Why we should reject Devolution under the 13th Amendment.
Posted on June 22nd, 2009

Dr Sudath Gunasekara. President Mahanuwara Senior Citizens Movement- writing from U.S.A. 15.6.2009.

 

 “Manga hondata tibenam -Yanta parath penenam

 Kima bediwala yanne -Man mulawu ekaku se” –An old Sinhala dictum

 

If we devolve political power to the provinces under the 13th Amendment  that will definitely mark the first step in the division of this Island nation in to a number of rival ethnic states, eternally fighting for supremacy, at the end of which every one will perish. It will first lead to the establishment of at least two separate states; one for the Tamils in the North, East and the Central Hills (T=12% (6% in the N+E and 6% C/Hills) and the other, for all other people (88% = S 75%+T 6% and +M&Malay 7%)  in the rest of the country, with possible room for  further disintegration in future. In other words with this decision we will be paving the way for the establishment of the EELAM in Sri Lanka, what the LTTE failed to achieve after thirty years of war with the government that resulted in killing nearly 100,000 people and  destroyed billions of Rupees worth of national assets and retarded the development of the country at least by another 100 years. Further such devolution will results not only in a betrayal of all the sacrifices made by thousands of our heroic warriors who sacrificed their lives in the name of the nation over the years but it will also turn the political map of this country upside down  and make it irreversible for ever. As for the government definitely it will be political suicide. The end result would be, a cursed land of eternal killing and bleeding for territorial feuds, that will finally mark the extinction of the 2500 year old Sri Lankan Sinhala Buddhist civilization from the surface of this earth.

In this backdrop the 13th amendment will never provide a solution to the present problem. It will create more problems than any one ever expected. Therefore the remedy will be worse than the malady. Therefore in my opinion any attempt to invoke the provisions of the 13th amendment will only end up as an Ambuda gesiima for Atiisaraya.

 

The purpose of this article  is threefold.

 

First, to outline the ongoing debate on this issue in the so-called international circles and their lackeys at home. Second, to discuss the dangers and disastrous implications of devolution under the 13th amendment and finally, to offer an alternative devolution model to restore sustainable political stability, ethnic harmony and peace and prosperity in this Island.

 

Part 1

 

Misconceptions and biases of the ongoing debate on devolution

 

It appears that the debate on devolution of political rights in Sri Lanka, particularly after the defeat of the LTTE has assumed more prominence than any other current  international issue. The stage for this debate has been set by the west and their allies who are all out to discredit the Sri Lankan government on its achievements and obstruct its forward march for nation building. Although they are engaged in a rhetorical warfare, it is ironical that none of them seem to have a proper understanding of the Sri Lankan situation either. This situation is clearly seen when we examine what they say and what they do. For example they all have a common vocabulary and a vituperative tone when they refer to the Sri Lankan problem. All of them talk about granting legitimate aspirations of minority Tamil people, devolution of political power to the East and the North, power sharing with the minorities, ending discrimination against the Tamils, immediate relief to Tamils displaced due to the war with LTTE so that they can return to their homes, stopping colonization of the Tamil homeland in the North and the East and removing discrimination against them. They also talk of Sinhala Buddhist majoritarian hegemony, neo-fascist Sinhala Buddhist elements within the majority community, Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism that torment the Tamils, blab blab day and night like parrots. But none of these  protagonists of the Tamil cause speak a single word about the rights of the Sinhala people who are solely responsible for the unique civilization that is Sri Lankan in this Island. This clearly demonstrates their open bias towards the Tamils. Probably they all have one common agenda of keeping this Island nation politically destabilized and economically dependent on them for ever. Let these fools be made to understand that we don’t have chauvinists and communalists or racist fascists either among the Sinhala Buddhists, as their bed mate friends, the Tamils do have.

 

Their ideas are expressed and statements are issued under certain forgone assumptions and conclusions they seemed to have arrived at on some misconceptions based on disinformation pumped by the Tamils and their allies. For example they think this country is a land of many nations, Tamils in Sri Lanka are also a nation who had a separate home land in the north and the east ruled by them for thousands of years, the Sinhala Buddhists are a fascist nation, the government has carried out a programme of settling Sinhala peasants on the traditional Tamil lands  and the Tamils are treated as second grade citizens, Tamils are not given any place in the governing process, there is discrimination against the Tamils and other minority groups, the Sinhala majority oppress the minorities, the government is Sinhala dominated and it caters only to the needs of the Sinhalese. They also attribute the present plight of Tamil IDPs totally to the fault of the Sri Lankan government, not realizing that all these sufferings and  destruction are the direct results of thirty years of LTTE misadventures and the communal politics of narrow minded Tamil politicians who have been setting ablaze the extremist communal sentiments among the innocent Tamil people to fight against the government. These critics also have failed to understand that the millions of land mines buried in the north and the east was done by none other than their bed mates LTTE. They also have failed to understand  that it is the LTTE and their proxies including these very nations who talk on behalf of them, who trained them, supplied arms and ammunition and gave political and moral support to them, who are directly responsible for the deaths and obstacles of resettling the IDPs back in their home areas.

 

All these unwanted aspersions and comments, which have no substance or an atom of truth, are therefore based on diabolical fabrications and mythical inventions founded by extremist Tamil politicians, sometimes instigated and hatched by these very colonial elements. Do they really know that the lands where Sinhala peasants were re-settled under the so-called colonization schemes were their own land where their ancestors were living for centuries until the Magha invaders in the 12th century devastated that civilization and chased them out? In sum what all these activists agitate for is an autonomous Tamil state for the Tamils in the north and the East who constitute only a fraction of the country’s population (about 3%). But the land area demanded is 1/3 the area of the country. It also includes 2/3 the length of the sea coast. So the balance 97 % of the population will have to be cramped in to the balance 2/3 of the area. When the hill country Tamils (6%) also join the EELAM as envisaged by the fathers of EELAM  what is left for the remaining 91 % is only 1/3 of the total area of the country. Majority rule

 

Some of them like Bruce Fein, the ill famed retired Deputy Attorney General of USA (an attorney retained by the US based Tamils Against Genocide) who is said to be getting US$ 100,000 pm from the LTTE may be doing it for money while some others in US, Canada, UK, France, India and Norway are doing it on the pressure brought on them by Tamil electors resident in their constituencies and may be for geopolitical and economic reasons as well. As Stephen Long has pointed out (Los Angeles California 2009.6.11)  Hillary Clinton may be acting on pressure from persons like Senator Patric Leahey (Current Chairman of the Judiciary Committee) and Senator Robert Casey (Chairman of the Foreign Relation Sub-committee) who may have been bribed by the Bruce Fein.

 

I give below few glaring examples of few such aggressive and abhorrent statements referred to above for you to get a true picture of their attitude and the display of their callous behavior.

 

 

1.Sri Lanka should devolve  power to Tamils:

 

New Delhi (PTI): The Congress on Monday demanded that Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa should fulfill his promise of devolution of power to minority Tamils and end their “discrimination” to bring lasting peace in the island.

During the debate on the Motion of Thanks on the President’s Address, Jayanthi Natarajan (Cong) said it was absolutely vital for the Sri Lankan government to ensure immediate relief to Tamils displaced due to the war with LTTE so that they can return to their homes.

The war zone needs to be de-mined so that the displaced Tamils can return to their

homes, she said, stressing on proper relief and rehabilitation for the war-affected and medical attention to the injured.

“We demand that President Mahinda Rajapaksa ensures proper devolution of authority to Tamils (as was promised by him),” she said adding “discrimination” against minority Sri Lankan Tamils should end.

“Nothing short of this will satisfy us,” she said.

Ms. Natarajan said “20,000 innocent Tamil civilians were killed” in the war against LTTE and it was time that the entire world community stands up to see that the Sri Lankan President fulfills his promise to treat “Sri Lankan Tamils as equal citizens.”

(I don’t think any country should be allowed to unnecessarily interfere with our internal matters. India also should be clearly told that Tamils in Sri Lanka are our citizens and not their’s any more. If they are so concerned about them why not ask India to take them there so that then they can provide these people all the privileges and rights they are craving for instead of trying to use Sri Lanka as a cat’s paw to draw the political chesnuts for them)

2.June 7th, 2009

U.N.Secretary-General Ban Ki moon has warned of the risk of rising triumphalism in Sri Lanka following the military defeat inflicted upon the (LTTE) Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam

 

I don’t think I should delve in details about all such strictures made by international agencies and certain officials like Mrs Pillei and the UN and the so-called Human Rights Watch people. There recent attempt to charge the President and the Heads of the Armed Forces who only fought against a terrorist outfit and saved the legitimately elected government and the country from terror, for war crimes while not talking a word about the heinous crimes committed by the LTTE over the past thirty odd years alone is enough to highlight their arrogant and partial attitudes on this issue. Most of these critics take an upper hand and go to the extent of even forgetting that they have no such mandate to issue strictures and orders on the Head of another sovereign country. They also uphold the view that the LTTE has a legitimate right to overthrow the Sri lankan government and establish their dream EELAM in Sri Lanka. What an international diabolical conspiracy against the Sinhala Buddhist nation? If they are so concerned about the Tamils why can’t these people support them to establish the EELAM in South India,the true historical Home Land of the Tamils, where 65 million Tamils live.

 

All these concepts and ideologies, these so called political analysts have picked up from mythical inventions and fabrications invented by the ultra communal and racist Tamil elements who have fabricated them to carve out a Tamil Homeland in Sri Lanka (instead of South India the actual Home Land of Tamils where over 65 million Tamils live) during the past half a century. All evidence provided by eminent historians on Sri Lanka have firmly established that there had been no permanent Tamil settlements in this country before the 13th century. Even eminent Tamil scholars like K. Indrapala have conclusively agreed with these findings. One wonders how nice it would be if these nations, institutions and individuals who preach us could first sweep their own compounds before they try to sweep other’s.

