Indian PM conveys dismay over SL move on 13th Amendment

Manmohan Singh

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday told a delegation of Sri Lanka Tamil MPs that he was “dismayed” by reports suggesting that Colombo planned to dilute certain key provisions of the 13th Amendment on devolution of powers to provinces ahead of polls to the Northern Provincial Council.

The prime minister noted that the proposed changes “raised doubts about the commitments made by the Sri Lankan government to India and the international community, including the United Nations, on a political settlement in Sri Lanka that would go beyond the 13th Amendment,” ministry of external affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said in answer to a query.

“The changes would also be incompatible with the recommendation of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), set up by the Government of Sri Lanka, calling for a political settlement based on the devolution of power to the provinces,” the prime minister said, according to Akbaruddin.

“The prime minister stated that he was deeply concerned about the welfare and well-being of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka.

“He stressed on the expectation that the Sri Lankan Tamil community would lead a life of dignity, as equal citizens, and reiterated that India would make every effort to ensure the achievement of a future for the community marked by equality, justice and self-respect,” the spokesperson said.

The six-member team of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Sri Lanka visiting India from June 16-19, also called on External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon.

The TNA is regarded as the premier political formation of the Tamils of Sri Lanka.

The delegation is led by R Sampanthan, and consists of Mavai S Senathirajah, K (Suresh) Premachandran, P Selvarajah, Selvam Adaikkalanathan and MA Sumanthiran. A TNA delegation had also visited India in October 2012.

As per the 13th Amendment that followed the India-Sri Lankan Accord of July 1987, Sri Lankan government had agreed to devolve some authority to the provinces. (IANS)