Security perspectives of province-based devolution: A reappraisal
Posted on June 5th, 2013

by G. H. Peiris Courtesy Island

 Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka’s latest contribution to the debate he and I have been having on the Thirteenth Amendment (and ‘province-based devolution’) has been quite an antidote to lethargy and disinterest which is said to be an after effect of a nasty attack of dengue. He says what he feels he has to with a certain elegance and flair that has an invigorating effect. What he lacks in substance, he quite often (but not always) makes up with style. So, I have reasons to be grateful for his piece titled ‘Devolution, Sri Lanka’s defence and security: A realist response to Prof GH Peiris’ (The Island of 23 May), thus giving me the energy to place his professed realism under further scrutiny.

 The ‘Devolve or Perish’ Warning

 When stripped of the usual bombastic phraseology ? “collective cognitive dissonance” and “the line of fire of Indian kinetic power” are two of the more interesting ones in this instalment of the ‘Dayan Chintanaya’ ? there is little that is not repetitive of what he has already said. He has reformulated his earlier assertion on the antecedents of province-based devolution facilitated by the Thirteenth Amendment in a futile attempt to make it sound marginally more plausible. He has repeated his claim that it was Sri Lanka’s failure to devolve power on the basis of a province framework (conforming to the ‘two-nation theory’ adumbrated by the ITAK/TULF and meeting their demand for regional autonomy for an area claimed as the “exclusive traditional Tamil homeland’) that precipitated the Indian intervention. He has tried to reinforce his earlier ‘devolve or perish’ theme with a fanciful Armageddon scenario which, according to him, reflects the “… the realities of the balance of power and the island’s strategic vulnerability”. Countering these assertions without repeating myself is difficult. But I’ll try, confining as far as possible to the specificities that have been highlighted by him this time in order to strengthen his earlier claims.

 First of all, there is Dr. DJ’s persistence with the Bandaranaike avatar of the late 1920s, the barely perceptible ‘regional autonomy’ idea in the conglomerate of political thought (including a preference for ‘Ceylon’ to remain a part of the British Empire ? believe it or not!) that prevailed during the decades that followed, and the tenuous and tentative agreement between SWRD Bandaranaike and SJV Chelvanayagam in the aftermath of the ethnic riots of 1956 (the prelude to ‘Emergency ’58’) ? a ‘pact’ which almost the entire spectrum of political opinion barring a thin scatter of diehard Trotskyites promptly rejected.

 About SWRD’s federal proposal which, as I pointed out earlier, was largely an exercise in “kite-flying” by an ambitious political novitiate (“born to rule”, as his daughter was to inform us about 70 years later), there is another dimension which Dayan has missed. A similar proposal, we recollect, was submitted to the Donoughmore Commission two years later by an obscure radala delegation from the highlands whose barely concealed motive was that of clearing the Kandyan decks of the Soyzas, Silvas and Fernandos. In the context of what we know of Bandaranaike’s vacillating stances in relation to contemporary issues of vital importance to the country such as communal representation and universal adult franchise, there is reason to imagine that he too, yet to discard the Brown Sahib garb, would have considered it a “jolly good thing” if it is possible to banish the Arunachalams, Saravanamuttus, and the Ponnambalams from the centre stage of national politics to their ‘homeland’ in the north. Needless to say, Donoughmore and his partner saw through these bogus humanitarian postures. Had they been taken seriously, we might well have had a ‘Ceylon’ consisting of three of four large ethnic ghettos by the time it acquired dominion status.

 Dr. DJ does not concede the point that there could have been outcomes of province-based devolution (or ‘regional autonomy’ which the ‘B-C Pact’ if implemented against the wishes of the overwhelming majority of Sri Lankans including a large segment of the Tamil community would have facilitated) other than what he naively imagines ? that of the northern Tamil leadership accepting without reservation the concept of a unitary Sri Lanka in exchange for regional autonomy for the claimed ‘homeland’, reduced in size (as it had to be) to the Northern Province. There are several corollaries to this one-track mindset, one of which is that the only alternative to regional autonomy for the Northern Province is military rule over that part of the country. Another is that neither the “international community” (i.e. governments whose Sri Lankan policy is driven by those sections of the ‘diaspora’ that persist in their commitment to destroy Sri Lanka, the others don’t count), nor a “Tamil party of any significance” will accept anything less than province-based devolution (those who so obviously do, the Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharans, Douglas Devanandas and the Arumugan Thondamans, to name only a few, in Dayan’s thinking are, ipso facto, of no significance – only the Tiger puppets matter).

 The attempt to draw lessons from the disintegration of Yugoslavia is something of a novelty in Dr. DJ’s present discourse. That he considers Yugoslavia a trump-card in his pack is suggested by the fact that he has repeated it in a more recent piece (The Island, 30 May). To cite Dayan from his 23 May ‘response’:

 “As a student of comparative politics I am keenly aware that the unravelling of Yugoslavia – whose fine army, steeped in guerrilla fighting traditions had long deterred Stalin’s Russia ? commenced precisely with the abolition of the autonomous status of the province of Kosovo. That unravelling was the result of political lobbying and argumentation by Serbian ultranationalists, along exactly the lines that Prof Gerry Peiris and his co-thinkers (such as the Bodu Bala Sena, oxymoronic though it be) that are engaging in today”.

