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The Politics of Duplicity – A coup manqué.

 

                             Book review - by K.T.Rajasingham    

                                                           

Duplicity Syndrome:

 

Duplicity syndrome is not something new in the Sri Lankan political arena. The epidemic has already devoured the country’s body-politics. The endemic growth is endogenous in the midst of the ruling elites. Duplicity is considered the surreal way to win the support of the Sinhalese voters. To contain it, is highly an impossible task. 

 

The syndrome lurked its ugly head in 1815, when the Sinhalese chiefs of Kandy, betrayed the last King to bring the Kingdom under the British suzerainty and drive the Tamils away. Ratwatte, the Dissave (chief) of Matale, was one amongst those chiefs, who supported the British against his own sovereign, to bring the last Kingdom under the British rule, as well to force the Tamils out of the region. (Please read Anecdotes for further details)

 

The Politics of Duplicity:

The last episode, so far staged, was the doomed peace negotiation, between the Sri Lankan Government led by Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Recently, Dr. Anton Balasingham undertook a belated attempt to show that, the Duplicity syndrome continues to rare its ugly head, unabatedly.

 

“The Politic of Duplicity” – Re-visiting the Jaffna Talks, is a recently published book on the rescinded peace talks is claimed to be the official version of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Geriatric Dr. Anton Balasingham, the author, was a former journalist, but since 1983, has assumed an envious role, the political advisor and theoretician of the Tamil Tiger movement.

 

Balasingham had critically examined the ill-fated peace talks held between the Sri Lankan Government led by Chandrika Kumaratunge and the Liberation Tigers, during 1994-95, in Jaffna. Further, it is claimed that, Balasingham had explored the causes for the failure of the peace effort, with the view to bring to light, the hidden motives and under-currents that underline Sinhala-Buddhist hegemony. The study is said to have offered fascinating insights into the complex minds of the protagonists involved in this intractable ethnic conflict.

 

The author indicates that the LTTE adopted a “Two Track” strategy:

 

Existential – Issues which were urgent, immediate, day-to-day problems caused by set of bans and restrictions, which required the utmost attention;

When giving reasons for the collapse of the Peace Talks, Anton Balasingham, the man behind the scene, gives the inside story as follows:

“The LTTE had justifiable reasons and complaints to withdraw from the negotiating process. -

 

This was the first time, the world officially hears about the thinking behind the LTTE’s withdrawal from the peace talks. In the light of the arguments given above, there is no shred of doubt that, LTTE’s withdrawal was justifiable and an act to salvage the honor of the Tamil people.

 

International community has to bear in mind that, LTTE is not a terrorist organization as propagated by the Sri Lankan government, but a popularly recognized freedom movement, struggling for the freedom of the Tamils. Velupillai Prabakaran  - the Tiger supremo, is considered - the soul and heart of the revolutionary aspirations of the Tamils, not only for those living and languishing within Sri Lanka, but to the Tamils living all over the world. As an independent minded political commentator, journalist and writer, I have no hesitation in declaring the above two statements boldly and publicly, to clarify any lingering doubts about the LTTE and its legendary leader.

 

Chandrika’s constitutional authority to initiate negotiation.

 

The talks between the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan Government began earnestly, for the first time after the tenth parliamentary general elections, held on 16 August 1994. It dragged on, until the final collapse on 19 April 1995, when the deadline set by the Tigers expired. I wish to go into the initial stages of the peace negotiation, when Chandrika Kumaratunge was the Prime Minister of the country.

 

After the tenth parliamentary general elections, President Dingri Banda Wijetunge, according to the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka – 1978, Clause 30 (1) was the virtual Head of State, Head of the Executive, Head of the Government and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Under clause 43(2), the President shall be a member of the cabinet of ministers and shall be the head of the cabinet of ministers, and D.B. Wijetunge, undoubtedly, remained as the Head of State. He also retained the Minister of Defence portfolio,  - Constitutional clause 44(2).