 

Tamils of Sri Lanka

 

The Tamils of Sri Lanka today belong to five categories. Group no 1 are those left outs from previous invaders who later assimilated with the native Sinhalese. Group two are those Malabar labourers who were brought by the Dutch in the 17th century to Jaffna to work on their tobacco plantations and labourers brought by the British in the following years to work on public works. Traders and others who came in search of better fortunes from South India and Malaysia belong to the third category. S.J.V. Chelvanayagam, the father of modern Tamil communalism and separatism, who came from Malaysia at the age of 11, and planted the idea of a separate state for Tamils by starting the Ilankai Tamil Arusu Kachchi (Lanka Tamil State Party) also belong to this category. The fourth group are those  illicit immigrants who came to the Island from time to time and settled down in the coastal areas in the north and the east. The fifth and last group are those who were brought to work on the plantation as indentured labour by the British in the post 1835 years, who in fact were never permanent residents on this Island until 1950s. Every year they went back to South India and deposited what they earned here and returned for another year of work for the British Colonial masters. These estate labourers on the central hill country were purposely kept separated from the mainstream as south Indian enclaves by the British, with the diabolical intention of creating a future political and socio-economic problem for this Island nation. Majority of those who came before 1835 got absorbed in to the Sinhala Buddhist society. More than half of the NE Tamil population live among the Sinhalese without any problem. Even the I million estate Tamils live happily among the Sinhalese.

 

In spite of this historical background of Tamil intrusions, even today 75 % of the population in this country are Sinhalese and they are the only people who treat this country as their motherland. All Tamils consider India as their motherland and even Muslims consider Arabia as their mother land. So under these circumstances what right  these people have to ask for equal status with the Sinhalese in this country?

 

In order to put the record straight I must clearly state that this country had remained the undisputed land of the Sinhala nation at least from the 6th century BC in spite of the recurrent South Indian invasions starting from the 2nd century BC. All available evidence provided even by Tamil historians like K. Indrapala have established  that there were no permanent Tamil Settlements dating prior to the 13th century.

From the above evidence any idiot will know that there is absolutely no discrimination against any minority community in Sri Lanka. These critics also do not know or refuse to accept that there is no other country in the whole world where  minority communities have so much of privileges  as they do in Sri Lanka. In other words they all talk of imaginary problems of their own invention. None of these people appreciate the heroic task of liberating the 200,000 or more innocent Tamils by the Sri Lankan forces, kept as hostages to provide a human shield for the LTTE leadership.

 

Now let us look at some of the endless harangue most of these people spew out.

 

1.”Sri Lanka has been “very effective smashing Tigers and their support network, but they smashed a lot of people who aren’t Tigers,” said a Western political analyst.”

 

2.”Some Western governments and international organizations have called for an independent investigation into allegations of human-rights abuses”

(None of these governments and organizations opened their mouths when Pirapaharan was carrying out his death spree on innocent civilians including Sinhalese,Tamils and Muslims and wanton destruction over a period of thirty long years)  .

 

3.Is the Sri Lankan Tamil nation moving towards extinction?
Jun 12, 2009
                

 

Although many countries around the world urge the Sri Lankan government to fulfill the political demands of Tamils through peaceful means, these countries have shown little interest to jump into the conflict to make a deal between the warring Tamils and Sinhalese. All question the legitimacy of the global governments who once said that Sri Lanka should be brought to court of justice, but then changed their tone saying that Sri Lanka should embrace the Tamils, leaving aside what has happened during the military operations against innocent Tamils in the guise of fighting the LTTE.

Global governments still have failed to acknowledge the fact that the Tamils have grievances and they were up in arms not just for fun, but because of the Sri Lankan state’s continuous violence against Tamils who protested peacefully for thirty years to attain their political demands. The DE facto Tamil state was perceived by the Sri Lankan terrorist state as a state run by a terrorist organisation, which for the Tamils was a resistance movement with a credible ideology.

Rajapaksa and his coterie took advantage of the post 9/11 global war on terror, a phrase invented by George W. Bush to fight the Al Qaeda and to justify his invasions on Iraq and the attacks on Afghanistan, a war against the Taliban that cannot be won. Consequent to the debunking of this term, Rajapaksa called his terrorist war a humanitarian operation, which for some members of the international community was convenient to accept. These countries should realize that no other country would launch military attacks through aerial and heavy artillery bombings, not to mention wanton deliberate attacks on hospitals and inmates, on whom they call their own citizens.

A false facade
Sri Lanka having been ranked as a failed state and a red hot genocidal state has emerged as a fit state to be congratulated on its defeat of “terrorism” even after the subsequent massacre of 30,000 innocent civilians, thanks to the UN. Rather than treating Sri Lanka as a terrorist state and dealing with the country accordingly for its genocidal war on Tamils, it is rather pathetic to note that those countries that now, after the LTTE were defeated militarily in May 2009, have found it expedient to abandon the Tamil people.

