Sri Lanka President’s Marxist ally slams devolution again

[TamilNet, Monday, 01 March 2004, 17:44 GMT]
The leader of President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s main political ally, Mr. Somawansa Amarasinghe categorically rejected the concept and practice of devolution in an interview published in the latest issue of ‘Business Today’, a monthly magazine from Colombo. “ On the national question, people are talking about devolution, division or sharing of power or other formulae. But everyone has become prisoners of devolution....What we say is please stop talking about devolution,” states Mr. Amerasinghe in the interview.

JVP leader Somawansha Amarasinghe The JVP leader was interviewed for the magazine by Mr.Lucien Rajakarunanayake, a leading English language journalist in Colombo with close links to President Kumaratunga’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party.

The following are relevant excerpts of the interview:

Lucien Rajakarunanayake: "I know the word devolution creates problems in the JVP. But the JVP is now in various Provincial Councils as a result of devolution. Why don’t you think in terms of giving more strength or implementing the 13th Amendment? Won’t that be a part of the solution?”

(The 13th Amendment to Sri Lanka’s constitution was made according to the terms of the Indo-Lanka Treaty of 1987. Provincial Councils were established under the Amendment)

Somawansa Amerasinghe: "Don’t forget that both the SLFP and us opposed the 13th Amendment. The most important thing is that the LTTE too opposed it. Because of that we decide that it was not going to a good solution. We had our independent policy on that. This is going to be a mess because we have taken the first step towards what the LTTE wants, towards separatism; the 13th Amendment gave the idea and it established itself on this soil. That was what we were opposing…To please the LTTE and other organizations that were fighting for a separate state, they implemented the 13th Amendment, which was a complete failure."

Lucien Rajakarunanayake: "But then, didn’t India play an important role in that?"

Somawansa Amerasinghe: "Yes, even India thought it will be successful and it will function. India has made a lot of mistakes in the past. The biggest mistake was to feed the LTTE at the very beginning. When separatism was a problem in India itself, they aided and abetted a separatist organization in Sri Lanka. They should have thought about the repercussions in India. Yet, India suffered a lot because of certain mistakes. Even now, we will have to get out of this prison. Devolution is a prison..."

 

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