NPC demands more autonomy
Following the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) passing a resolution
calling for a federal solution to the national question, NPC members
have called on all Provincial Councils to support the demand for greater
NPC Chairman Kandiah Sivagnanam told the Sunday Observer that all
provinces had the right to federalism. “To protect people’s sovereignty,
power should not be with the centre but with the peripheral ruling
bodies,” he said. Sivagnanam said the NPC proposal for a federal
solution and a merged Northern and Eastern province is backed by the
Indian example, where states are defined according to the language the
people in each territory speak.
The Northern and Eastern provinces were de-merged when the Supreme
Court deemed the merger illegal.
Apart from linguistic federalism, the NPC resolution has proposed
that Muslim majority regions within the merged North and East Provinces
be granted autonomous status and similar regions be also set up for
Tamils in the Central Province.
NPC Member Avanthy Sasitharan said the resolution proposes to set up
a similar system as in Switzerland’s Canton system. “This will protect
the rights of the Tamils in Sri Lanka, the proposal is not a demand for
a separate state,” she said.
The resolution in favour of a federal solution was passed by the NPC
on Friday and it will be presented to the Leader of the Opposition, R.
Sampanthan and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on April 30.
Sampanthan neither endorsed nor criticised the Council’s
recommendation. “The NPC has expressed its views and proposed a
political solution to the conflict. It is now up to the Constitutional
Reforms Committee to include its proposals along with the other
proposals,” he said.