Are we gradually giving into separatist demands?
Posted on December 18th, 2011

S. Akurugoda

From what is appearing in media regarding the ongoing Government-TNA talks, it is evident that TNA politicians have not moved an inch backward of their Thimpu declaration made on July 1985. The Tamil separatist group made the following demands during the Thimpu talks. 

1.  Recognition of the Tamils of Sri Lanka as a nation.

2.  Recognition of the existence of an identified homeland for the Tamils in Sri Lanka.

3.  Recognition of the right of self determination of the Tamil nation.

4.  Recognition of the right to citizenship and the fundamental rights of all Tamils who look upon the island as their country.

With the arm-twisting intervention of India under the JR-Rajiv Agreement, almost all the above demands were forced on us, directly or indirectly, under the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

The recognition of the Tamils as a nation, the first demand of the Tamil separatist, has been conveniently met with the acceptance of the Tamil as a national language. This has been confirmed by recent declaration of some of the government ministers that the country’s national anthem can be sung in both the Sinhala and Tamil.  If acceptable, Sri Lanka is one of the very few countries in the world that the national anthem is sung in more than one language. Even in India, where the home for more than 55milion Tamils, the national anthem is written and sung in Bengali. Bengali is the language spoken by its composer Rabindranath  Tagore. Our nation anthem was composed by Ananda Samarakoon and the original was written in Sinhala. On the same basis, there should be any reason why it should be sung in Sinhala only.

Prior to the signing of the 13th Amendment, there had been a belief that the “ƒ”¹…”Official language policy” of 1956 was the root cause of the conflict. The 13th Amendment made Tamil an official language overnight as a solution but the charges against Marginalisation, claim for legitimate aspiration and demand for self-determination is still continuing. If official language is the root cause, the conflict would have resolved itself with the 13th Amendment language policy.

The ministry of national languages and social integration headed by a minister, who supported the so-called Tamil cause for decades promoting disintegration of the nation as a whole, is reportedly trying to force the majority to learn the Tamil language under the policy of bilingualism.  Official bilingualism should not be confused with personal bilingualism, which is the capacity of a person to speak two languages. A bilingual country is not one where all the citizens necessarily have to speak two languages; rather it is a country where the principal public institutions must provide services in two languages to the citizens, the vast majority of whom may well still be unilingual. There is no apparent advantage of forcing the majority of the population to learn a language which they do not use in their day to day life, although there is an advantage of learning the language of the 75% of the population by others. 

In all most all western countries , where the TNA politicians very often go to complain about their “ƒ”¹…”rights’,  have one official language, one official religion and one culture . The official language is the language of the majority and official or the dominant religion is the religion of the majority.  The dominant culture is the western Christianity although some of those countries claimed they are multicultural.  In Australia, for example, the official language is English, the religion is Christianity although there are communities speak other languages (including other European languages) and follow other religions. All immigrants, other than who come from English speaking countries, need to pass the English proficiency test to be qualified for the permanent residency. In Canada, although English and French are recognised as official languages by the Constitution, its linguistic diversity extends beyond the two official languages. About 18% of Canadians (roughly 6.1 million people, most of whom are first-generation immigrants) have a language other than English or French as their first language.  All of them live peacefully with the majority communities.

Sri Lanka could be one of the very few countries in the world who declare multi-official languages and multi-religious public holidays officially recognising languages and religions of all those live on its soil.

The demand for the recognition of the existence of an identified homeland for the Tamils in Sri Lanka, the second demand of Tamil separatists, was forced on us by the above agreement with the amalgamation of the North and East temporarily with a provision for holding a referendum. Although, this was later declared null and void by the supreme court of Sri Lanka, indications are that TNA is trying hard to regain it by hook or crook.

The demand for the right of self determination of the Tamil nation, the third demand of the Tamil separatists, too was forced on us with the introduction of Provincial Councils with landownership, judiciary and police powers among many other things.  In fact, some argue that the Indian Constitution has vested more powers with the Centre than those made under the 13th amendment in this country and when implemented in full Sri Lanka’s system will surpass the Indian’s quasi-federal system. Although the government appears to be not in favour of handing over the landownership, media reports indicates that the government is now considering the sharing of landownership between the centre and the two (north and east) provincial councils. If the media reports are true, the only decision to be made at the proposed Parliamentary Select Committee, when constituted, is the handing over of police powers.

To find a solution there must be a problem.  One cannot find a solution unless the problem is known.   Demanding something and surrendering to such demands solves nothing. 

 S. Akurugoda

9 Responses to “Are we gradually giving into separatist demands?”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    “Are we gradually giving into separatist demands?”

    Yes. Gradually.

    Separatist demands are backed by MOST Tamil voters in the north. Separatists are not alone as they ARE the MAJORITY in the north.

    A “solution” must be found to change this.

  2. Devinda Fernando Says:

    While the TNA may not have backed off their “Eelam Ideology” I seriously doubt they can move it further to fruition… They may have separatist demands but I don’t see anyone listening or taking these clowns seriously,… am I missing something here?

  3. nilwala Says:

    How are we going to stop sliding down the Gadarene Slope once the sliding starts?
    The same tactics of Diaspora-money driven international pressure will keep on being used until they get the whole of it as envisioned in the Federal Party’s thinking. I cannot imagine that 10% of the country’s population are STILL calling the shots after having the LTTE cleared out. The have not given an inch from their Vaddukoddai position, and the LLRC also seems to have caved in. Why is everyone so in fear of what is right for the country, and least of all when the actions of the Western countries that harass Sri Lanka over this issue, are so far removed from what they expect of Sri Lanka.

