A Northern Path to Reconciliation in Sri Lanka

Image courtesy USA Herald

Northern People Humble the People’s Dynasty

I salute the people of the Northern Province for showing the door to the self-proclaimed “People’s Dynasty”; the only province in the country to do so, which is a glimmer of hope for re-establishment of democracy in the country. Although I am not a fan of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), I wholeheartedly welcome its landslide win in the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) elections as a symbolic defeat of corruption, crime, cronyism, militarism, and nepotism of the Rajapaksa regime.

Avoid Triumphalism

However, it is only the beginning of a long road ahead. The TNA should not ask for the sun and the moon and squander this golden opportunity as did LTTE at every single opportunity that was offered to it during the twenty-five years from 1985 (Thimbu talks) to 2009 (end of civil war). TNA should not also follow President Rajapaksa and sweep the past, particularly of the Tamil community in pursuit of ‘liberation’, under the carpet and indulge in triumphalism as a result of the unprecedented mandate it has received from the northern people. The mandate received by the TNA in 2013 was higher than its predecessor TULF received in 1977 at the parliamentary elections. (Read The Myth of “no more minorities” by this author)

True political leadership is to be magnanimous in victory, which is what the President of Sri Lanka sorely lacked in the aftermath of the total defeat of the LTTE in May 2009 but this author presently expects from the first-ever Chief Minister of the Northern Province. It is such magnanimity in historic victory that will elevate the moral ground of the Tamil minority community vis-à-vis its political aspirations.

Northern Truth and Reconciliation Commission

With the right to self-rule come responsibilities as well. Firstly, the NPC should forge reconciliation with the minority communities of the Northern Province, viz. Muslim and Sinhala communities, for the injustices meted-out to them during the course of the so-called ‘liberation struggle’. If the Tamil minority community is to demand parity of status at the national level, the Tamil majority community in the North should afford parity of status to the minority communities of the North and thereby lead by example. If the Tamil minority community is to demand reparations for the losses incurred during ethnic riots and civil war from the national government, the Tamil majority community in the NP should pay reparations to losses incurred by the minority communities (especially the Muslim community) in the North.

Constitution of a Northern Truth and Reconciliation Commission should be a priority for the newly elected NPC in order to investigate, for example, the massacre of civilians in Anuradhapura in 1985 and the massacre of civilians living in the border areas throughout the civil war, expulsion of the Muslim community en-masse from the NP in 1991 and confiscation of their movable and immovable assets and properties, and the killing of Tamil intellectuals beginning from the killing of St. John’s College Principal Mr. Anandarajah in 1985, Dr. Rajani Thiranagama (nee Rajasingam) of the University of Jaffna in 1989, Dr. Neelan Thiruchelvam in 1999, Mr. Ketheshwaran Loganathan in 2006, et al. The foregoing are few examples that could be expanded.

If the Tamil community is to demand national or international investigations into the unnecessary loss of civilian lives during the last stages of the civil war, it is imperative for the Tamil community to investigate unnecessary killing of civilians from the regional minority communities and intellectuals from its own community during the time of the civil war by its newly elected NPC.

Equal Opportunities Legislation

An Equal Opportunities Act should be enacted in the Northern Province in order to inculcate merit-based governance of public administration, public and private decision making, and corporate governance in the province. The proposed Equal Opportunities Act should outlaw discrimination in terms of caste, disability, ethnicity, gender, regional origin, and religion.

This exemplary legislation should be a role model worthy of emulation for other provincial governments and the national government in the country.

Language Parity

The Tamil community has been demanding parity of status as regards the use of Tamil language in any part of the country which is legitimate. Now there is an opportunity for the NP to offer parity of status to its own minority community, viz. the Sinhala community, as regards the use of Sinhala language in the North. The NPC has to deliver (at the regional level) what it demands (at the national level) in order to take moral upper hand vis-à-vis the national socialist regime of Mahinda Rajapaksa.

