Problems in devolving powers to the provinces
Posted on January 20th, 2012

Haris de Silva-Courtesy The IslandƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

TNA Parlimentarians on the proposed devolution of powers to Provincial Councils

I wish to refer to the imbroglio between the GoSL (Government of Sri Lanka) and the TNA (Tamil National Alliance) on the proposed devolution of powers to Provincial Councils. It has apparently got stuck on a sticky wicket on the question of devolving Police and Land powers. They are not new or recent demands on the part of Tamil politicians.

The present demand for Police and Land powers for Provincial Councils is based on the 13th Amendment to the 1978 Constitution passed in November 1987. As it is well known, from the time the 13th Amendment became a part of the 1978 Constitution, that Amendment was agreed upon and was signed under duress, by Mr. J. R .Jayewardene, the first Executive President. It was also the only such Amendment out of the 16 amendments passed during his tenure of office. Similarly, Ranil Wickremasinghe, the then Prime Minister, too seems to have agreed to a CFA (Ceasefire Agreement) which was put up to him by Norway, on behalf of the LTTE and was signed by him, apparently in good-faith, in February 2002, perhaps under the impression that it will give a respite to the fighting between the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) and the GoSL and would lead to peaceful co-existence between them. But what happened thereafter, is now history.

The demands made by the then LTTE and now by the TNA, are no doubt based on the Tamil homeland theory, which has been effectively demolished by many, including historians like, now Emeritus, Prof. K. M. de Silva. Only those who refuse to see the truth of irrefutable historical evidence continue to hold that theory. We refer to that long refuted claim, mainly because the TNA is seeking a re-merger of the Northern and the Eastern provinces, apparently on the basis that those two provinces were the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”homelandƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ of the Tamil people. Sebastian Rasalingam (from Toronto, Canada) had said in his article published in ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”The IslandƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ of 7th January, 2012, that Bishop Rayappu Joseph had said in an article published in the Sri Lanka Guardian of 4th January [2012] (which I have not seen) that Tamils should reassert that they are a nation and fight for nothing less than self-determination. It seems doubly certain, that two necessary administrative and political powers for such a determination would certainly be to have Police and Land powers.

Rasalingam has also said that the LTTE, who fought on the basis of a Tamil nation, had reduced the Tamil population to 8%, sacrificing young people as cannon fodder. He, and also an article entitled ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”An Appeal to the Tamil Community and its civil and political representativesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ signed by 68 Tamil persons and published in ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”The IslandƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ of 6th January 2012, also says the LTTE gave two hours notice to the Muslims in Jaffna and in the Eastern Province to evacuate the areas in which they were residing in, within two days and 80,000 were made to flee their residences in a barbaric act of ethnic cleansing. Also, in the LLRC (Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission) Report (2011), Chapter 6.22 says Sinhalese families were evicted in 1977, 1980 and 1987, and in 6.16 and 6.42 it says about 150,000 Sinhalese residents in the coastal belt from Ottamvady to Panama were displaced in the 1980s.

The grabbing of individuals lands in Jaffna, displacing such original owners and redistributing such lands among the LTTE favourites and such matters have also been documented in the LLRC Report .

In Chapter 6, and particularly, 6.9, 6.14-15, 6.17, 6.40, and 6.78-80 have made references to such matters. That report, in the eyes of certain individuals, may have its defects, in not having being able to properly address the war-crimes in the final days of the war against the LTTE, but that is not a question we are addressing in this presentation.

What we are primarily concerned is in peaceful co-existence among all communities in this island, with whatever devolution of powers the GoSL and the TNA can come into, including on the contentious Police and Land powers. In the same breath, it has also to be mentioned that the GoSL should invite the Muslims to whatever discussions on devolution they will have with the TNA, because they and the Sinhalese who lived in Jaffna and in the Eastern Province, were the other two most affected communities due to LTTE ethnic cleansing in 1990 and earlier, as said before. It will be most unreasonable for the GoSL to come to any agreement on devolution, only with the TNA, even as far as the Northern Province or Jaffna is concerned, because the Muslims and the Sinhalese were equally affected in the ethnic cleansing done by the LTTE, as stated earlier.

I am neither a political motivated nor an extremist in the views I hold on this question and I believe, such co-existential views are held by most Sri Lankans. What we earnestly desire as Sri Lankans is to live in peace, and to let the generations to come, share with all communities, without hindrance, the riches of this country. Once again, as Rasalingam has said, let the multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural society seen in Colombo, be the ideal to follow. Creating of ethnic enclaves is a sure recipe for the disintegration of the territorial integrity of this country and for eternal warfare. Would any right thinking person want to inherit such a calamity?

Haris de Silva

9 Responses to “Problems in devolving powers to the provinces”

  1. Ben_silva Says:

    The author has put it in a` nut shell ‘Creating of ethnic enclaves is a sure recipe for the disintegration of the territorial integrity of this country and for eternal warfare ‘ This is the essense of devolution

  2. stanley perera Says:

    The Tmil Ndoo Association must understand very clearly that the 2/3rd majority in the Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka, under no circumstances that they will allow any devolution of power to the Racist, Terrorist Tamils in the North. Neither police nor land powers unless and otherwise those pigs Rayappu and Saundranayagam become King of Lanka.

