(Text of Letter Sent to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa by the Tamil National Alliance Leader Rajavarothyam Sampanthan on August 14th 2021)
Member of Parliament
B12, Mahagamasegara Mawatha,
14th August 2021
His Excellency President Gotabaya Rajapaksa,
President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka,
The Presidential Secretariat,
The New Constitution
By letter dated 07/06/2021 I was informed that your Excellency and the Tamil National Alliance would meet on 16th of June 2021 at 4pm at the Presidential Secretariat. On the 15th evening I was informed by telephone that the meeting was postponed and that an early date would be given for the meeting soon, this was confirmed by a further telephone call the next morning. I have subsequently
received two letters informing me that the said meeting would be soon re-fixed for an early date. I have received no further communication. I hereby inform your Excellency, that whenever Your Excellency so decides, we will meet with Your Excellency.
May I state that the following, our country since its independence has thus far had three different Constitutions.
1). The Constitution framed before independence by the Government in the United Kingdom based on their own constitutional practices.
This has now changed substantially. Wide powers have been devolved to both Scotland and Northern Ireland, both of which are historically inhabited by Scottish and Irish people with their own independent identities. Each of these territories now have their own independent legislatures and Executives Chief Minister and Cabinet of Ministers. They are governed within the frame work of the United Kingdom as per the democratic verdicts of their respective people delivered at regular democratic processes. This is what the Tamil people with their own independent identity have claimed in their areas of historical habitation within a united undivided Sri Lanka through their democratic verdicts for over the past six decades.
2). The 1972 First Republican Constitution enacted within two years by a majority party which was able to muster a two third majority in Parliament without looking for consensus. The Tamil people did not subscribe to the making of the 1972 Constitution.
3). The 1978 Second Republican Constitution enacted within less than a month, by a majority party which was able to muster a two thirds majority in Parliament without looking for consensus. The Tamil people did not subscribe to the making of the 1978 Constitution.
Since 1978 we have been governed under the 1978 2nd Republican Constitution, though this Constitution has been rejected by the people who are sovereign, at every National Election since 1994. We have thus been ruled under a Constitution that does not bear the will or the consent of the people. The Tamil people have since 1956 in their historical habitation rejected both the 1972 and 1978 First and Second Republican Constitution, and they too have been governed without their will or consent.
The above constitute violations of international covenants and instruments to which Sri Lanka has acceded and accepted.
After the anti-Tamil pogrom of 1983 India offered her good offices to resolve the national issue in Sri Lanka, which Sri Lanka accepted and the Constitutional making processes commenced. Conferences, meetings, and discussions took place in Sri Lanka, India and abroad in foreign countries. The government of Sri Lanka political leaders and parties participated.
India, the Co – Chairs comprising Norway, Japan, The United States of America the European Union and other countries were involved. Several of them made public statements in regard to the processes. The Secretary General of the United Nations and the United Nations Human Rights Council were involved. The Sri Lankan government made several commitments to these bodies in public which
are all a matter of record and have to be fulfilled. I will not repeat the same because in my earlier letter I have reflected to same in detail.
The 13th Amendment to the Constitution was enacted in 1988 this was found to be inadequate and since 1988 every successive government has taken steps and agreed to build on the 13th Amendment to bring about meaningful devolution. There has been substantial consensus derived from these processes.
The Constitution making process should not be delayed any longer. The 1972 and 1978 constitutions took less than 2 years and one month respectively. The present process has been ongoing for more than the past thirty-two years.
I respectfully urge Your Excellency to ensure that the process is not delayed any longer.
Member of Parliament – Trincomalee
Leader Tamil National Alliance
Hon Mahinda Rajapaksha
Prime Ministers Office