UNP-TNA Coalition or Devolution?

| by Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

( May 09, 2012, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) I write in response to the Sri Lanka Guardian article ‘Flogging the Tamil Eelam issue’ by Col. R. Hariharan.
Those parts of the Tamil Diaspora I feel a part of would interpret the above article as being a highlight of reality in Northern Sri Lanka. Colonel Hariharan states ‘May Day celebrations in Sri Lanka this year saw an unusual sight. R Sampanthan, the septuagenarian leader fighting for Sri Lanka Tamil rights and president of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), standing shoulder to shoulder with the United National Party (UNP) leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, waved a Sri Lanka flag to the cheers of a massive crowd in Jaffna celebrating the May Day. ………Sampanthan’s act was symbolic of the TNA’s moves to forge a political alliance with the UNP to press home their agenda for securing an equitable role for Tamils in the united Sri Lanka. Sampanthan’s show of unity with the UNP was in keeping with TNA decision taken after some deliberation. Even the two aspirants for the TNA leadership mantle – Suresh Premachandran and Mavai Senathiraja – are reported to have hosted a lavish dinner in Jaffna for the visiting UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.’
This then means to me, that the TNA and therefore majority Tamils resident in Sri Lanka are seeking NOT Devolution of powers but Equal Opportunity as One State. This would explain also why TNA was not seen to be in the forefront during discussions and debate re the US led Resolution at the UNHRC. That Resolution was against the Government and applies therefore to anyone in Government – including those who seek to form Government in future. Majority in Tamil Diaspora on the other hand are showing that they seek separation of some sorts – at least Devolution on the basis of ethnicity. Any coalition between Tamil Politicians and Sinhalese Politicians would shift power away from the cause of ethnicity based Devolution. I believe that most Tamils resident in Sri Lanka would find this coalition style easier to work with than Devolution on the basis of ethnicity. As per my experience, majority in Tamil Diaspora are likely to not form coalitions with Resident Tamils to work the local Administrative and Management systems. Rather, most of them seem to be inclined towards following their current governments and ‘giving’ money and sharing their status collectively by showing opposition to the Government that brought an end to the ethnicity based armed rebellion.
On the basis of the above coalition, one needs to conclude that Sri Lanka is reconciling at the political level. I asked myself whether this was better than Devolution? I needed to use my own experience with the Northern Public Administrative system and I do believe that unless members of Tamil Diaspora actively engage themselves with the Resident Tamils, to improve Public Administration and Management in North and East, Resident Tamils would be worse off after ethnicity based Devolution and are likely to bring about internal divisions, due to lack of ability to escalate conflicts and project beyond their local borders. Those local areas need more human resources of global standards for Devolution to be more beneficial to resident Tamils, than the current system. This injection of Human Resources is not happening due to both sides acting as if they are the leaders.
Ultimately as per my discovery, it is social power that works a society naturally and this is needed more strongly in areas where there has been breakdown of law and order. Even strong LTTE supporters are saying that there is serious breakdown in social order in Northern Sri Lanka. They attribute that to the absence of LTTE. Whatever the reason, if this is our reality then we need Administration in the way people know it already. Jaffna is the Administrative Capital of Tamils of Sri Lanka and there is natural acceptance of this by majority Tamils of Sri Lanka. If this Administrative support at the highest standards possible for the country, is more likely to happen through the current political system, than through Devolution without Administrative and Management partnership with Tamil Diaspora, then Resident Tamils deserve our support in this.

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Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

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