Two nations theory is not new to Sri Lanka-TNA MP

[TamilNet, Sunday, 05 December 2004, 14:08 GMT]
"Theory of two nations is not a new idea to Sri Lanka," said Mr.Joseph Pararajasingham, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian Saturday participating in the committee stage debate on the votes for Labour Relations and Foreign Employment in Parliament. He reminded the prophetic speech made by a Sinhala leader Dr.Colvin R.De Silva of Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) forty-eight years ago during the debate on the Sinhala only bill that "Do you want one nation with two languages or two nations with one language?" parliamentary sources said.

Mr.Pararajasingham said the Minister for Labour Relations and Foreign Employment Mr.Athauda Seneviratne, a senior parliamentarian was a one time a Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) stalwart. He reminded that LSSP, a leftist party, stood for parity of status for the Tamil Language in 1956 and later it abandoned the policy of parity of status and joined forces with the United Front Government led by later Prime Minister Ms Srimavo Bandaranaike.

"Parliamentarians of the House, particularly of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna who oppose the theory of two nations must take note of this history related to language issues in Sri Lanka,"said Mr.Pararajasingham.

Mr.Pararajasingham detailed the discriminatory policies of the Ministry of Labour Relations and Foreign Employment to Tamils and Tamil language in the ministry.

"In the Employment Provident Unit (EPF) of the ministry only two Tamils are working and that also in minor grade. No Tamil translators are employed in the ministry which earlier employed five translators. All forms related to EPF claims are in Sinhala only. Constitution of the country has stipulated that Sinhala and Tamil are official languages. But the government is not implementing that language policy in true spirit. Payments to more than 5,000 EPF claims of Tamils are still pending for want of Tamil translators," said Mr.Pararajasingham.

The Zonal Deputy Commissioner of labour for the northeast province is a Sinhalese person and also functioning from Colombo head office. He has never visited the northeast province. How can he manage the labour affairs of the northeast? Why cannot the Minister appoint a Tamil to this position? Mr.Pararajasingham asked.

"Tamils are ignored during recruitment for employment opportunities abroad.

"Several vacancies exist in the northeast province for labour officers and no action has been taken by the ministry to fill these vacancies. It is because of these continuous discrimination and inequality in opportunities in this multi-ethnic country, Tamils are looking for other options to look after their own affairs with full independence.

"How long can Tamils continue to tolerate the rampant discrimination? This is what is driving the Tamil people and the LTTE to demand an Interim Self Governing Authority to address the needs of the northeast people," said Mr.Joseph Pararajasingham.


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