Ban ethnic-based political parties in Sri Lanka
Posted on June 19th, 2014

Shenali D Waduge

 There are 64 registered political parties in Sri Lanka of this number 22 parties carry ethnic-based political names. 15 of these parties carry a separatist Tamil agenda. With the cleansing of LTTE as well as the current global proscription on LTTE fronts should the leaders not take a stand on denazifying the Eelam name and ban its use? If the country is to create a national identity and people to learn to live, be proud and protect Sri Lanka as their nation the impediment is political parties that push for agenda-based slogans dividing people and creating tensions amongst people. We cannot expect to create people like Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan or Sir Razick Fareed from the current set of ethnic based minority political parties that prevail.  The Muslim Congress and the Tamil National Alliance have shown that they are not national minded except opportunists willing to sell their own people to bring selfish political advantage to themselves. They neither have political backing nor the people’s blessings though they use the minority status to make horse deals for themselves or go crying to Navi Pillai when their tantrums are not met.

 To have national unity or reconciliation how can such be possible when there are political parties peddling people to push ethno-religious slogans? In terms of practicality there can be no national reconciliation when several agendas are running in opposite directions especially when the international community’s see and benchmark the faults of the government only.

 It may suit these leaders who carry these ethnic-based names to further their political careers but the people should no longer be fooled. For Tamils and Muslims to come out of the “minority-thinking” mentality and disassociate themselves from thinking they are “separate” the removal of these “ethnic-based” names is essential. Similarly it is anticipated that the 3 Sinhala parties also understand this need and change their names as well. Even in Africa ethnic-political parties are banned on the argument that democracy is equated with multi-party politics. No one’s right to take to politics is denied only that they cannot promote ethnic politics under an ethnic-based political party.

  The TNA and Muslim Congress have a history of creating mischief in the country and amongst its people. The actions of its leaders over the years have shown the low levels they would stoop to simply for their own advantage.

 We have lost count of the times that the SLMC leaders have crossed from one political party to the other and shows the unprincipled nature of the leader and this kangaroo practice has nothing to do with carrying out the wishes of his people. Inspite of all these traits Governing political parties end up giving portfolios like the Justice Ministry and when he says he could not ‘protect his people’ it resonates how unfitting he is for a role like Justice and questions the country’s leaders on why they continue to tolerate to keep him.

 It is just the same with the TNA – with evidence of LTTE links, promotion of confederacy in Sri Lanka, propagating separatism overseas it is nothing but lethargy that stops legal actions against them when legislation is very much in place to charge them under the 6th amendment.

 It is because of ethnic-based political parties that we have distanced ourselves from appreciating, acknowledging and remembering people like Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan.

 Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan – Called the ‘greatest Ceylonese of all times’ by D. S. Senanayaka while Sir Baron Jayatilake called Sir Ponnambalam the ‘greatest man Ceylon has produced during the past 50 years’. He was a lawyer, philosopher, statesman, a devout spiritual speaker, legislator who championed the causes of ALL communities.

 It was Ponnambalam Ramanathan who was responsible for declaring Wesak as a public holiday just as it was Lakshman Kadiragamar who ensured Wesak was declared a UN holiday. Ponnambalam Ramanathan promoted Buddhist education in schools so much so that Sir Henry Olcott declared ‘From the time Buddhists of Ceylon began to take into their own hands the education of their youths, we have had a staunch friend and co-operator in the person of my friend Mr. Ramanathan, the Solicitor-General of Ceylon’. 

 Quoting Sir Ramanathan Take the Sinhalese nation. I have served the race all my life. In my twenty-eighth year I entered the Legislative Council and never once have I thought myself to be a member of the Tamil community only — I supported the Sinhalese interests and every other interest and treated every subject with the same sympathy and desire to do the best for all communities. I knew through and through the men and women of the Sinhalese community of all classes. They have all the characteristics of a great people. They are decidedly considerate and peaceful.’ 

