NATIONAL

Federal set-up only way out in Sri Lanka: Swamy

Staff Reporter

LTTE attitude a deterrent: Jayasinghe

NEW DELHI: Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy on Tuesday said a federal type of constitution was the only way out of the present crisis in Sri Lanka. He asked the Indian Government to play an active role in resolving the problem, provided Colombo showed commitment about giving a federal character to its constitution.

"The island nation's unitary constitution needs to be given a federal character. We need devolution of powers to end this long-standing crisis that has claimed several innocent lives," said Dr. Swamy at the launch of his new book, Sri Lanka in crisis: India's options.

"The people of Sri Lanka both Sinhalese and Tamils as well as the international community were looking forward to India playing a crucial and constructive role in resolving the crisis," he said. The West misunderstood it as an ethnic problem, while the root cause of the issue lay in the reverse discrimination adopted by the Sinhalese against the Tamils.

LTTE too must respond

Sri Lankan High Commissioner C.R. Jayasinghe said that "crisis" would not be an appropriate term to describe the situation in the island nation. "Despite more than two decades of separatist terrorism, my country has shown remarkable progress."Questioning the motives of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Mr. Jayasinghe said its uncertain and negative attitude was a major deterrent towards reaching a solution to the problem. Sincere efforts by the Sri Lankan Government alone were not sufficient; the LTTE also needed to respond positively.

Stumbling block

Organisation of Eelam Refugees chairman S.C. Chandrahasan said the LTTE's role was a major stumbling block to resolving the crisis. Referring to the Indian Peace Keeping Force episode, where several Indian soldiers lost their lives, he said: "We let the Indian Government and its Army down, but still India showed tolerance despite losses."

The former High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, N.N. Jha, said that though every Sri Lankan wanted India's involvement in the issue but by merely talking to the Sri Lankan Government would not help and the LTTE should also be a part of the peace process.

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