Establishing democracy: Critical challenges ahead | Daily News

Establishing democracy: Critical challenges ahead

The Left leaders responsible for the constitution making process exposed those who were spreading rumours about the ‘Constitution’, were functioning as members in the subcommittees on constitution-making. Left leaders were canvassing for a new constitution which included provisions to protect the rights and identities of all communities, and also to abolish the extreme powers of the presidency and to change the electoral system. They said the steering committee on constitution-making had not been able to finalize a draft constitution as it had failed to reach a consensus on some of the salient points such as the executive presidency, the electoral system and the devolution of power.

“We are still in the constitutional-making stage. But the JO is spreading rumours that a federal constitution is being introduced. Constitutional-making was a long process and for the past three and half years, we have not even been able to prepare a draft,” these MPs said. Some of them said it is pointless proceeding with the Constitutional Assembly and the steering committee any longer and stressed the need for the steering committee to present all proposals to the Constitutional Assembly.

Tamil political parties, especially the main Tamil coalition, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) are happy with the new Constitution making process; hopeful that it would address the Tamils’ political aspirations. Based on promises made by yahapalana leaders, for the past three years, they have been promising the Tamils a new Constitution with a federal form of governance and with various time frames. Sumanthiran has become the prey for the Rajapaksa camp; which always prefers to find a Tamil bogey. This invited a barrage of criticisms from the Tamil and Sinhalese democratic forces.

New Constitution

Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran has told recently that their aim is a new Constitution to be introduced before February 4, the country’s Independence Day. It is not clear whether it is the presentation of a new draft Constitution in Parliament or the adoption of a new Constitution that he had meant to do before February 4.

Whatever he had meant, it is clear that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has presented the report that has to be used for making the draft Constitution. Instead of participating in drafting of the constitution based on this report of all party experts wisdom, the Rajapaksa camp, which always prefers to find a Tamil bogey, are claiming that government with the TNA is going to bring in a federal constitution which ultimately would divide the country! These are criminal liars. Only now, constitution drafting started with all party wisdom given by a report. How can anybody, TNA or any body, dominate if Mahinda group also there?

We are aware and we know that the violation of the language rights following the enactment of Official Languages Act No. 33 of 1956 started the process of human rights violations of the Tamils of Sri Lanka which eventually led to the pogroms against them in 1958, 1977, 1983 and the repression of Tamil armed uprising of 2008-2009. However the tragedy that occurred in 88-89, is somehow forgotten. May be it is more for the human rights of Sinhala youth hence which may look not a necessity. But it is very relevant to the Tamil rights of self determination. In Sinhala land nearly 50,000 disappeared and may be 20,000 murdered by unknown killers. But politically we know what happened.

To understand the upsurge of impunity and disappearances of persons in the country, there is a need to look at the insurgency of Sinhala youth in 1971 which was violently suppressed by the Police and Security forces of the Government. It happened under the emergency powers used severely.

An estimated 5,000 Sinhala youth perished in the process. Some claim that was one of the occasions that the military and the police of Sri Lanka had practice torture, abductions and summary executions their own Lankan youth and gain experience in these methods of suppressing dissent with the tacit approval of the government. Since there had been no serious investigations into those incidents and no one was held responsible for any of those incidents, except for the case of a beauty queen from Matara being marched nude along the streets before being brutally killed. This may be the period when the culture of impunity germinated in the minds of the Police and Security Services personnel.

In 1988/89 saw a similar but more widespread discontent among the Sinhala youth known as JVPers and DJV. The pretended reason for that was the economic policies of successive governments which failed to quench their thirst for jobs by the educated youth.

The turbulence caused by them reached a boiling point in 1987 when the Indo-Lanka Accord was signed as the JVP backed by Sinhala racists opposed this accord which was to create Provincial Councils with devolved power. They claimed such autonomy would lead to a division of the country into nationality based regions.

Racist organisations

JVP joined with Sinhala racist organisations, racist monks and fascistic elements launched terror movement killing thousands of people. Their rioting and terrorist killings went berserk making it virtually impossible for rulers to control them and govern. Founder Wijeweera used the name of Desa Premi Janatha Viyaparaya. DJV attacked all those supported devolution and rights of minorities. Civilians that participated in elections were attacked, wounded or killed. Houses were burnt or demolished. Vehicles robbed or demolished.

All political parties that supported Tamil autonomy was attacked, leaders killed. Biggest attacks were directed at Left parties. The Socialist front leader Vijaya was brutally murdered. Bahu was almost fatally injured; after several surgeries escaped death. Hundreds socialist leaders and activists were brutally murdered for defending minority rights. UNP which agreed to devolution and autonomy for minority nationalities also had to face terror of racists. Nearly 7,000 political activists including several top leaders were killed.

Just as much we look into the sufferings of oppressed nationalities we have to look into the suffering of majority nations’ democracy that is victimized by the fascistic oppressors of majority nation. There is no alternative to seeking the truth in its all sides.

 


 

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