seek united Sri Lanka in restructured form
details of the set of counter proposals formulated by the Liberation
Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in response to the discussion document
presented by the Sri Lankan government on the interim administrative
council to be set up for the North Eastern Province are now beginning to
emerge despite the secrecy maintained by the LTTE so far.
the final document is yet to be finalised, the penultimate draft now in
limited circulation provides some insight into the Tiger political
strategy and its goals and objectives. Despite the chances of the
current document being amended before the final version is presented to
Norway, there are reasonable grounds to believe that drastic
transformation is unlikely.
the LTTE seeks to present a power sharing model with maximum powers for
the north eastern unit under the nomenclature of an interim
administrative set up. The Tigers want an interim administration with
wide powers to prevail for at least six years.
this time rehabilitation, reconstruction and development work aimed at
ushering in normalcy to the north east will be undertaken by the interim
administrative assembly that would have both members and ministers
commensurate to the ethnic ratio of the north east.
the interim administration is in force negotiations will be on with the
government and other interested parties to draft a new constitution for
Sri Lanka that would afford power sharing at the centre and regions.
referendum will be held at the end of six years to see whether the
people of the country endorse the new constitution. If the referendum
rejects the new constitution supported wholeheartedly by the Tamils,
then the Tigers will exercise their right of self-determination and seek
a political alternative outside the present constitution. This in
essence comprises the Tiger political strategy as envisaged in the
current draft document.
LTTE wishes to enter into a comprehensive agreement with the government
as represented by both the Executive President as well as the Prime
Minister to set up the interim administration for the North Eastern
Province of Sri Lanka.
agreement will have an elaborate preamble outlining the reasons for the
setting up of such a council. Certain provisions of the preamble will
have annexures in support .
such clause will be related to the root causes of the conflict. This
will charge the various Sinhala dominated governments of the past with
acts of omission and commission against the Tamil speaking people with a
view to impose majoritarian hegemonism.
would be pointed out that the cumulative effect of this historical
oppression led to the Tamils obtaining a mandate for Tamil eelam at the
general elections of 1977 held democratically. This would be followed by
vivid references to the brutal war unleashed on the Tamil people by
various governments to suppress the legitimate aspirations of the Tamil
line of argument entails accusations of a deliberate scorched earth
policy practised against Tamil villages in the east and the north and
also the ethnic cleansing of the Manalaaru region, also known as Weli
preamble will also spotlight the massive scale of death, destruction and
displacement in the Tamil regions and pinpoint the deterioration in
health, education, agriculture, fisheries, industry, transport and
consequent unemployment and poverty.
these contentions regarding the historical causes of the conflict, the
legitimacy of the 1977 Tamil eelam mandate, brutality of the war along
with ethnic cleansing and scorched earth policy, the scale of
destruction and displacement, the deteriorating economy and service
sector, etc., will be supported by detailed documentary annexures.
preamble will ultimately emphasise that immediate and radical measures
are necessary to remedy the situation in the north east. A comprehensive
plan of massive proportions is needed for rehabilitation, resettlement,
reconstruction and development of basic infrastructure and the service
is also very necessary to infuse a sense of hope and optimism into the
beleaguered Tamil people, restore their confidence in governance and
decrease their feelings of alienation. This requires the setting up of
an immediate and innovative structure to plan, execute, supervise and
coordinate these tasks of great magnitude.
the fractured state of the Sinhala polity where no party is capable of
obtaining a two third majority necessary for meaningful constitutional
change and the protracted nature of constitutional reform, it would be
unrealistic to expect an expedited political settlement that could set
up governing mechanisms to oversee rehabilitation and development. A
special mechanism therefore is urgently needed.
