15 November, 2018

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Thoughts On Sri Lanka’s Progress In This Transitional Phase

By M.A. Sumanthiran

M.A. Sumanthiran

M.A. Sumanthiran

The process has started and is moving fairly swiftly but it has certain knotty issues and I want to highlight one or two of those. Sri Lanka has been ruled by a simple majoritarian rule. That is the system of government. And when you have permanent majorities and permanent minorities in numbers that can always lead to oppression and that is what happened in Sri Lanka.

Speech by M.A. Sumanthiran – Congressional caucus briefing 14th June 2015:

Thank you, Mr. Moderator. Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to address all of you in this forum. I have been asked to make a few remarks with regard to Sri Lanka’s progress in this transitional phase. The transition commenced in January last year when there was a change in the office of the President. Just prior to that, most friends of Sri Lanka were gravely concerned that Sri Lanka was going down the precipice, in that it was moving towards an authoritarian regime. The Constitution had been amended; we had an executive presidential system with a two term limit that had been amended to enable the incumbent to run for however many times that he wanted to and there were very serious concerns with regard to democracy deficit and accountability and non-accommodation of dissent and so on.

But when the change came, it came with a promise of turning back and making various reforms, the rapprochement with the Tamil community not being the least of those. That is because in the post-independence history of the country there has been an alienation between the majority community who are Sinhalese and the Tamil community in the country which widened as time went on – in the 1950s by enactment of certain legislation, then further – as we enacted our first Republican Constitution in the early ‘70s – exclusion of the Tamil representatives from that process which was later repeated in the Second Republican Constitution of 1978 and which led to an armed revolt by Tamil youth seeking to establish – or rather re-establish – their lost sovereignty as a separate state in that island. The armed conflict came to an end in 2009 May and although various concerns were raised with regard to how that was brought to an end in violation of various norms and international law and so forth, the then Government did not pay heed to valid concerns that were raised, despite giving assurances. There was a joint communique made with the Secretary General of the UN on the 26th of May 2009 that all of those issues will be looked into and the displaced people would be all resettled within that year and a political solution to the long standing issue will be found on extensive devolution, but none of that happened.

When the change came the communities that are small in number – the Tamil and Muslim communities – voted in large numbers. 80-90% of their vote went for change and President Maithripala Sirisena came into office promising various things. Some of those were abolishing the executive presidency and bringing about a permanent solution to what has come to be known as the ethnic conflict and in that process he also gave promises that lands from which the Tamil people had been displaced due to the war would be returned to them. It was a written promise given at the time of his election and thereafter there was a process that had been ongoing in the UN Human Rights Council; three resolutions have been adopted and after the change, last year in the September session on the First of October a resolution was adopted with Sri Lanka co-sponsoring it, agreeing to certain measures that were to be taken. The text of that resolution was negotiated and compromise found and Sri Lanka accepted it as its own resolution. There are various features in that resolution and in a couple of days the High Commissioner will give an oral update to the Council with regard to progress in that regard; in that there have been various concerns we have raised – as the moderator said – slowness of progress; not just merely slow, there is serious concern when the progress is slow that it can even slide back. I am not going to go into much of that at the moment but focus on a positive, which is the constitution making process which will potentially bring to an end a seventy year old conflict.

The process has started and is moving fairly swiftly but it has certain knotty issues and I want to highlight one or two of those. Sri Lanka has been ruled by a simple majoritarian rule. That is the system of government. And when you have permanent majorities and permanent minorities in numbers that can always lead to oppression and that is what happened in Sri Lanka.

Majoritarianism takes over

So one of the antidotes of that has been the suggestion that at least in the areas in which the other communities are a majority you devolve power so that certain aspects of governance, they will have a say in. So we have asked for a federal form of government rather than a unitary form of government, and that’s one of the issues. The other of course is that although it is now conceded that power must be devolved to the provinces, there are nine provinces according to the administrative boundaries drawn by the British. Two of those provinces are Tamil speaking majorities and the concern of the Tamil people is that those two areas must form one unit of devolution. This is something that is not understood very well around the world. People ask me the question “why should only two provinces be merged?” But this has been something that has been agreed to from 1957 onwards. The first pact that was signed between the Tamil leaders and rulers in Sri Lanka – Prime Minister Mr. Bandaranaike in 1957 – provided for a merger of these two provinces and every negotiation thereafter provided for these two units to come together. So that remains a fundamental political aspiration of the Tamil people. Even in 1987 when the Constitution was amended to what is known as the 13th amendment to the Constitution – which we rejected as being meaningless provisions of devolution – still the unit of North and East was merged on a temporary basis and existed for 18 long years until the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka did away with that merger on a technicality rather than any particular principle. So that is the other issue that remains to be resolved. I would actually stop with that -highlighting these two issues in a process which has come about as a great opportunity that we have now because two main political parties of the country are together in government. This is an opportunity that we must all grasp and resolve, but the resolution must necessarily be something that particularly the victim community, the Tamil community, must express satisfaction over.

The accountability issues which arose as a result of how the war was prosecuted and ended also remain. Justice to the victims and reparation and guarantee of non-recurrence were all promises that were made in that resolution that I referred to. Most of it has not been addressed as yet. Only the Office of Missing Persons legislation has been gazetted about which we have expressed our satisfaction. But that is just a tiny step. There is a whole host of events that has been promised that need to be addressed and moved on.

On the change that has taken place in the life of the Tamil People since 2015

Well, there is some change. The anxiety of having to face a hostile military of what we call the deep state – which is translated into military intelligence personnel prying into their private affairs and so on – a lot of that has changed. There is greater freedom to move around and so on. So people can genuinely feel the change – which is more freedom. But once that has been realised, day to day issues have not changed, primarily because most of them haven’t been able to recover themselves from the war devastation that is all around. A lot of them are not permitted to go to their own land which is occupied by the military and this is what I referred to in my presentation – that there was a promise to release all private lands which hasn’t been realised as yet. A small portion has been released in stages, but the promise was to release all of it in 100 days from January 2015 and one and a half years later about 70% still remains in the hands of the military and people can actually see that the rate has slowed down and there’s very little movement in that respect, and so their sense of frustration is growing. The military not only occupies people’s land but they cultivate it. They grow vegetables in it and they sell it at the market for lower prices than what the other famers are able to sell. So that has an implication on their livelihood. They are running 18 tourist hotels in those places. This is just one aspect. Return to normality in terms of getting back to normal civilian life has not yet happened to the people. People understand that they need to be patient and so on, but their patience is running out. We had an adjournment debate in Parliament just a couple of days ago and all our representatives from the North and East listed out various issues that affect the people and warned the Government that the goodwill may not last very long if these issues are not addressed. Our people feel very strongly that we brought about the change, we voted in full numbers to bring about a change, and that was done on certain promises which are yet to be realised. In a short answer, there was hope, there was initial euphoria, which is now turning into frustration and disappointment.