For example, the street name boards within the TNA-administered Point Pedro Urban Council area are in all three languages (English, Sinhala, and Tamil), which is welcome. However, the street name boards within the TNA-administered Valvettithurai Urban Council area are only in English and Tamil languages. Why is this difference in treatment of the regional minority language? TNA should pursue common policy in such matters so that all TNA-administered local authorities follow the same common policy.

Illicit Appropriation of Private Property

The TNA has been demanding the vacation of private houses, properties, and lands forcibly occupied by the Sri Lanka Army in Jaffna (since 1996 when the SLA wrested control of the peninsula from the LTTE) and mainland Vanni districts of the Northern Province (NP). Hypocritically, constituent political parties of the TNA (e.g. PLOTE and TELO) have been forcibly occupying private houses and lands in the districts of Mannar and Vavuniya for a long time (since the late-1980s) and continue to do so even to this day. The TNA should practice what it preaches; therefore as a moral example to the SLA all private houses and lands occupied by constituent political parties of the TNA should be vacated and handed back to the lawful owners (even if they live abroad now) with immediate effect.

Development and Investment Priorities

Not only the Rajapaksa government got its priorities wrong as regards development of the North (especially the Vanni), the Tamil community also has got its priorities wrong in terms of development. Throughout the North, including in the impoverished Vanni mainland, places of religious worship (especially Hindu temples) are lavishly rehabilitated, reconstructed, and/or redecorated at an exorbitant cost financially sponsored mainly by the Tamil Diaspora, whilst people of the Vanni are living in squalor in their huts made out of clay or tins without basic amenities such as toilets, clean and safe water, and electricity supply.

I can understand and appreciate the divine solace sought by brutalised population in places of religious worship. Nevertheless, when fundamental human needs are unheeded and unmet, what is the moral and ethical imperative for extravagant expenditure on places of worship? What the people in the North, especially in the Vanni, urgently need are factories and places of production of goods and services that create employment opportunities for unemployed youths and wider masses. According to our estimation, 27.4% of the eligible working age population (15-59 years old) in the North is unemployed either voluntarily or involuntarily, which is the highest unemployment rate in the country (total number of unemployed persons in the province 123,209 – according to the Annual Labour Force Survey 2012 – divided by total number of eligible working-age persons in the province 450,000 – according to Census 2012 – and multiplied by one hundred).

Furthermore, I would strongly argue the case for unlocking huge financial resources and physical assets amassed by various faith-based institutions in the North for the purpose of development finance in the NP. The Chief Minister being a devout Hindu and having rapport with faith-based institutions should persuade wealthy Hindu temples to contribute lavishly for the development thrust of the NPC.

Caste Census

Historically, discrimination, dispossession, and exclusion of large number of northern people based on caste division of society have been debilitating the Tamil community. Therefore, first-ever census of caste in the NP needs to be undertaken in order to introduce affirmative policies to lift significant proportion of the Tamil population out of social marginalisation. If the Tamil community vies for political parity of status vis-à-vis other ethnic communities in the country, it should afford the same to its own social and economic minorities in the North.

The caste division of Tamil society cannot be swept under the carpet like the Rajapaksa regime is trying to do to the ethnic minorities in the country.

Empowerment of Women

Women are the majority gender in the Northern Province. The Jaffna district has the highest share of females in its population among the twenty-five districts in the country. Therefore, northern women should be given due share of the economic, political, and social space in the province. Poverty and unemployment rates among women are many times greater than that of men. Besides, NP has the largest number of female-headed households and former female combatants who are ostracised for a number of reasons.

Certain provisions of the traditional customary law governing the NP, viz. Thesawalamai law, are inimical to women’s equality in society. A need to reform the Thesawalamai law is long overdue. No person is better equipped to reform the traditional customary law than the newly elected Chief Minister, who is a former judge of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka.

Diaspora Bond

The NPC should endeavour to attract human and financial capital from over half-million first and second generations Tamil Diaspora spanned across the world, particularly in Europe and North America.

