Going beyond the 13th Amendment or doing away with it?-A point of view
Posted on June 22nd, 2011

Dr Sudath Gunasekara: President Mahanuwara Sinhala Bauddha Jesta Puravesiyange Sanvidhanaya 18. June. 2011

It was reported in the press on 14th June 2011 that the government has decided to assign the Parliament the task of drafting a political solution to the so-called North-East crisis. Further it is learnt that President Mahinda Rajapaksa would make a request to the Speaker to appoint an All-Party Select Committee within this week to proceed with the task. It is also reported that the government has decided to have the political solution prepared by the Parliament Select Committee within a limited time frame and that will be implemented after approval by Parliament.  Apparently this entails the readiness on the part of the government to stick to and to go ahead with the externally manipulated and most controversial and dangerous piece of legislation in the history of this Island nation.

I do not propose to delve in detail on the 13th Amendment, its content and history and dangers on the Sri Lankan sovereign state as the subject has been already covered by many eminent lawyers, scholars and critics over the past twenty four years.  The object of this note is to ring alarm bells and draw the attention of the general public to the government’s decision to implement a “political solution prepared by the Parliament Select Committee within a limited time frame”. This attempt in my opinion should never be allowed to go through without the approval at a referendum for the reasons I give below in this paper. This is definitely not an issue for which solutions could be found “within a limited time” Nor should it be rushed into merely on a narrow political agenda prepared only by politicians. Because  it is going to decide the future destiny of this 2500 year old Island nation.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Implementation of the 13th Amendment in full or part will definitely lay the foundation for the EELAM for which Chelvanayagam and Prabhakaran fought and all Tamils are still dreaming. It will completely alter the political map and the character of this 2500 years old nation.  As everybody knows the 13th A is only a monstrous design- to use a local parlor a huniyama- imposed on this little Island nation by force by India to divide this Island nation and keep its governance eternally destabilized to achieve her sinister political goals.  Already the Provincial Councils have done enough damage during its existence over the past 24 years. It has not only wasted billions of public funds but also has created more confusion than good governance and multiplied duplication and overlapping than economy in the affairs of the government. Over the years the only thing it has done in my opinion is strengthening the political base of the parties in the periphery and finding lucrative employment to party henchmen and thereby wasting public funds . Should the people of this country lie low and allow this historic national tragedy to continue and push this country from the prying pan to the hearth? This I think is the million dollar question all patriotic people of this country should immediately draw their attention to. The question of whether with or without land and police powers does not arise in this context. The whole amendment in my opinion should be dumped in to the dust bin of history hook, line and sinker. That is the only solution I can think of to get rid of this vexed riddle and save the country from this monstrous piece of legislation. Any attempt made to keep even a part of it will end up only in total disaster.

Going by the history of the dead All Party Conference and many a Select Committee Reports one might opine that this will also end up with the same fate at the end. Opponents also could argue that this move is also only another attempt to mark time by the government.  In a way marking time may be a wise political strategy as some times, time could heal what hasty decisions might fester. But such strategy also has its inherent dangers. In the context of contradicting statements issued by different ministers and sections even within the government itself at different times I am still to be convinced not only about the practicability but also the genuineness and the seriousness of the government on this issue. For example while the President was reported to have said that his government will not give land and police powers Ministers Keheliya and Vasu  say we should go even beyond the 13th Amendment. They remind me the story of the seven blind men who described the elephant. This situation clearly shows that there is no unanimity and clarity on this matter even within the government rank and file.  On the other hand already the UNP and the TNA have opposed this move. Of cause the TNA is very clear on this matter. They have not only opposed it but they are now asking for a re-merging of the two Provinces. They want to get all powers the LTTE could not get through the bullet and nothing less. The UNP as usual is sitting on the fence hoping to woo the Tamil vote as all opposition parties have done in the past. Meanwhile the government is also preparing for the Provincial and local government elections in the Northern Province. This reminds me of the famous kendaheliya of the seven Andi we have learned in the kindergarten. One must also not forget the fact that the people of this country have very little respect or regard or the caliber and character of our politicians. They seem to have lost their credibility as statesmen beyond repair. The common word “Magodis” used in the media to describe them aptly shows the appalling levels to which they have fallen. As it is the day they will rise against this Magodis culture may not be that far.

