Gota-Sambanthan and why Nationalists say NO to the 13th amendment

Gotabhaya - Sambanthan

– by Shenali Waduge –

If ever the nation of Sri Lanka stood united wherein all factions of society whatever their opposing views came together to say NO – that was when India forced Sri Lanka’s then President J R Jayawardena to sign the Indo-Lanka Accord on 29 July 1987 threatening to invade Sri Lanka if it did not do so. The SLFP, key members of the UNP, the nationalists, the JVP and even Prabakaran opposed it so much so that the signing of the Accord was done under emergency with curfew and a gag on media and eventually led to the deaths of 70,000 JVP youth who rose against it. Now, 25 years later the ground is being prepared for a similar scenario.

When Gotabaya Rajapakse says that Sri Lanka should not sign anything to please India and that the threat to national security is a concern – the entire nation must pay heed. Unlike most he is a man who has delivered and a man who commands our respect because he has earned it by his actions and deeds. Sambathan may say he does not want to talk to Gotabaya Rajapakse because he is not the Government but this same Sambanthan had no qualms about taking orders from the terrorist leader Prabakaran and even went so far as to quote from Prabakaran’s Mahavir Speech inside Parliament which was opposed by JHU Ratana Thero. If our memories are not short we may well come up with numerous other instances of LTTE-TNA links that beckons Sambathan to respond to what makes Gotabaya repulsive and why Prabakaran is not! As a politician living off taxpayers money we demand him to answer. In our eyes we continue to equate the TNA with the LTTE and they have done or said nothing to change our opinion.

The 13th amendment was signed under duress, the concerns of the Supreme Court were ignored, there was no people’s mandate. The first provincial council election in the merged North-East held in 1988 voted the EPRLF into power in which Varatharaja Perumal became the Chief Minister and Dayan Jayatillake was its ONLY Sinhala (Christian) member. It did not take 2 years for Perumal to declare unilateral declaration of independence going so far as to even print letterheads to the effect. Then President Premadasa had to dissolve the Provincial Council and Perumal fled to India.

Solutions for WHOM?

The 13th amendment was said to be a solution to the “ethnic problem” – that it provided no solution reveals the lack of any “ethnic” problem as well as the fact that it was never meant to solve anything for anyone in Sri Lanka. Politicians have put the interests of the nation aside for political and personal gain and failed to do what is right by the desire of the people vis a vis the 13th amendment. The Rajapakse Government seems to be towing a similar line dangling on to straws thinking it can continue to dilly dally with a topic that needs to now be addressed without delay and shredded to bits. It will decide the future of the President.

All politicians wake up to numbers therefore they must now decide on whether pleasing foreign Governments will keep them in power or whether the wishes of the people that vote them into power should matter. People are now losing their patience because the war is now over, soldiers sacrificed their life, the next phase of securing the integrity of the nation lay in the hands of the politicians – the country does not expect them to sacrifice that hard won victory for their selfish ways.

Where is this “ethnic” problem?

If there was a historical problem can we have evidence of such prior to arrival of the colonials? Even Elara the Tamil King followed the doctrines of the Dasa Raja Dharma and punished his own son for harming a cattle! Genetically the Sri Lankan Tamils are the same as the Tamil Nadu Tamils and have NO similarities with the Sinhalese.

Yet the Tamils who lived through history NEVER demanded a separate area to live separate from the Sinhalese! Let it also be known that the local Tamils teamed up with the Sinhalese kings during invasions by Tamils from Tamil Nadu.

The civilization that developed of the Sinhalese is indigenous as shown in the new archaeological findings whereas the DNA of the Tamils are clearly matching with those Tamil invaders from Tamil Nadu which nullifies claims of any Tamil Homeland.

There was no animosity between the Sinhalese and the Tamils and much of the hype that revolves around 2-3 incidents were mostly planted and created and nothing that proportionately permits people to generalize. Again we say that the 1983 riots had no involvement of the Sinhalese public except organized goons of the UNP Government possibly with the involvement of Indian intelligence turning a situation from bad to worse for it met their agenda. It is time the Tamils come out and say how many Sinhalese saved them and kept and fed them in their homes.

When we say we do not trust the TNA parliamentarians there are valid reasons to say so. It was the TNA that claimed the LTTE was the sole representative of the Tamil people. The Tamil people did not come out and deny this? Always, the fear of the LTTE was used to maintain their silence. Now that the LTTE is no more why do the Tamils remain silent and why do they continue to vote the TNA if the TNA was always voicing what the LTTE wanted and aligned itself with the LTTE. There are enough of evidence in TNA manifestos to prove that they are working towards the separation of the country. When they specifically demand land and police powers are we so childish to think that they may not do what Varatharaja Perumal did in 1990 by declaring the North as independent. Our worries are far more than 1990 because we are well aware that the TNA, the Tamil Diaspora and other institutions funded from abroad and advised by envoys of foreign governments are all using the Northern election to carve out a pan-Christian satellite state and that state dear Tamils is not for Hindu Tamils – so it is time Hindus in both Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka realize that they are being taken for a good jolly ride. If we do not trust Sinhalese politicians our message to the Tamils is not to trust the TNA either.

