Caste based reservations in governing bodies and educational institutions have been sought by some political parties, organizations and individuals in Jaffna in their submissions to the Pubic Representation Committee on Constitutional Reforms, officials said yesterday.
Committee Chairman Lal Wijenayake told the Daily Mirror that the north was the sole area where this problem was openly discussed when deliberating the general public on constitutional reforms.
Mr.Wijenayake said the EPRLF led by former North-East Provincial Council Chief Minister Varatharajah Perumal was one political party that sough such reservation citing that caste based discrimination was so acute.
“This is the only area where they came openly about the caste problem. They said there was discrimination. They even said the depressed castes accounted for 40 per cent. I do not know. I am not sure about the number. I asked why they did not fight back if the number were so high. They were concerned that there was no representation for them in the elected bodies and the education sector. They said they did not receive any representation after 1960 for the caste group considered to be lowest,” he said.
In making submission, he said it was referred to how an MP was appointed during the time of former Prime Minister the late Sirimawo Bandaranaike.
“They said the political parties were dominated by the higher caste groups today. It is difficult to get nominations from these parties. They wanted allocation of seats,” he said.
He said even medical specialists came before the Committee and complained about discrimination over the caste factor.
“Even some members of our committee were very angry when such complaints were made. Some of our committee members noted it as exaggeration,” he said. (Kelum Bandara)