8 December, 2021

Blog

Was Rajiv Gandhi Deceived By Jayewardene?

By M. A. Sumanthiran –

M A Sumanthiran

The timing of the Supreme Court’s judgment last week on devolution of land powers—just two days after a historic election for the Northern Provincial Council—gained significant attention within and outside Sri Lanka. Inevitably, the focus has shifted to the Tamil National Alliance and how the party—and the Provincial Council it controls—would respond to the judgment.

While I intend to comment on the political repercussions of this judgment, a few observations on its legal implications may be in order. The first is that the judgment contains three separate opinions and they arrive at the same conclusion—that the power of issuing a quit notice in terms of the State Lands (Recovery of Possession) Act lies with the centre, and not the Provincial Council—which was the only question before court. The Supreme Court granted Special Leave to Appeal on two questions of law but decided to stick to only the first question. The constitutional provisions dealing with the Provincial High Court’s jurisdiction are separate and distinct from the provisions dealing with devolution of powers. Thus any pronouncement other than on the question before court would tantamount to obiter dictum and does not form the ratio decidendi, or “the reason for the decision”. Secondly, although all three judgments arrive at the same conclusion they follow divergent lines of reasoning. For instance, while one opinion explicitly rejects the existing statement of the law laid down in the Land Ownership Bill Determination and Vasudeva Nanayakkara vs. N. Choksy that the President’s power to dispose state land is qualified by the Thirteenth Amendment—which states that such power should be exercised “on the advice of the Provincial Council”—another cites with approval the very passage taken from the Land Ownership Bill Determination rejected in the other.

Thus, at least in terms of the question of whether the President requires the approval of the Provincial Council to dispose state land, existing law appears not to have been disturbed. This is the case because, as stated in the case of Bandahamy vs. Senanayake, the rules of precedent require that “three Judges as a rule follow a unanimous decision of three Judges, but if three Judges sitting together find themselves unable to follow a unanimous decision of three Judges a fuller bench would be constituted for the purpose of deciding the question involved.” Since the Land Ownership Bill Determination and the judgment in Vasudeva Nanayakkara’s case were both issued unanimously by benches comprising three judges, it is seriously doubtful that the recent judgment—which did not follow existing precedent—changes the law in respect of the disposition of state land. This question is critical because successive Sri Lankan governments have continued to settle ethnic Sinhalese from southern Sri Lanka in the North and East by disposing state land to them, with a view to changing the demographic composition in these areas. That programme has been intensified under the Rajapaksa regime.

Nevertheless, the political implications of the judgment are clear. The Thirteenth Amendment was introduced pursuant to the settlement of an international treaty by India and Sri Lanka providing a limited measure of devolution to Provincial Councils. The Amendment has always been understood by politicians, civil servants, lawyers, judges and the international community to devolve land powers to the Provincial Councils. Various circulars issued by the Ministry of Land and Land Development attest to the fact that the devolution of land was never in doubt.  This view was strengthened by a number of judgments of the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. Now, in a sudden instant, the Supreme Court tells us that these powers were in fact never devolved. That the way in which the Thirteenth Amendment has been understood for 25 years was erroneous. That the Thirteenth Amendment only meant for the Province to administer whatever land the Centre—in its beneficence—though fit to give away.

The timing of the judgment is critical. The fact that it came two days after the historic election for the Northern Provincial Council where the people overwhelmingly voted for devolution and self-governance, but before the Council became functional, has received much comment. More critically however, the judgment arrives at a juncture where the government has explicitly committed to denying the Northern Provincial Council constitutionally mandated powers over land and law and order. The government has now constituted a Parliamentary Select Committee—composed primarily of members opposed to any meaningful devolution—ostensibly to recommend a further weakening of devolution. The arrival of this judgment may be perceived by the government as easing its own burden and enabling it to hide behind a judgment of the Supreme Court. The government should be clearly told that this position is untenable and that it has a duty to make good on its promises of extensive devolution made to India and the international community.

Last week’s judgment offers the clearest proof yet that the Thirteenth Amendment does not provide any measure of meaningful checks on central intrusion into provincial governance. It points directly to the Amendment’s inadequacies. To its capacity to be abused and the fickleness of the devolution of the very subjects it was intended to devolve. Moreover, the judgment unequivocally demonstrates the inherent problem of devolution within a unitary state – the threat of the unilateral rollback. That the government was for four years unwilling to implement even these weak provisions on devolution is a testament to the centralizing mindset of the regime and its inability to even contemplate meaningful sharing of powers. Clearly, it only delivers when pushed, and pushed hard.

Now, it needs to be pressured even more. For those who acknowledge the need for devolution but believe the Thirteenth Amendment is sufficient, the Supreme Court’s judgment must provoke a rethink. How can one support devolution within the parameters of the Thirteenth Amendment when those parameters are constantly shifting? When there are no checks and balances to prevent a wholesale centralization—whether through executive control, legislative changes or judicial fiat—of what was previously known to be devolved? In 2006, the Supreme Court ruled against the merger of the Northern and Eastern Provinces on the instance of an extremist faction within the Sinhala community. The merger was a critical component of the Indo-Lanka Accord in that it sought to protect Tamils’ right to self-governance in the face of orchestrated demographic change. Now, attempts are made to gut provisions on devolution of land in an almost identical fashion, so as to enable uninhibited demographic change in the North and East. Mr. Gomin Dayasiri, who appeared before the Supreme Court in the instant case, now publicly exults in what he deems is a trick played on India by former President J. R. Jayewardene who approved a constitutional text which appeared to devolve land, but has now been interpreted to do the opposite. In short, India’s efforts to ensure implementation of the Thirteenth Amendment and movement beyond are being rendered redundant, by trickery and daylight land grabbing.

The Supreme Court’s judgment reminds us that devolution can never be meaningful and permanent within the asphyxiating confines of a unitary state. The urgent need is for meaningful constitutional reform so that devolution can be made more secure, the rule of law protected, and the judiciary made independent. The steady erosion of minority protections in the Indo-Lanka Accord through judicial pronouncements can only be reversed by a permanent political solution and a new constitutional order. Moderate Tamil leaders have articulated this message for more than sixty years. If people within and outside Sri Lanka didn’t believe us then, they should, and will, believe us now.

