Feature Article

Colombo opts for anti-Tamil campaign to handle constitutional case

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 17 October 2012, 12:31 GMT]
The petitioners of a constitutional case against the ‘Divineguma’ Bill that will snatch away even grassroot development and social welfare powers of the provinces in genocidal Sri Lanka are currently targeted through a Sinhala poster campaign of ‘counterinsurgency’ style that collectively names the petitioners as ‘Paikiasothy Gang’ aiming ‘separation of the country’. The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), headed by Colombo-based Tamil, Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, in a statement on Tuesday hinted at the connection between the posters and Sri Lanka Army coming for ‘investigations’ of the Centre on Monday. The SL Supreme Court on Monday decided for a separate hearing of the case filed by the TNA and has fixed it to next Monday, while four more writ petitions challenging the bill will be taken up for hearing by the court on Thursday.

The bill, seeking to bring rural development and social welfare outfits under a department of Colombo named ‘Divineguma’ in Sinhala, snatches away even the flimsy powers devolved to the provinces.

The bill was challenged on grounds that it is against the doctrine of the separation of powers, that it sets precedence for the possible reversal of certain subjects devolved to Provincial Councils, that it facilitates general oversight over the executive in parliament’s control over public finance and that it denies public access to information on ‘development’ held by government.

Accepting the constitutional perspective of the bill, the SL Supreme Court earlier said that Colombo should get the approval of the provinces also to pass the bill.

Under the current situation in the island, the Rajapaksa regime didn’t have any difficulty in getting the approval of the Sinhala provinces. After engineering the Rajapaksa-SLMC administration in the SL-occupied Eastern Province, one of the first bills passed was the Divineguma Bill that was seeking further deterioration of the powers of the provinces and facilitating Colombo’s agenda of taking up structural genocide of Eezham Tamils and Tamil-speaking Muslims to the grassroot levels.

In the SL-occupied Northern Province, in the absence of an elected administration to pass or reject the bill, the occupying Sinhala governor has given his approval, and this has become another constitutional issue, challenged by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA).

Besids the TNA, Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu (Centre for Policy Alternatives), Mr. Mano Ganesan (Democratic People’s Front), Dr Wickremabahu Karunaretna (Left Front), Mr. Asad Sally (Islamic Solidarity Front) Mr. Srithunge Jayasuriya (USP), Mr. Sarath Manamendra (Nawa Sihala Urumaya) and Aruna Soyza (Ruhunu Janatha Party) have filed writ applications before the SL Supreme Court, both jointly and independently, through attorney Gowrie Shangary Thavarasa, arguing that in the absence of the elected Northern Provincial Council, its powers could not be exercised by the Governor.

* * *

The ‘Divineguma’ Bill is a classic example for the edification of those who harp on ‘devolution’ of powers, provincial councils, 13th Amendment and the LLRC implementation as solutions to the national question in the island.

Devolution of powers is only in the lips of the powers, India and the USA that back the genocidal regime in the island. In truth, they only want a highly centralised, militarised and dictatorial regime – never mind if it is genocidal– to complete the land grab and implement an imperialism-friendly economic, ‘developmental’ and social order.

Buying time is their current tactic to complete their agenda and to write the final chapter on the ‘successful victory of counterinsurgency’ through genocidal means.

Unless there is a ‘policy alternative’ leading to total rejection, non-cooperation and internationalised mass uprising against the vicious agenda of the powers that are in partnership with the genocidal state and regime in the island, the ultimate subjugation and the annihilation of the nation of Eezham Tamils cannot be prevented, commented new generation Tamil political activists in the island.

Any collaboration or ‘engagement’ with the powers has hitherto proved as the affected people themselves consenting to give more time to their adversaries, the activists said adding that the Divineguma Bill is a good lesson to the TNA, Paikiasothy’s CPA and to a host of others in the island and in the diaspora, who in seeking solutions ‘engage’ with the real culprits in New Delhi and in the International Community of Establishments (ICE).

Dr Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu’s Colombo-based CPA has long been viewed as a pro-ICE group.

The CPA statement on Tuesday ignored the national question of Eezham Tamils and was still harping on ‘minority protections and devolution’. The TNA’s statement on its visit to New Delhi didn’t want to even call Tamils as a nation in the island.

But neither Dr Saravanamuttu’s consistent opposition to separation nor the TNA’s abandonment of so-many things has saved them from being projected as forces seeking separation in the eyes of the Sinhala masses. The mere Tamil identity of anyone is enough, and this shows how no solutions could be arrived at through constitutional processes within the framework of the island, civil activists in Colombo said.

The posters that appeared in Sinhala in Colombo against one of the petitioners, Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu of the CPA, said: "Let us save the pro-people Divineguma Act that builds the lives of fifteen lakhs of low income families from the Paikiasothy gang that aids and abets the separation of the country.”

* * *

Meanwhile, Jaffna district TNA parliamentarian Maavai Senathirajah had filed a writ petition, seeking to prohibit the Northern Provincial Governor from expressing his views on the Divineguma Bill on behalf of the Northern Provincial Council and from expressing agreement or disagreement with the passing of the Bill.

The SL Court of Appeal had referred the petition to the Supreme Court on October 8.

When the matter was taken up by the Supreme Court for hearing on Monday before a three-member bench that comprised of the Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranaike, Justices S.Sripavan and Chandra Ekanayake, the Counsel for the petitioner Mr. M.A.Sumanthiran appearing for the petitioner made a request to appoint a full bench of the SL Supreme Court (SLSC) to hear the reference by the Court of Appeal.

The three-member bench of the SLSC then directed the registrar to furnish the full list of the SLSC judges to consider the appointment of a full bench.

Counsel S.L.Gunasekara appeared for the SL Governor of the Northern Province and Deputy Solicitor General Shavindra Fernando appeared for the Attorney General.

Regardless of the matter being referred to the Supreme Court on the question of the role of the Governor, the controversial Bill was tabled for the second time in the Parliament on 9 September 2012.



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