 

According to clause 43 (3) of the Constitution, the President, appointed Chandrika Kumaratunge, as the Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, Planning, Ethnic affairs and National integration.  The President used his discretionary authority vested on him under the supreme law of the land   to appoint leading members of her People’s Alliance Party (PA) as ministers. It must be borne in mind that, the constitution has not conferred, either any extra-ordinary executive privileges, or powers to the prime minister. She was just a minister, holding office at the pleasure of the President and nothing more or less. 

 

Unmindful of the limitation of powers enjoyed by the prime minister, the ill-fated peace talks were initiated, whilst Chandrika Kumaratunge was only a prime minister.

                                                                                                   

Earlier, Chandrika Kumaratunge’s People’s Alliance in its election manifesto pledged under its political agenda a few proposals regarding the resolution to the protracted ethnic conflict. Following are few of the cardinal themes highlighted in the PA’s manifesto:

 

 

The leader of the PA, after the parliamentary general elections, was projected and hailed - the Apostle of Peace. Unfortunately, up to date, the PA leadership has failed to translate into action, those cardinal themes, referred above.

 

Enamored by the PA’s policy declaration and the cabinet decision regarding the partial lifting of the economic embargo - virulently put in place and practiced by the United National Party (UNP) government -Velupillai Prabakaran the leader of the LTTE, issued a press statement on 2 September 1994, “welcoming Chandrika’s goodwill.” “In that statement, he announced his decision to release ten police detainees as ‘a reciprocal gesture of goodwill’. He urged Chandrika to lift the economic blockade totally, to create conditions of normalcy in the Tamil homeland. The LTTE leader went a step ahead and suggested for permanent ceasefire and unconditional talks.’

 

Chandrika’s entrenched views on the Ethnic issue:

 

Before delving into the rationale and compulsion behind such a voluntary press statement, expressing satisfaction over Chandrika’s decision to lift partially, the economic embargo, it is prudent to read the author’s encounter with Chandrika Kumaratunge in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, during the early part of 1986, from where the Tamil Tiger organization earlier operated. Detail description of the encounter is elaborately given in the first chapter, “Chandrika’s Peace Initiative, “ just after the author’s introductory note.

 

“The lady (Chandrika Kumaratunge) paid a visit to the political headquarters of the LTTE, at Indra Nagar, Adaiyar; Chennai, accompanied by her husband, Vijaya Kumaratunge and Ossie Abeyagunasekera of the Sri Lanka Mahajana Party.” To continue in the words of Balasingham –

 

“At that time of our encounter, Chandrika was not seriously involved in Sri Lankan politics, but showed intense curiosity over the political aims and objectives of the LTTE. For nearly an hour, I gave a thorough theoretical exposition of the Tigers political project, arguing our case for political independence and statehood, based on the right to self-determination of the Tamil people. While her husband listened politely with patience, Chandrika was argumentative.  Presenting a pluralistic model of Sri Lanka’s social formation, comprising of different ethnic groupings, she rejected the conception of Tamil nation and homeland. Chandrika’s thesis, in essence was that, the Tamil problem was a minority issue, not a nationality question and that Tamils were not entitled to the right to self-determination and statehood.”

 

Furthermore, “Chandrika objected by arguing that, the Tamils could not exercise the right to secede within a unitary state. --- The lady was obstinate and single minded. She operated with a different mind-set, from a different ideological universe. I could notice an inherent resistance in her to tolerate any alternative themes other than her well entrenched pluralist conception of Sri Lankan society in which all ethnic minorities have to adjust and associate with the majority.”

 

By painting a clear picture of the mindset of Chandrika Kumaratunge, the author has failed to relate the necessity, the rationale behind, to take her into confidence and the political party led by her.  Furthermore, the wisdom and the rationale for recollecting and recording the details about his encounter with Chandrika Kumaratunge are very intriguing.  The book containing statement of this nature was published during the height of the eleventh parliamentary general elections, become more egregious.

 

Nominees for Talks:

 

According to Balasingham’s assertion, “the press statement” led to the establishment of the official communication between the LTTE and the Government. Chandrika Kumaratunge, the prime minister who welcome the LTTE’s desire for a cease-fire and their willingness for unconditional talks. She suggested Prabakaran to nominate his representatives to begin negotiations with (my) her representatives. Four representatives were nominated by the LTTE for the proposed negotiations, followed by Chandrika nominating her own representatives.