Tigers then invoke the doctrine of necessity and advocate the setting up
of an interim administrative assembly that would take over the virtual
administration of the north east for a period of six years and focus on
rehabilitative and developmental functions.
the setting up of the interim administrative assembly to govern the
north east for the interim period of six years, there would be a defined
pre-interim period of about six to 12 months.
this period the progress of the current ceasefire will be reviewed. A
special review committee comprising local and foreign nationals will be
set up. This committee will analyse the situation and ensure that the
two year old ceasefire provisions are implemented in full.
must be addressed
an LTTE viewpoint, the ceasefire has not been implemented properly and a
vast number of Tamil and Muslim people are unable to enjoy the full
benefits of the current peace. The LTTE therefore expects these
shortcomings to be addressed before the setting up of an interim
of the areas needing remedy are the withdrawal of security forces from
residential areas, schools, places of worship and public buildings.
There is also the need to remove the ban on fishing totally. Also much
of the areas coming under high security zones have to be reduced in
LTTE is amenable to the armed forces retaining their presence in the
north east in select locations. They will have to restrain their current
function of civilian administration in the north east. If they wish to
continue exercising those functions, then the armed forces will have to
take orders from the civil administration.
proposed interim authority will tentatively have 100 representatives.
These members will be citizens of good standing representing all
regions, areas, ethnicities, religions and social groups. In order to
maintain the gender balance, at least 25% will be women.
persons per province will represent the Northern and Eastern Provinces
respectively on the interim authority. There will be quotas to ensure
that all areas, sectors and groups are represented in each province. All
members will be appointed, but those with a background of elected office
in the past will be given priority.
eastern component will reflect the ethnic composition of the province
according to the 1981 census. Likewise the north will reflect the same
ratio of the 1981 census.
is estimated that 21 Tamils, 17 Muslims and 12 Sinhalese will represent
the east while 46 Tamils , three Muslims and one Sinhalese will
represent the north. This means 67 Tamils, 20 Muslims and 13 Sinhalese
on the interim assembly. One fifth of the Tamils from the districts
other than Jaffna will be of recent Indian origin.
executive council comprising 20 or one-fifth of the representative body
will be appointed as a ministerial board. The executive too will
function in practice as two entities concentrating on the north and east
east will have four Sri Lankan Tamils, one Indian Tamil, three Muslims
and two Sinhalese on the executive body. The north will have six Sri
Lankan Tamils, two Indian Tamils, one Muslim and one Sinhalese on the
the body of 20 will have 10 Sri Lankan Tamils, three Indian Tamils, four
Muslims and three Sinhalese. At least four will be women. At least seven
of the representative body and two of the executive are expected to be
from the Christian community.
will be a chairperson each for both the representative and executive
bodies. In addition two deputy chairmen each will be elected to both the
representative body and executive. They will belong to ethnicities and
religions different to that of the heads in both.
proposed interim authority seeks all powers allocated to the provincial
council through the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. Furthermore the
authority also desires the doing away of the concurrent list of powers
as recommended by the Mangala Moonesinghe Committee and full allocation
of such functions to the interim authority.
land is vital to resettlement of displaced people, the interim authority
wants full powers over land alienation too. Likewise, it wants financial
powers enabling it to raise loans, grants, etc., from external agencies
and also promote investment and projects with foreign collaboration.
area the LTTE wants to be under the interim authority is law and order.
The LTTE wants to harmonise the functions of its own police force and
judiciary with the rest of the country. How these details are to be
worked out is not clear, but some control over provincial policing is
evaluative and complaints commission will be set up to assess the
progress of the interim authority as well as entertain complaints of
misgovernance, discrimination, corruption, abuse and misuse of powers.
This will comprise of local and foreign nationals.
the interim administrative authority discharges its functions for six
years, parallel efforts will be undertaken to formulate and enact a new
constitution. There is general consensus in the country that a fresh
constitution is imperative. Furthermore the existing one was ushered in
without Tamil participation in constitution making and consent. Also
some of the entrenched clauses in the present constitution like the
unitary character of the state forbids any meaningful power sharing.
