The Indian parliamentary delegation, upon conclusion of its visit to Sri Lanka , said that India is ‘very serious’ about a political solution to the Tamil national question , and urged the government of Sri Lanka and the Tamil National Alliance to resume political dialogue as early as possible. “We are very very serious about a political solution,” she said.
Addressing a packed press conference, India’s opposition leader Sushma Swaraj who led the Indian delegation, said that she asked President Mahinda Rajapaksa to persuade the TNA and the UNP to join the proposed parliamentary select committee.
“We are very very serious about a political solution,” she said.
The opposition leader speaking in response to India’s vote against Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council, said that the resolution only asks for the implementation of the recommendations by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission which she called “Sri Lanka’s baby”. She queried as to how asking Sri Lanka to implement recommendations of its own mechanism could be an unfriendly act.
Commenting on the resettlement process of the IDPs Swaraj said that they witnessed an improved situation in the resettlement process of Internally Displaced Persons in the Sri Lanka’s north, but said that there are significant numbers of IDPs in transit camps of host families.
“Our task will not be complete till they return to their orginal homes.” Swaraj said at a news conference held at the Taj Samudra Hotel, in Colombo. (Kelum Bandara)
Indian High Commission in Colombo issued the follwing statement
Statement by Sushma Swaraj, Leader of Opposition, Lok Sabha, India and Leader of All-Party Parliamentary Delegation to Sri Lanka at a media interaction on 21 April 2012
Distinguished representatives of the media,
I am happy to lead the All-Party delegation of Parliamentarians from India on this important visit to Sri Lanka. We are happy to meet you and share our impressions from this visit. I would like to start by introducing my colleagues from the delegation.
2. The purpose of our visit was to see for ourselves the progress made in Sri Lanka since the end of the armed conflict in May 2009. We wanted to interact with a wide cross-section of political parties, members of civil society and the public at large, and get a sense of the situation, especially with regard to rehabilitation, resettlement and the way forward to achieving a lasting and broad-based peace in Sri Lanka.
3. As you are aware, India has been unstinting in its assistance in supporting efforts to resettle and rehabilitate internally displaced persons in Sri Lanka and to reconstruct the infrastructure and facilities of northern Sri Lanka. In this context, we also wanted to get a first-hand glimpse of the status of the development projects being implemented with India's assistance in different parts of Sri Lanka, and the impact they were having on the ground.
4. My delegation and I had the opportunity to call on His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa this morning. We had extensive discussions with several Ministers, the Leader of the Opposition, key leaders of major political parties, Members of Parliament and representatives of civil society. We travelled to different parts of Sri Lanka, a fact that testifies to the pan-Island footprint of our engagement with this country. Our immediate focus, however, was on the North and the East, as they recover from the trauma of nearly three decades of armed conflict.
5. We have noted the improved situation regarding the resettlement of IDPs. However, a significant number of them continue to be in transit situations or with host families. Our task will not be complete until they return to their original homes. Similarly, while there has been substantial progress in the area of rehabilitation and reconstruction, a lot remains to be done. We are prepared to assist in whatever way possible, in a spirit of partnership and cooperation.
6. The end of the armed conflict has provided a historic opportunity for moving towards national reconciliation and political settlement. The report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) has underlined this and has made a number of constructive recommendations for addressing issues related to healing the wounds of the conflict and fostering a process of lasting peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka. It is important that these are pursued with a sense of urgency. This is the message we have conveyed to our Sri Lankan friends during the course of this visit.
7. Our discussions over the last four days have brought out clearly the need for expeditious implementation of the measures proposed by the LLRC with regard to information on missing persons and detainees, investigation of cases of disappearances and abductions, promotion of a trilingual policy, reduction of high security zones, return of private lands by the military and demilitarization, including phasing out of the involvement of the security forces in civilian activities and restoration of civilian administration in the Northern Province. We have noted the assurance given by the Government of Sri Lanka in Parliament that it will ensure the withdrawal of security forces from community life and confine their role to security matters.
