Posted on October 30th, 2017


The softening of our stance concerning certain issues, and the compromise we show in other issues, are diplomatic strategies to ensure that we do not alienate the international community.  They are not indications that we have abandoned our fundamental objectives….The current practices of the international community may give us an opportunity to achieve, without the loss of life, the soaring aspirations we were unable to achieve by armed struggle’-R.Sampanthan, 2012 Speech at 14th Annual Convention of ITAK in Batticaloa

On 8th March 2016, on the eve of Parliament signing the Framework Resolution setting up the Constitutional Assembly, I argued in an article published on that the JO betrayed the Sinhalas by supporting that resolution.[1]  They are about to betray the Sinhalas again, this time by agreeing to participate in the ‘debate’ over the Steering Committee interim report.

This will be the final nail in the coffin.  The new Constitution will put in place the irrevocable legal foundation for Eelam, which the Tamils will use at a time of their choosing to demand formal separation.  In this article I shall explain how I think the final act of betrayal will play out, and make some recommendations as to what the Sinhalas can do to fight back.


In my view, Ranil Wickremasinghe’s plan is to keep the UNP in power till 2025 if not beyond.  The UNP needs to cling to power beyond 2020 for the simple reason that if it loses power most of the UNP’s stalwarts including Ranil along with their assorted allies will have to spend their respective retirements being dragged from courtroom to courtroom, or prison to prison, to account for what they have done in the past two years.

In order for the UNP to stay in power beyond 2020, Ranil needs a strong enough excuse to justify postponing the 2020 General Elections.  A new Constitution will give him such an excuse.  If the new Constitution is adopted after a referendum, Ranil and the UNP can claim that the victory at the referendum shows that the people basically approve of the way the country is being run, and that this can be interpreted as a mandate to continue in power beyond 2020.

At any rate, the above is an excuse plausible enough to give the UNP the political cover necessary to postpone General Elections in 2020.  The only thing that will spoil the aforesaid plan is if the new Constitution is shown to be a fraud before it is put to a referendum, that is, when the draft is still in Parliament.  The JO is the only group capable of doing this.  So, it is imperative for Ranil to get the JO to back the new Constitution.  The JO is about to give him what he wants.

To digress a moment, it is not in dispute that Sri Lanka needs a new Constitution, or to put it another way there are serious flaws in the present Constitution that must be remedied at some time or other in the future.  The only question is whether the present Parliament has the mandate to amend the Constitution or to being in a new Constitution.  The fact of the matter is that it does not.

I have discussed the reasons for the position above in an article titled, ‘The Ongoing Constitution-Making Process in Sri Lanka:  An Inquiry into its Legality,’[2] published in on 23rd August 2017, and refer the reader to that article for more details.  But in brief there are three reasons, as follows.

First, nowhere in the UPFA manifesto for the 2015 Parliamentary Elections does it say that in the event the UPFA loses, its candidates reserve the right to join the UNP or any other winning party and carry on a common legislative program including bringing Constitutional amendments or a new Constitution.  But, that is exactly what has happened.

About 45 SLFP MP’s who contested the under the UPFA banner are now colluding with the UNP thus giving the UNP very close to a 2/3 majority in Parliament, and with a 2/3 majority they can do almost anything.

Second, if anyone points out that the fact that the UPFA manifesto doesn’t mention the prospect of a ‘National Government’ doesn’t mean that UPFA voters would have necessarily opposed such a thing once it was formed, the reply is that if that were the case, Mr. Sirisena would not have had to bring in people including defeated candidates through the National List to strengthen his hand in Parliament, in order to form the ‘National Government.’

Finally, and most importantly, the Government keeps postponing elections, because it is afraid of losing.  A Government that is afraid to face elections cannot be considered by any stretch of the imagination as having a mandate to bring in a new Constitution.  If the Government wants to insist it has a mandate, it should hold elections – any elections – and confirm such mandate.

All that the JO has to do is to point out the above facts or something similar, demand that elections – any elections – be held prior to any further discussions about a new Constitution, and leave it at that.  It should be noted that, the karakasabhas of the Malwatu-Asgiri Chapters have also categorically state that a new Constitution is not needed at the present time.

