The month of July seems to have a significant place in Sri Lanka’s post independence politics. The July of 1983 was a turning point in Sri Lanka’s ethnic struggle. Though we would not want to revisit that time, it has taught us many lessons that the country would keep in mind for years to come.
Four years after, a significant even was recorded in Sri Lanka’s political history, which would once again be a topic for years to come.
July 29, 2017 marked 30 years since the historic signing of the Indo-Lanka agreement, which gave birth to the controversial, much talked about, and much debated 13th Amendment.
Thirty years down the line, its full implementation continues to be a hot debate in terms of a durable solution for the longstanding ethnic question.
Some want it, others do not want it. But, unlike a few years ago, every party has an equal opportunity to make their case regarding the issue. The Tamil political parties especially had limited space in the democratic sphere purely because of the presence of the LTTE.
The LTTE’s dominance in the Tamil political circles prevented democratic parties and moderate politicians to come forward and express their views.
But with the times changing for the better, opportunities for constructive discussions are vast for parties from the North and the South.
However, sadly, Sri Lanka has not moved much towards implementing the 13th Amendment to the letter.
Aspects such as Police and Land powers are the main reasons cited for its opposition. The content of the Amendment has been discussed at many platforms.
However, its full implementation triggers fear among some that the security and sovereignty of the country would be compromised if the Provincial Councils were given Police powers.
Though the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leadership has assured that they are for a solution within a united Sri Lanka, the majority are yet to be convinced by the TNA. This is because of the contradictory statements made by members of the constituent parties of the TNA.
The internal rift within the TNA has been evident since of late where constituent parties accuse the Ilankai Thamiz Arasu Katchi (ITAK) of being dominant and not consulting the other parties
The bottomline is that Tamil parties need to reach an understanding before going to the negotiating table with the government.
Published in the Nation on July 31, 2017