 

Now, it become compelling to point out that, about the negotiating party, the Tamil Tigers has failed to take into consideration an important aspect, the basic norms regarding negotiation. During the early period of the negotiation, Chandrika Kumaratunge was merely a prime minister without any overriding executive powers. Meanwhile, she was the leader of the PA; the political party that established majority by one vote to topple UNP, but the President who was the Head of State and of the Government was from the United National Party.

 

When she requested either to name LTTE representatives for negotiation or when she named her negotiators, as prime minister, she did not forward a copy of the cabinet resolution to inform that the matter was discussed in the cabinet of ministers meeting and approved. She in her personal capacity, as the head of the political party, should have invited the LTTE for negotiation and not on behalf of a Government, when she was not constitutionally empowered to do so. Unfortunately, the invitation for the initial negotiation was misconstrued. Chandrika Kumaratunge’s ploy worked and the LTTE came forward to negotiate.

 

Without considering the legal standing of Chandrika Kumaratunge in the government led by the Dingri Banda Wijetunge, the UNP executive President, the LTTE wrote back to Chandrika Kumaratunge on 23 September, 2000, “we are glad to inform you that your nominees are welcome in Jaffna, any time –.“  When the Tiger Supremo informs that he was glad to welcome Chandrika Kumaratunge’s representatives, then the matter ends immediately. Why should some one wail over it all over again?

 

When Chandrika Kumaratunge wrote to Prabakaran on 21 September, 1994,”I give below the names of the government representatives: “ - the LTTE has failed to request the Prime Minister to provide copies of the resolution adopted in the meeting of the cabinet of ministers, authorizing her to undertake such negotiation. In addition, the LTTE has failed to urge her to send authenticated copy of the resolution approved by the cabinet of ministers, nominating those negotiators to represent the government to negotiate with the Tamil Tigers.

 

According to The Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka Clause 43 (1) - “There shall be a Cabinet of Ministers charged with the direction and control of the Government of the Republic, which shall be collectively responsible and answerable to Parliament.”

 

Failing to demand for the copies of the above mentioned cabinet resolutions authenticating Chandrika Kumaratunge’s authority to negotiate on behalf of the government and that of the so-called government negotiators authority to represent the government that was led by Dingri Banda Wijetunge, President and Head of State, was a serious lapse.

 

Therefore, any amount of recriminatory rhetoric alleging Chandrika Kumaratunge for dispatching low-keyed negotiation team amounts to a belated wisdom. Earlier, when the same subject was brooked, Thamilselvan the leader of the LTTE’s negotiation team in an interview with the “Sunday Leader” the Internet edition, dated 6 September 1998, had already dealt about this subject. Excerpts of the interview is given below:

 

“We have come to realize today that the President (later at the Presidential election Chandrika Kumaratunge was elected as the President) did not devote herself to peace with sincerity. Who formed her peace team? Her personal accountant, her personal architect and her private secretary. Let us for a moment assumes that, she picked them to be in her team of negotiators; because of the confidence, she reposed on them. Where are they today? Her personal accountant - Rajan Asirwatham and personal architect - Naveen Gunaratne, now have been removed from service by her. Their removal means that, she can no longer trust them. The very facts of her sending a group of persons, whom she herself cannot trust to win our confidence, makes us think that her peace endeavor was nothing more than a joke.”

 

Balasingham repeats those sale allegations.  “We are deeply disappointed when we received the list of government nominees for talks. The team consisted of a lawyer, a civil servant, a bank manager and an architect.”

 

Future procedural norms – a compelling suggestion:

 

Belated allegations will not undo those wrongs. Now it is history. LTTE is one of the best militant organizations in the world. No doubt about it, but their exposure to real politics is limited. Diplomacy is something different from negotiation. Diplomatic approach means skilful approach at a negotiating table and handling the affairs without arousing hostility.  It must be understood that, this type of diplomatic negotiations demand tact and wisdom and not rhetorical flourishes.

 

Normally, in any bilateral negotiation, or conference, the participants are expected to provide their bio-data. Those parties responsible for arranging those talks normally provide curriculum vitae of the participants. LTTE could have demanded for the same.

