ITAK STOP FOOLING SRI LANKA: Is Your Constitution Federal or Confederal
Posted on September 23rd, 2014

Shenali D Waduge

The question is simple but why is the answer being dragged? All we want to know is whether the Illankai Thamil Arasu Katchchi the party that calls itself the Federal Party in its aims and objectives stands for a Federal system or is it aiming at a confederacy in both the 1949 Constitution and the amended 2008 Constitution? The answer has to be one of 2. Yes, its ‘Federal’ and not ‘Confederal’ OR, NO, its ‘Confederal’ and not ‘Federal’. Not only that, ITAK must clearly define what it means by Federal or Confederal. That is all the Sri Lankan public want to have ITAK officially declare.

 ITAK – The Illankai Thamil Arasu Katchchi party was formed in December 1949 by S J V Chelvanayagam. The English name it gave itself was Federal Party. The Tamil translation was separate Tamil state.

 Is ITAK attempting to hide behind the name Federal Party and play hide and seek with words without translating its Constitution and legally placing on record that it does in fact espouse for a federal system and not confederal?

 What is the legal definitions and connotations of ITAK’s use of Shamasthi and Innaipatchchi?

 In August 2008, aware of LTTE’s ultimate elimination the ITAK leadership amended its Constitution replacing ‘Shamasthi’ with ‘Innaipatchchi’.

 If we take ‘shamasthi’ to mean federalism why did ITAK substitute it with ‘innaipatchchi’ in 2008?


Features of a Federal system Features of a Confederal system

  • a union of states in which external affairs are controlled by a unified, central government.
  • sharing of power between the central government and state, provincial or local governing bodies.
  • the central government can reach direct to the citizens in a State or province
  • central government has more authority than a  confederal  system
  • central government controls more trade policy, and makes decisions about policy areas that involve interactions between states
  • fundamental rights of the citizens of a country is granted by the Central Government and not the State governments
  • The U. S. Constitution grants specific powers to the national government while retaining other powers for the states.
  • federal government can negotiate treaties with other countries while state and local authorities cannot
  • under a federal set up unilateral secession is impossible while under confederalism unilateral secession is possible


  • US

  • union of independent and sovereign States
  • is formed with an intention to create independent and sovereign States
  • in a confederation, the central government can reach only upto the governments of the respective provinces/States that form the confederacy. The central government cannot directly reach the citizens. In a confederacy the Central Government can only reach upto the Governments of the confederation.
  • The states of a confederation retain all the powers of an independent nation ex: right to maintain a military force, print money, and make treaties with other national powers. 
  • can have their own currency
  • can have own military
  • can enter trade agreements with external sources
  • government of a confederation can withdraw from the Union







  • US, Germany were confederal before they adopted federal systems

 The allegation against ITAK is that its aims and objectives are not federal but confederal.

 ITAK’s statements by its leaders are all give aways as well

The TNA Chief Minister demands that the Northern Province be allowed to have direct foreign aid channeled to it


this is a feature of a confederal system
TNA leaders are demanding referendums. In 2008, Sivajilingam sought a referendum to decide Tamil Eelam when he addressed the Pongku Thamizh event in Sydney, Australia


In federal systems referendums are held by only the Central Government and not states/provinces
TNA are demanding police powers a feature of a confederal system is to have its own military
TNA’s repeated references through its manifestos that it will grant various rights (language, cultural etc) to the citizens in a federal system fundamental rights are granted only by the Central Government, in a confederacy the state grants these rights
TNA’s repeated reference to living in a ‘united Sri Lanka’

‘UNITED’ is also synonymous with collaboration and co-existence and several countries, India and ITAK of late is using the word ‘United’ Sri Lanka instead of ‘Unitary’. It was used in the last resolution as well.


this is a key feature in a confederal system, the states are ONLY bound by a sense of cooperation – the moment that ceases, states can seek separation

 ITAK’s amended Constitution of 2008 says that ITAK once creating a ‘homeland for Tamils’ would co-exist and collaborate with the Sinhala provinces. There are no Sinhala, Tamil or Muslim provinces in Sri Lanka. If Sinhalese and Muslims are not living in the North it is because the LTTE chased them out and those that wish to return are being denied by the TNA and its international and local propaganda machinery. Moreover, is it not odd for ITAK to claim to be federal but speak of Tamil, Sinhala and Muslim provinces where a federal set up is held not be provinces/states but by the Central Government and the Constitution of that Central Government.

