(2010 මාර්තු 13-W3Lanka) දෙමළ ජාතික සන්ධානය තුළ පසුගියදා බෙදීමක් ඇති විය. ආණ්ඩුවට පන්දම් අල්ලන්නන් එයින් ඉවත් කර දැමීම දේශපාලනිකව වැදගත් වන්නේ නැත. එහෙත්, වැදගත් දේශපාලන චලනයන් කීපයක් ලාංකීය භූමියේ පශ්චාත් එල්.ටී.ටී.ඊ. දෙමළ දේශපාලනය තුල සිදු වෙමින් තිබේ. කොටි සංවිධානයට හිතවත්ව සිටි දැඩි ලෙස දෙමළ ජාතිකවාදී කොටස් දෙමළ ජාතික සන්ධානයෙන් ඉවත් කිරීම හා දෙමළ ජාතික සන්ධාන ආධීපත්යය ඍජුවම ශ්රී ලංකා රාජ්යය සන්ධීය රාජ්ය ප්රතිසංස්කරණ සහිතව පිළි ගැනීමට සූදානම් දෙමළ මධ්යස්ථ මතධාරීන්ට හිමි වීම මෙහි වැදගත් ම දේශපාලන චලනයයි.
දෙමළ ජාතික සන්ධානය දැන් සිය මැතිවරණ ප්රතිපත්ති ප්රකාශය එළිදක්වා තිබේ.
ලංකාවේ දෙමළ අනන්යතාව යළි දෙමළ බස පදනම් කරගෙන පිහිටුවීමට මෙහි උත්සාහයක් දරා තිබේ. එසේ ම දෙමළ කතා කරන මුස්ලිම් ජනයාගේ අනන්යතා වෙනස්කම් පිළිබඳව ද සැලකිල්ලක් දක්වා ඇත.
දෙමළ කතා කරන ජනයා වෙනුවෙන් උතුරු නැගෙනහිර ඒකාබද්ධ භූමියක් පදනම් කරගෙන සන්ධීය රාජ්ය ප්රතිසංස්කරණයක් ඇති කිරීම මෙහි ඇති ප්රධාන ක්රියාමාර්ගයයි.
සංහිඳියාව, රාජ්ය ප්රතිසංස්කරණ හා සංවර්ධනය ඉලක්ක කර ගත් මෙම ලේඛනය මෑත කාලීන දෙමළ දේශපාලනයේ වැදගත් ප්රකාශනයකි.
එය ගැඹුරින් හදාළ යුතු ය.
පහත පළ වන්නේ දෙමළ ජාතික සන්ධාන ප්රතිපත්ති ප්රකාශයේ සම්පූර්ණ ඉංග්රීසි පිටපතයි.
General Election 2010 Manifesto, Tamil National Alliance (TNA)
A TAMIL NATION IN THE ISLAND OF CEYLON
Prior to the arrival of the western powers in the 16th century, there were three kingdoms in the island of Ceylon, one of which in the North belonged to the Tamils. The Kandyan kingdom in the central hills was the last to fall to the British in 1815. In 1833 the British unified the three nations for administrative convenience and from then Ceylon became one territory. At the time of independence from colonial rule in 1948, the colonial government enacted a unitary type constitution with simple majoritarian rule which had a prohibition on the passage of legislation making persons of any community or religion liable to any disabilities or restrictions to which persons of other communities or religions were not made liable or from conferring on persons of any community or religion any privilege or advantage which was not conferred on persons of other communities or religions - S 29 (2) of the Constitution granting Independence.
THE CALL FOR A FEDERAL CONSTITUTION
In 1949 a sizeable number of Tamils of recent Indian Origin were disenfranchised and in 1956 Sinhala was made the only official language of the country, although such was what the prohibition in Section 29(2) sought to avoid. This was also contrary to the policy that prevailed prior to Independence. During this time the State also aggressively pursued a policy of State-sponsored colonization of the Eastern Province in particular, with the members of the majority community, so as to radically change the demographic composition of preponderantly Tamil Speaking territory. In this background in April 1951 the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi(ITAK) articulated its claim that the Tamil People in Ceylon were a distinct nation from that of the Sinhalese by every test of nationhood and were therefore entitled to the right to self-determination. As a necessary corollary to the exercise of this right, we demanded a federal arrangement in the North and the East, where the Tamil Speaking Peoples are a predominant majority. Various peaceful agitations were organized between this time and the late 1960s by the ITAK to win back the right to self determination that was lost first through foreign conquests and later due to a system government not accepted by the Tamil People that reinforced majoritarian hegemony.
