Nationalist groups yesterday warned that a recent resolution, passed by the Eastern Provincial Council (EPC), demanding the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, was meant to advance the separatist agenda in the wake of the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) securing the Northern Provincial Council (EPC).
They pointed out that UPFA constituent, the SLMC and the ITAK voted for the controversial resolution. The UNP too, threw its weight behind the resolution.
The Federation of National Organizations, the National Freedom Front (NFF) and the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) alleged that SLMC-ITAK move signified a major development. The 37-member EPC comprised the UPFA (14, including two bonus seats), the ITAK (11), the SLMC (07), the UNP (04) and the NFF (01).
Former JVP/NFF MP Mohammed Muzammil yesterday told The Island that the government couldn’t turn a blind eye to UPFA constituent SLMC moving the proposal to pave the way for joint action with the ITAK. NFF spokesman Muzammil asserted that unless the UPFA leadership acted swiftly and decisively, the SLMC –ITAK combine would move a second resolution calling for the EP to be re-merged with the NP in accordance of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.
Responding to a query, Muzammil said that the October 2006 Supreme Court ruling, that the merger of the EP with the NP was null and void wouldn’t discourage the SLMC-ITAK grouping from taking such a course of action. Those who had been pushing for full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution realized that the controversial piece of legislation provided for the two provinces to merge, Muzammil said.
The TNA comfortably secured the NPC at the Sept. 21 polls, with 30 seats, including two bonus slots, whereas the UPFA and the SLMC managed seven and one seats, respectively.
Addressing the media at Sawsiripaya yesterday, Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekera explained the growing threat posed by those still propagating separatist sentiments, though the LTTE no longer posed a conventional military challenge. Dr. Amarasekera was speaking on behalf of the Federation of National Organizations, an umbrella grouping spearheading the campaign against the 13th Amendment. Dr. Amarasekera said that the government couldn’t remain inactive in the wake of the SLMC and the ITAK joining forces to advance separatist agenda.
SLFP Batticaloa District Organizer Arun Tambimuttu yesterday said that in the run-up to Sept. 21 polls, he quite rightly predicted the SLMC and the ITAK taking a common stand on the issue of devolution regardless of the former being a constituent of the ruling coalition. The SLMC-ITAK move foretells a significant political threat which could cause a major crisis unless the government took remedial action, he said.(The Island)