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Was 13th Amendment not discussed by President Rajapaksa with visiting Indian MPs?

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by R.K.Radhakrishnan

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.

Leader of the Indian Parliamentary delegation to Sri Lanka, Smt Sushma Swaraj called on HE the President of Sri Lanka, Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa, at Temple Trees, the official residence of the President of Sri Lanka-pic: High Commission of India-Colombo

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. courtesy: The Hindu

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31 Comments

  1. Loking at the face of MR, anyone can tell he is in deep trouble. Something is really missing. Not sure what it is………may be time will tell……

  2. This is well known, these indian jokers never going to achieve anything for Tamils by meating Rajabaksa Ji, but their motives were diffrent white wash war crimes of the Ji, getting some deals signed, and hood wink Tamils.

    Any way they had a good time, helicopter rides, parties, sight seeings in the capable hands of the guides Basil, Karuna, Douglas, Chandra sri and other muslim mps with the protection of genocidal sinhala army.

  3. Why this hide and seek. The Indian side could send a letter to that effect and also publish the letter in the leading newspapers.

  4. 13th amendment plus was promised or discussed based on the news titled “Indians seem to lay great reliance on full implementation of the 13th Amendment” by SL Gunasekera. He is a learned Sinhalese Srilankan and in

    the last para from :

    http://transcurrents.com/news-views/archives/11550#more-11550 , he has clearly stated about the promise of implementing 13 A plus but not with any time frame.

    “The `icing’ on this indigestible and poisonous `cake’ is that according to Ms Swaraj MP, President Rajapakse who earned the wholehearted respect of all patriotic Sri Lankans by rebuffing the foreigners including Moon, Clinton. Milliband and Kouchner and continuing with military operations against the Tiger Terrorists without a break, has himself succumbed to this bunch of Indian frauds and promised to fully implement the 13th Amendment “plus”!!! “

  5. Do not believe this Mad man

    If he says something to you , he will do against it afterwards
    He cheated Our External Minister Mr Krishna, Our PM Manmohan SIngh and now he cheated you
    Unfortunatly this is the mentality of these sinhalase . They are dishonest people

    The world conceived a very bad opinion of Hutus of Rwanda and still People simply dislike them for what they did to Millions of Tutsis

    It is the responsibilty for the International body to punish this mad man who reminds Hitler

    Can Our Indian Government make sure
    Thamilians will not be killed
    Thamil women will never be raped
    Thamilians will not be tortured simply because of the language they speak
    Thamilians properties will not be looted

    Thamilians were killed , raped , robbed, torured since 1948.

    I am glad this is the first time World came to know the Hutus of Lanka . There is no escape this time

    Riots in 1958, 1965, 1974 , 1977, 1983 are examples

  6. Surprise Surprise! When are these Indian jokers going to understand Sinhala politicians? Sinhala politicians are the masters of deceivers for a long time. Senanayakes, Bandaranayakes, Jayawardene, Premadasa, and now Rajapakse ………… list goes on. Unfortunately, VP knew Sinhalese understand only one language.

    Yeah and where is VP now?……..DBSJ

  7. If president Rajapaksa dilly dally the issue of devolving powers to the provinces by implementing the 13th amendment,then there is no alternative but to support seperation which the ex chief minister of Tamil Nadu is proposing.

  8. DBSJ,

    “Yeah and where is VP now?”

    The way things are happening to the tamils in Sri lanka, in twenty years time you may have to ask yourself:

    ” Yeah where are the tamils now?”

  9. Mdm Susma Swaraj clearly stated in the press meeting after the discussion with Sri Lankan president that the MR has given assurance, he is implement the amendment and also will go beyond that. Sri Lnakan government officials are repeatedly denying the promise that president has made. What I wonder is the Government of India never reflect or respond about the president denial.
    I have had some coffee discussion with Sri Lnakan officials in Colombo, they’ve clearly said that the delegation never raised the issue about 13th amendment but the Indian delegation generally discussed about the political solution.
    I am expecting from Mdm Susma Swaraj to clarify this. I have to notify here that Mr. Kirushna never stressed nor Sri Lnakan president assured about the 13th amendment when they met.

