No benefit to Sri Lanka from the 13th amendment to the constitution
Posted on February 18th, 2012

Asada M Erpini

The 13th amendment to the constitution ofSri Lanka is projected by its protagonists, within the country as well as operating from beyond its territorial boundaries, as the panacea for all the ills thatSri Lanka faces in the sphere of the so-called ethnic problem. It has come to the fore again, in full force, with the visit ofIndiaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Minister of External Affairs toSri Lanka in mid January and the renewed demands of the Tamil National Alliance for land and police powers to be devolved to an institution called the North-East Provincial Council.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The constitution of any nation is the bedrock on which the country continues as a sovereign entity. It is the citizenry of that country that decides on the essential elements that go into the nationƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s constitution, and it is the very same people – and no one else – who should make amendments to it, when they feel that such is necessary.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The 13th amendment was not anything that the Sri Lankan nation conceived. It was an illegitimate product hatched by Rajiv Gandhi and his coterie of Indian Sri Lanka experts, which was then dumped on the lap of – nay rammed down the throat of – haplessSri Lanka in 1987. With the infamous ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”parippuƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ drop overJaffna, ostensibly to relieve the suffering of the Tamils, still fresh in his mind, all that the Head of State of powerless and friendlessSri Lanka could do was to accept the solution imposed byIndia and be ready to welcome an Indian Peace Keeping Force. With India stationing some of its warships close to Colombo and its air force violating Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s airspace in the countryƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s North, formal acceptance of the amendment got done in double quick time, away from the eyes of the voting public.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Two key elements in the peace package that was gifted toSri Lankawas the disarming of the LTTE and the birth of Provincial Councils.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ In the glare of TV lights and with an audience of Western media persons waiting in attendance, the LTTE leader handed over a pistol to the mediators. Pirabaharan and his smiling assassin of a deputy made sure that the cameras of the international media were in the right places to ensure that they got the maximum mileage out of the deception: the massive armoury of antiaircraft guns, RPGs, and Improvised Explosive Devices with immense destructive power were sent into hiding in the Vanni jungles, to be supplemented with additional weaponry later on and to resurface subsequently during Eelam War IV.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The concept of provincial councils was welcomed with glee by the seven provinces other than the Northern and Eastern. While there was a brief period of a Provincial Council in the East, which additionally resulted in a spurious Unilateral Declaration of Independence, the North remained under the jackboot of the LTTE. Although the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”ethnic problemƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ persisted and continued to fester, ultimately becoming a cancer that threatened the very soul of the nation, councils outside the North and the East blossomed, with governors, chief ministers and ministers in every conceivable field, buttressed by an army of security officials and high-powered vehicles escorting them on official business.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The 13th amendment that was bestowed upon Sri Lanka to solve the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”ethnic problemƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢, or the Indian Peace Keeping Force that came with it, was completely ineffective in disarming the LTTE. If not for the valiant actions and the immense sacrifices of the armed forces of Sri Lanka that culminated in the annihilation of the LTTE leaders in their Nandikadal Waterloo in May 2009 the country would still be in the perilous state of living in fear of bomb explosions and attacks on civilians by the terrorists. If the 13th amendment did that it was supposed to do, tens of thousands of Sri Lankans – civilians as well as members of the armed forces – would be alive today without having had to meet untimely deaths.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The architects of 13th amendment forced a merger of the Northern and Eastern provinces, giving in to the claim of ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”traditional homelandsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ by the Eelamists. This was an action taken ignoring the existence of a vast amount of historical and archeological evidence in each of these regions that nullified the justification of a homeland exclusively for the Tamils. The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka in 2006 ruled that the merger of the two provinces was illegal, and the Eastern Province has since gone back to the provincial boundaries that it had prior to the birth of the 13th amendment.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ When two vital elements of the 13th amendment ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” the handing over of arms by LTTE and the merger of North and East ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” have either not been achieved or have been declared invalid, it is meaningless and illogical to revisit the 13th amendment as a solution for any of Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s problems.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ The Sri Lankagovernment should abandon the 13th amendment altogether, and bury the white elephants that it dumped at Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s doorstep. Demands by separatists and their godfathers for the full implementation of a semi-moribund and dysfunctional constitutional amendment is a barrier to Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s attempts at moving forward as a single nation. Decentralization of administration and devolution of power to the peripheries is welcome. Yet, it should not be done on the basis of ethnicity or religion, and certainly not as a proviso under the 13th Amendment.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Sri Lanka should be there for those who are proud to be Sri Lankan, irrespective of any ethnic or religious affiliations: for those who want a separate Tamil homeland, under whatever name they wish to call it, there is Tamil Nadu just 30 Kilometers away, across the Palk Straits, teeming with over 65 million of their brethren. And, if Tamil Nadu is not attractive enough and is unlikely to give the comforts that many of the Sri Lankan Tamil ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”refugeesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ have managed to obtain, then they could work harder, and strive at creating enclaves in parts of Norway, Canada, Australia or Switzerland: Norway has been on the side of the separatists for decades and Canada and Australia both have vast territories of sparsely populated land to which the descendants of the original inhabitants have been deprived ownership.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Asada M Erpini


2 Responses to “No benefit to Sri Lanka from the 13th amendment to the constitution”

  1. gamunu6 Says:

    Asada M Erpini!……….thanks very much for giving us the true picture & history of forcing an unpoular 13th Ammendment to our constitution.

    It has been years in the making that this amenment should be withdrawn immediately & for once & for all state clearly by SriLankan Govt. officials it should never be accomodated. Sooner the Govt. give firm NO to TNA or any other international partners who forced this on us, the better.

    We hace our own solutions to so called Ethnic or Tamil problem. To solve this with 2/3 majority Our beloved President can unequivically say NO to 13th or 13A or plus or minus. Start amalgamating Eastern province with Southern province. Already most of easterners & some notherners have made their home in Southern province.

    Once that is done, there will be NO talk about 13th ammendment & we can close the chapter. Laws should be brought by the Govt., for anyone, party or individual advocating separatism, Self rule, Federalism should be punushed as Anti Sri Lankan. These should have been implemented many years ago.

    With such legislation TNA can live in India or USA or any other place they are given refuge. Not in Sri lanka, their citizenships must be revoked & banned from holding any office. Also any party that have connotations to Anti Sri lanka, or specific ethnic group should be banned.

    Even it is not too late, for the Govt. to take action. The so called international community is INDIA, get rid of their influence in our governance. Will India allow us to start a FREE KASHMIRI campaign & how will India deal with such a situation.

    We have no special relationship with India, we have similar relationships with most South Asian nations & East asian nations. Some say INDIA is Findlanizing Sri lanka. In other words we will be like Finland & we cannot undertake any independent course without the approval of India. What a disaster that would be.

    I commend you for your contribution and it is upto few individuals like you who can advice HE President Rajapakshe to act immediately regarding this nuisance called 13th ammendment.

    Thank you all for allowing me to express my views…….Gamunu ~ Retd Engir ~ Canada

  2. Christie Says:

    Not only Indian imperialists rammed 13th Amendment, India got rid of the ‘Sirima Shastri Pact”.

    Get rid of 13th A and resurrect the SSP.

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