Colombo rejects TNA’s ultimatum on non-existing devolution plan

[TamilNet, Friday, 05 August 2011, 11:54 GMT]
Rejecting outright the demands of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in a typical Sinhala hegemonic manner, the militaristic government of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Thursday said that the demands set out in the TNA’s ultimatum for future talks have reflected the attitude of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

According to a statement from United People Freedom Alliance (UPFA) parliamentarian Sajin Vas De Gunawardane, the Rajapaksa regime is now set to embark on the process of Parliament Select Committee (PSC), unable to carry on with its never ending deceptive effort to drag the time on in the name of holding political dialogue with the Tamil representatives on the non-existing devolution plan.

At a time when the Tamil political circles were sceptically pondering the motives behind the talks between the government and the TNA, a section of the TNA on the “supreme advice” of the Indian bureaucracy, held ten rounds of talks with the government since January 2011 aiming to reach what it called an “acceptable political solution” despite very negative ground realities.

Having exposed that they were taken for a ride once again by both the governments of India and Sri Lanka, the TNA on Thursday gave a two-week 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.

“We do not think that the ultimatum delivered to the government by the TNA, which is tantamount to the attitude portrayed by the LTTE, is at all helpful or constructive for the purpose of carrying forward in a structured and methodical way a process which can reach a positive outcome only if it has the widest possible support among the public,” MP Gunawardane, who is also the Secretary of the UPFA delegation, said in the statement on Thursday.

“It will be observed that these three areas, taken in combination, encompass almost the entirety of the issues involved in the discussions between the SLFP, the main political party of the government and the TNA. It is certainly not possible, nor is it consistent with the national interest, to make a final pronouncement on all these crucial issues, hastily and without wider consultation, at this stage,” the government statement said.

“As much as the SLFP does not solely represent any community in particular, the TNA also does not solely represent the Tamil community. In the circumstances which have now arisen on account of the demarche of the TNA, the government will proceed with the appointment of a Parliamentary Select Committee” the statement said.

Calling the PSC as an “appropriate forum for a discussion in which all the representatives of the people can participate with a view to identifying the constitutional reforms that are needed” the Government statement expressed optimism that all political parties, including the TNA will avail themselves of this opportunity.

The TNA, which became a political force after it got the backing of the LTTE, publicly dropped the demand for a separate state for which thousands of Tamil youth have sacrificed their lives, immediately after the government’s military victory over the LTTE in May 2009.

The TNA did this without any political compromise from the government, which has slaughtered over 40,000 Tamil civilians in the final weeks of the war in May 2009. The TNA now appears to have not only dropped the demand for a federal-style solution, but is ready to hold talks with the Sri Lankan government on the drastically watered-down version of the controversial 13th Amendment, even without police and lands powers.

The fresh developments have taken place after Presidential sibling and Sri Lanka’s defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has said in an interview that the “political solution talk is simply irrelevant” as his troops have ended terrorism.

“We don't have to talk about solution and various things any longer, because we have ended this terrorism in Sri Lanka. We have a constitution. If there is further amendment needed then government can speak with the elected representatives. Now we have representation from these areas,” Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has said in an interview with the Headlines Today.

The Rajapaksa government is under ever increasing international pressure over the wide-spread war crime allegations during the final weeks of the war in May 2009, especially after the release of UN expert panel report and the Channel 4 documentaries.


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