By Ayathuray Rajasingam –
Since the signing of the Indo-Sri Lanka Peace accord, there was reluctance to implement the 13th Amendment because the Sinhalese politicians kept on dragging the issue on various pretexts. Even the LTTE was not agreeable to the 13th Amendment but failed to express that in the alternative the North-East Province be accommodated within the Union of India in accordance with the Indian Constitution. Due to the short-sightedness or the selfishness of the former Tamil politicians such a decision should have been made at the time of Sri Lanka’s independence and now the time has lapsed. Yet there was a golden opportunity, before the signing of the Peace Accord for the accommodation of the North-East Provinces, was missed, because of the arrogance of the LTTE. Now it was felt that neutralizing the 13th Amendment would be a monstrous justice to the Tamils. There is suspicion whether the intended Fourth Constitution is intended to wipe away the 13th Amendment and to nullify the effect of the Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord.
Meanwhile Mahinda Rajapaksa was hostile to India and demerged the North-East Provinces with the support of the Muslims who are eager to establish an Islamic State in the Eastern Province and owe their allegiance to Pakistan. Muslims were engaged in destroying Hindu temples after the Mullivaikkal war and converted a considerable number of Hindus while some Hindus on refusing to convert, were murdered. Majority feels that the Eastern Province should not become another Kashmir issue in Sri Lanka.
Mahinda Rajapaksa & his brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa were responsible for the massacre of innocent Tamil civilians and for many of the alleged crimes rests with the Muslim politicians Rishrd Bathiudeen and Hisbullah and military leadership. The lands belonging to the Tamils were snatched. The houses that were meant to built for Tamil refugees were handed over to the Sinhalese who were colonized. Some Hindu temples were destroyed and vandalized. The fight for justice against such crimes has never been easy. It exacts a toll on every Tamil affected by such atrocities. The price paid was well worth holding on to the Tamils’ dignity.
Tamil political leaders can also raise the Hijab incident at a Hindu Tamil School in Trincomalee where a Muslim teacher with the hijab had behaved arrogantly with the Hindu Principal. She had discussions with the leading Muslim politicians but never had the courtesy to tender an apology to the Principal. Even the Muslim politicians failed to advise her to tender an apology to the Principal which exposed their narrow-mindedness. Muslim women who don’t do Purdah are not true Muslims. However, in Islamic households, the misogynistic practice of “purdah” is often forced on women who seldom get a chance to say no.
However, after 1990 the scenario in Asia began to transform with the sudden rise of China eventually threatening the security of India. The 13th Amendment stands as a checkmate for the security of India and the Tamils. If Sri Lanka is still not willing to implement the 13th Amendment, then the best option for India is to accommodate both the Northern and Eastern Provinces to be an Independent Territory within the Union of India in compliance with the Indian Constitution. This would easily solve the problem of fishermen’s issue from both Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka.
Even in the case of Goa when the Portuguese fired at Indian fishing boats, killing one fisherman, the Indian Army invaded Goa and the Governor General of Goa surrendered the Goan territory to India. But in the case of Tamil Nadu fishermen, there were many incidents where the Sri Lanka Navy shot and killed the Indian fishermen and even seized their boats and put on auction, despite Sri Lanka receiving financial assistance from India and also humiliating India by handing over three islands around Jaffna which are very close to India, thus endangering the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India. It is because of M. Karunanithy who was instrumental for handing over Kachchativu to Sri Lanka as a Gift by Indra Gandhi without the consent of the people of Tamil Nadu. At this stage one ponders whether India would maintain silence if fishermen from Maharastra, Gujarat, or Andhra Pradesh are shot and killed. This is where the TNA politicians made blunders in going after the unreliable DMK in Tamil Nadu. There would have been some positive results had the TNA political leaders been with the BJP politicians who have a soft corner for the Sri Lankan Tamils.
A CHANGE is taking place among the Tamils in the North Sri Lanka to integrate with the Tamils in India in all respects. This does not mean they should be annexed with Tamil Nadu, but as an Independent Territory like Pondicherry. Tamils in the North Sri Lanka are anti-DMK and will never comply with China’s trend. Mention should be made that Tamils in the North Sri Lanka are aligned with the BJP’s policies. As India is a spiritual country, extremist Tamil political leaders should refrain from being emotional and anger which will strain the relationship with Tamil Nadu. Generally, the leading BJP personalities like Vanathy Seenivasan, Annamalai, etc, have the tendency to ignore emotional and arrogant dialogues and wanted the Tamils to live with equal rights. Therefore it is proper for leaders like C.V. Wigneswaran, Sampanthan, etc to initiate dialogues with the Tamil Nadu BJP personalities as well as with the BJP personalities at the Centre. What is paramount is tolerance at this stage.
