Tamil Issues In Back Burner: The Problem The Broken Covenant – UK’s Future Role?

By Usha S Sri-Skanda-Rajah

Usha S Sri-Skanda-Rajah

Part 2 : The Sinister Acts of Betrayal Against Tamils That Broke The Letter, Spirit And Essence Of Ceylon Independence

So far the new Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has been paying only lip service to reconciliation with the Tamil people and nothing else. Not even in his proposals for constitutional reforms [1] has he made any inroads or mentioned any power sharing arrangement. What he has said however regarding the military deployment in the North and East – that it would remain as it is – is shocking and is hard to comprehend when he came to power riding on the back of the Tamil vote.

In the backdrop of this climate of uncertainty for Tamils with no offers in sight, nothing whatsoever in their pockets to crow about, nothing reciprocal coming from the new regime, for the goodwill [2] shown by Mr. Sampanthan and Mr. Sumanthiran of the TNA[3] who attended the independence day celebrations, breaking a long tradition of non-attendance. The Tamil people have waited and waited with no avail and still in the hope for scraps that may be thrown at us, we are forever destined to playing the waiting game.

Speculation is rife [4] at the moment post Nisha Biswal‘s visit to the island, that there could be a deferment of the March UNHRC resolution to September, with Sri Lanka trying its hardest to, “quash [5] or at least defer for a few months — a landmark United Nations inquiry into war crimes set to be released next month,” according to recent media reports. Mr. Sumanthiran himself has rushed to meet with the OISL team to discuss the report. [6]

The Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) has come out scathing against any postponement, and so have, many members of the ITAK [7] [8]and the TNA. [9] In a “key development” NPC Chief Minister Justice Wigneswaran has called for an, “international Investigation on Genocide,” the recording of which TamilNet released today Tuesday morning in its website [10]:

“In a key development, the Chief Minister of Northern Provincial Council (NPC), Justice CV Wigneswaran, on Tuesday called for real international investigations on genocide against Tamils committed by the successive governments since Ceylon’s independence from the British in 1948. Passing a resolution in the council that demanded international investigations on genocide, the Chief Minister has called for criminal prosecutions at the International Criminal Court (ICC) and urged the on-going OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) to investigate the claim of genocide and recommend appropriate investigations and prosecutions by the ICC.”

TGTEThe TGTE has called on the UNHRC to strictly adhere to the mandate given to the OISL and ensure its presented to Council on 25 March 2015, extracts of the statement to Colombo Telegraph of TGTE’s letter is given below:

“The Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam Ministry of International Affairs has today written to all members of the UNHRC  to strictly adhere to the mandate given to the OISL, stating that it is important that the March 2014 resolution for an international independent investigation is not compromised but completed and report presented to Council on 25 March 2015 as planned, with recommendations for further action and referral to the ICC with an action plan for implementation.

“Only a UNHRC mandated comprehensive independent international investigation will be accepted by the victims, their dependents, by the Tamils worldwide, and to all other victims worldwide waiting with hope for justice and accountability, for the truth on how, why and by whom this massacre took place. TGTE request the international community to come forward and ensure OISL completes its mandate, for the victims and for justice and accountability, knowing the past history of deceit and deviation by the successive Sri Lankan regimes, with continued subjugation under the military, it is now the responsibility and obligation of the international community (and through this report), to take urgent appropriate action on the plight of the Tamils in Sri Lanka.”

“TGTE request the international community to come forward and ensure OISL completes its mandate, for the victims and for justice and accountability, knowing the past history of deceit and deviation by the successive Sri Lankan regimes, with continued subjugation under the military, it is now the responsibility and obligation of the international community (and through this report), to take urgent appropriate action on the plight of the Tamils in Sri Lanka.”

There is also a concern, that the US and India having effected a regime change will not push for more than the “minimalist” 13th amendment; that they are also behind the postponement of the report finding its way to the UNHRC sessions in March in order give President Sirisena time to come up with a credible domestic investigation, that Tamils think would end up a “farce”[11] . The Tamil Diaspora and the people of of the NorthEast are up in arms at this latest developments which puts in jeopardy the interests of the living and the dead victims of Mullivaikkal.

