The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), the main Muslim party in Sri Lanka is leading the campaign for a separate Muslim administrative unit in line with the policies of the late M. H. M. Ashraff, the founder of the SLMC.
SLMC General Secretary Hassan Ali said that Muslim civil society groups met in Ampara last week to discuss the way forward for the Muslim community in Sri Lanka.
He said that he was happy to see Muslims uniting for one cause, and that is to ensure the identity of the Sri Lankan Muslims is protected.
“The late Mr. Ashraff had proposed that the Muslim community must be considered as an equal stakeholder in Sri Lanka, be recognized as a separate ethnic community and be given a separate provincial council,” he said.
He said the proposed Muslim administered provincial council should be carved out from the Muslim majority local authorities in the Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Manner districts.
Hassan Ali said the three districts must be merged with three coastal districts comprising of three electorates, namely Pottuvil, Samanthurai and Kalmunai.
“The present eastern province is not what we had soon after independence. The demography and even the geography has changed. Several portions of land have been annexed from adjoining districts. All this must be considered when you draft a new Constitution,” he asserted.
The SLMC General Secretary also noted that after 1978 there is now a Constitutional Assembly and when there is a Constitutional Assembly there is no point in talking about amending the existing Constitution. (Colombo Gazette)