The thirteenth amendment is in the limelight again. Soon after the Supreme Court decided that the Divineguma Bill should be approved by the Provincial Councils the writer in his column in The Island of Sept called for the abolition of the thirteenth amendment. A campaign for repealing it has gathered momentum after the Defence Secretary Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa demanded that 13A be abolished. The thirteenth amendment serves no purpose for the people; it is only a source of income for the Chief Ministers, Ministers and the other council members. It is said that the 13th amendment would allow the Tamils living in the Northern and Eastern provinces to solve their problems as they are being discriminated against by the so-called Sinhala government. There are some Muslims living in the Eastern Province who think that they are discriminated against by both the Sinhalas and the Tamils and they are agitating for a separate unit in the Eastern Province to be ruled by the Muslims.
The purpose of the 13A imposed on us by India, with the connivance of the west, using force of parippu politics and undiplomatic arm twisting by Dixit with the knowledge of Rajiv Gandhi, as told by the Indian government and the NGOs was to solve the problems of the Tamils who were supposed to be discriminated against by the Sinhalas. The Muslims under M. H. M. Ashraff, who turned to communal politics following Chelvanayakam, soon became interested in a ‘province’ for the Muslims. Though the Tamil leaders have been asked to describe the so called grievances that the Tamils have merely because they are Tamils no answer has been given today. It is true that in Sri Lanka no non-Sinhala Buddhist has been the President or the Prime Minister under the old constitution whereas one would point out that Manmohan Singh, who is not a Hindu is the Prime Minister of India and Obama, who is not an Anglo Saxon White is the President of the US. However, what is not realized is that culturally Obama is a white Anglo Saxon Christian who admits that the white Anglo Saxon Christian culture is the dominant culture of the US in spite of rhetoric about multiculturalism, and that Singh is under the tutelage of Sonia Gandhi, who has culturally become a Hindi speaking Hindu at least in public appearances. Whatever said and done Hindu culture is the dominant culture of India and Singh accepts it. Indian Congress, though they may not say so in words, is a Hindu Party for all practical purposes.
When the Tamil Vellala leaders could not hold to the privileges that they enjoyed they invented grievances. The only grievance was their incapability to hold on to political leadership after universal franchise. The “grievances” grew as their influence diminished, and Chelvanayakam realized around 1947 that the Tamil Vellalas with their anti Sinhala opinion could not become leaders at the centre, and wanted a separate state in the territories marked for a so called Eelam that ironically derived from Sihalam! The Eelam extended beyond the Northern and Eastern Provinces, and gradually concepts such as traditional homelands, natural habitats of the Tamil people emerged. Chelvanayakam established his Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi (Lanka Tamil State Party) way back in 1949 to fight for a separate state in the territories earmarked for an Eelam. However, it was not realized that unlike in India many Tamils (today the majority) lived outside the so called traditional homeland of the Tamils, and even if the Tamils had grievances, and establishment of an Eelam in the “traditional homeland” was not a solution to the so called grievances of the Tamils living outside “Eelam”. Thus there was an internal contradiction in the problem and the so called solution proposed, which has been ignored up to date.
In any event Chelvanayakam realized that the Tamil Vellalas could not win an Eelam on their own and he began to mobilize not only all the Tamils but the Muslims as well to fight for Eelam. The Vadukkodai Resolution of 1976 was the result, and the terrorists who were organizing were also associated with Vadukkodai Resolution. The grievances became aspirations in the course of the “struggle” and the terrorists who were trained by India and the west soon gained the upper hand with the money poured in from those countries. The west was interested only in weakening the Sinhala people the only group to have fought against the English from 1817 onwards. The fight continued with the help of Puran Appu, Gongalegoda Banda, Anagarika Dharmapala, the Bhasa Premins, fifty six, Mrs. Bandaranaike, 2005 Mahinda Chinthana, humanitarian operation. The Tamil terrorism was defeated in May 2010 but Tamil racism continues to exist with the patronage of the west and India. This struggle by the Sinhalas is nothing but a fight to gain the due place for the Sinhalas, and especially for the Sinhala Buddhist culture and is directed against the English and not the Tamils or any other minority in the country. The Tamil racism that was created by the Dutch and by the English, and nurtured by the English is used against the Sinhalas by India and the west. The west has portrayed the struggle between Tamil racism sponsored by the west and India and the Sinhalas, as one that establishes a Sinhala Buddhist hegemony over the Tamil Hindus, a story that appeals to the western media and their so called intellectuals, thus removing themselves from the actual struggle. The actual struggle is nothing but one by the Sinhalas against the English and the others in the west who sponsor Tamil racism, to win the rightful place for the Sinhalas, especially for the Sinhala Buddhists which has been denied to them since 1506.
In spite of having a majority in the Parliament, Sinhala people could not win their rightful place as the west is very powerful and there was no leader after 1977 until 2005 who could stand up to pressure from the western countries and India. The struggle of the Sinhalas against the western hegemony and India has been interpreted as something else, and in the early nineties Chandrika Kumaratunga was imported from her self-exile by NGOs, their friends and others to change the policies of the SLFP from a nationalistic party to one that supports western colonialism. We reiterate that the Sinhala people are still engaged in an anti colonial struggle, and the west is trying various methods to scuttle it. As we mentioned many moons ago they might even attempt to send Mahinda Rajapaksa and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to the guillotine in the process, of course after defeating the present government. The Katunayake incident, FUTA strike, the “clash” between the executive and the judiciary are only attempts to destabilize the government by the Brahmins who have been brought up in the tradition of western education whether Liberal or Marxist.
From 1977 to 2005 the west and India had the upper hand and the thirteenth amendment was the result of the weak leadership of J R Jayewardene, and was part of the political struggle mentioned above. The thirteenth amendment was part of this political struggle. It is being claimed in some quarters that the so-called military solution is not a political solution. This is wrong as all military affairs are political activities. It was not only terrorism that defeated at Nandikadal in May 2009; all so-called political solutions including the thirteenth amendment that was forced on us by India also were. Hence the need to abolish the 13th Amendment!
The 13th Amendment was imposed by India on us following the infamous Indo-Lanka Accord signed by J R Jayewardene under duress amidst parippu drops. Rajiv Gandhi bullied Jayewardene with his gunboat diplomacy by using High Commissioner Dixit, who thought that he was the viceroy here. India did not act alone as it had the support of the West much to the disappointment of Jayewardene. India and west had been involved in training Sri Lanka’s terrorist groups. When the 13th Amendment was referred to the Supreme Court four judges were of the opinion that the Bill was in agreement with the Constitution while four others ruled that it violated the constitution. The judgment of the remaining ninth judge was interpreted to claim that the Bill was in agreement with the Constitution and the 13th Amendment was presented to Parliament giving the impression that the Bill was consistent with the Constitution. Mr. Raja Wanasundara has explained what happened and it appears that the 13th Amendment Bill was tabled in Parliament in violation of the Constitution. In my opinion it was illegal to do so.
The Bill was not discussed by the people and the parliamentarians were transported from a hotel in Colombo to Parliament to vote for the Bill. The then Prime Minister and several other ministers were against the Bill but there was nothing much that they could do effectively.
