By Lahiru Pothmulla
The singing of the national anthem in any language other than Sinhala is a violation of the country’s Constitution, the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) said yesterday .
Addressing a news briefing, PHU Leader and MP Udaya Gammanpila said the 7th clause of the Constitution states that the national anthem of Sri Lanka is
‘Sri Lanka Matha.’
“The lyrics and music of the anthem are mentioned in the third sub-clause of the Constitution. If anything other than ‘Sri Lanka Matha’ was considered as the national anthem, it is a violation of the Constitution,”he said.
He said if anyone wishes to change it, they would have to obtain not only a two thirds majority in parliament but also the consent of the people at a referendum.
“Therefore, we request MP M.A.Sumanthiran to get the 7th clause of the Constitution changed if they wish to have the national anthem sung in Tamil. If the people gave their consent at a referendum, they could achieve this,” he said.
However, he said the TNA MPs have also said that the Tamil translation of the Constitution reveal the lyrics of the national anthem as ‘Sri Lanka Thaye.’
“The only official language mentioned in the 1977 Constitution is Sinhala. Therefore, the Tamil description is an error in translation. When there is a conflict among the two versions of the Constitution, the valid version is the Sinhala one,” the MP said.
Meanwhile, he said Pandith M. Nallathambi translated the national anthem to Tamil in 1949 - two years before ‘Sri Lanka Matha’ was officially recognized as the national anthem of Sri Lanka.
“Therefore singing of the anthem in Tamil was fine until 1951. The UNP have violated the Constitution by singing the anthem in Tamil in 2015 and thus created a conflict,” he said.
Therefore, we request MP M.A.Sumanthiran to get the 7th clause of the Constitution changed if they wish to have the national anthem sung in Tamil. If the people gave their consent at a referendum, they could achieve this