*The author, M. A. Sumanthiran (B.Sc, LL.M) is a Member of Parliament through the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), a senior practicing lawyer, prominent Constitutional and Public Law expert and civil rights advocate

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Latest comments

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    Not Only Rajiv was deceived by JR but also by the LTTE leader VP.
    The current crop of Indian politicians and diplomats , Sonia, Manmohan et el were all deceived by successive Sinhala politicians

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      that’s way it should be you bloody tamil

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        You uneducated and uncultured sinhala extremist, are your brains embedded elsewhere and you know where??

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    “The Supreme Court’s judgment reminds us that devolution can never be meaningful and permanent within the asphyxiating confines of a unitary state” -very well put.
    It’s time New Delhi takes this into account in its dealings with Colombo.

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      “The Supreme Court’s ” – It is Rajapakse Supreme court.

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    Mr Sumanthiran,

    ” In 2006, the Supreme Court ruled against the merger of the Northern and Eastern Provinces on the instance of an extremist faction within the Sinhala community. The merger was a critical component of the Indo-Lanka Accord”

    Court ruling against the merger may have been on the instance of an extremist faction in the Sinhalese community, but remember this ruling by the supreme court had the backing of the entire Sinhalese community.
    You also say that the merger was a critical component of the accord.
    If you are honest to yourself you know very well that the merger was only for 1 year subject to a referendum. But the referendum was never held.

    If a fair referendum was held in those areas do you honestly believe that the Muslims and the Sinhalese would have voted for the merger.
    This is utter rubbish coming from a learned person who has lived all his life in Colombo. Recently the question about the merger was asked by a Tamil Nadu politician from G Parathasarathy a close confidant of Rajive Gandhi on a Tv show. His answer was that in the minds of the indians there was no doubt that the merger was not a permanent thing.

    You also say that the merger “it sought to protect Tamils’ right to self-governance in the face of orchestrated demographic change”

    The so called demographic change happened mainly in the Eastern Province. You know very well that the Eastern Province was carved out of the Kandyan Kingdom by the British, by annexing large Tracks of sparsely populated Sinhalese villages with the relatively thickly populated tamil +Muslim areas. You know very well that the so called colonization schemes took place in these sparsely populated Sinhalese
    villages. Yet you want to claim ownership to Eastern province through the merger in the Accord through your interpretation.

    Sri Lankan Government was able to convince the international community about the unfairness of your demand by providing facts and figures, which you guys could not

    It is this greed and the dishonesty displayed by Tamil politicians which have put the whole Tamil community in to the current pathetic situation.

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      Ravi Perera

      “Court ruling against the merger may have been on the instance of an extremist faction in the Sinhalese community, but remember this ruling by the supreme court had the backing of the entire Sinhalese community.”

      Was there a referendum to test the mood of the Sinhala/Buddhists people? What was the democratic process in which they demonstrated their public will?

      By the way when the case to demerge North East council was brought by JVP, it was canoodling with Mahinda. Mahinda’s one time best friend Sarath Silva the former chief justice presided over the case.

      Now rest is history.

      “Sri Lankan Government was able to convince the international community about the unfairness of your demand by providing facts and figures, which you guys could not”

      Did International community tell the Tamils that their demand for merger was unfair? If you have the statement let us see it. CT will publish it for all of us to read and ponder.

      ” Yet you want to claim ownership to Eastern province through the merger in the Accord through your interpretation.”

      It is unacceptable, however I want to claim ownership of the entire island. Do you have any problem with my wishes?

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        “Was there a referendum to test the mood of the Sinhala/Buddhists people?” asks our gregarious friend Native Veddah. Why, the Sinhala people had already embellished JRJ with a 5/6th Majority where he said he was empowered to do anything except “turn man into woman” or some drivel like that that often oozes out of the power-drunk. His Cabinet had such established hawks like Gamini D and J, Lalith A, Rani W and the redoubtable Cyril M.
        And by then, with letters of resignation in hand, he had even accomplished that enviable task where even tough guy MPs crossed the gender divide emotionally. By 1987 – post 7/83, the mood of the Sinhala people has turned palpably anti-Tamil to make such a
        Referendum utterly meaningless and one-sided.

        Did not “Mahinda’s best friend” the controversial CJ, once out of the Bench, say the merger itself was not bad but it was the manner it was done that was in contravention of the law. The learned man was by then neck-deep in the snake-pit of politics and, arguably, needed India’s goodwill in his thinly-veiled political plunge.

        As I understand reading from sources eclectic the international community has no doubt the merger was fair and went out to serve the cause of peace and unity between the feuding 2 nations in the island. India certainly – and the global community increasingly so.

        Senguttuvan

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          Senguttuvan

          Thanks for confirming what I set out to convey this Sinhala/Buddhist Ravi Perera.

          Please watch this link below:

          The Veddah elder

          Portraits of Sri Lanka’s elders in sound and image

          1 montage | 2 audio
          Byron Unmani was an elder in the Veddah community of Vaharai. Displaced several times, they had to adapt to their new environment, and were now fishermen, living off the sea when they once lived off the forest, hence their name, the “Sea Veddahs”. He talks about the loss of his native language and the pressure to assimilate. Photography by Kannan Arunasalam.

          http://iam.lk/the-veddah-elder/

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          Senguttuvan

          If and when a comprehensive settlement is reached and the need for a new constitution is felt, can I rely on your support if we demanded a constitutional clause recognizing my people as the first nation of this island?

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            Who are your people? What is their nation? are they also crazy? I am curious.

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              Crazyoldmansl

              “Who are your people? What is their nation? are they also crazy? I am curious.”

              You lazy fellow, go and read my previous comments.

              You must be a stupid Tamil or a stupid Tamil. Who are you? I am too curious.

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            USA, Canada and Australia recognise and enable in various ways
            their own First Nation people. The difference in Sri Lanka is both
            Tamils and Sinhalese have been here for millennia – unlike in the
            3 countries I mention where the white folk came in the last
            5 centuries or so. I certainly will support and encourage recognition to our Veddah cousins in a new Constitution.

            Don’t forget to send me an invite for your Swearing in along with the Spittels and the Brohiers.

            Senguttuvan

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              Senguttuvan

              Thanks for your support.

              “Don’t forget to send me an invite for your Swearing in along with the Spittels and the Brohiers.”

              Please, please please my elders would tell me off for contemplating such worthless aspirations.

              Definitely they would be delighted to invite you for an invocation ceremony, dress code designer Amude.

