Tamil group also demands detainees’ list, as media awaits joint statement
By Chris Kamalendran
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) met a team of government delegates on Friday to reiterate its request that the Concurrent List in the 13th Amendment to the Constitution be dropped. The five-member TNA delegation said the Concurrent List would reduce powers enjoyed by the Provincial Councils under the 13th Amendment.
The 13th Amendment carries three lists reflecting power-sharing between the Central Government and the Provincial Councils: the Central List, the Provincial List, and the Concurrent (or common) List. The Concurrent List covers such areas as health, land, road development, and police powers.
MP Suresh Premachandran said the Concurrent List gave the Central Government authority to control Provincial Councils, and that it went against a devolution system. The government delegation rejected the TNA proposal, but agreed to consider removing certain items from the Concurrent List, Mr. Premachandran told the Sunday Times.
Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, who took part in the talks, declined to comment on the talks or the TNA demand. “We have agreed to issue a joint statement on the talks, and no comments will be made about the progress of the talks,” he told the Sunday Times. Up to last evening, no joint statement had been issued to the media.
The TNA delegation also asked to be taken to Vavuniya to see detainees being held in camps for displaced persons and rehabilitation centres. The delegates were told that a list of detainees would be made available to the media so parents and relatives could visit the detainees before the next round of talks.
On Friday night, separate talks were held between the government and the Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP). Minister Douglas Devananda has proposed that the 13th Amendment be fully implemented and that the government ensured the Tamil language would be used in administrative matters.