The main Tamil party in Sri Lanka, Tamil National Alliance, today said it will not take part in the proposed Parliamentary Select Committee proceedings to review the thirteenth amendment (13A), saying it has been convened to strip provincial council of powers.
A senior Tamil National Alliance (TNA) legislator, Suresh Premachandran, said his party has decided to skip the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) proceedings, which is expected to get underway on July 9.
"The aim of the PSC is to dilute the powers of the 13A. We can't agree to that. We want 13 plus," Premachandran said.
The PSC has been convened to look at powers of the 13A, more pointedly to strip the provincial councils of land and police powers, he said.
Sri Lanka on June 21 announced the formation of the 19-member government team of the PSC to discuss the issue of the thirteenth amendment to its Constitution that devolves some authority to the provinces.
Preceding the PSC is the government move to amend two sections of the 13A. They seek to scrap the ability to merge two or more provinces to form one, Premachandran said.
The tinkering of the 13A, a by product of the Indo-Sri Lankan Accord of July 1987 to try and resolve the ethnic conflict, is being attempted ahead of the provincial council elections in Tamil-dominated northern areas in September.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa's Sinhala majority allies warn that undiluted powers to provinces could lead to the separation of the country and a realisation of the Tamil dream to carve out a separate homeland.