Oct 16, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court Monday ordered the breakup of the restive Northeastern Province, a massive administrative region claimed by Tamil Tiger rebels as a separate state. The creation of the province was a key Tamil demand accepted by a 1987 peace accord that gave limited authority to minority Tamils in the northeast of the island.
Its division back into two smaller provinces will likely inflame political tensions ahead of scheduled peace talks later this month between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which say they cannot expect any autonomy under the current constitution.
Chief Justice Sarath N. de Silva overturned the 1987 presidential decree creating the Northeastern Province, saying there were no executive powers to merge the two provinces.
The court’s review was sparked by complaints from Sri Lanka’s main Marxist party, the JVP, or People’s Liberation Front.
The JVP opposes any concessions made to the Tigers, as well as the presence of Norwegian peace brokers on the island.
The ruling came as Japanese envoy Yasushi Akashi met with senior government leaders in a bid to salvage the peace process, which many fear is do