Lanka to fulfill its commitments on the devolution of political authority, which is integral to reconciliation and the full enjoyment of the Human Rights by all members of its population.” What does it say? It calls upon the government to fulfill its own commitments, so the government has made its own commitments not just once, twice, three times, No! form 1983 onwards, to this day continuously made these commitments that this matter will be resolved.

When the Prime Minister of India, visited Sri Lanka in March 2015, on the 13th of March 2015, he spoke in this Parliament. The visiting Indian Prime minister while speaking in this Parliament said this, and I quote “I am a firm believer in corporate federalism – we are devolving more power and more resources to the States. And we are making them formal partners in National Decision making processes” He said it in this House. That he is a believer in Corporate federalism, he was speaking in relation to the solution of the Tamil National question in this House. And his speech was applauded by all members of this House. So this is a matter on which everyone including both parties, both Main parties in this house has given commitment and assurances of those are yet to be realized. So it is in this background that the Tamil National Alliance’s delegation went to the United States of America recently and now we are calling upon the Community of Civilized Nations to help us achieve these objectives which successive governments of Sri Lanka have assured the International Community that they would deliver, and they are yet to deliver.

The timing is also important that we did this now because there is a different kind of promise that is being made to the country here domestically, while to the world you say enhance devolution, we will settle this matter once and for all by enhancing the powers of devolution to the periphery locally, something else is being said now, a slogan Titled” One country – One Law” is being projected, now what does that mean? If One country – One Law is to become reality, then there cannot be any legislative power to the provinces. How can provinces exercise legislative powers if there is going to be One country – One Law? if there is going to be one Law for the entire country. That is not what is contemplated by devolution of legislative powers. As it is in our constitution, there is legislative power devolved to the provinces; on some matters exclusively to the provinces, and therefore there cannot be one Law for the entire country. And the promise to India and to the world has been that you will enhance that power of devolution. That there will be more devolution. That 13th Amendment would be implemented in full, but it doesn’t stop there. It says “and building upon it, so as to achieve meaningful devolutions, conceding thereby that even the 13th Amendment to the constitution does not give confer a meaningful scheme of devolution, that it must go beyond that.

Now this has been decades long promise given to the world, but now locally, domestically, you are trying to travel in the opposite direction. And that is why as representatives of the Tamil people of this country, as those who represent the North and the East provinces of this country, we have appealed to the world, to the community of Civilized Nations to help us resolve this issue although solutions must be found within Sri Lanka, we recognize that, the community of the civilized nations has a very definite and a legitimate role to play in this exercise.

Therefore, we appealed to the United States of America who led the resolutions on Sri Lanka from March 2012 onwards on promoting accountability and reconciliation in Sri Lankan at the United Nations Human Rights council, to Great Britain and the members of the core group of the entire civilized nations to assist us in this process. They are entitled to do that, we are a people in this country, we have certain rights as a people in this country, we have lived in this country as long as anybody else has, or even longer, as people in International Law, we are entitled to the right of self-determination. Of course we are prepared to exercise that right of self-determination internally, we have said that very very clearly. Within a united, undivided, and even indivisible Sri Lanka, we are prepared to exercise that right of self-determination. But I must say this very clearly in this House, we have already said it in our proposals that we have sent to the expert’s committee that was appointed by the President. That the International Law is, that if a people, who are entitled to the right of self-determination is consistently and persistently denied that exercise of self-determination internally, through an internal arrangement if they are denied that right, then they would then become entitled to exercise it externally.

So this is a time when we have expressed as representatives of our people that consent of out people, the readiness of our people, to exercise our right to self- determination internally, within a united country, we are still willing to do that. But if that is consistently and persistently denied, as you are proving more and more then we will become entitled to have it exercised externally. And I am appealing to the government that id we are serious about a new constitution to the country, a 3rd republican constitution, don’t make the mistakes that were made, when the first republican constitution was formulated, when the 2nd republican constitution was formulated. We tried and exercised in the last parliament when all the parties sat together in the constitution assembly, and we arrived at the great condenses in many matters, we reached consensus, unfortunately before that draft could get into a reality that government failed due to internal dissentions and various other reasons. But we were able to arrive at consensus as recent as January 2019. When a draft was presented by the then Prime Minister of this House. It is possible. We can arrive at that consensus. We can build upon that consensus. As representatives of the Tamil people we are even today, able to say that we are willing to live within one country, but that must say with the full acknowledgement of our rights as a people entitled to the right to self-determination.

