– by Shenali D Waduge –
Let’s get some facts straightened out. The 13th amendment to Sri Lanka’s Constitution alongside the Provincial Council system were all offshoots of the 1987 Indo-Lanka Peace Accord which Sri Lanka had to sign under duress or face Indian invasion. Thus, neither the Accord, the 13th amendment or the PC system were anything the Sri Lankan people asked for and every letter in the documents were drafted in Delhi – the people have said and continue to say we do not want the 13tha or the PC system – therefore the GOSL must remove it forthwith. To add insult to injury India was simultaneously training, arming and financially supporting Sri Lankan Tamil militants while also contriving to force legislative changes to annex Sri Lanka to India in the event of things going out of control. And India has the audacity to think we would call its Government a “friend”. While pro-13a supporters are paranoid that India would invade us if Sri Lanka does not implement the 13a, the rest of the country are paranoid about not only India but other hostile nations taking over Sri Lanka if 13a is implemented. Our decision has to be based on NATIONAL SECURITY and the SECURITY OF THE SRI LANKAN POPULACE.
The President and the Government of Sri Lanka may well like to think of the following scenarios based on the premise that
a) LTTE ran a terrorist group for 3 decades to carve out a separate land area under LTTE flag called Tamil Eelaam – its supporters were many including locals and international players each with their own agenda plugged into LTTE’s just for a free ride.
b) TNA the supposed elected representatives of the Tamil people declares the LTTE the “sole representative of the Tamil people” – thereby equating all that the Tamils want to be all that the LTTE/TNA wanted and vice versa.
c) TULF too advocated separatism otherwise is there any reason for the 16 MPs to resign when it was the biggest opposition group in 1983 simply because they did not want to take an oath of allegiance in Parliament that they would not separate the country and the country would remain unitary? TULF MPs refused to take the oath of allegiance when JR Government introduced the 6th amendment to the Constitution on 5 August 1983. “No person shall directly or indirectly, in or outside Sri Lanka, support, espouse, promote, finance, encourage or advocate the establishment of a separate State within the territory of Sri Lanka” (Para 1) Anandasangaree was one of the TULF MPs who refused to take the oath and was barred from practicing as a lawyer.
d) TNA is and has been a group of politicians eternally running to either Tamil Nadu, Delhi or the West to be instructed on what to do and say. Brain-dead or brain imported is what is probably a better assessment.
e) No Province needs Police or Land powers to develop the province. Giving police power to a political party and politicians that declared the LTTE represented the Tamil people is like giving the north to the fox!
f) So when TNA, the LTTE proxy in Sri Lanka’s Parliament (and there are sufficient foreign documents that describe TNA as the mouthpiece of the LTTE) demands police and land powers – we have always on our mind the golden words “LTTE are the sole representative of the Tamil people” claimed by TNA. If LTTE wanted to run a separate country under LTTE flag are we stupid to hold elections and give land and police powers which equals to mean exactly what LTTE was fighting for? Would this not be a slap on the face of the Sri Lankan military and even the Defense Secretary who planned a meticulous end to a 30 year conflict within just 3 years?
If GOSL were to give land and police powers to the North and East provinces the likely scenarios:
- TNA wins Northern election – that is a foregone conclusion even if TNA does not do any campaigning. That pretty much speaks volumes of the way the Tamil people think, but whats the point in debating this any further. But that hasn’t stopped development or the manner the GOSL has fallen into debt to rebuild a North that the LTTE purposely destroyed. Maybe that too the Tamil people have forgotten. We can’t force people to accept ground realities.
- When TNA says the LTTE is the sole representative of the Tamil community and a handful of that Tamil community continues to feel empathetic towards both the TNA and the LTTE we cannot help if this group becomes the “Tamil minority” who feel “cheated”. So let’s talk numbers. How many amongst this Tamil minority “minority” are we exactly talking about who feel upset the LTTE is no more. Just to make them happy and those that supported them happy, a country of 20million are not ready to sacrifice their lives nor the country. So lets get that straightened out too.
- If land powers means that the provincial government is able sell, transfer, mortgage, donate and acquire land in the province – would this not mean that the Central Government has absolutely no control or eventually ends up having to dissolve the provincial council but at what cost would it be if the TNA invites India or USA to set up bases in the North in particular the East since Trincomalee Harbor is the prize catch everyone is after. Would that not mean an unnecessary military engagement that will result in the loss of our citizens? Is it not for this reason that there are strong calls for the military to be removed from the North… because once out of the North the Sri Lankan military will not be able to enter if the North province falls into the hands of the separatist promoters. Mr. N.Q. Dias, CCS (civil servant) then Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Defense & External Affairs under Sirimavo Government knew exactly the importance of placing the country’s armed forces at strategic points well ahead of any calamity – the present Defense Secretary, Mr. Gotabaya Rajapakse knows this too.
