Revoking 13th Amendment in Sri Lanka and Elections in the US.

Abstract: A centralized govt in Sri Lanka is necessary maintain Law and order. Devolution of power to provinces may be stepping stone to de facto Federalism and a client Federal state to India. The cautionary example is the US and its separation of Federal and State powers. The separation of US and State power has lead to inconsistent implementation of law and order, including even minor issues, such as wearing of masks.

In 1987 under duress from India under Rajiv Gandhi, the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord was signed.  Part of  the accord was the Devolution of land, the police and financial powers to the Provinces.   This pretty much de facto  Federalism was incorporated as the 13th Amendment (13A) into the Sri Lankan  Constitution.

The main issue with de facto Federalism is that it might be either a stepping stone for separate North and East state and or a client state/province of India.  As if to prove that fear in February 2016, the Chief Minister of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran sought India’s direct intervention in the complete implementation of the amendment.

There is a call from some of the minority Tamil population (12% of Total) to merge the North and East Provinces creating a province that would encompass 28.78% of Sri Lankas land area and 11.9% of the total population.  The minority Tamil population in this merged province would be 1,597,276 ( 987,692 + 609,584).   That is a 7% Tamil population of all of  Sri Lanka.   The two merged provinces have total population of 2,610,143 (1,058,762+1,551,381), making the Tamil minority 61%.

Land Area and Population North and East Provinces
Northern Province Land Area 8,884 km2 (3,430 sq mi) (13.54% of total area),
Population 1,058,762 ((5.22% of total pop.)
Tamil Population: 987,692 (93.29%)
Eastern Province: Land: 9,996 km2 (3,859 sq mi) (15.24% of total area)
1,551,381 (7.66% of total pop)
Tamil Population: 609,584 (39.29%)

Cautionary Example: The US

In the US, excess Police Brutality on Black and Hispanics has resulted in protests,  some peaceful and some marred by violence and looting.  There is circumstantial evidence that Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests have been co-opted for political purposed.   CIA manual psychological regime change and Color revolution tactics are permeating into US politics.

Prominent opinion makers like David Brooks in a NY Times opinion piece advocates a color revolution if Trump wins. .

It turns out, amid the existential crisis, there really is a group of sober people who are militant about America, who can see reality unblinkered by the lens of partisanship, and who are finally compelled to organize.

If Trump claims a victory that is not rightly his, a few marches in the streets will not be an adequate response. There may have to be a sustained campaign of civic action, as in Hong Kong and Belarus, to rally the majority that wants to preserve democracy, that isolates those who would undo it.

Even some immigrant Sri Lankans, are inciting violence. A Sri Lankan, who works at the Pentagon and should know better as minority Tamil in SL says

against Trump is so high that many of us feel like physically beating up any Trump supporter we come across.
Imagine the energy on the far left then. The Trump enabling mafia is going to learn a painful lesson; for the unpardonable sin of foisting Trump on the country.

Some other Sri Lankans may not advocate violence, but

If people want to be relevant how about striving to  be the largest tax paying ethnicity? Betcha your lives will matter then.

Me: As usual you make supercilious, new immigrant, they as in Black and Hispanic are “looser” type remarks. When were you and yours ever in the forefront defending the US, other than as an armchair warrior.
Me: I guess you dont think Black and Hispanic are part of the “Brave” (as in Land of the Free and Brave) who have been in forefront of the right or wrong wars the US has been fighting.

Obviously, there is potential for color revolution type protests, violence, riots after elections.  Will the federal govt be able to maintain law and order.  From what is happening now in the US now it is extremely doubtful.  Because of the division of power between the Federal Govt and State governments there is no consistent implementation of Law and order, even a simple issue as such as wearing a mask.

Accusations of Democrat vs Republican  Governors and their ability to keep Law and order are flying around.  Post elections in the US, is it the Federal Government or the State Governments that are going to be responsible for  “Law and order”.

I think many are avoiding an issue as to why the current Fed govt is reluctant to get the military out. Because they are not sure which side they (as in the foot soldiers) will decide to support. 40% of the military is minority and very likely much higher at the rank and file level.

Relevance to Sri Lanka: Federal vs State law

My opinion:
Advantages of  Central Govt vs Devolution/Province is going to be very obvious after US elections.


*Side Comment:  My great Grandparents converted to Christianity because of of Americans.


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I am 3/4ths Sri Lankan (Jaffna) Tamil, 1/8th Sinhalese and 1/8th Irish; a proper mutt. Maternal: Grandfather a Govt Surveyor married my grandmother of Sinhalese/Irish descent from the deep south, in the early 1900’s. They lived in the deep South, are generally considered Sinhalese and look Eurasian (common among upper class Sinhalese). They were Anglicans (Church of England), became Evangelical Christians (AOG) in 1940's, and built the first Evangelical church in the South. Paternal: Sri Lanka (Jaffna Tamil). Paternal ancestors converted to Catholicism during Portuguese rule (1500's), went back to being Hindu and then became Methodists (and Anglicans) around 1850 (ggfather). They were Administrators and translators to the British, poets and writers in Tamil and English. Grandfathers sister was the first female Tamil novelist of modern times I was brought up as an Evangelical even attending Bible study till about the age of 13. Agnostic and later atheist. I studied in Sinhala, did a Bachelor in Chemistry and Physics in Sri Lanka. Then did Oceanography graduate stuff and research in the US. I am about 60 years old, no kids, widower. Sri Lankan citizen (no dual) and been back in SL since 2012. Live in small village near a National Park, run a very small budget guest house and try to do some agriculture that can survive the Elephants, monkeys and wild boar incursions. I am not really anonymous, a little digging and you can find my identity.

