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Promise to grant police and land powers under 13 A: Udaya flays Sajith

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Udaya and Sajith

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) leader Udaya Gammanpila yesterday (10) condemned Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) and Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa for declaring his intention to fully implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

Attorney-at-Law Gammanpila alleged that the declaration was made by presidential candidate Premadasa with his eye on Northern Province Tamil vote.

The Presidential election is expected to be held in Sept/Oct this year.

The PHU leader was referring to SJB’s Leader’s assurance given at an event held in Kilinochchi over the weekend. MP Premadasa emphasised that unlike other leaders he wouldn’t give false promises.

Colombo District MP Gammanpila said that the fellow Colombo District lawmaker wouldn’t have said so if he realised the implications of full implementation of police and land powers in terms of the 13th Amendment forced on Sri Lanka by India.

The late JR Jayewardene enacted 13th Amendment in Nov 1987 in accordance with Indo-Lanka Agreement of July 1987 that was forced on Sri Lanka after the notorious “parippu” drop over northern Sri Lanka by the Indian Air Force uninvited.

MP Gammanpila said that during the past 37 years eight presidents, including the SJB leader’s father, Ranasinghe Premadasa (Dec 1988- March 1993) refrained from granting police and land powers as they realised the inherent danger in such a move.

Recalling the merger of the Eastern Province with the Northern Province in terms of the Indo-Lanka Accord and the subsequent de-merger in Oct 2006, MP Gammanpila said that he deeply regretted the way the Opposition Leader disregarded warnings issued by the Maha Sangha and other concerned parties in this regard.

Full implementation of the 13th Amendment meant that the Eastern province would have to be re-merged with the Northern Province at the expense of the only Muslim majority Provincial Council in the country, MP Gammanpila said.

MP Gammanpila stressed that granting of police powers to a re-merged Northern-Eastern Province would pose a significant security threat. The JHU leader warned the SJB leader not to play politics with national security in a desperate bid to secure the backing of the northern electorate.

MP Gammanpila asserted that the SJB leader wouldn’t have promised full implementation of the 13th Amendment if he was aware of the ground situation here as well as developments in various parts of the world.

MP Gammanpila told The Island that 13th Amendment should be an issue handled cautiously by all political parties. Having defeated separatism 15 years ago, it would be a grave mistake on the part of the SJB leader or any other political party chief to encourage separatism at any level.

The bottom line was that Sri Lanka couldn’t under any circumstance grant police powers to provinces without risking a major security issue, he said.

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