And on this occasion when I have placed on record, and explained the recent delegation of the Tamil National Alliance to various countries and called on to their help to resolve this issue. I want to make that also very clear to the government that as we have said and acted in good faith we expect a reciprocal gesture form the government to discuss with us. Unfortunately, the president invited the Tamil National Alliance for talks on this matter in July this year, and then postponed it saying that very soon another date would be given and since five months have passed and that hasn’t happened. That must happen. If this issue is to be resolved once and for all by all the people of this country agreeing, and that is not very difficult. Then the principle representatives of the Tamil people the Tamil National Alliance and the government which has the mandate of the rest of the country, must sit down and resolve this issue. Resolve it on the basis of consensus that have already been reached several times over, I am not saying that we must re-invent the wheel, or we must start from scratch, that consensus is available, it has been arrived upon time and again, it’s only a matter of “will” and if this government claims that they have the mandate of the majority, then you must act as a government and behave in that way, and move forward, and we are willing to come with you as the party that has the majority support, of the Tamil people of this country we are willing to come forward with you to resolve this issue. We have called on to the world to support us because the world must know, this is no longer an internal issue. Finding a solution may be yes, we must, agreed. But the concern of the world is upon us we have asked their support and we have their support, that our position is a reasonable position, our position is a justifiable position, and we must resolve it in that way, you have agreed to discuss it with India, you have agreed time and again and given assurances to India very clearly stating what that assurance is. You have given that assurance to the UN secretary General in no less, to the entire community of civilized Nations, so we have their support, we have that entire support with us that this matter must be resolved. You can’t now start reversing; you can’t now travel in the opposite direction. You can’t say One Country – One Law. After having agreed that there must be a meaningful devolution of powers, you had agreed even, that it must be done in a federal structure, now you can’t go back on these promises. If you keep going back like that, it’ll spell disaster to the whole country.

So I am thankful to the chief opposition whip, for having given me this, extended time today, to make a proper statement and put a stop to various speculations that has been on media as to why we went to the different countries. We went to gain support, for our quest which is justifiable, which is reasonable, which is legitimate and support of the international community in a matter which is no longer an internal affair and that is why we went and I want to make it plain, very clear to this House and to the Country, and that we will pursue that objective. We will not take a step back because the quest for a political freedom for our people is a justifiable objective, for which we have had the mandate since 1956. Our people have voted for this, since 1956, in between for a while they even voted, to have a separate state created, but nevertheless, it has been consistent expression of a democratic mandate of our people to have powers devolved meaningfully, we have called it federal, call it what you may like, but it is meaningful devolution of powers, that we seek as a people, as people entitled to right to self-determination. So I am thankful that the time was given to me to express this, with regard to this votes on the ministries I do not want to say anything further than what I said as I commenced my speech, and I would like to conclude with these observations. Thank you very much.

*M.A. Sumanthiran’s speech made in Parliament on 04th December 2021 on the votes of the ministry of Highway, Transport and Labour.

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Latest comments

  • 17
    3

    Prof: G.L.Pieris has mastered the art of consistently being Inconsistent.

    The Tamil National Question became an International issue only after JRJ and his 1983 anti-Tamil pogrom. Until then most people overseas did not know whether Srilanka was in Colombo or whether Srilanka was a part of India……………….

    The B-C Pact, The Dudley-Chelva Pact were all internal attempts to resolve the problem in the early days. Both home grown solutions; Now it has left our shores………………

    • 14
      3

      Plato,
      I beg to differ.
      There was no ever a desire or attempt to find a Solution. Any and every assurance of a home grown solution was an act of gigantic deception. The more the passage of time, the more convinced I am of that truth.
      .
      The Sinhalese ruling class, left, right, and centre, were in that together.
      .
      It began with the assurance of DS, the father of Sinhala deception, that no harm will befall the minority Tamils, in the hands of the majority Sinhalese.

      • 5
        4

        So attempts are on-going now that the Covid-19 hoax has run its course in Asia to stoke ethno-religious identity politics and violence in Sri Lanka again with the TNA jaunt to Washington and its aftermath, but also the killing of a Sri Lankan in Pakistan and the huge media frenzy about this.

        The current media frenzy about the sad fate of Priyantha Kumara and the bringing of his body to Sri Lanka is very much like the stories that circulated in 1983 after the LTTE killed 13 solders in Jaffna.
        The CIA badly wants a Buddhist-Muslim “clash of civilizations” in South and Southeast Asia to de-stabilize the region and destroy the Rise of Asia led by China as the Growth Hub of the World.

        • 4
          7

          Mr. Sumanthiran: the US which claims to be so concerned about MILITARIZATION and Minority Rights in Sri Lanka, went to Chagos Islands during the Cold War, drove out the people and set up a huge military base called Diego Garcia.!!! Yes Sri Lanka’s ethnic and religious conflicts have never been just Internal but always linked to Geopolitics!
          The new “Golden Gate” Bridge in Kelaniya is to enable quick transport of QUAD military equipment from the BIA airport to the Colombo Port. This is why Japan has built its won terminal at BIA!
          The northeast of Lanka is under-developed because India claims it and it is sadly backward because India blocks foreign investments there! Now Modi has blocked the Chinese power projects in the Islands off the Jaffna Peninsula!!!
          Yes, indeed the ethnic conflict has always been international because Sri Lanka sits dead center of the Indian Ocean and the US always wanted a military base here! During the Cold War India was anti-US and weaponized the Tamils to block JRJ’s plan to let US set up a base in Trincomalee Habour!
          After SWRD nationalized Lanka’s ports and airports from the British occupation, US and UK which claims to be so concerned about MILITARIZATION and minorities in Sri Lanka went to Chagos Islands, drove out the people and set up a huge military base called Diego Garcia.!!!

    • 9
      27

      tamils are no use for Sri Lanka since they only know how to complain rather than be of any use to the country.