On the merger of the North and East

I have some statistics which tell the story fairly clearly. In about 1887 there was a census and there were only 9 Sinhalese living in the Eastern Province, all men. By the time Independence came the Sinhalese population in the East was 9%. Now between 1947 and 1981 the Sinhalese population in the whole country grew by 238% (2 ½ times) and during the same time the Sinhala population in the Eastern Province grew by 888% (9 times), primarily or solely due to a state sponsored colonisation scheme that sought to forcibly change the demography of the Eastern Province. This has been a bone of contention and that is why the Bandaranaike- Chelvanayakam pact in 1957 addressed that issue very specifically and provided for a merger of the North and East Provinces. It very specifically provided this, even in 1957, but that accord was not honoured. In 1965 (there was) yet another accord signed between Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake and S.J.V. Chelvanayakam which again addressed this crucial issue of colonisation as to who will get priority to be colonised in the Eastern province and that also was not honoured. So this is the background to why these two provinces must remain together. This is not something that has arisen now. At least from 1957 onwards we have had agreements to merge the two provinces, particularly in 1983 after the violence against the Tamil people and India offered its good offices and the Indo-Lanka Accord was signed. There is provision in the Indo-Lanka Accord that the Northern and Eastern provinces are areas of historical habitation of the Tamil speaking People. So there is that recognition that Sri Lanka also signed an international bi-lateral treaty, which gives that recognition of a linguistic character to the two provinces together and in that accord there is provision made also for the North and East to be merged together. So this has been a fundamental feature and all of the promises given – even by the previous Rajapaksa regime, there are at least three joint communiques that I can count. Ambassador Kariyawasam was in Delhi at that time so he will be very familiar with those. The Government of Sri Lanka at that time, with the Prime Minister of India once and the Indian foreign minister twice, agreed that the 13th amendment to the Constitution which provided for a merger as well, will be fully implemented and go beyond to achieve meaningful devolution. So even when a promise was given that greater devolution will be granted, the fundamentals of the 13th amendment, which included a merger, was agreed to. Every effort thereafter from 1993 to 2000 to 2006 – even under the Rajapaksa regime there was an All Party Representative Committee and I have one of the documents here which provides for the merger of the two provinces. So it is a deviation from the normal devolution to the provinces as they are, but because of this serious issue of – well it’s called gerrymandering here, but it is not gerrymandering but actually diluting a population and changing the demography which governments have consistently admitted to – and as a measure of arresting that trend and providing the Tamil speaking people in this area a certain measure of autonomy and a unit in which they can exercise political power as one group rather than two separate groups. So that’s the justification for it.

But…whether it is being communicated properly – no it is not. These facts that I have given, I think form a base or a right kind of justification that must be communicated which will then enable the majority community to realise why there has to be certain special provisions that are not afforded to the other provinces.
On the role of the Government of India:

This particular Indian Government has also reiterated to us their role in exercising those good offices that brought them to sign the Accord continues. India in a sense signed the Accord on behalf of the Tamil people. It was not necessary for a neighbouring country to sign an accord with Sri Lanka providing for power sharing and one unit of devolution and so on. It’s in the context of serious violence that was being perpetrated against the Tamils in Sri Lanka and that also had a long history culminating in the very serious one that happened in 1983 and the fleeing of refugees to India. Even today there are 168,000 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees who are living in South India. So it’s a legitimate concern of India – that India under-wrote this agreement on behalf of the Tamil people. But international politics – what it is today – may not show India directly dictating as what it were, what should happen in Sri Lanka. That is not how things are done. But India’s legitimate concern continues to remain in enforcing all of the provisions of the Indo-Lanka Accord.

On repeal of the PTA and the military presence in the North and East

Like the promise to release all land to civilians – and that has been confirmed by the Ambassador as well – The PTA (actually called the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act) of 1979 was brought in for a period of six months but is still in our statute books. (It’s) one of the most draconian pieces of legislation you can read and in the consensus Resolution of October 2015,the Sri Lankan Government agreed to repeal the PTA and replace it with a legislation that accords with international best practices – that also, I am glad Ambassdor Kariyawasam confirmed and he said that it will happen if not immediately, soon. But I have a grave concern about the process of that. I am aware that the Sri Lankan Law Commission was tasked with the drafting of the new law to replace the PTA. I was also interviewed by the Law Commission and I made significant contribution in that respect. I understand that they produced a draft law, a new national security law, and presented it to the Government, but on protest by the security sector I am given to understand that the draft has been dumped and a new committee formed now, most of whom are from the security sector, and a new piece of legislation has been drafted which I am told is worse than the PTA. So that is a very serious concern and we have raised this with the Government and I hope the Government pays heed and reverses this trend and brings back the draft that the Law Commission of Sri Lanka drafted.

On the role of the US

I think the US has played a very significant role already in the resolutions that it mooted in the UN Human Rights Council encouraging changes, and therefore must continue to play that role. It is true that there has been a significant change, a monumental change as described by the Ambassador, but the foot must not be taken off the pedal too early. For the simple reason that we have seen change, as a result of some pressure, some encouragement, some nudging and those must continue… Our plea to the US Government would be don’t express satisfaction too early as there is still a lot to do during that phase.

On international involvement in the accountability process

If you ask me about international involvement in the accountability process, as far as I know the Government has not said ‘no’ to international involvement. All the multiple voices that you talk about say ‘international involvement – yes, but not judges’. Now I take great exception to that, because as I said at the beginning, the text of the 2015 Resolution is a negotiated text. We asked for (an) international inquiry, and we settled for a hybrid model. So that was negotiated with the Government of Sri Lanka. And having compromised and settled to a model which in the Resolution doesn’t merely say hybrid but explains in detail judges, prosecutors, defence attorneys and investigators, it obviously means judge qua judges, prosecutors qua prosecutors, so on and so forth. So it does not mean (for) judges to be advisors or judges to be involved in some other capacity. And that was well understood. I was personally involved in the negotiations, with the United States of America also participating in that particular process. There were some doubts created, as to whether the Constitution of Sri Lanka would allow for foreign nationals to function as judges and we went into that question, clarified it, and said yes they can and that is how that phraseology was agreed upon. And so, to us having negotiated and compromised and agreed that there would be a hybrid tribunal to try these mass atrocities, it is not open for the Government now to shift its stance and say ‘well, international involvement yes ,but it’s in a different form, now…’. That is not acceptable to us at all. And we have said this. Quite openly I have spoken in Parliament at least two or three times and the Government has not contested me on that. We have said it to the President when he called for an all party conference on the implementation on the UN resolution, and he has not contested us on that. But as you say, in the public there are different voices that we hear. So we are concerned as much as people are, with regard to this particular issue, wondering if the Government is shifting its stance. However, such a mechanism has not been brought about as yet. So we will wait until we reach that particular point of setting up a court of the Special Counsel’s office and so on and so forth and insist that every word, and spirit, in that resolution will be complied with.

