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'North and East is not part of Sinhala Sri Lanka. It is Tamil Eelam' - Jaffna MP CV Wigneswaran

In a hard-hitting letter, Justice C V Wigneswaran, Member of Parliament from the Jaffna District slammed Sri Lanka's former High Commissioner to India Milinda Moragoda proposal to absolve the provincial councils and reiterated calls for a United Nations supervised referendum in the North-East.

His letter comes after the former High Commissioner called on political parties to consider abolishing the Provincial Council system as a priority action in their campaign manifestos for the forthcoming national elections last month. Moragoda reiterated his earlier proposal power should be directly devolved to empower the reconfigured Pradeshiya Sabhas, Urban Councils, and Municipal Councils instead. In a statement that coincided with Thai Pongal, the former Minister said that since these government administrative units worked more closely with the citizens they were better prepared to address and solve community-related issues. He had said that “a small country of 22 million people does not require another unnecessary layer of administration.”

In response to these comments, Wigneswaran rebutted Moragoda’s statement adding that his reference to the direct “devolution of power is technically wrong". "Under the Unitary Constitution that we have it would be decentralization of power not devolution of power," said Wigneswaran. "Both the Government and Moragoda are not interested in strengthening the periphery. They want the Centre to be all-powerful. Centre would be the citadel of ethnocratic power.”

Wigneswaran further says that the Provincial Councils were intended for the Tamil-speaking North and East and not for the Sinhala areas. He said that Moragoda’s argument that an additional layer of administration in the form of Provincial Councils is unnecessary, maybe true about the seven provinces outside the North and East. But not so with the North and East.

“North and East is not part of Sinhala Sri Lanka," said the former chief minister and current lawmaker. "It is Tamil Eelam - the Tamil part of Sri Lanka."

He adds that there have been ethnocratic governments so far in Sri Lanka since Independence, stating  “they have been Governments of the Sinhalese, for the Sinhalese, by the Sinhalese”.

Wigneswaran adds that if Moragoda’s utterance is an indication of a conspiracy to do away with the provincial council then “this reveals that he and the Sri Lankan government's peace talks with the LTTE in 2002 and the Oslo declaration to explore a solution based on the Federal principle were a complete sham and fake play.”

"If Mr. Milinda Moragoda wants to abolish Provincial Councils, he must state what he intends doing for the Tamil speaking people of the North and East. Would he want to grant federation to the Tamil speaking areas of the North and East with a unit within the North East for the Muslims to govern themselves? Or still insist on an insipid Senate to solve the problems of the Tamils? It is high time the International Community insisted on a Referendum/Plebiscite among the people of the North and East under UN supervision."

The full text of the letter can be viewed here

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