TNA gives two weeks ultimatum to Colombo’s ‘devolution’

[TamilNet, Thursday, 04 August 2011, 21:12 GMT]
The Tamil National Alliance in a press statement Thursday has said that it gives two weeks ultimatum to Rajapaksa government to come out with ‘devolution’ details on the structure of governance, the division of subjects and functions between centre and the devolved units and on fiscal and financial powers, to decide on carrying forward any future dialogue. As no response has been forthcoming for several months from Colombo’s side, no meaningful or purposeful discussion could be had on the discussion papers tendered by the TNA, said the statement released from the office of TNA’s nominated parliamentarian, Mr. MA Sumanthiran.

The TNA statement had nothing to say on the ‘federal’ solution proposed by its leader Sampanthan in the parliament and was rejected by Colombo, or on the land and police powers that are refused to the provinces by Rajapaksa.

On the ‘advice’ of New Delhi, a few in the TNA are prepared to try the provincial administration even without land and police powers, for New Delhi and Colombo to cast an image that they are ‘building upon’ the 13th amendment, informed circles within the TNA said.

While addressing the diaspora in London last week, Mr. Sumanthiran said that Tamils should seek solutions acceptable to the Sinhalese and should avoid sensitive terms such as federal, autonomy etc.

The Thursday’s press statement said that the matters raised by the TNA as of immediate concern was resettlement and rehabilitation of the IDPs, removal of High Security Zones disarming the para-military forces operating in the North and East and the issue of political prisoners and detainees.

10 rounds of talks were held since January 2011 on the above matters and on ‘acceptable political solution’, the statement said.

Meanwhile, a Suo Motu statement on Sri Lanka by Indian foreign minister in the Indian parliament Thursday showed that New Delhi had nothing ‘innovative or creative’ to offer other than the usual rhetoric of ‘development’, more than two years of ‘concern’ for the IDPs, 25-years of exercise in implementing the rotten 13th Amendment and talking of the “historic opportunity to address all outstanding issues relating to ‘minority communities’ in Sri Lanka, including Tamils.”

Full text of the statement by the TNA follows:

TNA Press Release

The TNA and the Government commenced talks in January 2011 consequent to the re-election of President Rajapakse for a second term in office and consequent to the Government acquiring a two thirds majority in Parliament, recognizing that the Tamil people of the North and East had elected the TNA as their credible representatives.

10 rounds of talks were held from 10th January 2011 on the evolution of an acceptable political solution and in regard to matters of immediate concern of the Tamil people. The TNA raised the following matters of immediate concern:

Resettlement and Rehabilitation of the Internally Displaced Persons, removal of High Security Zones, disarming the para-military forces operating in the North and East and the issue of the political prisoners and detainees.

The resettlement process continues to be snail-paced with several thousands still in the camps and many more tens of thousands in transit camps and with friends and relatives. Even those who have been permitted to return to their original places, have no proper shelter nor been helped effectively to recommence their livelihood activities, resulting in there being no qualitative improvement in the lives of the people. Although some progress has been made in the Valigamam North High Security Zone area, several other areas in the North including Sampur in the East continue to be prohibited zones for the civilians. Para-military personnel continue to operate with impunity causing abductions, demanding ransom and even carrying out killings.

The Government delegation gave an undertaking on the 3rd of February 2011 that the next of kin could check at a specified place in Vavuniya the whereabouts of their relatives in detention. To date this has not happened and credible information pertaining to the detainees continues to be withheld and denied to their next of kin.

After the end of the war in May 2009, a programme is being implemented whereby cultural and religious places in the Tamil areas are misused, damaged and destroyed; increased militarization and military's intervention in civilian life; lands being allocated to persons from outside the North and East ostensibly for development purposes, resulting in demographic change in the North and the East, the transformation of the cultural identity of areas in the North and the East, all of which will have irreversible evil consequences to the future well-being of the Tamil people. Representations made to the Government in regard to such matters have not resulted in remedial action indicating that they have not received due consideration by the Government. While the Tamil people have not been enabled through appropriate action by the Government to return to their homes within the Jaffna District, their absence is sought to be utilized to reduce the representation of the Jaffna District in Parliament resulting in the denial of franchise and the perversion of democracy.

In regard to a political solution the TNA placed before the Government delegation discussion papers setting out proposals in regard to the structure of governance, the division of subjects and functions between the centre and the devolved units, fiscal and financial powers and other matters relevant to the achievement of an acceptable and durable political solution. The TNA invited the Government's response to these proposals and despite the Government's commitment to so respond, no response has been forthcoming for several months. Consequently no meaningful or purposeful discussion could be had on the discussion papers tendered by the TNA. This we regret to state was clearly demonstrative of the lack of a genuine commitment on the part of the Government to the evolution of an acceptable political solution. While attempting to show the world that the Government was engaged in a political process as an integral part of reconciliation, what the Government was really engaged in was no more than a mere facade. It is in these circumstances that the TNA questioned the continuance of such a deceitful process. The TNA has therefore called upon the government to meaningfully define and state the Government's response to three issues: 1. The structure of governance, 2. The division of subjects and functions between the centre and the devolved units and 3. Fiscal and financial powers, within a period of two weeks, to carry forward any future dialogue.

4th August 2011


Chronology:


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