Posted on March 11th, 2018

Society for Peace, Unity and Human Rights in Sri Lanka Incorporated under Associations Incorporation Act 1981(QLD)

Why is it so important to oppose the proposed new constitution?

Please do not look at this issue through blue, green or red glasses. This goes beyond political affiliations.

The future of our land of birth is at stake. If they become successful in getting this constitution passed there will be irreversible damage to the country.

  • Clearly this is an attempt to introduce a Federal system to Sri Lanka, supposedly to solve the ethnic conflict.
  • In the draft proposals submitted, the word ‘Unitary’ has been removed from the English version and replaced with the words ‘Aekeeya Raajya/Orumittanaadu’. Clearly this is an attempt to remove the ‘Unitary’ status of the country and replace it with ‘Federal’ or ‘United’ status. In the Sinhala version, there is a definition given to ‘Aekiya Raajya’, which does not indicate ‘Unitary’ or ‘Aekeeya’ concept of previous constitution. The word in Tamil ‘Orumittanadu’ indicate a ‘United’ or ‘Federal’ state. This is a stealth attempt to mislead people opposed to a ‘Federal’ state.
  • ‘Unitary’ status indicates one government, whereas ‘Federal’ or ‘United’ indicate several governments.
  • Provincial Governors are to be appointed on the recommendations by the Provincial Councils and governors are to function on the instructions of the cabinets of Provincial Councils. Central government will not be able to exercise any powers through governors under proposed new constitution.
  • This goes beyond the quasi-Federal status of Indian constitution. In short, Provincial Councils of Sri Lanka will have more powers than Tamil Nadu State of India.
  • Concurrent List, which lists subjects on which the both Central and Provincial governments have authority as per the current constitution, is proposed to be removed, leaving only National and Provincial Lists. The Central government will have only finance, foreign affairs, national defence and national economy as subjects. Central government will not have any power to intervene in other areas even if the rights of ethnic minorities in those provinces are openly violated.
  • The current constitution has strong provisions against separatism with penalties specified. Anyone promoting separatism can be prosecuted. These provisions are watered down in the new constitutional proposals with no provisions to prosecute individuals promoting separatism.
  • As we see even now, the Northern and Eastern Provincial Councils are controlled by extremely racist politicians who discriminate against people not belonging to their ethnic communities. This is going to worsen under the proposed new constitution.

Is this the solution to ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka?

The proponents of the new constitutional proposals claim that this will solve the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. If anyone believes that the separatists will be satisfied with a Federal State, he or she is so far removed from reality. This is an attempt by the separatists to legalise the concept of Tamil Homeland as a precursor to eventual separation.

  • 51% of Tamil people live outside Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka. How can Federation help Tamils living outside North & East?
  • Even the current Provincial Council system was promoted as ‘the solution’ to ethnic problem in Sri Lanka. However, it did not stop LTTE terrorism or demands of the separatist lobby.
  • The proposed new constitution is like the one proposed during Chandrika Kumaratunga’s time. At that time, the LTTE, TNA and Tamil diaspora opposed it, saying that it did not meet their aspirations. The people who supported the LTTE will not be satisfied with this too. They want a separate state and this is just a stepping stone.
  • This constitution will support the creation of a two- nation concept. Instead of uniting different ethnic communities, this will further divide them.

 Is there a mandate for a constitutional change?

An often-touted argument of the proponents of the new constitution is that people gave a mandate for a constitutional change at the last election. This is a gross misrepresentation of facts. The constitutional changes politicians canvassed on were for a change in the executive presidency and the proportional representation system of elections. Change of the system of government to a Federal system was never brought up and people clearly did not give anyone a mandate to change the system of government to a Federal one from a Unitary one.

Who wants a federation in Sri Lanka?

Majority of Tamil population in Sri Lanka want solutions to their problems, which are not very much different to the problems of Sinhalese. It is only the racist politicians in North & East, Tamil diaspora who funded the LTTE, some Western governments with vested interests, India and NGOs funded by Western countries are agitating for a ‘Federal’ state. For several decades racist Tamil politicians found that they could get elected simply by whipping up racial hatred and promoting separation and/or federation as panacea for all the problems faced by Tamil people.

