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What if 13A is changed after NPC polls? ( Part 2)

| by Upul Joseph Fernando

Please click here to read part one of this article

( July 18, 2013, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) When President Ranasinghe Premadasa planned to bring amendments to the Constitution, to enable him to dissolve the North-Eastern Provincial Council as wished for by the LTTE in 1988, India intervened to thwart him. The action is described in great detail in the following extract from Indian Intervention in Sri Lanka by Rohan Gunaratna:

Although the demand that all Sinhala colonization, which took place after the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayagam pact in 1957, are unlawful and should be disbanded is reasonable, but, for the reason that relationship between the various communities should be safeguarded. We propose the following on Sinhala colonization.

(a) All Sinhala colonization deliberately carried out by the United National Party Government after 1977 should be disbanded and the Sinhalese should be settled in their original province or in any other Sinhala province;
(b) In order to find a political solution in respect of Sinhala colonization done prior to 1977, determination and demarcation of new boundaries of North-East Province should be done with the consent and unanimous decision of all the Tamil Political parties. Sinhala villages in the North-East Province adjoining to the Sinhala Province could be linked with Sinhala Province. At the same time for the substitution of it, the same extent of fertile forest land from a Sinhala Province shall be linked with the North-East Province. The re-adjustment and demarcations of boundaries of North-East Province should not disturb the contiguity of the province or affect the safe transfer within the province. The boundaries of North-East Province such as from Point Pedro to Kumbukkam Aru and from Muhathuvara Aru to Trincomalee should not be changed for any reason.

Today, the Sri Lankan State Security Force is only a Sinhalese Force. Out of the 32,000 personnel in the Police Force only 740 are Tamil-speaking. Out of 64,000 in the three armed forces ony about 600 are Tamil speaking. To change this situation and for the State Forces to change qualitatively into a National Force in a country inhabited by many nationalities, the Sri Lankan Sinhala State Forces should change into a National State Force, personnel from the Tamil-speaking community should be enrolled to the Police Force in a way which would maintain national ethnic ratio. This was accepted by the Sri Lankan Government at the Security Coordinating Committee Meeting to implement in three years time. They have also placed their signatures in acceptance. Within the first three months 25% to be enrolled before the end of 1990 and the remaining 50% to be enrolled to the State Forces before the end of 1992 and by January 1993 the Sri Lankan Armed Forces will become a National Force. This form will apply to the National Police Force as well;

Recruitment to police Earlier, the Sri Lankan Government accepted at the Security Coordinating Committee Meeting that the Provincial Government will have 9,500 Police personnel in the Province in a way that the ethnic ratio is brought out.50% has to be recruited within the first three months. Before the end of 1990, the Provincial Police system should function in full;

Bases of the three forces can ony function in the following places in the North-East Province:

(a) Palali Army Camp;
(b) Karainagar Naval Base;
(c) Thalladi Army Camp;
(d) Vavuniya Josop Camp;
(e) Trincomalee Naval Base;
(f) Trincomalee Air Force Base;
(g) Ampara Kondaivedduvan Army Camp

All other bases other than those mentioned should be dismantled. There can be no interference by the forces in civil administration without the permission of the Provincial Government;

Any person who is not registered as a resident of the North-East Province will not have the right to vote in the North-East Province;

As the Sinhalese constitute 73% of the National population, it is a common occurrence in the political history of Sri Lanka to deprive the Tamil speaking people of their political and economical rights by making use of Parliament. As such it is necessary to establish a second chamber to the Parliament with equal representation for nationalities to safeguard the political, economic, cultural, religious and security rights. This chamber should be established in such a way that it could prevent communal legislation;

The Army should be removed from Fort Frederick in Trincomalee where the Konesar Temple is situated. This area should be declared as a sacred area for Hindus and it should be brought under the administration of the North-East Provincial Government. Similarly, the army and the prison should be removed from the Jaffna Fort and the Kayts Sea Fort and they should be declared museums where rare articles of value would be exhibited to the public. The administration of these Forts should also come under the North-East Provincial Government.