Whilst everyone keeps Tamil issues in the backburner (we really do not know if the TNA has been promised a deal which it’s not fully ready to reveal or if Mr. Sampanthan is having too much hope and expectation and could be let down at one point), we need to as Tamils also go ahead seek other avenues and make a case with Britain that it has a duty to look after our interests in the name of remedial justice for war crimes and for their abandonment of the Tamil people. It must not be denied that Prime Minister David Cameron kept to his word and pushed for an international investigation [12] for which the Tamil people are grateful.

My article today is about the broken covenant and Britain’s responsibility not to forsake its old British subjects :

  1. Was there a sacred covenant, agreed upon under the guardianship of Britain, between the Sinhala and Tamil communities at independence that was later broken?
  2. Was Section “29/2 safeguard” an entrenched provision or not? A Tamil patriot said it wasn’t, “29/2 is not fool proof,” he said.
  3. Did Tamils do enough politically to secure their rights and freedoms at the time when the Soulbury constitution along with Section 29/2 was abolished? Did they mount a strong enough challenge against an illegal action to establish a Sinhala Buddhist State? The Tamil patriot points to the futility of legal challenges, but I say…discussion later.
  4. Has Britain got any responsibility as a colonial power for putting things right? Can Britain absolve itself from its former colonial responsibility? If Britain has evolved itself to adapt to “power sharing” with the other nations that make the United Kingdom, why can’t Sri Lanka. Shouldn’t UK play a major role in persuading Sri Lanka to conduct that referendum?

These are reasonable questions that need answers. The 1st and the 2nd second question can be put to bed as you will see later, as far as the 3rd, the jury is still out on that one, but there could have been more done in protest; and as for the 4th, most definitely the question is a legitimate one and must be addressed.

Queen Victoria brought together the Sinhala and Tamil Kingdoms under her rule as one colony, Ceylon. [13] In preparations for independence, the two communities were at odds with each other with respect to power sharing in an independent Ceylon. The Crown, after many years of debate, mediated between the communities, the Covenant that brought them together. That Covenant was Section 29 of the Soulbury Constitution. At the time of independence in 1948, equality, liberty, and justice were guaranteed to the Tamils in Section 29 of the Soulbury Constitution. Under this constitution, Tamils of Ceylon had recourse to the Privy Council when their rights under the covenant is violated. The Privy Council and the Crown were thus the guardians of the covenant between the Tamil and Sinhala communities.”

Extract from :The Broken Covenant [14] Author: Niranjan

This covenant, Niranjan writes as above stated, entered into by the “Sinhala community” and the “Tamil community” was broken with the advent of the new, illegal constitution of 1972, when Ceylon became The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka within the Commonwealth, losing its dominion status, with no governor general (the queen’s representative), which saw the abolition of the Soulbury Constitution, and the all important clause, Section 29, removing outright the last vestige of protection provided to the Tamil people, “against the tyranny of the majority.”

Subsequently with the abolition of the right of appeal to the Privy Council, Tamils lost their recourse to appeal to the ultimate legal body, the one where they believed they could obtain a fair and independent ruling “when their rights were violated,” and thus lost the two guardians of the covenant – the Privy Council and the British Crown.

There are three issues (which we will discuss further below) that spring from these defining moments in the history of the Tamil people, that will always be a matter for great regret, debate and discussion – one that illustrates that we could have done more to secure our rights and freedoms at crucial events in our political history, that has lead us to think with hindsight what we could have been – a country separated at independence like Pakistan; that lead others to question the legitimacy of our right to self-determination and our status as a sovereign nation distinct with an identifiable territory, a fact that is evidenced from the writings of the following authors:

I quote Niranjan:

“The fact that two nations existed before Queen Victoria, in 1830, established her rule on the whole island of Ceylon is documented by the following authors; Fernao de Queyroz, (1692); Paviljeon, (1695); Donald Ferguson; Van Goens, (1675); Van Imhoff, (1740); Anthony Mooyart, (1766); Hugh Cleghorn, (1799); Robert Brownrigg, (1813); Emerson Tennent, (1859). They describe the extent and boundaries of the Tamil and the Sinhala Kingdoms by observation in the early years and later with maps.”