The reason for the demand for a separate or a federal state is based on the mythical ‘Tamil Homeland’ concept created by the fabricated history fed to generations of Tamil people

 Future of Sri Lanka if the new constitution is adopted

If the new constitution is approved by 2/3 majority in Sri Lankan parliament (which is a possibility considering calibre of Sri Lankan politicians who do not have a back bone to go against party stances on any issue and will do anything for financial or personal gains), it will most probably go for a referendum. If people in the country are hoodwinked to vote for the new constitution, the fate of the country will be sealed and there will not be any turning back.

  • Sinhalese living in the North & East will be severely discriminated. Even if they close-down all the Sinhala schools in North & East, the Central government will not have any power to intervene. Note that the Chief Minister of the Northern Province has demanded that Tamil be the only officiallanguage in the North & East. Even if they stop water supply and do not maintain roads to Sinhala areas in North & East, the Central government will not be able to do anything.
  • The new constitution will not satisfy the separatists. Next, they will request the withdrawal of armed forces from North & East completely, which would most likely to be done to appease them. They will request that the national flag (and national anthem) be changed. Already TNA politicians are saying that they do not agree with our national flag. Politicians will comply and change our national flag and anthem to appease them.
  • Police will be under the Provincial Chief Minister and they will serve as an armed provincial force. The Central government will not get any intelligence information on subversive activities from them, creating fertile conditions for terrorist groups to start their campaign again.
  • All state land will be under the Provincial governments. Sinhalese will not be given any land in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. Provincial governments can even pass laws prohibiting land sale to people outside their ethnic community (similar to Thesavalamai law in Jaffna).
  • Central government will be powerless to dissolve provincial governments without 2/3 majority in both the parliament and the proposed new senate. To do that they must clearly prove that the provincial government is about to secede, which will be too late to prevent the damage.
  • Sri Lanka will end up as Sri Lanka-Tamil Eelam Confederation before long and Tamil Eelam will eventually secede.

Being patriotic is more important than being ‘politically correct’ or toeing your party line

As people of Sri Lankan origin living outside Sri Lanka, we have a duty to educate our friends and relatives in Sri Lanka about the dangers of the proposed constitution so that they can communicate their strong objections to their elected representatives.

This is not a campaign against or a campaign for any political party in Sri Lanka. Patriotism and allegiance to our country of birth should prevail over any other affiliations or political ideologies.

If anyone thinks that the proposed new constitution will help create ethic harmony between communities, they will realise their naivety very soon. Our recent history is littered with incidents of people going out of way to appease separatists and getting nothing in return.

We need to decide on where we stand. Are we going to simply watch our country and people being divided and not do anything to oppose it?


Email: [email protected]


  1. Fran Diaz Says:

    Excellent analysis – thank you, SPUR.



    * Cold War style politics are being continued by some Tamil leaders ?
    Reason : Tamil Diaspora abroad needs reasons to be important out there ?
    * Encourage PATRIOTISM at school level for all communities ?
    * Discourage Separatism through implementation of the 6-A (a law that has never been put into action) ?

  2. Fran Diaz Says:

    Question to ask :

    What would be the fate of INDIA, with the earlier breakaway South INDIAN sub-state of Tamil Nadu (stopped by PM Nehru’s Anti-Secessionist Law of 1963), located close by to breakaway Tamil N&E Provinces of Lanka ?

  3. nilwala Says:

    Agree with SPUR in the matters brought to the attention of Sri Lankans, particularly, and as Fran Diaz points out, since there is concern and a red alert about external meddling in what currently goes on in the island. The timing is significant in that it coincides with the Periodic Review being conducted in Geneva, at which the Tamil Diaspora voice as usual dominates the decision making by the UNHRC. The majority community in Sri Lanka has been ineffective in presenting its standpoint since the cacophony of Tamil voices has taken over the Geneva scene and the Government of Sri Lanka has itself bowed to the pressure of the Tamil groups as well as their foreign and local proxies. Finally, and as usual, in the “too little too late” fashion that things move in our island, civil society has started to raise its voice, and the reality of the issues are being exposed.
    One can only hope that the UN is on extra alert and that the transformations going on in global perception of what is the Truth when it comes to Sri Lanka would see who the real culprits are and how they are exploiting the global powers using discrimination and racism as issues in Sri Lanka, while they resort to corruption at every level to their own racist advantage.

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