The administration of all places of worship in the North-East Province should come under the administration of the North-East Provincial Government;

Foreign countries and International agencies have agreed to donate 550 million dollars for rehabilitation and reconstruction in the North-East. The Sri Lankan Government has to add 20% of this amount, the total amount for Rehabilitation and Reconstruction will be 25,000 million rupees in Sri Lankan currency. This amount should be credited to the North-East Provincial Government. Our past experience has been that the Sri Lankan Government created conditions by which we would not make use of these funds for rehabilitation and reconstruction in the proper way and further more these funds have been diverted to Sinhala Provinces. As such, donations for rehabilitation and reconstruction should be left to the authority of the North-East Provincial Government;

Upcountry Tamils

The Tamils living in the upcountry are continuing to face oppression and suppression of the Sri Lankan Government and the Sinhala racial forces for over the last forty years. Over 5 lakhs of them have been repatriated to India. Those remaining there are living with no definite hopes for the future. They have been made political orphans amidst economic exploitation, discrimination, Sinhalese colonization and violent aggression by the Sinhalese racists. In order to change this situation a new Province and a Provincial Government should be created in the upcountry where the upcountry Tamils will be in a majority. In the event of such a Provincial Council being created for the upcountry Tamils, the Tamils would extend their co-operation for the creation of a Provincial Council where the Muslims will be in a majority, by linking areas such as Kalmunai, Akkaraipattu and Sammanturai. A Tamil Council in the upcountry and a Muslim Council in the North-East should have at least minimum rights in possession of lands, economic rights, basic political rights, cultural and religious rights, education, employment and social services. Those Councils should have the right to safeguard these basic rights’.

The Provincial Government should have the powers to negotiate with foreign countries of foreign agencies regarding investments and donations. In the event of the negotiations ending successfully decisions arrived at these negotiations if are not contrary to the general foreign policy and the general economic policy of the Sri Lanka Government, legal and administrative arrangements should be made for these donations and investments to reach the North-East Provincial Government unhindered;

The Provincial Government should have legal rights not less than the rights enjoyed by the private sector in the establishment and maintenance of economic institutions;

The Provincial Government should have legislative and executive powers as far as residual matters of the constitutions are concerned;

Mossad, South African, British Army Intelligence Services and International Agencies such KMS and the SAS stationed and operating in Sri Lanka should be expelled from Sri Lanka immediately;
The Special Task force should be sent out of the North-East Province. They should never be allowed to come into the North-East Province at any time;

The Prevention of Terrorism Act which is presently operative in Sri Lanka should be fully done away with. The Emergency Regulation should be repealed and all persons arrested under Emergency Regulations should be tried under the normal criminal laws of the country;

Departure of the IPKF

This resolution was passed by a majority. The Government of Sri Lanka ignored the 19 demands. The North-East Provincial Council began to function as the Provisional Government of an Independent and Sovereign Eelam Democratic Republic. After the unilateral declaration of Eelam, the Chief Minister and his entourage as well as the TNC constituents left Trincomalee for India in stages on March 6,11 and thereafter. The LTTE moved into positions held by the TNA. The Government of Sri Lanka continued talks with the LTTE in the hope that their demands will be more realistic but the LTTE was more demanding, but in stages. In context, Weerakoon states, “On the question of the separate State itself, the attitude of the LTTE during the talks had been that their striving for that objective would be dependent on the performance and sincerity shown by the government in moving forward with the political measures which had been discussed. These centred around the repeal of the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution (which decreed that all MPs should take an oath to safeguard the unity, integrity and sovereignty of Sri Lanka and eschew the promotion of separatism) and the dissolution of the North East Provincial Council (NEPC) to that the LTTE could contest and become the representative of the people of the North-East. The LTTE held that the EPRLF had only been able to obtain a majority of seats in the NEPC because the elections had been conducted while the IPKF was in control of the North and East.” Weerakoon adds that the opportunity for dissolution of the Council came when the “Chief Ministers inexplicably announced his Unilateral Declaration of Independence in February 1990,” Weerakoon further states:

“All political parties in Parliament except the EPRLF condemned Varadarajah Perumal’s move. Under the Provincial Council Law of 1987, one of the safeguards to guarantee some autonomy to the Provincial Council had been that the government could not dissolve a Provincial Council by Executive fiat. Vardharajah Perumal’s UDI provided the opportunity for the government to bringing amending legislation which enabled the government to dissolve, where more than one half of the total membership of a Provincial Council expressly repudiated or manifestly disavowed obedience to the constitution.”

If the government tries to remove police and land powers from the NPC after it is established, India will leave no stone unturned to thwart any such attempt. Ultimately, whether he likes it or not, Mahinda Rajapaksa will have to put up with the 13A without any change whatsoever. He might most probably find it easier to be at war with Wimal Weerawansa and Champika Ranawaka than with India.

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