Close on the heels of Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa reiterating his call for abolition of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, the National Freedom Front (NFF) leader, Housing Minister Wimal Weerawansa, MP, has urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa to hold a referendum to decide on the controversial amendment.
MP Weerawansa has sought an urgent meeting with President Rajapaksa to make a detailed presentation to the president in the wake of many nationalist groups, including the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) pushing for the abolition of the Amendment, which was forced on Sri Lanka under the Indo-Lanka Accord.
In a letter dated Oct 21 sent to President Rajapaksa, MP Weerawansa warned the government not to ignore the circumstances leading to several parties moving the Supreme Court against the Divineguma Bill. Petitioners have sought Supreme Court intervention alleging that the Divineguma Bill violated the 13 Amendment.
Minister Weerawansa stressed the urgent need to take remedial action in the face of growing political threat emerging from the 13 Amendment or face the consequences.
Pointing out that the government had assured that election for the Northern Provincial Council would be held in September 2013, the NFF warned that the country could face an unprecedented crisis in the event of TNA victory. The NFF said that the government couldn’t ignore the possibility of the Northern PC moving the Supreme Court to secure full police and land powers.
The breakaway JVP faction said that the failure on the part of the parliament to go ahead with the Divineguma Bill unless approved by all PCs highlighted erosion of the power and authority of the House. The NFF said that the PCs should be replaced by an administrative structure on the basis of district as a unit. The NFF requested the President to take constitutional measures to safeguard the unitary status of the country, thereby thwart efforts to undermine political stability.
MP Weerawansa told The Island that the provision allowing PCs to challenge the authority of parliament couldn’t be allowed to continue. The MP said that the recent action against Divineguma Bill meant that separatist sentiments remain strong though the LTTE no longer retained a military capability.
By Shamindra Ferdinando