 I do not mind the personal insult because it is a response of desperation ? a part of the verbal diarrhoea produced by failure to digest facts. Nevertheless I should digress to say that even the concept of a ‘Bala Sena’ (empowered militia) does not conform to my understanding of the essence of Buddhist thought – not that I claim any expertise on the subject. “Oxymoron” is perhaps correct, if it is intended to mean “a combination of contradictory ideas”; and, I have yet to discard from my mind the possibility of the ‘Anti-Halal Campaign’ being yet another exemplification of the on-going, externally induced, multi-pronged subversion of Sri Lankan interests (Even to harbour such a thought, according to the main spokesman of the BBS, is a “mah? p?payak” – I guess I have to take my turn at the katu imbula). Dr. DJ, it is time you realise that demonising Sinhala-Buddhists is just an objectively counterproductive anthropological pastime, and that the long-term record of “inclusivism” (Jaffrelot, 1993) and tolerance of the Buddhist of our country, though not unblemished, is much cleaner than those of other persuasions elsewhere.

 What I do mind, however, is the utter absurdity of Dr. DJ’s Yugoslav analogy – how on earth can a serious “student of comparative politics” be so superficial (and, so illogical) about what is widely considered the most significant political convulsion of post-war Europe? I should relate as briefly as possible the sad story of Yugoslavia and let the reader decide on the extent to which the abolition of Kosovan autonomy initiated the break-up of Yugoslavia.

 Disintegration of Yugoslavia

 The ‘Kingdom of Yugoslavia’ in its modern geographical configurations came into being at the conclusion of the First World War in 1918. Carved out as it was from the former Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires, it brought together within a sovereign nation-state several disparate nationalities inhabiting parts of the Balkan peninsula and the Danube basin. Thus, its multi-ethnic population came to comprise Serbs (approximately 37%), Croats (21%), and Bosnian Muslims, a.k.a. ‘Bosniaks’ (12%), Albanians (9%), Slovenes (8%), Macedonian Slavs (6%), Montenegrins (2%), Hungarians (2%) and several smaller groups. Having been subjugated by the Axis Powers in 1941, Yugoslavia regained its sovereignty in 1945 as a ‘socialist republic’ under the control of Marshall Josip Broz Tito, the chief of the country’s communist party, who had led the Yugoslav resistance against the occupying forces during the Second World War. After consolidating his hold over Yugoslavia, Tito severed his links with the Russian Communist Party, and remained the leader of his country until his death in 1980, establishing what has often been described as the most benevolent among the contemporary regimes in Eastern Europe.

 The federation established under Tito consisted of 6 ‘Republics’ – Serbia (42% of the country’s population), Croatia (21%), Bosnia-Herzegovina (19%), Macedonia (8.4%), Slovenia (7.2%) and Montenegro (2.5%). Within Serbia, the provinces of Vojvodina (with sizeable Hungarians, Czech and Slovac ethnic minorities) and Kosovo (where ethnic Albanians accounted for over 80% of the population) were granted a limited range of special rights of self-government.

 Until about the early 1970s the Yugoslav economy made impressive progress. In the final phase of the Tito regime, however, two destabilising processes began to operate against the earlier trends – one, the deceleration of growth in the context of global recession resonating in soaring inflation and unemployment in the economy as a whole; and the other, a widening of economic disparities between the different republics. Illustrative of the latter is a set of estimates according to which, by the early 1980s, while unemployment was as high as 50% in Kosovo, 27% in Macedonia, 23% in Bosnia, and 20% in Serbia, it was negligibly low in the wealthier ‘republics’ of Croatia and Slovenia.

 To trace the principal strands of the deepening crisis that culminated in the dismemberment of Yugoslavia and the brutal civil war that occurred in its wake – it began with the failure of the experiment with ‘collective leadership’ (rotational presidency among the ‘republics’) at the Centre in the aftermath of Tito’s death in 1980. This coincided with the development of splits within the communist party on ethnic lines. More or less simultaneously the Serb leadership attempted to gain control of the central government in Belgrade. This achieved only partial success in the sense that the Serb-controlled Centre then began to lose grip over the other member ‘republics’ of the federation. There was a further escalation of ethnic rivalry when, in 1987, Slobodan Mil?sevic, the leader of the Serbian communist party, wrested control over the central government. He embarked upon a strategy that involved, inter alia, the establishment of exclusive Serb hegemony not only over Serbia through various forms of ‘ethnic cleansing’, but also over other parts of Yugoslavia in which there were Serbian communities. This, in turn, had the effect of inducing the other member ‘republics’ to adopt pre-emptive measures to escape Serb domination.

