General Secretary of the Bodu Bala Sena Ven Galagodatte Gnanasara thera addressing yesterday’s press conference. Also in the picture are Ven Hadigalle Wimalasara Thera, Ven Rajawatte Vappa Thera, Jagath Sumathipala of the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress, Prof Pandula Andagama of Hela Deya Wadanno organization, Bandula Chandrasekera of the National Intellectuals’ Council and representatives of other member organizations of the Collective for the Abolition of the Provincial Councils System.
The Collective for the Abolition of the Provincial Councils System (CAPCS) is demanding that the provincial councils system be done away with prior to the proposed election to the Northern Provincial Council.
“What is needed is the devolution of administrative powers and not the devolution of political power. The provincial council system has failed to address this issue and as a result the entire country has been made to pay for this,” Ven Galagodatte Gnanasara, General Secretary of the Bodu Bala Sena, a member organization of the CAPCS, told a media briefing at the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress conference hall yesterday.
Gnanasara Thera said although it had been four years since the LTTE was militarily defeated the country had failed to win the trust of the Tamil people.
“The Tamil people are least bothered about the provincial council system and only want to live happily in their areas,” the monk claimed.
Gnanasara Thera said that the 13A and the provincial councils entered the country’s statutes in 1987 as part of the Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord, which had been forced upon Sri Lanka by India.
“If the government cannot repeal the 13th Amendment to the Constitution at this juncture, then it should take urgent action to amend five clauses in the Constitution which gives undue powers to the Provincial councils. We demand that the government either repeal the 13th Amendment or amend clauses that gives police powers, land powers, powers of provincial councils to merge and the so-called concurrent list.
The government should amend the Article 154A (3) – that allowed the merger of the provinces, which could lead to the North merging with the East to create a new state, ‘North-Eastern Sri Lanka’ – encompassing 1/3 of Sri Lanka’s land mass and 2/3 of the coast, he said.
It was imperative that the Article 154G (3) be done away with. The Article reads that any Bill in regard to matters in the Provincial Council List shall become law only if they are passed by every Provincial Council.
The removal of the Land and Police powers from the concurrent list (9th Schedule) would eliminate the threat to the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, Gnanasara thera said.
The Thera also said that the CAPCS would hold a national rally in Maharagama on July 02 demanding the abolition of the 13th Amendment.
Ven. Rajawatte Vappa thera of the National Sangha Council, Prof Pandula Andagama of Hela Deya Wadanno organization, Jagath Sumathipala of the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress, Bandula Chandrasekera of the National Intellectuals’ Council and representatives of other member organizations of the CAPCS attended the media conference.
By Thushari Kalubowila