Political Column 2016

Will Sri Lanka Take a Leaf Out of Nepal ?


What is a constitution and what is its purpose? Stated simply, a country’s constitution is the fundamental laws and principles of a country or state on which all other laws are based.

All permanent organization of individuals, whether public or private, must have basic rules or laws for its establishment and for the conduct of its activities. A country normally has a centre and local governmental systems of government and both rests on constitutions.

In a democracy, sovereignty rests with the people and the enactment of a constitution is a function of the legislature composed of elected representatives.

A constitution, to be successful, must be both stable and flexible. There is no model or single constitution similar to one another since the history, geography and diversity of people and countries differ from one another. Every country has its own unique blend of history and people. There are parliamentary and presidential systems of government which we are familiar with through direct experience. There are also con-federal, federal, quasi federal and unitary constitutions.

As opposed to an authoritarian form of government, there are common characteristics found in constitutional democracy like separation of powers, checks and balances, rule of law, democratic elections, peaceful transfer of power, independent press, free and competent judiciary, freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of religion, freedom of association, respect for fundamental human rights etc. This list is by no means exhaustive, but gives the fundamental features of a good constitution that will stand the test of time. The methods of amending or replacing the constitution are also provided by the constitution itself.


Sri Lanka is in the process of enacting its fourth constitution since the country gained independence in 1948. The republican constitution enacted in 1972 and the presidential system of constitution adopted in 1978 has failed to produce stability and peace in the country. Both of these constitutions laid the foundation for a bloody civil war that lasted for 25 years. They imposed the will of the 75% majority Sinhalese on the 25% national minorities, especially the Thamils. They ignored completely the language rights of the Thamil people by installing Sinhala as the sole official language. In a constitutional democracy all citizens must be treated equally if the country is to progress towards political stability and economic prosperity.

The land locked Himalayan country of Nepal, after years of instability caused by a Maoist insurgency and a unitary constitution, failed to achieve stability, peace and prosperity.

Nepal, until the abolition of the constitutional monarchy was the world’s only country with Hinduism as state religion. The country is now formally a secular state with constitutional democracy. Due to the arrival of various settler groups from outside through the ages, Nepal is now a multiethnic, multicultural, multi religious and multilingual country. Central Nepal was split in three kingdoms from the 15th century until the 18th century, when it was re-unified under the Shah monarchy.

Nepal experienced a struggle for democracy in the 20th century. During the 1990s and until 2008, the country was in civil strife. A peace treaty was signed in 2008 and elections were held in the same year. In a historical vote for the election of the constituent assembly, Nepalese parliament voted to oust the monarchy. On 18 May 2006, the House of Representatives unanimously voted to curtail the power of the king and declared Nepal a secular state.

On 28 December 2007, a bill was passed in parliament to amend Article 159 of the constitution – replacing “Provisions regarding the King” by “Provisions of the Head of the State” – declaring Nepal a republic. The bill came into force on 28 May 2008. King Gyanendra, who came to power in 2001 after the tragic murder of the previous king, abdicated the throne. Nepal’s first president was chosen by parliament the following month.

On 21 November 2006, Nepal’s decade-long armed conflict ended with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) between the Government and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). A central pillar of the accord is the writing of a new constitution that grants equal rights and opportunities to all Nepalese people. In April 2008, elections to the Constituent Assembly (CA) were held. The original timeframe of completing the constitution by 28 May 2010 proved too ambitious given the competing political agendas and the need for extensive public consultation. As a result the term of the assembly was extended four times and the last deadline was for 27 May 2012 to prepare a draft constitution. However the Assembly was not able to produce a constitution and it was dissolved on 27 May 2012.

After a few months’ stalemate, the political parties agreed to go for a fresh mandate under an interim election government. Elections to the second Constituent Assembly were successfully held on 19 November 2013 and subsequently a new government and a new 601-member Constituent Assembly were formed to formulate a new Constitution.

Nepal is bordered by China to the north and India to the south, east and west. It is separated from Bangladesh by a narrow Indian corridor and from Bhutan by the Indian state of Sikkim. Nepal is home to eight of the world’s tallest mountains, including Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth. Here is a brief profile of the country.

Country – The Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal

Population – 26,371,000

Capital – Kathmandu (741,000)

Area – 147,181 sq. kilometres (56,827 square miles)

Language – Nepali (58%) Maithili, Bhojpuri, Tharu, Tamang, Newari, Anhadi, English and many other languages and dialects (2011)

Religion – Hindus (81.3%) Buddhists (9. %), Muslims (4.4%) Kirant (3.1%) Christians (1.4%) (2011)

Currency – Nepalese rupee

Life Expectancy – 59 years

GDP per Capita – U.S. $1,400

Literacy Percent – 45

Nepal has been a unitary country since its inception in 1768. Hinduism is the predominant religion and is also home to Lumbini, the birthplace of Siddharta Gautama, the founder of Buddhism- the country’s second largest religion. The country also has minorities of Muslims, Kiratans and Christians. It is a multiethnic nation with Nepali as the official language.

A monarchy throughout its history, the aristocratic Rana dynasty administered Nepal’s government as hereditary Prime Ministers until 1951. A multi-party democracy evolved until 1960, when King Mahendra enacted the panchayat system. In 1990, a parliamentary government was permitted by King Birendra. Communist Maoist insurgency and mass protests against the authoritarian King Gyanendra in 2005, which led to the abolition of the monarchy in 2008.

Finally, after many years of struggle, the 2nd constituent assembly promulgated a new democratic constitution which came into effect on September 20, 2015. President Ram Baran Yadav announced the promulgation of Constitution of Nepal at a special meeting of the Constituent Assembly. This is the seventh constitution of Nepal. An overwhelming majority of 598 lawmakers endorsed a total of 308 articles. The approval of the Constitution has a deep meaning for all of those involved in the 1996 – 2006 Maoist conflict.

The new Constitution establishes a federal system, with seven provisional states and three levels of government: federal, provincial and local. In other words Nepal henceforth will be a secular federal democratic republic with decentralised power to the states.

The term “federalism” is derived from the Latin term foedus, i.e. covenant, referring to the fact that such a covenant is usually the starting point for the merger of two or more political entities. Federalism is a system of government that establishes a constitutionally specified division of powers between different levels of government. There are usually two main levels: (i) a national, central or federal level; and (ii) a state, provincial or regional level and local level. Federalism thus allows distinct ethnic communities, defined by their territorial boundaries, to exercise guaranteed autonomy over certain matters of particular importance to them while being part of a larger federal union through which shared powers are exercised over matters of common concern. One of the main benefits of federalism is that it provides a framework for the recognition of ethnic, religious, linguistic or other cultural communities, reflecting their desire to be recognized as a people with a distinct identity and particular interests.

A proposal to declare Nepal as a Hindu nation instead of a secular state was rejected unanimously.

The new constitution establishes Nepal as secular and federal democratic republic with bicameral parliament. Executive rights of the country shall vest on the council of ministers while the president would be ceremonial head-of-the-state. It establishes independent judiciary and competitive multi-party democratic system with periodic elections. Enshrines fundamental rights, civic freedom, human rights, voting rights and full press freedom etc. to its citizens. Power sharing and autonomy can foster peaceful accommodation and prevent violent conflicts among culturally plural societies. By allowing ethnic groups to govern themselves in cultural and developmental matters, it lessens their conflicts with the central state. Many of the conflicts of the identity movements are in cultural issues like religion, language, education and so on.

The preamble of the new constitution says: “Realising a dream cherished by the Nepali people since the past 65 years, the new constitution will formally take the country towards a federal structure from the existing unitary structure that remained rooted in the country for 240 years.”

The preamble of the constitution also mentions people’s competitive multi-party democratic system, civic freedom, fundamental rights, voting rights, full press freedom, independent, fair and competent judiciary and building of a prosperous nation with the commitment to socialism based on rule of law.

It took eight full years after adoption of the interim constitution in 2007 to promulgate the new constitution. With this Nepal now stands as youngest federal republic in the world. The enactment of the new Constitution was not easy, it was highly strenuous and tortuous but the legislators finally succeeded.

Nepal is not the only war-torn country to opt for federalism as part of the solution to its problems. Several countries have adopted or readopted federalism after armed conflict. Mexico (1971), Argentina and Venezuela (more than once), Nigeria (1966-70), Ethiopia (1991), Spain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sudan, Iraq, and the Democratic Republic of Congo are some other examples.

There are 25 federations in the world today representing 40 percent of the world’s population. At the beginning of the 21st century, this is a remarkably popular form of government. It provides unity in diversity.

Today, United States, Switzerland, Australia, and Canada are examples that federalism can provide stability as well as prosperity. Each of these has been under the same constitution for more than 100 years. The United States federal constitution is 240 years old, Canada will be celebrating its 150th birth day next year, and Australia is 115 years old and Switzerland 168 years, replaced by a new constitution on April 18, 1999 that established 26 cantons.

UN Human Development Index measured 175 countries according to their economic prosperity, respect for rights, and quality of the lives of their citizens. Out of the top 20, eight, are federations.

Of course federalism does not automatically create success. It ought to have an appropriate structure. There are a great variety of federal forms or structures. Federalism has succeeded in countries that are multi-ethnic like Switzerland, like Canada with French and English, India with many different languages and religious groups, Nigeria with 51% Christians and 49% Muslims and so on. Upholding rule of law is a must, otherwise federalism will not work.

It will be seen there are significant similarities between Nepal and Sri Lanka. The question is will Sri Lanka take a leaf out of Nepal?
– See more at: http://www.thetamilmirror.com/will-sri-lanka-take-a-leaf-out-of-nepal-by-veluppillai-thangavelu-scarborough/#sthash.FBRqEVNx.dpuf

Provincial Councils and Devolution of Powers under 13A

Sri Lanka (Ceylon) is a unitary state where all legislative, executive and judicial powers are centralised . While some powers have been decentralised for administrative convenience to  local governments, these local bodies hardly satisfy the aspirations of the people and do not help in rapid economic and social development.

Many attempts have been made in the past to decentralise administrative and economic decision making to the periphery.  The first attempt at decentralization was made through the Bandaranaike – Chelvanayakam Pact (B-C pact).   The B-C pact was an agreement signed between Prime Minister of Sri Lanka S.W.R. D. Bandaranaike and S.J.V. Chelvanayakam, leader of Federal Party, on July 26, 1957.  The B-C pact, which intended to resolve some of the major grievances facing Tamils, was the first of its kind in the post-independence history of the country. The pact recognized several key elements of the federal idea through a scheme of power-sharing. Unfortunately, under pressure from extreme Sinhala – Buddhist chauvinistic elements, Bandaranaike tore up the pact in May 1958.

Political analysts now concede that had the B- C pact been implemented, the subsequent political turmoil leading to the  costly civil war  that lasted for 30 years could have been avoided.   Bandaranaike’s later attempts to pass legislation similar to the agreement was met with strong opposition and ended in his assassination by a Buddhist monk in 1959.

Through non-violent means, Tamils demanded a degree of autonomy to satisfy the aspirations of the Tamil people from 1956 to 1983, including a growing insistence on decentralization of administrative processes to the provinces.  The later attempts for further decentralization were through the following:

(1) 1973/74 District Political Authority System;

(2) 1979/80 District Development Councils/District Minister System; and

(3) 1987/88 Provincial Councils System

The 1978 constitution (chapter I, article 2) declared for the first time“The Republic of Sri Lanka is a Unitary State.”  It further did away with section 29(2) of the Soulbury constitution which prohibited discrimination based on ethnic and religious differences.  Chapter II, section 6 also contained the controversial provisions giving foremost place to Buddhism which nullified state neutrality or non-discrimination. These and other discriminatory legislations exacerbated the already strained relationship between the Sinhalese and Tamils, leading to armed conflict.

It is in this back drop that the Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord was signed in Colombo on 29 July, 1987, between Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and President J.R. Jayewardene. The 13th Amendment to the Constitution (1987) and the Provincial Councils Act No 42 of 1987 were enacted to give legal status to the Indo – Sri Lanka Peace Accord, devolving political and administrative decision-making authority to the Provincial Councils.

The 13th Amendment to the Constitution provides for (a) the establishment of Provincial Councils, (b) the appointment and powers of the Governor of Provinces.

The Provincial Councils Act No 42 of 1987 provides for the internal administration of the PCs.

The first elections were held in 1988 for a period of five years. However, the Northern and Eastern PC was dissolved by the Government in 1989. After the Supreme Court decision on the demerger of the temporarily merged Northern and Eastern Provincial Councils, the Eastern Provincial Council elections were held in 2008.  The election for the Northern PC was held for the first time in 25 years on September 21, 2013.

The powers devolved to the provinces by the 13th Amendment to the Constitution are –

(a) Executive powers to Governor
(b) Legislative powers for the Provincial Council

The Executive power extending to matters in respect of which a PC has power to make statutes is vested in the Governor of the Province. He can exercise this power either directly or through the Ministers of the Board of Ministers or through officers subordinate to him, subject to the condition that the Governor shall act in accordance with the advice of the Board of Ministers except where he is required under the Constitution to exercise his functions at his discretion.

The vesting of executive power with the Governor does not pose a problem in PCs controlled by the ruling party, but it does when it is controlled by an opposition party like the Tamil National Alliance TNA).

In fact the Chief Secretary of the Northern Provincial Council refused to take orders from the CM and filed a Fundamental Rights Violation petition against the CM for a ruling. The Supreme Court ruled in favour of the Chief Secretary compelling the CM to withdraw his directive.

Since 2010, the TNA has been pressing for the full implementation of the provisions of the 13th amendment (13A), including police and land powers.  However, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has steadfastly refused to devolve land and police powers to PCs.  His contention is that those powers will pave the way for separation. However, India has demanded full implementation of 13A plus meaningful devolution.

According to the CM, the NPC has become dysfunctional and relationship between the CM and Governor is at an all-time low. The fact that the Governor is a retired military Major General has further compounded the situation.

Politics is not an exact science; it is the art of the possible declared Otto von Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg. Many hope the presidential elections scheduled for January 8, may bring a regime change. In that scenario the relationship between the centre and the NPC may improve.


எதிர்க்கட்சி வாக்குகள் பிளவு படுவதால்  மீண்டும் ஜெயலலிதா  முதல்வராகிறார்!


மிழ்நாட்டில் வெய்யில் அனலாக எறிக்கிறது. ஞாயிறு தனது வட திசை வெலவின் போது கடந்த மார்ச் 20 இல் வான்நடுக்கோட்டை கடந்தது. இதனால் வான் நடுக்கோட்டுக்கு மேலே உள்ள நிலப்பரப்பில் ஞாயிற்றின் கதிர்கள் செங்குத்தாக புவியை வந்து அடைகிறபோது  அதன் வெப்பம் அதிகரிக்கிறது.  மே மாதம்  4 ஆம் தேதி கத்திரி வெயில் எனப்படும் கடும் கோடை நாட்கள் தொடங்கிவிடும்.  வெப்பம் 41.67  செல்சியசை (107 பாரின்கீட்) எட்டிவிடும்.

