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Updated: September 29, 2013 16:22 IST

Sri Lanka says no to provincial councils on land, police powers

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A file photo of Sri Lanka's Information Minister Keheliya Rambukwella.
A file photo of Sri Lanka's Information Minister Keheliya Rambukwella.

Sri Lankan provincial councils, including the Tamil-dominated Northern, will not have discretion over land and police matters and they will have to operate within the existing limits of power, a government spokesman said on Sunday.

“Provincial councils would have to operate within the existing limits (of powers),” Minister of Information and government spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said.

The Northern Chief Minister-elect K.C. Wigneswaran was no stranger to these limitations of powers for provinces as he was a judge of the Supreme Court, Mr. Rambukwella said.

His comments came as the main Tamil party Tamil National Alliance (TNA) met in Colombo on Sunday to deliberate on the future functioning of the Northern Provincial Council.

He said this week’s Supreme Court determination that land powers are the preserve of the Central government would invalidate the TNA’s claim for land-controlling powers in the north.

The Supreme Court on Thursday annulled an earlier Appeal Court ruling that provinces have the right to exercise land powers.

“It is very clear now, the government can’t devolve land powers by contravening the constitution,” Mr. Rambukwella said.

The TNA won 30 out of 36 seats in last week’s first-ever Northern Provincial elections in 25 years in the former war-torn region.

Their campaign was based on a programme to force the Central government into fully implementing the 1987 India-backed 13th Amendment.

The councils were created under the 13th Amendment, a byproduct of the 1987 Indo-Lanka Accord.

However President Rajapaksa’s nationalist allies say unfettered powers to provinces would lead to Tamil-minority dream of separation of the island.

lot of people who show the important of 13 amendment forgot why there is
a 13 amendment between two countries. 13 amendment was proposed by india
to stop the war. according to it india will disarm LTTE and LTTE will
let go of arm and welcome devolution. but did india kept the promised?
if so why LTTE kept murdering innocent sinhalees people until 2009. so
why we need 13 amendment.?

from:  kutta
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 16:14 IST

The current UPFA govt controlled by Rajapaksa and company have been totally rejected by the Tamils in the North and East. It once again showw what ever reason the UPFA govt wanted to give as their justification for brutal war against tamis, the people in the north and east does not trust the SL govt. Unless their is accountability and justice for the crimes down, there will be no settlement or not progress!

from:  Ajith
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 07:28 IST

First they broke the union of north and eastern provinces, now they say that no land power and no police power. So what ‘devolution’ India and international community are talking about? Once Tamils were more than 60% of the population of Eastern province. Now the Tamils are a minority (30%) in eastern province due a systematic genocidal demographic change. If we leave it for another few years, Tamils will face the same fate in the Northern province too! Why the Tamils have to live under the rule of a genocidal regime? It is crystal clear the only way out of this hell is going separate. I know The Hindu that is hell bent on 'United Sri Lanka' would not like this truth! I'm sure you would not even publish my comment!

from:  Frank Ujima
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 03:49 IST

A separate state of Tamil Eelam is the solution. I appreciate the government
ministers and they are speaking of the maximum they can offer. The people of north
have given their verdict, the offer is not acceptable. They want control of the land
which rightfully belong to them. The UN should organise a referendum among the
island Tamils and those Tamils who emigrated due to the 30 year war.

from:  Kumar
Posted on: Sep 29, 2013 at 23:57 IST

Everyone knew what is going to happen to the Provincial Council. The Sinhala Government will not at any stage accept power sharing with the Tamils. So what is the alternative? The President Rajapaksa has told Aljazeera that the Military will not be removed from Vali North.
What is India and the International Community is going to do about it and what the TNA is going to do for that matter.
A referendum with the UN support for the Tamils to decide their fate is the only solution as suggested by the Leader of the DMK. The TNA members should resign from their membership immediately in protest.

from:  Sellam
Posted on: Sep 29, 2013 at 20:52 IST

Peoples power has to be accepted and respected. Supreme court decisions, ministerial decisions etc. are irrelevant when it comes to peoples power.

from:  Sivalingham
Posted on: Sep 29, 2013 at 19:25 IST

Dr. Anura, if the Tamils given their rights to a moderate level, there won't be any problem. But is that the case? Ask yourself, there is no smoke without fire. The Tamil problem is to be handled by Rajapakse in a more better way, which will good also for the Sinhalese majority.

from:  Mohandas K
Posted on: Sep 29, 2013 at 18:44 IST

@DR Weeratuna: No Supreme Court has any authority to contravene the constitution.
If such were the case, what is the use of a constitution? The Sri-Lankan constitution
clearly gives land and police powers to the provinces under the 13th Amendment. If
Sri-Lanka does not follow through on its own laws, it should not call itself a
democracy. But this is all good in a way, since this will show the world why the tamils
took up arms in the first place and make the case for a separate tamil state even

from:  Rajah
Posted on: Sep 29, 2013 at 18:31 IST

The Supreme Court that is the apex court has given a ruling.
The Sri Lankan Government will never vest those powers.
The TULF should be advised to accept this realty and try to work within its powers for the betterment of the Tamil people and not try to play for some in Tamil Nadu and its now toothless Tamil Diaspora particular is self appointed Ministers in waiting.

from:  Dr Anura Weereratne
Posted on: Sep 29, 2013 at 17:43 IST
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