With regard to what the President has said, only he will know what he has in his mind? But even a man on the street will understand that others only cat out what comes to their mouths spontaneously without knowing what the drastic implications of the 13th Amendment are. This is quite understandable going by the quality and the nature of the present day politicians who are concerned only with political power and their own wellbeing.  Nevertheless I still have a ray of hope, though a bit difficult to fathom, on the President whom I hope will take the correct decision at the correct time.

The government’s decision to appoint a select Committee on this matter of cause marks a significant departure from the normal practice of our governments of imposing their will belligerently on the people without even listening to the opposition in Parliament, either making use of its majority in the House or by using state force under emergency as it had been amply demonstrated many a time in the past, particularly during the post-1987 period, killing all accepted democratic principles, justice and fair play. The present decision taken in isolation without any prejudice to its rather questionable rationality appears to be even more significant and more democratic as the government could have easily bulldozed its agenda through Parliament as it has a two third majority.

Moreover in spite of the fact that it had been pointed out by Wanasundra and others as unconstitutional before it was adopted by the then government in 1987 13th amendment is already a constituent part of our law. Therefore the Presidents statement on land and police powers to the Provincial Councils contravenes the present Constitution.  Tamil political parties will also vote against any such solution that does not include land and police powers.  Already UNP MP R.Yogarajan has (June 16 DM) declared the government’s decision to appoint a Parliamentary Select Committee to work out a political solution to the national question as a ploy adopted to overcome international pressure. The TNA, TULF and the likes will definitely follow suit. As such in any case the Parliamentary select Committee want be able to come to a common consensus on this issue. In the light of this background the option open for the government is to pass its own package in Parliament by using its majority.  One can imagine the situation that would arise in the country thereafter.

Even if an all party Select Committee comes to a consensus and the Parliament passes it there are even more serious reasons why such a package that is aimed at finally deciding the political fate of this nation should not be implemented merely by passing it by the Parliament. In my opinion any such changes has firstly to be carefully studied by a group of expert constitutional lawyers, competent patriotic statesmen and administrators. Even after that it should be made mandatory to be approved by the people of the whole country at a referendum before it becomes law. Because, under the present Constitution sovereignty is in the people and is inalienable.

Although members of parliament are said to be the representatives of the people we all know that in reality after the introduction of the proportional representation system they are no longer our representatives. They only represent their own interests. Today they have virtually ceased to be people’s representatives. In fact a large number of former electorates today do not have representatives in parliament to represent them. (In Kandy district alone there are eight electorates that do not have representatives in Parliament). Once they go to Parliament they make laws only to consolidate and perpetuate their own power base. The best example is the 1978 Constitution and its amendments which were carefully designed to achieve these political and personal goals.

On the other hand a select Committee will comprise only of elected members belonging to different political parties in Parliament. They do not have a national vision or a long term strategy to steer the country towards long term economic and social prosperity. As prisoners and slaves of narrow party politics and hostages of party leadership (in this regard Tamils have only communal interests) one cannot expect them to work with a broad national agenda. Although technically they are supposed to be representing the people who have elected them in this country none of them represent the interests of the people after they are elected. They only look after their own private interests by meekly cowing and bowing down to party leadership who always place their own agenda with least regard for the good of the people. None of these parties have a far reaching political vision or a national policy that could take the country forward. This is the biggest tragedy that has marred all the political parties in this country since 1948. Their main concern is political power. They want to consolidate the power they have manipulated and remain in power as long as possible and then pass it on to members of their own families as a hereditary heirloom.

Of cause there may be one or two exceptions. But in a country where political power is finally dependent on the number of votes you get and more particularly the swing of the minority vote political decisions are always manipulated to enable to collect the votes.  Even the constitutions are made with these objectives in mind. This is why I say that no proposed political solution to the present crisis should be made law without approval at a national referendum.