In any event it is said that the 13th Amendment was introduced to address the grievances of the Tamils caused by the “Sinhala governments” after 1948. But, the 13th Amendment attempted to solve only the ‘grievances’ of the Tamils living in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. The Tamils lived outside those two provinces. In any event those who claim that the “Sinhala governments” are responsible for the grievances of the Tamils after 1948, should explain why Chelvanayakam during the debate on the Throne Speech of the first Parliament in 1947 itself said that if the Sinhala people could gain Independence from the British the Tamils should be able to gain Independence from the Sinhalese. They should also explain why Chelvanayakam established Ialnkai Thamil Arasu Kadchi (Lanka Tamil State Party) in 1949 for the specific purpose of creating a Tamil state. It is clear that at least as far back as 1947 Chelvanayakam had ideas of “gaining independence” from the Sinhalas and forming a separate state. It has to be mentioned that Suntharalingam had spoken of Eylom long time ago. They should also explain why G G Ponnambalam wanted fifty – fifty in the State Council making the percentage of the Sinhala members of the council less than fifty, and agitation by the Ponnambalam brothers to reduce the number of Sinhala members of the Legislative Assembly so that the Tamil members could dominate the proceedings and remain as leaders of the so called Ceylonese nation, during the latter part of the nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth century. It is clear that the injustices, grievances, aspirations story does not hold water. The communal politics of the English speaking Tamil Vellalas began almost from the commencement of the Legislative Assembly with the connivance of the English governors and other British officials. The English wanted to weaken the majority community who alone had fought against the colonialists at least from 1817. When after universal franchise the Tamil leaders began to lose their privileges they with the help of the English interpreted the loss of their privileges as injustices caused to the Tamils in general. Chelvanayakam from the beginning realized what was happening and wanted to establish an Eelam (an independent Tamil state) as far back as 1947. He knew that the English speaking Tamil Vellalas alone could not achieve what he wanted and tried to organize not only the Tamils but the so-called Tamil speaking people under one umbrella.
Even if one believes in the injustices, grievances, aspirations one has to consider the negotiations, operations as one system without treating so-called political solutions and military solutions as two opposite poles. Military solutions as we have been arguing are also political solutions, and Nandikadal was the final solution given to a problem that had existed for almost two hundred years. The final political solution overrides all the other solutions arrived at through peace talks, negotiations etc., including the 13th Amendment, which has been defeated politically but it hangs on legally as law always lags behind politics. The legislature has to make laws that suits the politics and the 13 A has to be repealed. When that amendment was introduced and passed in Parliament the political situation was different. India had the upper hand with the support of the West and laws were made to suit the then existing political balance. Even Mahinda Chinthana drafted in 2005 addressed the then existing political situation with the peace vendors of the NGOs and Norway calling the tune. What was needed was a political solution, and at that time emphasis was laid on so-called peace talks. As far as the so-called national question is concerned Mahinda Chinthana has become outdated since ‘Nandikadal’.
There has been a lobby that pressed for a political solution through armed operations and gradually the government realised that military operations should take precedence over everything else in arriving at a political solution. Nandikadal was the climax of all these and now it can be reversed only through armed operations again or by defeating the present government by hook or crook. Various attempts have been made by external forces to topple the government first creating instability through various springs, Katunayake incident, FUTA strike and “executive – judiciary” clash being examples.
There is no going back to Thimpu from Nandikadal and 13-A has to find its way to the dust bin of history sooner or later. After the so-called World War II, if some Nazi remnants had asked Churchill for talks to decide the fate of Europe in particular and the world in general, the latter would have given a reply in choice language. On the other hand, had Prabhakaran won finally with the assistance of the West what would have been the result? Would anybody have asked Prabhakaran to settle for 13-plus?
The Divineguma bill has only revealed that the 13-A is not consistent with a unitary state. Whatever has been said by western political scientists a unitary state should have one and only one institution that could make legislation for the entire country without any hindrance. The institution concerned should only be prevented from making laws that will deny the sovereignty of the people as stated in the constitution. It is clear from the judgment of the Supreme Court on the Divineguma Bill that Parliament does not have the power to make legislature valid for the entire country as the nationalist forces have claimed all along. This implies that the present Constitution is not unitary though ironically in my opinion, the unitary character was removed illegally, and the unitary state has to be restored without any delay. The talks by the Tamil racists and the NGO lobby on the intervention by the so-called international community have to be ignored as was done during the humanitarian operations. If the majority of the people are with the government there is nothing that the so-called international community could do against the will of the people.