The country has come to such an impasse where we are faced with a situation where we are beginning to question every person who attempts to trade off the country for personal gain be they in government or otherwise.

Top on that list are those who played a key role as architects of various federal solution packages and if memories are not short our foreign minister played a decisive role in each – Neelan-GL regional councils, PTOMs, ISGA, 2002 Cease Fire Agreement are just a handful of the detrimental agreements for which the likes of GL, Jayantha Dhanapala, Lakshman Marasinghe all played key roles and there are many in Government who aligned their views towards this but now they chirp something else. In our eyes their credibility is questionable and will always be so.

We now have foreign mission heads directly dealing with the provincial councils and striking MOUs – these are all dangerous scenarios. Whilst, President Premadasa packed of British envoy Gladstone, our foreign ministry is too diplomatic even to call for an explanation! If this be the case we can well imagine what other MOUs may come to our knowledge after the damage has been done and all we will end up doing is nothing. Is this the way Sri Lanka’s hard fought victory is heading? What is now clear is that the politicians are undoing all the victory that the soldiers sacrificed their lives for.

These ground realities are what moves us to be alert at all times – the very people presently bringing packages called “solutions” were instrumental in drafting packages that were craftily linked to dividing and separating Sri Lanka.

We do not accept the “reconciliation” gimmick. There can be no time bar scenario. Reconciliation must cover every bit of crime that took place and not a period suitable to the West. Ideally it has to start from 1505 when the country was invaded.

We do not accept traditional homeland theme because there is no archeological or historical evidence to prove so. Moreover when more than 1/3 of the Tamil population as a whole live outside of the area being demarcated as exclusively Tamils it also ignores that these areas were populated by Sinhalese and Muslims too and moreover, there cannot be a federal system based on ethnicity when more Tamils live outside that enclave and have no desire to go and live North. Therefore, the Government is perhaps being naively led to develop the North and bring it to such a level that it would facilitate the separate state using money of the Southern taxpayers.

We would also like to ask of Tamils who now complain about the quality of the facilities and the slow progress of the roads etc whether they would have made the same complaints to the LTTE and how far they enjoyed any luxury during the 30 years they lived under the LTTE. Therefore, let the Tamil people not forget that the North was left in such a decrepit condition not by the Sri Lankan Government or the Sinhalese but because the LTTE did not do anything to develop the North or areas they controlled and destroyed whatever state infrastructure was in place – transformers and even railway tracks. Therefore, the Tamils need to show far more appreciation than they do currently which only a handful do. How many LTTE members went so far as to build homes with their own hands as the Sri Lankan military personnel are now doing? The Sri Lanka military deserve far more accolades than they are getting for the tireless work they do.

Be that as it may the point in question is that whatever the TNA says, whatever links the TNA has had with the LTTE or continues to have with the LTTE representatives in the Tamil Diaspora – the Tamils would not vote for the Government even if elections were held in the North.

The Defense Secretary leads the calls for the repeal of the 13th amendment – it is based on solid evidence of the likely outcome and the nationalists of Sri Lanka who have all the while been alert to destabilizing operations taking place have placed their reservations clearly and objectively to the Government. The question of 13th amendment is something the Government cannot slide away from and has itself to blame for not dealing with the issue at the time it could have but didn’t.

Politicians tend to undermine the power of the country’s forces that be. Such instances of undermining led to the collapse of Governments that thought they were immovable. The power of the Sangha should never be underestimated or ridiculed. Whatever said and done they have always played a key role in protecting the nation. Sir John Kotelawala retired from politics after his embarrassing defeat when he undermined the power of the nationalists in 1956, J R Jayawardena’ never expected 70000 Sinhalese youth to give up their lives for a cause, Chandrika Bandaranaike professed to do everything in her power to pass the regional councils but that fell flat on her face, the CFA was drafted to slowly carve out the West’s Eelaam but that too crumbled into oblivion….. the dreams are kept alive through the 13th amendment which is not India’s baby anymore because India’s future lies in the hands of a foreigner.

Therefore, the Rajapakse Government may like to look back at instances that have been decisive periods of history to decide what he should do in the best interest of the COUNTRY and not the politicians and never to undermine the nationalists when they sincerely come out to warn the Government because of their love for the nation.