 The earliest among such retaliatory measure was the declaration of independence by Slovenia in 1991. A few months later Croatia seceded from the Yugoslav federation. This was associated with violent confrontations between the Croatians and the Serbs living in Croatia. Following a European Community-brokered ceasefire at the end of that year, Croatia gained formal independence. The declaration of independence by Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992 paved the way for a 3-year civil war in the course of which the Serbs extended their control over almost two-thirds of Bosnian territory.

 In 1992, when Bosnia-Herzegovina asserted independent nationhood, the Serb-Bosniak confrontations escalated into an open civil war involving, among other things, some of the most brutal forms of ‘ethnic cleansing’ – annihilation of tens of thousands of Bosniaks (reminiscent of the Nazi genocide half a century earlier) as well as their mass eviction from the Serb-majority areas. According to UN estimates, over the three-year period of the civil war, these mass murders and evictions had reduced the population of Bosnia by about 1 million, and created a refugee population of 2.3 million – i.e. 52% of the population of Bosnia as enumerated in 1991.

 The Serb-Bosnia civil war was brought to an end through the ‘Daytona Accord’ of 1995 brokered by the NATO powers which partitioned Bosnia to create two independent republics – one, named ‘Republika Srpska’, consisting of the Serb-majority areas, and the other named the ‘Bosnia-Croat Federation’, consisting of the remaining areas of Serbia. Meanwhile, in 1992, Serbia and Montenegro were proclaimed the (new) Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY). Mil?sevic’s rule over the FRY continued to be featured not only by economic recession but also by secessionist movements gathering momentum in the province of Kosovo (south-western Serbia) and the ‘republic’ of Montenegro. In Kosovo where about 80% of the population is accounted for by ‘Kosovo Albanians’ had for long been the venue of an incipient separatist movement with the proclaimed goal of either independent nationhood or union with Albania. There emerged in this part of the FRY in the late-1980s a ‘Kosovo Liberation Army’ (KLA) that began to launch guerrilla attacks against the Serb security forces. At the height of FRY-KLA confrontations almost a million inhabitants of Kosovo had been displaced, and tens of thousands had been killed. The final outcome of these developments was the formal termination of the lose association between Serbia and Montenegro in 2006, and the UN-backed declaration of independence by Kosova in 2008.

 What must be noted in particular is that even under Tito the Yugoslav federation was not a liberal democracy (as the concept is generally understood) and that it had a centrally regulated economy and a political apparatus tightly controlled by the ‘League of Communists of Yugoslavia’ headed by its Presidium ? the policy-making body for the entire country. Inter-ethnic power-sharing was thus largely confined to the representation which all ethnic groups had in the communist party and its trade unions. It was, more than all else, the increasing dominance of that party apparatus by the Serbs alongside ethnicity-based factionalism at the higher levels of the party hierarchy that triggered off the disintegration of the federation.

 In the context of all these considerations what really is amazing is that the man who represented our country at the highest international forum believed (or pretends to believe since that time) that there is any worthwhile parallel between that arbitrarily established nation-state that existed over a brief span of seven decades, a 40-year federation that was tightly controlled by a single political party, and the secession of a tiny segment (4,000 square miles) of what remained of that federation by the early years of the new millennium, to the nation-state of Sri Lanka, the relations between its ethnic groups, and the impulses of the Eelam Wars.

 Devolution and Empowerment in India

 In a rebuttal of my suggestion that the implementation of the B-C Pact of 1957 or the document produced by the ‘Political Parties Conference’ of 1986 could have had outcomes different from that visualised by him, Dr. DJ has produced another classic example of superficial understanding of political affairs. It runs as follows:

 “Well, let the reader judge the lucid realism of that scenario bearing in mind, however, that ‘to go by Indian experience’ as Prof Peiris says we should, nowhere has a region seceded because an agreement for autonomy was arrived at and implemented. On the contrary, every serious scholar agrees that it is precisely the flexible accommodation of regional (sub) nationalisms that has permitted the vastly diverse India to stay together”.

 Please take a careful look at this exhibition of realism. Now, if a “serious scholar” is defined as a person subscribing to the view that it was the successful accommodation of sub-national demands through territorial devolution that kept India intact, one cannot find fault with what Dr. DJ has said. Unfortunately for him such a definition of “serious scholarship” is tenuous. There happens to be many eminent Indian scholars with impeccable academic credentials and intellectual integrity who admit that territorial devolution has often failed to fulfil the demands of sub-national group interests, that there have been many instances of devolution aggravating rather than diffusing ethnic rivalry, and that, what had held together the Indian union more effectively than all else is the overwhelming military might of the central government of India. This is why one of the leading authorities of comparative politics (Horowitz, 1985) whom I cited earlier has concluded that: “Where central authority is secure, as in India, the appropriate decisions can be made and implemented by the centre. But where the very question is how far the writ of the centre will run, devolution is a matter of bilateral agreement, and an enduring agreement is an elusive thing” (emphasis added).

