The Tamil Parties Forum (TPF), the umbrella organisation of Tamil parties other than Tamil National Alliance (TNA), in a letter to External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna has said efforts by India to ensure ‘equality and justice' to Sri Lankan Tamils should be carried forward.
The TPF, which recently met Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has said that the Tamil political parties had come to an understanding and constituted a common forum to strive for a permanent political solution to the ethnic problem and also to work towards solving the immediate issues faced by the Tamil people.
“In this context, we have initiated discussions with the other concerned political parties, including the TNA, with a view to forging a consensus on the question of a political solution to the national question of Sri Lanka,” it said.
The TNA holds the majority of seats in Parliament from the Northern and Eastern provinces in the island nation.
Maintaining that the political solution should be found within the framework of a united Sri Lanka thus enabling the Tamils to participate fully in their ‘own governance in the North-East,' the Forum said that the implementation of the 13th amendment in full would be a positive beginning.
On civil administration, it said establishment of a full and complete civil administration without any involvement of the security forces in the Northern and Eastern provinces was the need of the hour.
“We are concerned that the proposal to establish settlements of the members of the security forces and their families numbering many thousands will drastically alter the demographic composition in the Northern and Eastern provinces that had been recognised as the areas of historical habitation in the Indo-Sri Lanka accord of 1987,” it said.
The letter said one of the main reasons for the discontent between the communities was the ‘state-sponsored colonisation' by successive governments in the past with the motive of altering the demographic composition in the North-East.
On resettlement of the war-displaced, it said that though a majority of them had been sent back to their former places of habitation, they had not been settled with adequate basic facilities.
Separately, the parliamentary group of the TNA said it chose to abstain from voting on the budget for 2011 as it had not made any allocation for the relief, resettlement and rehabilitation, particularly of the displaced Tamil people and the Tamil people in general.
In a statement, it said the government must engage in discussion the elected representatives of the Tamil people on resettlement, rehabilitation and resolution of the national problem.
“However, no meaningful steps have been taken by the government in this regard up till now. In this context, we would like to demonstrate our good faith in participating in the discussions concerning the extremely important issues of resettlement and political solution. Therefore, the TNA decided to abstain from voting against the budget 2011 at the second reading.”
Keywords: Sri Lankan Tamils