தமிழ்நாட்டில் வெய்யில் மட்டும் அனலாக எறிக்கவில்லை. அரசியல் கட்சிகளின் தேர்தல் பரப்புரையும் அனலாக கொளுத்துகிறது. இந்த மாதம் 16  அன்று (திங்கட்கிழமை)  தமிழ்நாடு  15 ஆவது சட்ட சபைக்கான  தேர்தல் நடக்கிறது. மொத்தம் 234 தேர்தல் தொகுதிகளிலும் ஒரே நாளில் வாக்கெடுப்பு இடம் பெறும். மே 19 இல் ((வியாழக்கிழமை) வாக்குகள் எண்ணப்பட்டு முடிவுகள் அறிவிக்கப்படும்.

தமிழ்நாட்டில் உள்ள 234 தொகுதிகளிலும் 5 கோடியே 79 லட்சத்து 15 ஆயிரத்து 75 வாக்காளர்கள் உள்ளனர். இவர்கள் வாக்கு அளிப்பதற்காக 65 ஆயிரத்து 616 வாக்குச்சாவடிகள் அமைக்கப்படும். இது கடந்த 2011 ஆம் ஆண்டு நடைபெற்ற சட்டசபை தேர்தலின் போது அமைக்கப்பட்ட வாக்குச்சாவடிகளை விட 21.5 %  அதிகம் ஆகும்.

234 தொகுதிகளில் 188 பொதுத் தொகுதிகள்,எஞ்சிய 46 தொகுதிகள் தனித் தொகுதிகள். இவற்றில்  பழங்குடியினருக்கு 2 தனித் தொகுதிகள், தாழ்த்தப்பட்ட வகுப்பினருக்கு 44 (பட்டியல் சாதியினர்)  தொகுதிகள் ஒதுக்கப்பட்டுள்ளன.

மே, 2011 இல் நடந்த தேர்தல் முடிவுகள் பின்வருமாறு இருந்தது. அதிமுக அணி அமோக வெற்றிபெற்றது. அதில் அதிமுக மட்டும் 150 இடங்களில் வெற்றிபெற்றது. ஆளும் கட்சியாக இருந்த  திமுக  எதிர்க்கட்சி வாய்ப்பை இழந்து மூன்றாவது இடத்துக்குத்  தள்ளப்பட்டது.  2011 சட்ட சபை தேர்தல் முடிவுகளை கீழ்க்கண்ட அட்டவணை 1 எடுத்துக் காட்டுகிறது.

அட்டவணை 1

                  தமிழக சட்ட சபைத் தேர்தல் முடிவுகள் மே, 2011

முன்னணி/கட்சி வென்ற தொகுதிகள் மாற்றம் கிடைத்த வாக்குகள் %
அதிமுக அணி 203 +130 19.085,762 51.9
  அதிமுக 150 +93 14,150,828 38.4
  தேமுதிக 29 +28 2,903,828 7.9
  சிபிஎம் (எம்) 10 +1 888,364 2.4
  இ.கம்யூனிஸ்ட் 9 +3 727,394 2.0
  எம்என்எம்கே 2 -2 181,180 0.5
  பிரி 2 -2 146.454 0.4
 இ.குடியரசு கட்சி 1 -1 88,253 0.2
திமுக அணி 31 -126 14,530,215 39.5
  திமுக 23 -77 8,249,991 22.4
 இ.தே.கா 5 -32 3,426,432 9.3
  பாமக 3 -15 1,927,783 5.2
  வி.சிறுத்தைகள் 0 -2 555,965 1.5
  கேஎம்கே 0 -1 370,044 1.0
  ஏனையோர் 0 -4 3,137,137 8.5
பாரதிய ஜனதா 819,577 2.2
  மதிமுக* -3
  சுயேட்சை 0 -1 2,120,476 5.8
மொத்தம் 234 36,753,114 100

மூலம் – இந்திய தேர்தல் ஆணயம்

*மதிமுக இந்தத் தேர்தலில் போட்டியிடவில்லை

இம்முறை 5 அணிகள் போட்டியிடுகின்றன. அதிமுக, திமுக தவிர  தேமுதிக தலைமையில் மக்கள் நலக் கூட்டணி போட்டியிடுகிறது. பாமக, பாஜக, நாம் தமிழர் கட்சி ஆகியன  தனித்துப் போட்டியிடுகின்றன. ஒவ்வொரு கூட்டணிக்கும்ஃ கட்சிக்கும் ஒதுக்கப்பட்ட  தொகுதிகள் பின்வருமாறு:


அதிமுக கூட்டணி                 234     (அதிமுக 227 + தோழமைக் கட்சிகள் 7)

திமுக கூட்டணி                     234     (திமுக 174, இந்திய தேசிய காங்கிரஸ் 41 +தோழமைக் கட்சிகள் 19)

மக்கள் நலக் கூட்டணி         234      (தேமுதிக 104, மதிமுக 29, தமாகா 26,  கம்யூனிஸ்ட் (மார்க்சிஸ்ட்)   25, இ.கம்யூனிஸ்ட் 25, வி.சிறுத்தைகள் 25)

பாரதிய ஜனதா கூட்டணி   234      (பாஜக 141, இந்திய ஜனநாயக் கட்சி 45 + தோழமைக் கட்சிகள் 48)

பாமக                                      234

நாம் தமிழர்                            234

இதில் அதிமுக எதிர்  திமுக 170,  அதிமுக எதிர் காங்கிரஸ் 40,  அதிமுக எதிர் தேமுதிக 99, திமுக எதிர் தேமுதிக 74, திமுக எதிர் மதிமுக 24, அதிமுக எதிர் பாமக 224, திமுக எதிர் பாமக 172, தேமுதிக எதிர் பாமக 103,  அதிமுக எதிர் திமுக எதிர் தேமுதிக 71, அதிமுக எதிர் திமுக எதிர் மதிமுக 24, அதிமுக எதிர் திமுக எதிர் சிபிஐ 22, அதிமுக எதிர் திமுக எதிர் சிபிஎம் 19, அதிமுக எதிர் திமுக எதிர் தமாகா 15 போட்டியிடுகின்றன.

தேர்தலின் வெற்றி தோல்வியை முதலாவதாக  கட்சிகளின் கூட்டணிப் பலமே தீர்மானிக்கிறது. இரண்டாவதாக கூட்டணிகளின் பண பலம் தீர்மானிக்கிறது. இம்முறை அதிமுக பேரளவு தனித்தே போட்டியிடுகிறது. சென்ற தேர்தலில் அதிமுக கூட்டணியில் இருந்த தேமுதிக, சிபிஎம் (மா), இ.கம்யூனிஸ்ட் கட்சி மக்கள் நலக் கூட்டணியில் போட்டியிடுகின்றன. இந்தக் கூட்டணியில் மதிமுக, விடுதலைச் சிறுத்தைகள் இடம்பெற்றுள்ளன. சென்ற தேர்தலில் விடுதலைச் சிறுத்தைகள் திமுக கூட்டணியில் இடம் பிடித்திருந்தது.

தமிழகம் என அழைக்கப் பெறும் தமிழ்நாடு (Tamil Nadu) இந்தியாவின் 28 மாநிலங்களில் ஒன்றாகும். ஆங்கிலத்தில் மதராஸ் மாநிலம் என்று இருந்த போது  அதனை தமிழ்நாடு என்று மாற்றக்கோரி பரந்தளவில் போராட்டங்கள் நடைபெற்றன. சங்கரலிங்கனார் என்பவர் 76 நாட்கள் உண்ணாவிரதம் இருந்து உயிர்துறந்தார். பின்னர் 1969 ஆம் ஆண்டு அண்ணா முதலமைச்சராக இருந்த போது தமிழ்நாடு எனப் பெயர் மாற்றப்பட்டது.  புவியியல் எல்லைகளாக வடக்கே கிழக்குத் தொடர்ச்சி மலைத்தொடரும் மேற்கே மேற்குத் தொடர்ச்சி மலைத்தொடரின் நீலமலை வீச்செல்லை, ஆனைமலை வீச்செல்லை, பாலக்காடு கணவாய் ஆகியவையும் கிழக்கில் வங்காள விரிகுடாக் கடலும் தென்கிழக்கில் மன்னார் வளைகுடா, பாக்கு நீரணை ஆகியவையும் தெற்கில் இந்தியப் பெருங்கடலும் உள்ளன.

தமிழ்நாடு இந்திய மாநிலங்களில் பரப்பளவில் 11வதாகவும் மக்கள் தொகையில் 7 விழுக்காடாக விளங்குகிறது. இந்திய மொத்த உள்நாட்டு உற்பத்திக்குப் பங்களிப்பதில் நான்காவதாக (2010இல்) உள்ளது.

இந்தியாவின் 6% மக்கள்தொகையே கொண்டிருந்தும் மிகக் கூடுதலான வணிக நிறுவனங்கள் கொண்ட மாநிலமாகவும் (10.56%) மொத்த வேலை வாய்ப்புகள் கொண்ட மாநிலங்களுள் இரண்டாவதாகவும் (9.97%) தமிழ்நாடு விளங்குகிறது.

கி.மு. 500க்கும் முன்பிருந்தே இப்பகுதியில் தமிழர்கள் வாழ்ந்து வந்துள்ளனர். 2000 ஆண்டுகளுக்கும் மேலான பழமை வாய்ந்த தமிழ் மொழி கல்வெட்டுக்களும் இலக்கியமும் காணக் கிடைக்கின்றன.

தமிழ்நாட்டில் பல இயற்கை வளங்கள், திராவிடக் கட்டிடக் கலை சாற்றும் கோவில்கள், மலைத்தலங்கள், கடலோர ஓய்விடங்கள், பல சமயத்தினரின் வழிபாட்டுத் தலங்கள் நிறைந்துள்ளன.  எட்டு உலக பாரம்பரியக் களங்கள் தமிழ்நாட்டில் உள்ளன.

தமிழ்நாடு கல்வியறிவு இந்தியாவின் சராசரியைவிட அதிகம். இங்கு 1991-2001 இடைப்பட்ட காலத்தில் 62.66%ல் இருந்து 73.47% ஆக கல்வியறிவு அதிகரித்தது. இதில் ஆண்கள் 82.33% ம் பெண்கள் 64.56% ம் ஆகும். தமிழ்நாட்டில் 37 பல்கலைக்கழகம், 454 பொறியியல் கல்லூரி, 1150 கலை கல்லூரி, 2550 பள்ளி மற்றும் 5000 மருத்துவமனைகள் உள்ளன.

இங்கு இரண்டு நடுவண் அரசு கல்வி நிறுவம் உள்ளது அவை ஐஐரி (IIT-Chennai) சென்னையிலும், தேசிய தொழில்நுட்ப நிறுவனம்(NIT) திருச்சியிலும் உள்ளன. தமிழகத்தில் ஆண்டு தோறும் 1,30,000 பேர் பொறியியல் படிப்பு முடித்து வெளியே வருகின்றனர்.

இந்திய நாட்டின் சுதந்திரத்துக்குப் பின்னர்  தமிழக சட்ட மன்றத்துக்கு  நடந்த 14 சட்ட சபைத் தேர்தல்களில் திமுக 11 தேர்தல்களில் போட்டியிட்டுள்ளது. அதே போல் நாடாளுமன்றத்துக்கு நடந்த 16 தேர்தல்களில் 14 இல் கலந்து கொண்டுள்ளது.   அதிமுக 1977 தொடக்கம் 9  சட்ட சபைத் தேர்தலைச் சந்தித்துள்ளது.

திமுக 5 முறை ஆட்சியைப் பிடித்துள்ளது. அதன் தலைவர் மு.கருணாநிதி 5 முறை முதலமைச்சராக இருந்துள்ளார். அதிமுக 6 முறை ஆட்சி அமைத்துள்ளது. எம்ஜிஆர் 3 முறையும் ஜெயலலிதா 3 முறையும் முதலமைச்சராக இருந்துள்ளார்கள்.

எல்லாக் கட்சிகளும் தங்களது தேர்தல் அறிக்கையை நேர காலத்தோடு வெளியிட்டுவிட்டன. அதிமுக மட்டும் கடந்த ஏப்ரில் 6 ஆம் நாள் தனது தேர்தல் அறிக்கையை வெளியிட்டது. அந்த தேர்தல் அறிக்கை வரும் முன்னர்  அதிமுக இன் நட்சத்திரப் பேச்சாளர்களில் ஒருவரான நிர்மலா பெரியசாமி சேலம் மாவட்டத்தில் அதிமுக சார்பில் போட்டியிடும் வேட்பாளர்களை ஆதரித்து பேசுகையில், “முதல்வர் ஜெயலலிதா வீட்டுக்குத் தேவையான மிக்சி, கிரைண்டர், மின்விசிறி கொடுத்து விட்டார். இன்னும் என்ன தேவை இருக்கிறது. குளிர்சாதனப் பெட்டி, வாஷிங்மிஷின் போன்றவை தான்” எனக் குறிப்பிட்டுள்ளார். அதிமுக தேர்தல் அறிக்கையில் ஒரு குடும்பத்துக்கு ஒரு லட்சம் ரூபாய் மதிப்பிலான இலவசங்கள் அறிவிக்கப்படலாம் என்றும்  கூறினார்.

இலவசங்களை வழங்க மாட்டோம் என பெரும்பாலான அரசியல் கட்சிகள் அறிவித்துள்ள நிலையில், அதிமுகவின் தேர்தல் அறிக்கை பெரும் எதிர்பார்ப்பை உருவாக்கியது.

திமுக  72 பக்கங்கள் கொண்ட தனது தேர்தல் அறிக்கையில் பல இலவசங்களை அறிவித்துள்ளன.   சென்னையில் உள்ள அண்ணா அறிவாலயத்தில் கடந்த ஏப்ரில் 10  இல்  வெளியிட்டது. இதில் 63 உதவித் திட்டங்கள், பல இலவசங்கள்  அறிவிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளன.

(1) சிறு, குறு விவசாயக் கடன்கள் அடியோடு தள்ளுபடி செய்யப்படும்.வேளாண்மைக்கு தனியாக நிதிநிலை அறிக்கை வெளியிடப்படும்.

(2). விசைத்தறிக்கு 750 யூனிட் இலவச மின்சாரம் வழங்கப்படும்

(3) மதுவிலக்கை அமல்படுத்த சட்டம் கொண்டுவரப்படும்.

(4) ஏழை மக்கள் பயன்பெறும் வகையில் அறிஞர் அண்ணா உணவகங்கள் அமைக்கப்படும்.

(5)  மகளிருக்கு 9 மாதம் பேறுகால விடுமுறை அளிக்கப்படும்.

(6)  திருமண உதவித்தொகை 60 ஆயிரம் ரூபாயுடன் 4 கிராம் தங்கம் வழங்கப்படும்.

(7)  மாணவர்களின் கல்விக் கடனை தள்ளுபடி செய்ய நடவடிக்கை எடுக்கப்படும்.