  3. Christie Says:

    Let us bring “Bumiputra” concept to Sri Lanka.

    Get rid of 13th amendment. Resurrect Sirima Shastri Pact”

    Theose Tamils and Indians who are not prpared to integrate, let them go back to their home land.

  4. jimmy Says:

    (1) Sue the monsters who speak or write against the mother land Srilanka or against the races whether tamil or sinhala or Muslims or Bergers or against religions. Make these scumbags Penniless

    (2) spoken Sinhala and Spoken Tamil to all schools in Lanka

    (3) zero tolerance against racisim Severe punishment against the troublemakers

    (4) Encourage Meditation for all ages
    when bad evil thoughts comein replace this shit with positive kind thoughts

  5. A. Sooriarachi Says:

    It is common knowledge that anything done under duress is illegal. One such act was the 13th amendment to the SriLankan constitution, forced by Rajive Gandhi, on President Jayawardena. I cant understand how the Indian Govt and the TNA keep pushing for the implimentation of this illegal amendment and why the SriLankan Govt keep repeating they would impliment it soon. However, if it is for the purpose of protecting democracy and good governance at grass root level, then devolution of powers could be taken down to Municipal or Urban Council level. Any devolution of vital powers relating to Police, Armed Forces, Land, Education and Foreign relations, that need to be retained at the centre, for the protection of a unitary state, must not be made even at district or provincial level. This is a recipe for destabilising the nation and stunting economic growth. Merging Provinces on bogus claims of the separatist forces is an even greater NO NO all the way. The TNA which is the LTTE proxy should be banished from SriLanka, if SriLanka is to progress in the right direction.

  6. Christie Says:

    We have to fight for freedom from Indian colonialism and now the Indian imperialism. Sinhalese, Muslims, Malays and Burghers should recognize their suffering since the arrival of Indians in Sri Lanka since 1796.
    Then we can lead others in the freedom fight against the Indian colonialism and imperialism in the former British-Indian colonies and dominions, now Indian colonies.

  7. jimmy Says:

    I know you are good fellow but do not understand your hatred against Tamils and India. You do not like their existence
    I am a Sri Lankan Tamil and I am for united Sri Lanka. I am hurt because of your hatred of Tamils
    I will be happy if you take some meditation classes where ever you live Pal
    i will also pray for your soul

  8. Ben_silva Says:

    We face threats from many directions. News item below shows another threat ‘161 Islamic missionaries ordered to leave country Immigration chief says they violated visa rules; Fowzie to intervene By Leon Berenger’
    Our living space is like a war zone. We need to learn survival skills. Remember what happened to passive Buddhists in the silk route.

  9. gamunu6 Says:

    DearMr. Harris De Silva,

    Its very important to speak out about what is happening to Sri lanka. Indian leaders with tacit approval of some present Govt. ministers are storming into Sri – Lanka as the PARADISE, surely they would like to annex.

    In one week we saw leading Indian citizens, Foreign Secretary & Past president have commented on Sri lanka, how it should be run & Interference that THEY KNOW best to advice us. Look at some of their achievements, KASHMIR & many other political powder kegs are waiting to explode.

    Involving matters in Sri lanka is governing tactic to AVOID problems in their own countries MOSTLY in USA & INDIA. As the writer & many contributors said if ONLY 8 % is the present strength of Tamil Community, WHY NOT they learn Sihalese? IF they cannot & will not they should leave to Tamil Nadu or some other country.

    We have GIVEN, granted, accomodated ENOUGH & its our time to wake up & say this is it. No more concessions, they should leave & TNA must accept WILL of the majority of Sinhalese & other law abiding minorities. We cannot & WILL NOT have another nation in the North or East. ALL provinces would be responsible to the direction & law of the land as passed by Parliament of Sri lanka.

    YES! its is true even ministers who speak ill of the present govt. & its ploicies MUST be treated as Traitors. Remember how George Bush past president of USA, said to suspect everybody after 9/11. He is right. I wonder what America would do if that country is under radar everyday re: IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN & LIBYA. These are more KNOWN attrocities that happen in the WEST, against elected Govts, under the guise of Human Rights. Where are AI, ICG & other well funded organizations TODAY, avoiding even to talk about Human Rights in the US & European organized wars.

    Some are funded by LTTE sympathizers & some Professors, Tamil leaders, who have no other business than demeaning Sri Lanka. Sri lankans from all over the workd including Tamils SHOULD support their MOTHERLAND, otherwise face the repealing of their Sri Lankan Citizenship of our beloved land.

    ONE COUNTRY, ONE NATION, UNITED, INDIVISIBLE as Buddhist Philosophy states. Sri lankans in SRI Lanka TODAY must cntact ministers & other intelectuals to BIND together, so that NO INDIAN intereference will work. Reject CEPA with India as it benefits ONLY India. No more further talks about FREE TRADE with India.

    Thanks very much Mr. Harris De Silva for your vauable contribution. Retired Sri lankan expressing his views..~ Gamunu Alahakkone! P.Eng Canada

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