8. Above all, it is our sincere hope that the Government of Sri Lanka will seize this window of opportunity and follow an enlightened approach to reach a genuine political reconciliation, based on a meaningful devolution of powers, which takes into account the legitimate needs of the Tamil people for equality, dignity, justice and self-respect. We have been assured in the past that this will be done within the framework of “Thirteenth Amendment – Plus”. We would urge the Government of Sri Lanka and other stakeholders, including the Tamil National Alliance, to resume dialogue and move towards an early political settlement. We would earnestly suggest urgent consultations to create conditions for launching of the Parliamentary Select Committee.
9. During our stay in Sri Lanka, we were able to visit several of sites of Indian-aided projects, including railway projects in the North and the South, the housing project, Kankesanthurai Harbour, and some of the schools, hospitals and vocational training centres being revived with our assistance. We were happy to witness the handover of some of the completed projects. Several others are on track to be completed in the coming months. These projects gave us some satisfaction that India's assistance, especially in the areas of humanitarian assistance, temporary shelter, housing, de-mining, education and vocational training, public health, connectivity, and revival of agriculture and other livelihood activities, has been able to make a difference to the lives of the people.
10. These projects serve to underline India's commitment, as a stakeholder in peace, stability and harmony in Sri Lanka, to addressing the pressing needs of the war-affected people and the restoration of normalcy to their lives.
11. We are happy to note that our relations are moving ahead in a comprehensive manner. It is a relationship based on deep civilizational and cultural bonds and shared interests. As a close and friendly neighbour, we have strong stakes in the unity and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka and in the preservation of peace, harmony and prosperity of this country. We are committed to taking the relationship forward.
12. As India and Sri Lanka are immediate neighbours with an extensive interface, there are naturally some bilateral issues that need to be addressed, for example, the issue of fishermen. I would like to emphasize that this is an emotive issue which must be handled with care on both sides. As we explore possible solutions, both sides must ensure that there is no use of force against the fishermen and that they are treated in a humane manner. We were happy to learn that the Joint Working Group on Fisheries which met in January this year was able to look at various options to address this issue in a larger framework. We hope the fishermen on both sides can meet again and talk directly to each other.
13. India and Sri Lanka are bound by ties of history, geography and culture. Our partnership must therefore progress in the spirit of being the closest of neighbours and friends whose destinies are intertwined. As democracies, we understand that we may occasionally have differences but these will be dealt with through dialogue and on the basis of mutual respect. I am confident that our shared heritage and common interests will take us forward together.
The only thing inevitable is Eelam will never be formed except in your dreams.
paths Saturday, 21 April 2012 02:30 PM
The comprehensve statement by SHUSMA is welcome; one must read her paragraph 8- specialy her call for enlightened approach to GENUINE political reconciliation, devolution of powers -- etc.Genuinenes is lacking & there is plenty of dodging & blufing. When the agenda is genocidal what else can one expect.For talks to resume there must be an understanding between TNA & Govt on core issues. Otherwise it will be only a propaganda bluff. If this approach by the Govt continues SL will be starved of funds from donor countries.
Nodrog Saturday, 21 April 2012 02:46 PM
Saskia, don't kid yourself. Tamils are just in love with the idea of a Tamil state but they will not shift there from Colombo as they don't want to be ruled by other Tamils.
Puni.Perera Saturday, 21 April 2012 02:40 PM
Fusion Saturday, 21 April 2012 03:16 PM
Fusion Saturday, 21 April 2012 03:47 PM
Wow! interesting language there. From what I recall Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa never said such a thing.
LASANTHAV Saturday, 21 April 2012 03:41 PM
Leela , your fake name. lie comment I know 50 % of Sinhalis like power sharing and real peace. only one minority community against power sharing and real peace this peoples are very Right wing , Extymis , Racial and anti Indian Sentiment .
Suni.Perera Saturday, 21 April 2012 05:00 PM
when logical comments are posted on your site you prefer to publish all the drivel that comes from dim wits which is a real pity!