 

Chandrika Kumaratunge, by being merely the prime minister, took the Tigers, and the whole country for a ride, by assuming a preposterous position - Head of State, to initiate talks, for and behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka.

 

Chandrika Kumaratunge was not the first Sinhalese leader to have circumvented the constitution to hoodwink the Tamils. Even earlier, when the leaders of the Tamil Arasu Kadchchi (Federal Party) had discussions and negotiations with D S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, Dudley Senanayake, and Srimavo Bandaranaike, they failed to demand copies of the resolutions adopted in the Cabinet of Ministers’ meeting, before starting such negotiations. Presidents, as well as the Prime Minister, are both creatures of the country’s Constitution. Therefore, they are constitutionally bound to convince the cabinet of ministers, receive their approval and authorization, before entering into such negotiations.

 

Therefore, in any future invitation by the Sri Lankan government for a proposed negotiations, the party or parties invited for such negotiations has to consider demanding:

 

 

At present, we hear of the on-going Norwegian initiative. We hear lot of contradictory rhetoric. It is high time such documents mentioned above are demanded. Above all tact and diplomacy has to be adopted.

 

An aggrieved party, should never in the future, come forward for negotiation at the behest of any Head of State. This would be a futile exercise. President, Prime Minister and Government leaders are all creatures of the constitution under which they are empowered, or else they are mere mortals alike any one of us. Therefore, party to any future invitation for negotiation, has to urge that, such invitation has to be done according to the constitution that the government follows and comply accordingly and not according to the whims and fancies of an individual leader.

 

Gleanings from the Book:

 

Anton Balasingham, when describing about the modalities adopted about the negotiations, describes: “Adopting peculiar modality hitherto unknown in the discourse of conflict resolution, the Jaffna peace talks were held on two levels. On the one level, there were direct negotiations between the accredited representatives of the Sri Lanka government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.  On the other level, there was indirect dialogue between the leadership of the government and the LTTE in the form of exchange of letters.

 

Balasingham displayed his former journalistic skill, when he compiled on chronological order, the 70 odd letters exchanged between the Government and the LTTE leadership, details of the negotiations and the thinking of the LTTE, objectively, very earnestly and judiciously. With belated comments, it has to be recorded that the brinkmanship approach adopted in the book, reflects to an extent, the contradictory postures. It is highly unfortunate that the book exposed author’s diplomatic ability, sagacity, suavity and his political clairvoyance.

 

According to Balasingham, “ Since the Government was represented by a low-key team, without any authority to make decisions, the direct engagement produces no positive results and the correspondence between the leaderships became significant and determinant. As the head of the Sri Lankan state, Chandrika Kumaratunge corresponded with the LTTE leader, Mr. Velupillai Pirabakaran. In the capacity of the Deputy Defence Minister, Col. Ratwatte also exchanged letters with the LTTE leader, particularly on the matters of security and cessation of hostilities. There were also letters of exchange between Mr. Balapatabendi, the head of the Sri Lanka delegation and Mr. Tamilselvan, who led the LTTE negotiating team.”

 

The author describes lucidly, the four round of talks, the LTTE had with the Government representatives.

 

 

Balasingham Should have avoided the following comments:

 

 When Balasingham commenting about the letter dated 7 December 1994, written by Col. Anuraddha Ratwatte to Prabakaran –

 

 

When commenting about the decision to implement the deadline –

 

 

The strength of the LTTE, as perceived by the international community, as well as by the Sri Lankan Government, is its clearly developed strategy of keeping the whole world guessing - a tacit conjectural posture. When recording about dissents and other matters, it might tend to erode the strength so far the organization maintained in the diplomatic and military arena.

 

Despite few minor irritable lapses, the book was an endevour to maintain in record the doomed negotiation, the LTTE had with the Sri Lankan Government, led by Chandrika Kumaratunge. The book had succeeded in placing in record, the unbelievable nature of the Sinhalese leadership. This was a minor episode in the major tragic drama – the ethnic conflict and Tamils’ struggle for their own cherished homeland.

