Tamil Information Centre
User Name:   
Password:   
  Remember Me  
Sign up  |  Forget password
Home   
Search
    Contact us
Federalism and re-merger impossibilities
Published Date: 06/12/2017 (Wednesday)

By Rathindra Kuruwita

Last few months have been turbulent ones for the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) who has seen one of its coalition partners, Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF), leaving the coalition and threatening to gather anti TNA elements around it. This is a culmination of the attempts by a number of leaders of the Party, since 2016, to gain control of the Party and most of those who are attempting to give TNA Leader R. Sampanthan the boot seem to believe that the Tamil votes would be cast for the most militant elements.

Therefore, there have been continuous attempts to force the Government to give more autonomy to the North and the East and to re-merge the two provinces. While this has been the TNA's stance from the beginning, unlike Sampanthan who knows that this will be a slow process and the consensus of the Sinhalese is vital to win the rights of the Tamils, some younger and edgier Tamil leaders seem to want federalism and the re-merger now.

Wrong side of history

Federalism and the re-merger are recurrent dreams of the Tamil nationalist parties. However, demographics of the nation make both these propositions extremely unpopular and have no chance of actualization, unless the Tamil leaders change their marketing strategy.

In fact, I believe that the demographic trends in recent decades ensure that federalism and the re-merger impossibilities.

According to the 2011 census, the Sinhalese are 74.9% of the population, Tamils make 11.15% while there are 9.3% Muslims in the country. Considering that these proposals will be opposed by the overwhelming majority of Sinhalese, it is unthinkable that any Government will be able to obtain the support needed to make such changes. On the other hand, Muslims of the East, who were greatly victimized by the LTTE, remember 1990 anyone, and have a deep-rooted distrust towards the any over-arching moves of administrative unification under TNA domination, are unlikely to be thrilled of prospects of a re-merger.

TNA's inabilities

Chief Minister of Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran has become increasingly militant after it became increasingly obvious that the NPC was failing to live up to the expectations of the public. The nomination of Wigneswaran, who is a former Supreme Court Judge whose son is married to former Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara's daughter, as TNA's NPC chief ministerial candidate generated massive hype. Banking on the hype TNA won the 2013 NPC election, the first Provincial Election in the North,with an overwhelming majority.

However, it was quickly proven that Wigneswaran and his Ministers were incapable of developing the war-affected area. It is a well-known fact that the NPC returns most of the allocation earmarked by the Central Government and that the development drive, carried out by the Central Government, which revitalized the Northern economy has come to a standstill in the last three years. For example, the Central Government allocated Rs 5831 million for the NPC as capital expenditure by the 2014 Budget, but the NPC spent less than 30% of the fund. Simultaneous to the economic stagnation abuse of drugs and alcohol has skyrocketed.

Faced with these challenges and their inability to address these issues Wigneswaran and co fell back to the tried-and-tested method of Sri Lankan politicians to stay in power, stoking sectarian hatred. A number of NPC Members of TNA, have presented a number of counterproductive proposals, often antagonistic to Sinhala and Muslim communities and embarrassing to the Government who has tried to give more powers to the provinces.

However, the more militant stance seems to have won them the support of their constituency. So, much so that TNA Leader R. Sampanthan, who was appointed the Opposition Leader and seemed to have taken a more moderate stance to befit the role of a national leader, has also fallen back to a stance he abandoned a long time ago.

Unfortunately, this internal battle for the leadership of the Tamil political movement is taking place amidst a time of transition in Sri Lanka. Currently, the leaders of the Government, especially Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, are of the belief that more powers should be devolved to the provinces and there is a fragile consensus among the people that some form of devolution is needed to solve tensions between ethnicities. However, the militant approach of the TNA has created a backlash from the nationalistic elements of the South and a number of moderates who voted for the UNFGG Government are also looking at these developments in the North with dismay.

As I have mentioned repeatedly, the vote against Mahinda Rajapaksa was not a vote against Sinhala nationalism. Rajapaksa lost because he did nothing substantial to the Sinhalese and by 2015 many understood that his 'Sinhala first' bluster was hollow.

