The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) will oppose any attempt by the government to hold a national referendum with a view to repealing the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, SLMC General Secretary M. T. Hassen Ali, MP, said
Ali said: “Just because the government could not pass one Bill, it should not try to do away with the whole amendment. We will defend the 13th Amendment. It is unethical to hold a referendum at national level as the majority community would vote en-bloc in support of the move to repeal the 13th Amendment introduced as a panacea for the longstanding grievances of the minorities following the signing of the Indo–Lanka Accord in 1987.”
“Some members of the government are trying to repeal the 13th Amendment at a time when the Tamil speaking minorities in the country are clamouring for more devolution. The latest government move ran counter to its promise to grant 13 Plus.”
The SLMC General Secretary said that minority parties had never opposed steps taken by the government to develop the provinces and the people would benefit from the proposed ‘Divi Neguma’ Bill. He said: “We are not at all against the government initiating legislation in Parliament to implement new development programmes. What we oppose is the implementation of the development projects in rural areas of the North and the East from Colombo.”
The SLMC secretary called upon the government to devolve more power to the Provincial Councils and to allocate for funds for development at the provincial level.
By Franklin R. Satyapalan