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Updated: April 24, 2012 15:47 IST

Was 13th Amendment not discussed with Indian MPs?

R.K.Radhakrishnan
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BJP leader Sushma Swaraj during a press conference in Colombo on , April 21, 2012. Ms. Swaraj who led a MPs delegation had said President Mahinda Rajapaksa
AP BJP leader Sushma Swaraj during a press conference in Colombo on , April 21, 2012. Ms. Swaraj who led a MPs delegation had said President Mahinda Rajapaksa "himself spoke about 13th Amendment plus."

The events seem to be a replay. It was External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna then. It is India’s Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj’s turn now. A leading newspaper in Sri Lanka has claimed that no discussion was held regarding the devolution of powers to States when the Indian MPs delegation met President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Soon after Mr. Krishna met the President in January 2012, the Indian side released to the press a statement, which said that the President had agreed to the implementation of the 13th Amendment (which grants some powers to the provinces) as a means to cater to the hopes and aspirations of Tamils in the Northern Province. Then too, there was no briefing from the government side. A day later, the government’s preferred newspaper, The Island, quoting the President, said that he did not discuss 13-plus with Mr. Krishna.

Now, it is Ms. Swaraj’s turn. She met the President for an unscheduled breakfast meeting on April 20, and then again, with the MPs delegation on April 21. The delegation was here to study the ground situation, and was the outcome of a heated debate during the last winter session, on the plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Again, it is The Island that reported that the issue of implementing the 13-plus was not even raised at the meeting between Ms. Swaraj and Mahinda Rajapaksa. “The Sri Lankan Government yesterday strongly denied a statement attributed to Indian Opposition Leader, Sushma Swaraj that her delegation had received an assurance from President Mahinda Rajapaksa of his commitment to the 13th Amendment and his readiness to go even beyond it,” the newspaper reported on Tuesday.

“GoSL sources said that President Rajapaksa had met the Indian Opposition Leader twice on Friday and Saturday, but such an assurance was never given or asked for.

“During Saturday’s breakfast meeting at Temple Trees, President Rajapaksa recalled how India had forced the 13th Amendment on the then Sri Lankan President J.R. Jayewardene. Saturday’s meeting was attended by the entire Indian delegation, along with Indian High Commissioner, Ashok K. Kantha, now engaged in a stepped-up campaign for the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, sources said.

“Responding to a query by The Island, sources alleged that an attempt was being made to pressure the government over the devolution process, in the wake of India voting for a resolution moved by the U.S. targeting Sri Lanka at the last sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva. In the run-up to the Geneva vote on March 22, India sought an assurance from the GoSL regarding the 13th Amendment, sources said.

“In fact, President Rajapaksa, during Saturday’s meet, had declared that even CWC leader Minister Arumugam Thondaman, who represents the hill country, wouldn’t be comfortable with land and police powers being in the hands of a Chief Minister in line with the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

“Sources emphasized that the GoSL’s commitment was for a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC), which the President believed could propose a settlement which all parties will agree with,” the newspaper’s page-1 story said.

At a press conference at the end of the visit of the MPs delegation to Sri Lanka, Ms. Swaraj was asked: “You said that the President gave you assurances on a political solution. Even the last time – when Mr. Krishna was here – the Indian side said that the President had agreed to implement the 13th Amendment. But this was denied by the President later…”

This was her reply: “President himself spoke about 13th Amendment plus. So it’s not a question of a Minister saying or denying or confirming. The President himself said 13th Amendment plus.”

This reporter pointed out to her the following: “Sri Lanka has promised devolution of powers to meet the aspirations of Tamils in May 2009 to Ban Ki-moon; in June 2010 to Manmohan Singh; in January 2012 to S.M. Krishna. In your discussions with the Sri Lankan President did you feel that they were serious about devolution?

Ms. Swaraj’s reply: “We emphasised this point in every meeting. Even today with Mahinda Rajapaksa ji and as you rightly said, we also reminded them that you have given assurance to the Prime Minister of India, the Hon. External Affairs Minister of India and even to me, as Leader of Opposition when I called on him. But they say that Parliamentary Select Committee will discuss this and they said that we are very, vey serious. We said that you are not only talking about 13th Amendment but also 13th Amendment plus. That means something more than the devolution of power. And we have emphasised upon them that a stalemate has come. There is a deadlock in talks. We also appealed in that all party meeting that this stalemate has to be broken and we have to move forward. And today also we told the President Mahinda Rajapaksa that this stalemate has to be broken. He said we can’t bring them by force. I said ‘yes, you can’t bring them by force, but you can bring them by persuasion’. Persuade TNA, persuade UNP, to join the talks. And unless and until the Parliament Select Committee works, the deadlock will remain. So in every meeting, we have emphasised on this point.”

