A delegation of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), led by Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan, today met with India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in Colombo and discussed the ‘immediate needs’ of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, the TNA leader said that the matter of land issues, the excessive presence of the military particularly in the North, resettlement, rehabilitation, livelihood, housing and so on were extensively discussed.
“We also discussed the need for an acceptable political solution and referred to some of the issues that needed to be resolved if there was to be an acceptable, durable and reasonable political solution.”
“That matter was discussed at some length,” Sampanthan said.
He said that they also discussed with the Indian Foreign Minister the need for fishermen in the North to be able to carry on their occupation without hindrance from Indian fishermen, who are engaged in bottom trawling.
“We said that through this bottom trawling immense destruction is being caused to resources in our Northern sea bed and that therefore India must take action to stop this bottom trawling,” he said.
He stated that they also discussed the question of the return of refugees in Tamil Nadu from India to Sri Lanka and also Sri Lankan refugees living in other parts of the world.
“We are also concerned about the return of other refugees living in other parts of the world and emphasized that it is only through a political solution that’ll inspire confidence in the minds of the people that all these people can be brought back.”
“And we therefore requested that India should use its good offices and make its best efforts to ensure that what is right is done in Sri Lanka,” the Opposition Leader said.
Responding to a question he said that the Indian foreign minister’s reaction was “very satisfactory.”
“She said that India would always remain firmly committed to doing the right thing,” Sampanthan said.
“We have assurance that India’s efforts towards peaceful, reasonable, acceptable resolution to all the people in Sri Lanka will be a continuing objective of the Indian government.”