    Best Regards,
    Ratnam

  10. India has no right to dictate term to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka will not buy into India at any point, but we know India needs us and will need us in the future too for it’s defense purpose. Either way, these people come and go but we will remain the same in regards to our national interest. Fools can cry in Tamil Nadu and India can keep on sending delegations after delegation, it’s business as usual in Sri Lanka. I simply don’t understand what will take these fools to learn our point and interest. We’ve told them off before, we’ve been telling them the same now too! Shameless fools.

  11. “India has no right to dictate term to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka will not buy into India at any point, but we know India needs us and will need us in the future too for it’s defense purpose. ”

    India knows this very well. India went out of the way to help Sri Lanka, but in return Sri Lanka stabbed India. One classic example is the 1971 interactions. Sri Lankan state was under threat due to theuprising of JVP. In March – April 1971, India sent helicopters, soldiers, military advisors and a host of other logistical support to crush JVP. JVP was defeated. Then, in late 1971 India and (West) Pakistan engaged in a direct conflict in East Pakistan. India went to assist Bangla (Bengali) speaking Muslims to become free from Urdu speaking Mulism of Pakistan. Pakistan struggled to send its airforce to attack the freedom fighters in the East, as they could not fly over India to reach the other side. Pakistan found a friend in the South! Colombo opened its airport for Pakistan to refuel the fighter planes and bombers.

    India sought Sri Lanka’s support to make Sashi Tharoor the UN Secretary General. Sri Lanka put forward its own.

    “Either way, these people come and go but we will remain the same in regards to our national interest.”

    What is ‘our’ national interest? Opening everything to China? Chinese firms have their field officers all around Sri Lanka. The language of communication is…. Mandarin! Now, why does China show interest in Sri Lanka?? WOW – are they a selfless good friend???

    India played a foolish game, yes. Probably, some of the Indian decisionmakers were bought off as well. But, if India well and truly puts its foot down, Sri Lanka would have no answer. China is not a reliable friend. Ask the friends of Mahinda (Gadafi and Asad), they would tell you (oops – one is not alive).

  12. Who can belive these Indian foxy politicians, but MR is too smart fot them. Indian politicians make too many false promises to their people to get their votes. When elected they forget about their election promises and people. MR doing the same to them without any bias, wheather it is Inidan ruling congress or opposition BJP, with the 13+ BS. Some know what is 13 but what is that +, so far no one know + except MR himself.

    Well, Kanimolzi is out on bail; foxy Karunanithy is out with another stunt! Is he preparing for another fast, may be his doctor advise him not to eat breakfast!

  13. Sushma couldn’t have been serious if she told Rajapaksa that he can persuade the UNP to give Homelands and Police powers to Sambandan..

    UNP didn’t give even a smidgen of support to Rajapaksa when he was fighting tooth and nail to get rid of the 30 year scourge of Terrorism.

    UNP even tried its best to sabotage the post LTTE rebuiling of the Economy of the Nation.

    Imagine Rajapaksa asking the same UNP to give Homelands and Police to Sambandan.

    The next day or even the next minute, they will be on the mother of all political rampages to stir up the great majority of our Rural Poor who are now living peacefully, trying to make ends meet ,in the current peaceful and good economic environment.

    UNP is a party which is in the pockets of the West, the US and the UK in particular.

    It is the West who should push them to front up to the all party meet and reach a conensus.

    13th is well passed its use by date.

    What the country needs now is a new ammendment encompassing ,the aspiration of the whole Nation in the 21 Century and beyond.

    It is not what Rajapaksa or the US or the UK or India or the Diaspora want.

    Rajapaksa can give only what the great majority agree to give through a referandum.

    That is what the PSC is for.

    If people think the UNP is interested in a permenant peace . they must be kidding.

    Rajapaksa has put the the country on a firm footing, which will ensure the Srilankans will be a force to recon with, in our Region in the near future.

    If the UNP allows the country more freedom to improve by helping to eliminate the interference,which is coming in “ship loads” from the West and their lackeys, they will be on the Opposition benches for a long time.

    If the BJP Leader has made that statement, she should come down again with her minders for a crash course in Srilankan politics at both Macro and Micro level.

  14. “UNP even tried its best to sabotage the post LTTE rebuiling of the Economy of the Nation.”

    Really? What steps have the Kurakkan Brothers taken to improve Sri Lankan economy? Night races, Hambantota Harbour, Hambantota Airport, Hambantota highway, two cricket stadiums near Hambantota, CCTV around Colombo (they used it to track down the abductors), selling country’s gold reserve, importation of Ashton Martin cars… anything else?

