If the Tamils in the North vote the TNA to victory in the scheduled September PC polls it would not be of much concern to the government, as the government had decided to remove police and land powers from the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, National Freedom Front (NFF) leader and Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities Minister Wimal Weerawansa said today.
Addressing a news briefing at the NFF office in Battaramulla, Minister Weerawansa commenting on the UPFA party leaders’ meeting on Tuesday night at Temple Trees said no one including the minority constituent parties protested to the move of the government to remove the police powers and the land powers vested with PCs.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa heeding the concern of certain constituent parties of the UPFA including the NFF said steps would be taken to remove police and land powers from the 13th Amendment but before that it would be referred to the Supreme Court for a ruling, Minister Weerawansa said.
“However, we continue to agitate for the repeal of the 13th Amendment in totality as the there is still room for destabilisation and arbitrary decisions by provinces if they wish. The merger threat among two or more provinces is still there. We also want to remove the legal provisions that require the national Parliament to obtain the consent of all PCs to pass an Act that clashed with the concurrent list,” Minister Weerawansa said.
Commenting on External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris’ explanation at the UPFA party leaders meeting that the 17th and 18th Amendments had removed the police powers from the provinces, Minister Weerawansa said the argument was controversial and the best thing to do was to strike off police powers and land powers from the 13th Amendment to prevent any threat to the national sovereignty and authority of the Centre.
Responding to a journalist on the alleged concern of India and the west about the weakening of the 13th Amendment, Minister Weerawansa stressed that the government must not worry about those concerns as those were there in the past and will be, in the present and the future.
“What is important is that we must do what our people want and what is good for the country. You must not forget that all these foreign forces supported the LTTE and attempted to stop the war against terrorism. Therefore, we must not listen to them,” he added.
Minister Weerawansa dismissed the claim by a certain section that Sri Lanka had agreed with India and that the 13th Amendment would not be amended and added that Sri Lanka had issued only statements, not agreements with India.