Devolution! A solution for Tamils or a problem for all
Posted on June 21st, 2009

Herold Leelawardena

Now that Peripaharan is dead and LTTE is defunct, getting Eelam through war may be over. Good thing, there had been no top rung survivors other than KP, the fugitive. I wish he too had been with Peripaharan and his hoodlums when our forces send them to hell to burn forever. KP is too rich, cunning and vicious to be left out. He will no doubt consolidate his leadership of LTTE soon and be a great threat to our VVIPs. Hence, he should be hunted down, sooner the better. If not, we certainly will have to regret before long.

 Anyway, protagonists of Eelam are back in the drawing board for new strategies. This time, they have two different game plans: Diaspora Tamils want to get to Eelam on a straight run. And, those who based in Sri Lanka want it by stages. They want to hunt the hare with the hare. Perhaps, the Latter is more dangerous than the former. Make no mistake; Eelam is the endgame of both.

 INGOs, NGOs, Evangelists of the West, Federalists, Separatists, and all kinds of LTTE backers bray; Tamils in Sri Lanka have problems. But none tell us the problems of Tamils for being Tamils. How could you remedy a problem if that is not specified?

 Some say; Tamils are being discriminated by the Sinhalese. What about the Muslims and the Burgers and the Malays? They do not complain of being discriminated. They seemed to be content rather. They have taken up positions in the police, army and all other government institutions. What are the special problems of Tamils that other minorities do not have?

 Of late, Subramanian Sami and few other Indian politicians started the game that separatist Tamil leaders had been playing for a long time. They decries the Sinhalese discrimination against Tamils must be stopped and “ƒ”¹…”self rule’ is the answer. Here Tamil means, Tamils that live in the north and east only. Or, are they suggesting “ƒ”¹…”self rule’ for Tamils that live in the south as well.

 Sinhalese could not have been discriminating Tamils during the British rule. Yet, Tamils had been demanding “ƒ”¹…”self rule’ or Eelam since long before the independence.

The official language of Sri Lanka was English, when S.J.V.Chelvenayagam had set up the political party “ƒ”¹…”the Thamil Arasu Kachchi’ meaning “ƒ”¹…”the separatist party’ in 1949. There was no language problem then. His aim was “ƒ”¹…”self rule’ for North and East Tamils.

 Sixty percent of all Tamils in Sri Lanka live outside the north and east and amongst the Sinhalese. How are they going to get their language problem solved from the “ƒ”¹…”self rule’ for north and east Tamils? Indian politicians must talk about not just the problems of north and east Tamils but other Tamils and other minorities that live outside north and east.

 I feel there is only one community in Sri Lanka that has specific problems. They are the plantation Tamils that live amongst the Sinhalese. We ought to be ashamed of their sordid living conditions. Lack of opportunity and education are bona fide problems of these unfortunate people, though the present president is doing his best to put right. Is it fair to put them aside and talk about a solution to nonexistent problems of north and east Tamils?

 Those forces that back LTTE when it was thought to be unbeatable are back in action once again. As before, they moan about language and a host of other problems. They insist that devolution of power to a combine North and East Province alone would solve these problems. More the devolution, betters the solution to their problems, they say.

 However much power being devolved to a new N&E Provincial Council; it would not solve problems of Tamils that live outside the north and east. Granting police and land powers to the Chief Minister of a new N&E Provincial Council would not affect their status.

 Claims like North and East of Sri Lanka are traditional homeland of Tamils are nothing but a myth. If such bogus claims are a part of Tamil strategy of inching towards Eelam, then devolving of power would be a leap towards it.

 Reserving a part of the country for one community is nothing but racism. More so if sixty percent live outside it. But that is what separatists and racist LTTE wants. Did not LTTE chased Muslims and the Sinhalese away from the north?

 Segregation should not be promoted because it breeds racism. Whether it is for Tamils, Muslims or Sinhalese, we should promote integration because it promotes tolerance.

 Prof Witharana is too engrossed in his views to see these simple things. He wants to fulfill Tamil aspirations. He wants to discount Mahinda Chinthana and shove in maximum devolution for a starter. Witharana is a gullible he cannot see Eelam is their end game.

 Everything LTTE did illegally would be done legally and tactically by a full powered chief minister of the joint N&E. Raciest Tesawalame law is always there to support the endeavors of such a man. No wonder, the very same lot that backed LTTE is now rallying around Witharana.