In an article: Tamil Perspective: The Dangerous and Genocidal Dayange Chinthanaya, [15] I do weigh in on the pathetic situation we are in where we are not being recognised as a distinct nation although the sea-farers dating back to centuries have said we had a distinct identity and land and constitute a nation.

I quote:

” A historical habitat, a homeland, a nation, a state, a nation-state, a country – we all know what these  concepts mean, its intricacies and what it entails; a fundamental error in judgement at the critical and crucial time of independence from a colonial power has brought us to the paltry position of being forced to looking at these as mere concepts and of debating who we are, where we belong and what is our right as a Tamil nation.

Worse still we are made to suffer the indignity of having a bunch of no good racist bigots without a conscience, tell us who we are and who we are not.  They have the gall, these no-gooders who rely on myths for their succour, who have systematically and intentionally made it their business and prime focus to dismantle and destroy the socio-cultural-linguistic and political fabric that binds us as a national and political entity, who are in occupation of our land, who’ve forced their authority on us, who  terrorise us, to tell us what’s good for us!

This genocidal attitude pervades these bloodthirsty bigots notwithstanding the fact that the numerically larger Tamil speaking NorthEast comprising the Tamil Nation  gave the Vaddukoddai Resolution which enshrines the clarion call for cessation of the Tamil Nation and, “the restoration of a Free Sovereign Secular Socialist State of Tamil Eelam,”  an overwhelming mandate.”

The three issues: a) b) c)

a) If there are any nagging reservations in anyone’s mind that Section 29/2 of the Soulbury Constitution is “unalterable and entrenched” and that Section 29/4 makes 29/2 a provision that can be “amended or repealed” is without merit, considering the unambiguous and clear assertion in Section 29/3 that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that 29/2 is entrenched.

One of the stinging rebukes I received through an e-mail to part 1 of this article, by a person who I shall refer to here as “Tamil patriot”, set me thinking that I may have unknowingly and unwittingly rattled not just my Sinhala brethren but also some Tamils all because I quoted, Mr. Wakeley Paul who was critical about the lack of a robust response from the ITAK to the abolition of the Soulbury constitution. In his response the “Tamil Patriot” said the most damning thing:

” If Wakeley Paul was such  a legal luminary, why did he not challenge the law in the courts himself?  You rely heavily on him to claim persons like SJV Chelvanayagam and others had let down the Thamils.”

The insinuation stunned me – that I would ever contemplate even in my dreams that the darling of the Tamil Nation, Thanthai Selva [16] let the Tamils down? No never. That’s preposterous.

Truly it was not my intention to create such an impression – to say Thanthai Selva let down the Tamils. I am deeply sorry if it sounded that way.

But further to the insinuation, the implication was that the whole premise of my article was said to be flawed:

It’s important that I up the ante and respond.

That Section 29/3 entrenches Section 29/2 – is clear as crystal

This argument put forward by the “Tamil Patriot” was erroneous – he concluded that, “Section 29/2 was not a fool proof provision,” and was not entrenched; the assertion being that Section 29/2 can be amended or repealed under 29/4

But the “Tamil patriot” most certainly failed to see that Section29/3 existed to protect 29/2.

A look through Section 29/3 would be prudent at this point:

Section 29/3: Any law made in contravention of subsection (2) of this section shall, to the extent of such contravention, be void.

Niranajan assails that, “a close examination of subsection (3) and the first clause of subsection (4) demonstrate the extent to which the authors went to preserve minority rights. They also demonstrate the extreme guarantees the Tamil representatives required to enter the Tamil nation into this political and economic union. Section 29 was entrenched into the Soulbury Constitution for this reason.”

Prof G L Peiris’s interpretation

Niranjan goes further to quote Professor G L Peiris, the academic turned peace-maker (before he made a complete somersault and became a Rajapaksa stooge) and his interpretation of Sections 29/2 29/3 29/4, “in a series of articles he wrote on the constitutional process, in the Sunday Island of February 25 and continued on March 5, 1995, refers to Section 29(2) and (4).”

I quote:

…because Section 29(2) represents basic conditions subject to which minorities are prepared to accept, in the first place, in the transfer of power to Colombo. In other words there is something impregnable or invulnerable about Section 29 subsection (2). It possessed a special attribute of quality. And the powers conferred on Parliament by Section 29 subsection (4) could not legitimately be invoked in respect of letters imposed upon Parliament by Section 29 subsection (2).”

