13th Amendment, a threat to Sri Lanka and India
On July 29, 2013 the 25th year of the signing of the Indo-Lanka Peace
Accord will be marked. What did it achieve and what it did not is as
important as deciding where do we in Sri Lanka want to take the Accord
and the 13th Amendment, both imported and forced upon Sri Lanka.
Moreover, the chief architect of the Accord was assassinated by the LTTE
which his mother trained and equipped while his counterpart in Sri Lanka
is also no more.
With both dead, the others tagging on to the Accord have no real
basis to be demanding its continuance because none of what was promised
in the Accord ever happened. If the Indo-Lanka Accord, the letters
exchanged between PM Rajiv and President Jayewardene as well as the 13th
Amendment were ALL DRAFTED by the South Block of the Indian External
Affairs Ministry we need to very clearly tell India that we no longer
wish to carry its burden any more. Moreover, to make Sri Lanka sign an
Accord and change its Constitution drafted by India under duress is
itself is a violation of Sri Lanka’s sovereignty. 25 years on, the issue
is of security and both India and Sri Lanka must look at things from a
The agreement signed between Indian Prime Minister Rajiv
Gandhi and President J.R. Jayewardene, on the deployment of
Indian Peace-Keeping Force (IPKF) to Sri Lanka.
The number of pacts signed between politicians are many but how many
of these have actually benefitted the masses is a question never
answered. Without a doubt the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord and the subsequent
13th Amendment to Sri Lanka’s Constitution on November 14, 1987 and with
it the Provincial Councils Act No 42 of 1987 to establish provincial
councils will go down as one such unworkable agreement of little or no
benefit to the masses. Ironically, India politically offered a Peace
Accord and a new administrative system whilst training and arming and
financially supporting the LTTE – proof is found very clearly in the
Jain Commission report and Indian Government went to great lengths to
omit references to India training and arming LTTE in the Report.
The I3th Amendment is only a POLITICAL TOY and nothing else. Two
provinces were merged in September 1988 and elections held in December
1988 and within two years the elected Chief Minister Varatharaja Perumal
called a unilateral declaration of independence forcing President
Premadasa to dissolve the NE Province. Incidentally, Dayan J who was a
Minister in Perumal’s NE provincial government is now paranoid that
India would invade Sri Lanka and that the country should be cowards and
implement the 13th Amendment.
The NE merger was declared illegal by the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka
in 2006. The province was formally demerged into the Northern and
Eastern provinces on January 1, 2007. It was the JVP that filed the case
that led to the demerger and the nation is ever grateful for them just
as the JVP now unites with nationalist forces to demand the repeal of
the 13th Amendment.
Former IPKF Commander General A S Kalkat says “When we drafted the
13th Amendment, most of the Sri Lankan Tamil leaders – TULF leaders as
well as militant leaders – wanted Jaffna to be the capital of North and
East, but we insisted that Trincomalee should be the capital because of
strategic importance of the sea port to India”. This shows that the
entire agreement was created for India and for India’s interest only.
This is something the Tamil people needs to take into consideration.
This also brings up the issue of how many Sri Lankan Tamils think India
has a legitimate right to interfere in a sovereign nation. Much of the
issues that have arisen, come from the fact that we are unable to
clearly articulate to India that we are a sovereign nation and India has
no right to be meddling in our internal affairs. Unless the government
directly takes this issue and addresses it we are likely to face many
more situations where Tamil parties continuously run to Delhi to be
instructed on what to demand from Sri Lanka’s Cabinet.
This is a very unwholesome situation for both countries for it gives
rise to unnecessary tension and allows foreign players to enter and make
matters worse for both nations. It is not just the TNA – the UNP too
cannot think for itself and has to always run to the West for
instructions. In this manner can the people ever place trust in such
This is the exact scenario that is taking place and India’s
nationalists would well do to read the likely repercussions of Hillary
making a special visit to Tamil Nadu for talks with a State Chief
Minister which is no different to the US Ambassador striking chords with
the Muslims of Eastern Sri Lanka.
The lies the US administration tells is revealed only too well for
Americans now find that their Government preaching freedom to all and
sundry has been snooping in on everything they do and say – so much for
freedom of expression!
