The JVP yesterday rejected APRC (All Party Representative Committee) call for a series of measures to achieve maximum and effective devolution of powers to the provinces in the short term.
JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe said that Minister Tissa Vitarana`s so called APRC was no APRC at all. How could they categorise it as an all party committee when the JVP and the UNP weren`t represented. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) which recognised the LTTE as the sole representatives of the Tamil speaking people, too, boycotted the committee.
Addressing the press at Savsiripaya auditorium, Amarasinghe asserted that except the SLFP, other parties which endorsed the proposals were in fact no political parties. They were `three wheeler` parties and their endorsement wouldn`t mean a thing, he said.
Severely criticising President Mahinda Rajapaksa`s approach to solve the national problem, the JVP leader accused the government of reviving the long dead Indo-Lanka Accord of July 1987. He urged the government not to revive the accord forced on President JR Jayewardene by India at gunpoint as it would never facilitate a negotiated settlement. The president had conveniently forgotten the tough stand taken against the Indo-Lanka Accord by the SLFP, he said. The UNP killed 140 civilians who marched on Colombo against the Accord, the JVP Chief said, emphasising that the need to destroy the LTTE before tackling political issues.
`In our road map for durable peace, the annihilation of the LTTE comes first,` he said. Along with that, the restoration of democracy, compensation to victims of violence irrespective of their ethnicity and eradication of the `separatist movement` would be necessary, he said. This could be followed by elections to provincial councils and local bodies, he said, while emphasising the importance of a countrywide census after the annihilation of the LTTE.
Vitarana said that their recently unveiled proposals would be followed by a set of proposals that would be the basis for a solution to the national problem. `After, 63 sittings, over a period of 1 1/2 years, the consensus document is being finalised and it should be possible to hand it over to the President in the very near future. The outcome would be a basis for appropriate constitutional arrangements. Their implementation would of course require amendment of the present Constitution, and in respect of some Articles, approval by the people at a referendum. This would of course take time, once a favourable climate is established`
Amarasinghe strongly rejected the move to establish an Interim Council for the Northern Province in terms of the Constitution. This would cause chaos, he said adding that the JVP was totally in disagreement with the assertion that the Interim Council should reflect the ethnic character of a particular province, in this case the Northern Province.
In short, the JVP would accept the implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitition, he said. Vitarana called for maximum devolution of powers to the provinces under the 13th Amendment. Amarasinghe said that the implementation of the amendment in respect of legislative, executive and administrative powers, overcoming existing shortcomings would be detrimental to the national interest and the JVP would do everything possible to thwart the move.
Responding to a query raised by The Island, Amarasinghe said that the JVP`s armed struggle against the State and that of the LTTE couldn`t be compared. The JVP was a democratic party and it never resorted to any illegal activity before the then UNP administration of JR Jayewardene proscribed the party, he said. Applauding the security forces, which twice put down JVP inspired armed campaigns, the JVP leader expressed satisfaction over the status of the ongoing action against the LTTE. He also launched a scathing attack on UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Loise Arbour for being biased towards the LTTE. He emphasised that their protests directed against Ms Arbour shouldn`t be construed as anti-UN.
Briefly discussing the humanitarian disaster in US occupied Iraq, Amarasinghe challenged Arbour to criticise the US led allied action there. She was silent on the situation in Iraq, he said.
The JVP would oppose any effort on the part of the UN to bring Sri Lankan security forces before international court for human rights violations.