After September 21st
– by S. Akurugoda
(17.09.2013 – Email)
The election for the Northern Provincial Council under the 13th Amendment (13th A) is scheduled to be held on 21st of September, in couple of days time.
The nationalist elements within the Government rank were all out to ‘strengthen the hands of the President if 13th A was to be amended, while anti-nationalist elements within the government who supported Prabhakaran’s Eelam dream throughout were against any changes to the 13th A. As far as we remember, Minister Wimal Weerawasna said there is no point holding a ministerial role under a government, if 13th A is not amended, while Ministers Vasudeva Nanyakkara and Rajitha Senarathne announced their readiness to leave the government if the 13th A is touched. JHU went to the extent to move an Amendment to the Constitution to repeal 13th A, in vain, without noticeable support from major political parties, UNP and the SLFP.
According media reports, heavy arguments took place few months ago between the ministers Wimal and Rauff Hakeem (a person who shook hands with Prabhakaran after signing a memorandum of understanding while holding a ministerial position within Ranil Wickramsinghe’s government ) when the Cabinet of ministers were discussing the issue of amending the13th A. Although the Cabinet, at that meeting said to have decided to bring one minor change to the 13th A, that decision too went under the carpet soon after one Indian Minister brought a message from their PM. Just to defuse the tension between the two groups within the government, and also to mark time, President Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC). JHU, the only political party against the 13th A in its entirety, has already walked away from the PSC stating their dissatisfaction with the progress. Minister Wimal Weerawansa’s National Freedom Front’s stand, however, appears to be in favour the removal of Police and Land Powers from 13th A, and not the repealing of 13th A. Although MEP is also another party within the government who were not in support of 13th A, their stand against the abolition of 13th A is not very clear.
Under the circumstance, it looks like everything has gone in favour of 13th A supportive groups within the government and, in fact, they are the people now ‘strengthening’ (certainly weakening) the hands of the President. Probably, some may expecting to bring the so-called ‘Reconciliation’ which was expected to achieve after the war, via the ‘Massina’ (brother in Law) relationship of Vasu and Wigneswaran , TNA’s CM candidate . When a well known racist figure within UN visited the country, under the guise of fact finding, Vasu and Hakeem were in the forefront to greet her on behalf the government. Now Rajitha is addressing the northern PC election rallies with the President as a part of ‘strengthening’ his hands.
There is a need to have a two-third majority to change the constitution. The current two-third majority claimed by the government is dependent on those who support the 13 Amendment too. The other alternative could be to go for a referendum. As such, It is very unlikely that the government or any future government will take steps to abolish the 13th A, since Provincial Councils (PCs) are now providing the bread and butter for the kith and kins of their political henchmen.
TNA once elected, will take the maximum use of the provisions in the 13th A to achieve their sinister motives by hook or crook.
TNA has already announced their ‘Thimpu’ demands, once again, via its manifesto. TNA, led by its CM candidate, has started glorifying the slain LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran in its campaign for the NPC elections. Once elected, on 21st September, the Tamil racist elements throughout the world will continue to demand their so-called aspiration, this time with the help of the anti-Sinhala, anti-Buddhist west led by USA, UK and EU countries, India backed by Tamil racist politicians in Tamil Nadu and similar elements within UN too.
As an initial step, TNA will demand to provide what is in the Constitution under the 13th A. The very same politicians who are now supporting the 13th A within the Government, UNP and all the other Tamil/Muslim political parties formed on racial basis as their party names implies, will continue to support this claim of TNA.
It would be easier to write down the powers remaining in the Centre since the powers devolved (are to be devolved) to PCs under the 13th A are enormous. Powers yet to be handed over include police and Land and Judiciary.
The subjects retained under the Centre include National Policy on Security, Foreign Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications, Broadcasting, Television, Justice in so far as it relates to the judiciary and the courts structure, Finance in relation to national revenue, monetary policy and external resources; Customs, Foreign Trade, Inter Province Trade and Commerce, Ports and Aviation, National Transport, Minerals and Mines, Immigration and Emigration and Citizenship, Immigration and Emigration and Citizenship, Elections, Census and Statistics, National Archives, Archaeological Activities and Sites and Antiquities declared by or under any law made by Parliament to be of National Importance, Rivers and Waterways, Shipping and Navigation, Maritime zones including Historical Waters, Territorial Waters, Exclusive Economic zone and Continental Shelf and Internal Waters, State Lands and Foreshore except to the extent specified in Item 18 of List I of the Ninth Schedule of 13th A.
The government cannot change anything which comes under the subjects of PCs without approval from all the PCs in the country. The government had to face this fact when ‘Divi Naguma’ Bill was introduced to the parliament. It looks like the government has not learned a lesson from its past. The 37 subjects devolved to PCs are given in the List I (and also in the List III – Concurrent List) of the Ninth Schedule. These include all the subjects other than those retained by the government (the List II or the Reserved List).
Because of the shortsighted policies of our politicians, the fate of Sinhala Buddhist in their own country is at stake. Today our country’s identity as a Sinhala Buddhist nation is no more. Both the major political parties, UNP and the SLFP are after winning the minority votes to compete each other to grab power and to remain in power. Those who speak on behalf of Sinhala Buddhist are branded as extremists. Those who support communities other than Sinhala Buddhist, no matter whatever they do, are garlanded as human right activists. It is likely that pleasing political parties formed on racial basis, (as their party name implies) by way of giving into their racial demands ignoring the Sinhala community’s concerns will go on without much resistance with time to come, as a part of political game between the two major political parties. The flying Buddhist flag and the stature of the D.S. Senanayake at the Independent Square premises are being questioned by misled foreigners who know nothing about the country’s history. All they may know is that Sri Lanka is the only country in the world with Tamil as it’s one of the official language and one third of the country’s land have been claimed as historical habitation of the Tamils.
By accepting Northern and Eastern provinces as historical habitation of the Tamils under the Rajiv- JR pact, making Tamil as an official language under the 13th A , making provisions for amalgamation of Northern and Eastern Provinces into one administrative unit where the Tamils will have a clear majority have paved the way to this unfortunate situation.