THE BANDA-CHELVA PACT
After the passage of the Official Language Act, an Agreement was entered into between the then Prime Minister of Ceylon, S W R D Bandaranaike and S J V Chelvanayagam, the leader of the Tamil People in 1957. This Agreement envisaged the creation of regional councils by which governmental power was to be devolved with exclusive power over State land. This however was not implemented by Bandaranaike, ostensibly for the reason that there was opposition to it from the majority community.
THE DUDLEY-CHELVA PACT
Later in 1965 another similar Agreement for autonomy, including provisions ensuring that the policies relating to the alienation of State land would not alter the existing demographic compositions of the North and the East, was signed between S J V Chelvanayagam, the Tamil leader and Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake. The ITAK joined the government in 1965 upon the faith of this agreement but three years later resigned due to the fact that no progress was shown in the implementation of the agreement pertaining to the grant of autonomy.
The systematic state-sponsored colonization carried out since independence in 1948 with a view to changing the demographic pattern of the North and the East gravely agitated our People, who consider this as their ‘traditional homeland’ with the right to exercise self-determination.
Colonization schemes in the Eastern Province between 1940 and 1980 along with State Land alienation policies changed the composition of the Sinhala population from 9% in the Eastern Province at the time of independence to 25% in 1981, which is the last available census for the North and East.
Between 1947 and 1981, while the national increase in the Sinhala population was 238%, the Sinhala population in the Eastern Province increased by 883%. This agenda of changing the demography of the North and the East has continued with full vigour upto date. And apart from the irrigation schemes for cultivation, which largely benefited the new colonists who were not Tamil Speaking People, no other significant developmental work was undertaken in the North and East for the last 60 years and our People and our Land were totally neglected by successive Sinhala governments in the post-independence era.
TAMIL PEOPLE’S NON-PARTICIPATION IN REPUBLICAN CONSTITUTION MAKING
In 1970 a Constituent Assembly was formed to enact an autochthonous constitution. ITAK also participated in this exercise and asked for certain principles to be agreed upon. That proposal was defeated by a majority vote and the Members of the ITAK left the Constituent Assembly. Similarly we did not grant our consent to the enactment of the 1978 Constitution.
The first and second republican constitutions entrenched a Unitary State and continued with Sinhala as the only official language and gave Buddhism the foremost place. They also left out the Section 29(2) prohibition found in the Soulbury Constitution. 1972 and 1978 constitution were enacted without the consent of the Tamil people.
A standardization scheme for University admissions was introduced, resulting in Sinhala students with much lesser marks entering Universities, while Tamil students with higher marks were being left out, effectively ending the hopes of higher education for the Tamils and served to exacerbate the frustration of Tamil youth. In the 1970s over 40 Tamil youth who participated in peaceful protests were arrested and detained for some years without trial using the emergency powers.
ORGANISED VIOLENCE AGAINST THE TAMIL PEOPLE
In addition to the acts of discrimination, organized violence was periodically unleashed against the Tamil People in all parts of the country in 1956, 1958, 1961, 1977, 1981 and 1983. No protection was provided by the State to the Tamil victims.On these occasions, affected Tamil People from other parts of the country were transported by the State to the North and East thereby recognizing these two provinces to be our ‘traditional homeland’. Consequent to the above Tamil youth took up arms against State sponsored terrorism and to win back the lost sovereignty of the Tamil People.
THE CALL TO RESTORE THE LOST SOVEREIGNTY
The ITAK and the other Tamil parties came together under a banner called Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), and in 1976 passed a resolution calling for a restoration of our lost sovereignty in the background of the continued denial of the right of the Tamil People to self determination by ignoring their democratic verdict at every election since 1956. Even the Agreements that were signed by the Sinhala Governments with the Tamil Leaders were not honoured.