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Latest comments

  • 9
    3

    Thank you Mr Sumanthiran.

    We have give enough time.

    It all started with Sir Arunachalam. Cheating him and the Tamils and it continues.

  • 1
    1

    Sumanthiran,apparently holds a brief; Pray,for whom?

    • 5
      2

      He is an Mp for Jaffna District!

      He has even failed to mention the most important things>

      ”Now between 1947 and 1981 the Sinhalese population in the whole country grew by 238% (2 ½ times) and during the same time the Sinhala population in the Eastern Province grew by 888% (9 times), primarily or solely due to a state sponsored colonisation scheme that sought to forcibly change the demography of the Eastern Province” ……..
      Much more colonisation later on – continuing now, much more so in the Northern Province.

      • 2
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        Pababokke
        Colonization and intergration of ethnic groups is the best answer to conflicts among them. Conflicts arise due to lack of understanding of each others differences.

        • 9
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          Nuisance the stupid I

          “Colonization and intergration of ethnic groups is the best answer to conflicts among them. Conflicts arise due to lack of understanding of each others differences.”

          It’s a good idea, I suggest you take the 21 million of your stupid people to North India, Afghanistan, middle east, parts of Africa, …. colonize, integrate, assimilate and resolve all their conflicts.

          • 2
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            Or perhaps bring a large number of Tamils from Tamil Nadu and colonize them in Sri Lanka. In this way, the Sinhalese will get integrated into the Tamil community and there will no longer be a conflict between the Sinhalese and Tamil community!

            • 1
              0

              Keynes!

              ” Or perhaps bring a large number of Tamils from Tamil Nadu and colonize them in Sri Lanka. “

              We have had enough of these stupid people who share their stupid gene. Therefore, I want all of them to pack their bags and leave this island permanently.

              Sorry, we have to be tough on bigotry and courses of bigotry, hence, it would be great if Nuisance the stupid I could take all of them to wherever she wants to make reconciliation.

  • 7
    7

    Who was the audience to this speech? On whose behalf did Mr.Sumanthiran speak?

    These lengthy speeches does not help to solve our internal problem.

    • 14
      3

      Thamilan

      “These lengthy speeches does not help to solve our internal problem.”

      Alright, can you make a brief speech and solve your internal problem?

      “Who was the audience to this speech? “

      If it is an intelligent speech you are not one of his target audience.

    • 7
      4

      Never seen Tamil politics rise beyond that. Our MPs are just trained in empty rhetoric imitating Tamil cinema and that is why we Tamils are now in this plight. Not even in education have our politicians made a dent and we have watched them for 3 decades like mindless idiots.Look at the standard of the Jffna University leave alone schools so neglected. Only Douglas Devananda has influence in the university. These people are oblivious to it and don’t care one bit. Egoistic and self-serving politicians.

      As they teach kids:
      “Etu churakkai karikku uthavaathu”. (A picture of the pumpkin is not useful for making substancial food).

      Now “don’t talk of” progress for the Tamils. Use the time it takes to write such fluff to “Show us!”We can watch Sivaji in “Veera PAndiya Katta Bomman” for this. Spare us.

      • 1
        1

        Academic,

        “Only Douglas Devananda has influence in the university.”

        How about updating what you know?

      • 2
        0

        You must be reasonable in your criticism of our politicians. All minority parties cooperated with the governments at the centre. The latter make promises to get the support to be in power and cheat the minorities towards the end of their tenure.

        Look at Muslim parties that too have supported all the governments but what happened to them during the last stages of Rajapakse government. SLMC went to the extent of supporting that government to pass the 18th Amendment. Their businesses and Mosques were destroyed. The then government backed those looters and allowed the police to watch the destruction.

        Unless there is an honest government which acts in the interests of the country the main problems will remain unresolved and people of all communities suffer. It’s true the minorities suffer more, but can you suggest how the minority parties or specially Tamil parties must conduct their affaires.

        Devananda, Karuna and Pillaiyan supported the last government in order to fill their bank balances at the expense of their communities. Did any problem of Tamils or Muslims- language, prisoners, IDP’s, land, military occupation, employment, PCs, local governments – get resolved?

    • 2
      0

      Tamil Guardian has some details:

      “The event, chaired by Wall Street Journal Columnist Sadanand Dhume at Capitol Hill on Tuesday, started with Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the US Prasad Kariyawasam and Tamil National Alliance spokesperson MA Sumanthiran addressing the congressional gathering. “

  • 5
    2

    May Divine Blessings be with Sumanthiran in his endeavours for the
    sake of humanity.

  • 7
    2

    Like European Parliament There should be a South Asian parliament including Burma and Malaysia. Sri Lanka North east should be give electorates. These kind of electorates should have reasonable freedom in their own affairs. Individual countries and governments must be able to be checked. There should be a criteria with point system to eliminate the majority bias and authority.
    Consider India and China have half the world’s population and have only 2 vote out of around 200 . That means in UN they have only 1% vote for 50 % of the planet’s people . The rulers are OK with it but That is not fair for the people.

  • 5
    11

    Wonder what Wahabi Hakeem has to say about this “amalgamation” which is the centre piece of Abrahama’s contention…

    Wahabi Hakeem, as late as yesterday declared that he wants all Military Camps out of the East?.

    Is that to facilitate Abraham’s bosses Vellala Sambnadan and Vellala Vigneswaran to join the North and build one nice wall around the North East ?.

    Abraham gave some interesting stats too in justification..

    in 1887 there were only 9 Sinhalese, and they were only men in the whole of the East.

    Now the Sinhala population has grown by many thousand percent.

    But he never mentioned the word Muslim even once. in his long spiel.

    Wonder how many Vellalas lived in Wellla Gardens in 1887?.

    And how many Muslims lived in Batticolao then ?..

    • 6
      1

      /Wonder how many Vellalas lived in Wellla Gardens in 1887?. And how many Muslims lived in Batticolao then ?./

      Government sponsored colonisation??

