For the Sri Lankan Government to remain popular – 13th amendment must go


– by Shenali D Waduge –

The firm decision taken against tremendous odds defeated 30 years of terrorism in just 3 years. It is now time to take another firm decision. That decision has to be taken with the same passion and commitment that defeated terrorism. There is no reason NOT to do what is right by the people who voted the Government into power and people who will continue to ensure the Government remains in power.

We do not need to go over and over again on why the 13th amendment deserves to be put into the wastepaper basket. The British divided Sri Lanka into provinces because it suited them not us. The Provincial Council system introduced through the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord of 1987 was designed to benefit India and not Sri Lanka. If according to Sri Lanka’s Constitution the will of the people is inalienable, then the Provincial Council system has no valid ground because it was not requested by the people of Sri Lanka. The provincial councils are costing millions without providing any proper benefit to the masses. It is a colossal waste of money that could be used to uplift the lives of thousands of people from their present state and provide means of livelihood assistance that would invariably uplift the self-sustenance of the country.

We do not need to remind the voters in the North that the country was saved from terrorism – terror that denied most Tamils their fundamental freedoms. We cannot help if some Tamils are angered by the defeat of terrorism and equate the elimination of LTTE as an assault to them. Nowhere is terrorism tolerated. We cannot help that Tamils would wish to continue to support the TNA the very party and very politicians who claimed the LTTE represented all Tamils thereby placing all Tamils into the basket of the LTTE.

The question of land and police powers would never have existed if the Indo-Lanka accord had not been introduced. Therefore it is a silly argument to be demanding the two simply because it is part of the clause India introduced. There are compelling reasons why there is hesitation to give land and police powers. Within 2 years of Varatharaja Perumal winning the merged NE elections he declared a unilateral declaration of independence which led to the NE provincial council having to be dissolved and both Perumal fled to India. Dayan J served as a cabinet Minister in Perumals NE Provincial Government. Given TNA’s track record and its election manifesto that clearly advocates separatism a Government would be insane to allow a Northern provincial election with police and land powers.

President Rajapakse does not have to go far to think of the likely scenario. When Jayalalitha and Karunanidhi give head after headache to the Indian Central Government without concentrating on improving their State, what better example does President Rajapakse not have to imagine that the same will happen to him but in Sri Lanka’s case it is more detrimental because at no point in time has TNA functioned without running off to some country to be told what to ask or what to say!

Yet, people are free to vote for who they desire and if inspite of freeing the Northern and Eastern peninsula and giving people the freedom of movement, freedom to enjoy life and educate their children – if the Tamils continue to think TNA is their messiah so be it. Nevertheless, TNA is not representative of Sri Lanka and it is the security of Sri Lanka that is of paramount concern. In order to secure Sri Lanka’s safety the Government is compelled to ensure that no legislature introduced forcibly be permitted to compromise Sri Lanka’s sovereignty any further.

  • Sri Lanka should not be divided along ethnic boundaries – there can be no more arguments on this
  • If people from the North and Eastern provinces are not denied to shift residence to other provinces, people of other provinces must not be denied from shifting their residence to the North and Eastern provinces and the Government must not feel embarrassed to articulate this loud and clear.
  • Sri Lanka is a predominately Buddhist nation and the subtle and insidious ploys being advocated by people and media who have wriggled themselves into key roles cannot be allowed to undermine the status of Buddhism as articulated in Article 9 of the Constitution. All those who find this unfavourable do not need to stay in office and are welcome to practice other ideologies. However, the manner with which the majority populace has been targeted and branded must stop. Hate speech and content analysis will be shown and revealed with examples of who have been throwing stones and creating the marginalization and all these examples are now available to be publicized with names.

The Indo-Lanka Accord should be considered null and void. India has failed to perform its primary obligation under the promised contract and it is now almost 30 years.

Moreover India has breached its own agreement by allowing its territory to be used against the territorial integrity and security of Sri Lanka. Does India need to be given examples of how LTTE were given an open entry to Tamil Nadu with Tamil Nadu politicians providing every possible support the LTTE needed? India may well like to read the Jain Commission Report following the Rajiv Gandhi murder to reveal India’s guilt.

Historically, Sri Lanka was divided as Ruhunu, Maya, Pihiti – there is nothing that should stop us from following concepts that we know were indigenous and worked well at the time – there was balance in development, areas had their own physical and cultural individuality and what was important was that there were no boundary disputes. If the Tun Sinhale pattern was the world’s oldest political division marked from 427BC (though the structure had existed far before) by King Pandukabhaya these divisions by virtue of their success lasted 2242 years unlike the present divisions that have created animosities and issues. So the Tun Sinhale federal system for those who cannot sleep without attaching the word “federal” to anything was practiced in Sri Lanka far before the whites came to introduce it.

The nation’s people have patiently waited long enough. Every Government has been dilly dallying with the 13th amendment and using it as a political football. LTTE lasted 30 years and faced its fall – we do not need to celebrate 30 years of 13th amendment to repeal it. Now is the time to do so – it is the people’s desire and the Government must listen to the people. If there are Ministers who personally align with the 13th amendment they must kindly resign and not jeopardize the nation by their selfishness. We have reached a point in time where personal preferences, personal privileges must be kept aside for the benefit of the nation.

This is the angle with which President Rajapakse must now decide and completely throw the baby, the bath water and the tub altogether (to its rightful owner). The President must also realize that some of the solutions that foreign players demand that he implement are purposely to lay the foundation to make a popular President unpopular. By keeping scores of kangaroos in his midst the dangers that the President faces also reiterates the need to ensure that the numbers that brought him to power remain unchanged and to secure that the 13th amendment must be thrown out for good – to do what is right by the country this time round is no different to the decision taken to end terrorism. The people remain confident that the President will deliver just as he led the war.