Sri Lankan Parliament prorogued till Feb 8 – ThePrint
Colombo, Jan 27 (PTI) The Sri Lankan government on Friday decided to prorogue Parliament till February 8 when President Ranil Wickremesinghe will make a special address on the implementation of the India-backed 13th Amendment to the Constitution and other issues concerning the minority Tamil community.
The order of prorogation of parliament will come into effect from midnight on Friday, a statement said.
President Wickremesinghe has ended the current session of Parliament in order to officially reopen for a brand new parliamentary session on February 8.
Wickremesinghe’s office said the president by issuing a special gazette has ended the current session which is the third session since its commencement on August 3 last year.
“Accordingly President Ranil Wickremesinghe is scheduled to ceremonially inaugurate the 4th session of the 9th Parliament at 10 am on February 8,” the release added.
Earlier in the day, Wickremesinghe announced his intention to fully implement the India-mooted 13 Amendment to the Constitution to grant political autonomy to the minority Tamils in the country.
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 said he would be making a special parliamentary address on February 8 incorporating the 13A implementation and other issues concerning the Tamils such as the release of lands held for military purposes.
The policy statement to be delivered at the new session of Parliament is to deal with “new policies, new laws and acts proposed to be implemented for the betterment of the country, irrespective of party, colour or caste discrimination”, the release said.
Wickremesinghe since mid-December has been talking to Tamil minority parties to address the concerns of Tamils including ways to address the demand for political autonomy.
Wickremesinghe’s action on 13A follows the visit by the Indian External Affairs Minister Dr Jaishankar who had made clear India’s wish to see the full implementation of it.
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 prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and President JR Jayewardene.
The Tamils put forward their demand for autonomy since gaining independence from Britain in 1948 which from the mid-70s turned into a bloody armed conflict.
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. PTI Corr NSA AKJ NSA
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