I remain steadfast and stand by my position that Wakeley Paul’s profound reading of the law is spot.

b) If the failure, to mount a vigorous legal challenge to Sirimavo Bandaranayake government’s move to abolish the unalterable and entrenched provision in the Soulbury constitution, making the 1972 illegal constitution legal by default, as Mr. Wakeley Paul submitted was a, missed opportunity, there were other possible avenues that could have been considered like registering our protest with the British Government.

In my recent article [17] I quoted Mr. Wakeley Paul who argued that Section 29/2, a clause incorporated in the Soulbury Constitution for the protection of the Tamil people, “against the tyranny of the majority” was an, “unalterable entrenched” provision” which could not have been abolished even with a 2/3 majority in parliament and that the Illankai Tamil Arasu Katchchi -ITAK’s failure to mount a legal challenge, “was an omission that can never be forgiven: “The failure to challenge this blatant disregard of the law and the existing Constitution, resulted in the Constitution becoming recognized by default. The illegality got an illegal blessing as a result of inexcusable inaction by the representatives of the Tamils. The Federal Party can never be forgiven for this omission.”

Our Tamil Patriot ‘s contention was that Section 29/2 was a useless safeguard:

In retrospect section 29(2) was a useless safeguard for the Thamils as subsequent discriminatory assaults were made by successive governments. It did not help people of Indian origin when they were denied their citizenship and franchise.

The Tamil patriot takes two examples: The Koddakkan Pillai and the Kodeeswaran case :

In the Koddakkan Pillai case, according to Mr. X the Privy Council had ruled that the Citizenship Act was not ultra vires of Section 29/2 of the Soulbury Constitution and ruled that: “The migratory habits of the Indian Tamils [see para 123 and para 203, Soulbury Report – given below] are facts which in their Lordships’ opinion are directly relevant to the question of their suitability as citizens of Ceylon, and have nothing to with them as a community.” The appeal was dismissed.”

In the second example, Kodeeswaran a government employee challenged the Sinhala Only Act on the premise that “it infringed on Section 29/2″ and took his case to the Privy Council (that was quashed earlier by the Supreme Court of Ceylon, the highest court in the land) which sent it back to the Supreme Court asking it to rule on the constitutional question. Before the Kodeeswaran’s case could be heard, in 1971 Mrs. Bandaranayaka had abolished it.

Having raised the Koddakkan Pillai case ( S J V Chelvanayagam had appeared for the plaintiff) , and the Kodeeswaran case the Tamil patriot was satisfied he had made his case, pointing out the futility of these failed legal challenges and quipped:

“Thus ended a saga of constitutional challenges…” The moral of the story by and large is you cannot win constitutional battles through courts. Laws can be made and unmade at the whims and fancies of a government.”

I say it again – I remain steadfast and stand by my position that Wakeley Paul’s profound reading of the law is spot on.

What the Tamil Patriot failed to mention was the case of Bribery Commission vs Ranasinghe. The Privy Council in that case had ruled that Article 29(2) cannot be amended even with a two-thirds majority. It was on the basis of this safeguard that the Tamils acquiesced in the granting of independence in 1948.

It was right to object to the Sinhalese abolishing the last vestige of protection any constitution offered us

Frustrated I sat down to reply our patriot: ” I don’t deny we are dealing with chauvinist pigs, with them no law is fool proof – they have no one to account – not even to their conscience …That’s still our problem, they do not come to the table with a sense of integrity, they did that in the peace process too and everywhere else. By all moral stands and legal standards and palpably they are wrong on this count. My point goes to the heart of the issue – that the Sinhalese have acted in a sinister and unconscionable manner, they have run afoul of moral and legal principles, there’s no better time to point that out when the country is celebrating its independence. It was right to object to the Sinhalese abolishing the last vestige of protection any constitution offered us, whether it was substantive or not is not the question. Had the FP mounted a strong legal challenge and used that to engage with Britain and seek their help, galvanize support and plead our case with Britain. At least we would have registered our protest with the colonial regime that gave us independence – many Tamils feel Britain has a moral responsibility to intervene. Whether the Privy Council was abolished or not – there was still a Governor General with whom we could have registered our protest and concerns, don’t you think – Ceylon hadn’t still become a Republic at that point.  Mr. Wakeley Paul has outstanding credentials and I feel his reading of the law in this case is spot on.  By not mounting a challenge early, we gave the new constitution legality by default and the schemers some credence, “ I wrote.

c) There does exist a strong feeling amongst some Tamils that Britain had a duty to intervene and still has.  