 The Sinhalese must be grateful for how Sir Ponnambalam travelled by ship to England to speak on behalf of the biased stand taken by the British during the Sinhala-Muslim riots of 1915 and met the Secretary of State for the Colonies in London as well as British Parliamentarians and politicians and was responsible for recalling the Governor and the British Army Brigadier from Ceylon while releasing all the imprisoned Sinhalese.

 This magnanimous gesture won Sir Ramanathan a hero’s welcome with men drawing his carriage (not horses) to his residence in Ward Place as a mark of gratitude. Some of the elite Sinhala men drew the carriage to show gratitude and that is the essence of living as one community. Not the sham pictures that the UN/NGOs and Navi Pillai’s office are showing us as national reconciliation.

 Do we have such Tamil statesman today? While there are enough of Sinhalese to speak on behalf of Tamils, have any recent Tamil politicians done the same for the Sinhalese? Today, we have Sinhalese leaders who claim to be leaders or all but not a single will declare that they represent the Sinhalese or even voice the grievances of the Sinhalese, while Tamil politicians speak only on behalf of Tamils, Muslim politicians speak on behalf of only Muslims and Sinhalese politicians speak on behalf of Tamils and Muslims but not Sinhalese Buddhists.

 Our next example is Sir Razik Fareed, a Muslim who placed the community before self not looking for position but the future of the next generation. He held positions in the Colombo Municipal Council, was elected as a Senator and held the Ministerial portfolio of Trade under caretaker government of Prime Minister Dahanayake. He stood against communal politics and claimed that Muslims should identify with the national parties and stand by the majority community in resolving common matters.

 The recent comments by Dr Ameer Ali former advisor to Howard Government in Australia  is poignant as he is of the opinion that Muslims have played pragmatic politics in the past by joining national parties and have achieved political gains for their community. He however says that the advent of the Sri Lanka Muslim Council (SLMC) as unnecessary and counterproductive. His conclusion Ethnic politics is the bane of this country”.

An interview with a Sunday newspaper revealed his sentiments which are shared by Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

§  The SLMC came out with a religious cry,” ….This was evidenced by their first leader M.H.M. Ashroff shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ at the opening of political rallies. It is a political abuse of religion when the name of God becomes a rallying point”.   

§  If the Muslims of Sri Lanka feel that injustices have been committed against them, such as the incident at the Grandpass mosque, they must appeal to the magnanimity of the majority,” ……We must go behind the Buddhists intellectuals who are critical of the troublemakers, instead of going behind Muslim politicians.”

§  This change can be seen in the attire of the Muslims. The burqa and the niqab – covering all but the eyes – were not existent in the 1970s. At the time, Muslim women wore saris and covered their heads. In what sense are they any less Muslim than those who are covering their whole bodies today?” he asked, Why has the externality taken priority over the internal change that is the spirit of the Quran?”

§  Islam never instructs its followers to separate themselves from their neighbours. It says to be respectful of others, as only God is judge. We are too insular a community and we are dissociating ourselves by planting date palms in Katankudy,”

§  We are alienating ourselves”.

§  The question of the Halal controversy in this country does not question the name of God, it questions the manner in which animals are slaughtered. I have seen butchers drag animals and beat them. They are shivering! Anyone would question whether to consumer this product. This torture is haram! Hindus and Buddhist do not want to see meat displayed on the roadside”.

§  According to Dr Ali, the Muslim world has not produced a single worthy intellectual scholar since that time.

§  We cannot continue to fear God. We must love God. That is the message of the Sufis that the Wahabis so hate,”

§  The fault exists in the way we educate our children,”….They are being indoctrinated, not educated”.

§  The uprisings in the Middle East have been hijacked by religious politics. The revolution started by the youth was hijacked by the Muslim Brotherhood and has led to a totalitarian state in Egypt. This is the vested interest of the US, to protect the centre of their world.

§  The Ulaama is an unelected body that is trying to dictate to everybody, and, in turn, they are being used by politicians. We are a minority and yet we asking the majority to tolerate the intolerant”.