 No, I think Dr. DJ should read more, much more, before he could make authoritative pronouncements on Indian experiences. He should read about what happened in the period leading up to, during, and after the Khalistan uprising (one of the closest parallels one could find to our Eelam uprising). He should familiarise himself with the scholarly writings on that misty but persistently turbulent ‘North-East’ of India which, despite India’s admittedly laudable claims of democratic governance, is physically accessible to outsiders only if they obtain Delhi’s permission to go past the Siliguri Corridor. He should learn about the never ending blood-letting between different tribal groups and between the ‘natives’ and the ‘immigrants’, the innumerable ‘liberation armies’ and their outbursts of murderous havoc, and the periodic Delhi-directed ‘cordon, search and liquidate Jawan operations’ that take place virtually unknown to the world outside except through the writings of Indian scholars and journalists. Further, Dr. DJ would do well if he were to try and grasp the extent to which devolution has kept a large part of Kashmir within the Indian Union; And, perhaps more important than all else, the disastrously negative impact of devolution on both India’s relations with its neighbours and Hindu-Muslim relations in India.

 Swiss Confederacy Model

 Dismissing my assertion that, given Sri Lanka’s size and form, province-based devolution is unnecessary for Sri Lanka on the grounds that “size has nothing to do with it”, Dr. DJ refers once again to the musings of young Bandaranaike and the not so young Leonard Woolf. My reference to the basic geographical configuration of Sri Lanka as a consideration of relevance was not due to my being unaware of small federations. Apart from Switzerland, there are five other federations ? the tiny archipelagic Micronesia, Comoros, St. Kitts & Nevis, and the lose collection of sheikdoms comprising the United Arab Emirates ? that are much smaller than Sri Lanka. But in all these there are the geographical peculiarities that account for the existing structures of government.

 The origin of the ‘Swiss Confederation’ could be traced back to the formation of an association of settlements in three Alpine localities referred to as waldstatte (“forest states”) in the 13th century. Its survival and growth in the centuries that followed could be explained mainly with reference to the desire on the part of the people inhabiting this rugged mountainous area, in settlements physically isolated from one another, to collectively safeguard their independence from the powerful kingdoms and empires that rose and fell in the adjacent parts of Europe (Austria, Italy and France) periodically extending their control over parts of the Swiss Alps. By the time the Swiss Confederacy assumed its present geographical configurations in the mid-19th century, it covered about 16,000 sq. miles of territory.

 While the persistent desire for independence and, in the 20th century, neutrality in the context of the world at war, provided the main impulses for integrity and cohesion of the Swiss confederation, its locational centrality in Europe, periodic invasions (accompanied by migration) from adjacent areas, and the physically disparate nature of its settlements, contributed to the persistence of sharp cultural (ethnic) diversities within its territory. A major ingredient of this diversity is language. About two-thirds of the Swiss population speak German; one-fifth, French; one-tenth, Italian; and one-hundredth, Rhaeto-Romanic. The Swiss population is also divided in roughly equal proportions on the basis of religion ? Protestant and Catholic.

 The only serious threat to the integrity of the Swiss confederacy occurred as far back as 1847 with the formation of a league referred to as ‘Sonderbund’ consisting of the Roman Catholic cantons, evidently in violation of the Swiss constitution of that time. The ensuing conflict was suppressed by the federal troops the following year, paving the way for the emergence of a stronger central government. This transformation acquired formal expression with the promulgation of a new constitution in 1874 which converted the existing association of cantons into a unified federal state.

 The basic territorial unit of the Swiss Confederacy is the ‘Commune’ of which there are about 3,000. Communes range in size from less than a tenth of a square mile to about 100 square miles, and are vested with considerable autonomy in many matters that directly concern daily life. For instance, the larger communes have their independent law enforcement institutions. The communes fall within one or another of the 26 ‘Cantons’ or ‘Demicantons’ into which the confederacy is divided. Each canton has almost the entire gamut of institutions of government. There is a close spatial correspondence between clusters of cantons and the distribution of the linguistic groups. If this is what Sri Lanka needs, OK, lets empower the Pradeshiya Sabhas, being cautious, however, of the criminally minded ‘neo-ratemahattayas’ and the ‘neo-arachchis’ who often tend to hold sway at that level.

 Switzerland has for long enjoyed a high level of political stability, remaining free of violent inter-group conflict. It is regarded as an example of extraordinarily successful federalism in the sense that, while it has preserved its sovereignty, territorial integrity, and neutrality in external relations over several centuries of periodic political upheavals in Europe, since about the mid-19th century, it has also averted internal conflict and accommodated popular participation of all its ethnic groups in the affairs of government.

