Thursday, July 2, 2020 05:00:18 PM

Beyond the 13th; Frozen Politics in Sri Lanka

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After all, the workings of political structures affect the entire population of Sri Lanka; more so for Tamils after the reports of horrific crimes that they had endured during the conflict phase. Their aspirations and political legitimacy are central to the whole question of reconciliation yet, fails to be adequately recognized in the melee of sovereignty, unitary state and symbolism of Sri Lankan ‘nationalism’.

South Asia is a region known for its diversity. The pluralism of the region is striking and when western notions of sovereignty, statehood and nationalism are imposed it precipitates in the end product of a potentially explosive situation. Sri Lanka’s trouble began right from the days of colonialism and the well documented constitutional evolution process from Donoughmore Constitution of 1931 which was substantially revised through the Soulbury constitution of 1948 through which Sri Lanka attained independence and parliamentary democracy to the constitution in 1971 in which can be found the genesis of the Tamil-Sinhala conflict. The Sinhala only act of 1956 and the abrogation of safeguards of minority rights present in the old Soulbury constitution from the new constitution further heightened the divide between the two.

The post-Anti-Tamil riots in 1983 phase saw the enactment of the Thirteenth Amendment which mandated the state to create provincial councils as a measure to accommodate the political aspirations of Tamil people. Post-2009, Sri Lanka has assured the promulgation of a new constitution as per the mandate that the present government headed by Maithripala Sirisena received in 2015. The new constitution is currently being drafted and it is well past its schedule which is causing much concern in political and academic circles.
In this backdrop, the article seeks to examine the relevance of the Thirteenth Amendment in the post-war scenario constitutional building process….

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