Generally speaking, the karakasabhas are conservative institutions, and they won’t take a stance such as the one they have taken on as important and as politically sensitive an issue as a new Constitution without thinking long and hard over it.  So, as far as Sinhala-Buddhists are concerned – and certainly any groups purporting to represent the interests of Sinhala- Buddhists – the pronouncement of the Malwatu –Asgiri karakasabhas should, one must presume, be the final word.  But, what has the JO done?

By agreeing to participate in the ‘debate,’ the JO is saying that it has accepted the legitimacy and legality of the constitution-making process so far, but wants to discuss the merits of the specific proposals.  The fact of the matter is that, the JO can do precious little to change the content of the various proposals.

But, once the JO participates in the debate, the Sinhalas will not be able to say that their interests went unrepresented when the draft of the Constitution was put to Parliament.  In short, the legitimacy of the draft will have been established.  And this is all that Ranil needs at the moment.

I give below my predictions as to how events will unfold in the coming days.  (Basically, it will be a repeat of what happened leading up to the adoption of the Framework Resolution on 9th March 2016.)

  1. The first thing to remember is that the Government does not need a 2/3 majority to adopt the Interim Report and request the Steering Committee to prepare a Constitutional proposal.  The Framework resolution does not say even whether a vote on the Interim report is needed.  (See Paragraphs 17 and 18 of the Framework resolution)[3].  It is the Constitutional Proposal that needs a 2/3 majority.  To repeat, the UNP does not need the support of Sirisena’s SLFP’ers or the JO in order to pass from the Interim report to the final Constitutional Proposal.  So the ‘debate’ is quite literally only for show. 
  2. The JO has already filed 14 objections to the Interim Report.  Sirisena’s SLFP’ers have also filed 12 objections or so if I’m not mistaken.
  3. During the first or second day of the debate, a number of Sirisena’s SLFP’ers will break ranks and say that they now fully support the JO’s position, and if the JO’s 14 points are not met, they will join the JO in voting against the report.
  4. After much hullabaloo, the Government will agree to the 14 conditions with minor modifications, and the Interim Report will thereon be adopted with a2/3 majority.  (Remember that, no such majority is needed.)

To jump ahead, in a few more weeks the Steering Committee will present the Constitutional Proposal, and – low and behold – all the offending clauses they said they will remove when finalizing the Proposal will appear in it.  There will be pandemonium.  The JO’s heavyweights will thunder from their podiums:  ‘Api akanga une theywal nevei make thienne!’  (‘There are things in this that we never agreed to!’)

Again, a number of Sirisena’s SLFP’ers will join the JO in yelling at the Government.  The Government knows this routine by now.  It will once again agree to remove the offending clauses.  But this time, the JO and the SLFP ‘rebels’ will stick to their guns (or pretend to do so) and refuse to support the Constitutional Proposal.

At that point, Sirisena will deliver one of his famous ‘Mama Poronduwenava’ (‘I Promise’) speeches to the nation.  He will say something like this:  ‘Mama poronduwenava rata bedanda kavadawath ida thenne na kilaya.’ (‘I promise I will never permit the county to be divided.’)

Needless to say, Sirisena’s ‘poronduva’ is a joke, because once the new Constitution is enacted, the discretion to move for formal separation either by way of a referendum on secession or through action of the Provincial Government will be in the hands of the Tamils.  Can Sirisena control the thoughts and actions of the Tamils?  Is he God?

Nevertheless, the ‘poronduva’ will ahcieve Sirisen’as purpose, which is to provide the SLFP ‘rebels’ political cover to return to the fold, and the Constitutional Proposal will pass with a 2/3 majority, perhaps with a significant number of JO’ers voting for it also.

Soon afterwards, a number of relatively uncontroversial clauses in the Proposal – for instance abolishing the Presidency and so on – will be put to a referendum.  (The Government will never put a put an issue such as whether to turn Sri Lankan into an ‘Ekiya rajya/Urumittu Nadu’ before the people.)  The Government will win the referendum by mobilizing the same coalition that helped bring Sirisena to power and also by rigging the referendum just for good measure.