 The tragedy is that none of our politicians or political parties is bold enough to say that this country has only one nation (jatin). You listen to any politician down from the President to the Pradesiya Sabha member and perhaps all media sources they always use the word jatin to identify the different communities (Sinhala,Tamil and Muslimm etc) in this country. It is a tragedy that these people don’t realize that any given country has only one nation. Very often we also hear terms like bahujatika and bahu agamika to describe the Sri Lankan nation. This Island has been called Lankadeepa or Sinhaladweepa from the very inception of history (at least from the advent of Vijaya in the 543 BC) although there were people belonging to different communities like Tamil and Muslim in varying numbers all over the country. Buddhism had been the State religion from 307BC. Sinhalese are the people who founded the civilization on this Island. Therefore, as a country, historically this Island belonged to the Sinhala Buddhists as much as Tamilnadu belongs to the Tamils. Buddhism had been the State religion from the 4th century BC up to 1815. What do our politicians demonstrate by not boldly stating these facts and resorting to such false strategies? Is it hypocrisy or naked ignorance or both?

What the country needs today in my opinion is not political patchwork. It needs a new and solid constitution based on its own traditions, a vision and a philosophy, a government with a long term national plan and a political map- a framework on ground where the policies could be implemented that will do away with the colonial legacy of provinces- the bane of divisive politics in this country an independent public service and a Judiciary independent from politics where rule of law will prevail. Even after 63 years of Independence we are still groping in the dark fighting among ourselves being unable to find our alignment as a free nation. I can vouch that no government within the present political culture with or without the 13th amendment can take the country out of the present mess with the present Constitution.  Therefore the urgent need for a new constitution based on the time tested traditions and history of the country and that guarantees an undivided country with one nation that owes allegiance only to this country.

The new Constitution must get rid of not only the Provincial councils but also the very concept of the Province in governance- the curse that was imposed on us by the British to achieve their sinister goals of divide and rule policy and ruin this Island nation. In this context I strongly suggest that we go for a complete new political system based on a new philosophy and vision and a new political map for this country.  The philosophy must be based on the principle “The wheel of power has to turn in dependence on the wheel of righteousness” and further it should be guided by the Dasaraja Dharma as enunciated in Buddhist teaching. The political map I propose is the time tested Tun Rata that has been the basis of the Sri Lankan State for 2242 years from 427 BC to 1815 AD. This ground plan is the most suitable basis for Sri Lanka for managing all its physical s well as human resources. Incidentally ours is the only country in the world that has sustained such a geopolitical map for such a long period in history. ( I have written more than 10-15 articles giving full details on this proposal over the past 15 years though no politician has taken it up seriously at any forum) Once the Tun Rata is adopted the terms North and East like the West and the South will connote only a geographical meaning.  No one can then claim proprietorial rights over these areas on an ethnic basis thereafter.    

15 Responses to “Going beyond the 13th Amendment or doing away with it?-A point of view”

  1. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    Dr. Sudath Gunasekere has emphatically sounded the RED ALERT on the 13th A. This piece of legislation is a GRIM reminder to all peace loving Sri Lankans, that if implemented in full or in any part thereof, will bring back The Megalomaniacs era without doubt. This will then open up the anicuts to various Foreign ‘ Blue Flies ” interlopers to set foot and create mayhem, and of course meddling with Government Administration. Invariably, they will engage in duplicating functions, and it will be back to square one.

    Can anyone please enlighten me on what this ETHNIC CRISIS is all about. Is it about the TAMIL HOMELANDS in Wellawatte, Mutwal, Grandpass, Colombo etc ?

    Also I would like to be enlightened on the other term ETHNIC PROBLEM. What is their problem ? Are they constipated and unable to have their daily evacuations ?

    If the Tamils want HOMELANDS and TAMIL DOMINATED AREAS, in Sri Lanka it should be an EMPHATIC NO. If it is TAMIL NADU, it is an EMPHATIC YES. They can run to Jayalalitha, who is now in a late state of menopause, and mentally confused, and is very loving towards the Tamils outside her country. Even her colleagues in India think she is going crazy over TAMILS in Sri Lanka. So it is OPEN SESAME. She cannot see the tamil beggars in Tamil Nadu, stretching their palms for alms. She fail to see the dalits too.

    If their problem is Devolution, to control Lands, the Police Service and the Judiciary, I would like to remind them that they had Devolution upto MARCH 18th 2009, controlling Lands, Police, and Judiciary. They did not do it properly, so the Government, by a RESOLUTION UNSIGNED at NANDIKAdAL, took it back to the CENTRAL GOVERNMENT.

