Colombo: The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) has described Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Sri Lanka beginning on Friday as an event of “enormous significance” and as one which is “potentially transformational”.
“The recent changes of governments in India and Sri Lanka have significantly altered the geopolitical dynamics of the region. These developments have also created opportunities for the successful resolution of the Tamil national issue, a feat if accomplished, will usher the Indo-Lanka economic and political relations into a different era,” the GTF said on Thursday.
“India’s steadfast commitment towards the dignity, equality and well-being of the Tamil people has been a source of immense strength for Tamils in Sri Lanka and in the Diaspora. We are grateful for India’s active involvement in the resettlement of the displaced Tamils, typified by the 50,000 houses being built with Indian assistance. GTF is also fully appreciative of India’s role in relation to achieving a political settlement.”
“In this context, it is important that the Sri Lankan government immediately takes meaningful steps to address a few pressing issues that includes reducing the excessive military presence in the North and East, transferring the land back to the rightful owners from whom the land was expropriated, and releasing Tamil political detainees who have been incarcerated for years without ever being charged.”
“It is also important that Sri Lanka makes public commitment to comprehensively addressing the war crimes, accountability and reconciliation issues in active collaboration with the UNHRC and other international organizations, and reveal its blueprint to achieve a political solution by negotiating with the elected Tamil representatives,” the GTF said.
In a letter to Modi, Northern Provincial Councilor M.K.Shivajilingam said that the devolution package contained in the 13th Amendment of the Lankan constitution is inadequate and requested Modi to bring about a permanent political solution “jointly facilitated, mediated, and underwritten by India, EU, US, and the UN.”
“The solution, at the minimum, must be based on the Oslo Declaration where both the Tamil side and Sri Lanka side agreed on Dec 5, 2002 to explore a political solution based on a federal structure. The current Lankan Prime Minister, Ranil Wickeramasinghe, was Prime Minister when Lanka agreed to the Oslo Declaration,” Shivajilingam pointed out.
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