None of the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord/13a/PC supporters can forget that
Sri Lanka had to sign the Pact under duress, with emergency declared,
media forbidden and with Sri Lankan Ministers virtually bribed having to
give undated resignation signatures on blank paper. The only men with
guts amongst them was Gamini Jayasuriya who resigned and R Premadasa who
boycotted the proceedings. Many of the clauses India promised to uphold
never became real law one of which is clause 2.16 a) promising not to
allow Indian territory to be used for activities prejudicial to the
unity, integrity and security of Sri Lanka – India cannot deny that
Tamil Nadu was and continues to be a hub for anti-Sri Lankan activities.
Former IPKF Commander General A.S. Kalkat during a visit to
North in late 1988.
When India continues to use the slogan that its interest is primarily
on the security threat to India, then the fact that India is under US
surveillance would show that the hype of calling India a strategic
partner is nothing but a sham and India would well do to fear being
called a friend of the US rather than feel obliged about the honor.
If India wishes to trust in the TNA politicians who are chameleons
and change with the weather, India is likely to fall into dire straits
sooner than we thought. TNA have never represented the interests of the
Tamil people – they have only represented an elite lot of Jaffna Tamils
who never had anything to fuss about given that the 30 year conflict
never affected them. Did the TNA give even a packet of rice to any of
the refugees or demand the LTTE not to kidnap Tamil children and turn
them into child soldiers? Instead what did the TNA do – they openly
declared that the Tamil people were represented by the LTTE thus putting
all Tamils into the same basket as the LTTE.
Apart from the fact that the Indo-Lanka Accord the 13th Amendment and
the PC system do not have the mandate of the people, the manner in which
India ties the North East as “Tamil speaking homelands” draws our
attention to the dangers of “ethnic-based federalism.” This has failed
in all the countries the liberalists have experimented and there is no
reason why we should accept it in Sri Lanka when over 2/3 Tamil
population live outside of the North.
We do not expect the Tamil people to recall any of this or decide to
punish the TNA by not voting for them because we know that the Tamil
people will vote for the TNA. Nevertheless, we cannot allow the North to
be bartered away by politicians who have been all the while attempting
to divide the country and the fact that they take orders from foreign
players does not rule out that India will not be victim for the anger
that South India has against the North is nothing that needs to be
continuously mentioned. In fact if at all, India should be concerned
about placing its trust in the TNA given that it has held numerous
meetings in the West with officials and it is everyone’s guess what is
likely to have been exchanged between them that would place India in a
Therefore, if Sri Lanka’s nationalists have now emerged to
emphatically declare to the Government of Sri Lanka that the curse of
the 13th Amendment should be repealed altogether, India should be wise
to factor in some of the arguments that have been meticulously presented
which are valid enough for India to realize that the 13th Amendment is
more of a risk to India too.
Given the manner India’s current leadership bends all over to the
onslaughts coming from Tamil Nadu simply because of the vote factor, the
sovereignty of India should become all the more reason for India to
agree to allow Sri Lanka to repeal the 13th Amendment and not oppose it.
Many a time India has been warned by Sri Lanka that the West is out
to balkanize India and Tamil Nadu is targeted to be made into a
Christian satellite state combining Sri Lanka’s North.
A good look at all the supporters and where their affinity lies would
reveal in no uncertain terms the validity of this conclusion. Yet, if
India were to rely on its Congress Chairperson to call the shots, India
A careful study of the real entities that helped LTTE thrive and
their links, the people using organizations that were funded to support
separatism and promote devolution and federalism as a quick stop or
interim arrangement will reveal the exact dangers in store for both
India and Sri Lanka.
Presently other than the TNA the opposition to the repealing of the
13th Amendment is coming from the Catholic Bishops, the Communist Party,
the Friday Forum, the NGO peaceniks and the Muslim Congress – though
taken together they represent a miniscule number their influence is
generated by the financial and international backing they have to exert
pressure on the government. From the manner the supporters of 13th
Amendment articulate their argument to continue the 13th Amendment we
can safely say we know where they are heading.
Yet, in reality how many of these actually voted for President
Mahinda Rajapaksa? It is therefore the voters wishes that President now
needs to take into consideration for he is a politician and for
politicians numbers matter more than anything. Additionally, there is
the Jihad factor that even India needs to be alert to. We had
Vaddukoddai being the basis for the armed struggle so we are not naïve
to brush aside the Muslims Oluvil Declaration for autonomy.
All these place the majority on alert mode and demands that
politicians look at the need of the country. Therefore, the 13th
Amendment has served its time and needs to be laid to rest never to rise
and India is well advised to get down from its superior pedestal to see
why India should not oppose the repealing of the 13th Amendment. Dangers
for Sri Lanka spells more dangers for India.