Need to fully implement law for Tamils’ political autonomy: Sri Lankan – The Tribune India
Colombo, January 27
Sri Lankan (SL) President Ranil Wickremesinghe has underlined the need to fully implement the India-backed 13th Amendment to the Constitution to grant political autonomy to the minority Tamils in the country.
Addressing an all-party meeting, Wickremesinghe also said that if anyone opposed the full implementation of 13A, the Parliament must take steps to abolish the law.
Indian pressure on lankan govtIndia has been pressing Sri Lanka to implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution which was brought in after the Indo-Sri Lankan agreement of 1987.This law provides for the devolution of power to the Tamil community in Sri Lanka. Colombo has had a history of failed negotiations to end the Tamil claim of discrimination.
The 13A provides for the devolution of power to the Tamil community in Sri Lanka. India has been pressing Sri Lanka to implement the 13A which was brought in after the Indo-Sri Lankan agreement of 1987.
Wickremesinghe, who took over as the president last year amidst the unprecedented economic crisis and political turmoil, said that as the head of the nation, it was his duty to implement the prevailing laws. The all-party conference came closely on the heels of the visit by Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar who had emphasised India’s wish to see the full implementation of 13A.
The 13A became part of Sri Lanka’s Constitution due to direct intervention by India in Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict way back in 1987. The provincial council system was part of the Indo-Lanka Accord signed by the then-Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi and Lankan President JR Jayewardene.
Wickremesinghe in mid-December had initiated talks with the minority Tamil political groups in order to achieve reconciliation by February 4, the 75th anniversary of the independence of Sri Lanka from Britain.
Sri Lanka has had a long history of failed negotiations to end the Tamil claim of discrimination by allowing some form of political autonomy.
Over the years, the Sri Lankan government has been aggressive against Tamilian groups following its war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The LTTE ran a military campaign for a separate Tamil homeland in the northern and eastern provinces of the island nation for nearly 30 years before its collapse in 2009 after the Sri Lankan Army killed its supreme leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.
According to Sri Lankan government figures, over 20,000 people are missing due to various conflicts including the three-decade brutal war with Lankan Tamils in the north and east which claimed at least 100,000 lives.