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The Absurdity of India Forcing Lanka a Political Solution

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by Thomas Johnpulle

(November 14, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) LTTE is in dire straits now; there is no question about it. It stands to get totally wiped out by the advancing army. Suddenly the need for political solutions has come up as the top priority in some quarters. There was a time when successive Sri Lankan governments ran after the LTTE and its allies with political solutions in platters but to no avail. Those who kicked those solutions now plead for another political solution! In 2002-03 LTTE delegates apparently visited South Africa, Switzerland, Norway, etc. in the guise of studying their political structure in order to find the right mix for a Sri Lankan solution. What a joke? After all that they came up with the infamous Interim Self-Governing Authority (ISGA) proposals which were not even considered worthy of a discussion. LTTE declared that the government should either talk about how to implement ISGA proposals (as if they were the universal truth) or not talk at all.

Owing to the dire need to save the LTTE’s project, some quarters are airing the same appeal made by the LTTE to stop the war and solve the problem politically. The LTTE problem doesn’t have a political solution; it got to be crushed militarily. LTTE having genocided two ethnic communities in the north with 100% success cannot be trusted with regards to security. Lankan security should not rest on the whims and fancies of a terrorist group. However, the underlying ethnic problem needs a political solution. Such a solution should come from a process involving wide ranging public discussions, debates, studies, brainstorming and evaluations. There cannot be a quick-fix for a complex problem like the ethnic problem. Also this solution must come within Sri Lanka as it will have o survive in Sri Lanka, not in India.

What will happen if Sri Lanka comes up with a political solution just because India wants it to? First that will not be a ‘political’ solution as no political process has gone into creating it. Secondly, it will not have a considerable life span as it will be reversed subsequently. All laws are reversible and if India wants to keep any law from being reversed, it will have continuously exert pressure on Lanka which is not possible. The 1978 Constitution has been difficult to amend owing to the stringent requirements needed to change it. But even that can be changed. An enforced solution will be reversed with no regards to what caused it as it is against the will of the democratic majority. Thirdly a solution hatched in India won’t fit in to the Lankan context. This is what happened to the 13th Amendment. However, the true effect of the 13th Amendment cannot be assessed without implementing it in the Northern Province.

Another reason why an Indian instigated solution would fail is that it addresses Indian interests than Sri Lankan and/or Tamil interests. In 1987 India wanted EPRLF and later the Tamil National Army to run the north-east according to Indian fancies. This was obviously contrary to what Sri Lanka wanted, what LTTE wanted and what Tamils wanted. It is therefore futile to expect India to intervene and settle problems affecting Tamils in favour of Tamils.

All attempted political solutions concentrated mainly on north-east Tamils. This should change. Grievances of Muslims, Sinhalese, Malays, upcountry Tamils and other should also need to be addressed in the same solution. Otherwise there is little sense in expecting people of these communities to support a political solution.

The best India can do is to set an example by solving the problem of Maoist guerrillas, which is the biggest threat to India, politically. If it cannot do it, it has no right to tell Sri Lanka what to do. After all Sri Lanka is Asia’s oldest democracy. Too much Indian interference will invite other Asian powers also to the region which will not be in India’s favour. The same goes as regards weapons. If India stops giving Lanka weapons, that void will be filled by China and Pakistan much to the dismay of India. It is high time India solves its problems while allowing Sri Lanka deal with its own problems.
- Sri Lanka Guardian

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