Tamil groups reject draft constitution

COLOMBO, JULY 12. Former Tamil militant groups, the Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP) and the People's Liberation Organisation of Tamils (PLOT), now represented in the Sri Lankan Parliament, told the Government today that the fresh draft Constitution was unacceptable to them.

``We said we could not support the draft in its present form,'' said Mr. Dharmalingam Sithadthan, parliamentarian and leader of PLOT.

Representatives of the two parties were to meet the President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga, today, to discuss the draft Constitution that was agreed upon by the ruling People's Alliance (PA) and the Opposition United National Party (UNP) last week.

But as the President was said to be indisposed, they met the Constitutional Affairs Minister, Prof. G.L. Peiris, instead.

Like the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) that met Ms. Kumaratunga earlier this week, the EPDP and PLOT said they were opposed to the formulations regarding provisions on the unit of devolution and control of land.

This was contrary to expectations that they would go along with whatever was put before them.

``We have indicated that we are ready for further negotiations on this in a tripartite meeting with the Government and the UNP,'' said Mr. Sithadthan.