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NPC urges North-East federal state with land and police powers

Putting forward its proposals for a political solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka and constitutional reform, the Northern Provincial Council urged a federal state structure of two broad linguistic states, including the Sinhala speaking states of 7 provinces and a Tamil speaking North-Eastern state parliament with full land and police powers.

Stressing the importance of ensuring equality within the devolved areas, the NPC called for a Muslim autonomous Regional Council within the North-East state.

The NPC also stated the military should be removed as an occupying force from the North-East, and the Prevention of Terrorism Act should be repealed.

The document was formally handed over the leader of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) R Sampanthan.

Find full document here in English and Tamil.

Extracts of key proposals reproduced below:

"Sri Lanka must basically and fundamentally be declared to contain two broad linguistic States, the Northern and Eastern Province consisting of Majority Tamil speaking State and the other seven Provinces consisting of Majority Sinhala speaking State.

It is essential that a federal system of Government is adopted in preference to a unitary system of Government.

Within the Tamil speaking regions of the North and East of Sri Lanka synchronizing with the present Northern and Eastern Provinces there shall be a Muslim autonomous Regional Council. The situation, extent and jurisdiction of this autonomous region need to be discussed among the Tamil and Muslim Peoples‟ Representatives. The Tamil speaking North Eastern linguistic State will constitute the North Eastern State Parliament. Similar arrangements for the Upcountry Tamils need to be formulated within the Sinhala linguistic State.

North Eastern State Parliament, North Eastern Muslim Regional Council as well as the Upcountry Tamil Regional Council should have full powers of devolution to attend to their own affairs. Adequate self rule must be provided to these State Government and Regional Councils.

The Official and National languages of Sri Lanka shall be Sinhala and Tamil and English shall be the link language. All transactions, records and court proceedings in the North Eastern State shall be in the Tamil language with translations kept in Sinhala and English.

Self rule of every State Government and autonomous Regional Council must be recognized and ensured by the Federal Government.

The principle of equality among all citizens whatever their languages, religion, caste, creed or region must be stressed and weight age to all communities must be given in the political, administrative, educational, economic and other fields including employment. Equal opportunities of
employment to all citizens in Federal Government Service must be ensured.

Sustained propaganda against the Tamil speaking peoples through distorted Government approved school text books must be done away with. Sri Lankan history must be correctly depicted in line with International standards, not bowing down to sectarian or parochial demands.

Land within the State limits must come under the control and purview of the State Government. The Federal Government should not use any power over such lands except with the consent and concurrence of the State Government or Regional Council where the land is to be used for the benefit of the people of such unit.

Full Police powers must be given to State Government. The Federal Police shall look after the implementation of the Federal Laws.

The Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary) Provisions Act must be repealed and the general civil law of the Country be brought back.

Due to the modern methods of surveillance and communication the need for any occupying Military Force in the North and East subsequent to the ending of the war, becomes redundant. A process of Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) regarding ex-combatants must be undertaken to reintegrate former combatants into civilian life.

In view of the makeup of the Constitutional Council directed to formulate a constitution which consists members of the majority community in large numbers, in order to ensure that a permanent and sustainable solution to the National problem could be arrived at, an initial Agreement between the present Government and the Tamil leaderships must be entered into recognizing the Tamil speaking Peoples‟ right to their individuality in the areas of their continued historical habitation viz the North and East of Sri Lanka. The Agreement must reiterate in the event of the unilateral abrogation of the submissions made by the leaders of the Tamil speaking peoples by the numerically strong Sinhala Members of Parliament, it should be possible for the Tamil People to hold a referendum in their areas of historical habitation to decide on their political status. Such an Agreement must be underwritten by the United Nations and/or other friendly countries. The process of initial negotiation between the Sri Lankan Government and the Tamil Leaders shall be with the participation of US, India, EU, Japan and other Countries mutually agreed upon.

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