Negotiation is an art and involves technique. It is a process to resolve the conflict and reach a meaningful and acceptable solution. Negotiation skills are an integral part of soft leadership because soft leadership involves the use of persuasion and negotiation with intent to achieve a win-win outcome. A leader with sharp negotiation skills will be able to synthesize the best points coming out of these perspectives and make offers that satisfy each party without making other parties feeling less valuable than others. These are lacking among the leaders of Tamil Movements who had messed up at the Thimpu Talks, instead of pointing at the core issue. Even the LTTE was no better after the Ceasefire Agreement as well as at Geneva.
A State is a constituent division that has a separate government with its own elected government that are vested with the powers to frame the laws. But a Union Territory is a small Administrative Unit that is governed and controlled by the Central Government. But as an exception Pondicherry has an elected legislature and partial statehood under the Special Constitutional amendment. This is more than enough for the Tamils in the North-East Province to look after their own affairs which is denied and suppressed by the Sri Lanka Government.
It will be meaningful if the North-East Provinces is accommodated by India through a referendum and declare it as an Independent Territory which will strengthen the India’s security as against China’s growing expansion in the Indian Ocean as well as against the Islamic threat to the Unity of the Sri Lanka. This will not amount to a conquest of a country.
Mahinda Rajapaksa and his siblings were aware that China’s investments were akin to predatory lending. They compel Sri Lanka to borrow at high rates for projects that economically benefited China, the lender. Tamil political leaders should have exposed that Rajapaksa turned on any dissent and Tamils were helpless. He confronted the world on human rights backed by China. It was the victor’s arrogance. Mahinda Rajapaksa utilized the Central Bank Governor Ajith Cabraal for exploiting and could not be questioned by anyone.
The Rajapaksas used racism to design and implement their basic political strategies to assert their power and win elections. Both the Rajapaksas have taken the anti-Western and anti-Indian example in their local politics, which enhanced their nationalist approach. When most Western countries criticized him for his anti-humanitarian actions, China sided with him, his economic policy against communal policy and against India, and for China’s benefit. The handing over of the three islands around Jaffna (Analai Island, Nainital Island and Delft Island closest to India) was a matter of controversy. Surprisingly, China also said that this was only a beginning. Humiliating India is soaked in the blood of the Rajapaksas. However, paying homage to Tirupati by Mahinda Rajapaksa was suspected to be a hidden agenda. During a recent visit to India for a $ 1 billion loan to alleviate Basil Rajapaksa’s foreign exchange shortage, Mahinda Rajapaksa also visited Jaffna to lay the foundation stone for a shrine at Skandavarodaya, when some Buddhist monks, with the help of the military, visited the Chulipuram Paralai Murugan Temple to conduct a Pirith ceremony with intent to place a statue of Lord Buddha. Due to strong opposition from the Tamil people, it became a futile exercise. Finally, it ended with an incident where the Police attacked the mothers unnecessarily who had come to meet Mahinda Rajapaksa. If Mahinda Rajapaksa wants to get rid of the sins he had committed, it is better for him to perform a 14-mile Girivalam on foot around Thiruvannamalai Temple. It cannot be ruled out that time and again Rajapaksas have hidden agendas in humiliating India though they pronounce ‘India First’.
Moreover, Sri Lanka’s foreign policy is formulated in such a way to isolate the Tamils and not taken into consideration as Sri Lanka Tamils which is an unhealthy sign. Since China remains a threat to India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the Tamils along with the Tamils in India can be utilized as a checkmate to China.
Though Gotabaya Rajapaksa sent his brother Basil Rajapaksa to India for financial assistance to arrest the crisis on fuel and shortage of food items, will he implement the 13th Amendment or is Gnanakka aware that the implementation of 13th Amendment is vital for India’s security. Tamil political leaders can also raise the issue relating to the implementation of the 13th Amendment by Namal Rajapaksa who has given priority to the pleasure trip to Maldives when the country is in turmoil.
When the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees can be looked after at India’s expense in India besides the repatriation of about 640,000 hill country Tamils under the Srimavo-Sashtri Pact against their wishes to India, one ponders why can’t the North-East Province, where the Tamil who are aspiring for Federalism, be accommodated as an Independent Territory within the Union of India in compliance with the provisions of the Indian Constitution. Here is a case where the India can seek to justify the law by asserting that it seeks to provide sanctuary to religious Hindu Tamils fleeing persecution in Sri Lanka. Though it can be argued that such claim will collapse as a general principle of protection for Sri Lanka Tamils because the law excludes many minority groups that have sought refuge in India. This barrier can be over-ridden by way of giving priority as an urgent necessity for the accommodation of North-East Province to be an Independent Territory when there is imminent danger from China and Islamic terrorists to India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The presence of China in the Northern Province coupled with the spread of Islamic terrorism in the Eastern Province suffocates the very idea of India and fogs the very vision of a great social and cultural crucible in the whole of India. What India requires is a new social, political and cultural crucible in which values of truth and rectitude, of fairness and justice, and of compassion and catholicity, are melted, purified and moulded into a vigorous and vibrant set up which provides real freedom, real democracy and real resurgence to all. Upon a consideration of the above facts, the necessity of accommodating the North-East Province has become a must for India to be a Super-Power in the Indian Ocean and maintain the balance of power.