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      Mr . Ravi perera

      For a meaningful referendum to take place we must go back to the status quo ante independence which means before 1948 before the state aided Sinhala colonisation of the Tamil homeland began. This is the view expressed by the British Parlimentary group on Srilanka some time in 1999. Rt Hon Simon Hughes the former lib-dems leader was one of them who actively canvassed this point in British parliamentary lobby group meetings. For a meaning ful referendum to take place eastern province must be de-colonised of Sinhalese settlers and the status quo ante independence from Britain must be achieved. Furthermore you are talking about the eastern province being part of the Kandyan Kingdom but you failed to mention that east was primarily ruled by independent Tamil vanni chieftains .

      I refer you to the Claghorn minutes which confirms the Tamil homeland despite some Sinhala ultra racists’ attempt to refute it. If you read on the subject of the vannies in Ceylon you will understand that most of the people of nuwarakalaviya and Thamankaduwa were Tamils until the end of the 18 th century who have Since become Sinhala speakers through Sinhalisation. If the current trend of settling the Sinhalese in the east doesn’t stop the entire east will one day become Sinhala speaking . Can you deny your and your peoples’s hidden and now not so hidden agenda of ethnic genocide of the Tamils either by military means or by colonisation.

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      I don’t know which planet you are living on for you to say that the whole Tamil community is in a pathetic situation. Except in your pathetic little third world Little Srilanka every where else on this planet the Tamils are doing much better than you Sinhalese lot as they have always done.

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    Hello there Somi,

    You are missing the important tree while groping in the dark forest isn’t it? The powers you seek must be first endorsed by the Sinhala majority isnt it? How many more years you want to spend trying to circumvent the massive elepahnt sitting in the middle of the room?

    Havent you nazis taken enough of human resource bandwith already? You need to allow worthy causes some bandwith without being selfish.

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      The truth lies at the roots of the tree but not the tree that grew with crow droppings and pedophile urine. Rhinos need not circumvent elephants-Gautama

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      I think ‘sinhala modayas think tamil idiots will split the country into two. Tamil idiots think that their life is spoilt by sinhala modayas’. Elephant may be quite visible but what may not be visible is that poor srilankans on both sides crushed by failures of our political system.

      I read that it is a constituitional right that the laws should protect the rights of minorities even though the majority community has opposing views. I also read minority communities could have major effect on minority because of their actions and words.

      I think enacting laws and then neutralising them is part of political ploys which srilankans are well aware of. I think what is necessary is a change in our culture ( sinhalese and tamil). We need to be accountable for our actions, progressive in thinking ( not short term carrots such as economic development).

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        Hello there Ken is it?

        You seem like a “moderate” stepping in to bring some sanity into the debate. Then you go on about laws enacted which were not endorsed by the majority of the country.

        See if you aren’t thick enough to compute this. But Read Ravi Perera’s response first. Did you manage to understand simple English there? The laws were enacted based on that porky isnt it? Why should anyone bother implementing iaws not agreed upon consensus?

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          A Moda-rate.

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          Vibushana
          Let me rewrite Mr Ravi Perera wrote as I understood
          1. According to indo srilanka agreement merger of north and east was subjected to a referendum after first year of formation of provincial council. Mr Perera was of the view that sinhalese and muslim community were against merger. He augments his argument by citing mr parthasarathy’s views about non permanency of merger.

          I am intelligent enough to understand that any rules pertaining to the minorities must have the blessing of the majority of srilankan population. Therfore my comment was not directed against what mr perera’s argument. I was commenting on minority rights in general to protect exploitation by majority. Having lived a country with various laws to protect against discrimination I saw laws are as good as culture of the people to support them.

          I am sorry I am not a constituitional expert nor a lawyer please direct you tirade at mr sumanthiran

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            So, Indi-Lanka agreement means, Sri Lanka is a colony of India and not a sovereign country ?

            If it is the case, that will stay the same as long as Tamils are in Sri Lanka.

            Why don’t they move all to their motherland South India ?

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              Jim softy

              Dim wit Jim Soft

              Sovereignty means

              “a country’s independent authority and the right to govern itself”

              When did you chaps enjoy sovereignty as such?

              “So, Indi-Lanka agreement means, Sri Lanka is a colony of India and not a sovereign country ?”

              Of course Sri Lanka is the Sinhala state of India.

              “Why don’t they move all to their motherland South India ?”

              Good question you stupid man.

              Indians can live in any part of their country or any of the states. Tamils live in Delhi, Mumbai, Andaman, Sri Lanka, and other Indian states. Similarly the Sinhalese also can live in other parts of India, as India considers and treats Sri Lanka as its own state.

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              JRJ had to deal with JVP in the South.
              Anyway he didn’t want to get mixed up too much with the LTTE and also wanted to put a wedge between TN Tamils and our Tamils.
              So JRJ got India to deal with LTTE.
              Rajiv Gandhi should have said ”No” to JRJ.

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      Vibhushana

      “Havent you nazis taken enough of human resource bandwith already?”

      Could you deconstruct the above gibberish?

      Also could you define the word Nazi and explain how this word relates to Somi and his people?

      “How many more years you want to spend trying to circumvent the massive elepahnt sitting in the middle of the room?”

      Why would an elephant sit in the middle of the room? Did you bring the elephant inside the house? You must be a very very very stupid person.

      Don’t run away.

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        Native Veddha:

        Grow up a brain.

        that is why you people lost big time.

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          Jim softy

          Dim wit Jim Soft

          We didn’t lose but you stole.

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        ‘Vibhushna Don’t run away’
        Native
        This vibhushana aka satara varam devio is the latest avatar of legendary king vibheeshna , younger brother of king ravana. I could not read kindness, neutrality in his thoughts or writing in comparison the legendary king. But he certainly acquired the running trait!
        Ken

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    These so called Tamil politicians don’t care two hoots about the Tamils.Most of these fellows are Colombo based.A set of conmen whose past time is globe trotting!

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    Now it is India’s turn to decide whether it is willing to be taken for a ride repeatedly by the Sinhala majoritarian Sri Lankan governments or not. If it aspires to remain a regional power, it has to prove its assertiveness before it is too late. Tamils of Tamilnadu are fully with the Tamils of Sri Lanka and Tamilnadu is a key State of India. Leaders like Wigneswaran should exercise caution before making critical comments about the leaders of Tamilnadu,though it is understandable that he is new to politics.