- What does the GOSL have to say to its people when the Tamil people can own land, put up property, run business etc in provinces outside of the North and East whilst if the North falls under the TNA and they prohibit Sinhalese from even travelling to the North?
- What would the GOSL do if the TNA denies entry to Central Government parliamentarians or refuses to allow security profile of these parliamentarians to enter the North without their weapons claiming the Northern police will provide security?
- What would the GOSL do if scores of Tamil Nadu illegal immigrants begin to flood the North as they have already been doing which necessitates that we conduct an immediate DNA of all Tamil citizens to ensure they are Sri Lankan. Would this not change the entire demography of Sri Lanka in time to come?
- Giving police powers may entail Indian police running Sri Lanka on a worse case scenario – simply holding the ability to dissolve the province will not suffice once foreign elements have already put their foot on Sri Lankan soil. We cannot lose our military personnel any more than we have already. Have the Tamils in particular forgotten the crimes the Indian Peace Keeping Force committed to their own Tamil people which was why LTTE declared war on the Indian peace keepers and LTTE did not want to have anything to do with 13th amendment – maybe the Tamils have forgotten this too. The almost faceless former LTTE female fighter recently featured in the film documentary got herself recruited to the LTTE because her parents were killed by the IPKF – “Neither the army nor the government has valid reasons to save my life. Yet they struggled for six months to give me life and resurrect me from the dead. Contrary to the many allegations directed toward the army accusing them of theft and massacre, I am a good example of their kindness and love. I had lost my ring finger during the battle and you would not believe that the army soldiers who had found me had preserved my wedding ring on my lost finger and returned it to me after I regained consciousness,” she said with immense gratitude toward her rescuers. http://www.defence.lk/new.asp?fname=From_Sheer_Hatred_To_StarkReality_20130524_06
- What would the GOSL do if the TNA allows all Tamil Nadu businesses to run in Sri Lanka’s North or allows the West to set up whatever they like that would strengthen their strategic interests in Asia undermining that of China and Russia as well as Sri Lanka’s own national security?
- What lessons do we have to learn from the West anyways – Iraq: was a lie, civilians died, infrastructure was destroyed, fighting continues – no peace. Afghanistan: Taliban remains, drug manufacture trebles, US pipeline almost complete, scores of Afghans suffer. Egypt: false flag, now liberal Egypt is under fundamentalists, Kosovo: divided on ethnic lines – people have to now resort to prostitution to survive, Haiti – another failure and people are just suffering, Libya: to get rid of one man an entire country was bombed and ruined, Syria: is teaching more than a few lessons to the US and allies. When none of these Governments or their leaders will ever stand trial for crimes against humanity and war crimes that led to the colossal damage to property and life what good is a world court? When these nations are spying on the privacy of the people, using these data for their own benefit and they preach to us about human rights and freedoms! When their local stooges carry placards eternally claiming the West has all the solutions we can but ask whether the crimes that the West did in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Vietnam, Kosovo, Haiti… are what they want the rest of the world to replicate as well?
- Simply deleting the provision in the 13th amendment that gives power to the President to merge 2 provinces will simply not do. Merger of NE in 1987 was eventually de-merged by the Sri Lankan Supreme Court in 2006 following a FR petition by the JVP. The MPs opposed to amending the constitution to remove the land and police powers need to explain to their voters on what basis they are making their conclusions given that the majority of them do not come from Northern vote base. Sadly most MPs change their policy when they know their perks and privileges are at risk! Its good for them to know and for the voters to know that and mark these MPs who oppose what is best for the nation.
- Provincial Councils are nothing but a waste – it must be replaced with something more suitable like the District Council system.
Would the 19th amendment be sufficient for the Government to hide behind given the worst case scenarios that are likely to arise? It is knowing one’s enemy that the correct decisions must be made. Why would the Government wish to flirt with danger now that the momentum has been made to completely repeal the 13th amendment altogether or at best ensure that it is completely toothless? Halfway solutions will only land the Government in trouble and put the country and its armed forces in a vulnerable situation. We do not wish to lose any more military lives and subject the citizens of Sri Lanka to another 30 years of conflict because decisions that could be taken were not taken. This is not a time to be doing deals – the national security of the nation and its people must come first for a change.
This is something the Government needs to be alert to at all times.