 

Though one could ignore some of the undiplomatic comments found in the book as minor irritants, the book would serve as a written record. Though generations to come might be dumbfounded with disbelief at the diplomatic debacle, but would always stand in good stead to learn, how not to negotiate undiplomatically. International students of the Ethnic conflict, if they wished to be acquainted with the thinking of LTTE and its leader, then this book would serve to enlighten them. I urge that, every Tamil should buy and own a copy for posterity.

 

Tragic and heart rendering episodes:  Anecdote – 01.

 

“—Don William Adrian Dias Bandaranike, who happened to be present at the dramatic moment in the island’s history, when Kandy’s last king was taken prisoner, by his own nobles, in 1815, and handed over to a British army of invasion. John D’Oyly, an officer of considerable diplomatic skill, has masterminded the British advance into the hills. Bandaranaike had come up from the British settlements, in order to assist the officers of the invading army, as their interpreter. King Sri Vikrama Rajasingha of Kandy, was reported to be in Dumara, and the British forces (writes my uncle Sir Paul Pieris in his book Tri Sinhala: The last phase, 1796-1815) were so deployed as to cut off all chance of escape from there. A Kandyan chief named Eknelligoda approached the house at the head of his men, and Sir Paul cites Bandaranaike’s lively account of the events that followed:

 

The doors were closed and an Appuhami of the Stepena ge or Bed Chamber was on guard outside, spear in hand. He challenged Eknelligoda, whom he recognized, and followed the challenge with a spear-thrust aimed with such force, that as Eknelligoda avoided the blow, the weapon shivered to fragments against a stone. The Appuhamy was immediately seized and hustled away and Eknelligoda walking up to the door called on the King with whom were two of the Queens, to open it; this he would not do … nor did he produce the Golden Sword, the emblem of the Kingship, though a demand was made for it. The door was therefore battered down and the men rushed in and a disgusting scene followed as the golden ornaments and the very clothes were torn off the persons of the royal captives.’

 

It was at this juncture, the Bandaranaike, who was outside the Royal Bed Chamber, exercised his diplomatic skills. He called to the Queens to come out, speaking to them in their native Tamil, and addressing them by respectful term of Ammaayarum. The unfortunate young women emerged, writes Sir Paul:

 

Reeling pitifully from side to side – like fowls whose necks had been twisted, was Dais’s graphic description – and clung to him on either side in an agony of terror, crying out ‘Oh protect us.’ Blood was streaming from the lobes of their ears, which had been lacerated in tearing away their earrings, and crushing some medical leaves, he stanched the bleeding. In the meanwhile, Eknelligoda was reviling the King in the coarsest terms and ordering his men to fetch some wild creepers with which to bind him out. Dias could not restrain his indignation.

 

‘You people,’ he hotly protested, ‘up to this hour, worshipped the King as father and god, but mine have long been under foreign governments and are not expected to show him same reverence. All that is needed is his safe custody, why then insult, injure and bind him?’ at the same time offering his own shawl if it was considered necessary to secure his limbs. Eknelligoda angrily retorted that his advice was not wanted; on his orders, the King was rightly bound, and as he was unable to walk, he was dragged and pushed along and thrown on the ground. - Pages 11-12– Relative Merits by Yasmine Goonaratne – a member of the Late S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike’s clan.

 

The above claim regarding the arrest of the last King of Kandy, was confirmed by the Ceylon Government Gazette Extraordinary, published on Wednesday 22 February 1815, as follows:

 

 

Bulletin of Intelligence                                

Devout thanks are due to the supreme disposer of events who enabled His Majesty’s Forces in this Colony in the short space of forty days without loss of a single individual, to overturn a Tyrannical Government, which for several generations has oppressed the people of the Interior Provinces in the Island of Ceylon. (Sri Lanka)

 

A dispatch has just reached His Excellency the Governor and Commander of the Forces from

Mr. D’Oyly, communicating the important and pleasing Intelligence, that the King of Kandy with two of His Wives was yesterday surrounded by the people of Dombara in conjunction with some armed Kandyans, sent by the Adigar Eyhelapola, in the precincts of the village of Medde Maha Nuwera, in the Province of Dombara and taken prisoner. His mother and two remaining wives were at Hanweylle (a short distance from the same place) and had been sent for with conveyances and an escort.

