Sri Lanka Has Every Right To Go Ahead With Constitutional Reforms On The Basis Of Its Relevance To National Security Alone.
Posted on July 7th, 2013

LankaWeb Weekly Editorial, July 7th.2013

The latest news from the Ministry of External Affairs reports that The Sri Lankan Government has decided that it would go ahead with proposed constitutional reforms linked to the 13th Amendment despite opposition being raised against the move from some quarters. This would be to the chagrin of sources such as the  the Tamil National Alliance ( TNA) as well as the Government of India. Sources that have raised strong objections to diluting powers that may have been granted to  predominantly  Tamil populated areas in the North and East of Sri Lanka as previously proposed in the 13th Amendment to the constitution which was created following an agreement reached between India and Sri Lanka in 1987.
 
Perhaps during the ongoing dialogue between various mediators during the height of the Tamil Tiger insurgency there may have been certain idealogues and theorists who probably felt that the Amendment would be the panacea to one of Sri Lanka’s worst problems  which lasted many decades but having overcome the issue of the Tamil Tigers it has become painfully visible that what the 13th Amendment implies in the starkest reality to peacetime Sri Lanka is the possibility of jumpstarting a recussitation of the troubles that were overcome in the first place.
 
Bearing in mind that the TNA have been and in all probabilities still are a proxy of the Tamil Tigers and regardless of how India or any other world power views it the provisions of the Amendment could pose a grave danger to National Security as it compromises important issues that were resolved and need to be maintained under a unitary administration. There can be no granting of sectarian powers that could turn out to be an inadvertent presentation of stepping stones to re-initiate any semblance of opportunity that could revive the insurgent ambits that the Tamil Tigers left behind in all their proxies. One also needs to bear in mind that there is a very potent and powerful composition of this category operating in the world today hell bent towards another attempt at Eelam!!
 
If anyone in their right frame of mind was to believe that the TNA would not grab such an opportunity then they are surely deluding themselves.
What with Tamil Nadu and the secession hungry global Tamil diaspora in the background awaiting eagerly the outcome of it all and perhaps the reason for the Indian Government’s anxieties too if one were to read between the lines it is a risk that Sri Lanka could ill afford.
 
Showing a degree of parochiality however which probably represents the Government’s mindset also for very logical reasons Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris has also responded India’s views on the 13th Amendment that ” it was not being disregarded but yet parliament will be the final decision maker. It does not mean India is not important to us. India is our neighbor. The President has often said that India is our relation. But in the end Sri Lanka’s parliament will decide what is best for us,” he has said
 
The External  Affairs minister has been quoted in the news report
after briefing the Chief Prelates of two respected Temples in Sri Lanka’s central Kandy town on the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting as well as the 13th Amendment to the Constitution
Where he has further stated most importantly towards world opinion that carries negative responses to both these items quote
 that “The Commonwealth summit is a good opportunity for those who speak against the Government to come and see for themselves what we have done. The current constitution is outdated and needs to be changed and it was for that reason that the Parliament Select Committee was appointed and it will meet for the first time next week.
External pressure on the PSC process will not have any impact and the process will go ahead as scheduled. The Sri Lankan Government hopes the opposition takes part in the Parliament Select Committee process but if they refuse to do so, the process will still go ahead.” end of quote which indicates a firm resolve by the Government of Sri Lanka to go ahead with the intention to reform and amend what will eventually be appreciated by all the peace loving people of the nation that there will be no Sword of Damoclese hanging over the nation relative to a revival of the terrorist insurgency where their existences would never be compromised again!!
 
While the diplomacy of the External Affairs Minister’s is quite apparent there can be no denying the implications of what the Amendment in its original form as presented in 1987 is tantamount to ~ A  signing away of many issues that are presently controlled legislatively under a single administration for the common good of the nation  while synonymously granting powers that in the wrong hands could be used as tools towards a recussitation of the surge towards secession by a miniscule minority over the majority Sinhala nation a greater proportion of which is quite concerned and agitated about what they could do to jeaporardize national security  and disrupt their lives all over again!
 
