The rhetoric and political play with the 13th Amendment will continue in the island’s post war constitutional discourse for a considerable period of time. Those who have a vested interest in keeping the debate alive will do their utmost to prolong the debate. It is likely that the next few years might witness an utterly useless battle between the Colombo Government and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) over trying to retain what is left over in the 13th Amendment. But in the midst of all this hysteria, any move towards finding a meaningful and genuine political solution will be lost, writes Jaffna University law academic, Kumaravadivel Guruparan, who is currently on Commonwealth scholarship to do doctoral research at the University College, London.
Goodin’s conclusion that there is no constitutional solution to be found to the case of ‘radical social diversity’ might just as well be true for the island, Guruparan observed in concluding his paper published in Junior Bar Law Review, 2013, pp 30-42.
The researcher was primarily reflecting on the politics and constitutional praxis of the 13th Amendment.
After listing out the fundamental defects and inadequacies of the 13A, and arguing how the structural deficiencies of the 13A fails to even perform the role of a reference point to a discourse on a political solution, Guruparan raised a question on the irony of India and the TNA demanding for a ‘full implementation of the 13A’ that is already there in the constitution.
PDF: The Irrelevancy of the 13th Amendment in Finding a Solution to the National Question
Other than the irony of such a demand, it is important not to forget that a full implementation of the 13th Amendment will suffer from the fundamental flaws he had outlined, the academic observed.
Citing from how the Eastern Provincial Council is practically controlled by the SL governor to the Supreme Court’s problematic role as ‘arbitrator’, Guruparan exposed the ‘negative asymmetry’ in the working of the 13th Amendment in the North and East compared to other provinces.
Talking about 13+ has no constitutional meaning, as the SL Supreme Court has already implied that the 13A is the maximum one could go within the confines of the unitary state as envisaged in the current constitution, Guruparan pointed out.
Any changes going beyond 13A have to go through a referendum and chances of positive results are very remote, the researcher said, by citing the Sinhala-Buddhist nationalist discourse on the unitary state.
Today, the TNA is under pressure from the Indian Government to accept a solution based on the 13th Amendment and any rejection of it is interpreted as going against Indian interests, Guruparan said, adding that “The complicated political dynamics is such that the TNA also probably does not want to be seen as rejecting something that President Rajapaksa is reluctant to give.”
As a result the Tamil representatives are engaged in a futile battle with those who call for it to be repealed, to save whatever little is left in the 13th Amendment, the researcher observed.
Those who want to repeal the 13A citing that it devolves land and police powers, when it does not, and India and the TNA misleading the Tamil people that the 13A is a starting point, offering something meaningful, make a “wholly nonsensical debate,” Guruparan said.
“The international actors interested in Sri Lanka also seem to have clung on to the 13th Amendment as a remedy for the current impasse in Sri Lanka. This can only mean that the international actors have not learnt much from the previous failed attempts at liberal peace making,” he further observed in the article.
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Comments coming from Tamil activists for alternative politics in the island:
Guruparan has aptly concluded how the utterly useless debate on the 13A is going to be prolonged for a considerable period of time by those who have a vested interest, so that finding a meaningful and genuine political solution will be lost in the process.
In fact the danger is more serious than losing a political solution.
The useless debate is deliberately prolonged, and Tamils are forced to engage in it, so that the structural genocide of Eezham Tamils as a nation will be completed by that time.
This is the ultimate agenda of the genocide partners of the war, who swap assent for the annihilation of the nation of Eezham Tamils for making geostrategic and ‘development’ inroads into the island.
Prolonging the 13A debate is conceived as a strategy in the structural genocide war, just as the Norway Peace Facilitation was conceived to culminate in the Mu’l’livaaykkal genocide.
If it is clear that the 13A debate is useless and that those who have a vested interest prolong it, then what should be of priority is to identify the ultimate culprits who thrust the debate into the throats of Tamils and prolong it.
Guruparan has not named the USA as he has named India in the article. But the USA was equally ‘dictating’ Tamils to work with the 13A, right from ending the war in genocide.
It is misleading to imply that the ‘international actors’ [the article differentiates them from India] are unaware of what is elucidated in the article, or to say that they have just clung on to the 13A and have not learnt from the previous failed attempts at liberal peace making.
They do it with full awareness and calculations. It may be utterly useless to prolong ‘engagement’ with them on the issue. Tamil politicians, academics and other activists in the island, in Tamil Nadu and in the diaspora may have no option other than openly declaring and waging a struggle of non-cooperation against Washington, London and New Delhi.
Dadas always take pride and satisfaction at the talk of abominations committed by them, for it instills fear for their power and authority. The leading Establishments of today’s so-called international community behave nothing but like petty Dadas. Unless their arms are twisted by the power of people, or unless their interests are threatened, they will not concede anything.
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