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Home > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > Conflict Resolution: Tamil Eelam - Sri Lanka > Broken Pacts & Evasive Proposals > Chandrika's 'Devolution' Proposals:1995/2001 > Sri Lanka's strategy to buy time & wage war - Ana Pararajasingham

Chandrika's 'Devolution Proposals'

  Sri Lanka's strategy to buy time & wage war

from the Tamil Monitor
edited by Ana Pararajasingham
published by the Australasian Federation of Tamils
October 1995

The “political package” released by the Peoples Alliance Government in July this year has been grandly heralded as the most far reaching proposal ever to be put out by a Sinhala Government to address Tamil grievances. It is scarcely mentioned though, that it is no more than a “package of ideas” and not a firm set of proposals.

Nor is it explained why the “package” was released to the media and not communicated to the Tamil people. Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan Government has not only publicly retracted several ideas contained in its original “package”, but many senior Government Ministers have gone on to interpret the “package” in a multitude of ways confusing the matter even further.

On the one hand it has been claimed that the unitary structure of the Island would not be impaired and that the proposals do not confer special status or powers on the Tamils but only a change in the administrative structure for the entire Island.Then again it is articulated that the “package” when implemented will result in a federal structure for the entire Island..

We are also told that the “package” will be subject to further amendments by a Parliamentary Select Committee and that the final set of proposals will have to be passed by an overwhelmingly Sinhala parliament in addition to being endorsed by referendum.

For these reasons, there is little point in discussing the merits and demerits of this package of ideas. There is, however, considerable value in attempting to evaluate the reasons as to why the Sri Lankan Government has released this “political package” at this particular point in time while pursuing an all out war against the Tamil people.

The primary objective of the “package” is to alienate the LTTE from the Tamil masses who (understandably) are tired of the war, having been subject to years of military onslaught and economic blockade. The “package” is aimed at persuading these people that it is their last hope and that they should turn away from the LTTE. This strategy , however, is fundamentally flawed as it ignores the simple truth that the LTTE is part and parcel of the Tamil masses.

To a large extent the Government’s thinking on this matter is attributable to its reliance on Colombo based Tamil groups who believe that they could somehow assume a role for themselves by isolating the LTTE. Hence the advice given by PLOTE’s Sidharthan to the UNP in April 1994 “to work towards a political solution, because only then can the LTTE be alienated and weakened.” (“Island”, 10 April 1994).

The “package” is also a device developed by the PA regime to convince the international community (on which this government, like its predecessors, depends for its economic survival) that the government is serious about a political solution and that it needs their support to militarily weaken the LTTE. Hence, the visits by Ministers Peris and Kadirgamer to world capitals to “sell” the package to the international community.

Thirdly, the package is meant to satisfy the government’s own “peace constituency” which voted the PA Government into power and which could now be told that there is, after all. a “package” on the table.

Finally, by bringing in the referendum and a two third majority in Parliament as a pre-requisite to the package being implemented, it seeks to demonstrate to the Sinhala chauvinists that the package is dependent on the approval of the Sinhala people and as such does not in any way compromise Sinhala dominance over the Tamils.

From the above analysis it ought to be clear that this “package” is really a part of the Government’s war strategy and a device to buy time to pursue the war. The international community and the Tamil Diaspora need to be wary of this “package of ideas” masquerading as a political solution. It is a non-starter not only because of the devious purposes for which it was developed but also because it simply ignores the fundamental principle to which all Tamils (including those who are now collaborating with the Sinhala Government) subscribed at Thimpu.—the Tamil right to self-determination.



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