he Northern Provincial Council led by Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran has again opened a Pandora’s Box by adopting a resolution in the form of a set of proposals to be submitted to the Government to be incorporated in the proposed new Constitution. This resolution has been adopted in the Council against the backdrop of two similar controversial resolution – “Sri Lanka’s genocide against Tamils” and “The resolution on the need for an international mechanism” - passed by the same Council last year.
The essence of the current resolution is to constitute two linguistic States – one for the predominantly Sinhala speaking areas and the other for the predominantly Tamil speaking areas in the North and the East.
The southern leaders have incensed over two contents of the resolution – the federal nature of the Government and the merger of the Northern and Eastern Provinces as they had been two anathemas to them. But these terms are mere prestige issues for both Southern and Northern politicians. However, why one should concern about the resolution is that the resolution titled Policy Proposals for Political Solution and Constitution in fact resembles the Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA) submitted by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as a condition for the resumption of peace talks with the United National Front government of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in October 2003.
The ISGA was clearly a blueprint for a separate State, which the LTTE attempted to trap the Wickremesinghe Government to accept. Interestingly Wigneswaran erroneously claims in the preamble of the resolution that the ISGA had been widely welcomed by the International Community. Wigneswaran might argue that his policy proposals were not a strategy to carve out a separate State for Tamils, but it is indeed one step close to a separate State and if implemented in its totality, the hands of the Central Government would be tied even in case of a unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) by the Tamil linguistic Parliament.
To justify the “policy proposals” in the resolution the Northern Province Chief Minister presents a list of incidents, where the Government had gone back on its word after signing various Pacts such as the Bandaranaike- Chelvanayakam Pact and the Dudley- Chelvanayakam Pact with Tamil leaders.
True, but treachery has not been the legacy of only the Government leaders. Mr. Wigneswaran who was a Supreme Court judge might remember that the LTTE, the organisation, which was once called by his party the sole representative of the Tamil people too had committed the same treachery by withdrawing from peace talks with various Governments using trifling issues as excuses, leading to a war that turned to be a catastrophe for the Tamil people.
The LTTE rejected the famous “Package” presented by President Chandrika Kumaratunga in 1995 and killed Dr. Neelan Thiruchelvam, who subscribed to the preparation of that package. Later in 2003 the organisation’s political advisor Anton Balasingham told, interestingly at an LTTE function in Kilinochchi that they could have accepted it.
The Northern Provincial Council is more concerned about political issues than resolving the social and economic problems faced by the people of the province, who have faced a horrendous war for more than thirty years. Political issues cannot be solved at regional level: Rather they have to be solved at the national level. On the other hand, Leaders of the Council want to show that they have no powers to serve the people. But they do not seem to utilise the powers and resources they already have to solve the problems of the people.
For instance, in December last year Douglas Devananda, the leader of the Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) told the Parliament during the budget debate that the Northern Provincial Council run by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has not spent a cent that had been allocated to the Council by the Government in that year. Devananda further said the funds allocated for the Provincial Council even in 2013 and 2014 had not been utilised. Interestingly, TNA leaders had neither contested the claim nor given reasons for the under-utilisation of funds by the council.
Politicians, especially the Northern politicians, if they are truly concerned about the well-being of the people they represent, must understand that the need of the hour is rebuilding trust among communities and drumming up not harping on populist demands that might boost their images temporarily.