 ITAK/TNA’s constant use of the words ‘co-existence’ and ‘collaboration’ were words used when US experimented with confederacy. When states do not get along in peaceful coexistence and collaboration the next option is to separate (so this is the route the ITAK is taking…)

 To seek separation from the Sri Lankan state is a violation of the Sri Lankan Constitution. If ITAK in its constitution does envisage seceding, legal action can be taken against ITAK via the 6th amendment.

 Therefore the ITAK must be asked

  • Is the ITAK seeking to establish regional states/union of independent and sovereign states with the hidden intention of creating an independent and sovereign state?
  • Is the ITAK Constitution aiming for confederacy objectives because it is aware that the Central Government can reach only upto the Governments of respective province/State in a confederacy? Is this why the Northern Provincial Council is seeking direct foreign aid and a right to establish direct diplomatic relations?
  • Is the ITAK attempting to fool the GOSL, the General Public, India pretending it is  seeking a Federal Solution when its constitution if made public may reveal it is advocating confederacy where the Sri Lankan Central Government will have no rights to reach the citizens directly?
  • Is the ITAK’s objective to hide its confederacy aim because in a confederation it can at any time for any reason withdraw from the Union?
  • Is ITAK pretending to ask for a Federal set up but talking about Tamil province and Sinhala provinces when such does not exist and the provinces are held by the Central Government and every province is bound by the Central Government’s Constitution.
  • Is the ITAKs promise to guarantee language and religious rights also part of the confederation quest for under a federal government only the Central Government can provide fundamental rights.
  • Has the ITAK amended its constitution from Federal to Confederal so that it can seek a unilateral secession. In 1990 the Varatharaja Perumal N-E Province declared a UDI but the Premadasa Government dissolved the N-E provincial council. In a confederacy such an option is not available to the Central Government.
  • Is ITAK’s reference to accepting a ‘UNITED SRILANKA’ in keeping with its objective of a confederacy where confederates are joined only by a common united ‘collaboration’ factor. The moment a confederacy does not agree they can separate which is obviously the intent of the ITAK and why they are seen regularly referring to a UNITED Sri Lanka. ITAK also refers to co-existing and collaborating with the Sinhala provinces which is also in line with their confederacy quest. There are no Sinhala, Tamil or Muslim provinces in Sri Lanka.

 If ITAK is not forced to legally put down what its Constitution stands for Sri Lanka is headed for big trouble.

 India, the International Community and a host of others are requesting the Sri Lankan Government to commence talks with TNA/ITAK. Unless, ITAK legally clarifies its aims and objectives, Sri Lanka may be forced into accepting a set up by the international community as a political solution. ITAK would then be able to secede and declare a separate state which obviously is the ultimate goal. The words ‘united’ ‘co-existence’ ‘collaboration’ are being used to fool the Sri Lankan leaders and the masses towards this greater objective.

 That the ITAK is beating about the bush in answering such a simple question spells mischief and demands the Government and the people demand ITAK to place its Constitution in English with aims and objectives clearly defined.

 With the trilingual policy in place the Elections Commissioner must also insist that all political parties translate their manifestos and make them available in all 3 languages and filed.

 The Government of Sri Lanka should not enter any talks with the TNA until the ITAK establishes what its Constitution stands for (Federal or Confederal).

  Shenali D Waduge

4 Responses to “ITAK STOP FOOLING SRI LANKA: Is Your Constitution Federal or Confederal”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    BOTH federal and confederal are bad.

    We don’t need any of these. They are useless. IF Tamils want to live in a FEDERAL or CONFEDERAL country, go to Tamil Nadu.

  2. Nanda Says:

    To be “united” , there should be “separate’ entities. By creating Palaath Sabha , Endia created the separatism. Colombo will soon be a superstate state too, so will be the Islamic Republic of Kattankudy.

    Getting rid of Palaath Sabha 13A +- political cancer shall be the first priority for any patriotic leader. We need someone rigorously campaigning for that. Who has BALLS to do it ? Who has a strong back bone ?

  3. SA Kumar Says:


    13A is for united Mother Lanka to avoid separatism !( We Thamil have different motive that is different matter)

    fully implement 13A & 16A separatism die itself !!!

    but Nampungal , Naalai pirakkum Thamil Eeelam (Mr Maavai is kavaddukkula ) !

    Moddu Chinhalavan & Sakkiliya Demilaya never learn . that is our karma(m).

  4. AnuD Says:

    We did not have a president who was instrumental in doing something to the country. Incumbent one is busy making his family the richest in the world. HE had enough time, if he wanted to do it.

    Even this time, what happened to the money allocated, just before the Uva election, for drought -suffering people. All did not go there.

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