      KASmalam has some followers too? puke!!!

      • 0
        3

        Did you say PUKE!!!!

        Wait till Batalanada’s new Constitution kicks in…..

  • 6
    1

    Thamilan most probably is a Sinhalese masquerading as a Thamil has not read the heading to Mr. Sumanthiran’s speech. He was briefing the (US) Congressional caucus. He was speaking as spokesperson of the TNA. He went to US on the invitation by the US STATE Department.

  • 2
    4

    The State spent millions on the Mahaweli Development Scheme which provided irrigation facilities to the Eastern Province. The intention was to boost agricultural production and opening up uncultivated areas. Landless Sinhala people (including those whose lands were inundated by the Victoria and Kotmale Reservoirs)were resettled in the newly developed lands. Colonization was part of a national economic plan and not a demography changer. It will be interesting to analyse the reasons for the population shift. Surely our universities can take that on?

    • 3
      0

      The choice of dry zone in the north and east for government sponsored settlement of Sinhala speaking peasants is obvious that poor masses can be dispensed with while marginalising the ethnic minorities. There are vast areas of fertile land available in the south for settlement but all the governments since independence want Sinhala domination and subjugation of minorities are the priorities.

      Citizenship Act of 1948 passed with the support of unreasonable 50-50 champion G G Ponnampalam, settlements in east and north of Sinhala peasants are carefully planned and executed by the first prime minister D S Senanayake. Another unreasonable act ‘Sinhala Only’ was the final nail in the coffin of ethnic harmony and peaceful coexistence of communities who speak different languages.

      In Singapore, too, there were/are different ethnic communities speak different languages but the first PM after independence insisted on accommodating all the languages by resisting the demand of Malay government of enacting “Malay Only’. The result is all the three communities live in peace and promote economic development without any natural resources. The situation has changed to the extent that people from Malaysia with rich natural resources and indeed from other neighbouring countries including Sri Lanka migrate to Singapore to work as maids, labourers and professionals.

      If the government run by elitists wants to subjugate and ill treat the minorities the karma works in such a way that even the common masses among the majority community suffer and face the consequences. The rulers fight among themselves to share the wealth created by the masses and hoard it abroad and in inland until their political opponents find it out. This game of musical chairs continue while the people endure poverty.

      The speech made by Mr Sumanthiran is excellent for historical record but if anything tangible happen is in doubt as MS and RW are more worried about nationalist MR & Co for their political survival.

  • 3
    0

    Mr. Sumanthiran – You are no doubt a vibrant speaker, specially on constitutional matters but what you have delivered is what we call
    ‘Pouring water on ducks back” as the Govt. and the majority people do
    not listen to reasoning. Keep the govt.engaged in dialogue directly and that’s how you could solve the day to day problems faced by the Tamils, such as retrieval of confiscated lands from the army and hand them over to the owners, reduce the armed forces to a required level in N/E, law & order to be maintained strictly and newly found drug menace to be eradicated, get the govt. to expedite development works like building a regional airport and sea port, which could offer employ
    -ment opportunities to the youth of N/E and there will be hive of
    business activities in these areas. This is how minority ministers like
    Mano Ganesan, Hakim and Sihambaram (Up country) get their things done
    by direct dialogue with the govt.
    The second phase should be discussions with the Govt, UN, UNHCR,Dias
    -pora if reqd. and IC on long term and permanent solution for the lingering problem of devolution of power to the minorities and merger of both provinces on linguistic basis so that the administration of both provinces becomes easier for the govt. with lesser expenses and the Tamil speaking people to develop their culture, language and religion without hindrance . War crimes to be investigated and the affected party compensated. This is the way to go about with a plan
    so that at least in five years time, the country will be on the move towards prosperity ,sans ethnic problems.

  • 9
    1

    K.A.Summanasekera continue to suffer from Vellala caste phobia as though there is no caste system among the Sinhalese. Except Ranasinghe Premadasa all the other Presidents and Prime Ministers of Sri Lanka came from the Govigama caste. The JVP insurgency was caste based. The low castes among the Sinhalese in the south rose against the Govigama caste which was wielding political power. Sumansekera misses the point about the assertion by Sumanthiran to the effect that Sinhala population in the Eastern Province grew by 888% (9 times), primarily or solely due to a state sponsored colonisation scheme that sought to forcibly change the demography of the Eastern Province. There was no state aided colonization for Thamils or Muslims in Sinhalese majority provinces. This no doubt is thnic cleansing related to genocide. cultural and ethnic and cultural genocide. That is the deliberate destruction of an entire race or nation. The Holocaust conduted by the Naziz in Germany and Rawandan genocide are examples of attempts at genocide.

  • 1
    4

    What is this transitional phase? What are we supposed to be transitioning to?

    Some comments on what is in the speech:

    “Just prior to that, most friends of Sri Lanka were gravely concerned that Sri Lanka was going down the precipice, in that it was moving towards an authoritarian regime”

    That would have been fine, if it was helping the Tamil cause, but in fact it did not, that was the problem you had with it.

    ” two term limit that had been amended to enable the incumbent to run for however many times” .

    But he lost didn’t he? So there was never any danger of running many times. It was a nonexistent red herring used to get votes by the common candidate group.

    “..Constitution of 1978 and which led to an armed revolt by Tamil youth seeking to establish – or rather re-establish – their lost sovereignty as a separate state in that island. “

    This is a very dangerous argument, if you seek to legitimize the armed revolt, then you have to also acknowledge the “Sinhala state to establish -or rather re-establishe – sovereignity. I hope you don’t see armed struggle as a legitimate option.

    “… are Tamil speaking majorities and ..”

    “So that remains a fundamental political aspiration of the Tamil people”

    There is a huge disengnousness that similar politicians keep displaying, between the Tamil speaking people, which includes the Muslims (you should have briefed the congressional comittee on that – maybe it was in the hand outs) and the Tamils. Tamil – speaking includes Muslims. I also have some statistics.

    The 1881 cencus on Wikipedia states that there were 5,947 Sinhalese in the eastern province. Why the deception? The same statistic shows Tamil, Muslim and Sinhalese population as 617,295 (39.79%) 569,738 (36.72%) 359,136 (23.15% ). Were you not aware of these statistics?

    “The accountability issues which arose as a result of how the war was prosecuted “

    The casualties of the war were mainly due to the illegal hostage-taking of the LTTE. This was the dying gift they gave to you so you could have something to attack the Sri Lankan governments with.