(8)  ஒரு இலட்சம் பட்டதாரிகளுக்கு சுய தொழில் தொடங்க ரூ.1 இலட்சம் மானியத்துடன் கூடிய கடன் வழங்கப்படும்.

திமுக அளித்துள்ள அதிமுக  வாக்குறுதிகளை மிஞ்சும் வண்ணம் பல இலவசங்களை அள்ளிவாரி இறைத்திருக்கிறது. சில இலவசங்கள் இப்போதுள்ளது போல நீடிக்குமாம்.

(1) கூட்டுறவு வங்கிகளுக்கு சிறு, குறு விவசாயிகள் செலுத்த வேண்டிய பயிர்க்கடன், நடுத்தர காலக் கடன் மற்றும் நீண்ட காலக் கடன் ஆகிய அனைத்தும் தள்ளுபடி செய்யப்படும்.

(2) விவசாயிகளுக்கு தொடர்ந்து கட்டணமில்லா மின்சாரம் வழங்கப்படும்.

(3) வறுமைக் கோட்டிற்கு கீழே உள்ள குடும்பங்களுக்கு 4 ஆடுகள் விலையின்றி வழங்கப்படும் திட்டம் தொடர்ந்து செயல்படுத்தப்படும்.

(4) கச்சத்தீவை மீட்டெடுத்து பாரம்பரிய மீன்பிடி இடங்களில் மீன்பிடி உரிமையை நிலைநாட்டிட தொடர்ந்து நடவடிக்கை எடுக்கப்படும்.

(5) மாணவர்களுக்கு மடிக்கணினியுடன் கட்டணமில்லா இணைய வசதி அமைத்துத் தரப்படும்.

(6) வீடுகளில் 100 யூனிட் மின்சாரத்துக்கு கட்டணமில்லை.

(7) மகப்பேறு உதவித்தொகை ரூபா  18 ஆயிரமாக உயர்த்தப்படும்.

(8) வீட்டுக்கு ஒருவருக்கு அரசு வேலை வாய்ப்பு வழங்கப்படும்.

(9) மகளிருக்கு ஸ்கூட்டர் வாங்க 50% மானியம் வழங்கப்படும்.

(10) கைத்தறி நெசவாளார்களுக்கு 200 யூனிட் வரை மின்சாரத்துக்கு கட்டணம் கிடையாது.

(11) மதுவிலக்கு படிப்படியாக அமுல்படுத்தப்படும்.

(12) அனைவருக்கும் விலையில்லா செட் டாப் பாக்ஸ் வழங்கப்படும்.

(13) அனைத்து குடும்ப அட்டைதாரர்களுக்கும் விலையில்லா கைபேசி வழங்கப்படும்.

(14) வழக்கறிஞர் சேம நலநிதி ரூபா 7 இலட்சமாக உயர்த்தப்படும்.

தமிழகத்தில்  2006 ஆம் ஆண்டு  நடந்த சட்டசபை தேர்தலில் திமுக வெளியிட்ட அறிக்கையில் இலவச கலர் தொலைக் காட்சிப் பெட்டி வழங்குவோம் என்ற வாக்குறுதிதான் அந்தத் தேர்தலில்  திமுக ஆட்சியை பிடிக்க பெரும்பங்கு ஆற்றியது.

2011 ஆம் ஆண்டு நடந்த சட்டசபைத் தேர்தலிலும் அதிமுக விற்கு முன்னதாகவே திமுக தேர்தல் அறிக்கையை வெளியிட்டது. அதில், இலவசமாக மிக்சி, இலவச மின்விசிறி வழங்குவோம், திருமண உதவி கொடுப்பனவை உயர்த்தி வழங்குவோம், முதியோர் உதவித்தொகை 1,000 ரூபாயில் இருந்து 1,500 ஆக வழங்கப்படும்  என்பது உட்பட பல கவர்ச்சிகரமான வாக்குறுதிகள் இடம் பெற்றிருந்தன.

திமுக  தேர்தல் அறிக்கை வெளியானதும் அதை அதிமுக தலைமை அப்படியே படி எடுத்து இன்னும் ஒருபடி  மேலே போய் மிக்சி, மின் விசிறியோடு, கிரைண்டர் மற்றும் பிளஸ் 2 மாணவர்களுக்கு மடிக்கணனி (Laptop)  என்று தேர்தல் வாக்குறுதிகளை அள்ளி வீசி தேர்தலில்   அசுர வெற்றி பெற்றது.

இலவசங்களை வாங்கிப் பழக்கப்பட்டுப் போன மக்கள் எந்தக் கட்சி இலவசங்களை அதிகமாக அள்ளிக் கொடுக்கிறதோ அந்தக் கட்சிக்குத்  தங்களது வாக்குகளைப்  போடுவார்கள் என எதிர்பார்ப்பு நிலவுகிறது. மறுபுறம் இப்படி இலவசமாகக் கொடுக்கப்படும் மிக்சி, மினிவிசிறி போன்ற பொருட்கள் சில காலத்தில் காயலான் கடைக்குப் போய்விடுகிறது என்ற குற்றச்சாட்டும் முன்வைக்கப்படுகிறது.

எல்லாம் தெருவுத் தேங்காயை எடுத்து வழிப் பிள்ளையாருக்கு அடித்த கதைதான். மக்கள் தங்களது வரிப்பணத்தில் இருந்துதான்  தங்களுக்கு ஜெயலலிதா  இலவசங்களைக் கொடுக்கிறார்  என்பதை அவர்கள் சிந்தித்துப் பார்ப்பதில்லை. மக்கள் அம்மா ஜெயலலிதாவும் ஐயா கருணாநிதியும் தங்கள் வீட்டுப் பணத்தில் இருந்து கொடுக்கிறார்கள் என  நினைக்கிறார்கள்.

முன்னைய தேர்தல்கள் போலவே இம்முறையும் ஈழத்தமிழர் சிக்கலை பேசு பொருளாக  எந்தக் கட்சியும்  முன்வைத்துக் கொள்ளவில்லை. முதலமைச்சர் ஜெயலலிதா மட்டும் திருச்சியில் நடந்த தேர்தல் பரப்புரைக் கூட்டத்தில் பேசும் போது  தனது கட்சி  “தொடர்ந்து”  சிறிலங்காவில் வாழும் தமிழ்மக்கள் சுதந்திரமாகவும் தன்மானத்துடனும் வாழத் தனி ஈழத்தை உருவாக்கப்  பாடுபடும் என்றார். அதே நேரம் போர்க் குற்றம் மற்றும் தமிழ்மக்களுக்கு எதிராக இழைக்கப்பட்டதாகச் சொல்லப்படும் இனப்படுகொலை பற்றி பன்னாட்டு விசாரணை நடத்தப்பட வேண்டும் என்பதையும் தொடர்ந்து வற்புறுத்தப் போவதாக ஜெயலலிதா சொன்னார்.   மேலும் மீண்டும் ஆட்சியைப் பிடித்தால் தமிழகத்தில் வாழும் ஈழத்தமிழ் ஏதிலிகளுக்கு இந்திய அரசு இரட்டைக் குடியுரிமை வழங்க வேண்டும் எனத் தனது அரசு  வற்புறுத்தும் என்றும் ஜெயலலிதா தெரிவித்தார்.

இப்படி வாக்குறுதிகளை அள்ளி வீசும் முதலமைச்சர்,  தமிழ்நாட்டில்  இயங்கி வரும் தமிழீழ ஏதிலியர்  முகாம்களை இழுத்து மூட மறுக்கிறார். ஒரு சில தொண்டு நிறுவனங்களைத் தவிர வேறு எந்த அமைப்பையும் முகாம்களுக்குள் சென்று  ஈழத்தமிழ் ஏதிலிகளுக்கு உதவக் கூடாது என்ற தடை தொடர்ந்து நீடிக்கிறது.  கல்வியிலும் வேலை வாய்ப்பிலும் ஈழத்தமிழ் ஏதிலியருக்கு உரிய பங்கு கிடைக்கச் செய்யவில்லை.

சிறப்பு முகாம்கள் என்ற பெயரில் செங்கல்பட்டு, பூந்தமல்லி துணைச் சிறைகளில் ஈழத்தமிழர்கள் சிறு சிறு குற்றங்கள் இழைத்தார்கள் என்று குற்றச்சாட்டில் பலர் ஆண்டுக் கணக்காக சிறை வைக்கப்பட்டுள்ளார்கள். இவர்களை விடுதலை செய்ய ஜெயலலிதா பிடிவாதமாக மறுத்து வருகிறார். வி.புலிகள் மீது பயங்கரவாதச் சட்டத்தின் கீழ்  போட்ட தடையை நீக்கவும்  மறுக்கிறார். இது ஜெயலலிதாவின் தனிஈழ நிலைப்பாட்டின் நம்பகத்தன்மையை கேள்விக் குறியாக்குகிறது.

கூரை ஏறி கோழி பிடிக்க முடியாத முதலமைச்சர் ஜெயலலிதா எப்படி வைகுண்டத்துக்கு வழிகாட்ட முடியும்?

நியூஸ்-7, தினமலர் இணைந்து நடத்திய கருத்துக்கணிப்பில் தமிழ்நாட்டு மக்களில் 60.3 % மக்கள் மதுவிலக்குக்கு ஆதரவாகவும் 39.7 விழுக்காட்டினர் எதிராகவும் இருக்கிறார்களாம். எனவே திமுக, அதிமுக இரண்டும் மக்கள் விருப்பத்துக்கு அடி பணிந்துள்ளன.   திமுக அரசு ஆட்சிக்கு வந்த மறுநாளே  மதுவிலக்குச்  சட்டத்தை  சட்டமாக ஆக்குவோம் என அறிவித்துள்ளது. அதிமுக படிப்படியாக  மதுவிலக்குக் கொண்டு வரப் போவதாக சொல்கிறது.

திமுக ஆட்சிக் காலத்தில் தமிழகத்தின் பொருளாதார வளர்ச்சி 13.4 %  இருந்தது.   அதிமுக ஆட்சிக் காலத்தில்  அது 4.14 %  சரிந்து விட்டது. திமுக ஆட்சிக் காலத்தில் தொழில் வளர்ச்சி 20.93 % இருந்தது.  அதிமுக ஆட்சி காலத்தில் தொழில் வளர்ச்சி 1.61 % சுருங்கி விட்டது. திமுக தன் ஆட்சி காலத்தில் வாங்கிய கடன் ரூ. 43,892 கோடி மட்டுமே. அதிமுக ஆட்சிக் காலத்தில் தமிழகத்தின் கடன் ரூபா 4 லட்சம் கோடியாக உயர்ந்துள்ளது. மேலும் திமுக ஆட்சியில்  தொலைநோக்கு மக்கள் நலத் திட்டங்கள் பலவற்றைச் செயல்படுத்தியது.

1.    4300 மெகாவாட் மின் உற்பத்தி செய்யும் 8 மின் திட்டங்கள்
2.    கடல்நீரை குடிநீராக்கும் திட்டம்
3.    ஒகேனக்கல் கூட்டு குடிநீர் திட்டம்
4.    இராமநாதபுரம் கூட்டு குடிநீர் திட்டம்
5.    அண்ணா நூற்றாண்டு நினைவு நூலகம்
6.    மெட்ரோ இரயில் திட்டம்
7.    புதிய சட்ட சபை வளாகம்


ஒப்பீட்டளவில் அதிமுக அரசு பெரிதாக மக்கள் நலத் திட்டங்களை தொடக்கவில்லை. இருந்தும் ஆளும் கட்சிக்கு எதிராக அலை எதுவும் வீசுவதாகவும்  தெரியவில்லை.

கனடா போன்று தமிழ்நாட்டில்  தேர்தல் கருத்துக் கணிப்பு முடிவுகள் துல்லியமாக இருப்பதில்லை. 234 தொகுதிகளில் வாழும் 5.75 கோடி வாக்காளர்களைக் கண்டு  அவர்களது விருப்பத்தை அறிவது  இலகுவான காரியம் அல்ல.

இறுதி வாக்காளர் பட்டியல்களின்படி, தமிழ்நாட்டிலேயே அதிக அளவு வாக்காளர்கள் கொண்ட சட்டமன்றத் தொகுதி காஞ்சீபுரம் மாவட்டத்திலுள்ள 27.சோழிங்கநல்லூர் சட்டமன்றத் தொகுதியாகும். இத்தொகுதியில்  மொத்த வாக்காளர்கள் 5,75,773 ஆவர். காளர்கள் கொண்ட தொகுதி:  தமிழ்நாட்டிலேயே குறைந்த அளவு வாக்காளர்கள் கொண்ட சட்டமன்றத் தொகுதி நாகப்பட்டினம் மாவட்டத்திலுள்ள 164. கீழ்வேளூர் (தனி) சட்டமன்றத் தொகுதியாகும். இத்தொகுதியின் மொத்த வாக்காளர்கள் 1,63,189 பேர் ஆவர்.

தமிழ்நாடு  தேர்தலில்  சாதி கேந்திரமான  பங்கு வகிக்கிறது. கணிசமான வாக்காளர்கள் சாதி  அடிப்படையிலேயே வாக்களிக்கிறார்கள். தேர்தல் முறை வந்தபிறகு சாதிகளின் செல்வாக்கு அதிகரித்துவிட்டது. ‘வன்னியர் வாக்கு அந்நியர்க்கு’ இல்லை என்பது பாட்டாளி மக்கள் கட்சியின் முழக்கமாகும்.

பாமக, விடுதலைச் சிறுத்தைகள், புதிய தமிழகம், கொங்குநாட்டு முன்னேற்றக் கழகம் (கவுண்டர்) தமிழ்நாடு கொங்கு இளைஞர் பேரவை, கொங்குநாடு மக்கள் தேசியக் கட்சி, அகில இந்திய சமத்துவ மக்கள் கட்சி (நடிகர் சரத்குமார்) கவுண்டர்கள் பேரவை, வெள்ளாளர் பேரவை, மூவேந்தர் முன்னேற்றக் கழகம் எல்லாம் சாதிக் கட்சிகளே.

முக்கிய கட்சிகள் கூட  எந்தத் தொகுதியில் எந்தச் சாதியின் வாங்கு வங்கி அதிகம் எந்த வேட்பாளரை நிறுத்தினால்  வெற்றி வாய்ப்பு அதிகம்  எனக் கணக்குப் பார்த்த பின்னரே  வேட்பாளர்களை நிறுத்துகின்றன. இது தவிர்க்கவே முடியாத ஒரு அம்சமாக அமைந்துவிட்டது. ஏன் மாவட்ட செயலாளர்கள் பதவியும் சாதி அடிப்படையிலேயே வழங்கப்படுகிறது. எடுத்துக்காட்டாக விழுப்புரம் வன்னியர் பெரும்பான்மை ஆக வாழும் மாவட்டம். இதனால் அதிமுக, திமுக இரண்டு கட்சிகளின் மாவட்டச் செயலாளர்கள் வன்னியர்களே.