    “It is the West who should push them to front up to the all party meet and reach a conensus.”

    What is the best the National parties have to offer? Nothing! Even Temples, Churches and Mosques have no place in Sri Lanka. Now the Muslims would understand what ‘one race one nation’ means!

    13th is well passed its use by date.

  15. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLGMf0tsMco&feature=relmfu

    “Two things were a matter of satisfaction for all us, while taking to him ( TNA Leader Sampanthan) he reiterated not once, twice but thrice that his wants are negotiated settlement and that too within the parameters of undivided and united Sri Lanka and he said that he is a proud Sri lankan. We told the government if these are the parameters then there should be no problem. ”

    Great point.
    Seems like She did a good job.

  16. The ball is now in the Indian court.What is the truth? Was the question of delegation and the implementation of the 13th amendment discussed or not. If as the Leader of the Indian Opposition in her press interview specifically stated that the matter was indeed discussed then MR is lying and he got the Island paper to write an editorial commenting the the subject was not discussed. Is MR up to his tricks again? He went on his word to the UNSG, Man Mohan Singh, Krishna and now to Swaraj.

  17. The only thing that has worked in Sri Lanka is external pressure, if not it is a country in the hands of racist, fanatics and lunatics. So we need to wait for the UN reveiw in November when things will liven up again. Until then MR will survive with his begging bowl and by taxing the masses.

  18. UNP and TNA are now political partners for UNKNOWN reasons. LTTE was also partnered with UNP and went against the 13th Amendment. UNP keep silence over the 13. TNA’s M.A.Sumanthiran publicly said his party do not accept 13.

    IPKF came to help the implementation of the 13. But what happened?

    Karunanithi refused to welcome the returning IPKF. No monuments for the dead IPKF soldiers in India.

    Tamils of Sri Lanka overwhelmingly support TNA, the proxy of LTTE and TNA too is not accepting 13th Amendment. If the majority Sri Lankan Tamils do not worry about the 13th Amendment, why should Mahinda?

  19. “Srilankan politics at both Macro and Micro level….”

    You mean, racism first.
    Cronyism, nepotism and thuggery after?

    Indians known all these very well. Anything else??

  20. What is the point?

    The SL govts have been making promises to Tamils and now for foreign players for years without providing on the ground. The most devastating matter is that it was gifted with victory for its bad behaviour by the foreign players against its war against Tamils (under the cover of war against Tigers or Terrrorism or Something else).

    The current and future SL govts (like in the past) will continue to make promises, and more importantly, set up commissions / committees etc to buy time and fool every one.

    Now the play ground has now changed and referees have now noticed SL’s foul behaviour. But the SL govts was rewarded for bad behaviour for all these years since 1948 by the international actors, and it is difficult to change its behaviour at this time. Not just the Tamils, even other minorities, like the muslims are now in the receiving end at the hands of the SL govts. The majority Sinhalese want to see SL as a Sinhalese Bhudist country, of course, under the cover of the Sri Lankan identity, and that is what the Tamil problem in SL is all about.

    The Tamils should be thankful for the UNHRC resolution on SL, whatever the motives of the US had for proposing it. The Tamils in SL, TN should continue to work with the US, as it seems happening at the moment, to keep Indian central govt in line, and not to be too apologitic to the SL govt. It was an insult for every Indian when the Indian PM wrote an appology letter to the SL President regarding India’s behaviour at the UNHRC. Now, even this delegation is a mere extension of that apology to help the SL govt. The delegation’s gift this time is a parliamentory select committee (ah!! comittee, a time buyer) to save SL govt.

    If India does not man up, not just the SL minorities (Tamils / Muslims), but also the US interests will suffer in the region to China. Therefore, sorry to say this, but I beleive that the Indian leaders need leadership and I believe US is currently filling the gap slowly, but surely.

    DBSJ RESPONDS:
    If India gives up on the Sri Lankan Tamils that will be the end of them. Without India the Tamils in SL are nothing. Going behind the USA will not benefit them. In any case the bulk of SL Tamils have to live in Sri Lanka with the Sinhalese with whom their destiny is inextricably inter-twined

  21. The issue now appears to be whether the 13th was discussed or not when leaders met, not ways and means of implementing something already is in the constitution. Talking about deadlock, APC itself brought upon knowingly that it will provide enough deadlock. India would always play a soft deplomacy role that would eventually provide sufficient time to this GoSL to get past its tenure. So long as India gets responses from GoSL that do not upset its internal politic, it would be happier, showing that it has been trying to do the right thing. The game is on, we are mere spectators.