The ‘Diaspora Bonds’ are sovereign bonds issued by governments to its Diaspora in order to tap their assets in host countries. Diaspora Bonds is a long standing revenue raising mechanism for sovereign governments in many countries such as India, Israel, Philippines, and many Latin American countries that have huge Diaspora populations in affluent countries. The newly formed State of Israel floated its first Diaspora Bond in 1951, perhaps the first of its kind.

Although the Sri Lanka Development Bond (SLDB) floated by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka during the past six years are primarily (though not exclusively) targeted at the Sri Lankan Diaspora it has not exploited the potential to any significant extent for a variety of reasons. One of the limitations of the SLDB is that it is one of many revenue raising mechanisms for the government that is not specifically tied to a project or a region within Sri Lanka.

The NPC, with the concurrence of the External Resources Department (ERD) of the Ministry of Finance, should float innovative Diaspora Bonds in order to mobilise investment resources for specific projects or development of specific geographical area with which particular Diaspora group/s have emotional bond. For example, development of an airport, harbour, highway, or manufacturing industry could be financed through such Diaspora Bonds targeted at particular Diaspora populations who would potentially have an emotional tie to a particular project or a geographical area.

The Chief Minster could potentially set-up a special fund to attract direct contributions, either by way of donations or loans, by the Tamil Diaspora for the development of the Northern Province equally and efficiently. Rigorous monitoring mechanism should be established to prevent leakages and ensure efficient utilization of such funds.

Forward Looking

It is time to look forward by learning from the past and envisioning for the future. The key to the future is introspection and self-criticism, which is the imperative for this contribution. The Northern Provincial Government should show the genuine path of reconciliation, and of course development, to our national government, which is the fervent hope and wish of this author.

Muttukrishna Sarvananthan (Ph.D. Wales, M.Sc. Bristol, M.Sc. Salford, and B.A. (Hons) Delhi) hails from Point Pedro, Development Economist by profession, and the Principal Researcher of the Point Pedro Institute of Development (PPID), Point Pedro, Northern Province. http://pointpedro.org He can be contacted at [email protected].

  • puniselva

    The first thing should be to overhaul the Presidential Task Force for Northern Development which has
    i. 19 members
    ii. no Tamil members and only one Muslim member
    iii. 6 members from the Armed Forces.

  • Pani

    You make some really good points- it’s a chance for the North to take the high road- encouraging equality in the North will indeed show the whole country that it’s time that there is nation wide equality.

    However, something about the tone of your article sounded off, and I think I know what it was- you repeatedly state ‘IF the North wants equality they should do this, IF the North wants equality they should do that…’

    The process of making Tamil, and Tamils equal is not conditional- and while on principle it may sound right, it sounds almost ridiculous to say that name boards in regional areas of the North should have Sinhalese on them as well, before nationwide racism and discrimination against Tamils is stopped.

    Also, I’m not against investigating the previous murders in the North, like the murders of various intellectuals by various militant groups- but this is by no means the same as investigating the alleged genocide carried out by the government…

    It is scary that the issues are so complex there, that there could be a million views on what the right way for the TNA to move forward is, and all of those views could be justified in their own ways… hopefully the guys on the ground manage to get it right!

  • Off the Cuff

    Dear Dr Muttukrishna Sarvananthan,

    An excellent article with which I am mostly in agreement. I do hope it will open the eyes of the political leaders who are charged with leading the Tamil population of the North.

    I would like to suggest an addition. A trail blazing Right to Information Act that has teeth to make it a
    reality.

    The reference to Cast and the Thesawalami Law might prove a hot potato but if implemented would
    raise the stature of the Northern Provincial Administration in Sri Lanka and the world at large.

    The USD 2 million pumped to sustain a futile war could instead be pumped in to Northern Development. The
    question the author raised about spending lavishly to decorate temples while neglecting the Living is valid and should be remedied.

    I Congratulate the author and hope his vision would become a reality.

