7 June, 2023


Was 13th Amendment Not discussed With Indian MPs?


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" Photo AP

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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Latest comments

  • 0

    The whole bloody lot are bluffing and looks as if they are working to an agenda of a third party as even the war with the LTTE and the MR govt. was held behind closed doors. The LTTE having closed the Mawillaru anicut for no other earthly reason other than to draw the MR govt. forces for a war suddenly burys all their weaponry and the MR govt. forces capture the whole of the North and the East which had been mined by the LTTE to safeguard their strong holds. The extent to which the NE is mined is that after three years of demining with foreign experts they believe it will take another ten years to complete. Then the question is how did the govt. forces capture the NE under thirty months with all these land mines? Another story that lacks credibility is how Kumaran Pathmanathan the main logistics procurer for the LTTE soon after the war was over where the MR govt. forces are accused of having massacred the remaning LTTE who allowed the civilians to leave, although it was speculated earlier that the LTTE was killing any civilians managed to find rubber dingies and boats to wade the lagoon by the thousands per day for around three hundred thousand civilians to escape. So if the LTTE was on guard how these civilians escaped and who provided them with rubber dingies and boats in such large number to be shuttled for all to leave, was the LTTE around a forty thousand that got massacred who tried to surrender were asleep or they allowed the civilians to escape? This tragi comody has all the hall marks of the American War Dramas staged for the gullible without exposing their hands of involvement. Even the watered down Resolution is part of the Act to give their brief carriers MR and his brothers who are American citizens time and when one sees this dilly dalling between India and Sri Lanka with the Tamil Nadu actors badly exposed for having kept silent while the MR govt drummed for the whole world to hear that they were beating the day light out of the LTTE then, to be concerned of the Tamils now is too good to be true, unless they have got played out in their own game to elicit devolution through MR after helping him to consolidate his position in the South by polarising the Sinhalese vote, to establish himself as the War Victor. Thus Sarath Fonseka had to pay the price, trying to steal the show from MR and is today lamenting behind bars on trumped up charges. The question now is whether MR will be carried further or ditched as Gadaffi by the main architects of the Drama the Zionist Americans. By the look of ti it appears MR will be carried further as it was only the other day that Sri Lanka signed a bi-lateral agreement with Israel for the first time and this could not have been a reality if Ranil Wickremasinghe at the helm of affairs. Possibly once all the dirty is got done from the devil himself they might opt for a regiem change later.

  • 0

    Buddha was an indian, a hindu, would have voted against Sri Lanka in Human Rights Commission in UN

  • 0

    An annexure to the above I have posted, Why did the LTTE bury all their sophisticated weaponry, which were unearthed by the Forces and shown for publicity later, after drawing the forces for a war, if they were not ready to fight, unless at the behest of the US and India who wanted the conflict to end, with the assurance of devolution to be obtained from MR. Even the masacre of the LTTE who was to surrender later as agreed, would have been done on the advice of the Zionist forces without the approval of India or Tamil Nadu Politicians who kept quiet. But after the deed had been done of the massacre, it was too late for the Tamil Nadu Politicians to pull out of thier involvement in the plot, probably after being paid heavily by the main architect and also would have exposed the Tamil Nadu Politician’s role that more than the concern of the Tamils in Sri Lanka they too have been party to the execise. Now that as planned, devolution is not forthcoming even after three years have lapsed, druming the LTTE war had ended, they now have to speak on behalf of the Tamils in Sri Lanka to appease the Tamil Diaspora, to show their concern to the Sri Lankan Tamils? Otherwise why were they silent all the while when it was advertised that the LTTE was being anihilated? However through Wikileaks and other means the Major plotters are evading suspicion of their involvement, in advertising, as if they tried to save the LTTE at the last stages of the war just to keep the Tamil Diaspora’s hopes and to distance them from the Sri Lankan situation to allow MR to hype the masses, to his advantage by attacking the West. These are all nothing but theatrics for public consumption.

  • 0

    This war drama has been staged with the help of a section of the very LTTE who are going to be the new successors for the Tamil cause, like KP and crowd, eliminating VP.

  • 0

    There is no point in analysing whether Susma was given a promise or not on going beyond 13th amendment plus. What is needed today is a genuine desire on the part of the Rajapakse government to start the process of finding a solution to the Tamil issues. President Rajapakse and his Ministers should not waste time in issuing denials and should kick start the process be it the Parliamentary Select Commitee or direct talks with TNA. Unless this is done Rajapakse will be seen as not genuinely interested in solving the Tamil problem. US, India and other countries will come hard on Sri Lanka if the Tamil issues are addressed. He cannot fool the international community all the time. He has more than a two-third majority in Parliament and if he is genuinely determined to end this problem he can do it.

    No one except the pro-LTTE Tamil diaspora wants Tamil Eelam. Sri Lankans should not worry about the emotional utterings of that old joker Karunanidhi or the modern day “Alli Rani” Jayalalitha. These two opportunistic Tamil Nadu leaders are only using the Sri Lankan Tamil issue for their own petty political gains. They are not interested in the well being of the Sri Lankan Tamils. The two Dravidian parties led by Karunanidhi and Jayalalitha have ruined Tamil Nadu. The emotional Tamil fools in Tamil Nadu deserve the kind of leadership provided by Karunanidhi and Jayalalitha.

    TNA for its part should distance itself from the pro-LTTE Tamil diaspora. These expatriate Tamils only wants revenge. They do not care about the North East Tamils. They should not instruct TNA what it should or shoulod not do. TNA will make a big mistake if they keep listening to Ruthirakumaran, Father Emmanuel, Nediyavan and co.

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