§  Why can’t we hoist the national flag at every mosque?” Dr. Ali recalled that it was Muslim politician A. Sinnalebbe who proposed that the flag be hoisted at Parliament in 1948.

§  Dr Ali urged that mosques cease to call azhan in urban settlements, citing this as the cause for bana to be amplified.

§  Dr. Ali ended his interview saying The Muslims of Sri Lanka must take the example of the Jews in Europe and America,” he said, They participate in society, invest carefully and contribute intellectually. What have we contributed?”

 Extremism in any form is not healthy & we should have understood this after three decades of LTTE terror.

1. Akila Ilankai Thamil Congress

2. Akila Ilankai Tamil United Front

3. Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi

4. Eelavar Democratic Front

5. Eelam People’s Democratic Party

6. Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front

7. Eeelam National Democratic Liberation Front

8. Up-Country People’s Front

9. Democratic Tamil National Alliance

10. Thamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal

11. Tamizh Democratic National Party

12. Tamil Eeelam Liberation Organization

13. Tamil United Liberation Front

14. Pathmanabha Eelam Revolutionary Liberation Front

15. People’s Front of Liberation Tigers

16. Sri Lanka Muslim Congress

17. Jathika Hela Urumaya

18. Nawa Sihala Urumaya

19. Sinhalaye Mahasammatha Bhoomiputra Pakshaya

20. All Ceylon Muslim Congress

21. Muslim National Alliance

22. Muslim Liberation Front

 The Government needs to take stock of the situation. There is a problem. Enough of people have given them lists of what the problem is. These lists should be enough to take a firm stand on matters. Let us remind politicians that they neglected LTTE terror, dragged it for 3 decades until they were pressed to take a military option. The country does not need another bloodbath. We do not need nosy parker foreign advisors to tell us how to run the country and the Sri Lankan media must stop stirring trouble to sell their newspapers. A media that did not campaign against the LTTE except report all of LTTE’s gruesome terror has by its own stand shown it is neither interested in peace and harmony in the country nor willing to use the power of medium to promote such. Sri Lanka’s newspapers have failed the nation and its people. Inciting people and communities is immoral and editors in particular need to play a more mature role as do the owners of these newspapers.

 It is now time to identify the mischief makers and take action against them for no national reconciliation will work when they hold the forte and influence the decisions.

 

 

 

 

24 Responses to “Ban ethnic-based political parties in Sri Lanka”

  1. Nimal Says:

    We must ban religious based parties as well.Politicians should never get involved in excessive religious ceremonies that is divisive. Not that they are devoted but playing to the gallery.

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    Ban TNA, SLMC, BBS and ALL others listed above.

    IF govt. bans ONLY BBS that will lead to more riots.

    Very good opportunity to BAN all these ETHNICITY BASED, RELIGION BASED and RACE BASED parties.

    Race based parties – Dravida Kachchis as in TN. Ban them too though we still don’t have any.

  3. Lorenzo Says:

    I don’t think these should be banned. They are NOT ethnicity based.

    4. Eelavar Democratic Front
    5. Eelam People’s Democratic Party
    6. Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front
    7. Eeelam National Democratic Liberation Front
    8. Up-Country People’s Front

  4. Nanda Says:

    Don’t tell us Ealam= Sri Lanka. Ban all with the word “Eelam”, “Tigers”, “Pulligal” first. This is because of LTTE’s name related names.
    There is no party in the list with “Buddhist” or “Christian” or “Catholic”. Why there is “Muslim” then ?
    Ban all parties with “Muslim” second.

    All others should stay.

  5. Nanda Says:

    Jathika Hela Urumaya which had done so work for the country to be banned ? What Happened to Shenali ?
    In Sri Lanka can’t the Sinhala Buddhist unite under JHU, the only proper party working for the country ?
    Are we scared of Muslims and Tamils ?

