Sept 04, Colombo: Sri Lanka's main Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in a manifesto released for the upcoming Northern Provincial Council election has called for power devolution in a merged North and East under a federal structure.
In its election manifesto, the TNA, once considered as a proxy for the terrorist group LTTE during the war, has called for devolution of power on the basis of shared sovereignty over land, law and order, socio-economic development including health and education, resources and fiscal powers.
"Power sharing arrangements must be established in a unit of a merged Northern and Eastern Provinces based on a Federal structure, in a manner also acceptable to the Tamil Speaking Muslim people," the manifesto said.
The southern polity of the country says the demand to re-merge the two provinces is an LTTE separatist agenda and the Tamil party's call for re-merger is aimed at establishing an Eelam state in the region.
In July 1987, the two provinces were merged as part of the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord after the Indian government intervened to bring about a negotiated end to the island's armed separatist conflict. The Supreme Court on October 2006 ruled that the 1987 order by the then President of Sri Lanka merging the two provinces was not in keeping with the country's Constitution.
The TNA also sought to enforce the recommendations made by the Panel of Experts appointed by the UN Secretary General and the Resolutions adopted at the UN Human Rights Council in March 2012 and March 2013.
The manifesto called for a meaningful demilitarization to return the north-east region to pre-war state existed before 1983.
The alliance reiterated its call for an international investigation into the allegations of violations of international human rights and humanitarian laws made against both the government and the LTTE during the last stages of the war to ascertain the truth and ensure justice and reparation to the victims.
The manifesto claimed that present constitutional arrangements for power sharing with the provinces are unsatisfactory since the government has overriding powers through the provincial governor.
"The TNA firmly believes that sovereignty lies with the People and not with the State. It is not the government in Colombo that holds the right to govern the Tamil People, but the People themselves," the party said.
Addresing the land and police powers, the party said it believes that the most effective police force for the North-East would be those directed by the Provincial Council as currently there is no trust between the people and Police service in the Northern Province.
The statement stressed that no democratic government has the right to seize land without due process and therefore, the government will have to respect the rights of private property owners and restore such lands to the rightful owners.