Do Sri Lankans wish to partner with India or China?
Posted on July 16th, 2016

Shenali D Waduge

Like it or not the Sri Lankan public will have to come to terms with some hard realities. Our political leaders have failed the nation since independence, their policies have been inconsistent and with the overall aim to only come into power and remain in power, our media have been serving as western lackeys, our rights activists and legal fraternity have not defended the nation and apart from a handful of people bringing out issues of vital concern to the future of the sovereignty even the general public have chosen to ignore their duties as citizens. In such a scenario we have become easy prey for numerous external agendas leaving the nation at a very critical juncture. Given that our leaders have shown little commitment or capacity to create a country-centric policy structure that doesn’t change with every government, we continue to remain paupers begging to be rescued from one chaos after another invariably agreeing to compromise our sovereignty in exchange for bailout of the party in power and not the nation.

 

Two countries that have had ancient links with Sri Lanka are the topic of discussion. For the lack of true leaders to produce a vision for the nation without handing out every inch of land and resource to external powers, we have come to the juncture wherein our people have little choice but to ask themselves a question – which country should Sri Lankans prefer to partner to come out of the abyss.

India

Our historical links to India goes far. Buddha was not born in India as the area belongs to present day Nepal and India got its name only after the British landed. However it is where Bodh Gaya marking the location where the Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment and today declared a UNESCO heritage site. It is also where the Maha Bodhi Temple built by Emperor Ashoka stands. That’s about all since Buddhism was never protected by India thereafter and is presently being used as a soft-political tool to link up with fellow Buddhist nations of Asia having no ideological value outside of that goal. The treatment of Buddhist pilgrims, Buddhist priests and even allowing a mosque to be built 60metres away from the Sacred Temple where Buddhists meditate clearly shows India’s lack of concern for Buddhist sentiments.

India had either voted for the resolutions against Sri Lanka or had abstained in a conflict they first created. Most believe all of the resolutions before being presented had the nod of approval by the Indian leaders. The same was said of the 2002 cease fire agreement and numerous other agreements ventured into with the LTTE since the 1980s.

No historical links and ties can ever forgive or even forget that India actually devised to take unemployed Tamil youth and trained them as armed militants to destabalize Sri Lanka and begin a proxy war which would provide incremental leverage to India both politically, economically and even demographically. India remains the root cause of Sri Lanka’s problems.

Tamils must realize that Indian Governments have no genuine concern for Tamils of Sri Lanka. Tamil Nadu Tamils know too well how North Indians hate them. All of India’s manoeuvrings fit well into India’s Arthashastra policy of annexing Sri Lanka as an Indian colony. The aspiration to appendage Sri Lanka to India remains an unfulfilled dream.

Historically too there is evidence. Indians Sena and Guttika defeated king Suratissa and reigned together for twenty two years. Elara ruled until he was defeated by Dutugemunu in 161 BC. 17 attempts had been made by South Indian Dravidian Tamil speaking invaders since 230BCE to invade Sri Lanka. Tamil intrusions from South India have all been marked by violence and mercenary activity and as such make any to wonder whether these genes are a factor that has contributed to the divides that prevail.

We are wrongly made to feel that India’s Centre is pressurized by the Tamil Nadu State but the reality is that the Indian Centre is very much in control and uses the Tamil Nadu state to increase India’s leverage over Sri Lanka. Thus the poaching issue by Indian fishermen, the bottom-trawlers are all part of a bigger plan to make horse deals and compromise where no compromise is needed. Endless trips back and forth are being wasted when the fundamental solution is India must stop Indian fishermen poaching and stealing fish that belong to Sri Lanka and cease destroying Sri Lanka’s marine bed using thousands of internationally-banned bottom-trawlers. The Katchchitivu issue is also a side-plate to deter people and create media hype around the notion that there is a problem to solve, when clearly the problems are being created by India.

In line with India’s annexation objective is the need to use TAMILS as scapegoat. India deems it right to interfere in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka hoisting the Tamil Grievance concern. The Tamils unfortunately want to play the game by becoming willing-guinea pigs without realizing the damage they are knowingly doing to the nation. Thus, the calls for the removal of the military are stage managed with US-backed groups creating reports of rapes, doctoring evidence and creating the environment to demand the removal of the military.