Oppression and discrimination of the Tamil People continued unabated. The TULF asked the Tamil People for a mandate to work towards regaining the lost sovereignty at the General Elections held in July 1977 and we won in all but one of the predominant Tamil constituencies in the North and East.
POWER SHARING ARRANGMENTS
Soon after the anti-Tamil violence in 1983, several attempts were made to solve the ethnic conflict, by means of an alternate political arrangement in which greater autonomy would be granted to the Tamil Speaking Peoples.
An arrangement was introduced in 1987 consequent to the Indo-Lanka Accord, which also merged the North and East into one province. These changes paved the way for the setting up of Provincial Councils with minimal powers. But the nature of the State was still described as ‘unitary’ and provisions in the 13th Amendment have been used to re-take powers back to the Centre. This did not in any way bring about a meaningful arrangement for the sharing of power.
ABANDONING THE UNITARY MODEL – SHARED SOVEREIGNTY
In August 1995 the Government of Sri Lanka put forward a set of proposals for constitutional reforms that recognized Sri Lanka as ‘a plural society within a united and sovereign republic’ and the draft constitution that followed in January 1996 described the nature of the State as ‘an indissoluble Union of Regions’. The 2000 Bill presented to Parliament abjured the unitary structure of government and introduced arrangements with a shared sovereignty in regard to powers of governance.
NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE LTTE
While no progress was being made on the political front to solve this burning national issue, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) continued its armed struggle. Though initially there were several military outfits, since 1987 the LTTE emerged as the sole military outfit that fought for a separate homeland for the Tamils. Successive governments entered into negotiations with the LTTE and in 2002 the LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka signed a Ceasefire Agreement and later agreed on a set of principles called the Oslo Communiqué, which is as follows:
“[T]o explore a solution founded on the principle of internal self determination in areas of historical habitation of the Tamil-speaking Peoples, based on a federal structure within a united Sri Lanka.”
MILITARY ONSLAUGHT AND ITS AFTERMATH
However, the ceasefire did not last and hostilities broke out between the government forces and the LTTE with the military confrontation coming to an end on 19th May 2009. The 30 year old hostilities and war has ravaged the Tamil homeland and left our people destitute. Around 1 Million Tamil Peole have fled to other countries for safety and another half a million Tamil People have been displaced within the country. Over One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Tamil People have been killed over the years of conflict and it is estimated that over 30,000 civilians have been killed in the last stages of the military onslaught. Many more have been maimed and grievously injured and suffer from traumatic disorders. In addition in the Vanni, over 300,000 Tamil people were rendered homeless and were later interned in detention camps against all civilized and international norms. A large part of them are still languishing in those camps. An equal number of People were displaced in the East consequent to military action. Over 11,000 persons have been detained for alleged involvement with the LTTE. Others who were ‘released’ have been abondoned to fend for themselves, without any relief measures or any kind of livelihood. They don’t even have a shelter, no house to go to. The planned resettlement and rehabilitation of these people and the reconstruction of our homeland has become the very urgent and prime need of the hour. Several places of worship, both Hindu and Christian, of the Tamil People have also been defiled and destroyed.
Complaints made to Government at the highest levels have not resulted in appropriate action.
OUR LANDS AND OUR PEOPLE EXPLOITED
Vast extent of lands, particularly in the Jaffna peninsula and Muttur East including Sampur, have been under military control for several years and are being called “High Security Zones”, denying the historic Tamil inhabitants of those areas the right to live in their own private homes, cultivate their own lands and engage in fishing and other economic activities. Rapid moves are taking place under the guise of industrial, tourist and other development in the North and East, for the express purpose of colonizing the Tamil areas with others and changing the demographic composition of these areas. Fishing rights along the coast are restricted, severely affecting the livelihood of the Tamil Speaking Peoples. People who rely on the Palmyrah tree for their existence are badly exploited by the Palmyrah Development Board being controlled by the State to the exclusion of the actual stake holders. The right of free movement of the Tamil People is still restricted and their right to equality in many areas is continuing to be violated.
