Wigneswaran reiterates self-determination demand

“How to recognise our right of self determination within this country, which is multi-lingual, multi-ethnic and multi-religious, is the larger problem facing the country”.

Updated - September 23, 2016 01:17 am IST

Published - January 19, 2016 05:26 am IST - COLOMBO:

Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran on Monday argued that those in the Northern and Eastern provinces were “fully qualified” to be categorised as people entitled for self determination in terms of the characteristics and qualifications delineated in the U.N. Covenants.

“How to recognise our right of self determination within this country, which is multi-lingual, multi-ethnic and multi-religious, is the larger problem facing the country,” he said, addressing a seminar in Jaffna on Constitutions.

On the 13th Constitutional Amendment that was based on the 1987 agreement between India and Sri Lanka, the Chief Minister said he was “now acutely” conscious of the limitations of the Amendment, which was intended to provide for asymmetrical power-sharing for a merged province of the North and the East. He blamed the “then Sri Lankan political leadership” for “lack of integrity” in granting what was discussed and agreed upon. He added that the system of provincial councils had not altered the unitary character of the state.

On the issue of devolution, Mr Wigneswaran, a former judge of the Supreme Court, said this could not be viewed “from a binary reasoning standpoint of unitary or federal only.”

Public inputs

In Colombo, the Public Representations Committee, headed by Lal Wijenayake, began its work of obtaining views on the proposed Constitutional reforms. After holding its sittings in the city till Friday, the panel, which comprises 20 members, has planned to cover all the 25 districts in batches next month, Mr. Wijenayake says, adding that if required, the committee will visit the districts again in March. By the end of April, the PRC is expected to submit its report to the government.

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