India is next using the economic crisis engulfing the nation to creep into all key strategic sectors and grip control over them with the long term intent of using these as strategic bargaining tools no different to the economic blockade created against Nepal for refusing to include key provisions India wanted included into Nepals new constitution. When Sri Lankans have ample evidence of the bullying tactics used by India against its neighbour’s should Sri Lankans be giving India any more than what they have deviously secured. The land, road and rail links to India are all with intent to demographically change Sri Lanka and with time the Sinhalese will move from an endangered race to an extinct race altogether. Is this what Sinhalese want?

India’s bilateral agreements are under flak including the CEPA. India’s housing scheme has come under flak for the type of material being used to build the houses as being unsuited for Sri Lankan weather. The coal power plant in Sampoor most believe was just to use as a watch tower over Foul Point on Trincomalee. Cairn Lanka hasn’t done much since starting operations. The new rail link is with the ulterior motive of making access for India to Trincomalee closer than from Colombo to Trincomalee. How far Sri Lanka’s leaders or policy makers know of this or are concerned about this is another matter.

The Sunday Times reveal there are close to 100 Indian companies that have invested $400 million or Rs. 45,600 million but has Sri Lankans benefited from any of them is a good question. Those that complain of Chinese labor in Sri Lanka forget that one Chinese labourer does work of 3 Sri Lankan workers while those pointing fingers do not make any attempts to bring to light the scores of Indians presently working & living illegally.

What has Sri Lanka got from India and the unanimous reply would be – 30 years of LTTE terrorism, the headache of Tamil-LTTE diaspora, interference into internal affairs of Sri Lanka with no shame, diplomatic faux pas like the infamous parippu drop, the threats of Indian naval and air attacks, Indian envoys behaving as viceroys, tweaking Sri Lanka’s constitution via the 13th amendment, bogus historical lies included into Indo-Lanka Accord, diplomatic-arm twisting, enticing weak politicians and the list goes on. The only balancing act would be the Bollywood films and the songs & dances that Sri Lankans are captured by.

While India has wanted to use political, economic, social, friendship ties and whatever ploys it can think of to establish its foothold into Sri Lanka, have any of these become of any worthwhile use to the general public? Have the profits trickled down to the masses or have they been siphoned off.

How many illegal Indians arrive on a daily basis, how many illegal activities are Indians involved in, how many Indians manipulate the open visa system given only to Indians? Even the LTTE declared that 35% of its cadres were from Tamil Nadu. If so should we not make guestimates as to how many Indians from South India may be living like Sri Lankan Tamils over 30 years?

Of the many Indian projects that India has demanded in sensitive strategic areas have any of these been completed or were they just an excuse to place Indians there? Sri Lankans need to start asking themselves more questions.

That India knowingly planned and executed armed militancy in Sri Lanka and its intelligence operatives are very much working on ground and have even steered regime change must surely look at India’s every act of diplomacy, friendship and even business solutions with a whiff of doubt.

It’s always better to be safe than sorry. We should know – 30 years is a long time and calculate the loss at every dimension. With all this knowledge why are even intellectuals pushing for the signing of the ETCA with India knowing that the inclusion of service sector with provisions for Indians, their families to do business, settle down and buy land would once calculated into years automatically make Sri Lanka another state of India? Have people thought seriously about these ramifications.

A nation that has over a billion people, a nation in poverty, a nation that has cheap labor, a nation that has new rich, qualified graduates who are jobless and willing to do any work will soon take over Sri Lankan jobs and will we have leaders and people to ask them to return and will they? Are we not saddled with the Indian laborers brought by the colonial nations to work on plantations decades after the British left? It is one thing to do business ventures with India but when the present business ventures are tilted in favour of India, statistically proven too we must now ask what are the matchmakers proposing the ETCA getting out of the deal personally for there is nothing that will merit the country by allowing a flood of Indians to enter Sri Lanka when already we don’t even know how many are illegally living here.

Today, India is unsafe even for Indians. Even a child is unsafe to be left alone. Rape is rising. The streets are unsafe even for Indians. India’s influence is such that we are signing a MOU to promote the mythological significance of Ramayana.

China

Relations between China and Sri Lanka are long. Relations between the two countries date back to 206 BC when a mission from China arrived in Sri Lanka. According to Raja Rata University Vice Chancellor Prof. W.I. Siriweera, 13 missions had been sent to China by the kings of Anuradhapura between 131 AD and 989 AD. In 428 AD, King Mahanama sent a replica of the Sacred Tooth Relic Shrine to the Chinese emperor. 411-12 AD. During the Ming Dynasty, Admiral Cheng-Ho visited Sri Lanka. Both countries exchanged missions throughout 1416-1459 AD. The exchanges and relations extended long years thereafter.