Several persons who were arrested years ago on suspicion continue to be detained without any charges. The day to day living conditions of the large majority of our People remain pathetic.
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION 2010
At the January Presidential Election, we explained to our people the indifferent attitude of the government over the plight of our people and the lack of will in addressing our political issues. Although an All Party Representative Committee was set up, the TNA, which had 22 out of 23 Tamil Members of Parliament from the North and East was not invited to attend the APRC Even the recommendations made to the APRC by the majority of an expert panel appointed by the President were not acted upon. Meanwhile the Government was aggressively inplementing its hidden agenda of changing the demographic composition in the North and East.
For these and other reasons we urged our people to reject the call for a fresh mandate for a second term for President Rajapakse. The Tamil Speaking Peoples have clearly and unambiguously spoken at that election.
By voting overwhelmingly against President Rajapakse’s call for a fresh mandate they have made known their displeasure at the way the Rajapakse regime had ruled during their first term in office. More importantly, they have again in unison articulated their aspiration for genuine autonomy. This is the democratic verdict in every distict in the North and East and reflects overwhelming Tamil Speaking view.
OUR STAND ON THE POLITICAL SOLUTION
The principles and specific constitutional provisions that the TNA considers to be paramount to the resolution of the question of the Tamil speaking Peoples in Sri Lanka relate mainly to the sharing of the powers of governance through a shared sovereignty amongst the Peoples who inhabit this island. The following salient features of power sharing are fundamental to achieving lasting peace and development for all the Peoples of Sri Lanka:
• The Tamil People are a distinct nationality and have inhabited the island of Sri Lanka together with the Sinhalese People and others
• The contiguous preponderantly Tamil Speaking Northern and Eastern provinces is the historical habitation of the Tamil Speaking Peoples
• The Tamil People are entitled to the right of self determination
• Power sharing arrangements must be established in a unit of merged Northern and Eastern Provinces based on a Federal structure, in a manner also accptable to the Tamil Speaking Muslim people.
• Devolution of powers should be over land, law and order, socioeconomic development including health and education, resources and fiscal powers
• Direct foreign investment in the North and East will be facilitated resulting in new industries and other employment opportunities being created for our youth
• Avenues for tertiary education will also be set up so that those who cannot enter the Universities can pursue higher education in relevant fields MATTERS OF IMMEDIATE CONCERN FOR OUR PEOPLE In addition to continuing to pursue a just and lasting peace for our people, we will actively engage in addressing the immediate and current concerns of our People and will strive to achive the following:
• There must be meaningful de-militarization resulting in the return to the pre- war situation as it existed in 1983 by the removal of armed forces, military apparatuses and High Security Zones from the Northern and Eastern Provinces
• Tamil People who have been displaced in the North and East due to the conflict must be speedily resettled in their original places; housing provided, their livelihoods restored and their dignity respected
• Compensation must also be paid for the loss of lives, to those who have been maimed and to those who have suffered losses as a result of the military campaign
• Persons who are detained without charges must be released promptly and a general amnesty should be granted to the others, as an initial step towards national reconciliation
• Tamils who fled the country over the last 30 years also must be permitted to return to their homes and conducive atmosphere for same created for their return.
• A comprehensive programme for the resettlement of the Tamil People and their rehabilitation and development of the North and East including the creation of employment opportunity for the youth will be undertaken with the active participation of the Tamil Diaspora and the International Community.
• There ought to be no displaced persons. But until we achieve that we will take steps to increase the relief granted to the IDPS in order to meet the growing cost of living.
• We will emphasise the need to establish a special commission to uplift the socially and economically disadvantaged sections of our society, in order to increase their livelihoods and dignity and make them equal citizens.
• We will take necessary steps to raise the standard of living of fishing communities by providing them access to modern technologies and an atmosphere in which they can engage in their vocation with freedom.
• The salaries of government servants and private sector employees need to be raised and the living standards of daily employed and those at the very bottom of the social scale needs to be raised.
• The equal status of our women must be ensured and women, elders and children affected by the war need special attention in order to secure their livelihoods and protection from future exploitation.