      • 14
        3

        Jayasuriya, I envy your ability to simplify things!

      • 15
        4

        Jayasuriya,
        “tamils are no use for Sri Lanka since they only know how to complain”
        That’s really interesting, from someone with a Tamil name. Please check the Chennai Phone Directory:

        https://www.jayasuriya.org/

        • 5
          1

          Jayasuriya,
          Are you Punchi Point using your real name? I can see why you don’t want to use it.

        • 2
          0

          This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

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      • 10
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        Jaya,

        Not true. Then how come the Portuguese, the Dutch and the Brits found Tamils so very useful in British Ceylon, British Malaya, Fiji, South Africa and islands of the West Indies?

        Tamils were super useful. That’s why they were taken around the world.

        It’s the fault of the Sinhalese who do not know how to make use of Tamils. Learn from the British.

        • 7
          3

          Good that they found Thamizh useful and industrious, as they found the Thulluikans and Chingkallams useless and you are envious, so after the so-called independence started to take revenge and marginalize the Thamizh, as this was the only way you were able to compete with them. Deny them higher education, jobs, introduce standardization so that less qualified Chingkalllams and Thullkans were able to enter prestigious science courses. Steal their lands and ethnically cleanse them and then state recently Thamizh majority areas, like Trincomalee, are now the homeland of your South Indian immigrant refugee community, even when you are only around 35% there. It was not the Thamizh politicians and elite who were kowtowing to the Portuguese, Dutch and the British but the Chingkallams. Go and read history properly. How the European colonials captured the island, who invited them and who betrayed and also fought for the Portuguese against the Thamizh Jaffna kingdom. This is why the British may have found the Thamizh useful for their hard work but always favoured the Chingkallams, as they were kowtowing to them. We all know about you, constantly coming here and trying to advocate for an Islamic Wahhabi/Salafist homeland, for immigrant South Indian origin Muslims, strangely only on Thamizh areas but not in Chingkalla areas where most of them live.

          • 7
            2

            The world recognizes only a Chingkalla and Eezham Thamizh homelands, as these were the only two people who have been on the island from ancient times and evolved here from the local Dravidian Naga and Yakka, who spoke Thamizh or semi Thamizh Elu. The ancient history of the island is either Chingkalla Buddhist or Thamizh Saivam, nothing Islamic. Immigrant South Indian Thamizh origin converts to Islam, who only arrived in the island recently from South India, have no right to claim for an Islamic homeland on ethnically cleansed Eezham Thamizh lands, where they arrived as refugees, fleeing Portuguese persecution, claiming that they were also Thamizh. Now after a few generations trying to claim a homeland in the name of Islam and an imagined Arab origin, that has now proven to be ficticious. Unlike the Chingkallams and Eezham Thamizh, you originated and evolved in South India and arrived here as immigrants/refugees.

            • 9
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              It was the Thamizh who suffered from discrimination, marginalization, ethnic cleansing, and horrific war crimes committed open them. One million were deliberately made stateless and another million were forced to flee. The Muslims were openly siding with the Chingkallams and getting lots of benefits at the expense of the Thamizh suffering hardship and tears. It is because Thamizh lives properties and lost and their efforts, that the UN, West, and India have now interfered. Again now trying to opportunistically try to swoop in opportunistically and gain maximum advantage and steal from Thamizh efforts, tears and hard work, for your immigrant fake Arab community from South India, after siding with the Chingkalla racists and government for the past 70 years and still do.

          • 3
            3

            PK you are and out and out Tamil racist. Just look at your language and comments and name calling. You are a disgrace to the Tamil race and a sower of hatred.

            • 4
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              Smile. I know the truth hurts brother Paul.

              • 1
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                PK You see? You CAN criticise without using racist language.

                • 1
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                  P
                  You do not know piglet.
                  He lives up to the name.

          • 4
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            • 0
              0

              P.P,
              As a lady, you need to be polite. Mind your language!

        • 4
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          This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

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        • 3
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          • 3
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            J,
            What witty comments you make!

      • 5
        0

        Dear Friend,
        “tamils are no use for Sri Lanka since they only know how to complain rather than be of any use to the country.
        Just to ensure that it will reach the recipient, can you send these golden words on a registered mail to Sampanthan Aiyya, who is still keep claiming that he has lot to contribute the Sinhala Lankawe, under 13A. Please tell him “Get the hell out of here”

      • 3
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        Jayasuriya, that is exactly your mother thought of you at the time of your birth. See how far you have made it.

  • 14
    5

    Eagle Blind Eye

    Why are you sending your ministers to every poor country in the world for loan, fertilizer, …. and food?
    Hindians do not have toilets, Srimavo aided and abetted Genocide in Bangladesh, USA’s imperialist policies you condemn yet Basil went to America with begging bowl, …any self respecting minister would have resigned from his post and vanished into thin air however Udaya Gamanpilla is still smarting as if he had concurred Hindia, Wimal Weerawansa in hiding, maybe in Hindian Embassy, Prince of Darkness the unpleasant Weerasekara is all over the place, he is not sure whether he is coming or going, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXVNtS9DNIs) who cannot formulate proper counter argument, …………………….