 

Further particulars are not mentioned nor will His Excellency defer for their arrival this publick (sic) expression of congratulation towards His Sovereign His Royal Highness the Prince Regent and the British nation on an event so auspicious to the cause of humanity, justice and good Government, so honourable to the British arms and so promising of increasing prosperity to this Colony in an accession of Territory population produce, trade and resources on the spontaneous invitation and willing And contended people.

 

In gratitude to the Almighty, for so speedy and happy an issue of an undertaking which in many views appeared in no slight degree arduous, and in humble anticipation of those sentiments of humane consideration which would not fail on an occasion of general rejoicing to occupy the Breast of His Royal Highness in favour of poor individuals suffering the deprivation of liberty for petty offences, it is His Excellency’s immediate intention that all persons who on this day to remain detained in the Goals of the Colony on account of Fines not exceeding 100 Rix Dollars, with forthwith receive a full and free remission of such fines. Also that all persons under sentence or commitment of any provincial judge or Sitting Magistrate for the purpose of finding surety of good behaviors, or to keep peace, shall be discharged of such Sentence or commitment, unless it shall appear by the Oaths of two credible witnesses that the release of any such person or persons would be dangerous to the public, which prisoners must on such proof be excepted and remain detained for His Excellency’s further orders on a full consideration of their respective cases.

British Head Quarters’

Kandy 19th February 1815.

By His Excellency’s Command.                                      

(Signed) J.Sutherland

Dep. Sec. To Govt.

 

Anecdote No: - 02.

 

In 1815, when the Sinhalese chieftains entered into an agreement with the British after the capture of Kandy. They deviously plotted and entered a clause into the agreement, debarring the Tamils from entering the Kandyan province:

 

Ceylon Government Gazette Extraordinary – Monday 6th March 1815

 

                                      Official Bulletin

 

                                                                               British Head Quarters

Kandy 2nd March 1815.

This day a solemn conference was held in the Audience Hall of the Palace of Kandy, between His Excellency the Governor and Commander of the Forces on behalf of his Majesty and of His Royal Highness the Prince Regent on the one part, and the Adikars, Dissaves, and other principal chiefs of the Kandyan Provinces on the other part, on behalf of the people, and in presence of the Mohotolahs, Coraals, Vidans and other subordinate Headmen from the different provinces and great concourse of inhabitants.

 

A Public Instrument of Treaty, prepared in conformity to conditions previously agreed on, for establishing His Majesty’s Government in the Kandyan Provinces, was produced and publickly (sic) read in English and Cingalese and unanimously presented to.

PROCLAMATION:

 

At a convention held on the second day of March in the year of Christ 1815, and the Cingalese year 1736, at the Palace in the City of Kandy, between His Excellency and Lieutenant-General Robert Brownrigg, Governor and Commander in Chief in and over the British Settlements and Territories in the Island of Ceylon, acting in the name and on behalf of His Majesty George the Third King, And His Royal Highness George Prince of Wales Regent, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, on the one part, and the Adigars, Dessaves and other principal Chiefs of the Kandyan Provinces on behalf of the Inhabitants, and in presence of the Mahattales, Corals Vidahns and other subordinate Headmen from the several Provinces and of the people then and there assembled on, the other part, it is agreed and established as follows:

 

(There were 12 clauses in the Kandyan Proclamation and Clause No: 3 deal with the exclusion of the Tamils from the Kandyan provinces, urging for their expulsion from the Provinces, as follows)

 

3. That all male persons, being or pretending to be relations of the late Raja Sri Wickerma Raja Singhe, either by affinity or by blood and whether in ascending, descending or collateral line, are hereby declared enemies to the government of the Kandyan provinces, and excluded and prohibited from entering those provinces on any pretence whatever, without a written permission for that purpose by the authority of the British Government, under the pains and penalties of martial law, which is hereby declared to be in force for that purpose; and all male persons of the Malabar  caste, now expelled from the penalties, prohibited from returning, except with the permission before mentioned.