Despite the first post-independent Sri Lankan government being pro-Western and anti-communist diplomatic relations with China commenced in 1950 though ties were not expanded. However when US refused to give a loan of $50 million requested by Sri Lanka, the island had little choice but to strike the famous Rubber-Rice Pact in 1952 with China. The price Sri Lanka had to pay for dealing with China is a lesson we have all forgotten. The US government invoked the Battle Act putting to an end giving aid to countries selling strategic materials that included rubber to communist countries. US cut off aid to Sri Lanka and stopped selling sulphur which Sri Lanka needed for its rubber plantations.

The same threats and sanctions continue still when Sri Lanka’s leaders do not comply with West-Indian orders. Should we then continue the risk of walking the plank of uncertainty associated with India & the West?

India has chosen to be the outsider of Asia, preferring to now partner US and West’s agenda joining Japan and South Korea.

China’s monumental gifts to Sri Lanka have been many and Sri Lankans proudly can show off scores of tokens of friendship gestures – the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall, the Supreme Court Complex, Central Mail Exchange, re-development of Lady Ridgeway Children’s hospital, Mattala Airport, Hambantota Port, Katunayaka Expressway Project, Nooraichcholai Coal Power plant, Kotte Sewerage System, NPK Compound Fertilizer Project, first fisheries harbour project in Panadura and there are many more.

China has given over US $1million as humanitarian aid for internally displaced persons and technical assistance for de-mining operations in Northern and Eastern provinces. People have also forgotten that the project to make Hambantota Port had first been offered to both India and US and since both did not have the finances to fund it China took on the project.

There is nothing adverse to be mentioned of Chinese government doing any wrong to Sri Lanka as a policy or through any of China’s ventures with Sri Lanka. China has never interfered into the internal affairs of Sri Lanka or exerted any pressure. No demarches have been sent by the Chinese. Despite China’s super power status, China has accorded fullest respect to Sri Lanka in all of its dealings. There have been plenty of individual Indian and Chinese committing various offences but then there are also plenty of Sri Lankans committing the same offence.

What differentiates India from China in its relationship with Sri Lanka is the crucial factor of demographic change. Dealing with one nation means the dangers of the future of the Sinhala race. China will never populate Sri Lanka with Chinese, India has been populating Sri Lanka with South Indians.

While the likelihood of Sri Lanka becoming a colony under undue Indian influence remains, with China it will be a partnership based on a win-win situation. China’s policy has been to give & take not to take and take and take until Sri Lanka has nothing to give.

India’s dealings with Sri Lanka have historical attempts to treat Sri Lanka as inferior and to be ruled over, such treatment has not been seen by China. If we lack leaders and advisors to make demands and diplomatically deal with bullying tactics of others it is not the fault of anyone but our own.

The scenarios are now placed before the readers. Our people are literate but poor analysts. We have changed governments for the promise of reducing bread, we have fallen for well-funded regime change campaigns. We have compromised our nation but there has to be a Brexit-like moment for Sri Lanka to put the country first. The answer is very simple.

In 1978, both countries had similar living standards.

China’s change began between 1978-1989 with Deng Xiaoping’s fang-shou (‘letting go’ and ‘tightening up’) efforts. India’s reforms began more than a decade later in 1991.

  INDIA CHINA
Administrative divisions 29 states and 7 union territories 23 provinces, 5 autonomous regions and 4 municipalities
Population (2015) 1,251,695,584 1,367,485,388
Population below poverty line 29.8% (2010 est.) 6.1%  
Area total: 3,287,263 sq km
land: 2,973,193 sq km
water: 314,070 sq km
total: 9,596,960 sq km
land: 9,326,410 sq km
water: 270,550 sq km
Literacy 62.8% 95.1%
Manpower available 616,000,000 750,000,000
Reserves Foreign Exchange/Gold $370,700,000,000 $3,217,000,,000,000
Labor Force 492,400,000 804,200,000
Children under the age of 5 years underweight 43.5% (2006) 3.4% (2010)
Health expenditures 3.9% of GDP (2011) 5.2% of GDP (2011)
GDP (purchasing power parity) 2013 $4.99 trillion (2013 est.)
$4.833 trillion (2012 est.)
$4.63 trillion (2011 est.)
$13.39 trillion (2013 est.)
$12.43 trillion (2012 est.)
$11.54 trillion (2011 est.)
Annual defense budget (USD) $40,000,000,000 $155,600,000,000
Active military personnel 1,325,000 2,335,000
Aircraft (all types) 2086 2942
Merchant marine strength 340 2030
Major Ports/Terminals 7 15
Fleet strength 295 714
Submarines 14 68
Telephones – main lines in use 31.08 million (2012) 278.86 million (2012)
Internet users 61.338 million (2009) 389 million (2009)
Doing business with (world bank) Ranked 130 Ranked 81
Infrastructure (World Economic Forum) Ranked 81 Ranked 39
Education (UN Human Development report) medium” development category ranked 130 high” development category ranked 90
Global Importance McKinsey & Company globalization report Global connectedness score of 8.5 Global connectedness score of 34.2