 Given these extraordinary circumstances, could there be any pragmatically worthwhile suggestion that the type of territorial devolution in the Swiss confederacy would be appropriate for Sri Lanka? Of Oxford returnee Bandaranaike I have said enough. Leonard Woolf, it is said, was far too dreamy even for Virginia. Attempting to replicate the unique circumstances of successful territorial devolution in Sri Lanka, it seems to me, would be like an attempt to transplant the Swiss Alps on our island territory.

 External Intervention: “Worst Case Scenario”

 On this, once again, I need to quote Dr. DJ verbatim as a safeguard against an accusation of sleight-of-hand. This is what he says:

 “It is not that intervention is already planned. However, the atmosphere, diplomatic (Geneva, New York), conceptual (retroactive R2P) and world opinion, is building up ? or being created ? which is not unpropitious for such intervention and in which any intervention would be readily endorsed. It certain went uncontested in 1987. The last time, Sri Lanka was able to roll back that intervention because the LTTE took on the IPKF, generating collective cognitive dissonance in Tamil Nadu which in turn led to V P Singh making and fulfilling an electoral promise to withdraw Indian troops. In any future scenario of intervention, this factor will not operate. There will be no Tamil army fighting the Indians or anyone else who may come along. There will also be not foreign troops in the Sinhala areas, and therefore no possibility of a heroic, protracted, patriotic guerrilla war of national liberation against them”.

 Dayan proceeds in this vein, and adds:

 “I would also draw attention not only to the speculation about US military arrangements with the Maldives, but far more importantly, the supplementing of existing Indian naval air base in the South (which has the longest airstrip in the region) with the brand new airbase in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, to which India plans to transfer its top-of-the line Sukhoi SU30MKI war planes. …”

 Enough is enough; those of us who haven’t cracked our ribs are shivering in our boots! The average reader, I guess, is expected to feel, “look, this guy is such an expert in strategic cum military matters that he even knows from which base the Indian bombardment of Sri Lanka will be launched, and which aircraft will be used for the purpose”. Yet, there are more than a few who would know that much of this is pure bunkum. About the military logistics of the predicted intervention, Dr. DJ should know that Delhi, if it decides (ignoring all consequences) to launch an attack of Sri Lanka, could commence operations from any or all of the 6 major air force bases in the Deccan area; that even by 2005, India had a fleet of about 50 SU30MKIs in its total operational fleet of about 800 fixed-wing military aircraft in addition to a large fleet of attack helicopters, any of which could convey to any part of Sri Lanka anything ranging from a thermonuclear bomb to a consignment of parippu. There is, in addition, the dreadful attack capacity of the Navy, and a huge arsenal of medium range surface-to-air missiles (This is published information, but not ‘Wikileaks’, available to anyone.) As to whether such an attack lies within the bounds to reality, the most persuasive answer I have come across, which cannot be reproduced here, is found in last Sunday’s instalment of the review of Dr. DJ’s magnum opus by the veteran journalist HLD Mahindapala (The Nation, May 26: p. 11).

 It is mainly as a safeguard against this “worst case scenario” which, according to Dr. DJ, “Sri Lanka must make note of in its security environment and its strategic vulnerabilities”, that he advocates our proceeding with the ‘Thirteenth Amendment’ with the ‘pluses’ as demanded by the “international community”, its lackeys, India, and the remnants of the Eelam campaign, but not necessarily the ordinary people of Sri Lanka including the Tamils who appear to be quite content with their recently found freedom and even the post-war material advances, except when those in the local human rights industry persuade them that they ought not to be. That, of course, does not mean that the Tamil people in the north will readily abandon their primordial loyalties when it comes to voting. If it does not work in the way envisaged by Dr. DJ, well so what? He could always say with hindsight that the ‘plusses’ were inadequate or that timing was wrong, or the central government was provocative in its dealings with the NPC, or that Colombo was not pliant enough in its dealings with the West, or that the Rajapaksa regime has been too friendly with China, etc. etc.

Such explanation would, of course, be of little consolation if the suggested devolution becomes, not a compromise but an irretrievable give-away with no gains in security and internal stability, but permanent losses in respect of vulnerability to external threats. All indications both from past records as well as what could be discerned in the relevant geopolitical configurations are that, from the viewpoint of Sri Lanka’s security, it will inevitably be the latter rather than the former.

13 Responses to “Security perspectives of province-based devolution: A reappraisal”

  1. Senevirath Says:




  2. Lorenzo Says:

    FOOLISH Tamilians. They don’t know they will be the VICTIMS in TNA (they voted TNA to power) violence.


    According to UN reports there are 89,000 Tamilian Mahaveer war widows in north and east of SL.

    According to the 2012 census, there are 2,200,000 SL Tamilians in SL.

    Roughly 70% of the population are adults.

    So there are 1,540,000 Tamil adults in SL.

    If those 89,000 Tamil men were alive and assuming men:women 50:50, there would have been 859,000 SL Tamil adult men. (1,540,000 / 2 + 89,000)

    89,000 / 859,000 = 11%

    AT LEAST 11% SL Tamilian men DIED from war!