    • Steve Grafton

      Your fascination with the Tamil Caste system is interesting. The BUDDHIST Nikaya’s are caste based.
      Shouldn’t you be preaching against that,especially given that Lord Buddha himself did not preach that?
      The Hindu’s have always had caste system, it will take time to change that and from my research that has already started happening in the north but I don’t see that happening in the monk orders in the south.
      Take a look at the Sunday newspapers, the matrimonial section, caste is well and truly alive among the Buddhists.

      Your facination and continued higlighting of the caste based probelems among the Tamils while ignoring the same among the Buddhists reminds me of Mathew Chapter 7 Verse 3 from the Bible(NIV translation)
      “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

      • Off the Cuff

        Steve, the person who raised the Tamil Cast issue and the Thesawalami Law is the writer of this article who is himself a Tamil. Another example of short sightedness? Since you are not a Tamil (though what you are is anybody’s guess as you are shy to declare anything about yourself) what he says through first hand experience carries more weight than your rhetoric. I am not fascinated by the Tamil Cast System but disgusted by it. Any human being would though you are defending it, albeit with a puny attempt.

        I hope you can factually refute the following quote from a former GA of Jaffna.

        What it meant to be a non-Vellala

        Up until the mid 1960s when I was GA, the non-Vellalas performed all the mundane or menial tasks of Tamil society. They were the artisans, the merchants, the potters, the toddy tappers, the tenant farmers and farm labourers, barbers, road sweepers, etc, and not least the warriors. Even the fisher-folk, who among the Sinhala have a preeminent place, were in the eyes of the Vellalas, outcastes. According to a classification done by Simon Casie Chitty of the CCS in the 19th century, there were 152 of these non-Vellala castes in Jaffna, all of them categorized as pariah and the workers and their functions were permanently locked to each other by heredity.

        The central characteristic of Jaffna’s caste structure was the congruence of heredity with
        economic and social deprivation. That is to say, if someone was born into any of the non-Vellala castes, he was permanently locked into his prescribed role, and was also inextricably tied to his village. He had no opportunities for betterment, or for upward or territorial mobility, however clever or entrepreneurial he may be.

        This was in sharp contrast to the Sinhala caste system, where anyone outside the dominant Goigama caste could not only match, but often excel the Goigama in economic and social power. That was not possible within the Tamil caste system, within which no one outside the hallowed Vellala caste could aspire to heights that were the preserve of the Vellalas.

        You seem to be a devout Catholic quoting from scripture. But it is definitely not a speck of saw dust that you are looking at, it is a mountain that has remained insurmountable for thousands of years. The Sinhalese have an idiom that is more descriptive and apt for your attempted hypocritical defence viz “Issage oluwe gu thiyagena u kiyanawlu mama thamai sudana kiyala” It means that the Prawn calls himself pure though it carries it’s faeces in its head.

        If you can challenge what I have quoted above from the former GA Jaffna, about a Hindu cast system that has endured over thousands of years and is still a debilitating dominant force within Tamil society, please do so.

        Please enlighten us with your research, how the Sinhala Cast system stacks up against the Tamil cast system of Jaffna. Please expose how the Sinhala Cast system has enslaved and degraded the Sinhala polity the way the Tamil cast system has enslaved and degraded Tamil polity in the past and the present.

        The word may be the same but the operation is not. “The central character of the Tamil cast system in Jaffna was “congruence of heredity with economic and social deprivation”. Anyone with intelligence will recognise that the Sinhala and Tamil Casts systems are miles apart. You need to do more research to educate yourself. I can see that you don’t like the reflection you see, mirrored in my writings. Quite revealing to note that you have opted not to contest them and instead is drawing Red Herrings.

        I would not defend cast or any form of social disability practised using an accident of Birth but I will definitely oppose hypocrisy.

        • Steve Grafton

          Since you are not a Tamil (though what you are is anybody’s guess as you are shy to declare anything about yourself)

          The moderators in GV have not even bothered to find out what I am, why are you interested? Just because you copy and paste a lot it does not distract from what I raised ! Namely, what are you doing to counter the caste issue among the Sinhalese? Even the Buddhist monks seem to practice caste differentiation ! So much for a Buddhist country !

