Indo-Lanka Accord and unlucky number 13!

The visiting Indian External Affairs Minister has said “It is in Sri Lanka’s own interest to be committed to meaningful devolution, including the 13th Amendment to the Constitution; the progress and prosperity of Sri Lanka will surely be advanced as a consequence”.

Regretably, the Indo-Lanka Accord was a failure from Day One. Not because it was translated as the 13th Amendment to the Constitution with unlucky 13 the number of Rahu. For initially, there were 12 immortal Adityas who represent the months of the year. But during Manthan and distribution of Amrit, an asura named Rahuketu disguised himself as a dev and drank some nectar. Devas informed Vishnu who as Mohini, cut off his head with her discus, the Sudarshana Chakra, before the nectar could pass the asura’s throat. From that day, his head was called Rahu and his body Ketu, both later became planets, with Rahu becoming the unlucky 13th immortal from that day.

Unfortunately, even though both the visiting Indian External Affairs Minister and his leader the Prime Minister of India understand the Rahu story; both appears to ignorant of the truth that the 1987 Indo-Lanka Accord did not give Sri Lanka, a meaningful devolution or meet the aspirations of the Sri Lankan Tamils on account of whom the accord was conceived by the heads of the two governments of the day in 1987.

The Sri Lankan Tamils for whom the accord was intended to resolve their ethnic issue; whose leaders had for many decades, an axe to grind with their government insisting a self rule of a merged north-eastern region of the country. In fact, the leaders of India and Sri Lanka deceived the grieved Tamil people, offering a temporary merged North-East Province. That was intended as an icing on the half-baked cake.

It was therefore doomed to fail right from the start and it did; as it was a half baked package, prepared by India. True, it was accepted by then SriLankan President without any discussion of it in his parliament. The Provincial Council System of governance concept is full of contradictions and never did fit well into the rest of the system of governance, already in a tangle to this day with the introduction of the executive presidential system.

Today it is a nine fold white elephant project serving as training centre in each province producing a pool of eligible candidates to pick from as their representatives for all political parties to contest elections to the parliament.

In this scenario, if the Indian and Sri Lankan leaders truely want to bring peace and harmony to Sri Lanka and prosperity in the region, should attend to all the short coming in the Indo-Lanka Accord of 1987. That would enable the inactive Provincial Council system to fit into the country’s constitution without duplicating the functions of all existing layers of government.