தமிழ்நாடு அரசு தமிழ்நாட்டிலுள்ள அனைத்து சாதிகளையும்      பிற்படுத்தப்பட்ட சாதிகள் (136),   மிகவும் பிற்பட்ட சாதிகள் (40),  பட்டியல் சாதிகள் (76),  பட்டியல் பழங்குடியினர் (36),  பிற்படுத்தப்பட்ட பிரிவுகள் (இஸ்லாமியர்)  (7),   சீர்மரபினர்  (68),   முற்பட்ட சாதிகள் (79) எனப் பிரித்துள்ளது. கல்வி, வேலை வாய்ப்பு ஒதுக்கீடுகள் இந்த சாதிப் பிரிவின் அடிப்படையிலேயே நடக்கிறது.

இன்று பிற்படுத்தப்பட்ட சாதிகள் மற்றும்   மிகவும் பிற்பட்ட சாதிகள்  தமிழ்நாட்டின் மொத்த மக்கள் தொகையில் 70 %, பட்டியல் சாதிகள்  மற்றும்  பட்டியல் பழங்குடியினர் 25 % உள்ளன. பார்ப்பனர் 2 %  எஞ்சியவர்கள் 3 % இருக்கின்றன.

காலப் போக்கில் அரசியல் பலம் தேவர், வன்னியர் மற்றும் கவுண்டர்  ஆகிய 3 சாதிகளின் கையில் குவிந்துவிட்டது. முதலியார், நாயுடு, நாயக்கர், நாடார், உடையார், கோனார் (யாதவ்) மற்றும் முத்தரையர் சாதிகள் அமைப்பு அடிப்படையில் தங்களைப் பலப்படுத்திக் கொண்டாலும் எண்ணிக்கை பலம்  இந்த தேவர், வன்னியர் மற்றும் கவுண்டர் சார்பாகவே இருக்கிறது. ஓரளவு எண்ணிக்கை பலம் படைத்த தலித் சாதியினர் அரசியல் அடிப்படையில் போதுமான பலத்தோடு  இல்லை.

தேவர்கள் ஆதரவு  மற்றக் கட்சிகளை விட அதிமுக பக்கம் இருக்கிறது. 2011 தேர்தலில் வெற்றி பெற்று அமைச்சரவையை ஜெயலலிதா அமைத்தபோது 20 விழுக்காட்டினர் (6/33) தேவர் சாதியைச் சேர்ந்தவர்களாக இருந்தார்கள். ஜெயலலிதாவின் நம்பிக்கைக்கு உரிய அமைச்சர்களாக இருக்கும் ஓ.பி. பன்னீர்செல்வம், நத்தம் விசுவநாதன், வைத்திலிங்கம் ஆகியோர் தேவர் சாதியினரே. அது மட்டுமல்ல ஜெயலலிதாவின் உயிர்த்தோழி சசிகலா அதந்தச்  சாதியைச் சார்ந்தவர்தான்.

கனடா போலல்லாது தமிழகத்தில் இடம்பெறும் கருத்துக் கணிப்புக்கள் துல்லியமாக இருக்கும் என்பது இல்லை. தமிழ்நாட்டில் அதிமுக – திமுக இரண்டுக்கும் இடையில்தான் போட்டி.  மே 9 இல் புதிய தலைமுறை தொலைக்காட்சியும் ஏபிடி நிறுவனமும் சேர்ந்து எடுத்த கருத்துக் கணிப்பில் அதிமுகவுக்கு 38.58% வாக்காளர்களும், திமுகவுக்கு 32.11% வாக்காளர்களும், தேமுதிகவுக்கு 8.55% வாக்காளர்களும், பாமகவுக்கு 4.47% வாக்காளர்களும், நாம் தமிழர் கட்சிக்கு 2.12% வாக்காளர்களும், பாஜகவுக்கு 1.96% வாக்காளர்களும் ஆதரவு தெரிவித்துள்ளனர்.

அதிமுக க்கு எதிரான வாக்குகள் பிரிவதாலேயே அதிமுக எளிதாக வெற்றிபெறப் போகிறது என்பதை புதிய தலைமுறை தொலைக்காட்சியும் ஏபிடி நிறுவனமும் சேர்ந்து எடுத்த கருத்துக் கணிப்பின் தார்ப்பரியம் ஆகும்.  அதிமுக க்கும் திமுக க்கும் வாக்கு விழுக்காடு வித்தியாசம் 6.47 % மட்டுமே. ஆனால் இருக்கை வித்தியாசம் 98 (164 – 66) இருக்கைகள் ஆகும்!

அதிமுக   38.58% வாக்குகளைப் பெற்றாலும்  மொத்த 234  தொகுகளில் 70 % இருக்கைகளைப் பெற்றுள்ளது.  மறுபுறம் 32.11% வாக்குகளைப் பெற்ற திமுக 28.2 % இருக்கைகளை மட்டுமே பெற்றுள்ளது. எதிர்க்கட்சி வாக்குகள் பிளவு பட்டதால் ஜெயலலிதா மீண்டும் முதலமைச்சர் ஆகிறார்!

தமிழக சட்ட சபையில் உள்ள மொத்தம்  234 தொகுதிகளில் அதிமுக,  திமுக, மற்றும் கட்சிகளுக்கு  எத்தனை தொகுதிகள், வாக்கு விழுக்காடு எத்தனை  என்பதை கீழ்க் கண்ட அட்டவணை 2 காட்டுகிறது.

அட்டவணை 2

முகவர் திகதி அதிமுக + திமுக, காங்கிரஸ் + மற்றவர்கள்(தேமுதிக, பாஜக, பாமக+ ஏனையோர்
India TV + Cvoters 5  மார்ச் 2016 116 இருக்கைகள் 41.1% 101 இருக்கைகள் 39.5% 17 இருக்கைகள் 19.4%
Times Now + Cvoters 1 ஏப்ரில்l 2016 130 இருக்கைகள் 39% 70 இருக்கைகள் 32% 38 இருக்கைகள் 29%
News nation 1 April 2016 103-107 இருக்கைகள் 30% 107-111 இருக்கைகள் 33% 14-18 இருக்கைகள 17%
Loyola College 1 May 2016 67-90 இருக்கைகள 32.9% 112-124 இருக்கைகள் 37% 9-21 இருக்கைகள 28.6%
புதிய தலைமுறை 9 மே 2016 164 இருக்கைகள் 38.58% 66 இருக்கைகள் 32.11% 4 இருக்கைகள் 20.85%


நிற்க. ஜெயலலிதா மீதான சொத்துக்குவிப்பு வழக்கு  நீதிபதிகள் பினாகி சந்திரகோஷ், அமித் றோய் ஆகியோர் அடங்கிய அமர்வில்  கடந்த பெப்ரவரி 23 ஆம் திகதி முதல் இறுதி வாதம் நடந்து வருகிறது.  கர்நாடாக அரசின் சார்பில் மூத்த வழக்கறிஞர் துஷ்யந்த் தவே, அரசு மூத்த வழக்கறிஞர் ஆச்சார்யா வாதாடி வருகின்றனர்.  அவர்களது   வாதத்தை மே 14 இல் முடிக்குமாறு உச்ச நீதிமன்றம் உத்தரவுட்டுள்ளது. அதன் பின் உச்ச நீதிமன்றம் யூன் 29 வரை விடுமுறையில் செல்ல இருக்கிறது. வழக்கின் தீர்ப்பு யூலை மாதத்தில்  வெளிவரும் என எதிர்பார்க்கப்படுகிறது.  அது மட்டும் கத்தி ஜெயலலிதாவின் தலைக்கு மேல் தொங்கிக் கொண்டு நிற்கும்.

இந்தத் தேர்தலில் தனித்துப் போட்டியிடும் பாமக, நாம் தமிழர் கட்சி ஒரு இடத்திலாவது வெற்றி பெறுமா என்பது கேள்விக் குறி. அதே போல் பாஜக  கூட்டணியும்  எல்லாத் தொகுதிகளிலும்  தோற்றாலும் வியப்பில்லை.

அடுத்த முதல்வர்  கனவில்  கலைஞர் கருணாநிதி, அன்புமணி இராமதாஸ், சீமான், விஜயகாந்த்  மிதந்து கொண்டு இருக்கிறார்கள். ஆனால்  எதிர்க்கட்சி வாக்குகள் பிளவு படுவதால் மீண்டும் ஜெயலலிதா  முதல்வர்  ஆகிறார்!  http://ekuruvi.com/11605-2-karunanithi/

Vaddukkoddai Resolution May Become Startlingly Relevant Again!


If Constitutional Making Do Not Succeed Vaddukkoddai Resolution May Become Startlingly Relevant Again

“A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on. Ideas have endurance without death.” ~  John F. Kennedy

You cannot kill an idea, however one may try. A single idea from the human mind can build cities, rewrite all the rules, and transform the world. Neither armies, nor dictators, nor even mortality have power over them, people die, but their ideas do not.

An American civil rights activist Medgar Evers stated that “you can kill a man, but you can’t kill an idea.” He was later shot dead by a Klansman, but the civil rights movement endured.

Nelson Mandela, who led South Africa from apartheid to democracy, was a humble, eloquent and inspirational figure who advocated peace, democracy and human rights. He was South Africa’s first black president who is now dead and gone, but his thoughts on freedom, equality continue to inspire millions of people around the world struggling to gain their freedom from oppression and slavery.

On freedom he asserted that “There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountain tops of our desires.”

On equality, “During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” (20 April 1964, Rivonia trial)

On a meaningful life “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” (May 2002)

According to the epic Bharatham, Maharajah Yudhisthira was the rightful heir to his father’s kingdom. But just to favor his own sons, headed by Duryodhanan, Dhirstaratiran adopted various unfair means to cheat his nephews of their rightful share of the kingdom. At last the Pāndavas sent Krishna as their emissary to demand just five villages, one for each of the five brothers, but that was also refused by the usurpers. The Kauravas were blind with arrogance and power and tried to even arrest Shri Krishna himself. Their refusal eventually led to the War of Kuruksetra. The Battle of Kuruksetra, therefore, was induced by the Kauravas and not the Pāndavas.

In a similar vain, the Thamils asked for a regional council for North and East combined. Since 1979, the Federal Party (ITAK) has demanded a federal state in which the Sinhalese and Thamils can share power. After unsuccessfully agitating for a federal state for a decade, a pact was signed between Prime Minister Bandaranaike and Federal Party leader SJV Chelvanayakam on July 26, 1957.

It advocated the creation of regional councils in Sri Lanka as a means to giving a certain level of autonomy to the Thamil people and was intended to solve the communal disagreements rife at that time. The act was strongly opposed by certain sections of the Sinhalese as well as the All Ceylon Thamil Congress led by GG Ponnambalam. It was eventually torn up by Prime Minister Bandaranaike in May 1958. Prime Minister Bandaranaike’s later attempts to pass legislation similar to the agreement was met by strong opposition, and led to his assassination by a Buddhist monk in 1959.

On March 25, 1965 another agreement was singed between Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake and SJV Chelvanayakam to make provision for the Thamil language to be the language of administration and of record in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. That a Thamil speaking person should be entitled to transact business in Thamil throughout the Island. Most importantly like the Pandavas agreed to District Councils in Ceylon vested with powers to be mutually agreed upon between the two leaders. It was agreed, however, that the Government should have power under the law to give directions to such Councils in the national interest.

This Agreement was also ditched by Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake under intense pressure from Sinhala – Buddhist extremists and as a result the Federal Party left the government in September, 1968.

Midway during the UNP’s term of office in 1965-70, the LSSP and CP (Moscow) performed a summersault by abandoning their previous policy of parity of status for both Sinhalese and Thamil languages. Nobody speculated this turn of events, but both the LSSP and CP (Moscow) embraced communalism in place of communism.

At the election held in 1970 the United Front (UF) consisting of SLFP, LSSP and CP (Moscow) won a land slide victory. This emboldened the SLFP to abandon the Soulbury constitution and enact a new republican constitution.

In a case before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London in 1966, it was held that Section 29 (2) (b) of the Soulbury constitution—the clause relating to minority safeguards— was an entrenched provision which could not be amended in any revision of the constitution. To the SLFP—as the champion of Sinhalese-Buddhist domination of the island—this would have been ample justification for framing a new constitution by establishing a Constituent Assembly which would derive its “authority from the people of Sri Lanka and not from the power and authority assumed and exercised by the British Crown and Parliament neither in establishing the present [Soulbury] constitution nor from the constitution they gave us.”

The constitution of 1972 incorporated two pieces of legislation which were in fact some of the most important policy formulations of D. S. Senanayake himself though they were outside the 1944 draft. Section 67 of the new constitution essentially retained the laws relating to citizenship enacted in 1948 and 1949 with their consequential amendments, while section 134 incorporated the Public Security Act of 1947 with the amendments to it introduced subsequently. (A Tale of Three Constitutions 1946-48, 1972 and 1978 by H.L.De Silva).

The UF government went further by giving constitutional status to the Sinhala Only Act. Of the many one of the most controversial provisions was regarding Buddhism. Section 6 (Chapter II) gave proclaimed “foremost place” in the constitution. This provision undermined state neutrality or non-discrimination and separation of state and religion. Also, it relegated other religions to an inferior status just like the Thamil language. The provision just stopped short of declaring Buddhism as official ‘State Religion.’

In November 1946, Mrs Bandaranaike laid down two objectives of the SLFP. (1) “In addition to steps taken by the late SWRD Bandaranaike’s Government of 1956, and by the present Government to give Buddhism its proper place in the country as the religion of the majority.” But in the 1972 constitution “proper place” was replaced with “foremost place.”

Ironically, Colvin R de Silva the erstwhile Trotskyite and Minister for Constitutional Affairs was carrying out the biddings of Mrs. Bandaranaike like an obedient servant. He has obviously abandon his earlier prophesy that “two languages one nation, one language two nations.” During the debate in Parliament he roundly condemned the Sinhala Only Act of 1956. He described the issue at hand as a choice between ‘two languages one nation, one language two nations’ saying: ‘Do we want an independent Ceylon or two bleeding halves of Ceylon which can be gobbled up by every ravaging imperialist monster that may happen to range the Indian Ocean? These are issues that in fact we have been discussing under the form and appearance of the language issue.’

The LSSP founded on 18 December 1935 in its first manifesto itself prominently pronounced that one should utilize the vernaculars Sinhala and Thamil in lower Courts of Law and statements recorded in police stations and extended the use to government offices. Thus, so early the LSSP took a position to accord equality of status to the two indigenous languages. Again on July 23 1936 Sama Samajists introduced two motions in the State Council about the use of the local languages in Police Courts and lower Education. The LSSP was steadfast on giving parity of status to Sinhala and Thamils officially.

Stung by the rejection of their demands by the government, the FP walked out of the constitutional assembly and stopped further participation. By this time SJV Chelvanayakam has grown bitter over his failure to win any meaningful concessions from the Sinhalese, and became sympathetic to the cause of Thamil separatism abandoning federalism.

The situation was exacerbated by the UF government adopting two new policies that discriminated against the Thamil people. First, the government introduced a double standard for admission to universities, requiring the Thamil students to achieve higher grades than the Sinhalese students. Secondly, the same kind of policy was adopted for jobs as public servants, which were held by less than ten percent of the Thamil-speaking population.

