Thirteen Again?

by A. Nillanthan, Uthayan, Jaffna, January 29, 2023

[translated from the original Tamil by Google Translate, with some improvement by the Editor.]

“This will not divide the country. According to the decision of the five-judge panel, especially regarding the 13th amendment, we are in a unitary state. I agree with power sharing. The provincial councils that we have now don’t even have the powers of the London City Council. The City of London has more powers than that. So I do not think it can be called a federal kingdom.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                   – President Ranil

The demand for the full implementation of the 13th Amendment first emerged from the Tamil side. It became a point of contention when the six parties jointly made a joint demand towards India. That is what Ranil said at the last Thai Pongal festival. Now Jaishankar has also said the same, that the 13th should be fully implemented as an interim arrangement. A few weeks ago, Dayan Jayathilaka also discussed the topic, saying that the government should be given 15 years to fully implement the 13th Amendment. Ranil Wickramasinghe says he needs a year and a half. So all in all, the full implementation of the 13th Amendment emerges as a strong proposition.

It is convenient for Ranil Wickremesinghe. The 13th Amendment was bypassed by an interim plan for a new constitution he drafted with Sambandhan during the period he had earlier shared power with Maithri, which he called “Ekya Rajya”. Ranil had not informed India about building such a solution. The Tamil side had not been informed either. Sambandar pointed out that he was not informed when he met the then Indian Ambassador, as published in the Sunday Times newspaper. But now the politics has come to the stage of fully implementing Article 13 by stepping down from any kingdom. Mahinda also accepts Article 13. Sajith also accepts 13, so there is no opposition to it among the major Sinhala parties. So Ranil has no major challenges in fully implementing 13, and he will believe that he can handle the Tamil side with India.

India has gained comparatively more in Sri Lanka in the last year. India is seen as the first country which gave the most aid in the wake of the economic crisis; thereby India has tightened its grip on Sri Lanka to a relatively greater extent. Last year can be mentioned as the year in which India has received the most from the island of Sri Lanka in the last 13 years. The funny thing is that Foreign Minister Ali Sabri got to know about the news that India is ready to restructure the debt only by looking at the “Hindu” newspaper.

It was thought that India did not want Ranil Wickremesinghe to become the President, but it seems that he has worked successfully throughout the last year to neutralize India. Jaishankar officially invited him to come to India last week. By helping in this time of crisis, India is trying to overtake China and come closer to Colombo. The disadvantage for the Eelam Tamils is that Ranil Wickramasinghe is a cunning man who subtly involves the Eelam Tamils in diplomatic competition.

The cunning Ranil approaches the issues from three fronts. The first is negotiation with the Tamil side. The second is to bend India. He could revive the transitional justice process in a new form by calling it a South African-style reconciliation effort. That way he can deal with the UN. The 13th Amendment is proposed as a solution to UN resolutions. India encouraged it. So Ranil is trying to achieve many goals for Transitional Justice through the 13th Amendment.

According to Ranil’s comments when he met Sambandhar and Sumanthran on the 21st, he gave the impression that the government is considering possible ways to fully implement the 13th Amendment. Wigneswaran submitted a report to the President at the all-party meeting on the 26th. It is said that the steps to be taken to regain the powers that the central government has taken away from the province have been announced. Meanwhile, President Ranil, who spoke at the meeting, said, “The provincial councils that we are currently creating do not even have the powers of the London City Council. The London City Council has more powers than this. So I don’t think it can be called a federal kingdom.” Is he saying that the Sinhalese parties should not oppose the full implementation of the 13th Amendment? By building an impression that the 13th Amendment will be fully implemented, he can satisfy India; partly he can satisfy the Tamil parties. The UN can also be satisfied.

What will the Tamil parties do who will not accept the Thirteenth Amendment even as an interim arrangement? How have they worked for the last 13 years towards their solution proposal? What sacrifices have been made? Do the Tamil parties have the necessary structures to work towards a political goal? How many Tamil politicians are ready to fight or sacrifice for a solution they want? It is this void that Ranil Wickramasinghe tries to handle successfully. It is because of this void that Jaishankar has pointed out that,”talking about the solution does not become the solution”.

That is, the so-called Tamil politics after the economic crisis is once again proving its inability. Not only in facing the local council elections, but in facing India, in facing the UN, in facing China, in facing the world community, is the Tamil side going to lose once again in facing Ranil, who handles all the above-mentioned parties ‘with a heavy heart?’

A “TicToc” video has been shared on Tamil social media and mobile apps for the past few days. It gives a summary of what countries helped to defeat the Tamil people in the final stage of the war. Starting from India to Greece, most of the countries of the world have helped, including the world empires, small countries opposed to the United States, the UN, the European Union, Islamic countries, and Eastern European countries. Beyond even religious differences, most of the world’s most powerful nations surround a small group of people [Eelam Tamils].

Did most of the countries of the world, including the UN, come together to defeat the Eelam Tamils? What is the reason for their accumulation? US-China rivalry in the region; India – China; How did the Sri Lankan government manage to bring India-Pakistan onto the same line against the Tamils? How could Israel-Iran, the opposing countries, be brought together against the Tamil people? Is it because the Sinhalese people are a part of the government? So what should the Tamil people, who are a non-state party, learn from this?

How could the whole world be turned against a small group of people? How did Mahinda Rajapaksa turn the opposing forces in the region, in the whole world, against the Tamil people? The Tamil people must find answers to the questions. Are the negotiations going on now in a vacuum that has failed to find those answers for the past 13 years? Is 13A back in the arena?

No Responses to “Thirteen Again?”