The Diaspora Tamils in Europe, as well as many other human rights and civil activists hailing from many other countries, collected generous gifts with the aim to reach the displaced Tamils in Vanni under the banner ‘Mercy Mission’, and they dispatched them in a Syrian registered ship named ‘Captain Ali’ along with the medical and food items, but the Sri Lankan navy seized the ship on June 4 when it entered the Sri Lankan waters, and then it found nothing other than the basic supplies such as food, cloth and medicine after 101 hours of search of every nook and corner. Yet, the Sri Lankan government authorities ordered the ship to leave the island on June 8 without unloading. amils.This is clear evidence of the callous and murderous attitude of the Sri Lankan government towards the Tamils.

Over 30,000 Tamil civilians were killed within a few days and many thousands are still held in unidentified camps. Many hundreds are facing torture in Colombo on the fourth floor of the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CID), while over 280,000 Tamils are put in Nazi-style internment camps in Vavuniya and denied access to international organizations and the media.

Tamils need a singular political movement
Tamils direly need a political movement to mobilize what has been put behind by the Resistance movement of the LTTE. After global governments urged the LTTE to give up the military struggle, the LTTE surrendered in order to save the civilians and the Sri Lankan government won the war. The political initiatives should be taken forward to fulfill Tamil aspirations. 

Also, the Sri Lankan government has failed to realize the fact that tens of thousands of potential freedom fighters will emerge unless Sri Lanka ends the conflict through peaceful means by fulfilling the demands of Tamils. The Tamils are not warmongers.

Sri Lanka should follow the Vaddukkoddai resolution of Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) in 1976 and 1985 Thimpu principles. All these demand greater autonomy for Tamils. The Tamils want something better than the federal system existing in Canada and prefer the Swiss model of confederation which is worth discussing for the Sri Lanka conflict because Tamils and Sinhalese are different nations with totally different identities in culture, history, religious, ethnic and linguistics.

It is unimaginable to ask the Tamils to live in a untied Sri Lanka.

In this context, Tamils globally need to reach consensus to be united rather than falling prey once again as they did it in 1970s and 1980s where Tamil youths came as a united force to fight the Sri Lankan state with the demand of a separate Tamil Eelam where each militant group acted against other that weakened the Eelam freedom struggle for more than two-decades. So, the time now is ripe for the Tamils globally to unite to show their unity and thereby save their brethren living in Eelam.

Tamils could remain a forgotten nation in the eyes of the world unless these governments come forward to proactively support to keep the cause of self-determination for the Tamil nation alive. The glaring abrasiveness and the blatant aggressive behaviour on the Tamil people are becoming increasingly evident after the defeat of the military leadership for Tamil resistance. Therefore, the Diaspora Tamils have to play a leading role through a unified movement to save the Tamil nation from moving towards extinction.

The author can be reached at: satheesan_kumaaran@yahoo.com

Now look at the uncivilized language used by another so-called educated Tamil intellectual Diaspora, a living LTTE terrorist, and the venom  that spills out from his foul mouth and  pen. 

“Bastards Rhitha & Arya, You sinhala Karry pakkayas, thumseka piya kappla Kattatta thendonne, You sinhala karry ballas are only tiny little in the world, we are giant Tamils dispora across the globe. If we want we can  simply urinate over Sri Lanka and the SL would sink in the Indian ocean like titanic”.     

By Tamil king

This is the most common mindset and the deep rooted animosity every Tamil carry against the Sinhala people who have accommodated these South Indian invaders and rejects as their own brothers over the centuries starting from the 2nd century BC.  It is also interesting to note that there were no minorities in this country before the western colonial powers arrived  on this Island in the 16th century. In fact the concept of minority was first introduced by the British. They are  the people who gave it legitimacy when Jennings enclosed his sec 29 to the 1948 Constitution. So all these subsequent jargon about minorities and their so-called rights in Sri Lanka is only a direct legacy of colonial conspiracies.

Meanwhile it is also interesting to note that there is an emerging world wide antithetic argument to all this rubbish which is highly encouraging from a Sri Lankan point of view.

I quote the following excerpts as I feel them more important than others.

1.Political solution, a task for Sri Lanka- Indian Foreign Secretary

A political solution for the National Question is a Sri Lankan affair and it is not the task of India, Norway or the United Nations to push Sri Lanka towards a political solution, said Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon to a group of Sri Lankan editors visiting India at the invitation of Indian Government.

As a friendly neighbour India’s duty and task is to extend its fullest cooperation to Sri Lanka to find a solution suitable for her, reported the Daily News quoting Shiv Shankar Menon.

The 13th Amendment is a sequel to the Indo – Lanka Accord. It is Sri Lankan law now. It is only Sri Lanka that would decide whether to provide a solution on the lines of 13th Amendment or go beyond it, he said.

A threat to Sri Lanka’s security would affect India in the same way a threat to India would affect Sri Lanka, said Menon.

The Tamils’ problem was much larger than the LTTE, and hoped Sri Lanka would show imagination and courage in meeting the legitimate concerns and aspirations of the Tamil people. The government was taking active part in the relief and rehabilitation of the internally displaced persons in the island nation and Rs.500 crore earmarked for the purpose, said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday(June 9) in Parliament.(Highlights by the writer)

“We are willing to do more to restore normality and to help such people return to their rightful homes and occupations,”

 

2.Mr. Lyon Fox (Shadow Foreign Secretary UK) opined that what Sri Lanka needed was assistance and not be the subject of unsubstantiated and spurious allegations. 