LTTE on behalf of the Tamil people wants a radical restructuring of the
Sri Lankan state. A constitutional commission consisting of all
ethnicities, religions and different shades of opinion should be set up
to review the present set up and draft a new constitution.
participation however will be conditional on the government agreeing to
certain core principles beforehand. These include the recognition of the
Tamil people as a distinct nationality, the recognition of the Northern
and Eastern Provinces as the historic homeland of the Tamil and Muslim
people, the right of internal self determination for the Tamils of the
north east, official bilingualism allowing full parity of status for the
Sinhala, secularism as state policy while ensuring freedom of worship
and equality of all religions, the need for equitable sharing of
resources and the elimination of unequal development between regions,
and the necessity for affirmative measures aimed at redressing the
imbalance between ethnic communities in employment, education, etc.
these basic principles are recognised and incorporated as an entrenched
part of the constitution in the making, the 'Tamil side' will
participate wholeheartedly in constitution making.
will adhere to the Oslo Accord to explore federalism to the maximum and
seek far reaching powers for the north eastern region. This could amount
to asymmetrical power sharing. At the same time the Tigers also want
equitable power sharing at the centre according to ethnic ratio.
asymmetrical power sharing prevails in the north east the LTTE will also
ensure that the numerical minorities in the north east will be given
full rights and privileges. This includes specific guarantees of power
sharing, cultural autonomy, community policing and enhanced powers to
local authorities. The LTTE expects the same rights to be given to the
minorities of the Southern Province too.
up of commissions
the LTTE is also not averse to commissions being set up to revise
provincial boundaries according to current realities if necessary. It
would also like a commission to be appointed to review the national flag
and anthem and suggest alternatives illustrating the diversity of the
Sri Lankan nation as opposed to the hegemonism of a numerically dominant
the tendency to separate, it is very likely that the LTTE will like a
constitutional arrangement of a confederal nature. While the unity and
territorial integrity of the country is ensured, a system of shared
sovereignty is expected to come into force. An associated structure
guaranteeing full separation of powers while forbidding secession is
desired. The Sri Lankan state according to the Tigers has to be
reinvented and restructured.
the new constitution is adopted and presented in parliament, the LTTE
wants a referendum on it. In any case a new constitution will
necessitate a referendum. If the referendum endorses an islandwide
approval of the new constitution, a new beginning in the history of our
nation will dawn.
hitch of course is the possible rejection of the new constitution by the
preponderantly Sinhala south. In that case, the LTTE is very likely to
exercise its right of external self determination and seek secession. It
may hold a referendum for the north east and legitimise this secession.
Of course all this can be thwarted if the country at large endorses an
equitable new constitution.
important feature is that the LTTE does not intend decommissioning arms
or dissolving its armed units until a new constitution is promulgated.
It also wants specific codes of conduct for its armed units on land and
sea along with those of the official armed forces during the interim
activities of both combatant sectors are to be managed and restricted.
The government is expected to relocate some personnel away from the
north east and reduce its installations. After a final settlement is
achieved the Tigers envisage a reduction of arms and manpower in
commensurate to identical reduction by Colombo.
also hopes in a post-constitutional settlement for new armed divisions
to be raised in accordance with the ethnic ratio and also for integrated
cooperation between existing forces.
LTTE also wants the government to officially declare the LTTE as the
sole representative of the Tamils as a prerequisite to any interim set
up or constitutional discussions.
the current draft envisages such far reaching proposals it is a moot
point as to whether the final version will be incorporating all these
provisions. Given the prevailing global realities where the USA and
India are expecting the LTTE to be realistic and reasonable, the Tigers
may very well whittle down some clauses.
LTTE could also present a condensed, sanitised version now and reserve
the rest for a later occasion. The Tigers could also submit a maximal
position now and be more flexible when direct talks occur.
the recommendations and suggestions of legal and constitutional experts,
it is Velupillai Pirapaharan who ultimately calls the shots in the LTTE.
The fate of this penultimate draft seeking a restructured yet united Sri
Lanka depends on the Tiger numero uno.