    Rajapaksa ji visiting South Korea appears to be to round up kith and kin of Banki Moon at this critical time.

  22. Dear DBSJ,
    Well, to get rid off LTTE, India was ready to pay any cost with the SL Tamil civillian lives, but I agree Tamils do not want to create an enemy out of the regional power, India. Therefore, India giving up on the SL Tamils will not surprise me, but it may not happen (unless we have another crazy Rajiv episode) as their current appologitiic SL policy to keep the SL govt away from the Chinese influence has failed miserably, anyway.

    If my predictions are correct, India’s ally, the US, is going to be the major player in our region going forward, hence the meeting of Ms.Clinton with TN CM Jeya (it was not an accident), to set a strong foot in the region. There was a news item that US has initiated discussions at the NATO to include India. India is currently handling the affairs in the region so badly that it could not stop smaller countries being driven into the Chinese orbit, away from India/USA orbit. I do not believe India will ever confront USA, as it lives in constant fear of China.

    That is why I think, that the USA cannot afford to be a spectator in our region and continue to allow India to take the lead and continue its failing foreign policies towards SL. Because, if USA allows China to engulf our region then it will expand from there to extend its influence in Africa and other regions. Therefore, it is important for the USA to keep China’s influence closer China’s home.

    Tamils have neither understood the USA nor India………….DBSJ

  23. Is India so incapable to get rid of this hide and seek game?
    If the WEST can force Iran to shut the nuclear research, why can’t India force SL to implement the Indo-SL agreement made in 1987 and other agreements that went to the dustbin?

  24. Diasporians seem to be aligning more and more with the US now than ever, hoping that India will carry out their wishes for a separate homeland in Srilanka,through the US.

    Tamil population in India is less than even the population in Srilanka as a percentage of the total inhabitants.

    Tamil Nadu is the only state in India, which harbours Foreign Terrorist friendly politicians in their Parliament.

    The support base of the LTTE friendly politicians has gone from strength to strenghth.

    International Tamil community’s ultimate aim is an Independent nation of their own to accomodate the world wide Tamil population of 100 Million plus.

    These are the issues that the central govt of India will be focussing on before they go too far with their alignment with the US to please the Diasporians as well as the Tamil Nadu politicians.

    T

  25. I think the primary mistake is that Sri lanka Tamils have not understood international politics and believe that the rest of the world will bail them out by forcing an Eaalam in Sri Lanka. Sri lanka is no Libya or Sudan. In spite of all these HR issues, majority sri lankans live in peace and are generally happy (The fact that commerical bank ATMs ran ut of money the day before the new year with 1.7 billion withdrawals will give you a sense of what I am saying). None of these countries can military intervene in sri lanka and and a forced solution is only a pipe dream. The only way out is the emergence of a Tamil movement who believe in a truely united sri lanka and will reassure that to the Sinhalease.

  26. Kalu Albert wrote
    “Tamil Nadu is the only state in India, which harbours Foreign Terrorist friendly politicians in their Parliament.”

    As opposed to Sri Lankan Parliament that harbors actual terrorists not just as MPs but they are Ministers too. Who was responsible for the murder of four elected Opposition Tamil MPs between 2004 and 2007?? Who did Sri Lanka include in their delegation to Geneva recently? The first country in the history of the UNHRC meetings to include a terrorist in its delegation. Congratulations!! The TN Parliament is no match to SL when it comes to harboring terrorists.

  27. Suresh M says:

    April 24, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Surprise Surprise! When are these Indian jokers going to understand Sinhala politicians? Sinhala politicians are the masters of deceivers for a long time. Senanayakes, Bandaranayakes, Jayawardene, Premadasa, and now Rajapakse ………… list goes on. Unfortunately, VP knew Sinhalese understand only one language.

    Yeah and where is VP now?……..DBSJ

    Dear DBSJ,

    you r fantastic in commenting in blogs. This is one of your best comments.

    People , who are simply spewing venom on sinhalese, are the ones , who are not doing anything for the tamils.
    Best example of this breed is Mr. M. Karunanidhi.

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