  6. Lorenzo Says:

    Nanda,

    Elam = Hela

    Tamils can’t pronounce “H”.

    So Hela became Ela.

    Tamils add a “m” at the end of a word.

    e.g. Rathna became Rathnam
    e.g. Linga became Lingam
    e.g. Vaatha became Vaatham

    So Ela became Elam. Don’t ban Elam. When we go to TN we are proud to call us Elam Tamils and TN clowns think we are posh and cultured people (comparatively).

  7. Nanda Says:

    So, Jatika Ealam Urumaya cannot be banned too ! You did not say that.

    OK, in that case ban all “religious” party names, that is all “Muslim” should go. “Moor” is OK. “Malay” is OK.

  8. SA Kumar Says:

    When we go to TN we are proud to call us Elam Tamils and TN clowns think we are posh and cultured people (comparatively).- So when you are in TN you are a Thamilan ?

    No wonder Our Moddu Chinkalavar & We Sakkiliya Demilayas and Mukkal Sonis live together for last 2,500 years in Mother Lanka ( according to Our Maha Vamsam) .

    United Provincial Council of Mother Lanka
    Saiva Thamil Eelam – NP (15%)
    Muslim Thamil Eelam -EP (15%)
    Bhuddist Sin hala Lanka- other 7 Provincials (70%)

  9. Senevirath Says:

    HOW DARE U SAY TO BAN THE WORD HELA OR SINHALA IN THEIR COUNTRY

    WHO IS GOING TO PROTECT SINHALA URUMAYA.. MUSLIMS?
    WE SUFFER BECAUSE WE CHANGED THE WORD SINHALE TO SRI LANKA… FOOLS IDIOTS DID IT

  10. Senevirath Says:

    MY DEAR CHILDREN
    ONCE UPON ATIME THERE WERE SEVERAL 100% BUDDHIST COUNTRIES ALONG THE SILK ROAD AND IN OTHER AREAS . TODAY WE CALL AFGANISTAN TO ONE SUCH COUNTRY. THIS COUNTRY WAS INVADED BY BLOOD SUCKERS AND THRETEND BUDDHIST PEOPLE TO CONVERT TO THEIR RELIGION AND KILLED MILLIONS WHO DIDNT CONVERT.
    NOW IT IS NOT A BUDDHIST COUNTRY
    BUDDHISTS WANTED TO FIGHT BUT SOME BUDDHISTS SAID THAT FIGHTING AND KILLING IS NOT ALLOWED IN NIRMALA BUDDHISM. NO NIRMALA BUDDHIST WAS ESCAPED . IT WILL HAPPEN TO SRILANKA

  11. SA Kumar Says:

    Senevirath

    Om Shanthy ,shanthy …………………

    My Bhuddist Sinhala brother last 2,500 years Bhiddism in mother Lanka & will for another 2,500 more years as long as your blood related brothers We Saiva Thamilar with you !!!

    Our living examples
    1) in 1915 We (Sir Pon Ramanathan) protect you from English man
    2) 1987 We( PR said abbey Koddiyas) kicked out Indian forces (IPKF) from Mother Lanka

    After these helps what you have promised & gave us is we both know very well – that is different story .

    Live & let live my Chinhala brother !!!

  12. Senevirath Says:

    my dear children——-

    sorry I could not go on ….. now grand pa is sick——–
    if the nirmala Buddhists allowed other Buddhist to fight against the enemy nirmala Buddhists would have survived to attain nirvana…… plese let Sinhala Buddhist to fight and save the country and Buddhist so that they can go on the correct path when ever they are ready. they are ready to postpone nirvana for others
    DO NOT LET THE BUDDHISTS PERISH NOW NOBODY IN AFGANISTAN TO ATTAIN NIRVANA –NOT EVEN A STONE STATUE IS SAVED
    WE KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SINHALA BUDDHISM –THE CULTURE—AND THE NIRMALA BUDDHISM

    GRAND FATHER

  13. Marco Says:

    Sri Lankan people don’t want another Black July!