          • Off the Cuff

            Response to Steve Grafton, George and Inoka Karu,

            Dear Steve Grafton

            I know Namimi Wijedasa personally as well as many eminent Editor’s and Columnists
            in Sri Lanka. Ms Namini Wijedasa has not written anything that supports what you write nor has she written anything that countered what I have written at the link you have posted. Please address the issues I raised without attempting to draw Red Herrings to divert the discussion.

            You say “The moderators in GV have not even bothered to find out what I am, why are you interested?“

            Since you need spelling out why, please read my reply below to Inoka Karu. Saves me from copying and pasting. The moderators of GV will not ask for anything other than your email and name they would not care whether it is assumed or not because they are not contesting what you write. You can be a Tamil calling yourself George Bush or
            Fernando or Perera, the moderators wont care, why should they?

            You say “Just because you copy and paste a lot it does not distract from what I raised ! Namely, what are you doing to counter the caste issue among the Sinhalese? Even the Buddhist monks seem to practice caste differentiation ! So much for a Buddhist country ! “

            Apparently you have trouble reading and understanding
            Let me copy and paste what I wrote in my previous comment.

            “The central character of the Tamil cast system in Jaffna was “congruence of heredity with economic and social deprivation”.

            A Cast system is wrong whether Sinhala Tamil or whatever. But there is no parallel for the Social Deprivation that the Tamils of the North practice in the name of cast.

            No Hindu school will admit a member of the Servile Class (87.5% of Tamils of Lanka)
            No freedom to enter a Hindu Kovil (the equivalent of a church or temple)
            No freedom to reside anywhere they please even in the North
            A scavenger by birth remains a scavenger for life
            Even if educated by a Christian missionary school a member of the Servile class will not be accepted in to areas dominated by the Hindu High Cast. A scavenger’s son may
            become a medical doctor or a PhD or an Engineer but in Jaffna, he will not be able even to DRINK WATER to quench his thirst from a drinking well used by the High Cast Tamils.

            I can write more but that is enough.
            Is this what the Humanitarian in you trying to defend?

            Hence your attempted Red Herring is Puny. And is rejected.

            Give us a comparison that your self proclaimed research has uncovered of the Sinhala and Tamil Cast systems

            —————–

            Dear George,

            This is a response to 3 comments of yours
            You say “The classic case of “look at them” they are “so bad”, compared to them we are good :)

            You miss the point.
            The majority of arguments made by those who are sympathetic to separation tries to paint the Sinhalese as brutes and the Tamils as innocent victims. They would say that since 1948 they have been discriminated against by the Sinhalese, Colonised by the Sinhalese, Deprived of an Education by the Sinhalese, Deprived of Citizenship by the Sinhalese and the missive go on and on. Who makes these claims? The Brahmins
            and the Vellala High casts Tamils as they are the educated class amongst Tamils. What is their percentage amongst Tamils? 12.5%. Where is the voice of the 87.5% Tamil majority? They remain voiceless as they could not get an education. Why did they not have an Education? Because they were deprived of it by a Ruling 12.5% MINORITY of
            Tamils. It was not just education that was deprived. They were enslaved and dehumanised by the ruling minority of Tamils who hypocritically blamed the Sinhalese. The REAL brutes were hiding within Tamil Polity and does so even today.

            Do you sincerely believe that blaming the Sinhalese unjustly will bring about Reconciliation? I believe that it wont. Hence I believe that this has to stop.

            The best way is to unmask the real brute. And for that purpose I have held up a mirror for you to see the reflection. Your comments prove that you don’t like what you see. Unfortunately it is the TRUTH that the educated tried to hide. That I am succeeding in that endeavour is indicated by the INABILITY of those interested in scuttling Reconciliation to achieve Separation to contest my arguments. None of them including you, has ever argued the core issues that matter such as the 13A, Historical Homelands, purported Colonisation, Education, Govt funded Development etc. Inoka Karu has stayed away, despite several invitations to discuss REAL issues instead of ad hominems.

