Ilankai Tamil Sangam

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

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Sinhala Constitution

by J. P. Santhiapillai

The Sri Lankan constitution, which is in effect and in force, is partial towards the Sinhalese and discriminatory towards the Tamils.

In any court of law, the Sinhalese- controlled state of Sri Lanka can challenge, defeat or reject any claims from the Tamils for their fundamental rights. This is due to the inadequacy found in the Sri Lankan Constitution which the Buddhist Sinhalese had framed without being self-contained by not covering all the aspects and aspirations  of the ethnic groups in Sri Lanka.

No guarantee or assurance for equality is embodied in the constitution and, without any reservations, it was designed in such way that the Tamil community could totally be treated as a subjugated race and dominated by the Sinhalese community racially, religiously, linguistically, culturally and territorially.

Map of the districts of Sri Lanka claimed by LTTE as parts of Tamil EelamPopulation-wise, in Sri Lanka, the majoritarian Sinhalese community is the mighter and the Tamil community is the weaker. The Sinhalese community, by virtue of their majoritarian status and voting strength, can arrive at any decision of their own at any referendum and can defeat any opinions or proposals voiced by the Tamil community with regard to their aspirations and fundamental rights.

Sinhalese representatives in the legislative assembly can enact any law or frame any constitution unilaterally at any time to the advantage of the Sinhalese community only, by their voting strength and can defeat any opinions or proposals put forward by the legislative representatives of the Tamils. This is amply demonstrated by the fact that the Republican Constitution of 1972 robbed the minorities of even the scanty safeguards against discrimination provided under Section 29 of the Soulbury Constitution introduced at independence in 1948.

The Sri Lankan constitution, which is in effect and in force, is partial towards the Sinhalese and discriminatory towards the Tamils. In view of this, it would be comprehensible to all that the constitution and the laws that govern the country are defective and full of flaws and snags, and the aggressive rule by the Sinhalese community over the Tamil community is not democratic. 

However, because “Law is made for the man and the man is not made for the law,” it is peremptorily a requirement that the constitution and the laws of Sri Lanka should undergo a complete restructuring to satisfy the aspirations of the Tamils and the need of the day. Nevertheless, because of the heartless in the Sinhalese community, who did not allow even humanitarian aid to reach Tamil victims of the tsunami disaster, only tough talk and tough measures by the international community can bring relief and redress!

Being fully aware of the shortcomings of the constitution after years of struggle, to halt the prolonged internecine ethnic war, a Cease-Fire Agreement was signed on 22/02/2002 by the parties involved. The peace-brokering international organizations subscribed to it and made it known to the entire world and the people of Sri Lanka sighed with relief.

All of a sudden, Karuna, one of the most trusted confidants in the LTTE, turned into a renegade and slipped into the hands of the Sinhalese armed forces to cover up his bungling in the movement. To escape torture and death for his past acts committed against the armed forces, on his assurance that he would damage the reputation of the LTTE and pursue his vendetta against it until it is crushed, the armed forces decided to exploit the situation and to extract the inner secrets of the LTTE from Karuna to wreak vengeance on the LTTE. They pardoned Karuna, gave hime refuge to function as a renegade amongst their Paramilitary group, which bask in corpulent remuneration with all perquisites and privileges of the state and collude with the aggressive Sinhalese armed forces to suppress the freedom struggle of the Tamils.

Only a born leader would have the generous mind and spirit by instinct to resolve amicably without bloodshed any contentious or controversial religious or ethnic issues in his/her country without resorting to barbaric acts of war.

International and Sinhalese leaders are shedding crocodile tears alleging that the LTTE is recruiting child soldiers. The concern by everyone shown for Children is welcomed, especially for Tamil Children who have survived the murderous Singhalese and Indian forces for the past 19 years. They turn a blind eye to the fact that by the prolongation of the ethnic war without a lasting solution, men, women and children are killed, maimed or mangled with the destruction of their properties, besides leaving children orphaned and men and women widowed in tens of thousands, while more than 30,000 families are displaced because of the army-occupied areas.