    The on-going attacks on the Muslim community are deliberately carried out by a small group of extremists.

    We should not allow such violence in the name of the Sinhalese and Buddhist people.

    Let us not allow another community being harmed in the name of one ethnic community.

    We therefore demand:

    Let the government prove its commitment to peace and inter-community reconciliation by bringing before the law all extremist groups and their leaders, including Bodu Bala Sena, who spread communal and religious hatred, destroyed peace, and took the law into their own hands.

    Signed

    Dr. Dharmasena Pathiraja,
    Jayathilaka Kammallaweera,
    Lal Hegoda,
    Dharmasiri Bandaranayaka,
    Dr. Liyanage Amarakeerthi,
    Prasanna Vithanage,
    Fr. Sarath Iddamalgoda,
    Asoka Handagama,
    Prof. Sarath Wijesuriya,
    Ariyawansa Ranaweera,
    Gamini Viyangoda,
    Rajitha Dissanayaka,
    Wijayananda Jayaweera,
    Victor Ivan,
    Kathleen Jayawardene,
    Prof. H.L. Seneviratne,
    Bimal Jayakody,
    K.W. Janaranjana,
    Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri,
    Elmo Perera,
    Piyal Kariyawasam,
    Kelly Senanayaka,
    Dr. Sunil Wijesiriwardene,
    Somalatha Subasinghe,
    Lionel Fernando,
    Tenyson Perera,
    Anoma Rajakaruna,
    Upul Shantha Sannasgala,
    Kaushalya Fernando,
    Priyankara Ratnayaka,
    Mahinda Prasad Masimbula,
    Prof. Desmond Mallikarachchi,
    Kusal Perera,
    Susil Siriwardene,
    Sudarshana Gunawardene,
    Dr. Udan Perera,
    W. Jayasiri,
    Nandana Weerasinghe,
    Shanthi Dissanayaka,
    Deepthi Kumara Gunaratne,
    Dr. Nimalka Fernando,
    Bennet Ratnayaka,
    Dharmapriya Dias,
    M.D. Mahindapala,
    Lakshman Mendis,
    Kapila Kumara Kalinga,
    Vimukthi Jayasundara,
    Sujani Menaka,
    Chandraguptha Thenuwara,
    Dr. Chandana Aluthge,
    Saman Wagaarachchi,
    Mahinda Ratnayaka,
    Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne,
    Anurasiri Hettige,
    Prof. Nilanga Liyanage,
    Chulananda Samaranayaka,
    Rathna Sri Wijesinghe,
    Freddy Gamage,
    Prof. Valentine Daniel,
    Mohan Raj Madawala,
    Vidharshana Kannangara,
    Gaya Nagahawattha,
    Keerthi Welisarage,
    Dr. Harshana Rambukwella,
    Nimal Ekanayaka,
    Gihan Fernando,
    Chandrapala Kumarage,
    Prof. Patric Ollivel,
    Deepthi Lamahewa,
    Henry Warnakulasuriya,
    Jayasiri Jayasekara,
    Herman Kumara,
    Seetha Ranjani,
    Ajith Rajapaksa,
    Sisira Yapa.

  14. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    While reading the article what dawned on me is there is a voice that speaks for the Sinhalese Buddhists and it is the Badu Bala Sena. The very omission of the BBS only made it stand out as the article pointedly stated how the Tamil leaders only speak of the Tamils, the Muslims do the same and the Sinhalese leaders voice that of the Tamils and Muslims while leaving out the Sinhalese Buddhists.

    The BBS is not doing that. They are at the very forefront of addressing the grievances, dealing with the daily issues and representing the voice of the Sinhalese Buddhists. Excellent article which by its absence of the BBS only gives greater voice to the Badu Bala Sena.

  15. callistus Says:

    Shenali is absolutely correct here. All parties with any words with a religious or ethnic connotation should be banned, be it sinhala tamil, christian, muslim hindu,or buddhist.

