COLOMBO: Sri Lanka's main Tamil party TNA is seeking a federal solution to resolve the long-pending issue of political independence for the counry's minority Tamil community.
This was conveyed by the main opposition leader and Tamil National Alliance leader (TNA) R Sampanthan in Jaffna yesterday to TNA representatives.
Commenting on the talks, the TNA northern provincial councilor M K Shvajilingam said Sampanthan had briefed them on the party's approach to the constitutional reform coming up at national level.
The government headed by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has already launched a process to formulate a new Constitution for the country replacing the 1978 statute.
Shivajilingam said Sampanthan said the current government could be more responsive to a federal arrangement and therefore, the TNA local politicians must not act indifferently at this stage.
"He said they are looking for a federal solution within an undivided Sri Lanka based on the merger of the north and eastern provinces," Shivajilingam said.
He said if the government did not acceded to a federal solution, international pressure must be brought to bear upon it by the Tamils.
The Tamil demand for a federal solution dates back to the days when Sri Lanka, then Ceylon, came to be granted independence by the British in 1948.
Later, the campaign was extended to a separate state demand when the LTTE fought a decades old war with the government to carve out a separate Tamil homeland.
With the defeat of the LTTE in 2009, the Tamil leadership has adopted a softer approach to give up on the separatist demand.