    If Weerasekera and Weerawansa can be ministers, you too are qualified as one, or send HLD M to parliament where dump asses could get-together and ruin this island faster than you hope for. Don’t leave out all those saffron clad thugs.

    Are those two Surgeon Generals namely Kamala Gunaratne and Shavendra still fighting LTTE instead COVID19?

    It is increasingly becoming clear people are no longer afraid of uniformed thugs.

    • 12
      4

      We need only one Provincial Council in the North-East, as originally proposed. All the rest, along with their useless politicians, can be abolished.
      GL Pieris himself is good example of how inconsistent even educated Sinhala Buddhists are.

      • 2
        7

        What for?
        Even that is not necessary as +50% of Tamils live outside that.

        Soma

        • 8
          1

          Soma,
          “50% of Tamils live outside that”
          Why should that matter? Aren’t the non-Sinhala majority in Colombo even today under the WPC? The NE PC is for those who want it, not those who prefer to live in Colombo, or even Canada.

          • 1
            0

            Old codger
            I am glad you asked that.
            I wish Tamil nationalists asked me that question time to time.
            You have an opportunity to save the Sinhalese from the most baffling question to them:
             A political solution is sought for whom?
            Is it for Hindu/Christian Tamils in Jaffna
            OR
            All Tamil speaking people scattered across the island irrespective of their religion or the date of arrival. ( Some Tamils are as ancient as the Singhalese, some arrived during the Dutch and others during the British.
            Some Tamils practise Hinduism as their religion, some practise Islam and others Christianity.)

            Soma

            • 5
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              Soma,
              If all communities were treated absolutely equally, there would be no need for devolution. We have a high-sounding Constitution that gives a “special place ” for a particular religion. 95% of state employment goes to one community, which also gets 98% of the defence forces. High positions are given not to the efficient and qualified but to toadies. So what do you expect the minorities to do?

              • 1
                1

                Old codger
                That’s not the answer to my question.
                This is “Yanne koheda? Malle pol”
                I asked a simple, plain , unambiguous question.
                A political solution is sought for whom?
                Is it for Hindu/Christian Tamils in Jaffna
                OR
                All Tamil speaking people scattered across the island irrespective of their religion or the date of arrival. ( Some Tamils are as ancient as the Singhalese, some arrived during the Dutch and others during the British.
                Some Tamils practise Hinduism as their religion, some practise Islam and others Christianity.)
                .
                Isn’t this the most fundamental question?

                Soma

                • 3
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                  Soma,
                  Nobody will seek political solutions for no reason. Remove the disease, and the symptoms disappear. Get it?

    • 10
      1

      Eagle Blind Eye, the fellow went begging to two Tamil, Nirmala Sitharaman and Jaishankar.

  • 17
    14

    Mr. Sumanthiran keep up the good work of getting as many countries involved. Obviously Rajapaksas have run out of lies and international support, leaving the country and them at the mercy of China. Like how Rajapaksas exploited 9 / 11 in changing international view against Tamil struggle, now the situation is, US / QUAD and west are challenging Chinese hegemony and some shrewd young Tamil politicians are taking advantage of it. Years of such back door diplomacy is what helped Rajapaksas in ending the war.

    • 3
      4

      Sumanthiran was Ranil’s lackey during Yahapalanya regime and hoodwinked Tamils by telling lies and sabotaged Provincial councils and Kalmunai North PS upgrade. Now he is a lackey of Rajapakses on a program to break up Tamil diaspora. His propaganda that he went to US to discuss solution to Tamil problem is a blatant lie. Since the betrayal of 2015, GTF is a dead duck bankrupt both politically and financially. Sumanthiran wanted a similar meeting arranged in UK, but no one was willing to convene one. Sumanthitran will now go around saying that US and India will jointly settle Tamil problem, which is far from the truth. Both US and India want to get around Sinhalese to get China out, and both of them will not do anything to upset Sinhalese. If US is serious about helping Tamils, they must impose economic embargo on Sri Lanka with naval blockade. If India wants to help Tamils, they must send the army to occupy north and east and implement devolution which action they are entitled to do as per Indo-Lanka agreement of 1987. Both countries want Tamils to support to evict China and have got a selfish sucker like Sumanthiran on board.

      • 6
        1

        Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam,
        You are simply spreading your imagination. I feel sorry for you. For an educated man, your conduct is beyond the pale.

        • 4
          0

          Nathan,
          .
          GS does not seem to respect the facts.

          I think Honourable MP Sumanthiran and Shanakiyan Rajaputhiran Rasamanickam will be an asset to future of this country.

          • 3
            0

            Thank you, leelagemalli.
            GS appears to have a grudge against Sumanthiran. Personal? Could be.

        • 2
          0

          Nathan

          Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam, types:

          “Sumanthiran was Ranil’s lackey during Yahapalanya regime and hoodwinked Tamils by telling lies and sabotaged Provincial councils and Kalmunai North PS upgrade.”

          If that is true why does Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam gets completely upset and goes ballistic when anyone criticises Douglas?

  • 14
    10

    Obviously Rajapaksas, their supporters, pseudo Patriots are not going to be happy with such new development. That is one of the reason Basil was sent to India ASAP for damage control. Soon we may see others making such trips.. West is aware in the past Rajapaksas trying to play one against another.

