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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

MR’s 13A plus assurance: Govt. disputes Indian claim

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.

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 JR 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 US 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.
By Shamindra Ferdinando


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