ciafacts

Sources: CIA world factbook, wikipedia, public domain, media sources and country data

Shenali D Waduge

16 Responses to “Do Sri Lankans wish to partner with India or China?”

  1. Ananda-USA Says:

    Historical links from Asokan times notwithstanding, Sri Lanka’s PROXIMITY TO INDIA has been a terrible BURDEN for Sri Lanka THROUGHOUT Sri Lanka’s 3 thousand year history.

    Today, as India moves to ASSERT its position as the regional hegemony, Sri Lanka faces a serious threat from India to its sovereignty, territorial integrity and economic independence.

    The ONLY WAY to fend off India’s SUFFOCATING EMBRACE it to develop powerful alliances with other large powers able and willing to confront t India.

    Given India’s new geopolitical alliance with the United States and it’s long standing alliancestors with Russia, that leaves only China as a potential ally and protector for Sri Lanka.

    Therefore, the ANSWER to Shenali’s question is CRYSTAL CLEAR, Sri Lanka has NO OPTION but to develop and foster a STRONG ALLIANCE with China if we want to preserve our existence as an independent sovereign nation!

    We should speak softly to India as our giant permanent neighbor, but we should strengthen our economic, military ad diplomatic defenses and carry a LARGE CHINESE-MADE STICK to deter all potential aggressors!

  2. Christie Says:

    Do we want to be a Mauritius or a Guyana?

  3. sena Says:

    The topic should change as “Do Sri Lankans wish to subservient to India or China” as we do not have absolutely no technology base or know how despite 80 years of higher education

  4. Fran Diaz Says:

    TRADE was the reason for the British Empire. Each colonised country in the tropics especially was used for the Plantations Industry to grow various crops in vast acres. These Plantations needed slave type Labor. Thus the influx of huge numbers of Tamils of Dalit origin into Lanka as indentured labor. These poor Tamils were running away from their Caste system in Tamil Nadu. There are some 15-20 million Tamils of Dalit origin in Tami Nadu – Caste being stamped on their birth certificates.

    The Colonial British brought over a million Tamil Dalits as Cheap Indentured Labor to Lanka to work the Upcountry Tea Plantations. The Colonial Dutch brought nearly half a million Tamils of Dalit origin to Lanka to work the Tobacco Plantations in the North.

    These Tamils are used by Tamil leaders for Separatism, leading to internal conflicts and civil wars. If Lanka is to be saved, this influx of Tamils has to stop.

    It is high time Lanka mechanised the Tea plucking industry to lessen the need for Cheap Labor. One tea plucking machine (costs are low per machine now, around $60 from China), replaces 4 workers. Lanka will then need less and less Cheap Labor. It is high time Lanka moved the Tamil Labor in the govt owned Tea areas outside the Tea acres and gave them housing OUTSIDE the tea areas. Anyone can work the tea machines.

    It is the subtle stuff that brings Nations to their knees. Ex-Empires are waiting to reclaim unwary nations ….. ?

    Lanka should be free to trade with all nations, depending on Lanka Peoples’ needs. China has been a ‘friend in need’ to Lanka. But proceed with caution in all matters – do not go overboard.

  5. Christie Says:

    Fran, Coolies were not Dalits. Dalits were never allowed to leave their abodes. They were not slaves like the Africans that were taken by British and other Europeans.
    Indians have bred like flies in Indian colonies in the Tropics. They have taken over most of the place like Mauritius, Guyana, Fiji and soon Sri Lanka.
    Please read about other British Indian colonies.

  6. Nihal Perera Says:

    Like many Lankans, I am dead against SL getting closer to India. Indians are two faced hypocrites and their policies towards SL have been extremely bias, favouring Tamils over Sinhalese. Though we share similar culture, we do not need to go to bed with them, or build a bridge connecting the two countries physically, as Ranil wants. It would be a total disaster for Sri Lanka, which will be swamped by the bloody South Indians from Toilet Nadu..!