There are many who feel that Britain failed to prevent the forcible annexation of the Tamil Homeland in violation of the Soulbury Constitution and was of the opinion that Britain had a duty to intervene in to settle the dispute over the long overdue and vexed Tamil National Question.

Most Tamils feel Britain did nothing at the time of great need when the Soulbury constitution was abolished and the island Sinhalese decided to sever constitutional ties with Britain leaving the Tamils vulnerable to Sinhala Buddhist hegemony.

There was also the huge disappointment during the time the war had intensified in early 2009 and innocent civilians were being massacred in Mullivaikkal, Britain didn’t respond to save its former subjects, did not call for R2P,did not resort to air strikes and did not protest when its Foreign Minister David Miliband who went there personally was not entertained or given a hearing.

Karen Parker and the imperfect de-colonisation process :

Karen Parker, a human rights lawyer explains, “the ethnic conflict between the Sinhala controlled government and the Tamil people must be understood in terms of an imperfect de-colonization process.” [18] I give here in fair detail her excellent analysis about what it means and when it occurs: “Imperfect de-colonization occurs when there is an absence of restoration of full governance to a people having the right to self-determination.”:

“.. armed conflict between the Sinhala-controlled government and the Tamil people, must be understood in terms of an “imperfect” de-colonization process by the British. Once again, two distinct countries – in this case the Tamil nation and the Sinhala nation — were amalgamated under “unitary” rule by the colonizers. The Sinhala and the Tamil people in the island of Ceylon are as distinct as say the Finns and Italians. The colonizers understood this clearly. The first colonial power on the island, Portugal, was only able to conquer the Tamil country more than 100 years after it conquered the Sinhalese one. In 1621 the Portuguese captured the Tamil king Sankili and killed him. The Dutch took over the island from the Portuguese, and apparently were able to exercise some loose governance over the Tamil areas but mostly ruled from the Sinhalese lands. When the British came, they were able to establish a unitary rule. This was not without protest from Britain’s own early administrators, as the first of them said, and I paraphrase here, “I do not know how we are going to do this — these people are really different”, recognizing that in this case, the forced marriage of unitary rule would never work. And in fact during the British administration, the two peoples were probably less amalgamated together than in other areas where the British created “unitary” states: there was clearly a governance recognizing the very different natures of these people. In the de-colonization process in Sri-Lanka, there was an attempt between the Tamil and Sinhala leadership to try out a post-colonial unitary state despite the historic situation of the two countries. In the first two constitutions, there was an agreement between the majority Sinhalese people and the numerically fewer Tamil people for a government structure that would guarantee that the Tamil people would not become fatally submerged under the Sinhala. So there was an attempt to avoid submersion in the language of the Constitution of 1947. Before the ink was dry, the Sinhala leadership began to violate the terms.”

Karen parker explains the Imperfect colonization raising four different scenarios :

“Imperfect de-colonization occurs when there is an absence of restoration of full governance to a people having the right to self-determination. There are several types of imperfect de-colonization. In one scenario, separate States conquered by a colonial power were amalgamated into what the colonial powers frequently referred to as a “unitary” state — a kind of forced marriage between the two or more formerly separate States. The people of these States usually have different languages, ethnicities, religions or cultures. At the termination of the colonial regime, the colonial power may simple turn over power to one of the groups and leave the other group or groups essentially entrapped into the new de-colonized State. The entrapped group may resist this, and may seek to restore its pre-colonial sovereignty.

In another scenario, these different groups may decide to continue as a unitary State, but with an agreement (usually through the de-colonization instrument or national constitution) that if it does not work out, then the component parts would go back to their pre-colonial status of independent units. This is what I call a “we’ll give it a try” abrogation of full independence by usually the smaller group or groups with clear op-out rights (a fall-back position) if the “unitary” system set up by colonial power fails to afford them full rights. However, when a component part seeks to opt-out, the dominant power refuses.

