New-Democratic Marxist-Leninist Party Proposals for a Solution to the Sri Lankan National Question

1. The Northern and Eastern Provinces which comprise the traditional regions of the Tamil-speaking people of Sri Lanka should be merged permanently and a fully-empowered Autonomous Regional Structure should be established along with Autonomous Inner Structures within it.

2. The Structure so established should be named the North-East Regional Autonomous Territory, and its borders should be that of the existing Northern and Eastern Provinces.

3. The powers and activities of this Regional Autonomy and of the Autonomous Inner Structures within it should be clearly defined. At the same time, regulations should be drafted and clarified to ensure that there is no conflict between the respective powers and activities of the Centre and of the Region; and the powers and the right to activities referred to here should be constitutionally guaranteed.

4. Room should be allowed for the self-reliant economic development based on agriculture and industry within the North-East Autonomous Regional Structure and legal guarantee provided for its administration without hindrance or interference.

5. The North-East Regional Autonomy should be given full powers to undertake land distribution, organize irrigation and arrange settlements in the North-East Regional Autonomous Territory. The Central Government and the Regional Autonomy should discuss the matter of colonization undertaken with ulterior motives and arrive at a conclusion based on good understanding. At the same time, the Regional Autonomy should have the right to accept or reject any colonization scheme proposed by the Central Government.

6. The North-East Regional Autonomy should have the right to undertake matters relating to finance, judicial administration, language, education, employment and cultural affairs in accordance with the needs of the people of the region, and in accordance with the Constitution.

7. Responsibility for local security should rest with the administration of the Regional Autonomy for purpose of maintaining law and order in the North-East Regional Autonomous Territory. In the absence of foreign threat or aggression, the Central Government should take decisions about maintaining or expanding military bases in the Autonomous Territory in consultation with the Regional Autonomy.

8. At the National level and at the level of the Regional Autonomy, firm action against discrimination based on race, language, caste, religion and gender should be clearly defined based on fundamental and human rights and trade union and democratic rights.

9. Official use of Sinhala, Tamil and English, the three official languages of Sri Lanka, should be fully implemented in practice; and the Constitution should guarantee the right of each citizen the right to communicate with the Central Government or with the Regional Autonomy in his/her mother tongue and receive a reply in the same language.

10. The Regional Autonomy should provide with due guarantees facilities and concessions for the social advancement of the oppressed people in various parts of the country who still remain economically, educationally, socially and culturally backward and deprived of land, health care and employment.

11. Muslims should be recognized as a distinct nationality and, on that basis, one or several Autonomous Internal Structures should be set up in regions which have been the traditional home to the Muslims, comprising individual territories in each District or across Districts. The Muslims should through such structures be enabled to fully enjoy full rights in matters including their economy, natural resources, employment opportunities and education.

12. Powers and rights of the Autonomous Inner Structures should be clearly formulated and guaranteed in a way that neither the Central Government nor the Regional Autonomy could interfere or intervene in matters within the purview of an Autonomous Inner Structure for the Muslims.

13. Autonomous Inner Structures should be established firmly for the Sinhalese living in the North-East Autonomous Region so that their rights and aspirations are duly attended to; and the powers and rights of such Autonomous Inner Structures are clearly formulated and guaranteed.

14. Autonomous Inner Structures should be set up in every region according to population concentration to protect the rights and aspirations of the Tamil people living outside the North-East Autonomous Region; and the powers and rights of such Autonomous Inner Structures should be clearly formulated and guaranteed.

15. Autonomous Inner Structures should be set up in every region according to population concentration to protect the rights and aspirations of the Muslims living outside the North-East Autonomous Region; and the powers and rights of such Autonomous Inner Structures should be clearly formulated and guaranteed.

16. The Hill Country Tamil community which has existed in this country for over 200 years with distinct political, socio-economic and cultural identities should be recognized as a distinct nationality of the country, and their ethnic identity should be affirmed as Hill Country Tamils in all legal documents including certificates of birth, death and marriage.

17. An exclusive Autonomous Structure should be established for the Hill Country Tamil nationality in order that it could cherish its unique ethnic and cultural identities and develop them further and thereby fulfil its aspirations and expectations.

18. As a prelude to establishing an exclusive Autonomous Structure for the Hill Country Tamils, village structures should be established incorporating their right to housing combined with the confirmation of their right to land. Such villages should be brought together to form Village Officer Divisions (Grama Niladhari Divisions) with at least one Divisional Secretariat for 40,000 persons as their administrative centres.

19. While the Autonomous Structure for the Hill Country Tamils will include regions of the Central, Uva and Sabaragamuwa Provinces and have guarantees for the land and housing rights of the people, self-reliant economy, employment opportunity, education, healthcare, language rights and the protection and development of their culture, there should also be provision for setting up Autonomous Inner Structures, with guarantees of their powers and rights, outside the above Autonomous Structure, combining regions of other provinces where the Hill Country Tamils live in significant concentration.

20. Minorities including Burghers, Malays and the Attho (Veddah), irrespective of whether live in significant concentration or sparsely among the population of the country, should be acknowledged as National Minorities according to their preference, and Autonomous Inner Structures set up suitably combining regions in which they live, defining clearly their powers and rights and guaranteeing them in order that their identity, culture and all rights are protected.

21.  Steps should be taken to ensure that all Autonomous Structures and Autonomous Inner Structures and have Constitutional guarantee to operate independently with language rights and to undertake financial, judicial and administrative measures.

22. In the event of those who left the country under conditions of conflict wishing to return to the country, they should be offered full citizenship irrespective of their race, religion, language and region; and those needing dual citizenship should be allowed that right.

One thought on “New-Democratic Marxist-Leninist Party Proposals for a Solution to the Sri Lankan National Question

  1. Shiran says:

    some great suggestions here but i feel ndmlp recommendations regarding muslims, up country tamils and other minorities need explaining.
    why recommend recognition of muslims as a separate nation when muslims themselves have never asked for this? muslims identity is very complex in lanka and comprises of malays, moors, tamils, sinhalese, boras and other other small groups. ndmlp should avoid imposing nationalism where none exists. part of autonomy is allowing communities to grow on their own terms.
    and why recommend up-country tamils be recognised as a nation separate form the rest? is this part of up-country demands? technically speaking tamils whether in south africa, malaysia, india or sri lanka are all part of the same nation with a shared language and geographic origin in the subcontinent.

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