Sixty eight percent of Sinhalese for devolution – Chandrika

I engaged French Company to do the survey

by Zacki Jabbar

Former President and current Chairperson of the Office For National Unity and Reconciliation, Chandrika Kumaratunga says that a survey carried out by her has revealed that 68 percent of the Sinhalese are for a political solution to the ethnic issue.

Kumaratunga revealed, in Colombo last week, that except two others in her office, no one else knew that she had engaged the services of a French Company to ascertain the views of Sri Lankans on her government’s proposals to address the ethnic issue.

“At the commencement of the survey only 23 percent of the Sinhalese were for a negotiated solution. But at the end of it, the number had increased to 68 percent,” she noted, adding that credit should go to the Sudu Nelum Movement which had taken the devolution proposals to the remotest villages, explaining that it would not lead to a division of the country but peace where all communities could lived together in harmony.

Kumaratunga recalled some members of the government warning her not to talk about devolution since it would result in a loss of votes, but the findings of the French Company had given her the confidence to address the Sinhalese on the most critical issue facing the nation.

Admitting that accountability and reconciliation were the most difficult challenges faced in the post war era, she pointed out that Constitutional amendments would be of no avail, if the hearts and minds of minds of people who had suffered due to a decades long conflict was not won over. “I admit its not easy to forget the ravages of war, but we have to start at some point and that is what the Office For National Unity and Reconciliation is trying hard to do.”

A political solution had to encompass all areas including freedom of thought and the ability to practise ones religion in peace, regardless of which community they belonged to, Kumaratunga emphasised.