    Sengodan. M

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    Sengodan,

    Tamils of Tamil Nadu will always be with the Tamils of Sri Lanka.
    But don’t get too excited about rest of India. As long as the killing of Rajive Gandhi is in the memory of the Indians you will struggle to get the full support of India. In fact if not for the support received by Rajapakasa’s from Sonia Gandhi, the elimination of LTTE would not have been easy at all.

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      Wasn’t it a papeji who shot the iron lady Indira “I” the one who gave credence not only to the dynasty but Indians at large? Today we have a papeji Manmohan as PM.
      Like the folk of TN, You know nothing about the rest of India my friend.
      Come 2014 One thing is certain the dynasty is over. Buddhist are SC of India so think again. Hindustan ki Jai.

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      Ravi Perera

      “Tamils of Tamil Nadu will always be with the Tamils of Sri Lanka.”

      Once again you are wrong.

      Tamils of Tamilnadu are first and foremost Indians and then Tamils. Indian constitution provides for it and its implementation generous. Therefore your stupid assertion that “Tamils of Tamil Nadu will always be with the Tamils of Sri Lanka” is utter nonsense.

      Had the Tamils of Tamilnadu been with Tamils of Sri Lanka they would not have met with such a disaster. When disaster struck why didn’t the Indian Tamils cross the Palk Strait which is only 20 miles away from closest point invade this island in large numbers?

      However, the Sinhala/Buddhist consider themselves as Sinhala/Buddhists and then Sri Lankan. The Sri Lankan constitution not only provides for it but guarantees their first identity.

      I regret I do not have treatment for your paranoia coupled with ignorance.

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        NV,

        Your comment shows only your limited understanding of politics.

        Sengodan. M

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        NV,,

        Tamils of Tamilnadu consider themselves first and foremost as Indians,because that State has a fair degree of autonomy including land and Police powers and more and thereby the protection of Tamil identity is assured.

        Sengodan. M

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          Sengodan. M

          You are indeed a stupid Tamil.

          This is what wrote:

          “Tamils of Tamilnadu are first and foremost Indians and then Tamils. Indian constitution provides for it and its implementation generous. Therefore your stupid assertion that “Tamils of Tamil Nadu will always be with the Tamils of Sri Lanka” is utter nonsense.”

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            Tamils of India, first and foremost are Tamils, then Indians. India is an forced or situation driven identity which on pragmatic note we had to accept in 1962. The Tamil identity has been with us for more than 4000 years.

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    Rajiv Gandhi was killed by Tamils!! :)

    That was the only intelligent thing Tamils ever did.

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    Look for your Tamil homeland and Tamil state in India TNA.

    Shameless TNA cheap minister going on all fours to the feet of Rajafucksa. Shameless!

    This was how Thaliavar went begging with a white flag to the same army. Guess what happened?

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    It seems to me to be a bit rich of Mr Sumanthiran to be asking if Rajiv Gandhi was deceived by JR, when you consider that Rajiv Gandhi unashamedly played Big Brother and forced on JR the bloody Indo Sri Lanka Accord.

    The Indo Sri Lanka Accord of 1987 was an ‘unequal treaty’. SL was well and truly ‘screwed’ and had little option but to sign it, with India holding a gun to her head. And let us not forget that India also took unfair, unconscionable and illegal advantage of the opportunity to secure for herself privileged status in relation to the Trincomalee harbour and the Palaly airport, neither of which had anything really to do with the ‘Tamil problem’. As a good lawyer, Mr S should have no difficulty appreciating that.

    If JR did indeed deceive Rajiv Gandhi, I say, ‘Well Done’ and it will really have been getting the better of the Indian civil servants, not just RG. I don’t suppose it should have taken much to get the better of RG whose only qualification for the top job was that he was his mother’s son and his grandfather’s grandson!

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      It was a well-known fact then in SL that the cunning JR seduced the young couple who were not prepared for politics at all. They weren’t holding the gun but UK’s Iron Lady. Don’t you read about drones at night hitting friendly nations?

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    When the courts ruled that the Parliamentary Select Committee for impeachment of the Chief Justice was illegal the regime decided to ignore it. But on the merger of Northern and Eastern Province and land powers to Provincial Councils they want to follow the ruling of the courts. Is this not hypocrisy of the President? How can he face the world let alone the people of Sri Lanka and say there is rule of law in the country?

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    Grabbing of lands belonging to tamils has been “legitimised” by the so-called “supreme court” of Mohan Peiris and cohorts who are slaves to Mahinda Rajapakse – having been appointed by him – ,after ousting CJ Shirani B by a ‘kangaroo court’ called PSC.
    Even privately owned lands and homes of tamils can be,and are,being ‘grabbed’ by the MR regime.
    Why so much animosity and blatant injustice against tamils who are equal citizens is inexplicable.
    I suspect that the fact that the elected NPC,devoid of bribery and corruption will become a model of provincial governance,unlike all other PCs,is worrying the MR regime,mired in corruption,wastage and megalomanic projects only to ‘boost’ MR’s so-called image.

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    Wasn’t the text of 13A completed after the ceremonial signing by Rajiv and JRJ?

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      (:-) good gentle reminder for some idiots.

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    So, according to Mr. Sumanthiran, India came here to preserve and constitutionalize the TaMIL HOMELAND concept and to preserve the Self governance based on that.

    What indirectly, Mr. Sumanthiran saying is tamil homeland is encroached by non-tamils. As that is the case, if the Sri Lankan courts are also rights, JRJ has misled RG.

    So, Sinhala people in Sinhale don’t have any rights and their rights are limited ?

    India is Sri lanka’s new colonial master.

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    After so many missed opportunities going back to the B-C Pact, and the golden opportunity at the end of the war, the regime is now trying its best to loose the newest opportunity for national reconciliation by supporting and nurturing the fledgling NPC. Instead, the regime is doing the opposite, and wallowing in the same folly as before, of giving in to the Sinhala supremacist lobby. What the regime does not realise is that they are legitimising the demand for separation, or at least federalism, when reasonable Tamils have been perfectly happy with meaningful devolution.

    But this time, things are different. The regime will be wise to change course, and support the NPC. Because, the NPC this time is formidable, not only in the resounding mandate given to it by the people, but by virtue of the intelligence and the moral stature of the elected NPC leadership. They will have a high degree of credibility with India as well as the rest of the international community as capable of delivering clean, honest government without corruption, nepotism, and inefficiency, whereas the international credibility of the regime is zero.

    In a globalised world, benefits come with responsibility, and if the regime is to avail itself of the opportunities provided by globalisation, like foreign direct investment and trade concessions, they must conform to standards of good governance. If they fail to, the international community is bound to apply sanctions and censure, which will cripple the economy, and burden further the already heavily burdened majority. Such an increasingly burdened and mal-governed populace, even one as sedate as ours, is bound to wake up.

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      Burma is the only that did not miss the opportunity.

      when the colonial master left the country,it asked to go with their South indian slaves too.

      Sri Lanka missed the opportunity more than once.

      Now, As HL seneviratne says live to make happy, politically, every one else and not you and forget all your rights because of all those who says the majoritarian.. supremacy… blah blah..

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        Jim softy

        Dim wit Jim soft

        “when the colonial master left the country,it asked to go with their South indian slaves too. Sri Lanka missed the opportunity more than once.”

        We should have stopped you in the seas and deported back to Bihar/Tamilaham, we failed to impose strict border control when you Kallathonies arrived on our shores begging for asylum, food and shelter. Now you have swarmed our land like locusts and grabbed our land we don’t have a jungle called home.

        We have missed opportunities many times over.

        When your ancestors arrived they also came with their own baggage, bestiality, parricide, and incest.

        It is not too late to send you people back to whence your ancestors came.

        I assure you I am working on it.

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        Jim the Dim
        “Sri Lanka missed the opportunity more than once.”
        Mugabe loves you southern sinhala buddhist.

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    It was well known that the merger was temporary and subject to a referendum after one year with prerogative powers to the President to extend the temporary period. In such a circumstance a fair judgment by the courts would have been to give notice to the President to hold referendum to fulfill his obligation under the Act and not otherwise.

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      Why courts would be itching to do that ?

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        Jim the Dim
        “Why courts would be itching to do that?”
        Democracy means being transparent and accountable not just holding an election.
        Presently the Southern Sinhala Buddhist backed regime is holding the whole island to ransom isn’t it?

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    Mr Sumanthiran,

    Your questioning “How can one support devolution within the parameters of the Thirteenth Amendment when those parameters are constantly shifting?” is to me farfetched mainly based on the recent Supreme Court decision on Land Powers. Any reading of the 13th Amendment would remind us that the formulations were ambiguous. If the 13th Amendment very clearly wanted to vest the Land Powers to the Provincial Councils, then the Land Powers in the main Constitution should have been amended. What meant by this ambiguity is questionable. It may be correct that President Jayewardene tricked India or India understood it. We also have to understand that the 13th Amendment was a hurried legislation.

    The issue of Land Powers to me is mainly a political issue not resolved in the 13th Amendment or even by the Supreme Court decision. However much we like to have sole Land Powers to the Provincial Councils that might not work. The context is different to India on this issue. I am saying this on the basis of ‘political realism.’ I understand that land powers are very crucial to the Tamil aspirations. One may have to understand that they may be equally crucial to the Sinhala aspirations. I am trying to see this matter independently and impartially. This is a matter there should be very open discussions, negotiations and compromise. In my initial opinion, Land Powers should be a ‘cooperative sphere’ between the Centre and the PCs. This is one area, among others, that Sri Lanka should develop “Cooperate Devolution” without depending solely on ‘constitutional devolution’ or I might say ‘surgical devolution.’

    Of course this should be done through constitutional amendment, after negotiations and possible compromise. You have correctly stated that “The urgent need is for meaningful constitutional reform so that devolution can be made more secure, the rule of law protected, and the judiciary made independent.” While I completely agree with this statement, I also have a question for you on your reference to the ‘independence of the judiciary.’ Why did you (or the TAN) drag a former Supreme Court Judge into politics if you so treasure independence of the judiciary? I am also asking this question because I believed and still believe that you are a person concerned about the independence of the judiciary apart from or despite your politics. Will not this give a bad signal for even the present Supreme Court Judges?

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    Welcome Senguttuvan

    “As I understand reading from sources eclectic the international community has no doubt the merger was fair “

    Your understanding is more of a hope than reality. This is no different to the so called moderates in the TNA continuing to press for North East merger. What Makes you think that the international community is for permanent merger of North and East. Is it because they recognize North East as the traditional homeland or is it because they recognize that the Tamils in the north should rule the Sinhalese and the Muslim people in the East.
    Historical facts nor the Tamil numbers justify the north east merger.
    The merger was brought upon us by Indian government due to the pressure it had from Tamil Nadu politicians. Just as much as the referendum for the permanent merger was meaningless the temporary merger was also meaningless.

    India and the international community will be disillusion if the Sinhalese government does not devolve powers to the North. But as long as the Sinhalese government is able to convince the international community that the Tamil leaders still have not given up the idea of a separate state, we should be safe. Demanding the North East merger in the TNA manifesto is a classic example that the eelam dream is very much in tact

    At least the North you did rule for 300 yrs of Sri Lankas 2500 yr old history. You have never ruled and will never rule the East.

    Due to your greed I think you Tamils will loose Vanni as well. There are all the signs of the Sinhalese government accelerating the colonization of the North (Yes, the word colonization can be used when Sinhalese are settled in the North)

    As far as Mahinda’s best friend (It was more Chandrika’s best friend)
    Sarath Silva is concerned, he is not respected by most Sinhalese.What he says when he is out of bench does not really matter much.

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      Friend Ravi Perera,

      Let’s keep polemics out of this discussion.

      You ask “What makes you think that the international community is for permanent merger of North and East” When India was asked to by JRJs
      5/6th majority regime to assist in coming out with a formulae to be worked out between experts from both sides, India – as a responsible
      member of the international community – presumably consulted Sri Lanka’s friends – including the Donor community. Britain and Holland
      having a link and first-hand experience of ruling the island clearly
      were satisfied the merger was both reasonable and consistent with
      history. Just because a group of mislead priests and a few thousands of
      half-educated Sinhala graduates get into the street, run riot and burn
      State property does not make an interpretation of history.

      Tamils have no interest or desire to rule over the majority Sinhalese that you unfortunately introduce here. They only want to be left to themselves in peace and not be subject to murder, thievery of their homes and agricultural land. I am sorry to notice you are a fan of forced Sinhalisation of Tamil lands. Was’nt LTTE and Prabakaran born to fight against this majoritarian menace? In short, the entire Tamil Nation is against carefully planned genocide of Tamils – that has been in practise unceasingly for many decades here.

