Waiting for India?

Devolution of power to Tamil people

(February 20, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) It is unbelievable to see that some mature political leaders are excited about so called new attitude of the JVP towards the concept of federalism. It is unbelievable, because JVP has said nothing new.

Speaking to the BBC JVP’s Anura Kumara MP, has said that they agree to federalism to unite countries ‘like Cyprus’ but not to divide countries ‘like Sri Lanka’. May be they would agree to federalism in Sudan, as now there are two states! In relation to Lanka JVP stand is the standard chauvinist position. Even today the JVP defends the unitary state of Lanka to the extent that it is opposed to the present provincial council set up. They claim the latter is an act of separatism; and even now vouch to abolish the 13th amendment if they ever come to power. They are certainly not for going beyond the 13th amendment but clearly for suppressing the idea of devolution. In Cyprus we witnessed a forced division of the country due to the inability to unite on the basis of equality, autonomy and the right of self determination.

Cypriot nationalists

Turkish minority indirectly sided with invasion of Turkey and country remains divided since then. It happened in 1974; following 11 years of inter communal violence and an attempted coup d’‚tat by Greek Cypriot nationalists, Turkey invaded and occupied the northern portion of the island. In spite of many negotiations this situation has not changed. The Republic of Cyprus has de jure sovereignty over the entire island of Cyprus and its surrounding waters except small portions, Akrotiri and Dhekelia, demarcated by treaty to the United Kingdom as sovereign military bases.

However the Republic of Cyprus is de facto partitioned into two main parts; the area under the effective control of the Republic of Cyprus, comprising about 59% of the island’s area, and the Turkish-controlled area in the north, calling itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, covering about 36% of the island’s area and recognized only by Turkey.

May be the JVP is waiting for India to invade Lanka to separate out the Tamil home land as Elam republic, in order to propose their kind of federalism. Until such, not so mythical, situation develops in this area the JVP will be fooling themselves and others with fraudulent remarks on federalism.

This is not a laughing matter. Situation is quite serious. It was reported that the Delhi rulers, after failing to persuade Mahinda to come out with proposals to satisfy the TNA leaders, want to come out with their own proposals to the problem. This is very similar to what happened in 1987. At that time too, Delhi rulers forced an Indo-Lanka accord on Lankan government using military might. One recent report said that the Indian government is mooting a draft proposal for a political solution for the North and East and would seek the government’s views before a final draft is agreed upon by both parties. Apparently, before drafting the model for Lanka, Indian rulers plan to conclude discussions with the TNA and other local minority parties. Obviously the main reason which had prompted the Indian government to force the Lankan regime is the pressure mounted by the political lobby of Tamil Nadu. There the radical Tamil leaders are agitating for a solution to the issue and voicing concerns over the delay in finding a solution.

As I have explained before in this column, Mahinda has become a puppet of India, tied down with economic and military agreements. This is the legacy of the genocidal war.

Left groups

However in the last period, he has promoted the chauvinists within the regime in opposition to those who stand for a political solution. In the local government elections the left groups were displaced to give place to chauvinist elements. So much so in many areas the UPFA left candidates are contesting on LSSP tickets or as independents. In some other places there are running battles, with gun fire and bombs, among the candidates of the UPFA. One prominent clash is between Wimal and Buddhadasa, though I am unable to tell which one is for the Kaduwela proletariat!

In this scenario if Mahinda agrees to go along with a solution given by the Delhi masters, there will be a split in Mahinda regime with greater drama than that of the UNP division. UNP also could get split with Sajith strongly opposing the proposed solution. Or else Ranil and others may silently follow Premadasa line and avoid a split. But one thing is clear there will be divisions and splits in all political parties that cannot take a principled position on Tamil national problem. The present economic hardship will add fire to the mass unrest. What will be the position of the JVP? Will they take a federalist position and join the progressive masses? No way.

Most likely they will revive the Desapremi Janatha Viyaparaya to include all Sinhala chauvinists under one umbrella. JVP will try to lead the Sinhala chauvinist movement undermining all other actors. Gunadasa Amarasekara already spelled out a protest line condemning the government. No doubt, both Gunadasa and Nalin Silva will play important roles in a front backed by the JVP.

Yes, it may not happen and things may develop in a different direction. But most certainly the comments made by Tamil leaders are totally out of tune. For example, ITAK General Secretary Mavai Senathirjah, MP, has described the JVP’s stand “very progressive” and added that it should be wholeheartedly welcome by moderates on both sides of the divide. He had said further “We are happy that the JVP has finally understood that the concept of federalism which had resolved many disputes in the world and united many countries could be an acceptable way of resolving the longstanding Tamil national question,”.

TULF leader V. Anandasangaree has said that he welcomed the position taken by the JVP and pointed out that he too had been advocating federalism or the Indian model as an alternative. Certainly it is good to be hopeful. But we must prepare for the worst. What the JVP needs is not blind acceptance of such fraudulent remarks, but sharp critical exposing of their opportunist politics.

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