    THERE SHOULD BE NO POLITICAL SOLUTIONS BEING PREPARED BY THE PARLIAMENT SELECT COMMITTEE, PERIOD.

    WITHIN A LIMITED TIME FRAME ? ? SOMEBODY HAS TO GET HIS HEAD EXAMINED.

    SRI LANKANS WANT THE 13th, AMEN.

  2. Dilrook Says:

    Thank you Dr Gunasekara. Sri Lanka as a nation struggle to overcome many unnecessary problems created by our own leaders due to utter ignorance and petty politics. This con-(in)stitution has been patched 18 times within just 33 years and still its not good enough. It is time to bury it and have a progressive constitution that is futuristic. It should ban racial political bargaining altogether.

    Susantha

    I’m sure you meant to say SRI LANKANS DON’T WANT THE 13th, AMEN.

    Ditto.

  3. jayt Says:

    Sinhalese can overcome this issue but Sri lanka communities in Canada and other other western countries have to open reliable fast communication system and respond my request to achieve any set goal. I notified lanka communities in the more recent fast about a mega fund raising and business project and a legal team to use against any groups in New York or any part of Western Europe if it is necessary or needs are arise.

  4. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    Dilrook ! Yes you are correct. Amen colloquially can be interpreted as Bye ! Sorry, I was not explicit.

  5. Ramanie Says:

    Well said again Dr Gunasekera! Look behind you and you will see a solid majority of Sinhala people behind you on this. would you be able to organise a submission to the President in this regard- I certainly will lend my support.

    Why is it the SL Govt can not boldly say to India and to anyone else intereseted, that “13A was imposed on the constituion of sovereign Sri Lanka in an illegal manner by an alien power without the mandate of the people of Sri Lanka on whom that soveriegnty lies” and extract and bury this cancer for good- is beyond me. We will never be popular for removing 13A- Jayalalitha will scream like a heifer (like she usually does), Brits will make statement upon statement sending columns of hotair into the atmosphere (like they always do) and Navi Pillay will dance topless enticing Banki Moon to set up another committee with one of Navi’s old classmates in the panel………… so on. So, what will be different? The flogging of Sri Lanka continues even with 13A being there. We can bend over backwards to please the Tamils- they will not be pleased because they have experimented and found out for good that the CRY BABY GETS THE BOTTLE! Tamil crying will never stop- we will need to understand this, take this into the equation and do what we need to do to safeguard our country, our heritage and our self-esteem. Incidentally it was this type of firm stand against our enemies that won us the war! Why change back to the old servile ways! Who is going to reward us for being good boys and girls and dancing to everybody’s tune? We are in the doghouse- lets get on with what we need to do to resurrect what was ours to begin with!

  6. P. Subasinghe Says:

    We are still ready to dance according to the whims and fantasies of outsiders and eelamists … Political solution within “Limited Time Frame” is another tune we are going to impose upon us … Why limited time? We as a one nation should think clearly what we need in OUR constitution and should consult people of the country at the end. We do not need any amendment in a hurry. We all must remember the way that FOREIGN constitutional amendment called ’13th’ imposed on us within limited time frame. The provincial councils of 13th are spending two thirds of money allocated to it on overheads. Do you need any other reason to scrap 13th? Weird thing is that we have being carrying this huge load on our shoulder for more than two decades.
    Time has come to get away with FOREIGN amendments to our constitution and start fresh … Thanks Dr. Sudath Gunesekara for your excellent insights ..

  7. Ben_silva Says:

    13th Amendment is deadly and will bring about division of the country. If we are not prepared to fight our corner and stand and be counted, we may have the same fate as native Americans.We need to be aware of external threats.

  8. Fran Diaz Says:

    Our thanks to Dr Sudath Gunasekera for bringing this important point up for the attention of the Nation.
    Yes, if we can possibly ditch the whole of the 13-A that would be the best arrangement for Sri Lanka. The 13-A was imposed on us under Duress, and is therefore Null & Void under any legal system in the world. The last time we had 2/3rds majority in Government, JRJ was forced to sign in 13-A. This type of giving in should never happen again.

    The 13-A is a useless piece of legislation that is being used by various interests to weaken the Country & the People so that vested interests can rule by proxy.

