-M. Varatharajan for Global Tamil News-
-Translated by Global Tamil News-
The new constitution –
Is the thing that had then been stated by Jayampathy taken into account today?
Jayampathy Wickramaratne is a prominent person today. He is a president’s counsel. He is also an adviser of the affairs of constitutional reformation. His participation in the present constitutional reformation is utmost important. What is more important to be noted here is that he is one of the parliamentarians for national list on behalf of the United National Party. It had been thought that he was brought to parliament on the subjects of the constitutional reform and the solution to ethnic conflict.
The statement he delivered recently is as follows;
“There would be no state religion in Sri Lanka. Religion is unnecessary to the state. The state religion is totally different. Islam is the state religion in Pakistan.”
“Our important aim is that there should not be a state religion in Sri Lanka. We consider that the main issue today is to transform the state as the state of democracy.”
He told the Medias as quoted above.
Mr. Jayampathy delivered a speech at an important meeting held in Malaysian capital in the year 2001.
Many foreign intellectuals headed by Kamarulnizam Abdullah (the scholar of international political affairs of Malaysia), Rev.Fr. Emmanuel, Viswanathan Rudrakumaran, Dr. Manivasakam (South Asian Studies- Madras University) and many others participated in that meeting. This meeting was to discuss about moving forward the Peace Talks.
Following is what he stated;
“…From the above it is seen that Tamil aspirations contained in the Thimpu principles could be accommodate in a Constitution of a united Sri Lanka. Certain modifications may have to be made in view of the various concerns of the other communities, especially in the light of their experiences of the past. Flexibility on both sides is needed. What is required is not a restatement of the principles in a Constitution but the accommodation of Tamil aspirations reflected in them. This is difficult, but not impossible. After all, politics is the art of the possible.”
Let us recall what was put forth in Thimpu Talks as the political aspirations of Tamils. The representatives of the then EROS, EPRLF, LTTE, PLOTE, TELO and TULF took part in that Thimpu Talks. All these six movements collectively declared five demands.
- Recognition of Tamil people as a nation in order to enable protection and rights of Tamils
- Recognition of the doctrine of homeland for Tamils
- Recognition of the right to self determination of the Tamil people
- Recognition of the right to citizenship and the fundamental rights of all Tamils
- Recognition of the democratic rights of Tamils
J.R. Jayawardene-led United National Party finally rejected these five declarations set by all of the Tamil political parties together. The then JR’s government was not in a position to understand and accept the principles declared by the Tamil parties. The then government might have done the constitutional reform by using its 5/6 overwhelming majority and these principles were to be included in that. This is the criticism made by those who were engaged in the peace process.
One another thing also ought to be noted here.
In fact, the Tamil movements which took part in the Thimpu Talks did not have the in- depth understanding with regard to these five principles. Tamil side took a few moments to address responding to the speech delivered by JR’s sibling and famous advocate H.W. Jayawardena who spoke with regard to development with the intention of diverting the core concepts of the Talk.
Mr. Amirthalingam asked Mr. Sivasithamparam whether he could deliver a speech. But Mr. Sivasithamparam requested Mr. Amirthalingam to deliver it. Thus, Mr. Amirthalingam explained these principles.
In fact, those who view the facts of the political legitimacy would accept that Sampanthan is the one and only to deliver such a speech in this prevailing circumstance. No doubt on it. Sampanthan is the one who explained Mr. Rajiv Gandhi about the necessity of merging the north and east by drawing a picture when both of them were travelling by plane.
But, the very first question in front of us today is whether he would deliver such a speech because of the news coming out nowadays. Otherwise, it is not known whether he would enable the merge of north and east temporarily as what happened earlier.
The failure of Thimpu Talks was the reason for the spirited rise up of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
What should be noted here is;
Tamils side declared its demands in Thimpu Talk under the state structure of United Sri Lanka.
The United National Party rejected the practically possible process and focused on preventing the violence means of acts. Its effects were experienced by the country. Therefore, the United National Party has the inevitable responsibility to answer for the constitutional affairs.
Is the thing that had then been stated with regard to the aspirations of Tamils as what demanded by Jayampathy in the year 2001 taken into account at present while he was also getting involved in constitutional reform?
Because as I above stated, Mr. Sampanthan, who can speak such things which were spoken by Mr. Amirthalingam in the Thimpu Talk, is with him.
This column is dedicated to all those who speak about reconciliation.
Lionel Guruge: National ethnic issue and Solutions (Centre for Policy Alternatives)
-M. Varatharajan for Global Tamil News-