    “Our people feel very strongly that we brought about the change, we voted in full numbers to bring about a change, and that was done on certain promises which are yet to be realised. In a short answer, there was hope, there was initial euphoria, which is now turning into frustration and disappointment.”

    This is unfortunate, there are millions who did not simply believe the hype of the common candidate and were too wise to be taken in by all that nonsense. It is a realy pity that this time Tamil and Sinhalese were hoddwinked without discrimmination.

    • 3
      0

      “What is this transitional phase? What are we supposed to be transitioning to?”

      Haa 2,500 year old history; I forgot as it does not allow any transitioning towards a political accommodation of the Tamil-speaking people!

      You are a chauvinist of a kind; the word insidious comes to mind!

  • 6
    1

    Sumanthiran,

    Thank you for your presentation.

    You had covered all issues in a professional manner.

    I agree wholeheartedly every aspect you referred to except North East merger.

    • 3
      2

      ”It is true that there has been a significant change, a monumental change as described by the Ambassador,”?
      Why is he repeating the Ambassador?
      ”MONUMENTAL”?
      After enlisting so much injustice?
      So much injustice remains unmentioned.

      Tamils may forgive him, but I won’t.

      • 2
        5

        Panabokke
        Who needs your forgiveness??

    • 5
      0

      Sri-Krish

      “I agree wholeheartedly every aspect you referred to except North East merger.”

      Are you agreeable to North – North Western merger?

      Are you agreeable to North – Southern merger?

      Are you agreeable to Sri Lanka – China merger?

  • 3
    3

    MAS,

    “We had an adjournment debate in Parliament just a couple of days ago and all our representatives from the North and East listed out various issues that affect the people and warned the Government that the goodwill may not last very long if these issues are not addressed. Our people feel very strongly that we brought about the change, we voted in full numbers to bring about a change, and that was done on certain promises which are yet to be realised. In a short answer, there was hope, there was initial euphoria, which is now turning into frustration and disappointment.”

    The masses are unhappy but who is responsible? Is it all because of the Central Government or can it be blamed on the Provincial Councils and local authorities also?

    I haven’t seen much done by the NPC and apparently most of the money it receives has been returned unused. This, of course, is not the fault of the TNA MPs or the Central Government.

    Why don’t you provide us a list of the “various issues” that worry the people?

    Some months ago there was a great fuzz about the so called political prisoners. Now it is again the occupied land.

    Are these two issues really the main problems worrying the majority of the people in the North and East?

    Are most of us in the North and East suffering from occupied land and being in prison?

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      Lone Wolf,

      You are right. Most persons who present a case on behalf of the Tamils in this island, delebrately avoid differentiating between problems and concerns, the past and the present, the important and the unimportant and, the relevant and the irrelevant. It is, except in rare instances, the same old ‘failed’ politics being pursued, under different guises. It is at best unmitigated mischief! Sumanthiran, has also been intimidated to tread the same path to some extent. Wigneswaran is the current darling of this tribe, because his rhetoric resonates with theirs, though his performance as a Chief Minister has been an abysmal failure and a curse for the Tamils.

      This type of politics provides enough ammunition to their counterparts -The Sinhala and Muslim extreme on the other side of the fence, to fire at the Tamils, who have to live here-the sacrificial goats.

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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    Sri Lanka’s problem is complex, Sumanthiran is a MP for Jaffna and he needs to listen to his peoples problems and try and solve them. He needs to explain the problems to the goverment and try to find Solutions. The arguments from the goverment needs to be conveyed to the people.

    The international outside opinions needs to be informed and educate the people and also inform international community of Local information and knowlidge. End of the day the Local people who Are living with the problems not the people who moved out of the country in search for better life financialy, access to better resources and to live in freedom of Choice.

    Singela majority goverments arguments are also real worry for the Singelease, Security reasons goverment needs to have the presence of army, (incase 1 million Indian army invades North or forign armed groups enter in to North and East Sri Lanka needs to protect the land).The army needs food which needs to be verified before consumption and steady supply of food.

    The international communities and minorities need to convince the majority this is not a real treat and the army Camps need to be dismantled to create normalcy and to create sustainable development. Negotiate with the goverment for laws not to have subsediecsed sales of archricultural products, and Local commercial sale mechanism should survive.

    I think main problem in Sri Lanka is just legal system needs to be implimented, when majority making decitions for minorities it should be fare practice. The authoriterian behaviour of leaders and officers needs to be changed to humaniterian behaviour. This includes for all communities.

    I humbly ask the expat tamils to moderate and be fare to Sumanthiran, he is living in Sri Lanka and facing the day to day life. In case the tamils who want to do better than Sumanthiran and more to tamils in Sri Lanka; please engage positively and go to Sri Lanka and participate in discussions with goverment of Sri Lanka.

    As a forign national people could exchange idea’s and be critical to decition of a forign country but have no rights legaly to represent except as excile citizens.

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      M.Yoga,

      Were you sleeping all these years???????

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      M.Yoga

      “(incase 1 million Indian army invades North or foreign armed groups enter into North and East Sri Lanka needs to protect the land)”

      Are you sure your Sri Lankan army is going to fight the Hindians next time as we witnessed them hiding behind their women folks and VP’s fat bum last time?

      Remember it was the stupid psychopath who fought the IPKF of about 100,000(80,000 -120,000), forget the 1 million. VP is not there to fight for you.

      Hindians need not send a million of their forces, all they have to do is just appeal to or request their Southern population to ease themselves on the shores of Rameshwaram, another tsunami that you would not expect from the North.

      There are more sophisticated machines that can take your life and keep your flesh intact, all within few minutes. I wouldn’t thing Hindians need to e this advanced weapon system on these stupid people.

      A hint of roaring old Mirage 2000 flying over the head of Army Commander is more than enough to scare the hell out the entire country.

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    The idiots of Tamils for Obama claimed that Sumanthiran was in US to protect the government of Sri Lanka. I like to see their comments now.

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    It is said that There were around 35 + militant groups in the scene . When it comes terrorism all talk about LTTE. What happened to the terror activities committed in Sri Lanka, by rest of the groups including the armed forces of SL and other countries??????. Where the members of these groups gone?? What did they do??

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    The first official census of then Ceylon took place in 1881. Sri Lankan Tamils which included Tamils of Indian origin (Estate) amounted to 687,200 persons (24.9% of population)l. The first census segregating Sri Lankan and Indian Tamils took place in 1911. The final tally was 528,000 (12.8%) Sri Lankan Tamil and 531,000 (12.9%) India Tamils. The Muslim community (Sri Lankan and India Moors) amounted to 184,500 (6.6%) in 1881 and 266,600 (6.4%) in 1891. These figures are available in the Dept. of Census & Statistics website.