            I invite you all to join the on going discussion that I am having with Dr Devanesan Nessaiah at the following link and prove your case. That you, Steve Grafton, “J
            Fernando”, Inoka Karu, the Watchdog, the TSA, the TCS etc etc has so far given it a wide berth proves my point. http://groundviews.org/2013/10/03/conflict-strategy-and-game-theory/#comment-1076759297

            Come on, if you have the facts, Lets argue core issues instead of staying on the sidelines and making ad hominem remarks. I doubt you will have the courage to do so
            but will be extremely happy if you can prove me wrong

            You said above “The level of racism that is present in the country against all minorities esp the Tamils is even evident in boards like groundviews when you read people like off the cuff and their likes. “

            Strange that you cannot find a single Tamil or Burgher racist on GV! Are they extinct or a rare species?

            I deal with racist comment by rebutting them factually. Why can’t you do the same? Are my comments unchallengeable? If so why? Is it because they are true?

            Please refer the following link http://groundviews.org/2013/10/11/above-the-law-violations-of-womens-reproductive-rights-in-northern-sri-lanka/#comment-1083925759

            You stated “So are you saying it is a crime for a NON Sinhala Buddhist to comment on the issues that affect all of us especially minorities (I am a Burgher) “

            Have I said that? My understanding of English does not confirm what you say. If your
            understanding is different please quote from any of my posts to prove what you say. Please stop the dishonest practice of introducing your thoughts as my own.

            You further stated “Yes, I am aware that most of my ancestors only came here a few centuries ago and don’t have “2500 years” of “glorious” history but I have a right to comment as does Steve ! Stop trying to muzzle people who are not the numerical majority !” http://groundviews.org/2013/10/11/above-the-law-violations-of-womens-reproductive-rights-in-northern-sri-lanka/#comment-1083925759

            I don’t consider you inferior in anyway just because you happened to have a White man as an ancestor and perhaps a Tamil mother. You did not chose your parents, so how can anyone blame you for being born? You seem to be suffering from an inferiority complex, please get over it. But you were lucky to be born a Burgher as if you were a Hindu your birth would have decided who you can be or whether you can get an education at a Hindu school.

            Of course I am proud of my heritage especially the millennia old engineering prowess which was world class and unmatched. But I am not a fool to use that as a lever in my
            arguments unless the subject involves the heritage. Please feel free to quote from any of my posts to prove your point.

            You again overestimate my powers. Only Sanjana and his staff has the power to suppress anyone’s comment. They often do when the comments are not in line with their editorial policy. Of course both you and Steve have a right to comment. Should I be surprised at your inability to recognise that my rights are the same!

            BTW are you not offended by the double talk that I have highlighted at this link?
            http://groundviews.org/2013/10/11/above-the-law-violations-of-womens-reproductive-rights-in-northern-sri-lanka/#comment-1082894793

            Five months ago he asserted only Sri Lankan Passport holders should comment on Sri Lankan affairs. Eight days ago he does a flip flop and argues against his own principles.

            Righteousness?
            —————-

            Dear Inoka Karu

            You say “Why are you so hung up on the origins/ethnicity of Steve? It shows that you cannot see beyond someone’e ethnicity/religion at the human being there. Sadly this is the case with many Sri Lankans.”

            Let me ask you a question. I believe that Karu is not a Sri Lankan surname. But it certainly is a shortened form of it. The Sinhalese surnames of Karunaratne and
            Karunasena are commonly shortened to “Karu”. Both Karunanadan and Karuppan are Tamil but the short form is again “Karu”. Very ambiguous don’t you think? Why chose a
            deceptive short form instead of your full surname? Ashamed of your ethnicity or designed to purposely mislead?

