SL Tamil leaders reject Govt's Devolution package

Updated on Feb 12, 2008 11:04 AM IST
Tamil leaders of SL have rejected the island nation Govt's devolution package aimed at ending the ethnic conflict saying the move was "a joke played on Tamils".
HT Image
HT Image
PTI | By, New Delhi

Tamil leaders of Sri Lanka have rejected the island nation government's devolution package aimed at ending the 25-year-old ethnic conflict saying the move was "a joke played on Tamils".

The All Party Representation Committee, formed by the Mahinda Rajapakse government to counter LTTE's struggle for separate homeland for Tamils in Sri Lanka, had submitted its report to the government last month.

The committee, consisting of 14 political parties, in its report had recommended implementation of the proposals for devolution contained in the 1987 India-Sri Lanka agreement, which were incorporated in the 13th amendment of the 1978 Sri Lankan constitution.

"Such recommendations (APRC's) were the ones that were rejected by the Tamils during early stages. The subsequent attempts were centered on the feasibility of enhancing the powers further," Sri Lankan Community Development Minister P Chandrasekaran told PTI.

"Talking about the 13th amendment at the present stage will mean a hasty retreat from the point of resolution of the ethnic conflict," he said.

Echoing his views, Lankan MP MK Sivajilingam of Pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance (TNA), said the Sri Lankan government's move to devolve powers to region is a "joke played by them (Lankan government) on minority Tamils" who have "not been able to lead a peaceful life in their own nation".

"Tamil Eelam is the only solution for the conflict," he said.

Sivajilingam said these were the proposals that had been rejected by Tamil leaders way back in 1956 and "we Tamils can in no way accept this move" by a government that "does not solve even the basic problems of its own citizens".

Chandrasekaran said India should facilitate the peace process between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE.

"Norway, that has been in the process of facilitating peace, has been marginalised or sidelined. Our position in this regard is that India has all the qualifications to supersede Norway in facilitating the process," he said.

The APRC in its report had recommended immediate conduct of elections in the Eastern province and urged the government to establish an interim council in the northern province to enable the people to enjoy the fruits of devolution as "free and fair polls" was not possible there in the near future.

"The proposals cannot be accepted. It's an injustice rendered to the Tamils by the government. Why should there be different kind of arrangements for North and East"? Sivajilingam said.

He wanted India to recognise the "Eelam liberation struggle" and help Lankan Tamils achieve their "long-cherished dream of Tamil as a nation and Tamil home land".

"If a separate Tamil nation is formed, it will be in the best interests of India. So, we urge the Indian government to recognise our demands. We can't ask help from anyone other than India," he said.

The TNA leader also urged India to help in improving the social, economic and educational conditions of Tamils in Sri Lanka.

On claims that eliminating LTTE chief V Prabhakaran will solve the ethnic crisis, Sivajilingam said, "no one can ever touch Prabhakaran. It is a dream of the Sri Lankan government that will always remain as a dream. It exactly shows their childish behaviour".

However, Chandrasekaran said such a move would be detrimental to the future well being of the Tamils.

Asked if Tamils would benefit from the devolution package, the Minister said, "without the concurrence of Tamil political parties, particularly the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, no such endeavours will succeed. It is the reality."

On Rajapakse's recent statement that a solution to the conflict through military means was not possible, Sivajilingam said, "this shows the double standards of the Sri Lankan government. When they feel that a military solution is not possible why did they call off the ceasefire agreement signed in 2002?"

"The Rajapakse government is least interested in taking care of Tamils and the only choice for us is to fight against them," he said.

Sivajilingam said the LTTE alone had the power to fight for the cause of Tamils and there is no alternative.

However, Chandrasekaran said the "universal remedy" for all evils is negotiations and the only alternative to LTTE's endeavours is dialogue.

Fierce fighting between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam and the military has left over 1,000 rebels dead in the country's embattled north since the Sri Lankan government dumped a tattered ceasefire last month.

Close Story

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • The Security Council's consultations will take place on Monday afternoon in New York.

    UN Security Council to hold emergency meeting on Monday over Gaza fighting

    The UN Security Council was to hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the situation in Gaza, where a truce is holding between Islamic Jihad militants and Israel after three days of deadly conflict. China, which holds the presidency of the Security Council in August, announced the emergency meeting on Saturday, with Ambassador Zhang Jun expressing his concern over Gaza's worst fighting since an 11-day war last year.

  • File photo of cracked and dry earth on the banks of Le Broc lake, as a historical drought hits France, August 5, 2022.

    France in midst of 4th heat wave amid historic drought

    France was in the midst of its fourth heat wave of the year Monday as the country faces what the government warned is its worst drought on record. Read US Senate poised to pass Biden's cornerstone climate and health bill The high temperatures aren't helping firefighters battling a wildfire in the Chartreuse Mountains, near the Alps in eastern France, where authorities have evacuated around 140 people.

  • Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak before taking part in the BBC Conservative Party leadership debate in Stoke-on-Trent, England, Monday July 25, 2022.

    Rishi Sunak v Liz Truss: UK PM race finalists clash over this policy

    The race to elect a new Conservative Party leader, who will take charge as British Prime Minister early next month, heated up on Monday as the two finalists – Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss – clashed over their proposals to tackle the soaring cost-of-living crisis across the country. While Truss has pledged immediate tax cuts if elected, Sunak has promised more targeted support for the most vulnerable households and tax cuts further down the line.

  • China’s Yuan Wang 5 is seen docked on October 2, 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand. The ship is described as a naval vessel used for tracking and supporting satellites. (Getty Images)

    ‘Senseless’: Beijing unhappy as India opposes docking of Chinese ship at Sri Lankan port

    China on Monday described as “senseless” India's opposition to the docking of a Chinese ship at a Sri Lankan port, saying “relevant” countries should stop disturbing normal exchanges between Beijing and Colombo. China's Yuan Wang 5, a space and satellite tracking vessel, was allowed by Colombo last month to dock at the southern Sri Lankan port of Hambantota between August 11 and 17, raising security concerns in New Delhi.

  • (Representational Image) 

    Balochistan Assembly holds anti-child marriage bill pending from last 8 years

    The draft for an anti-child marriage bill has been pending before the Balochistan Assembly for the last eight years, a legislator briefed the consultation meeting on the issue of child marriage. A politician from the National Party, Shama Ishaq, said that the delay was due to hurdles created by certain quarters. The session was presided over by Balochistan's Parliamentary Secretary on Law and Parliamentary Affairs, Science and Technology, Rubaba Khan Buledi.

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, August 08, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now