 Witharana may be a professor of medical sciences but he is a total failure as a politician as much as all his kiths and kin of the old left. Witharana has no chance in hell to get elected to a local council let alone to the Parliament. He has to be appointed all the time. He is not in touch with the accepted wisdom of the populace but his own aged vision. Such a man should not have been appointed to be the Chairman of APRC in the first place.

 Two Provincial councils for north and east are separated for good. Yet, neo racists don’t give up. They come up with all kind of fib to get them amalgamated. They want Provincial councils to be vested with more power than an Indian state. If you hear how and why Tamil Nadu and Karnataka had a big brawl for water, you will never ever support devolution to Provincial Councils.

In 1991, there had been a bitter dispute among Dravidians for rights of the water of Cauvery River. The Supreme Court of India ordered Karnataka State to issue a specific amount of water to Tamils of Tamil Nadu. Mr. Bangarappa, the Chief Minister of Karnataka not only refused to abide by that order, but organized a state wide strike against that order on December 13, 1991.

You may recall how LTTE had arrogantly shut down water gates at Mawil Aru annicut in June 1996 illegally. Had LTTE accepted ChandrikaB’s ten-year offer to rule without elections, they could have shut it down legally. And we would be compelled to plead the so-called International community to save us.

 Tamils face the same problems as Sinhalese, Muslims or any other for that matter. Each has no more or no less problems. As a Sinhalese, I too face problems. I feel; I pay too much tax we are over governed but get less and less in return. How could I get a better return when we have too many chiefs and no bottle washers amongst politicians? MPs are no more, all are Ministers and they have no time for their constituents.

 Take for instant; we have over one hundred or so ministers. If it cost two million rupees to maintain a minister over and above that of an MP, it would have cost two and a half billion rupees per year to maintain all of them. That is a hell of a lot of money for a poor country like ours. Each one of these Ministers agrees in public that they are far too many. Yet, only JHU and Weerawansa fraction of the JVP act upon it.

 We have an under working and ineffectual bureaucracy as well. Government departments are overstaffed, and are lethargic to say the least. Bureaucracy of the law Courts is perhaps the least efficient and most corrupt in this country. Often, one cannot get things done without giving them something or hanging around the whole day.

 Have we managed to resolve at least some of those issues after power being devolved to the provincial councils? No. Forty five more ministers and nine governors would have been added if all nine councils were functioning. Billions more have to be pumped to maintain them. They say hefty eighty percent of the budget for maintenance and just twenty percent for development.

 That is not to say there aren’t any hard working bureaucrats in our country. GS in my area is only a one of them that I know of as hard working. It is well known that he does not postpone anything for another day no matter what. Is it devolution we need or more such officers like him?

 We would not have won the war if the Defense ministry is not efficiently managed. Yet, we do not see a minister for each force. Why couldn’t the other ministries be like that?

2 Responses to “Devolution! A solution for Tamils or a problem for all”

  1. velu Says:

    U talk about Tamil Rascism and us say ur too smart.Fine.Can i ask u one question – why tamils from east and north come to Tamilnadu as refugee instead of moving to other parts of srilanka when ther was war in north.
    Does this show u people dont want tamils to live in srilanka?
    Do tamils think Srilanka is not safe place or Other parts of srilanka as foreign country?
    Why u have kept all tamils in fenced camps.Are they not humanbeings.And one of ur minister says if tamils dye of hunger then they will not take responsibility.How dare a people elected minister say this.

  2. ganeshan Says:

    Your article is well written and very informative.This type of unrest will continue elsewhere owing to migration and the reluctance of the migrant to assimilate with the host.Here in England the Sinhalese have managed to do so. I do hope the Tamils too do likewise and forget that they are TAMILS and accept that they are second class BRITISH otherwise they will only create problems for themselves as they have done in Sri-Lanka.If they are dreamers then they can dream of TAMIL NADU in INDIA.Tamils have to take stock of their misdoings and correct their dubious and cunning ways.If the Asylum Seekers think they have manged to fool the Canadian,British,Norwegian and host of other governmenta these countries will have the last laugh at them.The problem with the TAMILS are that they think they are better than everyone else. VISIT TAMIL NADU to learn the truth.

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