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3 years ago

What would take SL to really trust India, or its that bridge too far?

I dont foresee any Indian govt having an even more hand offs approach regarding tamil affairs vis-v Sri Lanka than the current one. Perhaps a good time to have our own version of Arab-Israel rapprochement ?

3 years ago
Reply to  sbarrkum

Sad, but also illuminating how different the perception are. In India, SL is viewed as already doing their own thing , irrespective of whatever India wants. And that if we go easy on the tamil part, maybe SL would come closer to India. At least that’s the view from here.

3 years ago


How do the Sinhalese buddhists perceive hindus, muslims and christians? Do they have differing views among minority religious groups in terms of success, progressiveness etc.?

3 years ago

Are Muslim Tamils / moors included as Tamils in your calculations?

It’s always a bit strange to me how Sri Lankan Tamil speaking Muslims / Moors are considered their own ethnic group, different from Christians and Hindus?

Do they look very different on average from other Tamils or is religion the main fault line ?

3 years ago
Reply to  sbarrkum

Thanks for the explanation.

3 years ago

The discussion of unitary government and federal government is inadequate.

Federal government has many advantages. Here is an excerpt from a Rob Booker article on American federalism.

“Theories of Government
Most governments at the time of the Constitutional Convention were unitary governments. Unitary means the source of power resided in a central power. The United Kingdom still is unitary government, since Parliament rules as the ultimate source of authority or power for the entire island. In Britain, all three government functions—legislative (making laws)/executive (administering laws) and judicial (adjudicating laws) —are invested in the British Parliament. It is certainly an efficient system. Unitary government is not a totally foreign concept in America either since all U.S. states are unitary. State governments have unlimited authority within the states.

The exact opposite is confederal power. Confederal systems reserve power to the individual units of government. The Articles of Confederation maintained the source of power in the individual states, not the national Confederation Congress. The Confederate States in the Civil War tried the same philosophy, which was one of the problems the South faced in executing a war strategy that required individual states to agree on collective use of scarce resources.

The U.S. Constitution decided to take a middle course of “biformidy,” a combination of unitary and confederal power. No title clearly described what America created, so the framers captured the word “federalism,” and transformed the meaning into a description of this new form of government. This form was essential to maintaining the Founding Fathers’ desire to ensure personal liberty by constitutional structure. The Founding Fathers created a horizontal separation of powers to divide power between the three functions/branches (executive, legislative, judicial) of government. Most refer to this as a “separation of powers.” But even more important was the vertical separation of powers, now called federalism, that provided balance between state and national government power. This new concept of government was not specifically named in the Constitution, but was central to the constitutional system. Indeed, the vertical separation of powers was the unique element in the U.S. government system.

Federalism: Structured Freedom
While George Mason insisted on a written list of prohibited practices (a Bill of Rights) to protect citizens, the rest of the Constitutional Convention chose the structural concept of federalism and separation of powers as the means to ensure citizens’ liberty was protected.

However, this power balance was not just another word for government gridlock. The U.S. style of federalism (biformidy) and balance of power were two complementary strands of power separation—one horizontal and one vertical. The purpose of both horizontal and vertical power balance was to protect individual liberty, the goal the Founding Fathers had in mind when they wrote the Constitution. They believed the only way to preserve individual liberty was to check government power. Each branch would check the other branch of the new national government. However, since a national government might not check itself, the national government must also be checked by the states. The 50 states were to be a counterbalance to the national government.

Federalism/separation of powers was the vehicle designed to protect people. In Federalist 51, Madison admitted that citizens of the country had the primary responsibility to protect their own rights and “a dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government, but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.” Separation of powers, both vertically and horizontally, was the “auxiliary precaution.” Madison, in Federalist 45, also envisioned how the vertical separation of powers (federalism) was to operate. He wrote, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution …are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the state governments are numerous and indefinite….The Powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which…concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people…”

In federalism, states had real power. Federalism did not mean the national government would graciously allow the states to do something. Federalism was when the national government and the state governments had the ability to frustrate, but not control, one another. In Federalist 32, Hamilton argued that, a “conviction of the utility and necessity of local administration for local purposes…would be a complete barrier against oppressive use of such (national) power.” He further wrote, “Under the plan of the convention, (states) retain that authority in the most absolute and unqualified sense; and that attempt on the part of the national government to abridge (any state power)…would be a violent assumption of power, unwarranted by any article or clause of the Constitution.”

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