Mr. Rajapaksa is in South Korea on a four-day State visit.

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The people who believe in the SL govts and their history of setting up commissions and committees should read what Amnesty International reported at the UNHRC regarding SL. "Since 1977, at least 15 commissions were set up by the SL govts to investigate attrocities and none of them produced any meaningful results other than filed away reports. The recent APRC (all party representative committee) reports are also safely filed away. This new PSC (parliamentary select committee) is a another farce (time buying excercise to hood wink the international community). The SL govts cannot treat the Tamils as equals in SL and the Tamils know that and that is why they asked for Tamil Eeelam. The world needs to go thru hoops before it gets there and hope the SL govt cannot complete its Tamil genocide by then and the reamining Tamils can enjoy justice and freedom.

from:  Sam
Posted on: Apr 25, 2012 at 20:52 IST

Since independence from GB, systematically indigenous Tamils have been
reduced to second class citizen. First thirty years, under SJV
Chelvanayagam Tamils fought Sinhala regime with non-violent methods,
and lost. Next, thirty years, with India’s initial help, VP’s fought
with a lot of violence, and miserably lost at last. If anyone wants
more evidence that Sinhales will never even give an inch to Eelam
Tamil, read most of the Sinhales’ comments on this news item. As Late.
SJV Chelvanayagam said in his final days “only God can save Eelam
Tamils”. I would substitute US, for God. Like God, US is slow in
delivering justice to the victims, but decisive.

from:  Suresh M
Posted on: Apr 25, 2012 at 19:14 IST

It is India and not Sri lanka that won the war against the Tamils. Hence it is India's moral duty to find a solution to the natioanl issue. DMK leader Dr. Karunanithi has at last come up with the solution that would solve the problem once and for all. India should pursue the 'Karunanithi solution' and if not, one day sooner or later, China will step with detrimental consequences to the interest of India. The writing is on the wall for people gifted with wisdom to see.

from:  Raj Ratnam
Posted on: Apr 25, 2012 at 19:13 IST

By the way, The Island newspaper is NOT the government favoured newspaper in SL. In fact, it is own by the opposition leader Ranil's family!

from:  Crana
Posted on: Apr 25, 2012 at 17:56 IST

Tamil Nadu people seem to think that this delegation represented Tamils. They did not. They represented INDIA. India is NOT a Tamil nation. Tamils are a small minority in India, just like they are in Sri Lanka. That is why India's interests coincide with those of Sri Lanka. Tamils in India and Sri Lanka should learn to coexist in their respective countries without seeking division. The situation of ordinary Tamils in both India and Sri Lanka is far better than the treatment they get in any Western country.

from:  Crana
Posted on: Apr 25, 2012 at 17:30 IST

What Lanka need is not 13th amendment, but guarantee that North,
East and all district in SL are allocated considerable percentage of
GDP,for development, especially education, vocational and job opportunities, in a fair and justifiable manner, not just develop
Hambanthota or Colombo. All districts must be given fair allocation
and fairness, law and order must prevail to eliminate any form of discrimination. People so passionately call Tamils or Sinhalese
should ask how they prove their claims as Dr E W Adhikaram asked,
all humans are mixed. All Lankans need to be competitive, so must
learn English and Sinhalese. Lanka is far too small country to be divided as states as done in India, so Indian models not a solution
nor will sustain long lasting peace in Sri Lanka.

from:  Sahan
Posted on: Apr 25, 2012 at 17:10 IST

-This is real face of Srilankan leaders. They have been showing for past half century by different leaders. Paper like you only projecting,interviewing the Sinhalese leaders as such they are going to give heaven to Tamils.
-The world bodies and Indian government should understand Srilankan Tamils problem properly and make proper arrangements live with dignity
and equal rights.

