Sri Lanka’s New Devolution Package: Is the Grama Rajya map & Eelam Map the same?
Posted on May 14th, 2016

Shenali D Waduge

What happens when a government that follows an appeasement policy and is also aware that the mention of the 13th amendment, devolution of powers, Indo-Lanka Accord, autonomy, self-rule within a ‘united Sri Lanka’ gets the majority of the patriotic people of Sri Lanka to rise against them? The best way to tackle the issue would be to introduce a concept that people can buy into and map out that concept to match the original plan of giving into demands that had been promised. It is in this context that we explore the possibility of the repetitive reference to introducing the grama rajya model and wonder whether this new map would basically be drawn to match the eelam map that TNA-India continue to demand upon which the 13th amendment lays its foundation. It would be interesting to have a look at this grama rajya map to see if our doubts are valid!

We are well aware that the present government has agreed to give more than can be given even by their standards. The assurance of support to bring them to power has come upon the agreement that these demands would be fulfilled. From the Singapore Principles of 2013 to the assurances given in a NDTV interview by the PM who says on principle we have agreed to give full autonomy to Tamil areas”.  This interview got the PM into a spot of bother. what is clear is that paddling lies by all parties have landed an island nation into a pickle.

The connection in what the TNA, the TULF, the ITAK, the other Tamil parties, India and LTTE have been demanding over the years has unmistakable resemblance. Tied to this is the manner that the Sinhalese leaders have tagged along for nothing other than using it as a platform to win votes and come into power.

In looking at these demands the similarities are clear:

  • S.J.V. Chelvanayakam, leader of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) in 1975 “I wish to announce to my people and to the country that I consider the verdict at this election as a mandate that the Tamil Eelam nation should exercise the sovereignty already vested in the Tamil people and become free.”

TULF Vaddukodai Resolution 1976

  1. State of Tamil Eelam to consist of North & Eastern provinces to all Tamil speaking people
  1. Constitution of Tamil Eelam based on principles of decentralization. No foremost place to any religion or territorial community.
  1. Tamil Eelam will assure equal status to all
  1. Tamil Eelam will be a secular state with equal protection to all religions
  1. Tamil will be language of the State but Sinhala speaking minority can educate and transact in Sinhala subject to reciprocity of Tamil speaking minority in Sinhala state.
  • 1977, the election manifesto of the Tamil United Liberation Front began simply: One Question: Freedom or Servitude?”………… VOTE For the Tamil United Liberation Front; For the emancipation of the Tamil Nation; For the Freedom of Tamil Eelam”
  • TNA’s 2004 manifesto: Accepting LTTE’s leadership as the national leadership of the Tamil Eelam Tamils and the Liberation Tigers as the sole and authentic representatives of the Tamil people, let us devote our full cooperation for the ideals of the Liberation Tigers’ struggle with honesty and steadfastness…………. Let us endeavor determinedly, collectively as one group, one nation, one country, transcending race and religious differences, under the leadership of the LTTE for a life of liberty, honor and justice for the Tamil people………. We emphasize that if the Tamil nation’s requests are continued to be rejected, rightful political solution denied and armed aggression and oppressive rule return, based on the doctrine of self-determination, it is an inevitable reality that Tamil sovereignty and independence will be established in the Tamil homeland.

    We implore our people to identify the selfish, opportunistic packs and gangs that operate in our midst as the enemies and as the tools of the majoritarian chauvinist Sinhala forces against the Tamil nation which seeks an honorable and peaceful life and reject them totally and completely in the upcoming elections.

    Let us work side by side with the LTTE, who are fighting for the protection and autonomous life of the Tamil speaking people, for the political initiatives under their leadership.

    We are sending a clarion call to the Tamil speaking people to unite under one flag and give overwhelming support to the TNA which is contesting (the elections) under the ILANKAI TAMIL ARASU KATCHI’S symbol of house, so as to emphasize the aims of the people of the Tamil Nation, to proclaim again the political resolve of our people, to strengthen further the Tamil nation and to win the political rights of the Tamil speaking people.”

Demands made by LTTE, EPRLF, EROS, PLOTE, TELO and TULF in 1985 during the Thimpu talks.