    Government was given 2/3rds majority to use such powers to take Lanka forward. In this instance, let’s use it wisely. Let’s make sure that either the 13-A is ditched once and for all, or alternatively if fresh legislation is introduced to pad up 13-A, it is done to nullify the ill effects of 13-A and has the approval of the People of this land at a Referendum. Close this case once and for all with People Power.

  9. AnuD Says:

    This is a very good article which gives some good foundation.

    In Sri Lanka, even long after the election, politicians talk in terms of votes and voters. Just the night after the election day, politician target the next election, they think about the next win. That is why Keheliya and Vasu talking about going beyond 13th amendment. Every politician lie in every direction and cheat in every direction in order to have an income and the status come with it. That is why, at one point, Monks had to get into politics in order to save Sri Lanka, I think.

    Political machinary should be there to make major decision. But, every day decision making and every thing else should NOT be based on the political decision making. That should be left to the bureaucrats.

    One thing, that sri lankan should ask is to distant major political decision making for the country and day to day decision making and bureaucracy.

    We need administrative activities decentralized. But, Sri Lanka, does not need power decentralization and even 225 to make those decisions are too many.

    As some one else earlier had suggested in another article, as the 13th amendment is in the constitution already, and as the supreme court is not against, it, there should be a referandum and it should be removed from the constitution.

  10. jayt Says:

    13 amendment or not one thing that Sinhalese has to be realized that Sinhalese are dealing with globe spies, but not with ordinary public from US, Canada,UK, Europe and Australia. They all skill and experience in all field to keep the Sinhalese squeezed to death by inserting millions of psychological problem into Sinhalese mind by using routine propaganda, threat, drugs and underworld groups. And without using Terrorists, without smuggling drugs, without underworld, they can’t bring down a government and a society under their control. although, These are not just practice on Sri lanka. they have been practicing these on every continent on globe and will continue by creating one reason to another to seek legal right get involved.
    When Th amendment is destroyed, they will come out with other tricks to achieve it in an another way or thru other mean.
    What is Sinhalese intellectuals and or professionals who are leading global communities and Sri lanka politician are missing today is the basic badly required knowledge of basic intelligence
    on how to figure out or analyse a crime when a crime happen against Sinhalese in Sri lanka or abroad. And if Sri lanka communities ever had knowledge to question why these crime happen? is there any foreign spies group behind it?. if so which spy group is that? and why? today Sinhalese is a globe leader in intelligence and Srl lanka is cleaned up long time ago and Europe and North America have true friendship rather than accusing false human rights violation.

    Here are some of the incidents that took place in the more resent past. I have avoided giving information to lanka communities thinking Sinhalese will discover by them selves or I had many other reasons and barriers. And I hope Lanka communities wake up not than late.
    Here are some incidents: Sinhalese person who was shot dead in US more recently was not a natural indecent. His uncle name is “Rajapakse”. and may be FBI knew who was behind it did not want to publicize who was behind it in fear of public backlash against certain group in North america and Europe or FBI totally did not know about any group behind it or FBI knew such group but could not establish strong evidence to file a case.
    Second, Two “Rajapakses” were killed in Sri lanka when they went home for holidays. It was thought or told that they were killed by drugs or under world to steal money. Both went home in different time from Italy. Both carry the name “Rajapakse”. Third Sinhalese ladies murder in the middle-east are not natural. This began to happen more seriously during Mss Kumaratunga, at that I just beginning to learn the world. Fourth an actress in Sri lanka was killed and another actress husband was set against her. Non of these are natural. Fifth, More recent Yahoo web forum-one man appear in the forum with a picture and he said in his comment ” I thought only Africa have black but I found Sri lankan are purple black and nice people and refereed two Muslim names(this is not exact quote) The interpretation this is: black refereed to Sinhalese and two Muslim names refereed to Sri lanka government spacial friendship with Islamic countries. These are only a few indecents I mentioned here. I can’t discuss all other dangerous events took place in Russia, UK, US, India, Middle East and China.

    These are some of the reasons that I have urging Sinhalese communities to build up a stronger globe front by building bridges with various communities across North America Europe, Australia and other part of the world with never ending fund raising to be able to stand with them tooth tooth and neck to neck.
    Sinhalese can achieve any thing they want. The problem Sinhalese have is they did not take things serious and they did not open the door to the world to see how much opportunities Sinhalese have in the
    Western countries in term of business or politics. Last two months, I traveled and I met sweet friends from Canada, Germany, UK, US and Australia. and some from Nederland. They were very happy to meet a Sinhalese and Sri lanka issues came out. I told them of need to have Sri lanka hearing in US and other European countries, their respond was unimaginable. Money will be flowing to Sri lanka communities in millions as long as it continues.