In yet another scenario, one State may forcibly annex a former colonial people, but either the effected peoples, the international community or both do not recognize this as a legal annexation. The international community may have even mandated certain procedures, as yet unrealized, by which the effected people are to indicate their choice regarding self-termination rights.

In a fourth scenario, there may be a situation where a small component part of a colonially-created “unitary” state agreed to continue the unitary State but with no particular “op-out” agreements signed. Rather, there were either verbal or negotiated, written agreements about how the rights of the smaller (or in some situations weaker) group would be protected in the combined State. However, the smaller or weaker group then experiences severe curtailments of their rights over a long period of time by the dominant group and may lose the ability to protect its rights by peaceful means.”

TGTE Prime Minister Rudrakumaran maintains “two state solution” as being the best solution

In an interview with the Sunday Leader just before the presidential elections, TGTE’s Prime Minister Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran still maintained that he would most favour a “two state solution” [19] and was willing to if the international community so requested to hold “conditional talks with the winner, strongly believing in a referendum to decide the fate of Tamil Eeelam: 

“We want to have friendly relations with our Sinhala brethren. However, since the Sri Lankan State is deeply entrenched with racism, we do not believe that we can have reconciliation within the existing state. We firmly believe that the two-state solution will foster mutual respect and camaraderie. We believe very firmly that democracy is at its best when it is taken directly to the people. Thus, in our parliamentary sitting, held 7 December, 2014, the TGTE passed a unanimous resolution calling upon the international community to “conduct a referendum among the people living legitimately in the North-Eastern part of the island of Sri Lanka, which constitutes Tamil Eelam, and all people living outside the island of Sri Lankan having an origin in Tamil Eelam, to exercise their freedom to determine their political future, including the option of an independent and sovereign state of Tamil Eelam, to resolve the Tamil National Question.” In this connection, since we are campaigning the international community with respect to our referendum, if the international community asked us, in order to create a conducive environment, we would say we are willing to talk to the winner, whether that be Mr. Maithripala Sirisena or President Mahinda Rajapaksa, with the engagement of the international community.

Rudrakumaran wants to build solidarity among the Tamil Diaspora organisations with respect to a referendum on Independent Eelam

“Not only the TGTE, but also the International Council of Eelam Tamils and the British Tamil Forum have been explicit in calling for an independent state as a just resolution to the Tamil National Question. All the organizations, including the GTF, are committed to protect and promote the human rights of the Tamil people. The right to choose a government, as well as the right to choose the political unit in which an individual wants to live, are at core fundamental human rights. Thus we believe that all of the Tamil organizations can subscribe to this idea, and have consensus on the need to hold a referendum as a baseline for settling the Tamil National Question.”

Rudrakumar also believes ” state actors would recognise the (Tamil) struggle”

“No State can reject the rationality of our claim. States do not act solely on justice, morality and legality. State actions are heavily influenced by their national interests. International powers, as well as regional powers, still believe that Sri Lanka remaining as a single entity will further their national interest. However, Sri Lanka’s recent actions will dispel this illusion very soon. When that happens, we are confident that state actors will recognize our position. I must also say that the international civil society is increasingly subscribing to our position.”

UK’s Future Role

when the United Kingdom was preparing for a referendum on an independent Scotland, I wrote a piece calling Sri Lanka to, “Follow UK’s example and hold that referendum in the NorthEast. [20] where I commended the UK political parties for coming together to agree to holding a referendum to decide Scotland’s fate and said that, ” Sri Lanka should follow UK’s example and hold that referendum on independence in the NorthEast and Let the People Decide.. either way.”

In my article: With Maithri, Ranil & Mangala – Real Change Should Occur For Tamils Too[21] I wrote about David Cameron delivering on the vow that UK’s political parties made before the referendum and how they kept their promise to Scotland : “Scotland spoke, we listened and now we are delivering – With these words Prime Minister David Cameron spoke of the Bill he would be introducing in Westminster that, would in his view make, “Hollyrood (Scottish Parliament) the most powerful devolved parliament in the world.” [22]

I believe UK can play a lead role in convincing Sri Lanka to follow its lead and hold that referendum in the island. Will Sri Lanka match up to the UK, it could and it could be UK’s future role in convincing Sri Lanka.