    You want another 11% of Tamilian men to die?

    (11% of SL Tamil women became widows. You want another 11% of Tamilian women to be widowed?)

    WHEN that happens SL will have to pass Sharia Law to look after all those Tamilian war widows (govt. pays them nothing!) by allowing people to marry more than one woman!!

    This is the bitter truth based on FACTS. You can google these facts.

    So if you want war, bring it on baby!!

  3. Lorenzo Says:


  4. S.Gonsalkorale Says:

    Even without any power Provincial Council Sinhala politicians dressed as Gonibillas killing people.
    Devolve to Tamils who are 10 times brutal killers than Sinhalese, they will arrive naked to kill Dayan first.

  5. Fran Diaz Says:

    ‘Devolve or Perish’ ? Why ? Sri Lanka has existed for millennia without imported ‘Devolution’. In the old days, good old practical Devolution happened without any fanfare, at grass roots levels.

    Right now, Sri Lanka is being used for other peoples purposes, trammelled under trumped up HR violations, not for the benefit of Sri Lanka.

  6. Fran Diaz Says:

    Look at the wording on the latest UPFA Bill re protection from the 13-A. It states ‘remove the provisions provided for a merger of the adjoining provincial councils which allows bills and acts to get passed by all provincial councils before they are passed in parliament’. What about PCs NOT adjoining joining together ?

    Also, this Bill is a totally inadequate one for protection from the 13-A. The best protection from the 13-A is to REMOVE the 13-A. Whom are we pleasing by keeping the 13-A intact ? – TNA (ITAK), Tamil Diaspora, & a handful of foreigners plus Tamil Nadu ?

    * Sri Lanka cabinet approval sought for amendments on power devolution
    Thu, Jun 6, 2013, 10:03 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    Jun 06, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government will submit a proposal to the cabinet of ministers today seeking approval to re-amend the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, government sources said.

    The proposed amendment reportedly aims to remove the provisions provided for a merger of the adjoining provincial councils which allows bills and acts to get passed by all provincial councils before they are passed in parliament.

    The draft bill in this regard has been approved by the party leaders of the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) that met on June 04 evening under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

    Sri Lanka government sources say that more amendments to the Provincial Council system are to come in the future.

    Meanwhile Minister Wimal Weerawansa said that the President promised to seek a definition from the Supreme Court regarding the police and land powers of the provincial councils.

    Minister’s party, National Freedom Front is campaigning against giving police and land powers of the Provincial Councils.

  7. Senevirath Says:

    depending on supreme court is dangerous if sombody like shirani comes what will happen? Tamils will appeal from time to time

    even last time it was 4 to 5.

    G.L THE traitor is trying to mislead mahinda. do not trust him. scrap 13a or atleast take out police and land powers
    even if we remove police and land powers there will be problems in the future THEY WILL FIND LOOP HOLES


    “”””” veerayek kavadaavath revulai kendai dekama bera gena BAlaye inna hadanne nehe””””””””

  8. Ananda-USA Says:

    Jayawewa! …. Patriotic Forces of Mother Lanka WILL NOT ALLOW
    Provincial Councils with Land and Police Powers to be Elected!

    If the GOVERNMENT WILL NOT ACT to PROTECT the Nation … Let the PEOPLE of Sri Lanka ACT, and ACT NOW!

    Nationalist organizations in Sri Lanka protest Northern PC election without amending land and police powers

    ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    Jun 06, Colombo: Sinhala Buddhist organizations in Sri Lanka today protested against the government for planning to hold election for Northern Provincial Council without removing the land and police powers from the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

    At a press conference held today in Colombo, the secretary of the National Sangha Conference warned to mobilize the Buddhist monks of the entire country against the government and prevent holding the election for the Northern Provincial Council.

    Meanwhile, the Patriotic National Movement that held a press conference separately protested the amendments proposed by the government. The Convener of the Patriotic National Movement Gunadasa Amarasekera said the amendments without the removal of police and land powers may have been proposed by the RAW agents in the cabinet.

    The National Freedom Front led by Minister Wimal Weerawansa is meanwhile collecting signatures to a petition against holding the Northern Provincial Council election without amending the land and police powers.

  9. Ananda-USA Says:

    Sri Lanka still wary of possible LTTE revival: Report
    June 6, 2013

    Four years after successfully defeating the LTTE in a bloody civil war, Sri Lanka is still wary of the banned terror outfit’s international network, and has voiced concern over the possible re-emergence of pro-LTTE sympathisers, US State Department’s report has said.

    According to the US State Department’s 2012 counter terrorism country report, “The Sri Lankan Government claimed that it continued to uncover abandoned weapons and explosives in areas of the country formerly controlled by the LTTE.”

    Although there were no known LTTE activities in Sri Lanka in 2012, the Government asserted that peaceful protests at Jaffna University in November were organised by students trained by overseas LTTE supporters and made several arrests, the reports said.

