CWC Wants Indian Origin Tamils’ Rights
By Camelia Nathaniel
The Ceylon Worker’s Congress (CWC) says it will seek the rights of Indian origin Tamils to be protected by the Constitution if amendments are made.
Muthu Sivalingam of the CWC said that there had been representations on the Executive Presidency, both for and against, with most wanting it to continue with some amendments. Sivalingam said that the CWC is yet to present its demands, but will do so soon.
Asked what the CWC’s demands might be, he said, “Our demands do not relate to the basic structure of the Constitution. We want the Presidential form of government, with an Executive President directly elected by all Sri Lankans, to continue. This is because the person elected should be answerable to all the people, all Sri Lankans, not just to his parliamentary constituency, as Prime Ministers are in a parliamentary system of government. The minorities especially, need a President in whose election they will have had a role.”
However, the CWC, being a party of the Indian origin Tamils working in the plantation sector, will ask for certain rights for the Indian Origin Tamils, to be written in the Constitution, Sivalingam said. “We have two main demands. One is to allocate land to build houses and cultivate some crops, and the other is the resettlement of estate communities in village-like settlements, so that we are released from the decrepit line rooms in the estates and enabled to live with dignity.
We also want some kind of unofficial reservations in government employment, so that our educated youth can get absorbed into the state sector. When Premadasa was President, he had unofficially introduced recruitment as per the ethnic ratio, but a Tamil from the North East went to court and got it nullified. As per the ethnic ration we should be getting 5 percent of the jobs,” Sivalingam said.