However, some Government leaders seem to have mistaken the forces that brought them into power are pro federal and anti-Sinhala nationalist. A look back at recent history should tell us acting under such assumptions is politically catastrophic and only strengthens nationalistic forces. But surely Wickremesinghe should know this but the Premier has shown over and over again that he does not learn from the past.

Rathindra holds an MSc in Strategic Studies from S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, NTU, Singapore, and can be reached via rathindra984@gmail.com

Source: Ceylon Today.

 

Share on Facebook


 Latest 25 News/ பிந்திய 25 செய்திகள்:
Sri Lanka Searching for Mum, Series 1 Episode 1 of 2
Published Date: 06/12/2017 (Thursday)
Japan shifts focus of its development assistance to Indo-Pacific
Published Date: 06/12/2017 (Wednesday)
No need for military aid from US when there is no war – Nalaka Thero
Published Date: 06/12/2017 (Wednesday)
Celebrated war hero now sells fish
Published Date: 06/12/2017 (Wednesday)
Keith Noyahr Incident: Mahinda summoned by the CID
Published Date: 06/12/2017 (Wednesday)
HALO expects to free Jaffna from mines by late 2019
Published Date: 06/12/2017 (Wednesday)
‘Navy Sampath’ remanded until August 29
Published Date: 06/12/2017 (Wednesday)
Sri Lanka navy chief funded mass-murder suspect: CID
Published Date: 06/12/2017 (Wednesday)
Family resettlement and peacebuilding in Sri Lanka boosted by £1 million
Published Date: 06/12/2017 (Wednesday)
JNU Student Leader Umar Khalid Shot at in Delhi, Unhurt; Shooter Escapes
Published Date: 06/12/2017 (Wednesday)
Police arrest 17 members of sword gangs in North
Published Date: 06/12/2017 (Tuesday)
US Foreign Military Financing for Lanka
Published Date: 06/12/2017 (Tuesday)
Statement of the ASSOCIATION CULTURELLE DES TAMOULS EN FRANCE at the 38th regular session of the Human Rights Council ; General Debate under agenda item 8
Published Date: 06/12/2017 (Monday)
MMDA: Who is blocking reform of this discriminatory law?
Published Date: 06/12/2017 (Sunday)
Is Ethnic Cleansing Coming to India?
Published Date: 06/12/2017 (Friday)
Sri Lanka has positive attitude on conserving Dutch heritage sites
Published Date: 06/12/2017 (Friday)
Army Embarks on Cultivation of More Than 135,000 Herbal Plants in All SFHQs
Published Date: 06/12/2017 (Friday)
Speaker says no provisions to change Opposition Leader
Published Date: 06/12/2017 (Friday)
NPC member Raviharan arrested
Published Date: 06/12/2017 (Friday)
"Most Brutal": Can't Free Rajiv Gandhi's Killers, Centre Tells Top Court
Published Date: 06/12/2017 (Friday)
Inquiries on Vijayakala’s statement concluded - OCPD informs court
Published Date: 06/12/2017 (Friday)
5 new ways to protest in Sri Lanka
Published Date: 06/12/2017 (Friday)
Sri Lanka Deputy Minister wants school children caned
Published Date: 06/12/2017 (Friday)
Deep Impact: Emmerson’s Report Reveals Lasting Legacy of PTA
Published Date: 06/12/2017 (Friday)
Former Chilean President Bachelet put forward by UN chief as next High Commissioner for Human Rights
Published Date: 06/12/2017 (Friday)
Donate
Support our work to bring rights to life in any way big or small
 Amount:

Donate using PayPal

Select dates to view
past and future events
<<<Aug - 2018>>>
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
   1
2
34
56789
10
11
1213
14
15161718
192021222324
25
262728293031 
 Stand up for Rights and Justice
Trump’s child hostages
Read more...
Take Action
Set Noura Free -- sign now!
Tamil men accuse continuing torture in Sri Lanka Take a stand against torture and urge UN Human Rights commission for human rights to investigate
Urgent: They’re beheading children
Latest Publication
Armament for Repression: Militarisation of Sri Lanka Conference Report:

Armament for Repression: Militarisation of Sri Lanka

Read more...

Thiruvalluvar
About us
Site Help
Getting in touch
Other
Facebook Youtube twitter
Sitemap  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms and Conditions
Copyright © 2018 ticonline.org, All rights reserved.