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‘Hopes and fears with Sri Lanka's Constitutional reform’ – The Hindu

The Hindu said that Sri Lanka’s interim report by the steering committee established to work towards drafting a new constitution can only be welcomed “with a great degree of caution and circumspection,” in an editorial published today.

It stated that whilst the proposals were “forward-looking”, “there have been several such reports in the past” and that “none of them found broad acceptance within Sri Lanka’s polity”.

“There is room for both hope and fear,” said The Hindu.

On the question of devolution of power on the island, it notes that the interim report “suggests that the controversial terms ‘unitary’ and ‘federal’ be avoided, and instead Sinhala and Tamil terms that suggest an undivided country be used to describe the republic”.

“Predictably, there is opposition from some parties, which argue that nothing should be done to dilute the state’s unitary character,” the editorial added.

The proposed provisions for the place of Buddhism on the island were also highlighted by the Hindu, noting that “the government has promised that the pre-eminent status given to Buddhism will remain, an assurance that may help overcome opposition from the majority”.

The editorial concluded by saying,

“It is time Sri Lanka set itself free from the shackles of divisive notions of nationalism and charted a new path of equality and reconciliation for itself”.

Read the full text of the editorial here.