from:  R.Veeramani
Posted on: Apr 25, 2012 at 17:07 IST

We have No plans to divide our country. We have several ethnic groups in SL namley Muslims (8%) whom we consider as brothers as they are a patriotic lot, there are the descendents from various Europeans (1%) who are not very patriotic and wish they were in Europe but Europe will not have them. then there are the Tamils (7%) trouble some unpatriotic terrorists whom we dont like and wish they would go back to India where they immigrated from. India should learn to look after their own affairs like sorting out Cashmere before coming to force us.

from:  Sirinimal
Posted on: Apr 25, 2012 at 17:06 IST

It is Sushma Swaraj, the leader of the opposition from India has to answer the question of whether she had a discussion about the 13th amendment with President Rajapaksa. If the president is dilly dallying the issue about reconcilliation,implementing the LLRC recomendations and implementing the 13th Amendment and having provincial elections in the North and demilitarisation of North and East, there is no alternative but to seek seperation.

from:  Sellam
Posted on: Apr 25, 2012 at 16:52 IST

@ Perera, Noone thinks about the criminal, abuser, rapist and murderer. Everyone thinks about the victims and their families. Tamils are denied their rights, have been under state terrorism since the British left in 1948 by the successive Sinhalese regimes.

from:  Shiva
Posted on: Apr 25, 2012 at 16:28 IST

As per outcome of the visit of the Indian delegation, it may persuade that India has full rights to control and interfere all types of internal affairs in a sovereignty country, even they can force or command to the Sri Lankan President by breaching the thousand years of spiritual friendship.
According to the visiting-points made by some senior politicians in the team, it is badly shown that they are the only and one sole-decision maker on Sri Lankan soil, by saying "implementation of 13A -Police Power and Land power", by ignoring concerns of the Sri Lankan Majority.
Next thing is, India never think about Sinhalese..or maybe intentionally aids they wanted to show, "We care only Tamils , not Sinhalese. "
People of Sri Lanka, must careful of this type of interventions.. very good example is; Leader of the delegation refused to make any statement against Karunadhi expression over the issue of "Tamil eelam"
Hopefully Sri Lanka will recognize "who is the enemy"?

from:  Perera
Posted on: Apr 25, 2012 at 14:10 IST

LTTE was formed with the help of Indira Ghandi and MGR. Then India tried to influence their
own political agendas on the LTTE which did not meet the aspirations of the Tamils in Sri
Lanka. LTTE then made several mistakes. We are back to zero. No Sinhala gvt will devolve
genuine powers to Lankan Tamils because they fear that will one day divide the country with
the help of 70mn Tamils in Tamil nadu. Only a strong leader in India can make major
changes.

from:  Vas
Posted on: Apr 25, 2012 at 13:04 IST

Parliamentary Select Commitee once appointed by the Speaker, trully represent the entire island nation and this can discuss, agree on a basis of devolution proposals which may be 13 plus or not.
PSC is in other words is the leagally binding constitutional council that represent the common voter .
Therefore It is not upto the President MR or the Govt of India or LLRC/UNHCR to introduce amenmendts to the constitution of a sovereign nation.
That is where the JUSTICE is.

from:  Hadiram
Posted on: Apr 25, 2012 at 10:11 IST

Whatever the truth of he said she said, the reality is that the 13th
Amendment was forced on Sri Lanka by Rajiv's India at the time. A lot
of water has flown under the bridge and the landscape has changed.

There are about 400,000 yes only four hundred thousand Tamils in the
Northern Province of Sri Lanka. It is like giving a small suburb of
Chennai, land and police powers! just think about it for a second. The reality is that 13th Amendment is not even advisable for ANY of the provinces in Sri Lanka as most of the Chief Ministers in Sri Lankas provinces today are thugs, and it is likely that the only one who will not be a thug is that elected from the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. It is therefore NOT an option to implement the 13th Amendment. So both India the rest of the world should forget about semantics, and ensure that the Tamil people of the North can live with a sense of dignity, free of oppression from occupying forces, so that they can go about their business unihindered.

from:  Patta Pal
Posted on: Apr 25, 2012 at 07:47 IST

All these experts who have never set foot in Sri Lanka let alone lived
there! They know nothing about another nation's politics. They would do
well to remember that India armed, trained and financed the Tigers and
invaded Sri Lanka's airspace with threats of more to come if Sri Lanka
resisted. India forced the Sri Lankan President to sign the Indo-Lanka
Accord. Do you think for a minute that Sri Lanka will ever forget all
this?