Chelvanayakam resigned from Parliament on October 2, 1972 as a protest against the new republican constitution. The following was the statement he made on the Floor of the House hen he resigned his Seat in order to give an opportunity for the then Government to test its claim that the Tamil people accepted the Constitution.

I am resigning my seat in this Honourable House. I wish to state my reasons for doing so.

The History of the Tamil people in this country since 1948 has been one of deterioration. In the then Parliament of ninety five elected Members there were eight Tamil Members representing the estate Tamil population who are today not there. They have been replaced by Sinhalese Members now in double that number. The eight Tamil Members were there by the grant of the vote of the bulk of the workers on the estates. This was thought to be a just decision on the question of Tamils of Indian Origin by the United Kingdom Government.

As soon as Ceylon became independent the first thing the Sinhalese Government did was to deprive the Tamil worker in the estates of the vote. This was carefully manoeuvred through a citizenship law that deprived them of citizenship and by granting the vote to citizens only. The entire structure on which the Soulbury Constitution was based collapsed. It must be said to the credit of the LSSP and the CP that they opposed this move though they have now succumbed to a purely communal policy.

The next important thing that took place was the passing of the Sinhala Only Act by the Bandaranaike Government in 1956. Even this was made possible by the depriving of the vote of the Tamil worker on the estates. Although the Tamil worker has been deprived of the vote, the seats that were allotted to them have not been removed but have been given to the Sinhalese voter. This has meant that from 1952 onwards the legislature has been a Sinhalese weighted body and all legislation thereafter has been communal Sinhalese. Had the vote remained as it was in 1947 the landslide in the election of 1970 would not have taken place.

The next important event has been the creation of a new Constitution by a legislature that was so Sinhalese weighted. The Constitution has given everything to the Sinhalese and has given nothing to the Thamils. The Sinhala Only Act has been so strengthened that it requires a two-thirds majority to alter it. Sinhala has been made the language of the courts. All talk about a man being tried in his own language applies to the Sinhala man and not to the Tamil man. There are many other features in the Constitution that I need not mention here. Even the slight protection that was given to the minorities by Section 29 of the old Constitution has been removed.

Faced with this situation the Tamil people of different parties formed the Thamil United Front and appealed to the Prime Minister to remedy some of these evils. I, on behalf of the Tamil United Front, wrote to the Prime Minister a letter raising six points on which the Constitution has to be amended, and we gave her time till the 30th September to do that. But nothing has been done. In this situation the responsibility falls on my head, as the Leader of the Thamil United Front, to appeal to the Tamil people for them to say whether they are with me or not.

It is claimed by the Government that a sizeable section of the Thamil people accept the Constitution. We deny this and want to give an opportunity to the Government to prove that claim. The best way in which that can be done is for me as the Leader of the Tamil United Front to resign my Seat in this Honourable House and re-contest it on my policy and ask the Government to oppose me on its policy. Of course, the decision will be that of the Tamil people. My policy will be that in view of the events that have taken place the Tamil people of Ceylon should have the right to determine their future whether they are to be a subject race in Ceylon or they are to be a free people. I shall ask the people to vote for me on the second of these alternatives.

Let the Government contest me on that position. If I lose I give up my policy. If the Government loses, let it not say that the Tamil people support its policy and its Constitution. Let not the Government deprive the people of their decision on the issues raised by postponing the by-election.’ (OFFICIAL REPORT, 3rd October 1972; vol.2, cc.883-4)

The government kept postponing the date for the by-election for more than two years and finally held it on February 07, 1975. SJV Chelvanayakam (TUF) won the election polling 25,927 (72.54%) out of 35,737 votes. V. Ponnambalam (CP) who came second polled just 9,457 (26.46%) votes.

In his acceptance speech Chelvanayakam said “I wish to announce to my people and to the country that I consider the verdict at this election as a mandate that the Tamil Eelam nation should exercise the sovereignty already vested in the Tamil people and become free.”

In what was to be his last speech in parliament, Chelvanayakam on November 19, 1976, declared that, “the Thamil speaking people have abandoned the demand for a Federal constitution.

“We started the federal movement at one time to obtain the lost rights of the Thamil speaking people and now we have found that through federalism we cannot achieve our objective. In view of this experience we have come to the conclusion that we must separate and if we do not do that, the Thamil speaking people will never be able to get back their lost rights.

“Our ancient people were wise. They had their own kingdom. In the history of Ceylon we had a place. We are not asking for a division of the country by our movement, but we are only trying to regain what we lost.

Our party is today moving with the idea of establishing a separate state. It is not an easy matter to get a separate state. It is a difficult matter. We know that it is difficult. But either we get out of the power of the Sinhala masses or we perish. That is certain. Therefore we will try and get this separation. We have abandoned the demand for a federal constitution. Our movement will be all non-violent.”

The FP and other Thamil parties formed the Thamil United Front in May 1972, with Chelvanayakam as their leader. Shortly after, in 1973, the Federal Party decided to demand a separate, autonomous Thamil state. Until 1973, Chelvanayakam and the Federal Party had always campaigned for a unified country and thought that any partitioning would be “suicidal”.

The new policies of the UF government, however, were considered to be discriminatory by the Thamil leadership, and this modified the official position on Thamil Nationalism. To further the new political agenda, in 1975 the Federal Party merged with the other Thamil political parties to become the Thamil United Liberation Front (TULF). In 1976, after the first national convention of TULF, the Ceylon Thamils moved toward a revised nationalism and were unwilling to live within a confined, single-island entity.

The Vaddukkoddai Resolution was a resounding endorsement of Thanthai Chelvanayakam’s policies and pronouncements since 1972. It ended with a clarion call to the Thamil Nation in general and the Thamil youth in particular to come forward to throw themselves fully into the sacred fight for freedom.

Vaddukkoddai Resolution was ignored by Sinhalese politicians at their peril, but that was the one historical document that stirred the Thamil youths on the path of militancy and a costly and bloody war that lasted for 26 years. It is our hope that the current attempts at constitutional making based on rule of law, universal justice and equality will succeed. If we do not succeed

Vaddukkoddai Resolution may become startlingly relevant again!



Eelamist quotes a letter written to Mr. Suntharalingam dated 30 April 1964, by Viscount Soulbury, Governor General of Ceylon. “I do not believe that other federation or autonomous Tamil State will work. Federation is cumbersome and difficult to operate and an autonomous Tamil State would not be viable.” To the benefit of Eelamist and others of like mind below is the forward Viscount Soulbury with the benefit of hindsight wrote in his forward to the book Ceylon A Divided Nation. “…. A Commission, of which I had the honour to be the Chairman, was appointed by the British Government in 1944, to examine and discuss proposals for the constitutional reform of Ceylon. It did not take long to discover that the relations of minorities to majorities and particularly of the Thamil minority in the northern and eastern provinces to the Sinhalese majority further south, were in the words of the Commission’s report ‘the most difficult of the many problems involved’. The Commission had of course a cursory knowledge of the age-long antagonism between these two communities, but might have been less hopeful of a solution had Mr. Farmer’s book been available to underline the deplorable effect of centuries of troubled history upon the Ceylonese of today.

The Commission devoted a substantial portion of its report to this minority question, and stated that it was satisfied that the Government of Ceylon was fully aware that the contentment of the minorities was essential not only to their own well-being but to the well-being of the island as a whole. And to quote the Commission’s report: ‘If it were otherwise, no safeguard that we could devise would in the long run be of much avail.’ Recent years have shown that this observation was only too true… …. Needless to say the consequences have been a bitter disappointment to myself and my fellow Commissioners. While the Commission was in Ceylon, the speeches of certain Sinhalese politicians calling for the solidarity of the Sinhalese and threatening the suppression of the Tamils emphasised the need for constitutional safeguards on behalf of that and other minorities… As Sir Charles Jeffries has put it in his admirable book, Ceylon -The Path to Independence, ‘The Soulbury constitution . . . had entrenched in it all the protective provisions for minorities that the wit of man could devise’.

Nevertheless, in the light of later happenings, I now think it is a pity that the Commission did not also recommend the entrenchment in the constitution of guarantees of fundamental rights, on the lines enacted in the constitutions of India, Pakistan, Malaya, Nigeria and elsewhere. Perhaps in any subsequent amendment of Ceylon’s constitution those in authority might take note of the proclamation made by the delegates at the African conference which met in Lagos two years ago: ‘Fundamental human rights, especially the right to individual liberty, should be written and entrenched in the constitutions of all countries’. Nevertheless the reconciliation of Tamils and Sinhalese will depend not on constitutional guarantees but on the goodwill, common sense and humanity of the Government in power and the people who elect it.” This reveals Soulbury had later in his life second thoughts about the constitution he wrote or acquiesced in 1946. In reality, blame should be laid at the feet of Thamil leadership, notably GG Ponnambalam, who instead of asking for outright separation or at least a federal constitution was asking for fifty fifty an impractical demand.

Across the Palk Strait Mohamed Ali Jinnah. Leader of the Muslim Party was asking out right separation from India. He told the British to quit, but before quitting to DIVIDE India. Jinnah was asking for a Pakistan which did not exist in a legal or historical sense before 1947. GG Ponnambalam failed to demand the restoration and reconstitution of the state of Thamil Eelam (The Jaffna Kingdom) that existed from 1213 – 1621 AD till it was defeated by the Portuguese in 1619 AD on the battlefield. The present TNA leadership consists of moderates like R.Sampanthan, M.A.Sumanthiran, Mavai Senathirajah and few others. TNA is not asking for SEPARATION but autonomy based on the principle of self-determination within a UNITED and UNDIVIDED Ceylon. It is our prayer and hope that the present democratic Sinhalese leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe who jointly defeated the forces of Sinhala – Buddhist chauvinism convincingly in two elections in 2015 will make use of the historical opportunity afforded to them to take the country forward. They should not allow the satanic forces controlled by Mahinda Rajapaksa and his cohorts to stoke the flames of communalism and racism and take the country once again to the dark age of the past. If they live up to our expectation then Vaddukkoddai resolution will become irrelevant. And together we can march forward to make Ceylon another Singapore!



I find to my dismay MLD Mahindapala’s obsession with Thamil Vellalas. One can discuss any subject; he will end up coming with this Vellala phobia. It is an incurable disease he is suffering from his birth. He thinks the Vellala caste is having a stranglehold on Thamil politics. This might have been the case a few decades ago. Not after the LTTE came to dominate Thamil political landscape. Suffice to say LTTE leader himself did not belong to the Vellala caste. On the other hand caste plays a big factor in Sinhala politics. Since independence no President, no Prime Minister came from the Karava, the Salagama and the Durawe caste. All came from the Govigama caste.

Dr.N.M.Perera led the LSSP although criminal lawyer Dr. Colvin R de Silva was a better choice. There is only one notable exception. Ranasinghe Premadasa who became president despite the fact he came from a low caste. Caste remains a significant feature in Sinhala politics. The JVP and the NNF are both caste based. So is the different Buddhist Nikayas. In the choice of candidates for certain electorates, for example Katana is Salagama Sinhalese. Balapitiya preferably Salagama, if not Karawe, Buddhist, Sinhalese. Moratuwa Karawe Sinhalese, preferably Buddhist but a Christian would be acceptable while Moratuwa and Ambalangoda should be Karawe, Sinhalese and essentially Buddhist -Karawe candidates can never win seats in the NWP and Central Province even if they are “kingfishers”. So caste is a necessary strategy when it comes to Sinhalese politics and elections.

King Vijayabahu in the 11th century DENIED ACCESS TO THE SO-CALLED LOWER CASTES to venerate the Buddha’s footprint at the summit of Sri Pada or Adam`s Peak. These castes were confined to a lower terrace further down. This led to an immediate counter when a 12th century rock inscription of King Nissanka Malla warned that the Govigama caste could never aspire to high office. The 13th century Sinhala literary work, the Pujavaliya went on to assert that a Buddha would never be born in the Govigama caste. The Govigama reaction was swift. Kandyan Buddhist civil law as later documented in the Niti Nighanduwa,

The plight of the Sinhala `DALITS`- Karava, Durava, Salagama, Berava and Rodiya is a good example of caste discrimination in Sinhala society.

Professor K.M. de Silva in his `History of Sri Lanka`, refers to the MIGRATION OF THE KARAWE, SALAGAMA AND DURAWE CASTES FROM SOUTHERN INDIA TO SRI LANKA BETWEEN THE 14TH AND 17TH CENTURIES AD. They were Tamils assimilated into the Sinhala caste hierarchy,Sinhalese caste system has placed the Govigama at the top of an elaborately ordered caste hierarchy. So it goes on and on. Mr. MLD Mahindapala must remove the beam in his eyes before he removes the speck in others eyes.


  National Question Can be Solved Only by  Sharing of Power and Not Devolution

 Veluppillai Thangavelu

On January 25 this year Opposition and Thamil National Alliance (TNA) Leader R. Sampanthan left for London and then to the Scottish capital Edinburgh accompanied by his trusted lieutenant Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran, MP.   Sampanthan’s visit to Scotland coincided with the government taking steps to draft a new Constitution.

Scottish experience

Both Sampanthan and Sumanthiran participated at a constitutional workshop held to explore possible alternatives for political solution to the ethnic issue in Sri Lanka. It was held under the patronage of academics affiliated to Edinburgh University, with lessons to be learnt from Scottish experience in the United Kingdom and to study the devolution of power sharing by Scotland under Britain’s Westminster system.

Many mistakenly believe that Scotland is sharing power with United Kingdom (UK) under a federal system.  The constitution of UK is not federal but unitary. Scotland is a good example of  country that enjoys devolved powers within a ‘unitary’ constitution.  In fact, unlike many other countries, the UK has no single constitutional document, it has an unmodified or “unwritten” constitution. Much of the British constitution is embodied in written documents, in statutes, court judgments, works of authority and treaties. The core principles of the British constitution are (1) parliamentary supremacy, and (2) rule of law.

The UK comprises four countries: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Nevertheless, it is a unitary state, not a federation (like Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Russia or the United States), nor a confederation (like pre-1847 Switzerland, the former Serbia and Montenegro or Canada).

Although Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have legislatures and executives, England does not.  The authority of all these bodies is dependent on Acts of Parliament and that they can in principle be abolished at the will of the Parliament of the UK.  An example of a legislature that was created by Act of Parliament and later abolished is the Parliament of Northern Ireland, which was set up by the Government of Ireland Act 1920 and abolished, in response to political violence in Northern Ireland. However, Northern Ireland has since been given another legislative assembly under the Northern Ireland Act 1998.

Difference between Federal and Unitary

What is the difference between federal and unitary system of government? Government system of a country can be classified into two types of government. Either it can be a federal government or can be a unitary government.