  • recognition of the Tamils of Ceylon as a nation
  • recognition of the existence of an identified homeland for the Tamils of Ceylon
  • recognition of the right of self determination of the Tamil nation
  • recognition of the right to citizenship and the fundamental rights of all Tamils of Ceylon

Demands of ITAK

  • ‘autonomous rule in the North East based on the principles of self-determination and shared sovereignty within a united, undivided Sri Lanka’ (15th National Convention of ITAK 2015)
  • ‘Our expectation for a solution to the ethnic problem of the sovereignty of the Tamil people is based on a political structure OUTSIDE that of a UNITARY GOVERNMENT, in a UNITED SRI LANKA in which Tamil people have all the powers of government needed to live with self-respect and self sufficiency’. Sambanthan’s speech at ITAK convention 2014
  • ‘North and East of Sri Lanka are the areas of historical habitation of the Tamil speaking people’. ‘meaningful devolution should go beyond the 13th Amendment to the Constitution passed in 1987’.

In addition to this TNA’s Sambanthan and Opposition Leader says United National Party has assured to provide self-rule for Tamils if it wins from the forthcoming general election

Government assures Northern public equal rights

Ranil Wickramasinghe assures power to Tamils in Sri Lanka

Ranil promises devolution of power to Sri lankan Tamils

In the meanwhile, the ITAK whose constitution is virtually promoting confederal setup is now openly using the word confederal through their spokespersons who are making proposals for the new constitution.

In essence the current constitution with the 13th amendment in force is a quasi-federal set up. The safeguard with a federal constitution is that the Centre has the eventual power to ensure the devolved province is behaving to its mandate. We can recall an instance when the province did not function when India’s stooge Varatharaja Perumal declared a unilateral declaration of independence resulting in the dissolution of the province by the Central Government. What the ITAK & TNA is trying to remove through the new constitution is this provision that enables the Centre to dissolve and take back the province if they are not behaving which is what confederalism is all about. This is why there is so much talk about self-autonomy within a united Sri Lanka. There is no legal provision for a united Sri Lanka. United remains all but in name and becomes valid upto a point that a province decides to say cheriyo – we are going our separate ways. When ITAK, TNA & India know this very well why do they insist on ‘united Sri Lanka’ because they are hiding their cards from the public because their ultimate aim is to separate and it is towards this goal that they are pulling out all sorts of terminologies to fool the people.

In such an environment we have to wonder whether the grama rajya model and map is another googly meant to draw the eelam map into reality without using the demarcations that are likely to find immediate objections.

Shenali D Waduge


6 Responses to “Sri Lanka’s New Devolution Package: Is the Grama Rajya map & Eelam Map the same?”

  1. plumblossom Says:

    As stated by many Sri Lanka Tamils were, by and large, brought by the Dutch and the British to work in tobacco plantations in the Jaffna peninsula. Prior to that there was the Jaffna Kingdom set up by a retreating invader which was only very sparsely populated. Therefore the vast majority of Sri Lankan Tamils are recent immigrants who came during the Dutch and the British times. Therefore the fake claim of a homeland is not valid at all. There is plenty of ancient Buddhist archaeological sites, irrigation reservoirs etc. in the North and in the East which shows that the North and the East was part of Rajarata and later the Kandyan kingdoms. Therefore the entire island today is the homeland of all its peoples. No one can claim exclusive rights to any bit part of the island.

    However according to the UN charter minorities should be provided cultural, language, religious rights. Sri Lanka has not only done all that but gone further and provided a provincial council system with sufficient powers. If a small country such as Sri Lanka goes any further that the powers that the provincial councils are provided with today, this country will fall apart. No land, police or fiscal powers or any other powers should be given to the provincial councils than they have at present.

    The Government has an obligation to explain these historical facts and our fulfilment of all UN charter conditions to the US imperialists, EU, UK, Canada, Norway, Sweden and India. These imperialists should be told to leave Sri Lanka alone and to mind their own business once and for all. Failure to do this means these imperialists will continue to harass Sri Lanka and try to set up an eelam since they want to control this strategic location and the resources that we have.