    • 1
      3

      You seem not to have intellectual capacity to decipher what is happening. Reason why Tamils lost was because Sinhalese played the cards properly and Tamils did not. Prabaharan acted solely on selfish agenda and not for benefit of Tamils, and antagonized the entire world. Rajapakses capitalized on this to get their support, and there was no back door diplomacy. Now Sumanthiran is doing the same thing for personal gain and not for Tamils. Both India and US are taking Tamils for ride and need shameless persons like Sumanthiran. Tamils must give US and India a rude shock by inviting China to take over north and east and empower Tamils. Approach China through Singapore where Chinese have high regard for Ceylon Tamils. China cannot be evicted easily as they have 150,000 troops in Sri Lanka, masquerading as labourers, ready to take up arms when needed. Tamils should not support to get rid of Rajapakses and install US / India friendly regime. Let Rajapakses ruin the country further and let US and India get frustrated.

      • 3
        1

        “You seem not to have intellectual capacity to decipher what is happening”
        Amazing intellect!

      • 3
        1

        Dr. GS, I have heard enough of these highly circumstantial ( in your words intellectual) stories in my life time. Please tell me something new. For all I know Mr. S remained in Lanka all this while and as a lawyer tookup many minority issues before becoming politician. ( also late Gauri Thavarasa ). As a lawyer he could have had a highly successful career in Lanka or abroad. He and his family were living under threat during Rajapaksa 1.0 , white van period. In my humble opinion this much is good enough to represent the community. You may try inviting China for next peace talks

        • 1
          1

          Sumanthiran has changed after taking to politics. Ever since he became a lap dog of Ranil, he is taking Tamils for a ride. In 2013, our 44 year old association in UK (SCOT), which is independent of any political affiliation, invited him to address the new year lunch paying all his expenses. Now they will not. This year Shanakyan addressed it via Zoom meeting. If not for the pandemic, he would have been got down paying all expenses. If he too falls a prey to government machination, he will not be entertained. Sumanthiran denied a widow whose husband sacrificed his life for benefit of Tamils, her inalienable right of representing Tamils in parliament. This curse will befall on Sumanthiran soon, and this has started happening. Canadian Tamils say that they gave large sum of money to Sumanthiran to rehabilitate war widows and do not know what happened to that money. They also say that Sumanthiran had discussions with them in 2015, where he showed constitution supposed to have been prepared by Ranil, Sirisena and Mangala, but nothing happened to it. In 2015 he came to UK with Mangala and requested Tamils not to press war crime charges in exchange for new constitution with rights of Tamils enshrined. Is this not deception.

          • 1
            0

            Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam

            “Ever since he became a lap dog of Ranil, … “

            Would you also say something similar about Douglas, say lap dog of Premadasa, Chandrika, Mahinda and Gota?

            If you don’t want to respond you are free to refrain.

  • 12
    6

    JR Jeyawardena invited India into the internal problem with the massacre of Tamils. Rajapaksa invited UN with the massacre of Sinhalese by Sinhalese. So, if any one try to hide that the problems of this country can be solved by internally without international pressure are fools. What Sumanthiran tells now is nothing new to Present Government or Previous Government or Sri Lankan Governments. Sri Lankan governments cannot play double games anymore because now they are destructors of this country. Even it is now saving this country in Sri Lankan hands. If they fail it now, Sri lankans lose their country.

    • 3
      5

      Ajith,
      “JR Jeyawardena invited India into the internal problem with the massacre of Tamils.”

      Wrong! There was no internal problem. India came to Sinhale using Tamils who killed 13 ‘Ranaviruwo’ of the Sri Lanka Army to destabilize the country ruled by ‘Yankee-Dicky’.

  • 5
    5

    it is a mere slate of hand because it does not bare scrutiny for one moment,
    looks like an erroneous transcript of
    it is a mere sleight of hand because it does not bare scrutiny for one moment.

    • 2
      0

      It is not ‘bare scrutiny’ but ‘bear scrutiny’.

  • 13
    5

    There is concern that some people express saying what is essentially an internal matter, matters of internal affairs, are being internationalized and that the Tamil National Alliance is inviting, foreign interference into internal affairs.
    =====
    The LTTE insurrection was also an internal affair ….but Sri Lankan government internationalized it and sought the help of 29 foreign countries and foreign mercenaries to defeat the LTTE.
    ——–

    • 3
      3

      Wonder what the LTTE did in that regard!

    • 2
      3

      Rajash,
      “The LTTE insurrection was also an internal affair…”
      —-
      According to the definition given in Cambridge English Dictionary insurrection is “an organized attempt by a group of people to defeat their government and take control of their country, usually by violence.”
      —-
      If LTTE is an insurrection to remove the Government why the hell they went on massacring Sinhala Buddhist men, women, children, Buddhist monks and even fetus of Sinhala pregnant women?