      So you say Tamils ruled Sri Lanka only for 300 years. Let me not disturb your delusion and engage in a needless debate on this infantile comment.

      The Sinhala-Tamil issue has long gone past both sides and has now become internationalised – only because the Sinhala side refused to recognise reality and justice in time. Is Salman Khurshid here to remind The Royal family of this embarrassing reality? The Sinhalese – unnecessarily lead by the politicised clergy – were adamant both on the Language Parity and the Stateless issue for many decades. They were both settled in line with justice and reason. And so I suspect the Merger issue. It will be an irony of fate and a classic instance of hypocrisy if Sarath Silva was now to argue for the merger. I notice you don’t like him. By the way, he knew Mahinda long before CBK. I believe SS was MR’s bestman.

      Senguttuvan

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        where has been a carefully planned genocide of tamils in SL? Dont bring arguments from thin air. Tamils (common ones especially in Colombo) was better off before war started. That was the reality. There never was a genocide of Tamils even an attempted one.

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          sach

          “There never was a genocide of Tamils even an attempted one.”

          It was a Salami tactics on the part of Sinhala/Buddhists, bit by bit from 1958 to 2009.

          In our case it was completely different approach, Mahanama brought in Buddha to cleanse the land in preparation for the arrival of Kallathoni Vijaya and his 700 thugs.

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        Senguttuvan

        “The Sinhalese – unnecessarily lead by the politicised clergy – were adamant both on the Language Parity and the Stateless issue for many decades.”

        The Sinahala/Buddhists were forced by India to resolve those two issues after the Prippu drop by 5 Tuplovs escorted by two Mirage 2000s.

        Those were not resolved by Sinhala/Buddhists on their own initiatives but enforced by India.

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    Hello Vedda,

    So you are a Tamil masquerading as a vedda right ?
    Anyway veddo where did you learn your English , was it in the jungles of Mahiyanganaya or was it at Mahajana college Jaffna. Anyway keep it up.

    Vedda says “Was there a referendum to test the mood of the Sinhala/Buddhists people? What was the democratic process in which they demonstrated their public will?”

    Do you think otherwise

    I think election after election results have very well shown the attitude and the political opinion of the Sinhalese people. This is why in the 2010 presidential election Ranil let Sarath Fonseka take on Mahinda. (The two hawks in your opinion)

    Vedda also says “Did International community tell the Tamils that their demand for merger was unfair? If you have the statement let us see it. CT will publish it for all of us to read and ponder”

    Did the international community say that the merger was fair. What makes you think that the international community thinks that the merger is fair. Is it because East is the traditional homeland of the Tamils or is it because of your numerical superiority. Try and mature man.

    As far the ownership of the island is concerned, this land does not belong to you my friend. Your ownership is for Tamil Nadu, the place that gave birth to the Tamil culture

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    Perhaps Rajiv was dudded.

    Wasn’t his mum who stitched up Jayawardana?.

    Isn’t the PSC still open for business for you to get an all party agreement and go for a referendum?.

    Or do you still want a private deal between the LTTE proxy Sambandan and the President, in order to give the besieged UNP Leader a better than even money chance to roll Rajapaksa.

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    The root of this problem is the deep suspicion of the two communities. The Sinhala people still feel that the TNA is laying the foundation for a separate state. Such suspicions are revived after the publication of the TNA’s manifesto. Sumanthiran’s objections, though legally well founded, are interpreted as a reaction to the obstacle now placed in achieving such a goal. This is why many advocated, without success, that the building of trust is the first step in reconciliation. Do not expect any help from Mahinda Rajapaksa; he will do all to scuttle the activities of the NPC. That is his nature, he knows no other. The TNA, on the other hand must reach out to the Sinhala people in the south and be explicit in asserting that they do not aspire for a separate state.

    I doubt that JR put one over the Indian Government. The 13th amendment was not as hastily developed as some think. It was a creation of Indian think tanks and flitted to and fro between the two countries before being finalized. Gomin Dayasiri’s remarks are obliquely meant to blame JR and divert attention from the rationale for the judgement developed by the SC. As for the SC, we now know that the more interpretations there are, the more rationale available for judgements.In fact one can write the judgement first and then work the rationale.

    For the Tamil people, their first priority is to win their rights as individuals, as equals with any one in Sri Lanka. Do not be deflected by land rights as long as such rights do not impinge on their right to equality.

    As for Provincial Councils, they can be of use only when their power is exercised at the Centre. The best way is for the Provincially Elected to go straight to Parliament and form the Parliament. Is that not a better way to devolve power whilst retaining the administrative power over the Province?

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    Power sharing is not a matter that should be left for legal gymnastics and judicial interpretations. The issues should be brought before the legislature and settled for good. If the legislature is incapable of doing it it should be referred to the people in a referendum.

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    Had the Tamil militants kept quiet and allowed the late A.Amirthalingam to proceed after the signing of the Peace Accord. G.Parthasarathy would have got the division of powers between the Provincial Councils and the Central Government. Anton Balasingam was bent on attacking India, besides R.Premadasa and both had secret links to the extent of waging a war on the IPKF. Generally militants/terrorists are not far-sighted. That is why one cannot expect diplomacy from the militants/terrorists. We really missed a fine opportunity.

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    Ayyayah! What is all this talk about Tamil sovereignty? And of Tamils living in Sri Lanka for millennia as long as the Sinhalese? What Machang! We must be happy that we migrated in large numbers for the first time to the generosity of the Dutch colonialists in the 17h &7 18th centuries because they wanted to grow tobacco. We got land in Jaffna peninsula after enslaving the Sinhalese farmers (Goviyas) there. We brought also slaves from Tamil land in India. Now thanks to our intellectuals we try to trace our origins to the few South Indian and Kerala fisher folk who occasionally came to this island. We must not press the point too much. We have got enough. We have got the whole Northern Province now. We have , even colonized the Sinhalese towns of Colombo, Kandy, Kurunegala, Matale Anuradhapur , Polonnnaruva, and even Hatton.
    We control the wholesale trade in Pettah, and the corporate sector in the island. What more do we want Machang? Let us slow down a bit. Do you get my point, Machang?