Once the Proposal is brought back to Parliament, the Government will insert the more obnoxious clauses such as making the country into a ‘Ekiya/Urumittu nadu’ at the committee stage, and promptly get the Speaker to certify the document into law.  Sirisena will howl with indignation.  He will say something like:

me vidiha deval vene kohomada!  Habei then apita karrana deyak ne.  Nithiyata garu karanna oni.  2020 thi chandayak enawa.  Ethakota api apema arnduwak pihituvala meva venas karannahaki.’  (How can these things happen!  But, now there’s little we can do.  We must respect the law.  There will be an election in 2020.  At that time we’ll form a government of our own and change all this.’)

He understands better than anyone else that, once the new Constitution is enacted, there will be no elections…for a very long time.  So, that’s how it will all end for the Sinhalas.  I sincerely hope none of what I have suggested above happens, but if it does, you heard it here first.


  1. Prepare for a Referendum:

Some people say that there will be no referendum and that the Government will get the Constitution passed using only the 2/3 majority in Parliament.  If there’s no referendum, I will be the first to rejoice, because the new Constitution will have absolutely no credibility.  In the meantime, it is best to prepare for the worse.  As I mentioned earlier, I think the Sinhalas will lose the referendum.  But, they shouldn’t accept defeat passively.

They need to do two things.  First, following the lead set by the Malwatu –Asgiri karakasabha, the basis for challenge to the new Constitution must be that there’s no need for a new Constitution at this time, and the present Parliament does not have the mandate to engage in such an exercise anyway.  This way, if and when the Sinhalas regain power, it’ll be easier to have new Constitution invalidated in toto.

Second, the Sinhalas have to expose the rig.  Sirisena will never permit Ranil and the UNP to go for a referendum unless he is given an absolute guarantee that his side will win.  The only way to do this is for the UNP to put maximum effort into mobilizing the constituency that brought Sirisena to power, but also have a rig in place to make up for any shortfall.  So, the Sinhalas have to expose this rig.

The Sinhalas also have to find a way to record their individual votes so that they can show exactly how many of their number rejected the Constitution.  The UNP will try to say that significant numbers of Sinhalas voted for the new Constitution, so it is imperative that the Sinhalas have a way to prove the UNP’s claims wrong.

2. Begin laying the foundation for a long-term nonviolent campaign of civil disobedience:

The Americans are ultimately behind what is happening to this country, because they are in the process of integrating Sri Lanka into the U.S.’s strategic matrix in the Asia-Pacific region. So, the Sinhalas are actually fighting the Americans, and that’s never a good thing.  The Americans are masters at mass killing, and will love nothing better than to wipe out a good percentage of the Sinhalas if they get in the way of U.S. plans.

To take just a few examples, the Americans helped General Suharto of Indonesia kill about 600,000 people when putting down the communist uprising in the late 50’s.  I need not mention what the Americans have done in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years.  The deathtoll from the American invasion of Iraq in 2003 and its continuing aftermath has now easily exceeded one million.  So, to repeat, the Americans are masters at this game.

The only chance the Sinhalas have to make a dent with the Americans is by undertaking a systematic and disciplined nonviolent campaign, because then it is easier to go before the international community and expose the injustice of what the Americans are doing in this country.  Slowly, pressure can be brought on the Americans – especially with the help of other counties who are on the side of the Sinhalas, countries such as China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela, and so on – to get them to change their approach to Sri Lanka.

3. Resettle a minimum of 100,000 (one hundred thousand) Sinhalas in the Northern Province within the next two years.

Possession is nine-tenths of ownership.  If a 100,000 or more Sinhalas move into the Northern Province, this country cannot be divided no matter what the Americans try to do – i.e. whether they impose a federal system, a confederal system, or any other system.  The Sinhalas have every right to live in the Northern part of the country, since it is their ancestral land also, not just the Tamils.  So, the Sinhalas should exercise that right and move in.

Some people say that the idea of the Sinhalas moving back to the North in large numbers is a pipe dream.  I am not interested in listening to naysayers.  In this the Sinhalas must learn from the Tamils.  If anyone had said in the late seventies – when Prabakaran had less than 20 cadres – that within two decades he will get to a position where the Government will offer him the Northern Province for ten years without elections, he would have been laughed at.

