The historic Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord that mooted a permanent solution to the decades long thnic conflict in the island nation was signed on July 29, thirty years ago.
In an interview with the Hindu, veteran Tamil leader and Leader of Opposition in the Sri Lankan Parliament R. Sampanthan recalls how the then government and TULF, the main Tamil party, had marathon negotiations for 20 days during 1986 that brought about the 13th Amendment of Constitution.
"The Tamils struggle for self rule had been in the political arena shortly after Independence. When the accord was signed in 1987, it was almost 40 years. The accord itself was preceded by various rounds of negotiations between the Sri Lankan government and Tamil side under the auspices of the Indian government after the riots that took place in 1983," says Mr. Sampanthan who was involved in the negotiations.
Though the agreement acknowledged the unity and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka, it also emphasised that the autonomy of various cultural groups should be preserved. There were Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and Burghers living in Lanka, each having a distinct culture and linguistic identity, says Mr. Sampanthan.
The accord paved way for the 13th Amendment of the Sri Lankan Constitution which is considered the first significant step towards devolution of powers between the Sinhalese and Tamils.
The accord also favoured holding a referendum, which the Tamil parties opposed.
"If Rajiv Gandhi was not be killed, the matter (ethnic conflict) would have been resolved," feels Mr. Sampanthan who hopes that government's effort to rewrite the constitution would find a permanent solution to the issue. "An effective substantial devolution will give people a sense of self rule, a sense of belonging to the country, and that the country belongs to them," he says.
Mr. Sampanthan also says that India's interest in Sri Lanka is not limited to economy or strategy and strongly feel that his neighbour remains committed in resolving the Tamils issue.(The Hindu)
ANTON Sunday, 30 July 2017 10:11
TNA .......... TALK, NOTHING ACCOMPLISHED.
Reply : 10 7
ceylon Sunday, 30 July 2017 10:51
sri lanka dont have inteligent leaders.tgey cant impliment any fair rules.only they are able ti do is killinglootingrapingstealing. via DM Android App
Reply : 2 14
B S Perera Sunday, 30 July 2017 11:58
13th amendment created enough problems to the country by introducing Provincial Councils. It gave powers to politicians not to the people and created chaos and white elephants. Even Northern CM proved that as what people get is from the Government and he creates problems only.
Reply : 3 12
Brainmaster Sunday, 30 July 2017 12:21
Let us pray or dash coconuts.... via DM Android App
Reply : 1 7
punchinilame Sunday, 30 July 2017 13:52
Evidence of SL State cheating at every turn, since Independence! A history that can be well recorded.
Reply : 2 7
Saba Muthulingam Sunday, 30 July 2017 16:24
The majority don't have the intelligence to understand, two languages, two religions,two different cultures, two different ethnicity need two different autonomy in a united country. Do they understand the Scottish, Welsh, Irish, English AUTONOMY in UK ? Saba.
Reply : 9 12
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