Indian MPs delegation to resolve Tamils issue

Colombo: Here to assess the condition of ethnic Tamils post-war, an Indian Parliamentary delegation today nudged Sri Lanka to quickly resolve the decades-old conflict by devolving powers to areas dominated by minority Tamils envisaged under a Constitutional amendment.

The MPs delegation led by Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj kicked off their 5-day visit to Sri Lanka by meeting Foreign Minister G L Pieris during which they asserted that only a political solution that satisfies the Tamil community would resolve the problem.

The delegation, in which five members are from Tamil Nadu where the Sri Lankan Tamils issue is emotive, also stressed the need for resumption of dialogue between the Sri Lankan Government and the Tamil National Alliance, an umbrella group of Tamil political parties. The two sides are at loggerheads over handing over of police and land powers to provinces. The Sri Lankan Government wants a Select Parliamentary Committee to go into the issue, but the TNA is dead opposed to the proposed move. "The delegation told the Foreign Minister that the issue has to be resolved through political means. In this context, we stressed the need for implementing 13th Amendment under the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord which envisages devolution of powers to north and eastern provinces," Congress MP and delegation member Manicka Tagore told PTI.

The delegation, which has members from Congress, BJP, JD(U), SP and BJD, held talks with Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa, leaders of TNA and Sri Lankan Muslim Congress. The Indian parliamentary group also visited the parliament to meet with a delegation from the Sri Lankan side which comprised of government and opposition members. "The Indian team was able to get a briefing on the progress we have made in the resettlement of IDPs", deputy speaker Chandima Weerakkody said.