  11. Kit Athul Says:

    What is beyond 13th amendment? The answer: Karunanidhi wanted it so is Jayalaitha. Why they want it before the census? it is because the results will show that 3% of the Northern Province is Tamil Nadu Tamils. Rest are Muslims, Catholics and Sinhala Buddhists. Only this 3% wants annexation of Northen Province to Tamil Nadu. So the soverign state of SL should give in to the Indian threat? or fight and attack southern coast of Tamil Nadu and capture it? King Parkramabhu did that. He kept two generals Lanka Puthra and Lanka deeva in Tamil Nadu to control the Tamils crossing over and stealing the RICE harvest.

  12. jayt Says:

    Referring to my first part. right now everybody should not jump to a conclusion about western base groups. wait and see if they really going to carry out their threat to undermine Sri lanka or they are slowly going to disappear. In the fast they issued similar threat on and off with pres. Reagan’s lawyer. lately Ban Choon issued similar threat to charge with war crimes.

  13. Kit Athul Says:

    Lalith Weerathunga said few months ago that the SL sovrign state will be govern by THUN RATA KARAMYA. So how can this 13th amendment be implement? It is agianst the 6th amendment. If an elected MP talks about dividing the country and giving a Tamil Nadu Tamil only no go area, then a private indivdual can file a case against the MP. I think civic leadres Sinhala and Tamil must come out and say this Tamil only area is over. Using public meetings average sinhala should educated and to STOP buying INDIAN goods. Sinhala must openly tell INDIANS to get out of Sri Lanka

  14. gamunu6 Says:

    Dear Dr. Sudath Gunasekera! its high time we all DEMAND to do away with 13th Amendment. Its a ploy by India to keep Sri lanka as their colony.

    Learned people should speak as ONE for Dr. Mahinda Rajapaksha to do away with 13 amemndment ONCE & FOR ALL.

    Thanks so much for enlightening us.~ Gamunu

  15. Fran Diaz Says:

    Kit Athul: You say “What is beyond 13th amendment? The answer: Karunanidhi wanted it so is Jayalaitha. Why they want it before the census? it is because the results will show that 3% of the Northern Province is Tamil Nadu Tamils. Rest are Muslims, Catholics and Sinhala Buddhists. Only this 3% wants annexation of Northen Province to Tamil Nadu”.

    Here are some points to consider baseed on your statement, and facts that should be acted on fast by GoSL.

    * If 3% in the North go on the Census as Tamil Nadu Tamils, what does this mean ? That the Sri Lanka Census has to accommodate illegal migrants as Tamil Nadu Tamils and keep them in Sri Lanka as citizens of this land ? There are millions in Tamil Nadu who would welcome this move and come into Sri Lanka. What are the options open to GoSL on this matter ? They can either deport these people back to Tamil Nadu or give citizenship in Sri Lanka. The latter move would spell trouble and danger to the whole of Lanka.

    * The way the Census is conducted at present seems not based on reason. At present we are classifying people not only as ethnic groups, but religious groups as well. Tamils become Muslims & Catholics, and do not get classified as Tamils ! They remain hidden. This too spells future trouble for Sri Lanka. Either classify people by ethnicity or by religion, not both categories. Alternatively, these people can be classified as TAMIL Muslims & TAMIL Catholics – that would make sense. Otherwise, the Tamil factor gets hidden away resulting in confusion. Someone is running circles around GoSL on the Statistics – so beware.

    * If the Tamil Muslims & Tamil Catholics did not vote for the TNA in the North, how did the TNA come into power in the
    North ? !! All Tamils of the North have voted almost en bloc for the TNA. They as a group move together, whatever their religion. The TNA goals are inimical to Sri Lanka as a whole as they demand re-merger of the N&E, and are also working with Tamil Nadu legislators on more dangerous issues, with separatism on their minds.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

 

 


Copyright © 2018 LankaWeb.com. All Rights Reserved. Powered by Wordpress