10 November 2018
If Tamils are Neutral, Truth says they Assimilate
[Tamil National People’s Front Leader Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam yesterday urged the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to be neutral without being partisan to either side for the sake of Tamil people in the North and the East.] – Daily News article ‘TNA should be neutral’
As Opposition to the TNA , TNPF has the responsibility to become the side that TNA opposes. A Tamil citizen without portfolio has the authority to speak from either side. But Political leaders have the duty to take positions. Tamil people of Sri Lanka and not just North and East of the current structure – are represented by the TNA. Otherwise no Tamil politician has the authority to expect any contributions through themselves to Lankan Tamils, from the Tamil Diaspora and wider world.
If TNA takes neutral position – then TNPF has the duty to take the position of the party that it identifies most with, at the national level. But TNPF has the duty to interpret the law (constitution in this instance) as per its own principles and values and take the side of the party that is closest to its interpretation. In my case that has been the side led by Mr Ranil Wickremesighe. We are not representatives of those driven by local faith alone. We get educated to become part of professional communities which are then integrated with our local environments through us. Mr Ponnambalam has a rich heritage from his own family in the legal profession. He has the duty to interpret as per that heritage. The best example of such a merger is Gandhi himself.
TNPF may not hold any seats in National Parliament. But its duty to the people who voted for them is to show the ‘other’ side to TNA – so one could work out the full picture through the leaders’ presentations based on principles and values. Ultimately, for the voters and other investors the value is how they govern at their respective local levels.
As intimated to our Northern Sri Lankan lawyer yesterday, through email, with copy to Mr Wigneswaran as well as Mr Ponnambalam, the Registrar of Mallakam District Court says that a litigant has to move a motion in Court through a lawyer even to know the current situation in regards to a legal matter. Mr Ponnambalam is demonstrating that he is against this. As per the above mentioned article for example:
[Ponnambalam was of the view that the TNA should not think of the benefits of the party hierarchy when a decision is taken with regard to the present situation in the country.]
Agree that benefits should not drive policy decisions. The ‘right’ policy would naturally deliver the benefits to all concerned. But as a lawyer is Mr Ponnambalam aware of the courts in Northern Province denying the litigants Equal Opportunity to participate in the Court experience through simple administrative processes? The lack of lay litigant participation evolves as militancy by some members of the public who push / threaten the judges to deliver as per their emotional demands. The reason for this disorder is the ‘possessiveness’ of the structure as if it were a collection of benefits.
As highlighted by professionals during this Constitutional crisis – we need civil activists to make up for the negligence of politicians to participate in Public life as ordinary citizens without political portfolios. It’s like the monarch incognito to find out how the ordinary citizen felt about the monarch. It is because I do this in Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka that I identify with their needs as if they were mine and they continue to seek advice. The folks in Vattukoddai for example state ‘If this happens to you with lawyers – imagine what our plight is?’ I was appalled by the serious lack of order by the lawyers appointed by the University of Jaffna and the distance that the University Administrators kept from the inquiry – during an inquiry after an academic was dismissed without following due process. This is the parallel of the dismissal of the duly appointed Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.
A People’s revolution must happen before such a move. Then that would be a natural exercise of the Sovereignty of the People to preserve their Sovereignty. Citizens need to be in pain for a long time due to such regime – to warrant such a revolution.
Between the two sides Mr Rajapaksa’s side demonstrated such perpetration and hence any official representative of Tamils has the duty to vote against such a leader and not remain neutral – which amounts to sitting on the fence. Ordinary Tamils have already done so against Mr Sirisena’s decisions. That must be respected at all times.
If we stay neutral – then we assimilate due to dependence on local political leaders. We need to take a firm stand through the law – to demonstrate our diversity and therefore ability to integrate.