    At the time BC agreement was initially proposed in 1957 based on Regional Councils, the ground reality was different from that of today. The total Muslim community amounts to 511,547 (1953 census). As per 2012 census, the Muslim community amounts to 1,869,820 of which 569,182 live in the Eastern Province and consist of 36.6% of the total population of the Eastern Province. The Tamil community consist of 39.7% and balance 23.7% of Sinhalese. At no point in time has the Muslim community agreed to be classified as part of the Tamil community. Would it not be a more equitable arrangement for those living in the Eastern Province to manage their own affairs rather than be merged with the Northern Province and a council of a sort for the predominantly Muslim areas? In a worst case scenario, should it not be ascertained by way of a referendum among registered voters in the EP?

    You provided a figure of 9 Sinhalese having lived in Eastern Province around 1887. No clarification has been offered of the source of this figure or what comprised of Eastern Province in today’s narrative.

    When the British took over territories in Ceylon occupied by the Dutch in 1796, the Kandyan Kingdom was an independent Kingdom. Its territory consisted of the Central High Lands and the Eastern and South Eastern Coastal strips. It was only in 1818, after the Kandyan Convention and Uva Rabellion that the two regions were merged (Sir Charles Collins, Public Administration of Ceylon, 1951, p 49). Is it conceivable, Sinhalese population in EP, part of the Kandyan Kingdom till 1818, could have dwindled to 9 persons within a period of 69 years?

    Lastly, when comparing growth of Sinhalese population in EP between 1947 and 1981, it would be fair to compare figures (in numbers and percentages) of growth of Tamil population in the South, especially Colombo and Kandy.

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      Could someone let us know how the borders of the Eastern Province defined at various points of our history? I know parts of the UVA province were annexed to the Eastern Province after the UVA rebellion. Further, what was impact of the Gal Oya scheme on the ethnic ratios? Further, what was the effect the recent wars on the population numbers of Tamils in the East? I am told that most of the cadres who died in the Eelam wars, were from the East. I also understand there are many Tamils of Jaffna origin living in the East-some for generations.

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

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    Honorable Sumanthiran,

    “We had an adjournment debate in Parliament just a couple of days ago and all our representatives from the North and East listed out various issues that affect the people and warned the Government that the goodwill may not last very long if these issues are not addressed.”

    To continue (See part one June 17, 2016 at 10:51)

    I forgot to comment on this before. You use the words “our representatives”. You must be using these words to refer to the TNA MPs. I hope that your audience in the USA knows that the majority of the people in the Eastern Province do not support TNA or do they? It would be nice to know how many TNA MPs actually participated in the listing of “various issues”.

    The Eastern non TNA MPs apparently were not consulted regarding the list of major issues facing the people in the East. Why not?

    Did you ask what the non TNA MPs from the Northern Province think about your list?

    Why does the Eastern Province Chief Minister not whine about discrimination and beg for money in the same way as our Northern Chief Minister does? Why are most Eastern politicians silent on these major problems that you took up?

    Is the Eastern Province not discriminated against or do they manage to use the funds they receive to better fulfill the needs of the people?

    I hope that you accept critical constructive comments.

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    Well talking from the time of Independence, the Tamil leaders were taken for a ride. The Tamil provinces were colonized by Sinhalese, Army recruited from Sinhalese only, Tamils upcountry disenfranchised, and pogroms, looting and killing of Tamils repeated unabated. Later the armed rebellion by Tamil youngsters lost the purpose of rebellion and killed most Tamil youngsters but culminated in 2009 giving opportunity for Tamil political leaders to make good for the lost war. Again Tamil leaders are taken for a ride, positions given for few leaders to give hope again as usual. It is pathetic the positions blindfold the leaders into deprivation. If the golden opportunity of the help from International community could not be utilized by the Tamil leaders, they have now permanently lost their cause of living with dignity.

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    MAS:
    “… as we enacted our first Republican Constitution in the early ‘70s — exclusion of the Tamil representatives from that process which was later repeated in the Second Republican Constitution of 1978 ….”

    The Constitution of 1972 was flawed, but the Tamils, or rather the FP, was not excluded from the process by anyone in 1972, but by itself.
    The Constitution of 1978 had among its key architects AJ Wilson, son-in-law of SJV Chelvanayakam. Sampanthan in his maiden speech in Parliament in 1977 heaped praise on the UNP government led by JRJ for its open economic policy. Thus it seems that the man concern of the TULF about the 1978 Constitution was its failure to rectify the flaw in the 1972 document. It was very much tempted to go along the notorious referendum of 1982 to extend the life of Parliament, but was prevented from endorsing that move by public resentment articulated through the Northern media, especially Saturday Review.

    MAS:
    “When the change came the communities that are small in number– the Tamil and Muslim communities – voted in large numbers. 80-90% of their vote went for change and President Maithripala Sirisena came into office promising various things.”

    True. Much was promised. But, was anything pledged to the Tamil and Muslim communities?
    The TNA and earlier the TULF in 1977 and before that the FP in 1965 persuaded the Tamils to vote for the UNP.
    In 1965 it was a secret deal with Dudley Senananayake; in 1970 one with JRJ; in 2015 one with Ranil W.
    Surely, this cannot be the way the national question is sensibly addressed!

    MAS:
    “Two of those provinces are Tamil speaking majorities and the concern of the Tamil people is that those two areas must form one unit of devolution. This is something that is not understood very well around the world. People ask me the question “why should only two provinces be merged?” But this has been something that has been agreed to from 1957 onwards. The first pact that was signed between the Tamil leaders and rulers in Sri Lanka – Prime Minister Mr. Bandaranaike in 1957 – provided for a merger of these two provinces and every negotiation thereafter provided for these two units to come together.”
    Sumanthiran is being economical with the truth about the B-C pact. SWRDB offered one Regional Council for the North and two or three for the East. The FP could not have been blind to its implications. The FP needed the pact as badly as SWRDB. The latter agreed to a compromise to snatch the deal:
    “3. Provision is to be made in the Bill to enable two or more regions to amalgamate even beyond provincial limit; and for one region to divide itself subject to ratification by Parliament. Further provision is to be made in the Bill for two or more regions to collaborate for specific purposes of common interests.”