Federal Government

Federal government is a type of national government in which government delegates the power to other elected member of the states. In a federal government, provinces or territories enjoys some rights as are available to the independent states. However international diplomacy, national security, foreign affairs and other kinds of international dealings are solely made by the federal government. It can be in form of federal republic like India, Pakistan or federal monarchy government as Canada or Belgium.  Currently there are 27 federations in the world. Pakistan, India, Brazil, Switzerland, Sudan, etc. are examples of federal republic government while Australia, Belgium, Canada, etc, are examples of federal monarchy government.

Unitary Government

Unitary government is a kind of government in which a single power known as the central government controls the whole government. In fact, all powers and administrative divisions authorities lies at the central place. When a unitary system exists in a multinational state, it is often predictable that values and beliefs of one nationality are imposed over the lesser ones. Today, most of the government system in the world is based on unitary system of government where the central government has the power. Even if certain powers of the centre are decentralised, the centre can create and abolish same at its will. It can be in form of unitary republic or unitary monarchy. UK, Afghanistan, Italy, Zambia Ukraine, Sri Lanka etc. are examples of unitary republic government while Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Barbados, Morocco, Spain, etc are examples of unitary monarchy government.

Kingdom Scotland

The Kingdom of Scotland was an independent sovereign state from the Middle Ages and continued to exist until 1707.  Scotland entered into a political union with England on May 1, 1707 to create the Kingdom of Great Britain, despite popular opposition in Edinburgh, Glasgow and elsewhere.  The union also created a Parliament of Great Britain which succeeded Parliament of Scotland and Parliament of England.

Scotland’s legal system has remained separate from those of England and Wales and Northern Ireland.  Scotland constitutes a distinct jurisdiction in public and private law. The continued existence of legal, educational and religious institutions distinct from those in the remainder of the UK have all contributed to the continuation of Scottish culture and national identity since the 1707 union. Following a referendum in 1997, a Scottish Parliament was re-established, this time as a devolved legislature with authority over many areas of home affairs.

Despite Scotland’s three century-old union with England and the devolution of substantial new powers for the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish National Party (SNP) supports Scottish independence. At the   general election to the Scottish parliament held on May 05, 2011 to elect 129 members, the SNP won a historic 69 seats (45.39% of the popular vote) and its leader Alex Salmond remained First Minister of Scotland. Following the defeat at the referendum he resigned his post.  Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party (SNP) is the current First Minister of Scotland.

However, the independence referendum held on September 18, 2014 was lost by the yes side by a majority of 55% to 45% on an 85% voter turnout. Surprisingly the majority of Scots thought that they can have the best of both worlds by remaining in the union, rather than benefit from a friendly divorce.   

Though Scotland lost the fight for independence, it gained huge power to set income tax rates, some influence over welfare spending, and powers to decide how the Scottish parliament and other devolved political structures are selected and run.  These powers are a step towards a federal Britain, and likely put Scotland on the road to autonomy akin to that enjoyed by an American state. In a unitary political system like Britain, it will cause mighty constitutional problems, which will have to be worked out by all three major parties which have taken a common stand. The powers now enjoyed by Westminster and Scottish parliament are as follows:

Devolved matters include                                            Reserved matters include

agriculture, forestry and fisheries
education and training
health and social services
law and order
local government
sport and the arts
tourism and economic development
many aspects of transport
benefits and social security
foreign policy
trade and industry
nuclear energy, oil, coal, gas and electricity
consumer rights
data protection
the Constitution
  1. Sampanthan has said finishing the war does not mean the ethnic conflict has been resolved.  Building carpeted roads and operating Yale Devi does not resolve the National Question. What he wants is a just, reasonable, workable and a durable political solution within the framework of a united, undivided Sri Lanka. He asks for power to be shared between the centre and the northeast province(s). (http://www.dailymirror.lk/60307/there-is-no-ltte-now-so-how-can-tna-be-a-proxy-sampanthan)

The TNA manifesto

The TNA manifesto issued during 2015  elections to  parliament clearly stated  that  Thamil People are entitled to the right to self-determination in keeping with United Nations International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, both of which Sri Lanka has accepted and signed.   Power sharing arrangements must continue to be established as it existed earlier in a unit of a merged Northern and Eastern Provinces based on a Federal structure. The Thamil speaking Muslim historical inhabitants shall be entitled to be beneficiaries of all power-sharing arrangements in the North-East. This will no way inflict any disability on any People. (http://www.tamilcnn.ca/tna-parliamentary-election-2015-manifesto-released-photos.html)

If Scotland, with some 5m people has their own parliament and control education, banking, law and order, welfare and tax rates, why should 2.3 million   populations be run from Colombo is a fair question that needs an honest answer.

Thamils have rejected national parties since independence

No consensus exist how to define democracy. It has been variously defined, but commonly it is defined as government by consent and discussion. The 1972 and 1978 constitutions were enacted not only without consent by the Thamil people; they were passed amidst opposition and protest. Genuine democracy means not unifying territory, but unifying people.

In every election held since independence the Thamil people have decisively rejected those national parties dominated by Sinhalese that stood for unitary form of government.  

Thamil Civil Society Forum’s Proposals

In this context the Thamil Civil Society Forum’s Submission to the Public Representation Committee on Constitutional Reforms deserves closer attention and scrutiny by all those involved in the constitutional process, including academics and political parties.    “http://tamilguardian.com/files/File/PRC%20submission%20TCSF.pdf” http://tamilguardian.com/files/File/PRC%20submission%20TCSF.pdf. The proposals cover wide ranging subjects that are still considered controversial or unconventional. The following are some of the questions and reservations raised by the Forum in its proposals:

(1) The fear that like in 1947, 1972 and 1978 the constitutional process based on majority vote is ill-suited, particularly so for a deeply divided society like Sri Lanka. Hence, how the constitutional process will deliver an acceptable solution to the National Question.

(2)  The dominant nation has used the state, its constitutional and legal apparatus to preserve its dominant status. Under the existing   hierarchical state structure the other constituent nations and peoples of Sri Lanka have been regarded as subservient peoples and nations to the dominant (Sinhala Buddhist) nation.

(3) The National Question cannot be solved merely by guaranteeing individual rights, good governance and the rule of law. The National Question is about the right to self-determination of the different nations that constitute Sri Lanka including the Thamil Nation. The right to self-determination of the Thamil Nation is fundamental to Thamils to enjoy their individual rights and freedoms.

(4) The constitution must recognize the right of self-determination of the Thamil Nation and must provide for a secular state.

(5) The unitary  character of the state  permits Sinhala Buddhist nationalism too impose a deep hegemony through a composition of bounded unity of territory, state and nation of the island revolving around a majoritarian axis of Sinhala Buddhist religion, language, culture and people. Hence, the Forum believes that any devolution of power within the understanding of a unitary state will not resolve the problem.

(6) There are two problems associated with devolution within a unitary state:

(A)  Devolution assumes power is with the centre and devolves power to the peripheral not as a matter of right, but on its own volition. This for reasons stated above is unacceptable.

(B) When the constitution identifies itself as unitary that devolution arrangements will be interpreted by courts within a unitary culture to favour the central government. 13th Amendment is a case in point.

(7) The Forum stands for a federal model. It rejects the argument that the labels ‘unitary’ and ‘federal’ are unnecessary. There are fundamental characteristics of what a unitary and a federal constitution constitute.  The assumption that federalism will lead to secession is a myth   spread and perpetuated by the Sinhala political leadership. Secession is a matter of fact and its eventuality cannot be necessarily facilitated or prevented by a particular constitutional design.

Divi Neguma Bill dismantled devolution

We saw the 13th Amendment as the first step towards devolving powers to the provincial councils, but we also saw how the centre refused to vest land and the police powers to the provincial councils. This is because Sinhalese politicians view devolution of power as the first step in creating separate state for Thamils in the North and the East, a far fetched and fanciful theory.  That territorial power sharing mechanism will threaten the territorial integrity of the state. However, such fears have no basis as long as the centre is in charge of defence.

Divi Neguma Bill passed during Mahinda Rajapaksa’s tenure of office transferred powers vested by constitution and by tradition to an unelected Jana Sabhas was an insidious attempt to dismantle devolution. The Bill encroached into the sphere of the Provincial Council functions and it came at a time when Gotabhaya Rajapaksa fervently advocating the abolition of the Provincial Council system and the 13th Amendment altogether. The Jana Sabhas were to have the power to prepare their own budgets and development plans and to obtain the necessary financial allocations from the central government. The elected provincial councils and local government authorities were to be legally obliged to seek approval from the unelected Jana Sabhas to launch any project. The worst aspect of the Bill is the involvement of huge amounts of money (estimated 80 billion rupees) through Divi Neguma banks which would not come under the Central Bank rules and supervision. Not surprisingly the then Supreme Court rightly determined that the Bill should have the consent of all the 9 Provincial Councils to become law.  In 2012, there was no elected Provincial Council for the North. The legality of the consent letter submitted by the Governor of NPC was challenged by the TNA successfully in the Supreme Court.

In the absence of an elected Northern Provincial council the bill needed to be passed with two thirds majority in national parliament.  This ruling by the Supreme Court triggered a vindictive impeachment motion in parliament against the Chief Justice and his subsequent removal from office.

Scrapping of the 13th Amendment

Stung by the ruling of the  apex court’s ruling on a key bill making it mandatory to obtain the nod of the yet to be formed Northern Provincial council, two allies in Sri Lanka`s  then ruling coalition demanded the scrapping of the 13th amendment as it would “cripple” the parliament. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa called ” for the abolition of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution without further delay since there is a looming threat to national security. The ongoing efforts by a political grouping led by one-time LTTE mouthpiece, TNA to hinder the passage of the Divi Neguma Bill in parliament meant that in spite of Sri Lanka’s battlefield victory over terrorism separatist sentiments were strong, unless the government acted swiftly and decisively the ongoing crisis could have an impact on national security as well. He pointed out that already the TNA and some of its overseas supporters had been pushing for SLA pullout from the Northern region. It would be a mistake on our part to view protests against Divi Neguma Bill in isolation Gotabhaya Rajapaksa told The Sunday Island.”   “http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=63716” http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=63716

I have dwelt at length  on 13A and subsequent attempts to  abolish it altogether to demonstrate the fact that parliament can abolish devolved powers  altogether or just refuse to implement  the land and police  powers given in the constitution itself.

Demand by TNA for a federal structure

This is why TNA is demanding “a solution founded on the principle of internal self determination in areas of historical habitation of the Thamil-speaking Peoples, based on a federal structure within a united Sri Lanka.” (TNA Manifesto -2015 parliamentary election)

The Thamil people have a long trail of broken promises, torn agreements entered in good faith, empty talks, history of oppression, mounting discrimination, loss of lives and lands and immense suffering.  President Sirisena told the BBC Sinhala service that   he will never agree to international involvement in the proposed judicial inquiry. This is after Sri Lanka co-sponsored the resolution adopted by the UNHRC on October 01, 2015 which called for inter alia “……and further affirms in this regard the importance of participation in a Sri Lankan judicial mechanism, including the Special Counsel’s office, of Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence lawyers, and authorized prosecutors and investigators.” This came as a total disappointment to the Thamil people who played a major role in regime change.   “http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-35376719” http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-35376719

Today, there is real fear that history may repeat itself once again.  We have a national government committed to good governance that offers a unique and historic opportunity to usher in ethnic peace, economic prosperity and political stability. The government must enact a constitution based on federalism that will give maximum autonomy to the Thamil speaking people to manage their own home affairs. (Colombo Telegraph-  https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/jaffna-low-castes-stoned-arumuka-navalar-godfather-of-vellahlaism/comment-page-1/#comment-1942625

Govt. Must Educate Importance Of International Participation In Trials

February 5, 2016

By Veluppillai Thangavelu

Veluppillai Thangavelu

The Commissioner of Human Rights Council Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein is scheduled to visit Sri Lanka on January 05, 2016. Apart from meeting the President, Prime Minister, the Opposition Leader and others he will also visit the North to see at first hand the post-war situation there.

The government is still struggling to stabilise the country politically and economically. Many problems related to rehabilitation and re-settlement of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) remain a daunting task to the government. Though more than 6 years have lapsed since the end of the war, thousands of IDPs are still living in welfare centres and make shift huts without basic amenities.

The inordinate delay in releasing private lands acquired by the armed forces to the rightful owners is causing lot of heartburn among them. The IDPs are losing patience after waiting, in some cases, for over 25 years that include 6 years after the war.

The government has appointed a high powered committee to take a census of the lands still under army occupation in order to release them to the owners. According to an army spokesman, lands required for public security will not be released, but adequate compensation will be paid to the owners.

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein – The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Poverty is a gigantic problem in the North, which is emerging from a 30-year conflict that decimated the area’s economy along with the people’s livelihoods. Those who have been re-settled lack jobs, houses, toilets, drinking water, schools, hospitals etc.

Out of 25 administrative districts, people from 9 districts, including Mullaitivu, Moneragala, Mannar and Batticaloa had a higher rate of poverty in comparison with others. In fact, in Mullaitheevu which faced the brunt of the war, 30% of the people are living below poverty line at national level (UN Annual Report -2015).  According to Sri Lanka’s official national poverty line, a person is identified as being poor  if his or her real per capita consumption expenditure falls below Rs.3,967 (December 2015) per month.

Problems relating to Thamil prisoners still linger on. President Sirisena’s promise to solve their problem before November 7 did not materialise. Here too, the government has appointed a committee to make recommendations, especially those suspects detained for long years, a few over two decades. Out of a total of 217 prisoners, 39 have been sent to army run rehabilitation camps; a few have been released on completing their term leaving approximately about 168 prisoners pending.

The 89,000 war widows have been virtually allowed to fend for themselves. LTTE cadres who were released after rehabilitation are undergoing tremendous hardship. During rehabilitation they were not given any vocational training, instead they were taught Sinhala language. The rate of unemployment is very high among them and some are resorting to petty crimes. In the absence of massive foreign investments, life after the war will continue to be hard for war affected victims.

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein’s visit also coincides with the bickering going on regarding the participation  of Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence lawyers, and authorized prosecutors and investigators in terms of resolution 30/1 adopted by the UNHRC. Operative paragraph 6 stated clearly that UNHRC “….takes note with appreciation of the Government of Sri Lanka’s proposal to establish a Judicial Mechanism with a Special Counsel to investigate allegations of violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law, as applicable; and affirms that a credible justice process should include independent judicial and prosecutorial institutions led by individuals known for integrity and impartiality; and further affirms in this regard the importance of participation in a Sri Lankan judicial mechanism, including the Special Counsel’s office, of Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence lawyers, and authorized prosecutors and investigators.”

Now, after a lapse of 4 months President Sirisena seems to entertain second thoughts regarding this specific operative paragraph. In an interview to the BBC on January 21, 2016 he claimed he was for a purely domestic inquiry mechanism without foreign judges or personnel, because he had faith in the Sri Lankan legal system and processes. His tone was emphatic and as though to reinforce his statement he told the Al Jazeera that there is a possibility that “foreign technical knowledge” may be sought, but no foreign personnel, no “outsiders” would be involved.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’ s on his part further muddied the situation by telling Channel 4 News on January 21, 2016 that Government had not ruled out a foreign judicial inquiry on alleged human rights violations in Sri Lanka. But, two days later on January 28, he told parliament he had never told such a thing during the interview he gave to Channel 4. He accused both the Daily Mirror and The Island being unnecessarily concerned about the probe on alleged human rights.  He went on to say that he would never allow an international war crimes probe and clarified the recent statement made by President Maithripala Sirisena that foreign judges are not needed for the probe saying the president only meant that most of the activities with regard to a probe will be done by local experts. “Myself, the President and the others in the government are of the same view,” he said.