  2. anura seneviratna Says:

    Root of the problem in the Island Country artificially named as SL is- UNCLAIMED as the ONLY native country of the Nation of Sinhelas within the governing CONSTITUTION. This major vacuum is the cause for demands from the settler community of Tamils whose national homeland is self evidently Tamil Nadu (Tamil country).

    All governments in the past too reacted to this stale crisis on conditioned reflexes of equality for ALL, blatantly ignoring the parameters of National sovereignty of THE NATION and COUNTRY. When each national country of the world has ONE NATION encompassing all settler communities – in the tiny SINHELA COUNTRY, foreign national rights are offered to settler communities who then naturally want to carve out separate areas as ADDITIONAL SEPARATE COUNTRIES in addition to their national lands elsewhere staring at us in amazement!

    The present so called leadership is hell bent on destroying the Sinhela Heritage of the world as its single purposeful aim in life but garbed in Sinhela identity, hence no one is aware of it.

  3. Ratanapala Says:

    Let us discuss the Implications of Eelam. It is important that people understand what Sri Lanka will be the day after Eelam is implemented.

    Will Eelam end there? What are we to do for unimpeded immigration of Kallathonis from Tamil Nadu. Already there are thousands if not hundreds of thousands in the North and East and some in the rest of the island.

    Would the border between Eelam and rest of Sri Lanka going to be peaceful? On both sides are farmers all wanting water for agriculture. Wouldn’t there be a thousand water wars much worse than Mavil Aru across every water way that crosses this border. Will not the remaining Sinhalese gradually retreat southwards in the face of no support from the traitorous GOSL in the south and India assisted Racist Tamils from the north? Demand for water will not end till they have got control of the head waters of Mahaveli in collusion with the Estate Tamils.

    What will happen to the security situation. Terrorist will be able to commit any crime in the south and disappear into the secure loving hands in the North and East.

    India is waiting to construct the Monkey Bridge. Will this be just a road that connects India and Sri Lanka? Will it not be a road for Indian Tanks to roll into Colombo and another to connect to Trincomalee. This is the plum prize India is waiting to acquire .

    Let us discuss these and other issues and not simply agitate and react to what traitors in the south are trying to do. The whole Eelam Caravan would have gone by while we are still discussing it! Sri Lankan patriots have to have an action plan and soon!

  4. Fran Diaz Says:

    Concerned and Loyal Sri Lankans have to be far more proactive to stop Eelam formation. The demand to remove the ILLEGAL 13-A must be more intense. Giving into the full implementation of 13-A (Land & Police included) and Peace at any price will not bring a lasting peace, it seems ?

    INDIA is ruthless with her own Separatists, including Separatist Taml Nadu !

    How do other countries manage to stop Separatism by Minorities ?

  5. Fran Diaz Says:

    PM Nehru imposed the INDIAN Anti-Secessionist Laws in 1963. They have imposed these Laws very strictly in INDIA. However, in Sri Lanka even the 6-A has NEVER been activated !! Conversely, Sri Lanka has meekly accepted the INDIAN imposed 13-A, to Lanka’s detriment.

    Why is that ?

  6. plumblossom Says:

    We do not need provincial councils which only promotes separatism. The provincial councils only duplicate the already existing system of ministry, district secretary, divisional secretaries, grama niladhari system which has functioned for decades. In addition, there are the municipal, urban councils and pradeshiya sabhas who elect their officials to ensure that there is local government representation and to ensure that local matters are dealt with. The ministry, district secretary, divisional secretaries, grama niladhari system is how government plans get implemented at the district, divisional and the grama niladhari level. The only thing the provincial councils do is duplicate this already existing system and is totally unnecessary. Since Sri Lanka is a small country. Therefore what is agreed at the parliamentary level in terms of plans can be implemented islandwide via the ministries. If anyone in any province wants to suggest anything innovative, they can do so via their MP at the parliamentary level. A small country such as Sri Lanka needs a strong central government and just one plan for the entire island to move forward. For this the existing ministry, district secretary, divisional secretaries, grama niladhari system is sufficient. At the local level there are the municipal, urban councils and the pradeshiya sabhas to take care of local matters.

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