• We will do everything in our power to secure employment opportunities to unemployed graduates and others.
CRUCIAL ISSUES AT THE GENERAL ELECTIONS 2010
Successive governments in Sri Lanka have continued to ignore the legitimate and inalienable right of the Tamil Speaking Peoples to charter their own destiny in the areas historically inhabited by them within a united country. Their sovereign expressions at every Election since 1956 have been either ignored or unjustifiably discarded Peaceful agitations for over 30 years after independence were met with brute force leading the way for an inevitable armed struggle. The next 30 years witnessed some of the most horrible violations of our People’s fundamental human rights in the name of crushing an armed rebellion.
Innocent civilians were bombed from the air; populated areas were consistently shelled; people were driven away from their homes; large numbers were killed and maimed; valuable assets destroyed and several youth were incarcerated, tortured and otherwise violated. The efforts of a commission of inquiry set up at the insistence of the international community to inquire into grave violations of human rights was emasculated and came to naught. The Sri Lankan government has brazenly violated the Indo-Lanka Accord and allges that the North and East has been de-merged. The Sri Lankan government is not entitled to resile from this Treaty obligation under the Vienna Convention.
Several experiences have compelled the Tamil People to conclude that they cannot accept even the judicial arm of government as impartial arbiters. The policies of the executive are aimed at depopulating this island of the Tamil People and large numbers of Tamil People continue to regularly flee the country.
The system of government that is in place is so designed as to enable the central legislature to only entrench majoritarian hegemony. This clearly is a genocidal programme, but no one has been able to halt it. The Sri Lankan government has ignored the concerns raised by India and the international community over the years, and has now emboldened itself to openly declare that it will not be guided by the views of the international community of civilized nations. If this trend continues, the planned genocide will succeed and this island would have rid itself of a People called Tamils!
The TNA will implement an action programme soon after this General Election, first to make the government respect the democratic verdict of our People and to enter into a dialogue with us on restructuring the system of governance of this country that will recognize the sovereign rights of the Tamil People. If the government continues to ignore the democratic verdict of our People as in the past, we will directly take these concerns to India and the International Community urging them to take due cognizance of the genocidal programme against the Tamil People and to take appropriate effective action.
If the Sri Lankan State continues its present style of governance without due regard to the rights of the Tamil Speaking Peoples, the TNA will launch a peaceful, non-violent, Satyagraha campaign of civil disobedience on the Gandhian model to win back the legitimate rights of the Tamil Speaking Peoples. The continued denial of the right to self determination of the Tamil People and the consequent deprivation of access to governance in political, economic, social and cultural issues of grave and immediate concern collectively to the Tamil Speaking Peoples would inexorably lead to a situation where the international community will be called upon to consider what further action needs to be taken to recognize the right of the Tamil People to self determination.
The TNA is the only group that did not split or have even one member defect in the last Parliament, although it is made up of four different registered political parties. However, enormous efforts have been made since then to weaken the collective political influence of the Tamil Speaking Peoples, by arraigning a plethora of groups to contest against the TNA in the North and the East. The need of the hour is to preserve and demonstrate our unity. That is the first step in stopping the steamroller that is slowly inching its way hoping to decimate our People and our Land. We cannot afford to display any disunity at this time. We emphasise that unity among the Tamil People is paramount to satisfactorily resolve the issues of immediate concern and also achieve our political goals.
This is also true with regard to Tamil-Muslim unity more than at any other time. In recent times the Tamil Speaking Peoples, the Tamils and Muslims, have increasingly realized the imperative need for such unity and the leadership of the Tamil and the Muslim People have constructively worked together to further this objective. We are committed to further consolidating and strengthening this unity. We are also committed to the early and planned resettlement in the North of all the Muslim people who are displaced.
The lives of our People must be rebuilt while maintaining our distinct identity as a People. We must also regain our political rights as a People.
We therefore appeal to the Tamil Speaking Peoples to courageously stand up and demonstrate our unity at this General Election by voting for the Tamil National Alliance contesting under the name of Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi and its ‘House’ symbol.