    On the other hand, I have no problem SL getting closer to China, which I consider the best friend Sri Lanka has, and only country that helped us to wipe out Tamil terrorism, without any pre-conditions attached. India will never become an economic superpower the way China is and will never be able to match the Chinese military power.

    The best policy for SL is to use both India and China to get what it wants. However, if we have to choose one over the other, China wins hands down.

    Never trust the bloody Indians…!

  7. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    Your idea of mechanizing the Tea Plucking is good. What is the future of every four Labourers displaced.? It is this thought that has delayed the Mechanisation.

    Admittedly Sinhalese Labour is LAZY. These Tamil Coolies, get up at 3.00am in the morning to the Beat of the * get up * drum, which sends vibrations throughout the whole estate. Even I have got up for the echo of the Drum. They have to assemble at the Factory around 3.00am to go for Sulphur Dusting, in terrible cold weather. I have witnessed this having occasionally lived on Pedro Estate, and Gonapitiya.

    What we can do best is to make sure that no more Man Power is coming from India onto the TEA ESTATES. This is wishful thinking, with the Lunacy of the PM to build a Sea Bridge connecting South India and North Sri Lanka.

    HEAVEN HELP SRILANKA. THERE HAS TO BE A LIGHTENING MIRACLE.

  8. Fran Diaz Says:

    Hi Christie,

    This is my understanding of the word “Coolie”, which is the term invented by the British Empire to replace the word ‘Slavery’.

    All ‘Coolies’ are not necessarlly Dalits, or Tamil Dalits. There were Chinese ‘coolies’ & even African ‘coolies’ working for the British Empire.

    Re Sri Lanka case :

    My understanding is that many low caste Tamil people fled Tamil Nadu in the 18th & 19th centuries from Tamil Nadu to work in the Lanka Plantations industries under the British & the Dutch.
    None of the higher caste Indian (including Tamil Nadu area) folk touched ‘coolie’ work. It were only the poverty stricken and low in the social ladder Tamils by Caste, who fled Tamil Nadu area to come to Lanka. Most of them had to be of Dalit origin. They were the ones who had no alternative but to flee Tamil Nadu.

    ———-

    Hi Susantha,

    Thank you for response.

    Not all Tamil Labor will be displaced. Only those Tamil folk who are disenchanted with life as tea pluckers or workers in tea trade will leave.
    We have suggested earlier that there ought to be Free Trade Zones in many parts of the island. Employment should be provided for Sinhala, Tamil & Muslim people in the FTZs. The Education System has to be re-vamped to suit employment.

    I disagree that Sinhala workers are lazy. That is just a cliche. Sinhala people have a history of having the best irrigation system in the whole of Asia and built great stupas and places of Buddhist worship, plus great Buddhist learning centres. Sinhala folk from rural areas were not motivated to work under Colonists (nearly 500 yrs of Colonisation !!). We cannot blame them for that attitude as they had virtually lost their country, and their spirit broken.
    Look at the ordinary British (English people) of today – they have the same attitude in that they are protesting that their country is being over run by foreigners from the EU. The social balance has been seriously upset ! Thus the Brexit to quit the EU. And Britain wasn’t even long colonised as was Lanka thought they had earlier wars with Europe – they were just in the EU following EU rules. It is a similar feeling in Lanka – the ordinary people have to feel that the country belongs to them and not to outside people. That will motivate them to keep the country intact and work toward that which is needed.

    They have to be inspired to work through incentives and taught as children what happens if they don’t put that effort needed to keep their country whole and wholesome. Lessons in Patriotism needed in schools …

    Re sulphur dusting etc in Tea estates, and Tamil workers getting up at 3 am : I don’t think this type of hardship is necessary in the context of modern knowledge of plant diseases ?
    The great danger in a Tea plantation upcountry is the disease Blister Blight and tea plant root diseases which I understand are treated with Copper spray even 2025 times/year and Methyl bromide for root disease. I am not an expert in this field and would welcome comments from people with more knowledge on the subject.
    Making poor Tamil workers get up at 3 am (it’s dark at that time – how can anyone work in the dark ?), may have been another gimmick to ‘keep the coolies down’ …? May have been an ignorant practice of earlier times ? not sure.

  9. Fran Diaz Says:

    read as ” … even 20 to 25 times/year”.

