Member of parliamentarians, representing Tamils from the north and east, hill country, Colombo, and Tamil-speaking Muslims met on Sunday (12) asked the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to ensure “retain existing rights of Tamils”.
This meeting was being held as a continuation of the meeting held on the 2nd of November 2021. Our firm position is a federal political solution. That is our political goal. There is never room for compromise. But we must make a request to India to fully implement the existing 13A in the existing constitution,” the Tamil parties said.
The 13th amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka was an outcome of the July 29, 1987 accord between New Delhi and Colombo. It was passed by Sri Lankan parliament in November 1987 resulting in creation of the provincial councils. The process of devolution of power to the local governments as envisaged by it remained incomplete though.
During last four decades Sri Lankan governments are refusing to implement fully and have refused to accept with power over crucial areas including land, and law and order.
Rajapaksa regime are trying to repeal deeming the provincial councils, created consequent to the Amendment, and reluctant to conduct provincial council election, but uses military governors or pro- Sinhala government governors.
India has repeatedly asked the Sri Lankan leadership to ensure the full implementation of the 13th Amendment.
“We have gathered today from different political parties to discuss the situation. We exchanged our views on the subject, and will be taking this discussion forward,” Tamil National Alliance Leader R. Sampanthan told a press conference, following the MPs’ meet at a Colombo hotel on Sunday.
The parties have decided to meet again in Colombo on the 21st. On the same day, it was decided to sign a joint resolution.
The parliamentarians will finalise a “comprehensive document” by December 21, said Mano Ganesan, Leader of the Tamil Progressive Alliance that represents Malaiyaha Tamils.
“We are challenging this government and asking them to fully implement what is already in our Constitution. Nothing has changed in this country 12 years after the war ended. Our message is not only to the Sri Lankan leadership, but also to India, the international community and UN bodies,” he said. As a signatory to the Accord of 1987, “India has an obligation,” Mr. Ganesan added.
The final document coming out of the discussion would also be sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, according to the organisers.
“Meanwhile, the Centre through various presidential task forces is trying to snatch our powers. If that has to be stopped, we must emphasise our rights highlighting what is guaranteed in our Constitution,” said Rauf Hakeem, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Leader and legislator.
Jaffna MP and former Northern Provincial Council Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran said in demanding the full implementation of the 13th Amendment, the MPs were not abandoning the call for a federal political solution to Sri Lanka’s historic Tamil national question.
R. Sampanthan, President of the Tamil National Alliance, Mano Ganesan, Leader of the Tamil Progressive Alliance, Rauf Hakeem, Leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, CV Vigneswaran, Leader of the Tamil People’s Alliance, Selvam Adikalanathan, Leader of the TELO, Govindan Karunakaram, Member of Parliament, R. Ragavan (PLOTE), E. K. Sarveeswaran representing EPRLF were present at the meeting.