Karuna wants Centre’s intervention to protect Tamils’ rights

Chennai: Expressing apprehensions over "attempts" to abrogate the Rajiv-Jayawardene Accord and repeal the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan constitution, DMK on Sunday sought India's intervention to protect the rights of ethnic Tamils in the island nation.
In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, DMK chief M Karunanidhi sought to bring to his notice "attempts" of Sinhalese groups led by Jathika Hela Urumaya to get the 13th amendment (13A) repealed and consequently the 1987 Rajiv-Jayawardane accord abrogated.
Karunanidhi said the amendment was a direct consequence of a bilateral accord between India and Sri Lanka.
"We, in India, have promised the Sri Lankan Tamils through this accord that we will underwrite and guarantee implementation of the accord, because of the past bitter experience the Sri Lankan Tamils had with the pacts they had entered into with the Sinhalese," he said, alleging that 14 pacts had been flouted, including the 2002 ceasefire agreement.
Besides some groups were planning a series of protests seeking repealing of the 13A and cancelling the September elections to the Northern Provincial council, he claimed. The Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse had gone on record seeking its repeal, Karunanidhi said.
Following the 1987 accord, then Sri Lankan President Jayawardene issued proclamation enabling the Northern and Eastern Provinces to be one administrative unit to be run by one elected Council and the merger was stoutly opposed by Sri Lankan nationalists, Karunanidhi said.
The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, a political party, filed three separate petitions in the Sri Lankan Supreme Court in 2006 requesting a separate provincial council for the East and the court had ruled that the proclamation issued by President Jayawardene was null and void and had no legal effect.
The North-East Province was formally demerged into the Northern and Eastern provinces in January 2007, causing "serious setback to the Rajiv-Jayawardene accord".
"Now, it is the duty and responsibility of India to intervene directly to see that the accord is implemented in letter and spirit. That will enable a smoothening of the path towards conflict-resolution and ethnic reconciliation. India should not be a silent spectator to the events taking place in Sri Lanka at this critical point of time," he said.