  10. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    FRAN !! SINHALESE LABOURERS ARE A VERY VERSATILE LOT. YES THEY DO WORK VERY HARD. I ONLY MEANT THAT THEY WOULD NOT GET UP AT THAT TIME…3.00AM IN THE MORNING IN THE SEVERE COLD TO DO WHAT THE INDIAN COOLIES DO TO ENGAGE IN SULPHUR DUSTING. IAM TALKING OF LONG YEARS BACK, WHEN I WAS IN MY EARLY TEENS. YES, THERE MAY BE MODERN METHODS NOW.

  11. Fran Diaz Says:

    Susantha,

    It’s ok. I now understand what you were trying to say. We are in a new time frame now and new ways in the tea sector. Yet there are complaints …

    See below the new scenario from an article from the New Internationalist, Mar 25, 2014. Please note that the author of the article has failed to record that the line rooms are now owned by the workers plus 40 perches land attached to each line room, thanks to the kindness and fairplay of former Pres Mahinda Rajapakse & his govt.

    ——–

    The True cost of your cup of Tea

    by Marco Picardi

    It is 6.30am in Sri Lanka’s Hill Country, and the sun has just risen to reveal the distant peaks of the Knuckle Mountain Range. Men and women file out of a tumbledown Hindu temple nestled on a quiet hillside. They tread along stony paths in flip-flops or bare feet up into the slopes above. Once they reach the elevated tea fields the temple goers fan out: the men clutching curved kokaththa knives go one way, to manage plant overgrowth; the women head for the harvest-ready plants with long leaf-picking sticks.

    Under a high-altitude sun and immersed in the bucolic landscape, tea cultivators toil into the mid-afternoon breaking only for intermittent rain showers. Surrounded by bloodthirsty leeches and poisonous snakes, hand tea cultivation is bruising work that demands painstaking attention; pickers choose only the greenest leaves from each bud by hand, and trimmers maintain all plants level by eye.

    Finally, once the minimum tealeaf quotas are met, the women carry the day’s pickings, collected in large sacks, back down the hillside to be weighed before they are transported to a nearby processing factory up at the top of the valley. An average 18-kilo haul brings in around 380 rupees ($3).

    This laborious daily ritual has hardly changed for Sri Lanka’s upcountry Tamils since their ancestors were brought over by the British from Southern India to work on the Sinhalese-majority island’s tea and coffee plantations in the 19th century. And while British Ceylon may no longer exist, the harsh working and living conditions faced by those involved in the primary stages of Ceylon tea production continue.

    Although citizenship was finally granted to all stateless Persons of Indian Origin in 2003, most tea pickers in Sri Lanka still live without housing and land rights or access to basic services. Today’s upcountry Tamils, who make up around five per cent of the country’s population, live in the same two-room dwellings that the British had built for their forebears. The families residing in these shacks do so without running water or electricity, meaning that coal-fired cook stoves become the main source of light and heating, which in these poorly ventilated homes comes with the noxious potential for inducing respiratory disease.

    Almost without exception, the companies that own the tea estates that the plantation Tamils work on also own the settlements that they reside in. This arrangement means that tea pickers have no official tenure rights, effectively tying them to work in exchange for a fragile right to housing. With the notion of officialized pension structures a distant dream, women regularly work well into old age to support themselves.

    Moreover, in spite of their newly acquired citizenship, many tea pickers still struggle to procure the correct documentation to access healthcare and education. Linguistic, cultural and geographic barriers combine to hamper their full integration into the national welfare services, and the tea companies’ ownership of housing discourages the government from intervening in these Tamils’ situation. This combination of landlessness and social ostracism creates a situation that effectively ties many upcountry Tamils to their plantations and a cycle of perpetual poverty.

    The 2012 UNDP Sri Lanka Human Development Report identified people in the estate sector, together with those affected by the conflict in the north, as the communities facing the most extreme poverty. This is a reality that belies the International Monetary Fund’s 2010 reclassification of Sri Lanka as a middle-income country. But a striking paradox exists. This is because the country’s economic success is partially built on the development of Ceylon tea. The island is the joint third largest tea producer in the world, and tea is the third biggest sector in its economy, yet here in the Hill Country it’s clear that the tea field workers are not sharing in this billion-dollar industry.

    While government rhetoric on this issue has been consistently improving – the latest budgetary provisions were announced in 2012 to improve access of services for tea pickers – the reality of deprived conditions for upcountry Tamils is scarcely improving. In 2014 tea pickers remain ensconced in a form of caste system that is binding them to extreme poverty.

