COLOMBO: While Sri Lanka’s main Tamil party, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), has adopted a resolution in the Northern Provincial Council, seeking a federal solution to the issue of autonomy, hopes of the minority community seem to have reached a dead end.
Members of the Sinhala-majority main party in the government, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), have openly said that they will not support a “federal” solution, stating that it is not a suitable solution for the Tamil political question.
Mahinda Samarasinghe, a minister, said at a recent media conference that federalism would only bring political instability. The resolution adopted by the TNA comes at a time when the government, headed by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, is embarking on a process to frame a constitution for the country replacing the 1978 statute, hoping it would provide a solution to the long lasting problems of the minority ethnic groups in the country, namely the Tamils and Muslims.
Analysts say that the Tamil demand for a federal solution dates back to the days when Sri Lanka, (then Ceylon), was granted independence by the British in 1948. But the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, led by President Maithripala Sirisena, has reportedly rejected the latest call for a federal solution to the minority community’s political demands.
The Sinhalese feel that federalism will only strengthen “extremism” and “separatism”.
Published in Dawn, April 27th, 2016
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