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India has no role to play

| by Nalin de Silva
Views expressed in this article are author own

( June 4, 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) New Indian Prime Minister Modi is a cultural nationalist who has to depend on western economic models and political structures. It is unlikely that the Indian "intellectuals" would come out with indigenous economic models and political structures during the "reign" of Mr. Modi. They will not even formulate a philosophical framework based on Hinduism though the BJP government is Hindu as a cultural movement. As in the past they and the rest of the country would merely recite Bhagavad Gita and quote from Ramayana and Maha Bharatha. In this respect they are not different from their Sri Lankan counterparts who could quote the three Pitakas Sutra, Vinaya and Abhidhamma without creating anything new in a cultural context. When so called intellectuals who are supposed to have given a head to the nationalist movement follow western Christian objectivity and generalize their personal experiences in poems according to western Christian theories on narratives lectured by self proclaimed "gemiyas" (villagers) living in the west it is clear that we have a long way to go.

The path that would be followed by Mr. Modi was revealed at the ceremony held in connection with his taking of oaths as the Prime Minister of India. He had invited the leaders of the SAARC countries but one wonders whether it was to extend the hand of friendship to them or to remind them that India is the leader of the region. From what has been leaked to the press, India has already begun to raise its ugly head as the "big brother" of the region, under Mr. Modi even exceeding the "brotherly love" extended under the previous Congress governments. While we welcome the nationalist attitudes of Mr. Modi and the BJP the new Prime Minister has to be reminded that Sri Lanka is an independent sovereign state with a nationalism older than that of India and with a history only second to that of China. Three of the major states in India, namely West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu stay outside the orthodox Hindu nationalism of India and Mr. Modi should concentrate on those states without taking on the states of the SAARC countries. The SAARC countries have different cultural nationalism with Pakistan, Bangladesh and Maldives sticking to Muslim nationalism and Sri Lanka being a Sinhala Buddhist country.

Mr. Modi has apparently told the President of Sri Lanka to go beyond the thirteenth amendment. What right the Indian Prime Minister has to tell (it is not even a request but appears to be an order) the Sri Lankan President what the latter has to do in connection with internal politics? In this connection it has to be reminded that the thirteenth amendment to the Constitution is a result of the Indo Lanka Accord, which was imposed on a weak president of Sri Lanka by a strong prime minister of India with the aid of a self appointed viceroy in the name of Dixit.

The Indo Lanka accord on which India depends to exert pressure on Sri Lanka, for all purposes, is now defunct as India has failed to fulfill any of its obligations. For example 2.16 of the Accord says : "2.16 These proposals are also conditional to the Government of India taking the following actions if any militant groups operating in Sri Lanka do not accept this framework of proposals for a settlement, namely,

a) India will take all necessary steps to ensure that Indian territory is not used for activities prejudicial to the unity, integrity and security of Sri Lanka

b) The Indian navy/coast guard will cooperate with the Sri Lankan navy in preventing Tamil militant activities from affecting Sri Lanka.

c) In the event that the Government of Sri Lanka requests the Government of India to afford military assistance to implement these proposals the Government of India will co-operate by giving to the Government of Sri Lanka such military assistance as and when requested.

d) The Government of India will expedite repatriation from Sri Lanka of Indian citizens to India who are resident here, concurrently with the repatriation of Sri Lankan refugees from Tamil Nadu."

India did not prevent the LTTE from operating on Indian soil, and ironically had to pay the price for not doing so with the life of one of the signatories to the Accord. The IPKF was a total failure and managed to keep "war" and not peace. If left to itself it could have made pieces of the country and kept them. The referendum that was supposed to be held under 2.3 of the Accord was never held and finally the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka ordered that the Northern and Eastern Provinces would function as two different provinces. The two provinces cannot be united now and the Accord in effect has been declared null and void. It should be reminded that the whole purpose of the Accord was to make sure that the Northern and the Eastern provinces were "governed" as one unit.

The accord also made provisions for the following:

"2.8 Elections to Provincial Councils will be held within the next three months, in any event before 31st December 1987. Indian observers will be invited for elections to the Provincial Council of the north and east.

2.9 The emergency will be lifted in the Eastern and Nothern Provinces by Aug. 15, 1987. A cessation of hostilities will come into effect all over the island within 48 hours of signing of this agreement. All arms presently held by militant groups will be surrendered in accordance with an agreed procedure to authorities to be designated by the Government of Sri Lanka.

Consequent to the cessation of hostilities and the surrender of arms by militant groups, the army and other security personnel will be confined to barracks in camps as on 25 May 1987. The process of surrendering arms and the confining of security personnel moving back to barracks shall be completed within 72 hours of the cessation of hostilities coming into effect."

No elections were held as envisaged by the Accord however the emergency was lifted and the army was confined to the barracks, though the terrorists did not surrender all the arms, and hostilities by them were not stopped. The Accord if at all was in effect against the government of Sri Lanka and its armed forces.

Though the Accord referred to provincial councils, no provincial councils were established in July 1987, and neither had they been defined. The provincial councils bill and the thirteenth amendment came later, and the Accord referred to undefined entities called provincial councils. Thus the Accord had no validity and it is clear that it was a rush job and like many such rush jobs it was doomed to fail.

In any event the people in the Northern and Eastern Provinces belong to Sri Lanka and not to India, and India has no role to play in the internal politics of Sri Lanka. It is clear that the Eastern Province has now overcome the prejudices of the leaders who were nurtured by the west and India, but the TNA leaders continue to rush to India at the drop of a hat. The government of Sri Lanka should consider the case of a political party going to a foreign country to have discussions with central or state governments on internal political matters of the country, and whether it is in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic. These discussions amount to a conspiracy against the state and if there are no provisions to prevent them conspiring against the state then new provisions have to be introduced without delay. The government should not be bullied either by big brothers closer to home or by big "cousins" in the west.

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