By Chris Kamalendran
Two separate fronts are set to launch protest campaigns against Indian pressure on the Sri Lanka government to amend the Constitution, probe human rights abuses and finalise Indian commercial projects in the country.
The pro-government Patriotic National Movement (PNM) and the opposition Jathika Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) have decided to campaign against the joint agreement reached between India and Sir Lanka, following the visit of External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris early last week.
President- PNM, Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekara told the Sunday Times that his organisation will hold public seminars and hold islandwide protest campaigns against the demands made by India, as they considered it was a violation of the sovereignty of the country. The first campaign will be held in Colombo on May 30.
Dr. Amarasekara said that Minister Peiris should not have agreed to the joint statement released after its talks, as it would lend legitimacy to the Indian demands. “We do not need to listen to a foreign country to resolve a dispute in our country”, he said.
“We will be campaigning against the abolition of the 13th Amendment, though India has called for a devolution package based on the 13th Amendment”, he added.
JVP Parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayake told the Sunday Times that whenever the western bloc advises the Sri Lanka government to find a solution, the government rejected such proposals. However, when India puts forward such proposals, they welcome them without opposition. “India can’t advise Sri Lanka to change its Constitution. It is an internal matter”, he said.
He said the party will carry out an islandwide protest campaign against Minister Peiris’ agreeing to a series of conditions during his visit. The JVP, in a statement, said the joint statement vividly indicates the highly crafty manner India has taken Sri Lanka into its grip, and how the shadow of Indian dominance has spread throughout the island.
In a related development, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is due to meet with Colombo based Ambassadors of China, Russia and Japan to brief them on the ongoing talks with the government for a political settlement of the issues in respect of the Tamils.
The TNA delegation had met with the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo, prior to Minister Peiris visit to India.