from:  Karunawathi
Posted on: Apr 25, 2012 at 03:09 IST

Should this be raised as an important matter? The answer is NO. The 13th amendment or 13 plus wouldn’t be an issue that would ever come to fruition but a wishful thought on the part of dreaming Tamils. So, these Indians know it. Supposing the Indians didn’t ask of it, and then the so called shrewd TNA politicians should have taken it up. After all, this is a good indication that the Tamils know where the lines are drawn when it comes to serious discussions on the issue of Tamils begging for a settlement. In the end Sri Lanka shall prevail on its own terms

from:  Christopher
Posted on: Apr 24, 2012 at 20:45 IST

If India could keep the Italian soldiers in jail for killing a kerala fisherman.

I couldn't understand why this same rule could not be implemented for killing tamil fishermen by the sinhalese army.

Pity Tamils!

from:  Balachandar. V
Posted on: Apr 24, 2012 at 20:13 IST

..dinakaran is wrong in blaming North Indians . I would say that Narayanans, Nambiyars , Menons , Krishnas and last but not the least karunas [ one in Eastern Lanka and another in Family Oriented karunanidhi of TN ] are responsible for the plight of Tamils. I request " The HIndu " to take up the just cause of Lankan Tamils as it does in case of Kashmiries , Palestinians ,Burmese etc.

from:  Prof.R.Krishnamurthy
Posted on: Apr 24, 2012 at 19:36 IST

I too support the first commentator Mr. Sriram's views that the delegation headed by Sushma Swaraj was an evil, but clever plot of India to sideline the real Tamil issue and indirectly support the Government of Srilanka. It is understandable that a North-Indian cannot "fully" understand the Tamil problem in Srilanka. One needs to be "Tamil" to understand and empathise with the Tamils in Srilanka, just like a White or a Brahmin cannot "really" understand Black discrimination and Dalit struggle respectively. On the other hand, it is time that another Movement, stronger than LTTE should rise, and this time, with the direct support of Tamilnadu. The LTTE have shown what they were capable of by even flying their own aircraft, eventhough they were waging a guerilla warfare. If the Tamils are not given justice in Srilanka, then there can only be two solutions. 1. Let all the Tamils in Srilanka be invited to become Indians. 2. India has to force Srilanka to treat their citizens properly.

from:  Dinakaran
Posted on: Apr 24, 2012 at 18:52 IST

"It was External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna then. It is India’s Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj’s turn now" … We Sri Lankans remember various "world politicians" trying to bring LTTE (who used it as a time to regroup and hit harder) to negotiate … once it was Rajiv Gandhi’s turn, later it was Erik Solheim’s turn … but nobody (other than we Sri Lankans who had to keep paying by blood, limbs and lives while this continued over 30+ years) had any problem. Many “journalists” had no problem that “The events seem to be a replay”. So, why do you bother now? Then you say “13th Amendment (which grants some powers to the provinces) as a means to cater to the hopes and aspirations of Tamils in the Northern Province”. What a misrepresentation of facts! At best, it serves the “aspirations” of narrowly focused politicians pursuing “here-and-now politics”. 13th Amendment is something that was forced on Sri Lankans by Rajiv Gandhi. At grassroots level here, nobody wants it; leave us alone!

from:  Darshi
Posted on: Apr 24, 2012 at 18:43 IST

From 1949 there is Security Council Resolution to have a referendum
to determine whether the States of Jammu and Kashmir should be part
of India or Pakistan. Again in about 1972, about 40 years ago, at
the Security Council of the UN, India and Pakistan agreed at Simla,
to arrive at a settlement by bilateral negotiations. None had been
implemented to date. Should not India worry about that than 13A.

