No Tamil minister in Eastern Province

Published: 26th September 2012 08:50 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th September 2012 08:50 AM   |  A+A-

Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province, where Tamils are a third of the population, has a Council of Ministers in which there is not a single Tamil! 

In the five-member Council of Ministers, formed after the September 8 elections to the Provincial Council, there are four Muslims, including the Chief Minister, and a Sinhalese, but no Tamil.

Out of the 37 members in the Provincial Council, 13 are Tamils, constituting 35 per cent of the  House. Eleven of the Tamils belong to the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and two to the ruling United Peoples ‘Freedom Alliance (UPFA). And yet, there is no ministerial berth for this community.

The two Tamils in the UPFA benches are, former Chief Minister Pillayan (elected) and Dr Navaratnarajah (nominated). Sources said that Pillayan was offered a ministerial berth, but he declined saying that President Rajapaksa had reneged on his promise to re-appoint him as CM if the UPFA were to win the snap polls. The post was given to Najeeb Abdul Majeed. Later, Rajapaksa persuaded Pillayan to accept the post of “Presidential Advisor on Eastern affairs” -  a sinecure.

In the last provincial government headed by Pillayan, Tamils, Sinhalese and Muslims were represented. This enabled Rajapaksa to boast in world forums that there was a “truly Sri Lankan” multi-ethnic government in the Eastern Province, large parts of which had been under the control of the LTTE prior to liberation in 2007. Rajapaksa had used Pillayan, a reformed Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) cadre, as a showpiece in international meetings. Pillayan was displayed as a symbol of the success of Rajapaksa’s policy of rehabilitation, reconciliation and democracy in areas formerly under the grip of the LTTE.

However, even now, Rajapaksa needs to show the world that that there is fair representation for the Tamils. In March 2013, Sri Lanka has to face the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp