By Nalin de Silva
The TNA leaders have met the Indian Prime Minister in Delhi and the news media quoting the delegates who went to India claimed that India wants the Sri Lankan government to implement the 13th Amendment. Whether Indian leaders have made this statement, we do not know as there is no official communiqué from the Indian government on the discussions between the Indian Prime Minister and the TNA delegation, then it is not the first time India has come out with such statement. This is a “manthra” that India repeats occasionally, without any hope of forcing the Sri Lankan government to implement the 13th amendment fully. I remember sometime ago India wanted some assurance from the Sri Lankan government, in the form of a statement from the APRC, that the 13th amendment would be implemented. After all the 13th amendment is a solution proposed by India to a non-existing ethnic problem along the Indian model, without realizing that the Sri Lankan and Indian situations were vastly different.
When this idea of issuing a statement by the APRC to the effect that the 13th amendment would be implemented came before the APRC, there was opposition by some representatives and no consensus could be reached. The opposition was mainly on police and land powers, and finally the APRC and the party leaders met with the President at Temple Trees. It was clear that though some ministers were in favour of implementing the 13th amendment, the President was not inclined to back them. The APRC finally issued a statement to the effect that the relevant clauses of the thirteenth amendment would be implemented. Naturally what the relevant clauses would be decided by the Government of Sri Lanka and by now it is clear that the land and police powers would not come under the Provincial Councils. There is a Supreme Court decision on the land powers and the President has said on a number of occasions that the police powers cannot be devolved. Recently Dr. Subramaniam Swamy said that even Delhi does not have police powers.
The statement by the APRC may have been handed over to the Indian Government through proper channels and the TNA members could trace this particular statement signed by the representatives of the political parties in the APRC from the “Peace Secretariat” that acted as the secretariat for the APRC meetings as well. It should also be mentioned that apart from this particular document signed by the representatives of the political parties there was no final report by the APRC, though there was a draft prepared by two members that was never approved by the APRC. A draft by two members “appointed” by the “chairman” of the APRC cannot be considered a report of the APRC though some parties on either side of the divide with vested interests attempt to claim so.
We do not know whether Sri Lankan delegates at various “international fora” has promised that the Sri Lankan government would implement the 13th amendment but even if it is the case the Sri Lankan government is entitled to change its position. It has to rule the country democratically, and even in the western sense of the word it is the opinion of the majority that the government has to finally implement and not some promise by certain individuals who are in a tiny minority. These “promises” go against the opinion of the majority and they should be changed as it is not “democratic” to implement the views of the minority bowing down to “international” pressure, probably in the name of some new form of democracy against the majority.
We have argued previously that the Indo Lanka Accord is now defunct as the Indian government has failed to fulfill their obligations and hence Sri Lankan government is not bound to implement anything that follows from the above Accord. However, most of the provisions of the 13th amendment have been implemented, and whatever that has not been implemented have to be ignored, and a new amendment could be introduced to reorganise the lists that have been used to “devolve” power.
In any event the Northern Province Provincial Council is not cooperating with the Sri Lankan government on the development of the Province. It is clear that the Northern Provincial Council is taking a line different from that of the Eastern Provincial Council, and C Wigneswaran has proved himself to be another politician despite his record as judge of the Supreme Court. The government should carry on its development programme in the Northern Province irrespective of the politics of the TNA and other Tamil racist politicians.
The so-called political analysts have managed to manipulate the government with their scare stories on “international” pressure. It is true that the western countries would impose economic sanctions if we do not follow their dictates but then it is not something that we have to be scared of. All that we have to do is to prepare for any eventualities and the Sri Lankans including the “elite” who ate “bajiri” during the so called Second World War in order to defend the “British Empire” should be able to undergo some hardships if the western Christian countries attempt to dictate terms to us. If the descendents of those who ate “bajiri” for the sake of the “British Empire” want to demonstrate against the Sri Lankan Government for so called wrong foreign policy, then the government should expose them for their treachery. It is not the “wrong” foreign policy but the anti Sinhala Buddhist policy of the western Christian countries that would be responsible if economic sanctions are imposed on Sri Lanka. The aim of the western Christian countries is to destabilise the present government and finally topple it making way for a puppet government of the UNP-TNA-SLMC. If and when Rajapaksas are out of office the west would take them before an “international jury” against so-called war crimes.
India cannot follow the western countries, the way Congress under Sonia Gandhi, who is from Italy, did. If the western countries succeed by installing their puppet government in Sri Lanka it would be a threat to the security of India as well as to the rest of the SAARC countries and to the region. India should realize that the “manthra” of implementing the 13th amendment is now dated, and should enter into a new understanding with the Sri Lankan government. Mahinda Rajapaksa would be elected the President of the country for a third term in spite of Sarath Silva’s arguments and Ranil Wickremesinghe’s campaign with or without Sajith Premadasa and India should be prepared to work with the President for at least six more years. Modi may not be in the same mode as Mahinda Rajapaksa but they are both nationalists of some sort and the best prospective for the region is an understanding between these two nationalists. It is this understanding that would lead to good relationship between India and China and we have to think in terms of a new Silk Route.
If India has been misled by the western countries as well as the Brahmins in the foreign office a new approach should be made following Subramaniam Swami. Swami seems to understand the Sri Lankan problem better than the foreign office vallahs and a new “suthra” rather than a “manthra” on Sri Lanka is the order of the day.