3. Britain will not shed tears for LTTE – Milliband

Last updated : 1 Day ago on Jun 7, 2009 11:03 PM

The defeat of the LTTE was a massive achievement by the Sri Lankan government and none in the British Government would shed any tears for these terrorists, foreign secretary David Milliband has told visiting Sri Lankan foreign minister Rohitha Bogollagama.
In my opinion this is a welcome departure from the stale and aggressive approach so far adopted by the international community, particularly the West. This is a clear indication of a waning trend in international pressure on Sri Lanka on this issue. I think with the disintegration of the LTTE diaspora and the resulting decline in their lobbying and bribing power along with the unwavering stand of the government of Sri Lanka this type of international pressure will completely disappear. Also when they realize that Sri Lanka is unwaveringly forging ahead with the help of other friendly countries like China, Pakistan and  Iran, even without their help, they will begin to praise Sri Lanka for defeating the Tigers and in her development efforts.

 The comments stated above by Miliband, Lyon Fox and Indian Foreign Secretary and the following statement by India’s new Foreign Minister are clear indications of those healthy trends.

“New Delhi turns down TNA demand to interfere in Sri Lankan affairs

Jun 13 (AT) India’s new Foreign Minister S.M.Krishna has reportedly turned down a request from Tamil National Alliance delegation led by R.Sampanthan to urge Colombo to stop the restoration of military camps in the North, and to merge the Northern and Eastern Provinces of the island nation, reports from New Delhi said. Sampanthan had told Krishna that Colombo was in the process of setting up military camps in the North”

 

Part 2

 

13th Amendment the  first step in the division of this Island nation

 

“The 13th amendment is not a document that was formulated with much thought. It is one that was put together in haste to go with the Indo-Lanka accord. This amendment compiled by. taking parts of the Indian constitution doesn’t suit Sri Lanka at all. As India is a large county they have to decentralize power. However, practically it is not possible in our country. Specially, devolving police and land powers is not practical at all.” Ex CJ Sarath Nanda de Silva.

 

I don’t think I could open a discussion on this subject with a better critique than the above quotation from the Ex-Chief Justice of Sri Lanka since he had been the CJ, the the head of the Supreme Court of this Island.

 

I  reproduce below certain sections of an article written by me on 19.11. 2008 to Lanka Web in order to point out the dangers of this amendment and its partial implementation.

The 13th Amendment ‘The illegitimate child of Indian expansionism and Sri Lankan political naivety’

Dr Sudath Gunasekara (President Senior citizen’s movement Mahanuwara)
19 11. 2008

The 13th amendment was brought up in pursuance of the Indo-Sri Lanka agreement of 29th July 1987 entered upon between Sri Lanka and India. This was singed by J.R.Jayawardene, the then President of Sri Lanka and Rajive Ghandi the Indian prime Minister. Though it was called an agreement, in reality it was the will of the Indian government imposed on JRJ by the Indian government under the able and cunning stewardship of Dixit the then Indian Ambassador in Sri Lanka. We all know how it was preceded by the famous ‘dhal invasion’ of Jaffna peninsular in August 1983, which demonstrated the high handed action on the part of Indian expansionism. It was a blatant violation of all accepted international diplomatic ethics. In fact we all still remember how Dixit summoned JRJ to his office and got JRJ succumbed to his dictations under threats of imminent invasion.

In the words of a group of patriotic people who made an analysis of it ‘The Indo-Lankan Agreement was an agreement between the two Heads of States that was conceived, incubated and hatched in the greatest secrecy’ until they were singed. They were singed under a country wide curfew and a total press censorship. Even the foreign Ministry was kept in the dark. Prime Minister Premadasa stayed out of the country in protest. Minister of Internal Security Lalith Atulathmudali also boycotted it. It was also singed under a country wide protest organized by the opposition under Mrs. B’s leadership. Thereafter JRJ used his steam roller majority of 5/6th to get it passed by the Parliament. The Chief Justice of the country also resigned and left for Australia in protest.

All in all this chain of events clearly demonstrate the Indo- Sri Lankan Agreements did not have the support of the masses in this country, in whose hands lies the sovereignty of the Republic, which is also  inalienable. Obviously therefore the 13th amendment has violated article 3 of the Constitution of Sri Lanka, although JRJ has legitimized it subsequently using his dictatorial executive powers. The Indo-Sri Lanka agreement was the result of a diabolical conspiracy hatched by India against Sri Lanka. It also has violated the provisions of Article 1 of the constitution which says that ‘Sri Lanka is a Free, Sovereign and independent country etc. Thirdly, by establishing provincial councils and the manner in which their functioning has been maneuvered, the unitary status of the Republic is also violated. (Article 2).The intention of the 13th amendment itself was not bona-fide. It was not enacted in the broader interest of the country and its people. JR singed this for his own survival and the survival of his government in the face the Indian threat.

