Thursday, May 31, 2012

Advocating District Based devolution – an alternative approach

I was in for criticism when I disagreed with the Tamil homeland concept. It  is because I fundamentally do not agree with any kind of partition of a small country the size of Sri Lanka. I do not believe any community has the right to reserve a stretch of land and earmark it for them alone, though traditionally people of one community, be it religious based or racial based, feel safe in one area and so tend to buy homes in and around an area leading to the Sri Lankan phenomenon of Tamil or Muslim pockets in Sinhala majority areas and in some instances the converse also holds in Tamil majority areas. That is done merely for life style expediency as also evidenced by Roman Catholic pockets based around a church, in places of overwhelming Buddhist areas.

I believe administrative devolution on a District basis will help relieve many of the grouses of especially Tamil and Muslim people. The administrative language will then be the majority language in those areas and both Government Servants and the Police will by necessity have to be tri-lingual if they are to achieve promotions. I will consider an elected District Leader!

The fear with which minority communities live is what gives them sleepless nights. We as a country owe it to all, to prevent anyone from fear if they have not broken the law. That is a fundamental HUMAN RIGHT and we must protect it at all costs. Our society will disintegrate yet again if we cannot guarantee that for all our citizens and it is in this framework that I advocate the District system of local autonomy. Many of the homeland demands will just disappear once that problem is solved.

This huge minority complex the majority community suffers from egged on by some within the Buddhist clergy, is what is at the root of the problem. This inalienable right of the Sinhala Buddhist to this land is part of the reason people fear. To reduce this fear we must take the few within the Sinhala community who advocate this hatred and name and shame them. They can then live in the safe comfort of those who choose to follow them but with no voice in the national media to air hatred.

In a similar vein I would single out those on the Tamil and Muslim communities who also engage in this kind of divisive talk and put them in the same lot with the former. It would be nice to put all of them in one prison cell to see if they will get along, or if they emerge from it changed people respecting each other’s freedom to practice their own beliefs without impinging on other peoples turf or territory.

An alternative approach to those on the table, a home grown solution of sorts is required to clear the impasse now created. We will be in a suspended state of limbo until some group has the courage to come up with a different solution and use the free Media to propagate this view as quickly as possible so it can gain traction amongst people of all communities without delay as time is not on our side in this regards.

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