    Sri Lankan Police in late November clashed with the Jaffna university students who were trying to commemorate the LTTE’s hero’s day which coincided with the birth anniversary of the late LTTE leader Velupillai Prabakaran.

    At least four students were arrested and later released by the President Mahinda Rajapaksa on parental intervention.

    The report said the Government of Sri Lanka remained concerned that the LTTE’s international network of financial support was still functioning; many counter-terrorism activities undertaken by the Government targeting alleged LTTE finances.

    Counter-terrorism legislation in Sri Lanka has focused on eliminating the remnants of the LTTE and enforcing general security throughout the island.

    The Sri Lankan Army defeated the LTTE in 2009 after a bitter fight which left nearly 300,000 people displaced.

    The Sri Lankan Government continued to implement the Prevention of Terrorism Act of 1978, which was made a permanent law in 1982 and remains in force, the report said.

  10. Ananda-USA Says:

    The 13th AMENDMENT contains Many POISON PILLS that THREATEN the INTEGRITY of Sri Lanka and the SAFETY of its PEOPLE.

    Among them:

    1. Devolution of Land and Police Powers that will enable SEPARATIST Tamils to EXCLUDE other communities from the North and East, to BUILD UP their SEPARATIST forces ONCE AGAIN beyond the view and control of the National Government, and to import an unending STREAM OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS from Tamil Nadu.

    2. The de-facto VETO power of Provincial Councils over NATIONAL BILLS which requires UNANIMOUS CONSENT of ALL PCs for passage of National Bills. Under this law, the GOSL would be UNABLE to act against SEPARATIST Provincial Councils in any way.

    3. The Provision for the MERGER of the Northern and Eastern Provincial Councils, that would resurrect the long held dream of Eelamists to impose their majority in the Northern Province on the Eastern Province, and capture it as well. What the SunGod sought to Win by MURDEROUS WAR would be gifted to the TNA in ABJECT PEACE!

    It would be an ABSOLUTE FOLLY to hand over the North and East to UNREPENTANT SEPARATISTS ENABLING them to SECEDE and join Tamil Nadu!

    The LIVES of UNTOLD GENERATIONS OF Sri Lankan Citizens would be placed at RISK by opening this DOOR TO HELL!

    Ask Not For Whom the Bell Tolls; it Tolls for Thee!

    Rise Up! …. O Patriots of Mother Lanka …. REPEAL the 13th Amendment, DEMOLISH the Provincial Council System, and HALT the upcoming Provincial Council Elections, DEMAND a NATIONWIDE REFERENDUM to END the 13th Amendment!

    Sri Lanka cabinet approval sought for amendments on power devolution

    ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    Jun 06, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government will submit a proposal to the cabinet of ministers today seeking approval to re-amend the 13th Amendment to the Constitution , government sources said.

    The proposed amendment reportedly aims to remove the provisions provided for a merger of the adjoining provincial councils which allows bills and acts to get passed by all provincial councils before they are passed in parliament.

    The draft bill in this regard has been approved by the party leaders of the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) that met on June 04 evening under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

    Sri Lanka government sources say that more amendments to the Provincial Council system are to come in the future.

    Meanwhile Minister Wimal Weerawansa said that the President promised to seek a definition from the Supreme Court regarding the police and land powers of the provincial councils.

    Minister’s party, National Freedom Front is campaigning against giving police and land powers of the Provincial Councils.

  11. Ananda-USA Says:

    SEPARATISTS and TRAITORS joining together in FAVOR of the 13th Amendment.

    Rise Up … . O Patriots of Mother Lanka …. REPEAL the 13th Amendment COMPLETELY, DEMOLISH the Provincial Council System, and HALT the Provincial Council Elections, DEMAND a NATIONWIDE REFERENDUM to REPEAL the 13th Amendment!

    Sri Lanka Tamil party opposes amending the 13th Amendment to the Constitution

    ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    Jun 06, Colombo: Sri Lanka’s major Tamil political party, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has opposed the government’s move to amend the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

    The government’s move is seen as a measure to limit the powers accorded to provinces under the 13th Amendment before the government holds elections to the Northern Province Council planned for September.

    TNA parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran said the 13th Amendment which was aimed at solving the national issue and the government must consult the TNA as a representative of the Tamil people prior to any move to amend the 13th Amendment since it would affect the people of the North and East.

    However, Premachandran noted that the government has not yet made any official comment on its stance on the 13th Amendment.

    According to Premachandran, the TNA would have to decide whether to contest the Northern Provincial Council polls in the event the government decides to dilute or amend the 13th Amendment as it stands.

    The 13th Amendment introduced under influence from India in 1987 paved way for power devolution to the Provinces despite displeasure of the majority Sinhala community.

    There is a growing momentum within the ruling party and the country to abolish the 13th Amendment. The opponents of the 13th Amendment believe holding the elections in the Northern Province without amending it will be a serious threat to the national security and territorial integrity.