If anyone had said in May 2009 – when the Tamil Diaspora was at its lowest ebb , ‘in stunned silence’ as one Canadian newspaper put it –that within seven years they will be in a position to demand that Sri Lanka be turned into an Urumittu Nadu, and be taken seriously, again such a a person would have been laughed at.  But, the Tamils didn’t listen to naysayers.  They came up with a plan and systematically pursued it.  And now they have the Sinhalas by the throat.

So, as I said, the Sinhalas should lay out the plans to resettle a 100,000 of their number in the North, and systematically go about implementing the plan.  Whether it succeeds or not is ultimately up to Providence.  I am reminded of Goethe’s famous lines:

‘What you can do, or dream you can, begin it.  Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.’

[1] Dharshan Weerasekera, ‘The Trap what will be Sprung on March 9th,’, 8th March 2016

[2] Dharshan Weerasekera, ‘The Ongoing Constitution-making process in Sri Lanka:  An Inquiry into its Legality,’, 23rd August 2017

[3] Paragraphs 17 and 18 are as follows.  Paragraph 17:  ‘The Constitutional Assembly shall thereafter debate the general merits and principles of the Report and the Draft Constitutional Proposal (if applicable), and may also debate proposed amendments. At the end of such debate the question that the Steering Committee be required to submit a final report and a Resolution on a Draft Constitutional Proposal” shall be put to the Constitutional Assembly by the Chair.’  Paragraph 18. ‘The Steering Committee shall thereafter, considering the amendments, if any, proposed during the debate, submit a Final Report and a Resolution containing a Draft Constitutional Proposal for the consideration of the Constitutional Assembly. The Chairman shall move that such Final Report and the Resolution containing the Draft Constitutional Proposal be approved by the Constitutional Assembly.’


  1. Dilrook Says:

    My thoughts as well. Thank you Dharshan for this bold article.

    JO leaders will be absent from the debate and voting. This is tacit support for the new constitution.

    The JO’s position is “Wijerama Principles” of May 2013 which is the negotiate the Concurrent List of 13A. It is 13 Plus (Federal Plus but Confederated Minus).

    After a lot of nonsense, UNP and SLFP will scale down their “proposals” and the JO will scale up their position and meet at one common place. Wimal’s parliamentary NFF MPs and Gammanpila will be without support but likely to vote against the proposals.

    A concerted attempt is made to divide the NFF because NFF’s position is highly appealing to the Sinhalese.

  2. Dilrook Says:

    It is important to list down the stated positions of various parties and their relative strength.

    UNP (106 MPs) – Singapore Principles Minus
    JO (51 MPs) – 13 Plus (Wijerama Principles)
    SLFP (43MPs) – an unstated position between Singapore Principles Minus and 13 Plus (Wijerama Principles)
    TNA (14 MPs) – Singapore Principles Plus (Batticaloa Resolution 2012)
    JVP, SLMC, ACMC and CWC – no stated position

    However, at least 2 UNP MPs and 6 JO MPs oppose their stated positions and at least 2 JO MPs support Singapore Principles Minus.

    In short, 206 MPs clearly support federalist power devolution beyond 13A. This is the bottom line. Various cosmetic disagreements on words (unitary, federal, 13 Plus, Singapore Principles) exist. They all agree to keep these phrases out as long as they agree on principle. It works for them because Sinhalese are mostly concerned about symbolism while minorities are only concerned about substance. So they are likely to settle for a position that fools both.

  3. epaasni Says:

    Those nations who manage to grab China’s and Russia’s sleeve, will do great for themselves. Their children, their cultures will have future. Those nations who congregate around the United State will most likely be eaten by it, in its parasitic urge to sustain itself by devouring others…..

  4. Senerath Says:

    Looks like those who ate Appa and those how supplied Aappa are getting together for the greatest betraya ever !This is the monk who made Buddhism a joke by asking Sangha to go Sallipatha.

    ජාතික ප්‍රශ්නයට විසඳුමක්‌ දිය හැක්‌කේ ජනාධිපති මෛත්‍රිට පමණයි – මැදගොඩ අභයතිස්‌ස හිමියෝ පවසති .