            You see Inoka when a person writes about ethnicity the disclosure of that person’s
            ethnicity is important in order to gauge the viewpoint of the writer. Is it the viewpoint of a Tamil, a Sinhalese, a Canadian, a Brit or an American etc? If you were a Tamil and was determined to hide mistakes made by the Tamils then we know you are not interested in a balanced discussion. If Steve Grafton is a Canadian who hides the inhumanity
            perpetrated on what is termed “First Nation” then we know his interests are not humanitarian. One could also use a Sinhala name though being Tamil in order to deceive the GV Readership (and vice versa). I have exposed one such person posing as a Sinhala Buddhist using his own writings. For these reasons disclosure when asked,
            should be made if deception is not the intent.

            BTW Inoka, why have you consistently avoided discussing core issues? I have invited you several times but you withdraw after making ad hominems. Why may I ask?

            You may ask why then have I not disclosed my name. If I assumed the name of M.N.I.N. Perera no one would ask for my name. But that is not my name and I don’t like
            deception hence I use a name that conveys that it’s assumed. I have disclosed my country, my ethnicity and my religion my name is unimportant unless someone wants to silence me.

        • Inoka Karu

          Why are you so hung up on the origins/ethnicity of Steve? It shows that you cannot see beyond someone’e ethnicity/religion at the human being there. Sadly this is the case with many Sri Lankans.
          As long as he is posting within the guidelines you should not care. Every comment Steve makes, you comment on his origins and try to shut him up by using the fact he is not a Sinhala Buddhist, learn to be more mature than that.

      • George

        When one nation/race or individuals (whom I shall leave nameless, though it should be clear to all who they are) have an inferiority complex, they make themselves feel better by pointing out the flaws of others (in this case minorities) in the hope their own flaws maybe overlooked. The classic case of “look at them” they are “so bad”, compared to them we are good :)

    • Steve Grafton
  • George

    Bonds? The procincial council has NO authority to issue bonds, don’t compare Isreal with a toothless powerless NPC !!!!! While some of your other suggestions such as name boards, equal parity for Sinhala/English is welcome.
    My understanding from my Tamil friends is that they are investing in the north through their families but are scared to do direct investment due to the open racism being promoted by Gota and his like.
    The level of racism that is present in the country against all minorities esp the Tamils is even evident in boards like groundviews when you read people like off the cuff and their likes.

  • kali

    Sarvananthan

    I agree with most of what you have written but let me correct you on some the factually incorrect analysis .

    Disagree with the following:

    1) Language Parity:

    if you envisage a Federal Model for Sri Lanka same as Tamil Nadu then your argument seeking parity for Sinhalese Language smacks in the face.

    2)Illicit Appropriation of Private Property:

    There is a World of difference between what GOSL are doing and what the Tamil parties have been doing since 1980 in your words. GOSL are illegally appropriating land for colonisation whereas any Land taken over by the Tamil parties can be reclaimed by the rightful owners once we have the Northern assembly in place with Judicial Powers whereas land taken over for colonisation by GOSL is not going to be easy to reclaim. So don’t confuse the two issues and by doing that you are playing in to the hands of the occupying army.

    3)Northern Truth and Reconciliation Commission:

    With the right to self-rule come responsibilities as well. Firstly, the NPC should forge reconciliation with the minority communities of the Northern Province, viz. Muslim and Sinhala communities, for the injustices meted-out to them during the course of the so-called ‘liberation struggle’
    I disagree with the above analysis for the following reasons: What happened to the Muslims community was unfortunate but they brought it upon themselves by spying on the LTTE on behalf of the Army. As far as LTTE was concerned it was a question of life and death. I e you or me. There were hardly any Sinhalese Communities to be affected by the Liberation Struggle and what were the Injustices meted out to a non existent Community so please don’t muddy the water. You might get a pat on the back from some Sinhalese but I hope that was not your intention.

    4)Forward Looking:

    Accountability is a Pre Requisite to Reconciliation so don’t delude yourself by saying that The Northern Provincial Government should show the genuine path of reconciliation, and of course development, to our national government, which is the fervent hope and wish of this author. Sadly the National Government headed by MR who is impervious to Tamil feelings, needs and suffering.

    It is not our duty or responsibility to show the path of Reconciliation and we don’t have to apologise to anyone.