by S.L. Gunasekara
It is wholly unthinkable for a Head of State of a sovereign state to take any draft of proposals [whether the first or the last] for constitutional reform to a prime minister of a foreign country for his approval!
Yet, the Asian Tribune reports that President Mahinda Rajapaksa proposes to take the first draft of the Proposals for Constitutional Reform to the Prime Minister of a foreign country – namely India. Since it is hardly likely that such draft would be taken to Manmohan Singh for his ‘reading pleasure’, it must follow, if that report is true (I sincerely hope it is not), that the draft will be taken to Manmohan Singh to obtain his approval! Why on earth should the Head of State of Sri Lanka take to the Prime Minister of any foreign country any draft of proposed constitutional reforms of our small but sovereign country for his approval?
The Asian Tribune has also reported that India is bringing pressure to bear on Sri Lanka to fully implement the 13th Amendment as a quid pro quo for India’s assistance to Sri Lanka to crush the LTTE (in the last stages of the ‘war’).
All these news items appear to spring from the wholly false premise that Sri Lanka is indebted to India for its assistance in crushing the LTTE. The truth, however, is the opposite – for it is India that is now and will forever be, in debt to Sri Lanka for the damage caused to our People and our property by terrorists nurtured, trained and armed by the Government of India, with at least the full and complete knowledge that those terrorists would use the skills imparted and weaponry gifted to them by India to murder our citizens and destroy our property on our soil.
Even though India did help us to destroy the LTTE at the last stages of the ‘war’, that, to my mind, does not in any way make Sri Lanka indebted to India – because there would have been no ‘war’, which lasted thirty years, but for India’s unforgivable and treacherous behavior as the ‘Regional Thug’ (or ‘Regional Power’ as those addicted to the dishonest lingo of diplomacy would describe her). We must not forget now or at any time hereafter that it was India that nurtured, trained and armed the LTTE and other terrorist gangs to kill our citizens and destroy our property and enmesh us in a war that took thirty years to end. Let us also never forget that when we were on the verge of crushing those ‘terrorist protégés’ of India in 1987, it was India that prevented us from doing so by the use of raw thuggery. Had India not so used its thuggery at that stage, tens of thousands of lives and billions of rupees worth of public property and funds would have been saved.
I do not, by this, mean that we must bear a grudge against India or exhibit signs of animosity towards her. What I do mean is that when India or any other person attempts to tell us that we must respect India’s ‘concerns’ and/or be grateful to India for helping us to crush the LTTE at the last stages, we must never fail to recall these facts so as to put the matter in its proper perspective. It is true, no doubt, that India sent the IPKF and that the Tigers killed over a thousand of her troops – but all this springs from the treacherous acts of India in training and arming the LTTE and other terrorists groups to murder our citizens on our soil and destroy our property. Thus, while I do sympathize with the families of Indian troops who were killed, maimed or injured, I cannot help observing that it was ‘poetic justice’ that Indian troops as well as India’s ‘favourite son’, Rajiv Gandhi were killed by those whom India trained and equipped to kill.
The constitution of our country is a matter entirely for us, and not for India, not for the Maldives Islands nor any other country on this earth. Likewise, the question of whether the Northern and Eastern Provinces are to be remerged or not is also a matter entirely for our country and not for India nor the United States of America nor any other country on this earth.
In this regard, we must remember that the sole issue that should engage our minds when engaging in the exercise of constitutional reform is whether the new constitution will serve the needs of our people.
That bundles of garbage called the Indo-Lanka Accord and the 13th Amendment forced down our throats by means of India’s naked thuggery and the pusillanimity of our then President J. R. Jayewardene are incapable of benefiting our country. Those bundles of garbage did not provide for devolution of power to the ‘People’, but only for the conferment of excessive powers on the leaders of our political parties most of whom were possessed of ambition instead of principle, and avarice instead of commitment to the ‘People’. The numerous outrageously shoddy and equally opportunistic alliances forged in Colombo by the leaders of parties for elections to those `White Elephants’ called Provincial Councils without even a passing thought for whether there was agreement on policy, and the ‘tippexing fiascos’ at the local authority and parliamentary elections constitute a small part of the evidence that makes evident the magnitude of the disaster imposed on this Country by those bundles of garbage.
The extent to which such garbage has served to create or exacerbate communal strife was exemplified by the struggle for the Chief Ministership of the Eastern Province in the aftermath of the election thereto when one faction claimed that `Pillaiyan’ should be Chief Minister because he was a Tamil and the other that Hisbullah should be Chief Minister because he was a Muslim, with neither faction paying even a minute fraction of a thought for who was more competent!
There is no reason at all why our sovereign nation should formulate for the governance of our Country a constitution that will help the foreign Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to satisfy or appease the raucous and wholly idiotic demands of the rabble-rousing politicians of Tamil Nadu.
We must also bear in mind the fact that the garbage called the Indo Lanka Accord is in no way binding on us. Even if that so-called ‘Accord’ had been entered into by us voluntarily, India by blatantly violating her most fundamental obligation under it by failing to disarm or ensure the disarming of the LTTE and other terrorist gangs by August 3, 1987, and being an idle [and perhaps approving spectator] of the grisly sight of armed LTTE terrorists slaughtering over 200 Sinhalese and Muslim civilians between Trincomalee and Chenkaladi between the September 30 and the October 7, 1987, rendered that piece of garbage a dead letter, and/or absolved us of any duty [even if such existed] of complying with any of its terms.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has no mandate from the People of this country to fashion a constitution according to the demands of India.
One reason that motivated the people including me to vote for Mahinda Rajapaksa was the exemplary manner in which he withstood foreign pressure.
The mandate he received therefore behoves him to continue to withstand such pressure from whatever source it comes.
Mahinda Rajapaksa owes it to the Nation to maintain that sturdy independence he earlier displayed and thereby endeared himself to us all.