One can argue that under the then prevailing rather sour Indo-Lankan relations (for which JRJ and his government was responsible) he had no choice. Therefore he had opted for the best choice in the interest of the country. But that is only mere rhetoric. The content of the agreements and the subsequent legislation (13th Amendment) clearly demonstrate how they have protected the interests of this country. Even the removal of civil rights of Mrs. B is a part and parcel of the same conspiracy.

Of the six amendments that were brought under the 13th amendment to the constitution, only amendments 2 and 4 are discussed here. The 2nd amendment amended Article 18 of the 1987 constitution which stated that the ‘Official language of Sri Lanka shall be Sinhala’, making Tamil also an official language of Sri Lanka. It also said English shall also be the link language.
Amendment 4 on the other hand which amended sec 154 of the original Constitution added a new Article as 154 A under a new chapter XV11A and it provided for the establishment of the Provincial Councils. Under this it was proposed to establish a Provincial Council for every Province.

Each Council to have a Governor who will exercise executive powers in relation to subjects assigned to the Provincial councils. Legislative powers will be carried out by the Provincial Council headed by a chief Minister and a board of Ministers elected by the people of the Province. Wide and far reaching powers were given to the Provincial councils under the Ninth Schedule List 1, which is called the Provincial Council List. This includes practically all powers pertaining to governance within the province including among other things Land, Police powers, Legal powers tax and Finance These Councils were also given powers even to negotiate with foreign governments and organizations. This has been already done in the NWP when Jayawickrama Perera was the CM. Provision for establishing ‘Super Provinces’ were made under Article 154A ,(3) by combining two or three adjoining Provinces to form one administrative unit with one elected Provincial Council, one Governor, one Chief Minister and one Board of Ministers.

The main purpose of the Indo Sri Lanka Agreement was to find solutions to the so-called ethnic problem said to be present here and find a solution to the North- East problem and restore peace and normalcy in the country. But it is rather ironical that it also included a clause to make Tamil also an official language and for granting citizenship to estate Tamils who had already been declared to be Indian citizens. These manipulations and the proposal to establish nine Provincial councils on the Indian model and some times even going beyond in matters of devolution of political power are definitely sinister moves on the part of subversive Indian politics.

What was even more serious were the provisions made to amalgamate two or three provinces to form one Provincial council? Here they went further by providing for a referendum to be held for the people of those provinces only to decide whether they should stay together as one administrative unit or get back to their status quo. This again is a nullification of the sovereignty of the people of this country. Probably the designers of this sinister plan would have had the North, East, Uva and the Central Provinces where there is a majority Tamil population to form in to this happy pro-Indian Tamil nadu within Sri Lanka. The fact that Saumya Moorthi Thondaman has already had discussions years before  this event at Ella Rest House with some foreign donor agencies to construct a super high way to link Nuwara Eliya and Badulla with Batticaloa supports this argument and conspiracy.

In fact the recommendation of Provincial Councils for the other provinces was made only to hoodwink the southern people. In reality India wanted them only for the East, North and another Province of their choice, where there was a sizable Tamil population. Following the 13th amendment fortunately only the North and East provinces were merged and that also had to be dissolved after Vardharaja Perumal declared independence. After nearly fifteen years of debate, thanks to the JVP who went to courts, finally, the North- East provinces were demerged and now the first danger of Provinces getting together on an ethnic basis to form the Tamilnadu in Sri Lanka, perhaps what the Indian had in their minds when they designed the Agreement is no more there. It should be noted that even today Perumal is kept as a ‘state guest’ by India.

Although the two Provinces have been demerged consequent to a court order we cannot remain complacent that the danger is over particularly when we see the emerging new moves, both in international and local lobby circles to implement the 13th amendment. As we all know nearly for 15 years we did not have a provincial council for the North and the East for which it was really intended. Instead we have Provincial Councils in all other Provinces; causing an additional burden to the coffers of the state and enormous confusion to the good governance of this little Island nation. Since I have in several occasions discussed at length the tragedy of the Provincial Councils, I do not intend to deal further on that issue here. Instead now I will divert to a brief discussion as to why the 13th amendment should be rejected at this critical moment of history of this Island nation.

As you would have already seen from the above observations neither the Indo-Sri Lannkan Agreement nor the 13th Amendment was ever wanted by the people of this country, with whom the country’s sovereignty rests. The agreement was something imposed from above by India against the will and of the people and the  sovereignty of this country and the 13th amendment was thrust upon the people by JRJ to safeguard his own political survival and none of the legislation passed in pursuance of it were in the interest of the recipient country or its people.

Three major things happened as a sequel to the 13th amendment. They were extremely critical in the context of the political future of this country.

1 Setting up of 8 Provincial Councils
2 Making Tamil also an official language (perhaps the only country in the world with two
  official languages)
3Granting citizenship to nearly 500,000 estate Tamils who should have been otherwise sent to India
  under the then prevailing laws

Establishment of Provincial Councils was the biggest bane in this game. It not only strengthened the political boundaries set by the British for the permanent division of the Island in 1889 but it also further polarized the minority groups, both Tamils and Muslims who were clamoring for separation. The establishment of PCC also has multiplied the political and administrative institutions, which have in turn increased government’s expenditure with almost zero returns. State of California in USA, six times larger than Sri Lanka, has only one Governor but this tiny Island has nine governors and nine Provincial Councils with a top heavy expensive state machinery over burdened with politicians and officials as a result. For whose benefit do they exist? The increases in the number of political institutions, politicians, officials, offices and connected expenditure to maintain them were phenomenal and unbearable for a small country like ours. The increase in waste, corruption and duplication etc also is unprecedented.