Sri Lanka surely has every right to go ahead with Constitutional Reforms on the basis of its relevance towards National Security alone regardless of who poses objections as it is a very serious matter concerning her Sovereignity, Unitarity and Territorial Integrity which can never be compromised and a privilege of the Administration which needs to secure all grey areas from threat by outside sources with their own agendas!
 
“We Are A peaceful nation,
Struggling The Struggle
and we don’t look for trouble
just ask around!
But when unknown Faces
from foreign places
talk about taking over
we aint backing down
We will climb any mountain
we will climb any tree
to preserve and protect
what belongs to we!
Not one from ours!
not a blade of grass!”
 
West Indian Calypso by thr Tradewinds

9 Responses to “Sri Lanka Has Every Right To Go Ahead With Constitutional Reforms On The Basis Of Its Relevance To National Security Alone.”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Absolutely!

    May be this is the latest EXCUSE govt. puts forward.

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    JAYAWEWA! Perhaps the VOCIFEROUS PERSISTENT ARGUMENTS of PATRIOTS against ILLEGALITY of the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord, and its inbred offspring, the 13th Amendment, are FINALLY GETTING THROUGH to the Mass Media in Sri Lanka!

    …………………………
    We aren’t obliged to honour Indo–Lanka Accord

    DailyMirror.lk
    Monday, 08 July 2013

    There was a news item published in both Indian and Sri Lankan media that Menon was scheduled to visit Sri Lanka sometime soon to convey India’s displeasure about Sri Lanka’s decision to unilaterally amend the 13th Amendment (13A) to the Constitution, which gave birth to the Provincial Councils. Minister Basil Rajapaksa has meanwhile paid a visit to India to brief the Indian Government about the proposed changes to the amendment.

    India directly and indirectly has warned Sri Lanka not to violate the Indo-Lanka Accord signed in 1987. Most of the provisions in the 13A are a direct result of the Indo Lanka Accord. Hence, it is pertinent to look at the so-called bilateral agreement though in my view, there is no such valid Accord between the two nations.

    Duress Factor

    According to the principles of Contract Law and International Law, accords signed under duress are voidable. President Jayewardene was of course under duress to sign the accord. India covertly trained and armed the separatist terrorists in Sri Lanka. This was later exposed by Western intelligence units. India openly defended the terrorists, attacked Sri Lanka in international forums and finally, invaded Sri Lankan airspace to coerce Sri Lanka to sign the Accord.

    In his biography, written by K.M. De Silva and W.H.Wriggins,President Jayewardene has explained in detail the trauma he underwent. India invaded Pakistan in 1971 and created a new country called “Bangladesh”. India invaded Sikkim in 1975 and annexed it to India as its latest State and these memories must have been foremost in President Jayewardene’s mind when he chose the best out of the two options available and signed the Accord.

    True results of the Accord

    India’s influence with the separatist terrorists was reflected in its undertaking to disarm all terrorists within 120 hours. However, the LTTE launched its fight against the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) on October 8, 1987, thus putting an end to a very short honeymoon. Although India undertook to disarm the terrorists, it failed to fulfil its obligation with respect of the LTTE, which came to be known as one of the strongest terrorist outfits. Some people boast that 37 other terrorist groups surrendered their weapons as a result of the Accord. It is of course true but it was counter-productive from a military perspective. Before the Accord, the 38 terrorist groups were involved in fighting each other for supremacy rather than fighting the Sri Lankan forces. After the Accord, there was no intergroup rivalry to weaken each other, and this resulted in the LTTE gradually increasing its attacks on the Government forces. Moreover, the LTTE was transformed into a professional military force from an amateur hit-and-run terrorist group thanks to the Rs.50 million received from India for the rehabilitation of its cadres. In the light of the above, and as a result of the Indo-Lanka Accord, Sri Lanka had to pay a huge price in terms of human and material resources to defeat the LTTE.

    Indian violations of the Accord

    Let us assume for a moment there was a valid accord between the two nations. However, Sri Lanka has now been relieved of its obligations as India failed to fulfil its obligations. According to Paragraph 2.16 of the Indo–Lanka Accord, Sri Lanka’s obligations as mentioned in the Accord were conditional to India taking five steps in the event military groups refused to surrender their weapons. Since the LTTE neither ceased hostilities nor surrendered their weapons, India was duty bound to perform those five tasks.

