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Is Sri Lanka’s Tamil party selling out the Tamil people? – J S Tissainayagam

There is an “obvious gap” between the Tamil National Alliance’s (TNA) manifesto promises to the Tamil people in 2015 and the Steering Committee proposals it has accepted in 2017, said journalist J S Tissainayagam, in a piece for Asian Correspondent on Wednesday .

The TNA has “asked voters to support its demand for a constitution based on shared sovereignty” said Mr Tissainayagam, whilst “the UNP and UPFA manifestoes unequivocally rejected a federal constitution”.

Yet proposals released last month Sri Lanka’s Steering Committee of the Constitutional Assembly means the central government “will continue to retain enormous power that will deter the Tamils and Muslims from controlling even internal matters of the northern and eastern provinces,” he added.

“Therefore the Steering Committee’s proposals use a tortuous path to achieve the same ends as the present constitution: using the central government majorities to stifle even minimal power-sharing with the provinces.”

There now stands “an obvious gap between what the TNA promised the Tamil people in 2015 and the Steering Committee proposals it has accepted in 2017,” he stated. “If the spirit of the proposed new constitution is unable to prevent the calamities that are befalling the Tamils and Muslims under the present one, what is the worth of such a document?”

He concluded his piece by saying,

“At the same meeting where he advised Tamils not to hang on to words like federalism, Sampanthan said, “We (TNA) won’t sell out the Tamil people. We will not pawn our people’s rights…”

If the TNA is sincere about not selling out Tamil interests it needs to renegotiate the constitutional proposals with the other parties. Otherwise, it will be a betrayal of the Tamil people’s trust.”

Read the full text of his piece here.


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