It must be recalled that Sinhalese never asked for 13A. neither LTTE
nor it proxy TNA accepted 13A either; LTTE even killed 1250 javans
of IPKF and later blasted the Indian PM, Rajiv to show their
antipathy to it. It is India tht rammed 13A down old JRJ throat in
1977. But it sets the whole country on fire. We want peace and
abolish 13A.

from:  Leela
Posted on: Apr 24, 2012 at 18:42 IST

Opposition leader Sushma Swaraj proved that she is not a capable leader and disappointed the Tamils and the Tamilnadu government.The BJP and the Congress are two sides of the same coin in all aspects.
Sri lanka not interested in settling the Tamils issue from 1948.It is understandable.But India too,not interested in the settlement of the Tamils issue in Sri Lanka and puruse its own hidden agenda.To bring out a tangible result the people of Tamilnadu and the Tamils in Sri lanka have to wait till 2014,to replace the Congress at the Centre and till we in Tamilnadu elect all the 40 MP seats by the supporters of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.Till then no solution in sight.

from:  B.Viswakarman
Posted on: Apr 24, 2012 at 15:21 IST

I hope Indians now realise directly what Eelam Tamil Leaders (like SJV Chelvanayagam or Thanthai Chelva) experienced and endured by way of promises and counter promises from Sinhala Leaders in achieving peace with Singhalese. Thanthai Chelva, having exhausted all avenues, finally said in the 70's "Only God Can Help Tamils". The Sinhala intrasigence lead to Tamil youths picking up arms to protect and secure political rights for North East. That was even defeated prematurely & politically and on the battle ground in 2009 with the help of Western and neighbouring powers.
All I can say now is that the experienced Tamil Politician,Thanthai Chelva, was right "Only God Can Help Tamils".

from:  Kumar
Posted on: Apr 24, 2012 at 13:06 IST

It is not only the Credibility of Srilankan Govt that is on fire but also the Credibility of Indian Leaders whose revelations of their discussions abt 13++ with SL leaders are flatly denied.

In such a Scenario, who will want to have their reputation tarnished by dealing with Srilankan govt whose promises are never kept ???

Only Multilateral forums like UNHRC,UNSC will be able to get the expected Political reforms to North East of Sri lanka.

from:  Suresh
Posted on: Apr 24, 2012 at 12:57 IST

I fully agree with Sriram Iyer. The team had no understanding of Tamil issues. Not only the Team,no one in India understands Sri lankan Tamil issues and every one thinks that it is Srilanka's internal matters. It is national shame that other countries like Norway and US has taken the Tamil issues seriously and our own country people think it not their business. We make hue and cry for other issues and who cares for Tamil?. Let GOD only save Tamils.

from:  Gokulnath
Posted on: Apr 24, 2012 at 12:47 IST

Sri Lanka will decide it's own solution, not at the whim and fancy of
India.

from:  Ravi
Posted on: Apr 24, 2012 at 12:32 IST

It is now clear that the Sri Lankan leader has no faith in devolving powers to tamilians. Srilankans have won the war decisively against tamil separatist terrorism.
They do not want to see the seeds of separatism, by devolving powers to tamil areas.
They are not able to state this openly, but agree to devolution in closed meetings to pacify the guests. Tamils had a great chance when Rajiv Gandhi was in power, and Indian army was on the ground in Sri Lanka.
LTTE blew the chance away. Sri Lankan tamils should learn to live, making sacrifices for the sake of peace.

from:  Dr RKRAO REBBAPRAGADA
Posted on: Apr 24, 2012 at 12:15 IST

Why you people are worrying ? All the purpose of this visit is met.

How?

1. Went a nice Trip to Sri Lanka.
2. Had nice food(veg/non veg) given by Island country.
3. Took some nice photographs with innocent Tamil refugees to get
political gain here.

All the above valuable things are achieved because of this trip. Thats
why am pleading, please don't undermine Indian delegation's trip to
Sri Lanka.

Baharath Matha ki Jai!!!!!!!!!!

from:  Rajkumar Chennai
Posted on: Apr 24, 2012 at 11:56 IST

There is no iota of doubt that the Sri Lankan leadership will never
agree any thing other than the minorities living perpetually as slave
to dominant Singla chauvinistic majority. On sharing of powers,it is
either Indian leaders or Sri Lankan not telling exact truth on devolution of powers to minorities. We know whom to trust having behavior of Sinhala political leadership.

from:  N.G. Krishnan
Posted on: Apr 24, 2012 at 11:17 IST

It was quite evident that the entire exercise was an eyewash and was intended to pacify Rajapaksa. The mission was headed by Sushma Swaraj who has no credentials to lead the team. She neither has an understanding of the Srilankan Tamil Issue nor has an Emotional Attachment to Tamils.

from:  Sriram Iyer
Posted on: Apr 24, 2012 at 11:17 IST
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