The new system also has increased ethnic polarization. Neither the LTTE terrorism nor the tendency for ethnic segregation among the Tamils has ceased or decreased as a result of this agreements or the implementation of the 13th amendment. Instead problems in all fronts have escalated and it has even given new inspiration to Muslims and the estate Tamils also to agitate for separation. The proportional representation system of elections introduced by the 1987 constitution has made things even worse by complicating the election process and adding to the cost and above all alienating the elected from the voter and creating electorates without representatives; thereby making representative democracy a big mockery and a joke in this country.

As such the remedy recommended has now become worse than the malady itself. Therefore it could be safely stated that the overall outcome of this whole exercise has been disastrous to this country’s future. It only has consolidated the sinister intentions of colonial policies of divide and rule and the intentions of India of balancing political power at home and keeping Sri Lanka destabilized. The continuation of this system could be even more disastrous for the future of this country both politically as well as economically. What this country needs today is not policies that perpetuate and accelerate the disintegration of the Sri Lankan State but to look for ways and means of re-establishing the political stability, once we had in this country for centuries.

Therefore it is high time that we drop this curse and political cancer of the very concept of the province, the trap laid by the colonial masters by marking them on ground, as well as in the minds and hearts of the minorities which was given political and legal meaning and substance by India, at least now, and go for some pragmatic and meaningful system like the ancient ‘Tun Rata’ concept which will not only once again bring back political stability and ethnic harmony but also economic and social prosperity to this Island as one nation.

I think Sri Lanka has already established an unbeatable world record as the country that has the highest number of Ministers, politicians and public officials, political and administrative institutions and that spends the highest percentage of the national income to maintain them, compared with other countries in the whole world. This also means the biggest burden to the public coffers adding very little or nil to national production.

The Provincial Council system and proliferation of unwanted and superficial public institutions is one of the biggest burdens we face today as a nation. Arresting proliferation of both political and administrative institutions therefore is a sine qua non, if any one is serious in good governance that marks efficiency, honesty and economy, in this country. The existing system only accelerates negativity in nation building and distances us far and further away from positivity.

An outside prescription can finds its roots in a given country in two ways. First by imposition by force and second by voluntary adoption by the recipient country. The first would amount to blatant invasion and the second would be meekly subservience. In this context the recent statement issued by the Media Minister (Lanka Truth 19/6) that “the government is not prepared to cast aside the 13th Amendment” looks utterly irrelevant and foolish. To me it appears that all these people have become prisoners of the Provincial system  without trying to understand the fundamental flaws and the real dangers to the unity and sovereignty of this Island nation posed by that political Huniyama introduced by the British to keep this country eternally divided. One has to be extremely cautious in taking decisions on matters like this. Because such decisions will affect the destiny of an entire nation running in to generations embracing the posterity. The first and foremost issue to be considered in this context is the future destiny of this Island nation and certainly not winning the good will of India or the minority proxies of the western world to save some one’s skin. 

 

Therefore I strongly suggest that we discard, reject and finally throw  out not only the 13th amendment but also the 1987 constitution to the dust bin of history, at least now, and go for a new constitution keeping with our own traditions of governance that guarantees sustainable unity, territorial integrity, sovereignty, independence, political stability and socio-economic prosperity of this country. This I say is the best time for such a radical change.

In the event of the present government deciding to implements the provisions of the 13th amendment  ignoring these repercussions, I can assure you that it will also be committing political suicide. All heroic achievement gained by them so far will be in vain. The whole world know that now at last there is a government in this country and a strong leader to lead the nation, after so many decades. So let the international ‘friends’ also be made to understand  that  the present government of Sri Lanka can work out its own solution, to bail out the country from this situation, as our heroic ancestors had done over the past 25 centuries, to make this country once again the “Resplendent Pearl of the Indian Ocean”.   

Part 3

Proposed alternative Devolution model

I give here an outline of the proposed alternative devolution model. I am confident that this will not only help us to overcome the present political and development crises but it will also enable us to re-create a strong and stable political entity as well as a dynamic and vibrant economy. As I have said many a time before the best devolution model for Sri Lanka is the ‘Tun Rata’ model which sustained this country as a vibrant and prosperous nation  for nearly 2250 years from 427 BC to 1815 AD without any break. (perhaps the only Kingdom in the whole world that enjoyed such an unbroken political framework).

Under the proposed system it is recommended that three Regional Councils be established to cover the whole Island in place of the present nine provincial councils. The same old boundaries with slight modifications, say for example, Mahaweli, Walawe and Deduru Oya, could be used as the demarcating boundaries of the three Regional councils. It is proposed that each Regional council will have nine Districts, totaling up to 27.