  16. Senevirath Says:

    who is going to ban muslim invades?1400 years they have been killing others
    Austin can sell apples. every body trying to stop Sinhala Buddhists but why not go and fight with talibans then u can have 72 virgins

  17. Senevirath Says:

    HANDAGAMA AND VITHANAGE GET HOLD OF A RICH MUSLIM TO PRODUCE ANOTHER ANTI SINHALA FILM.
    KAMMELIVEERA AND IVON CAN HELP

    JUST TELL US HOW MANY MILLIONS WERE KILLED BY MUSLIMS IN THE WORLD?

  18. Nanda Says:

    BW, Senerath,

    Not only BBS. Did you see the youtube clip showing houses attacked by racists Muslims and JHU visiting and distributing some relief. While MR is helping Muslims it is JHU that look after not only Sinhala but all Sri Lankans.

    June 20, Colombo: Sri Lanka’s monk party and coalition partner of Sri Lankan government, Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) said the party would not allow opposition leader Ranil Wickremasinghe to become the President.

    Layman leader of JHU Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said today at a press briefing that the opposition leader was dreaming to become the President of this country with the votes of the Muslims.

    He further said that the JHU would not allow the opposition to march forward with the backing of foreign forces.

    The Minister accused the Muslims for the violence that took place in Dharga Town in Kalutara district. Islamic Jihad organizations were behind the violence, the JHU leader charged.

    Minister Ranawaka also challenged the Muslim Minister Rauf Hakeem to quit the government if he was ashamed after the communal violence in Beruwala as he stated.

  19. Nanda Says:

    Please listen.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msMmDibudBo

  20. Nanda Says:

    Please watch.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t39gnugavTk&feature=youtu.be

  21. SA Kumar Says:

    Nanda

    Please can any one translate(video) in English/Tamil .

    Thanks

  22. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    Nanda: Thank you for the infor. but the article addressed the issue that Sinhalese Buddhists are not being represented. It went on to state that Tamil political parties look out for Tamils, so do Muslims and Colombo looks out for Tamils and Muslims while neglecting Sinhalese Buddhist interests. Even if Colombo is playing a juggling act and trying to represent all in Sri Lanka it only translates to the point that minorities in Sri Lanka have an equal voice to that of the majority. THEY SHOULD NOT. Their voice comes second to the voice of the majority Sinhalese Buddhists.

    If the Tamils want equal voice then go to Tamil Nadu. If the Muslims want “equal voice” then go back to the Muslim lands they came from. If Christians and Secularists want equal voice then go back to 126 Christian nations.

    Sri Lankan Buddhists have been on the defensive even before independence. When will they have the right to determine the future of the nation? that is why I mentioned the BBS. The Badu Bala Sena represents the voice of the majority Sinhalese Buddhists and keeps pushing that issue no matter how much opposition they receive from the minorities in Sri Lanka or the world outside.

  23. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    Nanda: one more point. It is easy to say “go back where you came from if you do not agree with us” kind of mentality. It is even rude. So let me put it to you this way, do you honestly think if there is a Sinhalese minority in Tamil Nadu they would have an “equal voice” with the 80 million Hindu Tamils? would that also hold if there is a Sinhalese Buddhist minority in any of the 50 odd Muslim nations. How about the 126 Christian nations. These are rhetorical questions and not for you to answer. The answer is obviously that the Sinhalese Buddhist would be silenced anywhere else on the planet. They CANNOT BE SILENCED IN THEIR ONLY HOME NATION. That was my point.

    All the minorities in Sri Lanka have plenty of other places where their numbers are much greater and do have a voice that is openly heard in those places and by the UN. But when it comes to the Sinhalese Buddhists they are relegated like pariahs by the UN and the Sri Lankan minorities..even in the land of their forefathers.

  24. Senevirath Says:

    FIRST OF ALL SINHALESE SHOULD BOYCOT MUSLIM STORES AND LET THEM SUFFER

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