    රට ඉදිරියේ පවතින බරපතළ අභියෝග ජයගැනීම සඳහා විශාල ශක්‌තියක්‌ සහ හැකියාවක්‌ ජනාධිපතිවරයා සතු බවත්, සියලු ජාතීන්ගේ එකඟතාවයෙන් ජාතික ප්‍රශ්නයට විසඳුමක්‌ දිය හැකි නායකයා ජනාධිපතිවරයා පමණක්‌ බවත් ශ්‍රී ලංකා පාලි හා බෞද්ධ විශ්වවිද්‍යාලයේ ජ්‍යෙෂ්ඨ කථිකාචාර්ය මැදගොඩ අභයතිස්‌ස හිමියෝ පැවසූහ.

    මැදගොඩ අභයතිස්‌ස හිමි මෙම අදහස්‌ පළ කළේ පැපිලියාන සුනේත්‍රා මහාදේවි පිරිවෙන් රජමහා විහාරස්‌ථානයේ කඨින පූජෝත්සවය ප්‍රමුඛ වාහල්කඩ සහ සම්මන්ත්‍රණ ශාලාව විවෘත කිරීම වෙනුවෙන් සංවිධානය කොට තිබූ පුෙණ්‍යාaත්සවය අමතමිනි.

    මෙම පුෙණ්‍යාත්සවය ඊයේ (29 දා) පෙරවරුවේ ජනාධිපති මෛත්‍රිපාල සිරිසේන මහතාගේ ප්‍රධානත්වයෙන් පැවැත්විණි.

    මෙම පුෙණ්‍යාaත්සවයට එක්‌වෙමින් ජනාධිපතිවරයා සඳහන් කළේ, ගැටුම් නිරාකරණය පිළිබඳ ගැඹුරින්ම දේශනා කළ ශාස්‌තෘවරයා බුදුරජාණන් වහන්සේ බවත්, ගැටුම් නිරාකරණයට විවිධ ක්‍රමවේද තිබිය හැකි වුවද බෞද්ධ ප්‍රතිපත්තිය වනුයේ, කිසිම ජීවිතයක්‌ විනාශ නොකිරීම මෙන්ම කිසිම ජීවිතයක්‌ විනාශවන්නට ඉඩ නොතබමින් ගැටුම් නිරාකරණය කර ගැනීම බවත්ය.

    ගැටුම් නිරාකරණය විද්‍යාවක්‌ මෙන්ම ශාස්‌ත්‍රීය විෂයයක්‌ ද වන බව පෙන්වා දුන් ජනාධිපතිවරයා එය නූතන උසස්‌ අධ්‍යාපනයේ අංගයක්‌ ද වන බැවින් අප අද මුහුණපා සිටින ගැටුම් නිරාකරණය ද මනා හැදැරීමකින් යුතුව, විද්‍යාත්මක හා ශාස්‌ත්‍රීය පදනමකින් යුතුව කළ යුතු බවද සඳහන් කළේය.

    මෑතකදී ජනාධිපතිවරයා මුණගැසී දීර්ඝ වේලාවක්‌ තමන්ගේ අදහස්‌ පළකළ බව මෙහිදී සිහිපත් කළ අභයතිස්‌ස හිමියෝ, ඒ සා දීර්ඝ වේලාවක්‌ ඉතා සන්සුන්ව තමාට සහ තම පිරිසට ඇහුම්කන් දුන් ජනාධිපතිවරයා අවසානයේ ස්‌ථිරසාර ලෙස පළකළ අදහස, එතුමාට මේ රටත් රටේ වැසියනුත් ගැන ඇති හැඟීම ඉතා ගැඹුරින් පෙන්නුම් කළ බවද සඳහන් කළහ.

    නිදහස ලැබුණු දා සිට මේ රටේ සුළු ජනවර්ග හා මහ ජනවර්ග අතර ගැටුම් අවුලවනුයේ දේශපාලනඥයන් විය හැකි වුවද එසේ ඇවිලවිය හැකි යම් මූල බීජයක්‌ පවතින බවත්, එම මූල බීජය ඉවත් කොට සියලු ජාතීන්ට සමගියෙන් ජීවත්විය හැකි පරිසරයක්‌ නිර්මාණය කිරීම තම අරමුණ බවත් ජනාධිපතිවරයා තමා සහ පිරිසට සඳහන් කළ බවද අභයතිස්‌ස හිමියෝ සිහිපත් කළහ.