The division of the Island to three political regions on this basis will have the following advantages.

1 Reduce the present nine Provincial councils to 3 Regional Councils and also bring down the political and Administrative institutions to a minimum of 1/3 the present number and save the governments expenditure by about 2/3 the current commitments.

2 Ensure equal distribution of natural and human resources, including the   coast line among the three regions.

3 Put an end to all tendencies of communal and ethnic segregation and inspire the people to think in terms of the three Regions as a unifying factor rather than thinking in terms of Sinhalese,Tamils or Muslims in future. This will put an end to the ethno-centric mindset of Tamils and Muslims

4 Will ensure systematic and coordinated and efficient administration and development of the regions.

5 Set up a stable and strong state of three units of governance with equal political and semi autonomous administrative power.

This I think will also be the best answer to those who have been clamouring for a federal system of government in this country. If some one wants to, they can even call it a federal system. But of cause it will not be based on an ethnic basis as the Tamils and Muslims have been agitating. Instead it will be a breading ground for ethnic integration and unity, which I consider as the golden gate way to our future unity and prosperity as a vibrant nation.

Each Regional council under this system will have a Governor appointed by the President and an elected body of fifty Regional Councilors. The legislative powers of the Councils will be carried out by a council of ministers for each Council, not exceeding the number in the central government. All local government  matters should be left in the hands of local government institutions. I strongly suggest that we go back to the Village Committee system since it provides the best system of local government for Sri Lanka. Within the Regional Council area, the central administration will be done by Government Agents in charge of the Districts.

The details of how the devolution and decentralization of  political and administrative powers and the relationship between the center and the Region etc has to be worked out by a special Commission appointed for the purpose.

The present system of the central government and the Executive President will continue. However under the new system the number of MPP in the parliament has to be reduced to about 125 to 135 and the number of Ministers to 15 including the President who will  function as the Head of the Cabinet.

 In addition to these changes it is also recommended that we set up an Upper House of about 35 members (27 elected members to represent the 27 Districts and 8 appointed by the President). This should enable the government to get the services of eminent persons who have excelled in different fields such as Administration, Law, Commerce, Engineering, Medicine,Culture and International affairs etc.  and also to enlist representation of minority groups to make democracy more meaningful. So under this system the number of MPP at both levels will not exceed 280. See the following table for details.


                                    Present                                                                                    Proposed

President                                 1                                                                                              1
Prime Minister                         1                                                                                              1
Governors                               9                                                                                              3
                                    Present                                                                                    Proposed
Parliament                               225                                                                                          125

PCs                                          638                              Regional councils                                150
Ministers                                 109                              R/councils                                           45

Total                 11       +225+638= 874                                                          5+ 125+150=280


This proposal is designed on the assumption that the country will be governed by one strong government at the centre with a Parliament headed by a President and three Rata Sabhas, Ruhunu, Pihiti and Maya.

As it is, I think, Sri Lanka has the highest number of politicians and political institutions at the moment, including Ministers and Ministries and public servants in the whole world. The expenditure incurred on this machinery therefore in my opinion is a criminal wastage. It could be reduced at least by 50% and that could be gainfully diverted to national development if we adopt the proposed system. In this backdrop my view is, that not only the 13th amendment should be scrapped but the 1987 Constitution itself should be replaced with a new one that could bring about political stability and balanced development in this country.

Why should this country labour the luxury of maintaining 874 politicians (including 9 Governors and 155 Ministers) when it could be run more  efficiently with about 280 politicians and 27 Government Agents        as         shown            above.

This I believe will be the best ‘home grown’ devolution model that any prudent and rational Sri Lankan who loves this mother land can   agree without any debate. Therefore I hope that this proposal will meet the basic requirements needed for the fulfillment of the vision of His Excellency the President, declared on the 19th of May 2009 in his historic address to the nation from Parliament, when he mentioned about a ‘Home Grown’ solution.

I am really overjoyed to note that the government has taken action to implement two of my important suggestions, which I have been repeating for the past twenty odd years, one to resettle all those who were displaced since 1983 (including those Sinhalese chased out from Jaffna and Muslims from Mannar and Mullative by the LTTE in their programme of ethnic cleansing) in their original places and the other to ban all political parties named after ethnicity, religion or language such as TNA, Muslim Congress, all starting with either Tamil, Muslim or even Sinhala prefixes, that instigate communal segregation and division. I am also a man who has strongly and consistently advocated the use of state power as the only way to crush terrorism in this country. I am happy now the present government has done it in an splendid manner. I am confident and I wish the government will  implement this Devolution model as well, with the same commitment and courage. This model I declare has been time tested in this country over a period of 2242 years and it has proved the best framework of governance for this Island nation, both in time and space. So why should we grope in the dark any more?

  

 


 

 

 



One Response to “Why we should reject Devolution under the 13th Amendment.”

  1. rwijesinghe Says:

    It is very simple!
    ONE COUNTRY ONE NATION!
    sinhala people will give away some rights in their country. “Tamil people” in SriLanka will have a Country!
    Then we all have a country SriLanka.

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