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      arthapal-King

      “What Machang! We must be happy that we migrated in large numbers for the first time to the generosity of the Dutch colonialists in the 17h &7 18th centuries because they wanted to grow tobacco.”

      And mutated into Fonsekas, Silvas, Pereras, Mudaliars, ……..

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    M.A. Sumanthiran is a great man….

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      i think u said send him a marriage proposal

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    Hi Senguttuvan,

    1st a very warm welcome for replying to me.

    As a response to a question I ask, “What makes you think that the international community is for permanent merger of North and East”
    you replied “When India was asked to by JRJs 5/6th majority regime to assist in coming out with a formulae to be worked out between experts from both sides, India – as a responsible
    member of the international community – presumably consulted Sri Lanka’s friends – including the Donor community. Britain and Holland
    having a link and first-hand experience of ruling the island clearly
    were satisfied the merger was both reasonable and consistent with
    history”

    This is the first time I am hearing that JR asked for Indian assistance in formulating the Indo Lanka accord. You know very well how the successful Vadamarachchi operation was stalled by Rajive Gandhi due to domestic political pressure coming from Tamil Nadu.
    Was not the the Indo Lanka accord forced on Sri Lanka.

    About consulting Britain & Holland,your assumption is nothing more than an delusion. If the merger of North and East was consistent with the history, why was it merged only for 1 yr. Do not fool yourself.
    I personally watched a Tv show on an indian TV Channel where G Parathasarathy clearly told that the indians had no doubt that the merger was not a permanent thing. So your assumption is wrong again

    Do you not know that the eastern province was carved out of the Kandy an Kingdom. When in history did you rule the east. Also I never said that the Tamils ruled Sri Lanka for 300 yrs. I said Tamils ruled North Sri Lanka(Jaffna Kingdom) for 300 yrs out of the 2500 years history

    Your Tamil leaders are so stuck in this delusion of the North East being traditional Tamil homeland , it is harming the greater Tamil population.

    You also say “Just because a group of mislead priests and a few thousands of half-educated Sinhalese graduates get into the street, run riot and burn State property does not make an interpretation of history”

    This is more your interpretation of history man. What you saw protesting is just a few of the angry Sinhalese many of whom did not riot but were firmly behind the protestors. This is no different to the uneducated VP being backed by the highly educated Tamil supporters living in the western world

    you say “The Sinhala-Tamil issue has long gone past both sides and has now become internationalised – only because the Sinhala side refused to recognise reality and justice in time”
    Is merging the North and East (28% of the island ) and placing them under Tamil rule a just demand. The Tamil leaders unreasonable demands like the mythical homeland was one of the main contributing factors, so don’t blame the Sinhalese only

    Also if there are overwhelming historical facts to state that the Tamil were the original owners of Sri Lanka or North & East why can’t you get it recognized by the UN. Why do you think that the whole world was behind the Sri Lankan regime in its was against the LTTE.

    Many governments around the world were of the opinion that what we waged was a just war, which went wrong in the last stages.

    Without making statements like “Let me not disturb your delusion and engage in a needless debate on this infantile comment”
    I would really appreciate some hard facts an figures from you to prove the east is very much a part of the Tamil homeland.

    you also say “I am sorry to notice you are a fan of forced Sinhalisation of Tamil lands. “

    No my dear friend I am not at all for settling the sinahlese in Jaffna , Killinochchi, Mannar etc.

    I am all for settling more and more Sinhalese people in the East , to reclaim our territory which was lost during the British period or go back to 5 provinces as the British originally had, where the present day Pololonnaruwa was part of the East, so that the Sinhalese will be an outright majority in the east

    I hope you will reply to me

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      It may be impolite to enter into someone else’s debate however I cannot help but to point out what I have said to your comment above addressed to Mr. Sumanthiran. Mr. Ravi pereira please note eastern Srilanka was never popula ted by Sinhalese even though it came under the suzerainty of the Kandyan kingdom . It was always ruled. By Independant Tamil wanni chieftains. Quite apart from that it is very difficult to clearly demarcate who is a Tamil wanni ya and who is a Sinhala wanni ya. It is my considered opinion supported by eminent historians and anthropologists on the subject that vanniyas were of Tamil / Dravidian origin to start with some of whom have later become Sinhala speaking through . This further fortifies my argument that not only the present eastern province but also the districts of nuwarakalaviya and Thamankaduwa were also Tamil speaking until the end of the 18 th century!. Read Robert knox’s records which will confirm this.

      Your support forColonising the Tamil homeland which will lead to eventual Tamil genocide is contemptible.

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    “Was Rajiv Gandhi Deceived By Jayewardene?”

    Nope,he was deceived by Dhanu.He looked down and their eyes met for the first time,but they saw each others hearts and slowly their gaze still locked,his head came down and hers raised to meet it,his eyes were full of tenderness,she smiled and had tears in her eyes.It was over in a moment,her head on the ground,nothing the same,the scene of carnage.

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    Pirana,

    Thanks for replying. I hope sengutuvan will answer my questions.

    You said
    “Mr. Ravi pereira please note eastern Srilanka was never popula ted by Sinhalese even though it came under the suzerainty of the Kandyan kingdom . It was always ruled. By Independant Tamil wanni chieftains.”

    Lets assume your statement is correct. Even if the Wanni Chieftains ruled East , it was part of the Kandyan Kingdom. Does Nuwara eliya belong to Tamil Nadu or your mythical homeland in spite of the fact that the majority of the parliamentarians in Nuwara Eliya are Tamils. Does Welewatte or mattakkuliya belong to your mythical homeland though Tamils are an outright majority.
    Besides did you wanni chieftains rule the entire of the Eastern province as it stands today.
    Tamil presence in the East has been and is on a stretch of about 10 miles from the Coast(except batticalo).The vast areas of East are sparsely populated sinhala villages surrounded by jungles (as you point out).
    Using your argument even the Yala jungles can not be claimed by the sinhalese since they are not inhabited by the Sinhalese people.

    Your next statement
    “t is my considered opinion supported by eminent historians and anthropologists on the subject that vanniyas were of Tamil / Dravidian origin to start with some of whom have later become Sinhala speaking through . This further fortifies my argument that not only the present eastern province but also the districts of nuwarakalaviya and Thamankaduwa were also Tamil speaking until the end of the 18 th century!. Read Robert knox’s records which will confirm this.”

