All Parties in Parliament Support Full Implementation of 13A While Some Play a Double Game Just for the Election
Posted on June 16th, 2024

Dilrook Kannangara

When a politician said he will fully implement 13A a group of political supporters took to the streets. Little that they knew that their favorite politicians also have promised full implementation of 13A. The SLPP leader promised to go even beyond 13A and implement 13 Plus. All parties elected to parliament (SLPP, SJB, JVP, SLMC, CWC, TNA, EPDP, AJP) support full implementation of 13A. Only fringe parties that have crept into parliament on the back of these parties protest here and there against full implementation of 13A. But they will silence themselves when they enter a political alliance with others. Vasudeva Nanayakkara who is part of Sarvajana Balaya and Weerawansa’s Uttara Lanka Sabhawa is a vocal and staunch supporter of federalism, 13A and 13 plus.

Land Powers and Police Powers

Land powers and police powers belong to the province according to the Constitution. However, these have not been devolved yet fearing trouble and separatism. However, as the Supreme Court clarified, land powers exclude power over state land. All state land belongs to the central government. Therefore, land powers refer to provincial council power over private land only. Power over private land does not cause separation! As per the fundamental rights enshrines in the same Constitution people cannot be deprived of their private land. Therefore, land powers devolved to provinces is harmless and meaningless power. There is absolutely no need to be alarmed about provincial councils having land powers.

Police powers to provinces is more complicated. TNA, TULF, EPDP, TMVP, SLMC, ACMC, ACTC or any other party representing the north and east has not asked for police powers. This is because province powers in the hands of provinces affects their community living outside the northern and eastern provinces too. In addition to regular police action, there is a concept of community police. Unlike the police Sri Lankans are used to, community police has no power to use force but works in a collaborative and consensual way. This type of police powers pose no threat or harm even if devolved to provinces.

Much Ado About Nothing

Therefore, those who clamor against full implementation of 13A are fooling themselves. There is no additional threat to territorial integrity, sovereignty or national security coming from any further implementation of 13A.

Most Tamils and Muslims live in Sinhala majority provincial council areas. They too fear any adverse impact of threats to territorial integrity, sovereignty or national security.

Knowing these well, certain bankrupt and nation-bankrupting political elements have agitated people solely for political gains. They too have federalists, 13A supporters and 13 plus supporters among them!

13A is Bad for the Nation but No MP Ever Attempted to Abolish It

A small nation like Sri Lanka does not need 13A. It has increased corruption, waste, overheads and complexity of governance by 10 times (9 provinces plus the parliament). 13A has also empowered TNA, SLMC and other racist political parties since 2013 and 1988 respectively. However, no MP has challenged 13A in parliament which can be initiated as a private member’s motion. This shows their hypocrisy.

UNP, SLMC, EPRLF and SLMP first embraced 13A in 1987. It took another 5 years for the SLFP and communist parties to accept it. JVP accepted it in 1998 while TNA and other Tamil parties finally accepted it in 2012. UPFA, SLPP and all their constituent parties accepted 13A with inception.

Crooked and opportunistic politicians’ attitude is – when 13A or 13 plus is supported or promised to be implemented in full by one of them is good but when a political rival says it, then it is bad! Voters simply don’t care. 

13A cannot do any further harm to Sri Lanka than it has done already.

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