    Whatever the reason for the inaction on this, the disconnect between the wealth generated by Sri Lanka’s tea industry and its frontline workers will not improve unless the political narrative of democratic progression is followed by tangible measures that help introduce an economic democracy for the Hill Country tea pickers.

    Published on March 25, 2014 by Marco Picardi

  12. plumblossom Says:

    India has over 400 million poor people and over 40 million people in India are unemployed. If this ETCA is signed and the Hanuman bridge is built all these desperate people in India will come in droves to Sri Lanka since the socio-economic situation of Sri Lanka is a million times better than the socio economic situation of India. I would urge the uncaring and cruel Indian government to provide basic housing, clean water, sanitation, healthcare, education, food and clothing to these desperately poor 400 million Indians rather than spending US 5.2 billion dollars in building a Hanuman bridge to Sri Lanka. If Sri Lanka signs this ETCA with India it will be Sri Lanka’s end. Sri Lanka should not sign any such trade deals where people can come here to work freely, unless the country we are signing the ETCA with has a similar or a better socio-economic situation than Sri Lanka. I would urge the uncaring, corrupt and cruel India Government to immediately stop building space stations and nuclear weapons and use that money to provide basic housing, clean water, sanitation, healthcare, education, food and clothing to the 400 million desperately poor people of India which is a government’s basic responsibility. Sri Lanka should stop immediately the signing of ETCA with India and urge the Indian Government to carry out the above task rather than serving the rich people of India only which the uncaring and cruel Indian Government seems to be doing.

  13. plumblossom Says:

    Sri Lanka should tell the US that Sri Lanka cannot abide by the UNHRC resolution. The Sri Lankan Army did not commit any war crimes. It is the LTTE terrorists who committed war crimes throughout 26 years of war. No country with an ounce of self respect will place their army in harms way to be tried by a court domestic or hybrid of war crimes the army did not commit in anyway. If individual soldiers committed any crimes, a complaint can be placed in a court of law in Sri Lanka. Why is there a need for special judicial procedures? This government is a puppet of the US, EU, UK, Norway, Sweden, Canada and India and is so subservient to US interests that it is ready to try its own armed forces for crimes that the armed forces did not commit. All the while, the LTTE terrorists who committed war crimes are being shown as totally innocent. Using the ploy of wanting a new constitution which almost all Sri Lankans don’t want, this treacherous government is trying to create a separate state in the guise of a federal state as the TNA separatist terrorists and the US, EU, UK, Norway, Sweden, Canada and India wants. Sri Lanka should tell the US that Sri Lanka cannot abide by the UNHRC resolution. The worst that the US, UK, EU, Sweden, Norway and India can do is impose sanctions on Sri Lanka. So what? Sri Lanka can trade with all the countries of Asia and the rest of the world even if the US, UK, EU, Norway, Sweden and India imposes sanctions. Sri Lanka can grow rice, we have jack fruit, bananas, bread fruit and plenty of water too. So we will not starve just because the US, UK, EU, Sweden, Norway and India imposes sanctions. Also since we can trade with the powerful economies of Asia which includes the Middle East, South East Asia, South Asia, the Far East and Central Asia as well as the rest of the world, actually, we may be OK economically too despite any sanctions imposed by the US, EU, UK, Norway, Sweden, Canada and India. However by avoiding implementing the unjust UNHRC resolution, Sri Lanka will safeguard its independence and freedom which is the most important thing for the next thousands of years as we have safeguarded our independence and freedom for at least the last 2600 years and avoid the creation of a separate state or eelam in the guise of a federal state. So Sri Lanka must very urgently tell the US that we will not abide by the unjust UNHRC resolution but carry out our own domestic process of reconciliation as we see fit. Let the imperialist US impose sanctions. Nothing much will happen to our economy since we can trade with the powerful economies of Asia and the rest of the world instead but Sri Lanka would have preserved its independence and freedom for the next thousands of years and avoid the partition of the country and the creation of a separate state which will be Sri Lanka’s end.

  14. plumblossom Says:

    Not only this, the treacherous Ranil, Sirisena, CBK, Mangala, idiotic UNPers, those INGOs working for thousands of dollars and even the JVP are trying to dismember the country via constitutional changes. We patriotic Sri Lankans should demand a strong central government, no more powers to provincial councils, no merger between provinces, ideally abolition of the 13th amendment to the constitution and absolute safeguarding of the sovereignty of the country.

