19 March 2021
NO BURQA; NO INDIAN VOTE AT UN
Yesterday’s Daily news reported as follows under the title ‘India assures of its support at UNHRC - Foreign Secretary’:
[Foreign Secretary Admiral Jayanath Colombage yesterday confirmed that India has assured Sri Lanka of its support to protect the country’s sovereignty during the UNHRC sessions.
“Being the superpower they are, Sri Lanka greatly appreciates their position,” he said speaking at the Third Digital Dialogue hosted by the Media Centre for National Development.
Speaking further, he said that when the UNHRC report on Sri Lanka was tabled, 21 countries spoke on Sri Lanka’s behalf. He added that many countries have rejected the resolution owing to the fact that issues deal with post-war, inter-political affairs that are outside the purview of the Council. Many countries agreed that the UNHRC has been politicised while certain Member States use the allegations as ammunition against individual countries.]
Sri Lankan government is recommending the closure of Islamic schools on the basis of the report on Easter Bombings. This is in breach of article 14(1) (e ) of the Sri Lankan Constitution, which is embedded in article 9. The two articles provide as follows:
[9. The Republic of Sri Lanka shall give to Buddhism the foremost place and accordingly it shall be the duty of the State to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana, while assuring to all religions the rights granted by Articles 10 and 14(1)(e).
14. (1) Every citizen is entitled to – (e) the freedom, either by himself or in association with others, and either in public or in private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching;]
Given that the UN is not Buddhist – it has to vote as per the provisions of article 14(1)(e). Be it in Sri Lankan Parliament or in the UN – the vote needs to be based on belief. Given that the party concerned is Sri Lanka, the voter needs to become Sri Lanka. Every law abiding state has the responsibility to ensure that the vote does not have the effect of breaching existing constitutional provisions that merge the mind of Sri Lanka, with wider world.
At the current time, the government is proposing to close Islamic schools. This would be in breach of Article 14(1)(e) of our Constitution. If India does vote in support of the Government that is proposing to act to ban burqa and outlaw Islamic schools, then India is limiting Sri Lanka to being Buddhist only.
To remain a Sovereign Nation – Sri Lanka needs to complete the triangle that confirms our sovereignty. If the government keeps Buddhist schools, and outlaws Islamic schools it is acting in breach of Universal protection that Article 14(1)(e) provides. In fact, that was the lesson we Tamils learnt. When India provided training to militants, to the extent the militants went beyond defence, to attack, India contributed to breaching the sovereignty of our Tamil community. This resulted in Tamil killing Tamil and eventually killing Political leaders. To the extent the LTTE saw itself as a ‘free’ movement and did what it did as per its conscience, one who is an heir of the LTTE cannot find fault with them. But those of us who are committed to remaining and operating within the law – be it as Tamils, Christians or Muslims – would uphold Sri Lanka’s Sovereignty in the form confirmed by the Sri Lankan constitution.
Both Tamils and Muslims went beyond and accepted training / Resourcing from those outside. This contributed to damaging the entitlement that we were a sovereign community. In Jaffna Tamil language of Maths, the independence of our community as depicted by a two parallel lines that would never meet was confirmed when we breached the sovereignty of Sri Lanka – confirmed by the constitution. We got scattered all over the world – including in the UK & Canada. Our Sovereignty as a community is confirmed only when we travel as two parallel lines – opposing each other and never meeting.
It is when LTTE supporters Oppose the law that they maintain their sovereignty. When they become seniors or juniors of those who operated within the law – say the likes of Justice Wigneswaran - they abandon their De Facto status. Likewise when the likes of Justice Wigneswaran accept senior or junior positions within the heirs of the LTTE – they are no longer in the law abiding group. I learnt from our cousin Mrs Rani Karthigesan Sinnathamby – that the foot without toe-ring has no authority to ‘tell’ the foot with toe-ring. Toe ring is worn by women whose chastity is confirmed to be strong. The ring is placed on the toe of the foot placed on the grinding stone, by the groom who bends down and touches the foot as a mark of respect of the character of the bride. The parallel of the toe-ring is the law-ring of sovereignty. The witnesses are those in the presence of whom the ring is worn. In the case of militants this is not the public but their own inner chambers. However much a man may love his mistress, his mistress cannot be shown as equal to the wife whom he married in the presence of community that he is committed to.
Indian Government is a lawfully elected government – committed to facilitating Equal footing to all practitioners of their respective religions. If it therefore voted in favour of Sri Lankan government that is confirming now – its commitment to eliminating opposition – then one is entitled to conclude that such a government is also in de facto mode – promoting separatism – in this instance – Hinduism foremost. The vote will inform us whether the BJP government is weakening its own commitment to Democracy that Gandhi fought so hard to establish.
To the extent LTTE is proscribed, its punishment will continue to happen and the good value would emerge – as Vibhoothi / holy ash. If the proscription is removed prematurely before purification – they would oppose lawful governments – especially those who are not committed to the law. First among them would be the Sri Lankan government that defeated them outside the protection of law. Next would be Indian government that is partnering Sri Lankan government. If the UK government removes the proscription then LTTE would be free to start the fight again.