Again on February 2, Wickremesinghe said that there is a constitutional bar on the appointment of foreign nationals as judges in Lankan courts. Lanka is not a signatory to the Rome Statute to accept foreign judges and courts. Allowing foreign prosecutors is also difficult because the Bar Council of Sri Lanka is unlikely to give foreigners a foothold in their exclusive preserve. If the Rome Statute is the problem, the way out is to sign the Statute. But, Wickremesinghe has always claimed credit for not signing the Rome Statute, saying had he done it to save Rajapaksa and others from the gallows after trial by the International Criminal Court.

It is apparent that the government has no intention whatsoever to implement the resolution fully. It might come out with further excuses claiming the resolution does not make the inclusion of foreign judges and prosecutors “mandatory”. It only talks of the importance of their participation in a Sri Lankan mechanism. It does not say that they SHALL be included. The stress is on setting up a “credible” mechanism. While ruling out foreign judges, President Sirisena has said that foreign technical expertise will be welcome.

However, to keep the UNHRC and other concerned countries in good humour, the government is talking about setting up a Truth Commission; a Missing Persons’ Office, and an Office of Reparations. Public consultation on redrafting the country’s constitution to provide for greater devolution of power to the Thamil minority is already on going.

The foreign media and foreign dignitaries were not slow in taking the Government to task for reneging a key paragraph in the UNHRC resolution. Human Rights Watch (HRW) one of the first to fire a salvo, said the Sri Lankan government should fulfil its commitments to the UNHRC by ensuring that foreign judges and prosecutors play a significant role in the mandated accountability mechanism for wartime abuses. The HRW went further castigating the government that it should be implementing its plans for a war crimes tribunal with international participation. It noted that progress on the implementation of the resolution has been slow and not wholly transparent.

The US Ambassador to the UNHRC in Geneva, Keith Harper, said Sri Lanka must have foreign judges in the accountability process on the war. Harper, who was involved in talks with the Sri Lankan government when the resolution on Sri Lanka was drafted before it was submitted and eventually adopted by the UN Human Rights Council, last October, said the accountability process can be credible only if foreign judges are involved.

Wickremesinghe told Channel 4, that the government would put together a mechanism for accountability and reconciliation by May. “I don’t think there is anything to be worried about. We are all people who fought for it. I put my neck out more than anyone else and by May all these doubts will go out.” This at most is only half the truth. When President Chandrika Kumaratunga introduced the new constitution in the Parliament in August, 2000 saying devolution of power was the most effective way to solve the ethnic crisis and appealed for support from the opposition, the UNP members led by Wickremesinghe reacted by tearing copies of the draft bill and burning it inside the parliament chamber.

If there is anyone who has given his neck to resolve the national question within a united and undivided Ceylon with maximum devolution of power to the Northeast, then it is R.Sampanthan.

It is Sampanthan who wants a permanent and durable solution to the national question that is acceptable to ALL three communities. He is a moderating influence in the affairs of Thamil politics. He criticises the extremists on both sides of the divide. He has eschewed separation, attended Independence Day celebrations after the change of government in 2015, and supported the government on crucial issues like the 19th Amendment. What more, it is Sampanthan who asked the Thamils to vote for Sirisena and vote for a change of government.

Sampanthan has faced and still facing strident criticism from Thamil extremists who accuse him of practising politics of appeasement. They have targeted Sampanthan and Sumanthiran as “traitors” and burned their effigies in Jaffna, Geneva and London. Even the Chief Minister of the Northern Provincial has accused Sampanthan of moving too close to the government at the expense of Thamil people’s interests.

The failure or the delay by the government to release army occupied lands to facilitate resettlement of IDPs, the indefinite  incarceration of political prisoners, the plight of 89,000 war widows, the threat posed to the livelihoods of Thamil fishermen because of poaching by Thamil Nadu fishermen have all added to the litany of woes and worries of Sampanthan.

Many Thamils now feel very pessimistic about their future. They say in unison, going back by past history, Sinhalese leaders cannot be trusted. Memories related to broken promises, betrayals, and discriminatory legislations, state sponsored Sinhalese colonisation give Thamils little hope that things will be different under Sirisena/Wickremesinghe regime. The flip flop over the implementation of Operative paragraph 6 has turned many optimist Thamils into pessimists for the first time since this government came to power.

The UNHRC resolution co-sponsored by Sri Lanka cannot be treated like another piece of paper. There is more to it. According to David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s South Asia Research Director the adoption of the resolution is a turning point for human rights in Sri Lanka, and crucially recognizes terrible crimes committed by both parties during the armed conflict. Although far from perfect, if the resolution and the underlying commitments of Sri Lanka’s government are implemented in good faith it presents an opportunity for victims to finally get the truth and justice they have been waiting for.”

The resolution calling for international judges, defence lawyers, prosecutors and investigators to ensure the credibility of the justice process is crucial. Sri Lanka has time and time again shown it is both unwilling and unable to investigate war crimes allegations against its own forces or hold perpetrators of grave abuses to account. Additionally, the local judiciary has always acted subservient to the ruling party. The only time when it stood its ground, Chief Justice Ms Shirani Bandaranayake was impeached by parliament on trumped up charges and then removed from office by Mahinda Rajapaksa in January 2013.

More importantly, the attempt to draw a new constitution will face insurmountable problems, if Sirisena/Wickremesinghe renege on the full implementation of the UNHRC resolution. The clear mandate given by the people both at the Presidential and Parliamentary elections should be respected.

In Sirisena’s own words “no one will be allowed to reverse the transformation that took place on the 8th of January, 2015. It is a silent revolution of the people who committed themselves for the independence and the democracy of the country. “

The government should not succumb to empty threats by Sinhalese extremists like Dayan Jayatilleka who is promising dire consequences, including impeachment, if the resolution is implemented. Instead, the government should educate the people about the importance of international participation in trials relating to serious human rights violations and war crimes.

It is hoped Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein the visiting Commissioner of UNHRC will adequately brief the Government the serious political fallout if Sri Lanka fails to comply with the resolution fully and credibly.(*https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/govt-must-educate-importance-of-international-participation-in-trials/)

விக்னேஸ்வரனுக்கு இரண்டு தேர்வுகள்தான் இருக்கின்றன!

கடலில் மூழ்கிறவன் ஒரு துரும்பைப் பிடித்தாவது கரையேற முயற்சிப்பது போல வட மாகாண சபைத் தேர்தலில் தமிழ்த் தேசியக் கூட்டணியின் முதன்மை வேட்பாளாராக விக்னேஸ்வரன் போட்டி போட்டபோது அவரைக் கொழும்புத் தமிழன், வாசுதேவ நாணயக்காரரின் சம்பந்தி, அவரது பிள்ளைகள் சிங்களத்திகளை திருமணம் செய்தவர்கள் என்று அர்ச்சித்தவர்கள் – தூசித்தவர்கள் இப்போது அவரைத் தலையில் தூக்கி வைத்து காவடி ஆடுகிறார்கள். அவருக்கு உடுக்கு அடித்து உசுப்பேத்துகிறார்கள்.
கஜேந்திரகுமார் என்ற நொண்டிக் குதிரையில் பணம் கட்டிப் பணத்தை இழந்தவர்கள்தான் இப்போது வின்னேஸ்வரனைப் பஞ்சகல்யாணிக் குதிரை என நினைத்து அதில் பணம் கட்ட வெளிக்கிட்டுள்ளார்கள்.

விக்னேஸ்வரன் என்ன சொன்னாலும் எதைப் பேசினாலும் அதற்குப் பதவுரை, விரிவுரை, பொழிப்புரை எழுதி அவரை அரசியலில் ஒரு சாணக்கியன் எனப் படம் காட்டப் பார்க்கிறார்கள்.

புலத்தில் வாழும் வன்னியின் எச்சங்கள் தங்களது தாளத்துக்கு ஆடுகிற ஒரு கட்சியை உருவாக்க நினைக்கிறார்கள். பேரவை என்ற சொல் அவர்களுக்கு வாலாயமான சொல். எடுத்துக் காட்டு அனைத்துலக ஈழத்தமிழர் மக்களவை, கனடியத் தமிழர் தேசிய அவை போன்றவை. நடந்து முடிந்த நாடாளுமன்றத் தேர்தலில் தமிழ்த் தேசிய மக்கள் முன்னணிக்கு வாக்களிக்குமாறும் சைக்கிள் சின்னத்துக்கு புள்ளடி போடுமாறும் பகிரங்கமாக அறிக்கைகள் விட்டன.

தன்னை ஆன்மீகவாதி என்று சொல்லிக் கொள்ளும் விக்னேஸ்வரன் அரசியலுக்கு முற்றிலும் புதியவர். வட கிழக்கில் நடந்த போரையோ வேறு உயிர், உடமை அழிவுகளையோ அறியாதவர். முதலமைச்சராக வந்த பின்னர்தான் தனக்கு வடக்கில் வாழும் மக்களின் துன்ப துயரங்கள் தெரியவந்ததாம்.
இப்போது விக்னேஸ்வரன் புதிதாக ஒரு கண்டு பிடிப்பைக் கண்டு பிடித்துள்ளார் என அவரது தொண்டரடிப் பொடியாழ்வார்கள் இணையதளங்களில் கிறுக்கித் தள்ளுகிறார்கள். அறியாமை தவறில்லை. ஆனால் அதனைப் பகிரங்கப்படுத்துவது அறிவீனம்.
“ 2103 ல் இருந்த சுயநிர்ணயம் எனும் பதம், 2015 தேர்தல் விஞ்ஞாபனத்தில் இல்லை என்பதையும் போட்டு கொடுத்து விட்டுச் சென்றிருக்கிறார்” என வன்னியின் எச்சங்கள் நடத்தும் இணையதளங்கள் செய்தி வெளியிட்டுள்ளன. அந்தச் செய்தியை வெளியிட்டுத் தங்கள் முதுகிலே தாங்களே தட்டிக் கொள்கின்றன.

விக்னேஸ்வரன் “என்னுடைய ஞாபகத்தின்படி 2013ம் ஆண்டின் தமிழ்த் தேசிய கூட்டமைப்பின் தேர்தல் விஞ்ஞாபனத்தில் சுய நிர்ணயம் என்ற பதம் இருந்த போதிலும் 2015ம் ஆண்டில் பாராளுமன்றத் தேர்தல் காலத்து தேர்தல் விஞ்ஞாபனத்தில் அதாவது வட மாகாண சபைத் தேர்தலின் போது வெளியிட்ட தேர்தல் அறிக்கையில் தமிழர்களது சுயநிர்ணய உரிமை வற்புறுத்தப்பட்டதாம். ஆனால் “2015 ஆம் ஆண்டு நடந்த நாடாளுமன்றத் தேர்தல் தொடர்பாக வெளியிட்ட தேர்தல் அறிக்கையில் அது இல்லை என்றே நினைக்கின்றேன்.பின்னையதின் வரைவைத் தான் ஒரு வெள்ளிக்கிழமை எனக்கு பரிசீலிக்க அனுப்பி வைத்தார்கள். அதைப் பரிசீலிக்க முன் சனிக்கிழமை காலையில் உத்தியோகபூர்வமாக மக்கள் முன்னிலையில் அது வெளியிடப்பட்டது” என விக்னேஸ்வரன் வட மாகாண சபை உறுப்பினர்களோடான சந்திப்பில் சொன்னாராம். அதைத்தான் வன்னியின் எச்சங்கள் கெட்டியாகப் பிடித்துக் கொண்டார்கள்.

சும்மா வெறும் வாயை மெல்லுபவர்களுக்கு விக்னேஸ்வரன் அவல் கொடுத்தால் விடவா போகிறார்கள்?
உண்மை என்ன? 2013 இல் ததேகூ வெளியிட்ட தேர்தல் அறிக்கையில் சுயநிர்ணய உரிமை பற்றி சொன்ன அதே வாசகம் 2015 இல் ததேகூ வெளியிட்ட தேர்தல் அறிக்கையிலும் அட்சரம் பிசகாமல் இருக்கிறது.

2013 தேர்தல் அறிக்கை

 தமிழ்மக்கள் சுயநிர்ணய உரிமைக்கு உரித்துடையவர்கள்.(The Tamil People are entitled to the right to self-determination)
2015 தேர்தல் அறிக்கை
ஐக்கிய நாடுகளின் சிவில் மற்றும் அரசியல் உரிமை, பொருளாதார, சமூக மற்றும் பண்பாட்டு உரிமைகள் தொடர்பாக எழுதப்பட்ட பன்னாட்டு உடன்படிக்கைகளுக்கு ஒப்ப தமிழ்மக்கள் சுயநிர்ணய உரிமைக்கு உரித்துடையவர்கள். அந்த உடன்பாட்டை சிறிலங்கா அரசு ஏற்றுக்கொண்டு இணக்கமும் தெரிவித்துள்ளது.
(The Tamil People are entitled to the right to self-determination in keeping with United Nations International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, both of which Sri Lanka has accepted and acceded) 2013, 2015 தேர்தல் அறிக்கைகள் மட்டுமல்ல 2010 இல் நடந்த பொதுத்தேர்தலிலும் இதே கோட்பாட்டை ததேகூ முன்வைத்தது.

2010 தேர்தல் அறிக்கை

தமிழ்மக்கள் சுயநிர்ணய உரிமைக்கு உரித்துடையவர்கள். (The Tamil People are entitled to the right of self determination) தமிழ் பேசும் மக்கள் உள்ளக சுயநிர்ணய உரிமைக்கு உரித்துடையவர்கள் என்பதால் ஒன்றுபட்ட இலங்கையில் தங்கள் வரலாற்று வாழ்விடத்தில் இணைப்பாட்சி (சமஷ்டி) அடிப்படையில் ஆட்சியமைக்க உரித்துடையவர்கள் என்பதை தொடர்ச்சியாக, முன்னுக்குப் பின் முரண்படாத வகையில் ததே கூ தனது தேர்தல் அறிக்கைகள் மூலமாக 2001 இல் இருந்து வெளியிட்டு வருகிறது. விக்னேஸ்வரன் தமிழ் மக்கள் பேரவை அரசியல் கட்சி அல்லவென்றும் 2013 இல் ததேகூ வெளியிட்ட தேர்தல் அறிக்கைக்கு ஏற்ப ஒரு அரசியல் தீர்வை முன்வைப்பதுதான் அதன் நோக்கம் எனச் சொல்கிறார். இது கட்டிய மனைவி வீட்டில் கல்லுப்போல இருக்க விலைமகள் வீடு தேடிப் போனவன் கதையாக இருக்கிறது. உண்மை என்னவென்றால் விக்னேஸ்வரன் தனது அரசியல் அறிவுப் பஞ்சம் காரணமாக தானும் குழம்பி மற்றவர்களையும் குழப்பப் பார்க்கிறார். அதற்கு வட மாகாண சபை ததேகூ இன் உறுப்பினர்கள், அமைச்சர்கள் இடங்கொடுக்கக் கூடாது.