      • 4
        2

        Eagle Eye :
        why the hell did the successive sinhala Govt went on massacring Tamil men, women, children, Hindu priests and even fetus of Tamil pregnant women since 1948 till today

        Even today the sinhala army comes in motore cycle with guns trotting many of them and stand guns pointing in front of 3 old men sitting and remembering their loved ones. Even today Sinhala army assault a Tamil Journalist taking photo of remembrance event at Mulliavalaikaal

    • 3
      0

      It cant only be an internal matter today. Whereever you travel across GLOBE ( Europe, America, Australia, canada or anywhere,) there are srilankens in tamil origin. Some them in europe are highly qualified professionals. Some electroal constituencies are totally dependent on tamil voters as the case in Canada and some european countries.

  • 7
    2

    Sumanthiran is reborn as a Tamil nationalist from time to time.
    He talks about core Tamil national demands like self-determination that they would otherwise deem extremist.

    • 4
      1

      What is extremist about self determination?
      It is not the same as secession.
      It is the right of any nationality to determine its mode of existence. Accepting that right itself will weaken the desire to secede, as it was seen in the Soviet Union.
      The sad thing is that the Tamil nationalists refuse to recognize the Muslims and hill Country Tamils as distinct nationalities.

  • 11
    1

    The recent torture and murder of a Sinhalese factory manager in Pakistan has caused uproar in both Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It should make us Sinhalese think again about how we have treated our Tamil brothers over the years. I ask every Sinhalese to imagine that he was a Tamil. How would he feel then? Would he want to live in a godforsaken place like Sri Lanka?

    • 4
      2

      Paul I agree with all but the last sentence.
      Is not the USA another godforsaken place? Ask the average Black or Latino.

    • 1
      0

      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

  • 5
    0

    Is Sri Lanka a member of the “Community of Civilized Nations”?

  • 5
    9

    Though I read through out of courtesy the context and content was entirely predictable .
    .
    No international agreement which proposes altering the fundamental structure of a state is valid without consent of the people. Effectively they are signed on the dotted line by corrupt /weak politicians out of fear or personal gain. Alternatively as surrender terms after a war. Usually the threat is military or starving the population under trade embargoes. In any case these politicians are transient entities in a democracy. Hence the need for a referendum before the people which is not the case with 13A.
    .
    TNA effectively functioned as the political wing of the LTTE promoting them worldwide as the sole representatives Tamils. Their continued support for terror war is the proof that not only Sinhala side Tamil side also completely disregarded the spirit of a negotiated settlement. The terror that continued for 30 years killed 26,000 soldiers , innumerable innocent civilians and completely destroyed the economy and infrastructure. On the part of Sinhala political side 13A was agreed on the understanding that the Tamils would cease the war . Hence 13A is a dead letter in spirit. However the ghost poses a existential threat with Tamils taking a pro US stance for a country which struggles to maintain a non aligned position.

    • 3
      5

      Now the question of recent delegation to US and other Western capitals. Whom did they represent ? Did the delegation include any representation from Islamic Tamils and those arrived during the British? If not why? Can any reader comment on this, please. TNA must stop fooling the International community. When is the TNA unambiguously tell the Sinhala people their definition of ‘Tamil Nation’/’Tamil People’/ ‘Tamil Speaking People’ when they use them interchangeably in respect of a ‘political solution’. In other words a political solution is sought for whom.
      Is it for Hindu/Christian Tamils in Jaffna
      OR
      All Tamil speaking people scattered across the island irrespective of their religion or the date of arrival. ( Some Tamils are as ancient as the Singhalese, some arrived during the Dutch and others during the British.
      Some Tamils practise Hinduism as their religion, some practice Islam and others Christianity.)

      Soma

      • 4
        1

        Somu,
        My understanding was whoever went to the USA were not Tamils’ delegates. America said, as it has been in the issue for a few decades, it wanted to have some minority Tamils’ input. America did not say for what purpose this consultation was being done. As per Sampanthan Aiyya, whoever went there were Tamil legal experts, not representatives or delegates of Tamils. Including Sumanthiran PC, a MP in parliament, in the group that went to the US, does not alter the nature of the group from legal experts to representative delegates. Because ⅔ of the group was private citizens (Sumanthiran has the capacity of TNA MP & TNA consultant.) TNA never officially convened and assigned any authority or duty to the group that travelled. (Here when we say TNA officially convene, the word “TNA” means the very first TNA, which Included Sangary & Ponnampalam, and the latest addition, Justice CV. That was our usage of the word TNA, always, unless we had to pick others separately.) So those who went to the USA, though they had the subject knowledge, lacked the capacity to represent the Tamils as one unit. (My best hope on this trip to America is that it is trying to understand the problem deeply, and to formulate a strategy to solve it.)

      • 4
        1

        America included GTF to know the diaspora’s opinions. But America does know that GTF does not conduct even the clandestine elections which TGTE does in the diaspora countries.
        But when Sumanthiran came out of Washington, he said he talked with American officials about America cooperating with India, because India has a solution to Tamils, but America doesn’t. This contradicted many past activities. As a Stateless Nationality, Tamils didn’t have representation in the UN or UNHRC. In 2002 America took Tamils’ issue to the UNHRC. Even if that action had been only American usual global policy, from Tamils’ side, America and Britain are taking leadership and representing the Tamils’ issue in UN and UNHRC. On the contrary, Sonia Gandhi, taking Thero de Silva and Old King’s hand, defeated the first proposal in UNHRC. So, declaring that America & Britain has no idea of solving the Tamils issue so they should follow India’s path is absolutely a convoluted talk. Sumanthiran did not talk about if he had the mandate from TNA to talk on that specific subject. Sumanthiran did not mention what was the solution India has now and if it has ways to implement it, because the Indo-Lankawe accord has not prescribed any mechanism for India to request Lankawe for any such action (the defect, forced the 13A, an India acknowledged solution, go dysfunction).

        • 3
          1

          Mallayuran, America did not specifically ask for GTF to find out about opinion of Tamil diaspora. It was Sumanthiran who took GTF, who are his sycophantic crowd. GTF is both financially and politically bankrupt, with only a few hangers on, and has no business to represent Tamil diaspora. The trip to US is to hoodwink Tamils in Sri Lanka. Sumanthiran has started his propaganda that USan

          • 4
            1

            Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam,
            Let me accept that you know a lot about GTF. What amazes me is that you also seem to know about what US specifically asked!
            .
            Wouldn’t US know something, at least, about GTF. Is Sumanthiran that smart to hoodwink US?
            .
            Is US in cohorts with Sumanthiran hoodwinking Tamils?

            • 1
              1

              Nathan you are unable to understand English. US is using Sumanthiran to make Tamils to rise up against China. US must have got some information that some Tamils are lobbying China to develop Tamil areas. Sumanthiran started a propaganda that he is going to US to discuss about federalism and that US and India are formulating a federal constitution. Is this not a blatant lie.

              • 1
                2

                Nathan there is nothing called free lunch. If US had paid for Sumanthiran’s trip, he has to return the favour which is getting help of Tamils to get rid of China by getting rid of Rajapakse regime. Tamils in US belonging to Democratic party say that those officials whom Sumanthiran met were low ranking and have no influence in formulating the solution for Tamils. It is common knowledge that CIA agents are implanted in all walks of life, and most likely they are CIA agents who want to draft Sumanthiran into their plan. Sumanthiran is a lap dog of Rajapakse regime who want to break up Tamil diaspora, and his Canadian project has miserably failed. In UK he only had meetings with his sycophants in private, fearing the same outcome as in Canada.

                • 2
                  0

                  Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam,
                  The little respect I had for you is long gone. From now on, you are on your own.

        • 0
          1

          Mallaiyuran
          Thank you very much for this input.
          America trying to understand the issue now.?
          Let us not fool ourselves, brother.
          America is extending a feeler into the China Sri Lanka relations.
          And formulate a strategy to solve it or formulate a strategy to make best use of it for their advantage?
          Mallaiyuran, take it from me there is no ‘solution’ until Tamils demand a SEPARATE Homeland for all Tamil speaking people. Tamils should come out this mental straight jacket that Sinhala Buddhist society is superior to a Tamil only enclave.

          Soma

      • 4
        1

        Sumanthiran was well known for collaborating for Secret Solution (Ranil’s cunning game) with Yahapalanaya. He did not go into detail if his Secret Solution was concurrent with the Indian solution he mentioned and what is his position now on having a (Secret) Solution delivered from parliament. His talks suggested that as he was aware that other than India nobody else had a solution for Tamils, he explicitly showed dislike of anybody taking lead on that but to follow the path of India. Neither TNA nor ITAK has confirmed, ratified, or even acknowledged or commented on these Hullabaloos of Sumanthiran. Separately, TNA’s members revived their course of pressing India to have the 13A implemented and proceed further on that. Justice CV, who was not in the ITAK alternate TNA Khuzu, did not attend that meeting, but endorsed the Khuzu’s resolutions from outside.

        • 2
          1

          My dear Mallaiyuran,
          The Tamil National Question is ours to resolve.
          The issue persists despite the various tactics we have adopted from time to time.
          Let us put all these in perspective.
          .
          Secrecy, by itself, is no evil. In fact, quite often, secrecy is useful.
          .
          Will we suffer more, if we offer Sumanthiran the support he needs.

      • 2
        4

        Soma,
        “Is it for Hindu/Christian Tamils in Jaffna”

        No. Only for Vellala Malabar Tamils in Yapanaya.

        Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole, wrote “the belief of the many Tamils (is that) unless one is a Saivite, he is not a Tamil and unless one is a Vellala, he is nothing.” (NETHRA, Vol 2. No.1. Oct-Dec. 1997, p. 28 – a quarterly journal edited by Regi Siriwardena).

        • 5
          0

          Eagle,
          “Only for Vellala Malabar Tamils in Yapanaya”
          Beats me why a Malabar descent Salagama living in Canada should worry about Vellalas in Jaffna?

    • 2
      4

      Soma,
      “Their continued support for terror war is the proof that not only Sinhala side Tamil side also completely disregarded the spirit of a negotiated settlement.”

      Didn’t Ranil Wickramasinghe who signed the CFA even without the approval from the President Chandrika Kumaratunge hand over almost one third of the country on a platter to a terrorist leader?

  • 2
    6

    The only solution to the Tamil national question is Tamil Elam.