My feelings after the Scottish referendum and remembering what Cameron said

What would always stay with me after following the Scottish election results that turned out to be a close No vote – was what David Cameron said the morning after the night before – I couldn’t help but write my feelings down that morning itself:

Yes the referendum has been conducted in Scotland ; the Scots have voted; the votes have been counted; the results are out and the Scots have decided to stay in the union. But the matter does not end there. It has only begun. The Scots did not give-up independence for nothing. Now the promise for change that was made to the Scots has to be delivered upon. As somebody said in a tweet, it`s not the end of the United Kingdom but the rebirth of new and different United Kingdom with an undertaking that it won’t be business as usual. The Scottish Referendum is set to herald major constitutional reform affecting not only Scotland but the whole of the United Kingdom.

The morning after the referendum, Prime Minister David Cameron standing in front of No 10 Downing Street, made THE most important speech of his life, in my view, setting out the tone and future direction of the United Kingdom, where he said , “we now have a chance and a great opportunity to change the way the British people are governed and change it for the better.“

This epoch making speech by a man whom it was feared would be the Prime Minister who presided upon the break-up of the union, would now be remembered as the man who called for change on that bright September morn, year 2014 and promised to `deliver on that change not only the Scottish people but England, Wales and Northern Ireland as well.”

What UK achieved that day from what Cameron said;

“The people of Scotland have spoken. And it is a clear result and they have kept our country of four nations together. Let us remember why we had this debate and why it was right to do so. The Scottish National Party was elected in 2011 and promised a referendum on independence. We could have blocked that or put it off. But just as with other big issues it is right to take and not to duck the big decisions….I am a democrat“ and it was right we respected SNP’s majority in Hollyrood and gave the Scottish people the right to have their say…… Record numbers registered to vote and record numbers cast their vote. We should all be proud of that. It has reminded us how fortunate we are that we are able to settle these issues at the ballot box peacefully and . And now we must look forward and turn this for everyone, whichever way they voted to comes together to build that better, brighter future, for our entire United Kingdom. ” [23]

I believe UK can play a major role in bringing peace to Sri lanka…because it can share its experience on why UK did it and how. And just as I wrote about the Scottish Referendum days before voting day – what UK achieved with the decision to conduct a referendum speaks volumes for the triumph of democracy; indeed speaks volumes for a triumph for self-determination; for decency, for peace.


[1] https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/maithri-proposals-on-constitutional-reforms-full-text/

[2] http://www.tamilguardian.com/article.asp?articleid=13670

[3] http://www.colombomirror.com/?p=2331

[4] https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=430794927077809&id=100004419153414

[5] http://www.todayonline.com/world/asia/sri-lanka-seeks-quash-or-defer-un-war-crimes-inquiry

[6] http://colombogazette.com/2015/02/07/tna-oisl-team-discuss-report/

[7] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrhqs8QvEjA#t=22…

[8] http://tamilnet.com/art.html?

[9] http://www.colombomirror.com/?p=2284

[10] http://www.tamilnet.com/

[11] https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/an-internal-war-crimes-inquiry-will-be-a-farce/ …

[12] http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/16/sri-lanka-cameron-international-war-crimes-inquiry

[13] http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/125187/Colebrook-Cameron-Commission

[14] http://www.sangam.org/FACTBOOK/broken.htm

[15] https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/tamil-perspective-dangerous-and-genocidal- dayange-chinthanaya/

[16] https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/s-j-v-chelvanayakam-the-father-of-the-tamil-nation/

[17] https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/acts-of-betrayal-that-broke-the-letter-spirit-of-independence/

[18] http://www.guidetoaction.org/parker/selfdet.html

[19] http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2014/12/21/tgte-ready-for-conditional-talks-rudra-v-rudrakumaran/

[20] https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/follow-uks-example-hold-that-referendum-on-independence-in-the-northeast/

[21] https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/with-maithri-ranil-mangala-real-change-should-occur-for-tamils-too/

[22] http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-30915457

[23] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scottish-independence/11108256/Scottish-independence-David-Camerons-speech-in-full.html