விக்னேஸ்வரனுக்கு இரண்டு தேர்வுகள்தான் இருக்கின்றன.

(1) தமபே இல் அவர் தொடர்ந்து இணைத் தலைவராக இருக்க வேண்டும் என்றால் வட மாகாண சபையின் முதலமைச்சர் பதவியை விட்டு மரியாதையோடு விலக வேண்டும்.
(2) வட மாகாண சபையின் முதலமைச்சராக தொடர்ந்து இருக்க விரும்பினால் அவர் தமபே இன் இணைத் தலைவர் பதவீயல் இருந்து மரியாதையோடு விலக வேண்டும்.
அவருக்கு வேறு தேர்வில்லை என்பதை வட மாகாண சபையில் உறுப்பினர்களாக இருப்போர் வெட்டொன்று துண்டிரண்டாகச் சொல்ல வேண்டும்.
தமிழ்மக்கள் தமிழத் தேசியக் கூட்டமைப்புக்குத்தான் வாக்களித்தார்கள். விக்னேஸ்வரன் சொல்வதுபோல் அவருக்கோ, மக்கள் கட்சிக்கோ அல்ல. (21-01-2016)

Last Chance For Settling The Festering Ethnic Question

January 5, 2016

Veluppillai Thangavelu

President Maithripala Sirisena will be completing a year as President on January 08, 2016. A year ago he was the Minister of Health in Mahinda Rajapaksa’s cabinet. He was first elected to parliament in 1989 representing Polonnaruwa and was re-elected in 1994, 2000, 2004 and 2010. In 1997, he was appointed as the General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) but was beaten in 2000 following which he became one of the Deputy Presidents of SLFP. He staged a come back as General-secretary of the SLFP in October 2001 following Dissanayake’ s defection to the United National Party (UNP. President Kumaratunga appointed Sirisena as Minister of River Basin Development and Rajarata Development in the new UPFA government in April 2004. He belonged to a family which settled down in Polonnaruwa as colonists during DS Senanayake’s time and, therefore, not a politician from the political elite and socialites. Throughout his political career, he remained an unflashy and a low profile politician.

In November, 2014 Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned from his post as President and announced his candidature two years ahead of schedule. The news of his resignation took everyone by surprise, including his close confidants, advisors and even the opposition. The only exception was Rajapaksa’s trusted Astrologer of over 30 years who gave him the go ahead telling him that according to his horoscope he is an invincible personality and a blessed man. He will win a third term resoundingly.

Since first elected as President in 2005 by defeating Ranil Wickremesinghe from the UNP, Mahinda Rajapaksa has consolidated his political power beyond anyone’s expectation.  The 18th Amendment virtually made him an elected dictator more powerful than JR Jayewardene the godfather of the executive presidential system of government. The 18th Amendment further strengthened the presidency at the expense of the legislature, the judiciary and the citizens, thereby exacerbating the imbalance inherent in the system. Mahinda Rajapaksa did away the two terms limit to continue his rule in perpetuity. As executive president he along with his siblings, controlled 80% of the budget expenditure. His cousins and nephews who had little education were appointed as Ambassadors, Heads of Corporations etc. Some one produced a Rajapaksa’s facility tree that depicted about 250 relatives working at the Temple Trees.

Not only the Astrologer, had many people thought is Rajapaksa invincible in an election.  He saw no opposition candidate capable of defeating him anywhere in the horizon. He was confident he will make history by winning the presidency for a third time. . From the opposition ranks, he only saw Ranil Wickremesinghe as the likely opponent. Ranil Wickremesinghe cajoled the UNP to nominate him as the presidential candidate.  When he approached the leader of the Thamil National Alliance for support, R.Sampanthan politely declined. He told Ranil Wickremesinghe that he cannot ask the Thamil people to vote for a losing candidate. He asked him to look for a strong candidate, likely someone outside the UNP, to contest Rajapaksa. It was then the hunt for a presidential candidate gathered pace not within the opposition parties but right inside the ruling UPFA. It ended in Maithripala Sirisena pitted against Rajapaksa who least expected the turn of events.

A relatively low profile Cabinet minister stunned the country by winning a bitterly fought election against his former boss. On the day of the election, Sirisena has gone into hiding with his family in a coconut estate owned by one of his friend from Dodangaslanda. Emerging from his hiding next day, he told the press that had he lost the election he and his family would have been murdered by Rajapaksa.

Sirisena (63) was elected president of Sri Lanka after polling 6,217,162 (51.28%) of the total vote cast as against 5,768.090 (47.58 %) polled by Rajapaksa. In predominantly Thamil and Muslim populated 5 districts in the Northeast provinces, Sirisena polled a staggering 978,111 (74.35%) of the total votes. Thus the 332,705 (1.26%) votes lead Rajapaksa had over Sirisena in the predominantly 16 Sinhalese districts was more than off-set by the votes polled by Sirisena in the Northeast  provinces plus Nuwara Eliya district (272,605 – 63.88%)  votes as against 468,939 (31.64%) votes polled by Rajapaksa. Sirisena won by an overall majority of 449,072 votes.

In the 2010 presidential election Rajapaksa polled 6.015,934 (57.88%) as against 41, 731, 85 (40.15%) giving Rajapaksa a majority of 1,842,749. Thus compared to 2010 presidential elections, Rajapaksa’s vote bank decreased by 247,844 (10.88%) in 2015. There was an increase of 955,990 registered voters in 2015 compared to 2010. At the parliamentary elections held on August 17, 2015 history was repeated.  Rajapaksa’s desperate attempt to stage a come back as Prime Minister failed. The UNP won 106 seats and the UPFA 95 seats. UNFGG polled 5,098,916 (45.66%) votes and UPFA polled 4,732,664 (42.38%). Together with the SLFP (Sirisena) the UNFGG was able to form a national government.

Following the defeat of Rajapaksa, democratic space has increased in the Northeast. Thamil people still have daunting problems that remain unaddressed and unresolved. Foremost is the return of lands grabbed by the army during and after the war ended in May, 2009.  Though about 3,359.5 acres of land in the Northeast have been released, still there are many thousands of acres of land still occupied by the army.  The army is resisting the re-settlement efforts of the government   and there is reluctance on its part to vacate occupied lands.

As of November 01, 2015 in the Jaffna district a total of about 7,075 acres of land belonging to 10, 495 families in 7 Pradesha Sabhas (See Table 1 below) are occupied by the army. These displaced people are living in 31 welfare centres, with relations and friends for over 25 years. More over 172 houses, 16 schools, 19 temples, 12 public places, airport, fishing port, hospitals, banks and  bus stands continued to be occupied by armed forces. In Jaffna where IDPs have been allowed to resettle, they need 39,770 houses, 31,845 toilets, including 729 toilets for the handicapped.  Additionally, 2,713 toilets and an unspecified number of schools, hospitals have to be renovated. A total of 627.517 kms of road within the re-settled area have to be re-constructed.

On December 30, President Sirisena handed over 701.5 acres of land to the original owners and thus the balance is now 6,373 acres. He has since promised to release all private lands seized by the armed forces within 6 months.

There are 13,487 acres of land in Mullaitivu district, 501 acres of land belonging to 123 individuals in Kilinochchi and 4,000 acres of land in Mannar and Vavuniya still under army occupation. Thus 14,361 acres of private land is still occupied by the armed forces in the North. This does not include several thousand acres of privately owned paddy lands, lands belonging to the Agricultural department, Forest Department and other departments continued to be occupied by the armed forces. The inordinate and inexcusable delay in releasing private lands owned by the people is exacerbating tensions among the IDPs. People are losing patience after waiting for 25 long years that include 6 years after the war to go back to their own lands.

In contrast to the pathetic and gloomy situation in the North, the government went the extra mile in the East to release 818 acres of land belonging to 1,250 families and another 237 acres owned by 634 families, but occupied by the Sri Lanka navy. Many temples and a well known school Sampur Maha Vidyalaya were located in land. The re-settlement is now in progress with the help of UNHRC, NGOs and help from Thamil Diaspora to build temporary shelters.

One of the glaring and autocratic mis-use of state power was the taking over and vesting of 818 acres of land in Sampur belonging to displaced Thamils in 2006 following army offensive in Mavilaru. The poor Thamil refugees who were mostly peasant farmers and fisher-folk hoped they can go back to their lands and homes or what remained over after the war ended in May, 2009. Promises were made in parliament by the then powerful Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa that the displaced people will be resettled after de-mining. That was a misleading statement and an attempt to keep the Thamil politicians and the IDPs in good humour.

What the government did was to vest the said land with the Board of Investment (BOI) by a presidential gazette notification. A further presidential gazette notification gave away the land to a private limited company styled Sri Lanka Gateway Industries on 99 years lease. This company established in June, 2010 had an ambitious plan to develop an Industrial Zone with necessary physical and social infrastructure, in a land extent of 36 sq.kms (9000 Acres) in Sampur in the Trincomalee District. This location was chosen because the industries targeted for the proposed Industrial Zone require direct access to a dedicated and a deep water jetty to cater to Cape–Size vessels. The project location also has a vast stretch of un-inhabited land and is considered most suitable for this purpose.

The Rajapaksa cabinet approved the project on 23 February 2011. The industrial project will include an Oil and Petrochemicals Refining Facility, Vehicle Manufacturing and Assembling Plant, Fertilizer Plant, LNG degasification and storage facilities. Power Generation, Transhipping Coke and Thermal Coal etc.etc. The project was expected to cost US $4 billion and will take place over three phases. And who owned the shares of Sri Lanka Gateway Industries?  It was none other than Prabath Nanayakkara who was the Chairman and sole director! Prabath signed the agreement with BOI on June 13, 2012. And who is Prabath Nanayakkara who was ready to invest US$4 billion?

A little known businessman, Nanayakkara Prabath’s meteoric rise ran parallel to President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s ascent to power. Prabath’s mainstay is Dilshan Wickremasinghe (38) who is the son of the President’s brother-in-law, Nishantha Wickremasinghe, who is also the Chairman of Sri Lankan Airlines. This shows Mahinda Rajapaksa was not lily white and he ran the government to the benefit of his own family members and others close to them.

The gross injustice done to the hapless Thamil refugees was redressed by none other than President Maithripala Sirisena. Through a gazette notification the President revoked the BOI agreement on 07 May 2015 and released the land held by the BOI and leased to Sri Lanka Gateway Industries (SLGI) to the rightful owners. The SLGI petitioned the Supreme Court and obtained an interim   restraining order on May 15, 2015 suspending the release of lands.  But after a full hearing on May 21, the Supreme Court lifted the stay on the transfer of land in Sampur to the rightful owners.

I am writing at length about SLGI simply to demonstrate the magnanimity and the sense of justice displayed by President Sirisena, in stark contrast to Mahinda Rajapaksa’s arrogance and total contempt for the rights of ordinary and underprivileged Thamil citizens of the country. He punished the people of Sampur once during the war and then after the end of the war by robbing their lands.

More serious problems faced by the Thamil people in the Northeast is the release of political prisoners, tracing involuntary disappearances during and after the end of the civil war, resettlement of 89,000 war widows, the reduction of the army, decentralization of power etc.

The number of political prisoners held in prisons for decades has been progressively reduced during the last 6 years. Yet, a total of 217 prisoners remained in prison. Out of this 39 prisoners have opted to under go rehabilitation in army camps.   But, the fate of the remaining 188 prisoners remains in limbo. President Sirisena gave an assurance that his government will find a solution before November 7, 2015. However, this assurance was not kept. Apparently, the Attorney General Department is placing road blocks against the release of prisoners. A Special Court was established to expedite the cases, but the Attorney General Department is asking for time to file charges.

Despite wide spread pessimism among the Thamil people, there is light at the end of the tunnel that a new constitution will be drafted within 6 months or within one year in 2016. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will move a resolution in the parliament on January 9 to coincide with the first anniversary of President Sirisena’s presidency for converting the House into a Constitutional Assembly, marking the formal inauguration of the process of making a new Constitution in the place of the 1978 Constitution. Once the Parliament adopts the draft Constitution Bill with a two-thirds majority, the Bill will be sent to Provincial Councils for opinion and eventually, tested through an island wide referendum among the people. If this process succeeds, it will be the fourth constitution after independence.

The constitution is best described as a bundle of compromises. This statement is very true because everyone at the Constitutional Assembly had to compromise because there was no way everyone could get what they wanted.  US constitution enacted in 1787 AD work even in the present day. During the last 228 years the US constitution has been amended only 33 times, that is roughly one in seven years!

Canada’s Constitution Act, 1867 and the Charter of Rights enacted in 1982 created power sharing at federal, provincial and municipal levels.  Prior to 1982 only 32 minor amendments have been made to the constitution.  In each of the 10 provinces in Canada, the provincial government is responsible for areas listed in the Constitution Act, 1867, such as education, health care, some natural resources, and road regulations. Sometimes they share responsibility with the federal government. There are three territories populated by aboriginal people (First Nation) who have their own governments, with responsibilities that are delegated to them by the federal government. The sharing of powers as outlined in the Constitution Acts of 1867 and 1982 is the glue holding a vast country like Canada together.

In Sri Lanka the first autochthonous Soulbury constitution lasted for 25 years, Mrs Bandaranaike’s unitary republican constitution for just 6 years and Mr. Jayewardene’s executive presidential constitution may be for 38 years with 19 amendments!

The 1972 and 1978 constitutions were aimed at Sinhalization of the Sri Lankan state. It assigned   foremost place to the religion and language of the majority at the expense of the national minorities. The framers of these constitutions aimed at consolidation of a power structure and were opposed to the Thamil people’s demand since 1949 for power sharing and a regionally decentralised state system based on federalism.

The year 2016 will be the make or break of Sri Lanka among the comity of nations. Therefore, all eyes are on President Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Head of Office for National Unity and Reconciliation Chandrika Bandaranaike, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera and Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan who together brought about the January 8 revolution.

The year 2016 is also the year of reckoning for TNA Leader R. Sampanthan who has given an assurance to the Thamil people that there will be a reasonable, workable and a durable political solution within the framework of a united, undivided Sri Lanka. He has appealed to the government the recognition of Northeast provinces as the historical habitat of the Thamil people and the Thamil speaking people. The Thamil people are entitled to the right to self-determination and shared sovereignty over land, law and order, enforcement of the law so as to ensure the safety and security of the Thamil people and socio-economic development.

The year 2016 provides the last chance for settling the festering ethnic question satisfactory to all three communities and take Sri Lanka on the road to prosperity and lasting peace. (January, 2016)




About editor 3000 Articles
Writer and Journalist living in Canada since 1987. Tamil activist.

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