                                                          

Meaning of the term “Malabar” - The Portuguese were the first Europeans to use the term Malabar to mean all Tamils. The Dutch took up the tale and carried forward the use of the term Malabar as synonymous with Tamil. (Page 210, Jaffna Tamils by: Dr. D.M.Rasanagaiam)]

 

The third clause in the Kandyan Convention clearly shows that the Sinhalese Chiefs demanded from their newly found British Colonial masters for the expulsion of the Tamils from the Kandyan Provinces. One of the signatories to the Convention was Dissave Ratwatte of Matale, the descendant of Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge – the President of Sri Lanka.

 

 Anecdote No: - 03.

 

A few days later, in February 1958, a large group of saffron-robed Buddhist monks occupied the lawn of the Prime Minister’s residence at Rosemead Place, in Colombo and demanded that the B-C Pact (Bandaranaike – Chelvanayagam Pact) is torn up. The Prime Minister, S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike appeared and, after parleying with them, announced that he was abrogating the Pact since the Federal Party has committed a breach of it by launching the anti-SRI campaign against the Government. It was so simple as all that. But it was no surprise.

 

Whatever its shortcomings might have been, the B-C Pact was in the nature of an international treaty between the Sinhalese and the Tamil nations. For, what is an international treaty if it is not an arrangement by which two or more peoples solemnly agree to terms and conditions under which they settle their disputes, avoid future friction, and continue their separate lives in peace and mutual friendship? The aim of the B-C Pact was just that. – Page 135 - The Fall and Rise of the Tamil Nation – by V.Navaratnam – former member of Parliament, and a member who participated in the negotiation of the B – C Pact, on behalf of the Federal party. 

                                    

  Later, under late Srimavo Bandaranaike – the mother of the present President –the agreement between the Sri Lanka Freedom Party S.L.F.P – Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchchi in 1960, to be crowned in 1994-1995 by Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge.

 

Anecdote No: 04

 

The SLFP (Sri Lanka Freedom Party) promised to implement the B_C Pact if the Federal Party would help to defeat the UNP (United National Party) minority Government and enable Srimavo Bandaranaike to be appointed Prime Minister. The Federal Party agreed and Dudley Senananyake was defeated when he faced the new House. However, contrary to what the Party expected on the assurances of its Colombo advisers, Mrs. Bandaranaike was not called to form a new Government. Instead, Dudley Senanayake had Parliament dissolved and forced another General Election.

 

The fresh General Election was held in July 1960, the second in the course of one year, at which Srimavo Bandaranaike was returned to Parliament with an absolute majority for her party, the SLFP. She became Prime Minister in her own right and needed nobody has to help to rule the country as she pleased for the next five years.

 

From the very outset of its term in office, the Government of Srimavo Bandaranaike made it clear that the SLFP had not changed one whit from its well-known stance of Sinhalese nationalism. It had put on a veneer of accommodation of the Tamils only to inveigle the Federal Party into an agreement to suit its own policy strategy to defeat its rival, the UNP. Once again, it proved the honouring the solemn pledge given to an important sector of the nation was still not its way of handling national affairs. The Federal Party made several attempts, in series of meetings and discussion with the Prime Minister and some of her colleagues to get them to implement the B_C Pact as promised, but they could not be persuaded to keep their word. The government appeared to make the leaders and their Colombo advisers understand that it was now under no political compulsion to make peace with Federal Party and that promises were given and broken according to the exigencies of politics. Page 155  - 156 - The Fall and Rise of the Tamil Nation – by V.Navaratnam

 

Chelvanayagam issued a statement which read, ‘This is another fraud perpetuated on the Tamil-speaking people by the present government. At the time of passing of the Sinhala Only Act, the late Prime Minister (SWRD Bandaranaike) as well as the Minister of Finance gave the assurance that the implementation of the Act would be effected in a manner so as not to cause any hardship to those public servants who were recruited through a medium other than Sinhala. Those assurances given both in and out of parliament. The delegation from our party which met the Prime Minister (Srimavo Bandaranaike) and some of the ministers recently pointed out those assurances and urged the government to honour them. But this Government has, on its own admission, gone back on the assurances given by the late Prime Minister. Page  - 112 – The Murder of a Moderate by T.Sabaratnam.