Colombo asked to go beyond 13th Amendment for“meaningful devolution of powers and national reconciliation”
India wants an “independent and credible mechanism…to investigate allegations of human rights violations” during the end stages of Eelam War IV. This needs to be done in a “time-bound manner,” India has told Sri Lanka.
Belatedly commenting on the Sri Lankan Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Committee report, tabled in Parliament on December 16, the Indian External Affairs spokesperson said: “The present situation provides a great window of opportunity to forge a consensual way forward towards reconciliation through a political settlement based on devolution of power.
“It recognises that a political solution is imperative to addressing the root cause of the conflict and notes that the government should provide leadership to a political process, which must be pursued for the purpose of establishing a framework for ensuring sustainable peace and security in the post-conflict environment.”
The Indian statement, released here on Monday, comes a few days after President Mahinda Rajapaksa ruled out land and police powers for the northern province.
Supporting a broader dialogue, India said a full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was needed. There was also a need to “go beyond” the 13th Amendment, “so as to achieve meaningful devolution of powers and genuine national reconciliation.”
“We hope that the Government of Sri Lanka, recognising the critical importance of this issue, acts decisively and with vision in this regard. We will remain engaged with them through this process and offer our support in the spirit of partnership.”
The Presidential office felt it was for the External Affairs Ministry to react to the comments.
However, a senior government official said there were many welcome features in the Indian stand, such as remaining engaged with Sri Lanka through the process and the fact that it welcomed the public release of the document.
The Tamil United Liberation Front, a part of the Tamil National Alliance in the recent local body elections, said it welcomed the Indian stand in full, including the comments on devolution of powers and the need for a credible investigation. The Eelam People’s Democratic Party was of the view that a political solution must begin with the implementation of the 13th Amendment in full.
The implementation of the police powers, as provided for in the amendment, could be suspended for a limited period till conditions were conducive for handing over duties to the provinces, the party said.