Northern Provincial Council: What Does it Mean for Tamil Political Aspiration in the Post-War Context?

Smruti S. Pattanaik is Research Fellow (SS) at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi. Click here for detailed profile
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  • May 2014

    Elections for the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) of Sri Lanka were held on September 21, 25 years after they were first held in 1988 under the Thirteenth Amendment (13A) to the Sri Lankan Constitution, which formed part of the Indo-Lanka Accord. It was, however, the first election since the demerger of the Northern and Eastern Provinces in 2006.1 With the end of 30 years of war that had culminated in the elimination of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), election to the NPC was politically crucial for the Tamils, especially in the post-war context. Moreover, the devolution debate has become increasingly politicised in Sri Lanka, where the victory of the government, i.e. of the Sinhala majority, through war is projected as the end of the conflict and has been equated to the end of terrorism. The defeat of the LTTE has brought an end to terrorism and their espousal of separatism. Many ultra-nationalists represented by Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), Janatha Vimuki Perumuna (JVP) and so on even argue that demand for autonomy is no longer an agenda for the majority. It has come to imply that the Tamils must accept the position of secondary citizens. In short, what they lost through war cannot be gained through negotiation and nothing should be conceded.