Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) Leader and MP Mano Ganesan wants President Ranil Wickremesinghe to appoint three separate, high-powered committees to examine the proposals of the North and East (N-E) Tamil community, the Muslim community,and the hill-country Tamil community,


By

Mirudhula Thambiah

Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) Leader and Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Opposition MP Mano Ganesan yesterday (28) noted that President Ranil Wickremesinghe should appoint three separate, high-powered committees to examine the proposals of the North and East (N-E) Tamil community, the Muslim community, and the hill-country Tamil community, where common positions reached through these committees should be taken up at the upcoming all-party conferences that are scheduled for next year (2023), and thereafter adopted as Constitutional amendments.

Ganesan also proposed the establishment of a constitutionally mandated non-territorial community council for the hill-country Tamil community, as deliberated under the previous all-party conference established by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, with a mandate on selected affairs of the community that is living on a geographically concentrated basis in Nuwara Eliya and in a dispersed manner in other parts of the country.

“Once an agreement is arrived at by the high-powered committees from the proposals presented by the three communities, Constitutional amendments could be adopted. This would be a way forward for the all-party conferences. We will not agree to be sidelined in this process,” he added.

He pointed out that talks on the national ethnic issue are not restricted to any particular area, but that it is an islandwide issue.

“During our ‘good governance’ Government led by the United National Front, we released 96 Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act prisoners without much fanfare. I, as the Minister of Reconciliation back then, played a major role in securing their release. There are only 32 remaining. They will be released soon and President Wickremesinghe has promised to release them on Thai Pongal Day,” he added.

The full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and the holding of the Provincial Council elections without any further delay; the full implementation of the 16th Amendment to the Constitution that introduced a parity of status for the Sinhala, Tamil, and English trilingual policy; the mainstreaming and structural integration of the upcountry Tamil community into the national polity and their recognition as a constituent people of Sri Lanka with a distinct identity, enabling them to enjoy full and equal citizenship rights through measures of power-sharing and devolution at the Central, Provincial, and Local Government tiers; and the equitable and inclusive representation at all levels through the proportional representation system and a fair electoral and administrative delimitation process that give a meaningful role in governance at all tiers of governance are some of the proposals suggested by the TPA for the hill-country Tamil community.

“We have submitted a part of these proposals to the Constitutional reforms committee headed by President’s Counsel (PC) Romesh De Silva, which was appointed by former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa,” he added.

Ganesan also noted that he would meet President Wickremesinghe to discuss further the above proposals by the first week of January 2023.

Meanwhile, on 13 December, President Wickremesinghe stated that he intends to hold discussions with Opposition and SJB Leader Sajith Premadasa at the all-party conference in January 2023 with regard to the devolution of powers and the 13th Amendment to the Constitution based on seven previous and related commission reports and the report on constitutional reforms submitted by the committee led by De Silva PC.

Courtesy:The Morning