B. Muralidhar Reddy
PLOTE, TULF and EPRLF say peace cannot be achieved without New Delhi's advice and guidance
Delegation gives details about New Delhi visitDiscussed matters ranging from devolution of power to escalation of violenceApprehensions over increased military offensive
COLOMBO: Representatives of three parties from the North and East in Sri Lanka, just back from an official visit to New Delhi, have said that peace in the island nation cannot be achieved without `Indian advice and guidance' and India has a `moral duty' to play a role in the resolution of the ethnic strife.
A statement released here on Monday on behalf of V. Anandasangaree, D. Sithardhan and T. Sritharan representing the TULF, PLOTE and EPRLF (Pathmanaba Group) gave a detailed account of their visit to New Delhi.
It said they discussed matters ranging from devolution of power to escalation of violence. The military operation was "precipitated by a foolish action of the LTTE who kept the sluice gates of Marvilaru closed, depriving the people of their drinking water and water for the large extent of paddy crops close to the time of harvest."
The statement said New Delhi was given an `unbiased report' on the events that led to the mass exodus of Tamil refugees from Trincomalee to Tamil Nadu. It said the flight of the people could be largely attributed to the New Year-eve bomb explosion at the Trincomalee market and subsequent developments.
It said S.C. Chandrahasan, a son of late S.J.V. Chelvanayagam, based in Chennai told the delegation that the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu M. Karunanidhi had requested all schools to admit refugee children overlooking all formalities.
On the situation in the North, due to the closure of the A - 9 Road, the delegation told Indian authorities that there was an acute shortage of essential food items and they were pressing the Government to send more ships with essential items to meet the shortage. They also requested the Indian authorities to explore the possibilities of sending ships to Kankesanthurai and New Delhi promised to take it up with the Sri Lankan Government.
In their discussions on the ethnic issue, they pointed out that for the first time two major political parties had committed to a federal solution. The three parties, however, would prefer the `Indian model' and told those whom they met in India that the Tamils would not accept any other solution.
The pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance in a statement urged the international community to take note of the continuing military offensive by the Sri Lankan Government despite commitment for a fresh round of talks and urged the world to pressure Colombo to cease hostilities and pave the way for purposeful talks on October 28 and 29.
It said that since the statement of the Co-Chairs on September 12, the LTTE had responded `positively' to the call for an immediate resumption of talks, while reiterating that all violence must cease in order to create a conducive atmosphere.
"It is in this background of efforts to resume peace talks that the GOSL's military offensives in the eastern province's Vaharai area on Friday the 6th of October and the aerial bombardment of areas under LTTE control have been taking place.
"The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is reliably informed that GOSL's military is preparing to launch further offensive military operations into LTTE-controlled areas, particularly in the north. There can be little doubt that any such further offensive military operations by the GOSL will almost certainly result in the breakout of a full scale war and a complete negation of the Ceasefire Agreement," it said.