    The army did not commit any war crimes. it is the LTTE who committed war crimes. However, it is high time that Sri Lanka rejected the US imperialists UNHRC resolution and state at the UNHRC to leave Sri Lanka alone to get on with reconciliation as Sri Lanka sees fit.

    Actually Sri Lanka today being accused of committing war crimes by the US, UK, EU, Norway, Sweden, Canada, India etc. is very similar to the way Saddam Hussein and Iraq was accused of possessing non existent WMDs. Although Iraq did everything possible to show the US, UK, EU, Norway, Sweden, Canada etc. that it did not possess WMD it was bombed anyway, regime change brought about since Iraq has massive amounts of oil which the US, UK, EU, Norway, Sweden, Canada companies wanted to extract at cheap rates by bringing on a puppet regime. A similar scenario is unfolding in Sri Lanka since Sri Lanka is located at a strategic location, the US wanting to establish a naval/air base at Trincomalee, the US wanting to establish further US army, navy, air force bases in the island, mineral resources, marine resources, control of the Indian ocean sea routes etc. For this, the separatist, terroristic Tamils who are subservient to the US are who the US is favouring to help them with this task. This is why the US favours eelam. All patriotic Sri Lankans should therefore tell the government to withdraw from carrying out the US resolution and to tell the US to leave Sri Lanka alone.

  15. plumblossom Says:

    Sri Lanka needs a strong central government in the form of the executive presidency. It is the executive presidency which is keeping the unitary state together since provincial councils have now been provided powers. Therefore if the executive presidency is abolished, the provincial councils will become more powerful and the separatist terroristic TNA will try to break away using threats the North and the East. the PR system is the fairest system which means each vote counts. It is a very democratic system. We do not need any changes to the constitution. These changes to the constitution are only suggested to bring on stealthily a federal or a separate state by falsely labelling it as ‘unitary’ to hoodwink the idiotic Sinhala Buddhists. We do not need any changes to the constitution which is what the separatist terrorists of the TNA, US, UK, EU, Norway, Sweden and Canada wants to dismember this country. Also it is the executive presidential system which can easily carry out programmes to develop the country since otherwise there will be endless wranglings within the cabinet and in parliament about what path to follow for development to happen. A well meaning executive president can easily implement a reasonable and suitable programme to take the country forward. Another main reason to keep the executive presidency as it is to counter the separatist threat since a strong executive president can stop any treacherous activities which goes against the independence, freedom, sovereignty, unitary status etc. of the country since the executive president is elected directly by the people’s vote and is answerable to all the people of the country as a result. So for all these reasons, there is no need whatsoever to change the constitution. However the provincial councils should not be given any more powers, there should not be any merger between provinces, ideally the 13th amendment to the constitution should be abolished and there should be a strong central government if Sri Lanka is to move forward as a country and since it is a small country.

  16. Ancient Sinhalaya Says:

    China
    China
    China

    When you are with the mighty Chinese nobody troubles you. UK, ds (dvided states, formerly known as united
    states), germany, etc, etc. stay away from Sri Lanka since they don’t want to upset the biggest trading partner
    in the world. When compared to China, two-faced crafty indians are miles behind. Their standing in the world
    is nowhere near the Chinese. Indians are a pathetic bully and when face the Chinese, they try to be very
    very nice since they are no match at all.

    Being modayas and dhrohiyas, some Sinhalese donkeys don’t understand this simple truth. China is the right
    antibiotics to keep the bad rashes uk, ds (divided states formerly united states, they kill their own at the drop
    of a hat, but preaches all over the world how to treat people nice; these are the people who killed millions
    in hiroshima, nagasaki, vietnam, iraq, libya, afganisthan etc. etc. still the world policeman) stay away from Sri
    Lanka.

    Look what the Chinese did in Sri Lanka in under 10 years. Catholic tigers of tamil drealam disappeared.
    They built motorways, airports, harbours, etc. etc. But with catholic run UNPatriotic party and their bankrup west you
    get nothing. On top of that racist foreigner cancers in Sri Lanka tamils and mussies who want t dismember
    Sri Lanka to have their drealam and saudi colony. When the Chinese around, these cancers just become
    poodles. But Sinhala modayas can’t understand this simple truth. Is it any wonder we are called
    Sinhala modayas!

    China or india Sinhala modayas? We know the answer from the brain-dead, deaf and blind.

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