Sri Lanka’s NPC not for special powers, says chairperson

Our demand for federalism should not be misconstrued as something in favour of separatism, says council chairperson

The Northern Provincial Council (NPC), which has reiterated the position of Tamil parties for a merger of the North and the East, is not for special powers to be provided to the proposed State, according to its chairperson C.V.K. Sivagnanam.

On the significance of the resolution adopted on Friday, Mr. Sivagnanam told The Hindu that “our demand for federalism should not be misconstrued as something in favour of separatism. Let the Central government share power with all the States or Provinces uniformly.. We expect other Provinces to fall in line with us so that we all can have greater powers.”

The Council’s proposals on constitutional reforms were essentially based on the constitutional models of two countries — India and Switzerland. As in the case of India, there should be States demarcated on the basis of languages. This was one of the reasons for the proposed merger of the Northern and Eastern provinces as “Muslims in the East are all Tamil speaking people,” Mr. Sivagnanam pointed out.

Conscious of the pluralistic character of the Eastern province where the population was more or less evenly distributed among Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese, the NPC chairperson said for getting the support of the Muslims, the resolution talked of creating an autonomous council. Taking into account aspirations of hill-country Tamils, the NPC suggested another autonomous body.

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has 30 members in the 38-member body.