    Sri Lanka must be split into 3 mono ethnic nations (Sinhala Only Elam, Tamil Elam and Muslim Elam) equitably and people must be relocated based on ethnicity.

    The 3 nations will prosper and will be perfectly peaceful.

    Half baked solutions never work.

    • 4
      0

      Map Please

      • 3
        0

        Checkmate!

    • 2
      0

      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

    • 1
      0

      Gatam, when Rajiv Gandhi was killed, Eelam project was buried. Now when Priyantha Kumara is killed by Islamic fanatics, Muslim claim to any land is buried for good. Do you seriously think that Sinhalese are mad to have one of them suffering the same fate in Katankudy.

  • 3
    1

    Though I read through out of courtesy the context and content was entirely predictable .
    .
    No international agreement which proposes altering the fundamental structure of a state is valid without consent of the people. Effectively they are signed on the dotted line by corrupt /weak politicians out of fear or personal gain. Alternatively as surrender terms after a war. Usually the threat is military or starving the population under trade embargoes. In any case these politicians are transient entities in a democracy. Hence the need for a referendum before the people which is not the case with 13A.
    .
    TNA effectively functioned as the political wing of the LTTE promoting them worldwide as the sole representatives Tamils. Their continued support for terror war is the proof that not only Sinhala side Tamil side also completely disregarded the spirit of a negotiated settlement. The terror that continued for 30 years killed 26,000 soldiers , innumerable innocent civilians and completely destroyed the economy and infrastructure. On the part of Sinhala political side 13A was agreed on the understanding that the Tamils would cease the war . Hence 13A is a dead letter in spirit. However the ghost poses a existential threat with Tamils taking a pro US stance for a country which struggles to maintain a non aligned position.

  • 6
    6

    Tamil leaders cannot get any foreign country to speak or act on behalf of Tamils.
    A stunt similar to the recent one about meeting with US State Department officials was played during Obama’s days in the White House. There was much hoo-ha in the Tamil media for a while and then all was forgotten.
    Tamil leaders have allowed themselves to be used time and by foreign powers, but achieved nothing more than fooling the public and fetching votes.
    Anyone seriously expecting any foreign country to side with the Tamils against the Sinhalese is living in cloud cuckoo land. Tamils are used as means to exert pressure on governments that seem to be defiant.
    Right now there are other sticks available with the foreign powers concerned.
    This is time for Tamils to join hands with other oppressed people of the country.

    • 3
      1

      SJ Sir,

      Do you have plan how this long standing problem can be resolved?
      If you have please tell us.
      Thank you

      • 3
        3

        A
        Seriously, are you waiting for someone with a plan?
        If you are waiting for mine, thank you for the compliment.
        On confirmation I will start working on it tonight.

      • 1
        3

        Anpu
        US is planning to resurrect Einstein from his grave to find a solution.
        Please be patient.

        Soma

        • 1
          4

          Anpu
          My plan is to get the support of the international community to create a SEPARATE Homeland for ALL Tamils (Tamil speaking people)
          Can you help to convince those presently occupying Sinhala majority provinces to relocate themselves to the new Homeland?
          They are being subjected to unceasing discrimination and harrassment by the Sinhalese from independence.

          Soma

        • 2
          2

          S
          He probably thinks that I am smarter than Albert.

    • 3
      0

      Well said SJ. Actually, everybody apart from the upper and ruling classes are oppressed.

    • 3
      0

      Thank you for your reply SJ Sir.

      Could you please elaborate what you have written above?

      • 0
        3

        A
        If you have in mind any specific issue I may elaborate on it.
        I am economical with my money and words.

        • 0
          0

          But you are not economical with your far*ting.

      • 1
        0

        Anpu this is what is called as “CRAB MENTALITY”. When I mentioned a few times before, quite a few got offended. But I will repeat as many times, because it is a fact. If LANKAN Tamils are asked 1) Any political leader they think was genuine and tried helping their cause?? 2) Any leader from past, current if not probably in the future ? Except Prabha because he was not a politician ( that I believe was his weakness) 3) any country who they think was good enough, in genuinely try helping the Tamil cause ?? If majority could agree with just one answer,consider there is still hope. For them “the glass is always half empty”. With their crab mentality who needs enemies.

  • 3
    3

    Good speech. It is Pacta sunt servanda not pactum. Reference to “civilised nations” is a relic of imperialism not used in modern times, though it survives in old documents.

  • 2
    0

    GLP’s politics can be best described as “monkey politics”. He jumps from party to party and this he does not because the earlier party did not agree with his policies (as he was the one advising the President the action plan) but because he was getting better personal benefits from the new party or he felt that his old party is going to lose and he needed to keep his minister post. GLP is like a “slave” who can be sold and will obey the new master. He has no problem not telling the truth or forgetting his previous promises.

    He is a teacher and I always wondered when he was appointed as the Minister of Education, what a child could learn from a “monkey” politician who changes his views overnight and does not keep his promises. If we look at all the minister posts he has held, it clearly shows those are posts that can be manipulated by the then President. GLP has no character whatsoever, even to quote him in this article is an insult.

  • 3
    0

    Why cant these two parties work together ?
    kajendrakumar speech in parliament on 3.12.2021
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXVNtS9DNIs

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