    The day Spanish is a national language in the US we can expect to give the same recognition to Tamil.
    The day a Spanish-speaking homeland is demarkated in the US we can follow suit.
    The day Tamil is recognized as a National language in India we can accept what India wants of us.

    Let them not dictate to Sri Lanka what they cannot offer their own people.

  4. Fran Diaz Says:

    It seems to us that 10% of the country, (or is it more and hidden ?), is imposing its will on the rest of the Nation. Why aren’t Sri Lankans posting their protests to GoSL (send your PETITIONS to the Speaker of the House), through PETITIONS WITH MILLIONS OF SIGNATURES asking that :

    * the Vaddukoddai Resolution be officially removed by the TNA, and

    * that ethnic based political parties be removed ?

    We certainly are sliding fast into a separate Tamil Nation within Lanka, which will only please Tamil Nadu separatist aspirations.

  5. Lorenzo Says:

    Ranil re-elected as UNP leader.

    People should vote him out! :)

  6. Fran Diaz Says:

    Why have Tamil leaders of Lanka (through TNA at present), made the Tamil language an issue here ? No one is prevented from learning Tamil if they really want to do so. There are no laws in Lanka preventing anyone from learning or speaking Tamil.

    Also, if Language alone is so important, why are low caste/poor Tamil people fleeing Tamil Nadu where the Tamil language is virtually the sole language used there ?

  7. thurai Says:

    Fran Diaz,

    I agree with you.

    One man can say she is my wife.
    One family can say that is our House.
    All communities can say Sri Lanka is our Land.
    Only TNA say we are leaders and representive for Sri Lankan Tamils even they got votes only from North.

    The DMK leaders in Tamilnadu reached the strong Financial foundation for their generation.
    During the Terrorism in Sri Laka many Tamils from also reached the level of richest people
    of the world. At the moment noone can identify who is Terrorist. Most of us consider
    dead or surrendered LTTE fighters .

    The persons who cheated their communities in the name of Dravida & Tamil have same and one
    charecter. They work together in undeground.

    As Franz Diaz said we must consider about low cast/Poor. In Tamilnadu low cast and poor have untold difficulties.
    TNA will bring the situation definitely in the North. if SLG accept their all demands.

  8. gamunu6 Says:

    Thnkx S.Athurugoda!

    Sri lankan govt. has given too much for a 10% of the population (even that figure is didputed as majority live abroad & never want to be in Sri lanka) some say around 5% are tamils excluding Estate workers, who are NOT interested in separatism).

    So are we to GIVE all concessions made by some LTTE supporters who NEVER changed their political party names, or ideologies to be part of Sri lanka, yet DEMAND concessions. What is NOT granted in India, we have reluctantly allowed to proceed here for the sake of pleasing the Int.Community.

    The investment & other cultural links are camoflaging the issues. If India wants to have closer relations they have to MUZZLE Tamil Nadu fisherman, stealing FISH & continue to complain about Sri Lanka. Why NOT our ploiticians of all stripes, pay loyalty to Sri lanka and Sri lankan VALUES before any demands or concessions be granted.

    Further more as in other countries, which tamils continue to brag about NONE of the concessions were granted WITHOUT a referundum.. The MAJORITY should ACCEPT their demands for tamils to get their concessions. If it is NOT acceptable to the MAJORITY, NOTHING can be granted.Period.

    Ask Tamil NA to give up some of their DEMANDS and accept LOYALTY to ONE NATION, UNDER ONE FLAG, INDIVISIBLE & UNITED sri Lanka.(as the US oath of office & constitution says).

    This concept should be CARVED to their MINDS so that No dispute regarding what other Citizens comprising Sinhalese, Muslims, Burghers & some Tamils say which are accpetable to them the MAJORITY. Then only we can allow some, which will NOT drastically change the structure of Sri lanka.

    As one of your readers said WE the majority should send peticions, hold protests, like the tamils do in western countries & get our Govt, to STAND firm to bullying by Tamils & the Western nations which they are part of.

    Thanks again so much for your contribution. Gamunu Alahakkone. P. Eng (Canada) retired Engineer-CANADA

  9. Ben_silva Says:

    SA has written a good article and I hope he would continue to write in the related field. Many Tamils I know, friends and relatives are very decent people, with values and morality. I do not wish to blame Tamils or others for our problems but need to look at our own conduct. On the other hand we have Tamil racists holding power, in the North and East, with every thing connected to them with the label ‘Tamil’. Clearly the Sinhalese have been losing their living space. The reason for this is their lack of competitiveness and their lack of ‘fit to survive’ in the living space. Rather than blaming Tamils, we the Sinhalese ought to look at ourselves and identify our short comings.
    My view is the main reason for our short comings is our belief system, dumped by Indians, promoting giving up desires and fear to face pain.
    Giving up desires and fearful of pain, in order to achieve a gain, is absolutely disastrous in the highly competitive modern world. We need to develop a ‘fighting spirit’, ‘’survival strategy’ and dump insane Indian beliefs that even Indians do not believe.
    Every one born will die and every one will have a limited shelf life. It is best to achieve the maximum from life, rather than stay depressed the whole life, just because the end is death. There is no evidence of Nirvana, Sansara, rebirth, Karma .These are Indian Hindu beliefs that even modern Indians do not believe.

    I agree with Gamunu6 that the majority should protest and stand up for their rights and be counted, rather tan aim for extinction (Nirvana )

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