Making a historic visit to a region once ravaged by strife, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today called for equitable development and respect for all citizens in Sri Lanka, seen as an oblique reference to Tamils who had suffered during the war between the LTTE and forces.
Winding up his public engagements on his two-day trip to the island with a hugely-symbolic visit to Tamil-dominated Jaffna, the first by an Indian Prime Minister, he said he was glad that it "is one to wipe tears from the eyes of those who suffered".
The Prime Minister, who is also the second international leader to visit the region after Premier David Cameron in 2013, handed over 27,000 new homes to Tamils who became homeless during the civil war.
The houses were built with Indian assistance as part of India's efforts to help in the reconciliation process.
Modi's visit came a day after he had met President Maithripala Sirisena in Colombo and favoured a life of equality, justice, peace and dignity in a unified Sri Lanka.
He had also urged the Sri Lankan government to ensure early and full implementation of the 13th Amendment relating to devolution of powers to Tamils and to go beyond that in finding a political solution.
Laying the foundation today for a Cultural Centre being built here by India, Modi said, "Sri Lanka should also progress. Unity, peace and amity are essential ingredients for equitable development where there is respect for all citizens."
Northern Province Chief Minister and Tamil leader CV Wigneswaran, who was present at the event, made a strong pitch for replacing the 13th Amendment with a more dynamic system of devolution of powers.
"13th amendment (to Sri Lankan Constitution) cannot be a final solution," he said, noting that Modi himself is a proponent of devolution of powers and cooperative federalism.
Earlier, Modi flagged off a train service in the north-western town of Talaimannar -- the closest point to India -- restored after decades of civil war, completing the reconstruction of the entire Northern Province Railway Line.
At Ilavalai in Jaffna, where India is assisting in a housing project, Modi participated in a housewarming ceremony and lent a helping hand in the traditional milk boiling before a family moved into a new home.
He was received by women who performed the traditional 'aarti' to the accompaniment of Nadaswaram music.
Modi also offered prayers at the Naguleswaram Temple in Jaffna. "Feeling blessed," he tweeted later.(PTI)
Of course everyone should be treated equally, including the Daliths (untouchables) in India.
Bandula Saturday, 14 March 2015 08:47 PM
Federalism? I think the current regime gave him leeway to lecture us on how much power we should devolve to provinces. Shame
Paul Saturday, 14 March 2015 08:52 PM
Modi delivered resounding slap on those who said that India should not look at SL from the Tamil prism.
unity Saturday, 14 March 2015 10:07 PM
There is no deferent between BBS and MODI via DM Android App
Javi. Saturday, 14 March 2015 11:55 PM
the time to demand that respect is out of time. Scotland had to wait over 200 years without fighting the english but fight for them and in fact retain the english crown when there was none in sight after war and calamity then hand it back to them on 2 occasions in history.Tamils took the Irish line- first the gun then judiciary. They are still at cold war and anything can happen like the way first world war started mere shooting of a kids gun in the Balkans.Palmyra heads and Coconut heads NaMo is other backwards class and has come a long way from chai with mallai sales at station.Its more of a Islamic element that is the mischief behind our history from 68 when the Parangi Carnation Revolution began and handing over of Diego Garcia for posterity.
rosebud Sunday, 15 March 2015 01:24 AM
There were many who suffered during the 30 year war against the LTTE -- including Tamils Muslims and Sinhalese. Trust Modi referred to ALL communities. via DM Android App
Gaurav Sunday, 15 March 2015 09:52 AM
Let there be peace in Sri lankaso that it prospers. Love from India.
pras Sunday, 15 March 2015 11:18 AM
tell this to LTTE tamils. then dont lecture us via DM Android App
ane Sunday, 15 March 2015 11:56 AM
This is what you call shaving the lion in his own den
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