International communities should vie to intervene appropriately and constructively to promote peace and harmony by the implementation of vital clauses of the Cease-Fire Agreement by the parties concerned in order that violence does not escalate any more and the ethnic conflict does not assume the spectre of genocide of Tamils or any alarming proportions metamorphosing into abysmal cataclysm.

Tamils are not waging a war against the Singhalese by trespassing into the Singhalese territory. With democratic protests and demonstrations against inhuman occupation, Tamils are only struggling from within the territory of the Tamil homeland to get it extricated from the Singhalese armed forces that aggressively maneuver hegemonistically to suppress and subdue the Tamils by being within the Tamil homeland depriving the Tamils of their rights.

The incumbent President captured power, jettisoning all the aspirations of the Tamils for peace by prioritizing war. He promulgated his policies called “Mahinda Chinthanaya” which emphasizes “no Norway, no federal constitution, no right to Homeland, no self-determination, no nation-hood for Tamils, no PTOMS, no recognition as sole partner in negotiation and no Oslo as venue for talks.”

It is enigmatic and incomprehensible to every one of us why the Sri Lankan government is amassing sophisticated weaponry and armaments.  They could very well, by settling the contentious issues with the Tamils in the country, avoid the colossal wastage of money spent on weapons and utilize it for the development of the country.

Sri Lankan armed forces are not capable of waging a war to overpower any country in this world other than the Tamil community within Sri Lanka. Even during the insurgencies of the Singhalese JVP extremists in the Singhalese areas, the governments’ forces never resorted to indiscriminate attacks by way of aerial blitz and strafing or cannonade and shelling from naval ships as done in the Tamil homeland.

Look at our neighboring country India, which is a multi-linguistic and multi-cultural country. There, anyone could become the President or Prime Minister of the country or the Chief Minister of a State, irrespective of his or her language, religion or state. Even the national anthem of India is in Bengali. Would there ever be a situation like that in Sri Lanka?

Federal unity is a system of government in which several states or provinces unite but keep considerable control over their own internal affairs. Even when the Tamils are prepared to accept a system of government under federal unity, the Buddhist Sinhalese governments, who are well versed in maneuvering successfully to prejudice the international communities by foisting on them the misconceived idea that the Tamils are only for a separate state, hoodwink and camouflage them by sidetracking the fact.

Never on earth would the Sinhalese community volunteer to devolve any rightful power to the Tamil community, as they are xenophobic towards them. As the Sinhalese politicians have biased the minds of the Sinhalese community, they all are obsessed with a jingoistic attitude. Hence, it is evident that the ethnic interests and aspirations of the Tamils in Sri Lanka will never materialize.

As a community is free to determine its political status by virtue of the right to self-determination, let the Tamil community pursue its economic, social and cultural development. Let it safeguard its own traditions and language in conformity with United Nations' Resolutions, together with accepted International norms and standards, and establish its self-autonomy, self-determination, self-identity and national liberation from the Singhalese community without any further clashes with the Sinhalese community.

The onus and moral responsibility of forging an amicable settlement is incumbent and entailed upon the British - the authors of our human tragedy, the Government - the International countries deep-seated with democratic principles, peace brokering and human rights organizations, who all are fully aware of the causes for the internecine violence and nightmarish incidents prevalent in Sri Lanka. They should have done the needful by now to see that the parties concerned enact a reasonable political framework that recognizes the Tamil need for self-government, which only could satisfy the political aspirations of the Tamils.

Failing which, they should pave the way for the separation of Tamil Eeelam amicably, as done recently in the year 2002 with regard to that of East Timor, and do the needful to recognize its existence and independence, because only a family that shares together can stay together. Even the British Government and the IRA have reconciled their differences and arrived at a settlement.

We Can Have Two States In Our Island Sri Lanka, Which Is Approx.65,610 Now.

A few of the UN Member States smaller than, Sri Lanka, 65,610 at present and even either the future Sinhalese Sri Lanka, approx.  46,777, or Thamileelam, approx.18,833, are as follows (in order of Area):

Fiji, Kuwait, Swaziland, East Timor, Vanuatu, Qatar, Gambia, The, Jamaica, Lebanon, Cyprus, Brunei, Cape Verde, Luxembourg, Comoros, Mauritius, Singapore and so on.

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