Primary cause of problems is non-resolution of ethnic issue

The division of the country would be neither beneficial to the nation nor the Tamil speaking people, said Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan, appealing to the Tamils not to lend their support to any political movement that advocated secession.

“This was the position taken by the Federal party in 1970 in its election manifesto that they were opposed to the division of the country and wanted the Tamil people to vote against any political movement that advocated secession. Many people seem to think we are demanding separation and we are responsible for the state in which the country is. It was after the election in 1970 and the enactment of the 1972 Constitution, there emerged a demand for a separate state. But ever since the Indo-Lanka Accord in 1987 and certain constitutional changes that came about with that agreement, all Tamil political parties in this country have been prepared to find an acceptable solution within the framework of a united undivided, indivisible Sri Lanka. This has been our position at all elections in the past, almost three decades since 1988 at provincial and parliamentary elections.”

Participating in the adjournment debate on the President’s speech made in parliament on May 08 at the ceremonial opening of the second session of the 8th parliament, Sampanthan said the President had made a note of the North East issue as it was one of the most serious issues facing the country. He noted with regret however, that there had been three constitutions over the past 60 years since Independence, but the country had still not been able to adopt a constitution to enable all Sri Lankans to live in peace as a single nation.

The Opposition Leader said that since 1988, the process of making a new constitution had been a continuous process. “The political, social and cultural rights of the Tamil speaking people of this country cannot be buried. Even,today, we want a united and undivided country, but we want to live as equal citizens assured of our dignity and justice. I don’t think that can be denied to us.” He added that any government should have the courage to take decisions that were challenging.(Island)

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