A delegation of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) called on the Indian High Commissioner, Gopal Baglay, here on Friday. The High Commissioner congratulated the TNA for its performance at the recent general elections. He reiterated India’s longstanding position on peace and reconciliation and the full implementation of the Thirteenth Amendment of the Sri Lankan constitution which had created elected Provincial Councils in the nine provinces of the island nation with a modicum of devolved powers.
The 13A came as a result of the India-Sri Lanka Accord of 1987. Though elected councils came into being as part of the Accord and the 13 th., Amendment, the powers that the councils should have got as per the 13A have not been devolved. Powers over land and police are still not devolved.
Speaking to newsin.asia, the TNA spokesman and Jaffna district Member of Parliament, M.A.Sumanthiran, said that High Commissioner Baglay assured the delegation that India has a “strong commitment to the principles underlying the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord and that the Accord cannot be viewed as a mere piece of paper.”
Envoy Baglay further said that New Delhi is “closely watching” developments in Sri Lanka in regard to all issues including the 13A. Sumanthiran said that in the one and a half interaction, the envoy asked penetrating questions about various issues, especially the President’s proposal to do away with the 19A. President Rajapaksa feels that the 19A curbs powers he is entitled to as a directly elected Executive President and hampers his ability to administer the country as per his electoral mandate.
However, High Commissioner Baglay said that the details of the implementation of the Accord would be left to be worked out by two local parties concerned, namely, the government of Sri Lanka and the Tamil parties.
On what India might do if the Government of Sri Lanka jettisons the 13 th., Amendment, as feared by the Tamils, the High Commissioner said that there would be “interactions at the highest level” between India and Sri Lanka.
Five MPs of the TNA met the envoy: They are R.Sampanthan, Mavai Senathirajah, M.A.Sumanthiran, Selvam Adaikalanathan and D.Sidharthan.