Tuesday 10 December 2019

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

10 December  2019


In Sri Lanka, we hear most Buddhist leaders actively promoting Buddhism. The real group that they are entitled to govern are Buddhists. When such leaders make decisions on behalf of non-Buddhists – it amounts to illegitimate governance.

This issue has surfaced in India through its Citizenship Amendment Bill which was passed by the lower house last night. As per this Bill - Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian - if they can prove that they are from Pakistan, Afghanistan or Bangladesh would be eligible to apply for citizenship even if they entered India illegally. As per Hindustan Times report ‘Sri Lankan group wants Citizenship Bill to include Tamil Hindus’ :

[Maravanpulavu K Sachitananthan, leader of the Sri Lankan Shiva Senai, a group of Hindus in the island nation, said the situation for Hindus in Sri Lanka was not different from their situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. But the bill has “conveniently ignored the 10,000-year-old history of the Hindus in Sri Lanka,” Sachitananthan said.]
I identify with the above claim by Mr Sachitananthan who is a well respected leader in the Tamil community – including the Australian Tamil community.

To my mind, any unlawful action against a non-Buddhist by a Buddhist officer by logic - amounts to persecution.  The fundamental requirement for one to govern over another is belief that they are Common. To the extent Buddhist  leaders confirm that their leadership is Sinhala –Buddhist leadership – they are effectively renouncing their ruling power over non-Sinhala-Buddhists. Despite that when they punish a non-Buddhist – and the latter hurts – it amounts to persecution.

It is easy and natural to promote good order through religious pathway. But then where the group includes those who are not covered by that belief – one needs to consciously use intellectual discrimination as per a law common to both. Prior to applying that law – the officer concerned needs to demonstrate affirmative action  taken to remove the religious advantage which usually precedes the knowledge of secular law. That is when there is an Equal start / Level playing field on which the secular picture I drawn by the respective parties.  I discovered this through my own experience here in Australia – where according to my discovery- the officers concerned who usually took me to be Indian treated me as a junior-in-law.

If indeed Indian Government has good reason for the purpose of  Regional leadership  to take affirmative action through the proposed amendment to the law – as per Dharma it has the responsibility to include Sri Lankan Hindus in the list. If Sri Lankan government did not declare that its leadership was Sinhala-Buddhist – then any unlawful action would not qualify as having the effect of religious persecution.

Section 9 (1) of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Australia) states as follows:

[It is unlawful for a person to do any act involving a distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of any human right or fundamental freedom in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.]

It usually is difficult to know the purpose unless we are of common belief. Hence ‘effect of’ which could be calculated as per the outcomes.

It is not good enough for Indian Prime Minister Modi to recommend the implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution. He now has the opportunity to include Sri Lanka’s minorities by religion,  in the list. The moral obligation exists due to the depth of Hindu belief in Sri Lanka. If appropriate action is not taken – Buddhism becomes senior to Hinduism in Sri Lanka and this is false – considering Gautama Buddha was born Hindu. In the region – Hindu is the foremost religion.

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