    There was no acceptance that North-East was a Tamil political entity by SWRDB, who only left the option open knowing well that much of the Eastern province will not like to be dominated by the North. His judgment proved correct as the performance of the FP in Eastern Province showed subsequently.
    Even if one stretches one’s imagination to extremes to think that SWRDB yielded to FP pressure, how is it that no deal that the FP/TULF/TNA subsequently made with any government accepted the North and East as a single political entity?
    Sumanthiran ignores the circumstances under which the 13th Amendment has been widely resented by the Sinhalese. It has more to do with the Amendment was part of a deal whereby India imposed its will on Sri Lanka. Tamil nationalists have been counting on foreign forces to resolve their problems since the day India intervened in East Pakistan to help create Bangladesh. What was worse was that they were averse to the idea that progressive Sinhalese could play a role in the resolution of the national question.
    I accept much of the complaints about planned colonization and occupation of land by the armed forces. But, what did the Tamil leadership do to encourage Tamil settlement outside the Peninsula? It was the boost to agriculture in the 1970’s that led to people moving into the Vanni, and not political action by the FP.

    MAS:
    “So it’s a legitimate concern of India – that India under-wrote this agreement on behalf of the Tamil people. But international politics – what it is today – may not show India directly dictating as what it were, what should happen in Sri Lanka. That is not how things are done. But India’s legitimate concern continues to remain in enforcing all of the provisions of the Indo-Lanka Accord.”

    I would not go deep into India’s “legitimate concerns” in Sri Lanka as the Tamil people know far better than the leaders how these concerns have manifested themselves since 1978,especially in 1987-89 and 2002-2009.

    Sumanthiran’s faith in the US makes me wonder if he is being daft or gambles on the prospect of the Tamil pubic being daft. The US will exert some pressure on Sri Lanka until it is certain that Sri Lanka has a stable and durable a subservient right-wing regime in place.

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      “The Constitution of 1972 was flawed, but the Tamils, or rather the FP, was not excluded from the process by anyone in 1972, but by itself.”

      SJV rejected 1972 constitution. No doubt about that. But, first you need to learn English to understand what is meant by “inclusion”. 1972 constitution included 1957 Sinhala Only, a standalone Act, into the constitution. You mean SJV should have stayed inside the room and attested it too? Read the statement FP released before it walked out of it. If you have objection on that statement, bring it here. Don’t fool yourself without understanding the FP’s legal position on that. Then he resigned and challenges Sirimavo to contest with him. She lost in 1975. By that referendum like process, he made it clear it is not just he was excluded, but, he had Tamils attest his position made it was the Tamils who were excluded in that constitution making process. Comedians like you who made the constitution did not understand that procedure. What SJV did was, legally he had withdrawn the Tamils sovereignty from any one sided constitution making process and apply it over them to rule them. When the UN wake up that is more than enough to ask them to have a referendum to determine how and what the Tamils want to do that withdrawn sovereignty. It was one of SJV’s magnificent deeds.

      Now North-east once more is going to lose its Sovereignty to China. This how the Colombo who was captured by Portuguese played Traitor role to Portuguese to defeat at Chankilian . Colombo has lost its sovereignty to China. China signed its own Port City Contract. Now,China wants to enter into Northern Province. None of the Western countries have so far helped Tamils, with India a minor exception. They insist that Lankawe Government is not allowing them. That will not be the case with China. If Lankawe’s Appe Aandu blocks them from going to NPC, they will hack all the Colombo and Jaffna computers and bring down the Appe Aandu to kneel down in front of them. Then, China will enter NPC and will take over KKS harbor and Palali Airport for its defense and bring its nuclear submarines there. Now it is too late for anybody (Lankawe, or NPC or India or West) even to saving those from China, if it wants to hold them. They will sign the contract the way signed off Port City for themselves, Lankawe’s approval was not needed.

      “But, was anything pledged to the Tamil and Muslim communities? “. Did you read M.A.Sumanthiran’s statement? Then, can you tell what is he referring as “TNA has a written agreement from New King”?

      “The TNA and earlier the TULF in 1977 and before that the FP in 1965 persuaded the Tamils to vote for the UNP. “. . It is only a comedy. Never in one single North-East electorate FP, TULF or TNA supported UNP. In the FP’s first election, SJV was defeated by a UNP candidate Nadesan. Without knowing the meaning of the word, you foolishly used the word “persuaded” FP to vote in UNP in 1965. In 1965 FD took a ministerial position for NON FP Candidate, from UNP on the insistence of Dudley to accept a minister post as condition to work with UNP to arrive the Dudley-Chelva pact. There was no joint election pact with UNP and FP or FP never asked Tamils, Muslims or Sinhalese to vote for UNP.

      When the presidential election started, it was a different situation. Tamils do not have the ability to place their candidate for EP. So they mostly supported SLFP or UPFA candidates. Sampanthar had a non-opposing relationship with Chandrika, TNA was put together By leader Pirapaharan. So, TNA supported of boycotting Ranil in the 2005 election. In 2010, Sampanthar opposed Ranil and supported Fonseka. Same case in 2015, He openly issued statements if Ranil contests he would not support CC. When SLFP’s split candidate stood for election, he asked Tamils to support him. This was not on his free will. It was for the powers who wanted to change the government in Lankawe. Learn Lankawe’s history before you create another Jaffnahistory.com.

      “There was no acceptance that North-East was a Tamil political entity by SWRDB Yes you are right on that. Solomon West Ridgeway Dias did not accept when SJV asked for Federal state, North East merged, but he posed three Federal Units, one for Tamils North East Merged, in 1933.(Comedy! it is not SWRDB, it is SWRD. You don’t know who was your Prime Minister?

      “I would not go deep into India’s “legitimate concerns” in Sri Lanka as the Tamil people know far better than the leaders how these concerns have manifested themselves since 1978,especially in 1987-89 and 2002-2009.

      Sumanthiran’s faith in the US makes me wonder if he is being daft or gambles on the prospect of the Tamil pubic being daft. The US will exert some pressure on Sri Lanka until it is certain that Sri Lanka has a stable and durable a subservient right-wing regime in place” Aren’t the Tamils are brethren of Sinhala Modayas’. Do the Modayas remember having communist friendships in Lumumba and enjoying the 1971 and 1989? But they repeated it and Lost Port City Land. That is the pattern Tamils are following too. There is no difference between you the Guru and the Sumanthiran the disciple.

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      Sekara
      Your points about the relevance of Indian intervention in East Pakistan to birth Bangaladesh and the Sinhalese resentment against the imposition of the 13th Amendment has much validity.
      If Tamil nationalist understand these in the proper context, the reconciliation process could be easier and a solution to the national question settled without any outside intervention.
      But for that to happen the progressive Sinhalese should be honest and daring enough to take the initiative to come to the forefront and to take the initiative.
      I think MAS could have made a better speech in the US if the progressive Sinhalese inspired him.

