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Over 30 Years - The Research

Over 30 Years - The Research

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Published by Sanjana Hattotuwa
Research conducted for 30 Years Ago, a project by Groundviews. For details, see 30yearsago.asia.
Research conducted for 30 Years Ago, a project by Groundviews. For details, see 30yearsago.asia.

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Published by: Sanjana Hattotuwa on Aug 19, 2013
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11/08/2013

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Thispaperisofalargerprojectaround1983’santi-TamilpogrominSriLanka(http://30yearsago.asia),commissionedby
Groundviews
(www.groundviews.org).Notforre-usewithoutpermissionorattribution.Contacteditors@groundviews.orgformoreinformation.
Page1
Momentsover30years
 AsangaWelikala
IntroductionandMethodofSelection
TheJuly1983pogrom,thedarkestsinglemomentinSriLanka’spost-colonialhistory,haditsoriginsinmucholderandwiderpoliticaldynamicsofethnicpluralism.TheincapacityoftheSriLankanstatetoreflectastableconstitutionalconsensusfortheexerciseofpoliticalpowerinconditionsofpluralismcontinuesthreedecadeslater.Notwithstandingtheendofthewar,inwhichthestateprevailedoverarmedsecessionism,theabsenceofconstitutionalreformsaddressingtherootcausesofconflictensuresthatthepotentialforfutureconflictremains,eveniftheactualprospectofanyviolentchallengetothestate’simposedauthoritymayasyetberemote.Thus,thespectreofethnicviolenceisavariablethatcontinuestohauntSriLankanpolitics,andwillremainsountilgenuineeffortsaremadetoaccommodatepluralisminajustandfairmanner.IntheperiodsincetheJuly1983pogrom,anumberofattemptshavebeenmadeatconstitutionalreform,butmosthavebeenunsuccessful.Theonlysuccessfulattemptatdevolutiontoentertheconstitutionalstructure,theThirteenthAmendment,althoughneverimplementedfully,isnowunderattackfromhard-lineSinhala-Buddhistnationalists.TheywishtoconsolidatethemilitaryvictoryovertheLiberationTigersofTamilEelam(LTTE)withaconstitutionalframeworkinwhichtheminoritiesandespeciallytheTamilsoftheNorthandEastaresubordinatedtothemajority,andwithacentralisedstatethatisempoweredtocontaintheresultingdiscontentthroughforceandrepression.Thistypeofhigh-riskstrategyforthemanagementofpluralismisnotonlyinherentlyunstable,butalsoreflectsafailuretolearnthelessonsofhistorythatledtocivilwar.Politicsandespeciallyconstitutionalpoliticsinamulti-ethnic,multi-religiousandmulti-culturalsocietymustbeconceivedintermsofnegotiation,consensus,compromiseandaccommodation;notintermsofdominance,authoritarianismandintolerance.
 
Thispaperisofalargerprojectaround1983’santi-TamilpogrominSriLanka(http://30yearsago.asia),commissionedby
Groundviews
(www.groundviews.org).Notforre-usewithoutpermissionorattribution.Contacteditors@groundviews.orgformoreinformation.
Page2ThetablebelowcontainsanenumerationofsomeofthemoreimportantinterventionsonconstitutionalreformsinceJuly1983.Ingeneral,theyhavebeenincludedbecauseoftheirpoliticalandhistoricalsignificance;becausetheyengagedthemajorprotagonistsintheconflict;and/orbecauseoftheirinnovativenoveltyasideas.Manyofthemaresincereiffailedattemptsatconstitutionallyresolvingtheconflict;someofthemareincrediblymyopicresponsestotheconflict.Thelastthreeentriesmaynotenterafuturelist,buttheyareincludedherebecausetheyalloccurredin2013,thethirtiethanniversaryyearoftheJuly1983pogrom.
ScoringGuide
 
Couldhelppreventanotherpogrom:
Scoringfrom1–10,with1beingthemostpreventative,and10beingtheleastimpactful.
 
Couldcontributetoanotherpogrom:
Scoringfrom1–10,with1beingthemostcertaintocontributetoanotherpogrom,and10beingthemostremovedfromcontributingtoanotherpogrom.
 
Thispaperisofalargerprojectaround1983’santi-TamilpogrominSriLanka(http://30yearsago.asia),commissionedby
Groundviews
(www.groundviews.org).Notforre-usewithoutpermissionorattribution.Contacteditors@groundviews.orgformoreinformation.
Page3
ItemDateCouldhelppreventanotherpogromCouldcontributetoanotherpogrom
TheSixthAmendmenttotheConstitution
8
th
August1983
73TheSixthAmendmenttotheConstitutionwasthefirstconstitutionalresponsetotheJuly1983pogrombythethenUnitedNationalParty(UNP)government.ItspurposewastointroduceablanketbanonseparatisminSriLanka.ItprovidedforseriouscriminaloffencesandpreventedeventhepeacefuladvocacyofaseparatestateforTamils,contrarytothefreedomofexpression.Itwasnotaccompaniedbyanybalancingactofreconciliationorevenanexpressionofregretonthepartofthegovernmentforthelossofcivilianlifeandpropertyinthepogrom.
TheThimpuTalks
8
th
-13
th
Julyand12
th
-17
th
August1985
55Followingthepogrom,therewereanumberofIndianattemptstofacilitateasettlementtotheconflictbetweenthegovernmentofSriLanka,theTamilnationalistparliamentarypartiesandtheTamilmilitantgroups.ThetworoundsoftalksintheBhutanesecapital,Thimpu,weresignificantforthefactthatvirtuallyallTamilnationalistpartiesandgroupsagreeduponfourcardinalprinciplesasconstitutingthebasisforTamilconstitutionalclaims.These‘ThimpuPrinciples’retaintheirrelevanceeventoday.ThefirstthreeprinciplesassertedthattheSriLankanTamilsconstitutedadistinctnation,basedonatraditionalhomelandcomprisingthenorthandeastoftheisland,andthattheTamilsweretherebyentitledtotherighttoself-determination.ThegovernmentofSriLankawhollyrejectedtheseclaims.
TheIndo-LankaAccord
29
th
July1987
28

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