    Not only East , now you have moved to thamankaduwa, part of the sinhala heartland. Lets assume your assertion here is correct.

    Even if Robert Knox’s statement is correct, it is in the 18th Century. Go further Back , when we had the three kingdoms, Ruhunu, Maya & Pihiti
    Was n’t Thamankaduwa very much a part of the Pihiti Rata.
    Have we sinhalese been taught about a load of mythical kingdoms that never existed.

    By the way would you be kind enough to post the link to Robert Knox’s records

    next”our support forColonising the Tamil homeland which will lead to eventual Tamil genocide is contemptible.”

    Tamil guys like you can accuse the Sri Lankan state of colonisation,but in the eyes of the international community it carries no weight.
    international opinion is valuable. See the whole world is now asking for a proper investigation for a war crimes. The fact is War crimes did happen, the Tamils know it and that is why you are ferociously pursuing the matter. Sri Lankan government also knows it and that is why the government is trying to cover up.
    If the Eastern Province was historically Tamil why do you think THE INTERNATIONAL community is not putting pressure on the Sri Lankan government to merge it with North and declare a seperate state or a federal state.

    Accept the reality my friend. Your exclusive homeland is Tamil Nadu. Yes, you have lived in this country for a long time and now the North Sri Lanka (With help of Indian Tamils )has become part of the Tamil territory.
    You have not ruled East and will never rule East.

    Hope to hear from you

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    Hey Piraha,

    I missed one of your earlier comments where you refer to “Claghorn minutes “
    According to Claghorn minutes the Malabar territory starts with Walawe river. May be King Dutugemunu was a Tamil.

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      Thank you for your respone to my earlier postings. Although I disagree with what you say about the Tamil homeland only one of your points seriously upset me. That is you saying that the Tamilnadu in India is our Homeland. For your information my family can trace their origins in srilanka to the tenth century even then they were living in Anurathapura by the way my roots are not from jaffna but from raja rata where I believe my fore bears must have lived from before birth of Christ .some of my relatives who had ancient ola leaves written in archaic Tamil believed they may have descended from sena and kuthika . Some of my relatives whom we can trace from our own genealogy have since the 18 th century become Buddhist Sinhalese . Even today we talk about them in our homes. Many of these Sinhalese relatives kept in touch with us and maintained matrimonial alliances with our families in Tamil vanni until the very early part of the 19 th century before this communal rot disease set in . My family lived in the nuwarakalaviya( Anurathapura)district prior to 1958 before the first race riots but my parents were forced to move back to the Tamil wanni in the early sixties.

      Some of my older uncles used to tell me in the late sixties when I was very young that some of the politicians from anurathapura district whose names I do not wish to mention were our relatives but they were Buddhist Sinhalese but we( my family) are Hindu Tamils. Do read the manual of the vanni districts by JP Lewis and the manual of the north central province by R. E. Ivers you will be convinced what I am saying. The classification of the Tamils and Sinhalese in the north central province and in the Tamil vanni including Thamankaduwa is quite arbitrary . Whether you believe me or not people in this area were Tamils / Dravidians to start with however majority of them have become Sinhalese Buddhist through Sinhalisation. Majority of the Kandyans are very highly connected to the vanni Tamils.

      Turning to Dutugemunu/ Elara conflict I don ‘t think it is an ethnic conflict but a conflict between two Dravidian kings of which one was a Buddhist the other was a Buddha loving Hindu . It was only a fight to determine who should occupy the throne and nothing else. It was in deed a fratricidal war not an Aryan vs Dravidian or Tamil vs Sinhala war as the distorted account of Mahavansa tries to portray. There were Hindus or Tamils fighting on both sides and Buddihst
      Or the predecessors of the Sinhalese fighting on both sides as well. Dutugemunu couldn’t have spoken Sinhalese as Sinhala evolved from its parent language elu only after the sixth century.

      Although I believed in exclusivity of the Tamil race whilst growing up and learned to hate the Sinhale after spending a number of years reading and researching on the origins of the Sinhalese and Srilankan Tamils I have come to the conclusion that they both have common origins. The nearest of the relatives of the Sinhalese are the Tamils and no one else. Sinhalese didn’t come from north India as the Mahavansa would have us believe it is my opinion that like the Hela urumaya says they are indigenous to Srilanka like the Dravidian / Tamils the Ravana’s people. In madras the Dravidian parties celebrate the Ravana’s leela in defiance of the north Indians ans surprisingly the Sinhalese now have started a ravana balaya organisation. I who used to think that the Sinhalese are north Indians Do no longer hold that view after a lot of research although I am some what reluctant to admit after what you Sinhalese have done to us you seemed to be ethnically closely related to us Srilankan Tamils.

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        “Sinhalese didn’t come from north India as the Mahavansa would have us believe it is my opinion that like the Hela urumaya says they are indigenous to Srilanka like the Dravidian / Tamils the Ravana’s people.”

        Pirana,people can call themselves anything,but one thing that cannot be changed is the DNA,skin colour and facial features.

        Look at the sinhalese closely and you will discern that among them you will find these differences,which proves that they are a assimilated race of people.Once you change your name and religion you are welcomed into the sinhala family.There will be sinhalese from orissa,south india and indigenous and also mixed among these groups.Also mixed with westerners during 300 years of colonial rule.Example,ranil certainly looks an european.

        Similarly for tamils you will find some who are not darkskinned and having aryan features.That may be because the jaffna kingdom can trace its origins to kalinga magha,the first arya chakaravathi of the kingdom.When i saw the photos of the oath taking ceremony and saw Wignesvaran and vasudeva in one photo,i was struck by how similar they look.In addition vasu looks a bit like castro too,spanish aquiline nose.

        Who knows what would have happened among our ancestors.A carbon copy of their DNA keeps getting passed down which will characterise the facial features and skin colour etc.Whatever you do to hide your ancestry this passing down of their genetics is the one thing that cannot be concealed and will give someone away who can shout from the rooftops about who they are but will not be really accepted by the race they are claiming to belong to because they don’t look like them.Today Obama calls himself an african american because he looks like his father,though his mother is white.If he inherited most of his mothers DNA and looked like her and called himself an african american,blacks will not accept him as such and say “but you look like a white”.

        Looks matters ultimately to identify yourself with a race.

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    Sorry I didn’t specifically say that the above comment is a response to Mr. Ravi Perera my compatriot .

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