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      Political wisdom and legality of any action are a world apart.
      The FP submitted proposals which were rejected out of hand. What dd the FP achieve by walking out? The FP was not ordered out it ordered itself out.
      In my view it would have made sense to say in and fight every inch of the way. The FP could have resisted the exclusion of Article 29(2) of the Soulbury Constitution.
      The FP (later to become TULF) overplayed its hand on one too many occasion and the Tamil people paid a heavy price on each occasion.
      FP’s support for the UNP was always tacit and one could see it clearly in the way people outside the N-E voted, especially in electorates with a strong Tamil presence.
      There was a deal between Dudley Senanayake and SJVC before the election of 1965. People knew of it although it came out only after the FP joined the government.
      There was a deal between the TULF and the UNP in 1977 which was revealed by S Thondaman in the wake of the 1983 violence against Tamils.

      My question is why have deals to be kept secret from the public after failure after failure after failure of each deal.

      On North-East was a Tamil political entity, the matter Sumanthiran was not talking about Sate Council Days but about 1957 and after.

      The smart thing about the “Sinhala Modayas” is that their leaders have made fools of the Tamil leaders for so long without anyone calling Tamils “ulakkaiyans” or any such name. (This is no joke.)

      All of us know well who is fooling whom; we can go on pretending for eternity about our so called prophets.

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    One commentator here said that Sumanthiran did not mention the Muslims in his speech at the US Congressional Caucus briefing. True. But one should not forget the fact that from the time of Ponnambalams and Selvanayagams to this day, the Jaffna based Tamil political parties never used the term “Muslims”.

    For the Jaffna based political parties there is no separate community called Muslims. Muslims are swept under the term “Tamil Speaking People” and neither the Federal Party nor the TNA admit that the Muslims in North East have a say in a decision on a merged North-East federal unit. Sumanthiran clearly demonstrated this view when in his speech before the US congressmen in support for his call for a separate Federal unit for the Tamil people he said “Two of those provinces are Tamil speaking majorities and the concern of the Tamil people is that those two areas must form one unit of devolution.” Note his stress in the latter part of this sentence only about the concern of the Tamil people for one unit of devolution. To Sumanthiran and TNA, Muslims are Tamil speaking people and therefore they are Tamil people.

    Sumanthiran being a good lawyer has managed to hoodwink the US Congressmen into believing that North East Sri Lanka is geographical unit with Tamil people and therefore should have a single federal unit. He leaves no room to consider whether the Muslims living there would agree to such a constitutional arrangement.

    Will Hakeem & co refute this stand of Sumanthiran?

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      Naga,

      The bigger question is whether the Tamils in the East overwhelmingly agree to such a merger?

      Dr.RN

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        Two things should happen. Anybody has captured(including the paramilitary members of Tamil community) the Tamils lands in North and East should return their lands. The refugees who left their homes unwillingly should be allowed to decide on the fate of their natural birth place. Then East should be allowed to merge with North which started in Solomon West Ridgeway’s Dias to form a Tamil Federal State with two Sinhala States, one for low class Negombo Tamil-Sinhalese and other one for Kandyan Sinhalese.

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          “But, first you need to learn English to understand…”

          Did you mean this kind of English:
          “Then East should be allowed to merge with North which started in Solomon West Ridgeway’s Dias to form a Tamil Federal State with two Sinhala States, one for low class Negombo Tamil-Sinhalese and other one for Kandyan Sinhalese.”

          Thanks but no my dear English master.

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    Native Vedda,

    At this point of time, North East merger creates more problems to the Tamils themselves especially when the Muslims in the East are against it and the demography also discourages.

    It is messy and cumbersome to manage the squabbling among the communities.

    At the present juncture it is better to concentrate on devolution and more devolution so that the devolved unit will be independent and economically more viable.

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      Sri- Krish

      “At this point of time, North East merger creates more problems to the Tamils themselves especially when the Muslims in the East are against it and the demography also discourages.”

      Any time is good time to deal with any problem comprehensively as long as the leaders really wanted to and work towards it.

      The country had already lost 68 years and ended up with crooks and criminals in the parliament, bureaucracy, judiciary, ……….. pandering to the wimp of a few.

      Why should anyone in their “right mind” fear merger or devolution? The politicians fear, that their centralised absolute power would erode, the bureaucrats believe their fiefdom would crash, police fears local accountability, ………. and all of the above basically fear where is my next unearned income going to come from, ………..

      The central issue is not what merger and devolution would translate into, it is the fear of the Sinhala/Buddhists (or paranoia) not being able to build a Sinhala/Buddhist ghetto in this island.

      There are much more urgent issues to deal with, therefore any reasonable progressive government/state should get these unnecessary festering problems out of the way and plan for the future generation and progress which is unlimited and achievable only.

      You should talk to the Sinhala/Buddhist (noisy minority) and put some sense into their head that by sticking to outdated ideas of Sinhala/Buddhism and ghetto building is not going to help the future generation which is constraint by the very thing and unable to unleash their true potential.

      If you are a member of the noisy minority I suggest you have a good conversation with yourself.

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    Sumanthiran has stated the problems of the military occupied North and East, fairly well, to the American politicians – who can very well check the facts of his presentation from the American diplomats in their embassy.

    Americans knew the state of Human Rights in Sri Lanka and hence introduced the resolution at the last meeting of the UNHRC, and it was endorsed and co-sponsored by Sri Lanka.

    Now the Sirisena regime thinks that they cannot carry out its provisions due to opposition by the military and the judiciary.

    Hence, the present state of indecision, mostly because the regime is anxious to proceed to term of the present parliament but even this may be difficult, hence the proposal for a new Constitution.

    Human Rights and justice for minorities is a difficult process in any democracy.

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      J:
      “Human Rights and justice for minorities is a difficult process in any democracy.”
      If so, are the minorities condemned to side with anti-democratic forces?

      We refer here of a particular kind of democracy based on dictatorship by an electoral majority I guess.

      There are other forms of democracy that fully accommodate even the tiniest majority which have come into force in South America in the past two decades. What we need is the imagination to get there.

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    A merged North + East will be economically more viable than North or East on its own. The demography will be Thamils 161,036(61.72%) Muslims 602,102(23.06%)and Sinhalese 391>467 (14.59%). Sri Lanka was never a unitary state till 1833. The Portuguese and Dutch ruled North and East as one unit and it was the British who amalgamated same for administrative convenience.

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    T
    “The Portuguese and Dutch ruled North and East as one unit”

    Can you please cite serious historical evidence?”

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