    The first was to ensure that Indian territory was not used for activities prejudicial to the unity and security of Sri Lanka. But Tamil Nadu State politicians used its territory in supporting the LTTE with the tacit approval of the Central Government of India. All successive Central Governments of India after 1996 tolerated the anti-Sri Lankan activities of Tamil Nadu politicians including the Central government as it survived on the support extended by the Tamil Nadu political parties. India never made any serious attempt to eliminate or at least curtail such activities. Hence, India has violated the first condition.

    The second was that the Indian navy was obliged to co-operate with its Sri Lankan counterpart to prevent Tamil militant activities. The Indian Navy did not do so to prevent such activities after the departure of the IPKF from Sri Lanka. The LTTE freely transported weapons and other supplies from Tamil Nadu to Sri Lanka. Similarly, when the top terrorists were injured in the battle, they were transported to Tamil Nadu for medical treatment without any resistance from the Indian Navy. The inactivity of the Indian Navy broke the second condition.

    The third was that India agreed to provide military assistance to implement the Accord as and when requested. As the clause clearly says, such assistance should be provided as requested by Sri Lanka. However, the IPKF did not conduct operations as requested by Sri Lanka. Instead, they acted as they wished. As a result, President Premadasa was reluctantly compelled to request the IPKF to withdraw from Sri Lanka. They did not honour this request. They came out with their own plan for the departure, rejecting the deadline set by President Premadasa. In this backdrop, India has not honoured the third condition either.

    Repatriation of Indians

    The fourth was that India agreed to expedite the repatriation of Indian citizens who were residing in Sri Lanka to India. This is in fact an obligation overdue for a long time. It was estimated that there were 975,000 people of Indian origin residing in Sri Lanka as at October 30, 1964. They were not recognised as citizens of India or of Sri Lanka and came to be know as ‘stateless’. Under the Sirima-Shastri Pact signed on October 30, 1964, India agreed to grant citizenship to 525,000 of them while Sri Lanka agreed to grant citizenship to 300,000. The balance 150,000 people were equally distributed between the two nations in another agreement signed on January 27, 1974.

    Although India should grant citizenships to 600,000 as stated in the above agreements, only 506,000 applied for Indian citizenship. Sri Lanka did not want to force Indians to leave the country. Hence, Sri Lanka brought a special parliamentary Act in 1986 to grant citizenship to balance 94,000 and their descendants. However, India failed to grant citizenship to the people who applied for Indian citizenship and thus did not even honour the above agreements. India kept using the Sri Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu as the excuse for its failure. That is why there was an obligation as per the Indo–Lanka Accord of 1987 for India to expedite the repatriation. India is yet to honour this obligation although Sri Lanka has granted citizenship to all Indians residing in Sri Lanka and had also started bringing back the refugees in Tamil Nadu.

    IPKF killing Sinhalese

    The fifth was that India undertkes to ensure physical security and safety of all communities living in the Northern and Eastern provinces. India grossly violated this clause when the IPKF with the support of the LTTE began killing the Sinhalese living in Trincomalee District in September 1987. The IPKF was so brutal that even the Chief Monk of China Bay Temple was shot dead by the IPKF because of his resistance to the slaughter of the Sinhalese. In the aftermath, tens of thousands of helpless Sinhalese fearing for their lives flocked to Kantale and Habarana looking for safety there.

    Because India has failed to fulfill any of its obligations, it goes without saying that Sri Lanka has no obligation whatsoever to carry out its undertakings such as the introduction of the provincial councils and establishment of one council for Northern and Eastern Provinces (popularly known as the merger). Hence, Sri Lanka is free to amend the provisions in respect of provincial councils without consulting India or worrying about the Indo-Lanka Accord.

    This Accord is not a landmark in Indian-Sri Lankan diplomatic relations, which have spread over several millennia but a scar continues to remain from a shameful past. It only confirms how India has deviated from “a Non Interfering Pancha Seela Policy in its relations with its neighbours,” introduced by Sri Nehru. Since the Indo–Lanka Accord reminds the world of India’s shameful past, India should attempt to do its best to avoid discussions with regard to the Accord. If India insists on the Accord, Sri Lanka will be reluctantly compelled to remind India of the reasons for Sri Lanka to have signed the Accord, which it did under duress and also how India had failed to honour any of its obligations.