V.I.S.Jayapalan poet Saturday, 21 April 2012 04:45 PM
Mahinda Leelaratne is wrong. Tamil people voted for Mr.Sanmapandan and TNA in all the elections after the end of Mullivaykkal war. How can you say our leader Sanpandan is bankrupt? Tamils want ed and voted for land and police rights. Sinhalese have no much choice. Devolution with police and land power or accepting increasing intervention of International community including India and US. World Tamils of the world are integrating with globalization. Isolating Tamils and handling them is no more appropriate.
sindhuja Monday, 23 April 2012 12:52 AM
Exactly what I wanted to say!
SLBoy Saturday, 21 April 2012 05:48 PM
Why does India have to tell Sri Lanka what to do ? Sri Lanka is an indepenent country, so India should mind its own business. If they want to form an Eelam, they should do it in Tamil Nadu. Everyone in Sri Lanka is currently living in peace and harmony, countries like India are the main cause of making people go against each other. So Sri Lanka should have no dialogues with Tamil Nadu and they should not listen to India
max Saturday, 21 April 2012 05:32 PM
can you say what corruption Sambandan has been involved in so far.
satish Saturday, 21 April 2012 05:34 PM
Oh Sana boy, LLRC is a home grown document for SL. It has nothing to do with India. How can LLRC be implemented in India. First implement it in SL
Partiot Missile Sunday, 22 April 2012 10:12 AM
We cannot stop barking dogs, let them bark and we as Sri Lankan will keep moving and support the government to develop the country at least for the next generation to have a good life.
Mahinda Leelaratne Saturday, 21 April 2012 05:42 PM
Taking money from LTTE for their propaganda
kiribath Saturday, 21 April 2012 06:17 PM
Solutions is a dirty word in Dhama-deepa.
Rajan Sunday, 22 April 2012 10:49 AM
Common guys try to be grown up. Sri Lanka has a problem and Tamils need political solution and the initiation should come from the governmet not from others. Overwhelming majority of people in Sri Lanka accept the need for it but these so called leaders are not doing it even after 60 years of blood bath. Poor Sri Lanka and god bless her.
Saskia Saturday, 21 April 2012 09:56 AM
Very good move. Please urge the Sri lankan government to implement the LLRC fully and provide police and land powers to tamils. If not, it is inevitable that Tamil Eelam will be formed.
Dalu banda Saturday, 21 April 2012 11:16 AM
May be they have to wait,wait and wait like Moon, because the chemistry of the formula is very very complex.
nanthan Saturday, 21 April 2012 11:25 AM
Kumar Saturday, 21 April 2012 11:39 AM
The Top priority by the Rajapaksha Government to find a genuine Political solution which should be initiated by his government.
Rotti Saturday, 21 April 2012 11:58 AM
It is a sad state... we Sri Lankans were not reday to discuss our internal issues ourselves within Sri Lanka.....today toomany external cooks handling the Internal issues of Sri Lanka.....toomany external parities from various countries interfearing into Sri Lanka's internal issues.....is this what we wanted and our so called leaders have taken ourselves since Sri Lanka's independence in 1940s....In realitiy Sri Lanka's internal issues are now managed by number of countries eg: India, USA, UK, Australia, Norway etc
Sana boy Saturday, 21 April 2012 12:20 PM
A team of Sri Lankan delegation should visit India and check how the Indians are implementing components in LLRC within their country.
Gas Gemba Saturday, 21 April 2012 12:20 PM
You mean your Tamil Peelum in Toilet Nadu as our Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa pointed out
Mahinda Leelaratne Saturday, 21 April 2012 12:28 PM
Power sharing is not for normal man, but for corrupt and bankrupt politicians like Sambandan. What service are the tamil politicians going to render to normal tamil people if they get the police and land powers? By using those powers, are they going to resettle the evicted Sinhalese and Muslims on their homelands in north and east? I think, their mission is crystal clear. So, give the police and land powers for a disastrous Sri Lanka and get the visas to visit north and east only for 15 days. Then get fined for overstaying there.
Real peace Saturday, 21 April 2012 12:19 PM
Thank you Daily Mirror for printing Saskia's comment
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