Ethnic Politics and the Survival of Minorities’ Demands in Sri Lanka: A Historical Review of the Political Advocacy Process of Kalmunai Administrative District Demand
AbstractIn Sri Lanka’s ethnic politics, the Kalmunai administrative district demand has become the forefront issue in the past few decades. This demand advocates the establishment of a new administrative district—an intermediate decentralized administrative institution connecting the central government and local public in terms of public service delivery, and economic and regional development—for the coastal belt of the present Amparai district in the eastern province. Though the Kalmunai administrative district demand has become a popular concern of the Sri Lanka’s ethnic politics in the new millennium and was highly advocated by the political and civil forces among the Muslims of the area, the demand faced ups and downs in its politicization and advocacy process that ultimately challenge the possibilities of establishing the proposed administrative district up till this day. This study attempted to evaluate the history of the politicization and advocacy of the Kalmunai administrative district demand extensively. The finding reveals that although the Kalmunai administrative district demand emerged on rational ground, in due cause, it became over ethnicized and brought more communal criticisms and oppositions that challenged the political advocacy and the success of the demand to a certain extent. Further, the political advocacy of the demand was also on and off in nature and the major advocating party has failed to make the opportunities successful. This study highlights the importance of a continued and collective political advocacy for on rational ground with the purpose of making the Kalmunai administrative district demand a public issue and to transform it as an “input” to the political system for the policy-making process.
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