  3. Fran Diaz Says:

    Legally speaking, Sri Lanka has every right to remove the 13-A.
    Also, India has gone against her own motto on her flag “Satyameva Jayate” (Truth wins) if India insists on the implementation of the 13-A. To regain respect from Sri Lankans, India has to step back and allow Sri Lanka to remove the 13-A. Also, take back all ‘Kallathonis’ from Tamil Nadu.

  4. Lorenzo Says:

    Thanks Ananda for sharing very valuable info.

    New Endian motto is:

    Satanmeva Jayate (satan always wins)

  5. Sunil Mahattaya Says:

    For a more complete view of the memorable Tradewinds Song quoted here , pl. go to U Tube and look for
    Dave Martins “Not a blade of grass & Is we Own”. It somehow seems quite relevant to the defiance Sri Lanka needs to show all her adversaries in true patriotism.

  6. S de Silva Says:

    All Agreements are open to Review on their LEGALITY. Mr Basil Rajapaksa is reported to visit India to discuss these issues with Mr Khurshid. May be Mr Khurshid was a babe in his mum’s arms when the agreement was signed! So BR, would you please remind Khurshid that the agreement was ‘illegally’ imposed ‘unilaterally’ by India on Sri Lanka. And tell him that our PSC appointed by the President for the purpose will REVIEW the legality of the agreement and if found that it was signed up by SL ‘under duress’ the agreement will be declared void. S de Silva – London

  7. jayasiri Says:

    I am so glad that LAKBIMA editorial has spoken in all weight to NAY sayers, who still beleive, that 13, 13A or any other form is ILLEGAL, as India not only failed to vanquish within 3 days the LTTE menace, which they themselves created.

    Even after that & after Peace keeping force which was entrusted to do the job, failed & killed some of our Sihalese patriots as a good measure,still some of our politicians back this agreement, that is actually BACKING a Foreign country against the country of their own.

    It is time Sri lanka, NOT ONLY discard this agreement outright, but also PAY COMPENSATION to a Sovereign nation by TRAPPING Sri Lanka, with a gun boat parked in Sri Lankan waters. It is good & appreciable & brave what the lone Soldier, HIT Rajiv Ghandi when he was in Sri Lanka. By that incident ALONE Indians should have got the message. Apparently they have NOT GOT THE MESSAGE.

    Yet our leaders rush to India to anything that India CANNOT & WILL NOT DO. Their aim is to indirectly RULE Sri Lanka, as they did in thousands of years ago. We moved our Capital City to Anuradhapura, then to Polnnaruwa. & this occured manty times in our sordid history.

    As one of journalist / Writer said that INDIA is de-stablising force in South Asia, and countries surrounding her, are victims of their greed & stupidity.

    Our President at least NOW have the fortitude to call an end to this nonsence of waiting for Commonwealth Conference to be over to fight the real battle. Our people have spoken & so did Mahanayakas who are reluctantly supporting president’s efforts.

    Nothing will happen, the Commonwealth Coference will go as planned & we DO NOT HAVE to worry about that at least in this instance. We have solid grounds to REJECT INDIA’s overtures, THREATS & intimidations.

    If we do not stand upto INDIA in this cucial moment, India will CONFIRM that Sri Lanka, is just a push over & indirectly take over the country.

    It is heartening to see Newspapers in their editorials support the abolition of 13 ammendment. I hope other Lankans will WRITE< PROTEST, and back our political leaders to do the RIGHT thing…….Thank you, Lakbima & all respondents as well……..another expat voicing his TWO CENTS worth…….Jayawewa!! May God Bless Sri Lanka~ J

  8. Ananda-USA Says:

    NO, Mr. President! A Nationwide Referendum to REPEAL the 13th Amendment is the BEST PLACE to address this issue.

    NO DEAL that YOU BROKER in SECRET behind CLOSED DOORS will be ACCEPTABLE to the TENS OF MILLIONS of your countrymen who love their Motherland!

    …………………………………..
    Sri Lanka President stresses on PSC as the best forum for revisions to 13th Amendment

    ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    July 09, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa during a meeting with the visiting India’s National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon today has stressed that the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) is the best forum to reach a consensus on the implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

    When Menon called on the President this morning at the President’s House in Colombo, the President explained to the Indian official the problems that exist with devolving land and police powers to the provinces of a small country such as Sri Lanka and stressed that the structure that is implemented should apply and be acceptable to all parts of the country.

    The President, agreeing with Mr. Menon that the participation of the major Tamil party Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in the PSC is important, said it is a top priority of the government to reach a consensus on the 13th Amendment.

    The President also urged India to encourage the TNA to participate in the PSC, which has been appointed to resolve the issues relating to constitutional reform, and said the government is committed to taking the process forward despite any obstacles.

    Prior to Menon’s visit to Sri Lanka, Economic Development Minister and senior adviser to the President Basil Rajapaksa visited India and met with India’s External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid.

    During the meeting Khurshid has emphasized that the 13th Amendment should not be diluted and Sri Lanka should go beyond the amendment to ensure meaningful devolution of powers.

    Khurshid has also stressed the importance of all political parties in Sri Lanka being represented in the PSC, and expressed hope that all parties would join the process.

    Earlier Khurshid has conveyed Indian government’s view on the 13th Amendment to his Sri Lankan counterpart Minister G.L. Peiris stressing the need to keep the amendment unchanged.

    Director of the Indian Prime Minister’s Office Manu Mahavar, High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka Y.K. Sinha and the Deputy High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka P. Kumaran accompanied Menon.

    Ministers Prof. G.L. Peiris, Basil Rajapaksa, and Douglas Devananda, Monitoring Member of Parliament of the Ministry of External Affairs Sajin de Vass Gunawardena, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga and the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to India Prasad Kariyawasam also participated in the discussion.

    (Photos by Sudath Silva)

  9. Ananda-USA Says:

    Little by Little, the INDIANIZATION of Sri Lanka PROCEEDS AT A FURIOUS PACE!

    Now State Governments of India are getting into the ACT ALSO, even as the Indian Federal Government imposes its Devolution Strategy to Slice & Dice Sri Lanka into a motley collection of warring autonomous Provinces!

    Why is the GOSL turning a BLIND EYE to ALL THIS activities by Foreigners in our country?

    …………………..
    Design set for Sita temple in Sri Lanka

    By A. Srivathsan
    TheHindu.com

    Madhya Pradesh government’s initiative near Nuwara-Eliya; estimated to cost Rs. 2 crore

    The Madhya Pradesh government is all set to start building a Sita temple, designed in the South Indian architectural style, at Divurumpola in Sri Lanka. Sita is believed to have undergone her agni pareeksha (test by fire) at this spot. The design has been finalised.

    Divurumpola is near Nuwara-Eliya, in the central part of the country.

    The State government has been pursuing the proposal with Sri Lanka since 2012. Early this year, it commissioned a Bangalore-based firm of architects to do the design, and assigned the State Tourism Department to coordinate the project.

    The architects concerned, who did not want to be identified, told The Hindu they had chosen the Vijayanagara style. The proposed complex would comprise three shrines, a tank and an ornate pillared hall.

    Madhya Pradesh Tourism officials said the estimated cost is about Rs. 2 crore. Tenders would be invited shortly.

    Since 2007, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority has been promoting sites associated with the Ramayana. It had identified about 50 such sites and proposed plans to develop them to attract Indian tourists.

    However, a few Sri Lankan historians had objected to this project because they thought it distorted archaeological evidence and alleged that these sites were mere inventions.

    The Sri Lankan press had earlier reported that Ravana Balaya, a Sinhalese Buddhist organisation, had demanded that a statue for Ravana, the mythical Lankan king associated with the Ramayana tale, should be built before constructing a Sita temple.

    They explained that they are not opposed to the construction the temple, but wanted the government to honour Ravana first.

    Keywords: Madhya Pradesh government, Sita temple, Sita temple design, Divurumpola, M.P. tourism officials

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