  5. Senerath Says:

    දළදා මැඳුරට හා මහ සඟරුවනට ප්‍රහාර එල්ල කිරීමේ සැලසුමක්‌ – බෙල්ලන්විල විමලරතන නාහිමි

    දළදා මාලිගාවට හා මහා සංඝරත්නයට ප්‍රහාර එල්ල කිරීමේ වැඩපිළිවෙළක්‌ ආරම්භ වී ඇති බව මහාචාර්ය පූජ්‍ය බෙල්ලන්විල විමලරතන නාහිමියෝ ප්‍රකාශ කරති.

    දළදා මාලිගාවට කෝටි ගණනකට ඇතෙක්‌ ගෙනාවේ යෑයි එල්ලවන චෝදනාව සම්පූර්ණයෙන්ම අසත්‍යයක්‌ බවද, මෙවැනි ආකාරයේ ප්‍රහාර මීට පෙර කිසිම ආණ්‌ඩුවක්‌ විසින් සිදු නොකළ බව ද උන්වහන්සේ පවසති.

    එමෙන්ම නව ආණ්‌ඩුක්‍රම ව්‍යවස්‌ථාව මේ වන විට සකස්‌කර අවසන් වී ඇති බවත් රජයේ වගකිවයුතු ඇමැතිවරයෙක්‌ ඒ පිළිබඳව තමන් දැනුවත් කළ බවත් උන්වහන්සේ පවසති.

    නව ආණ්‌ඩුක්‍රම ව්‍යවස්‌ථාවට විරුද්ධ වීම සම්බන්ධයෙන් මහාසංඝරත්නයට අපහාස කිරීමේ ව්‍යාපාරයක්‌ ආරම්භ වී ඇති බවත් විමලරතන හිමියෝ පවසති.

    චතුර පමුණුව

  6. Fran Diaz Says:

    If the JRJ govt had half the support that the UN & the west are giving Ranil (of all people !) now, then Sri Lanka would NOT have been saddled with the ILLEGAL 13-A.

    Back track a bit here :

    * The JVP (rural Sinhala youth) would not have been crushed in the late 1980s either – no need for that dumb & brainless act. Talks would have been held and the JVP insurrection would not have been necessary as there would have been no 13-A to protest about – the 2nd insurrection was due to protests about the enforced and ILLEGAL 13-A.
    * There would be NO terrorist LTTE (low caste Tamil youth), formed either.

    * Then the war with the LTTE would not have been necessary, and a new Constitution and the present troubles/confusion would not be there either.
    * Lanka Heroes would not be downed by the UNHRC either, accused of false ‘war crimes’.

    ‘Tis the COLD WAR type politics that run the world.
    Sri Lanka is just a small item in the whole picture ….
    Wisdom must prevail in such situations, isn’t it ?
    Cool heads a must ….. watch it, Lanka !

  7. Ananda-USA Says:

    There was ONLY ONE PUNISHMENT for TRAITORS in Jolly Old England the Mother of ALL Parliamentary Democrazies …… HANGING, DRAWING and QUARTERING while alive, and displaying the body parts at the TRAITORS gates of the Jolly Old English cities.

    A QUAINT but EFFECTIVE practice that should brought to Sri Lanka to REWARD the MP’s who raise their hands in support of the NEW TRAITORS CONSTITUTION in the Sri Lankan Parliament!

    SOW disaster by ELECTING greedy MUTTS & serial TRAITORS to Parliament, and this is what we REAP!


  8. Cerberus Says:

    Ananda, Agree with you on the “drawn and quartered idea” for all the traitors. The Sinhala Kings did it by using elephants to pull the traitor’s body apart. I like to put a question to the readers. Does Ranil fall into the category of a traitor?

    Now the Parliament votes electronically thanks to traitor Ranil. This means that there can be remote control the voting. In U.K the voting for the public is still by paper ballot and the voting in the Parliament is by the old-fashioned raising of the hand. The British are savvy enough to know that electronics can be tampered with, unlike in the USA who use electronic voting machines. Ranil wanted to bring voting machines for the general public. He also replaced all the Parliament cameras. Why?

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