    Members of the ruling party have met on Tuesday to discuss the changes to the 13th Amendment and the party leaders have agreed to amend it, a senior party leader has told the AFP.

    The government has proposed removing the provisions provided for a merger of the adjoining provincial councils which allows bills and acts to get passed by all provincial councils before they are passed in parliament.

    Further, the attention is focused on the provision of granting land and police powers to the provinces under the 13th amendment.

    Sri Lanka’s Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa recently said that he would never agree to granting police powers to provincial councils as it would be a serious challenge and a danger to the security services.

    He said if the provincial councils were vested with police powers, a serious situation would arise with regard to the maintenance of law and order, and the security services would become ineffective.

    However, some coalition partners of the government are not in favor of the move to revise the 13th Amendment and curtailing police and land powers.

    Ally of the governing party, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) said the party would not support the changes to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

    The party said 13th Amendment should not be revised in any way and there should not be any change in the land and police powers vested with the provinces under the 13th Amendment.

    The government is however, to submit a proposal to the cabinet of ministers today seeking approval to re-amend the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

  12. Ananda-USA Says:


    Don’t FINE TUNE the 13th Amendment POISON PILL, REPEAL IT COMPLETELY and DEMOLISH the Provincial Council System by Leaf, Branch, Trunk and Root!


    Rise Up … O Patriots of Mother Lanka … and DEMOLISH this Indian IRON CHAIN that BINDS the HANDS & FEET of OUR Motherland!

    President’s right to merge provinces to be repealed
    Stripping of provinical land, police powers not discussed – Keheliya

    by Zacki Jabbar
    June 6, 2013

    The Cabinet of Ministers has approved a proposal to repeal the President’s right to merge Provinces, which has been provided for under the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

    Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella addressing a news conference in Colombo yesterday, said that constituent members of the ruling UPFA had been given time to study the Bill to amend the Provincial Councils Act.

    The proposed two amendments pertained to the President’s right to merge provinces and the requirement that the approval of all provincial councils were required to amend the Constitution, he noted.

    Asked if the government was also trying to strip the provinces of land and police powers, the Minister said that it had not been discussed.

    Rambukwella said that the UPFA had only taken up the proposals to repeal the President’s right to merge Provinces and the consent of all provincial councils to enact legislation.

    At yesterday’s Cabinet meeting the SLMC leader and Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem had asked for more time to study the proposed amendments and it had been granted.

    President Mahinda Rajapaksa has proposed that the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSSC) on the National Question be reconvened with or without the participation of the Tamil National Alliance.

    Informed sources said that the President was of the view that if the TNA refused to attend the PSC process, the PSC should continue with the participation of Tamils in the government and Opposition.

  13. Ananda-USA Says:

    I can’t believe what I’m hearing …. are the BJP Politicians FINALLY getting it … that they can’t get Sri Lankan Tamils an Eelam without ALIENATING and making an ENEMY of Sri Lanka, that would rather BEFRIEND India, if they BUTT OUT of our Internal Politics?

    And here I was PROPOSING that Sri Lanka undertake a FACT FINDING MISSION to India to INVESTIGATE why the “legitimate aspirations” of the multivarious SEPARATIST and TERRORIST groups in India are being suppressed and denied their FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS to inflict MURDER & MAYHEM upon other law-abiding citizens of India.

    If this degree of RATIONAL COMPREHENSION of India’s CULPABILITY for Sri Lanka’s PAIN & WOUNDS persists, I may have to SHELVE my PROPOSALS.

    Well, let us wait and see … after all Indian Politicians suffer from Advanced Alzheimer’s Disease, and do tend to forget what they said yesterday, especially after the Indian elections are over.

    India can’t solve Lanka’s political issues: BJP team

    ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    June 07 (NIE) A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led team, which is currently on a tour in Sri Lanka, has told the war-ravaged Lankan Tamils that India is ready to provide the healing touch but it cannot be expected to solve their political problems.

    Interacting with a wide cross section of political parties and civil society in Jaffna on Wednesday, the leader of the six member team, Rajya Sabha member Ravi Shankar Prasad, said that India was aware that the Tamils of the Northern provinces needed a healing touch and assured them that India was with them.

    However, he made it clear that Lankan Tamils should not expect India to solve their political problems. These would have to be solved by the people themselves through participation in the domestic political processes, he said.

    India did not have a magic wand to solve their problems, he said.

    Prasad also made it clear that India saw Sri Lanka as a friendly country and would never de-stabilize it.

    The six member Indian team, which has a representative of the Shiv Sena (Suresh Prabhu), an RSS official (Ram Madhav), a political commentator (Swapan Dasgupta) and a human rights activist cum advocate (Monika Arora), was presented a kaleidoscopic view of opinions in Lanka’s Tamil-speaking Northern Province. The team met pro-government and anti-government groups separately, besides top civil and military officials.

    Members of the team showed keen interest in the issues the Tamils were facing and asked probing questions. On Thursday, the team met MPs from the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) at Hilton Hotel in Colombo.

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