Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga called for a joint effort of all parties to compile a federal semi-secular constitution in order to bring about a proper reconciliation in the country.
Ms Kumaratunga, who was speaking at a seminar organized by the national secretariat for national reconciliation in Colombo, said Sri Lanka should learn a lesson from number of countries which have resolved their issues by formulating federal and secular constitutions.
“South Africa resolved its conflict through a federal constitution. Nigeria resolved its conflict by the same means. In India there are 36 languages and dialects, and number of religions such as Jain Buddhism, Sheikism. It was a country which never had unitary status as there were several kingdoms within that country in the past. However the British brought them all together. Leaders like Nehru and Gandhi drew up a federal constitution for India as a means of gaining independence. The Indian Constitution treats that country as a Secular State. India has become a stable nation as a result of its federal and secular constitution,” Ms Kumaratunga said.
“I strongly believe that India had become a stable country as a result of devolution of power and by safeguarding the rights of all ethnic groups in that country. Nepal also faced grave issues with the fall of the monarchy and now with the help of several countries a secular constitution has been introduced” she added.
“Buddha said that everyone is equal. So why are we against giving equal rights to everyone in the nation?. Our effort is to compile a constitution which gives priority to Buddhism and gives equal rights to all other religions and at least try to convert Sri Lanka into a semi-secular state even if we are unable to convert it into a totally secular state,” she said.