Lankan Muslim party demands undiluted provincial powers

Last Updated: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - 16:47

Colombo: Emboldened by the historic provincial election in the Tamil-dominated north, the Assembly in Sri Lanka`s eastern province has adopted a resolution calling for undiluted powers to the island`s provinces.

The resolution moved by Mohamed Jameel, a councillor of the main Muslim party Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, sought undiluted powers to the provinces as stipulated in the 1987 India-backed 13A amendment and rejected proposals to dilute the amendment as attempted by the government in May.

When the resolution was moved yesterday in the eastern provincial council sessions held in the eastern port town of Trincomalee only 17 of the 37 members were present.

The resolution was carried 16-1 with SLMC, Tamil National Alliance and the United National Party members supporting it.

The sole vote against came from the Sinhala majority nationalist National Freedom Front.

The SLMC is an ally of the Rajapaksa government both at the centre and in the east but differs from the government on the issue of the 13A.

The government early this year made an attempt to dilute the provincial land and police control powers through an urgent bill in Parliament.

But the plan was shelved mainly due to Indian opposition.

Analysts while discounting the validity of a mere resolution saw the move as significant in view of the Tamil party TNA`s victory in the northern provincial council election late last month.

The need to dilute provincial powers stemmed from Sinhala nationalist fears that unfettered control over land and police powers to the north would lead to TNA pursuing the separatist agenda of the LTTE to cause a division of the northern and eastern provinces.


First Published: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - 16:47

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