By Shamindra Ferdinando
The Bharatiya Janatha Party (BJP) has reiterated India’s longstanding call for the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to Sri Lanka’s Constitution.
The BJP’s General Secretary, Muralidhar Rao has strongly emphasized the importance of having the 13th Amendment implemented when he met SLMC leader and Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem at SLMC headquarters, Dharussalam on Sunday evening. Rao was accompanied by BJP Overseas Affairs and Global Convener Vijay Jolly.
SLMC General Secretary M.T. Hassen Ali, Deputy Leader and the Eastern Provincial Council Minister, Hafiz Nazeer Ahamed and Director of International Affairs, A. M. Faiz were also present.
An SLMC spokesperson quoted Rao as having told Hakeem that it could never be taken for granted that Sri Lanka’s conflict was completely resolved though terrorism had been defeated as it rightfully ought to be. As Sri Lanka’s closest neighbour, India remained concerned about the ethnic issue here; Rao was quoted as having told Hakeem during the meeting.
The Sri Lankan military brought the eelam war launched by the then Indira Gandhi’s government in the early 80s to a successful conclusion with the killing of terrorist leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran on May 19, 2009.
Recalling President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s pledge to implement the 13th Amendment, Rao expressed confidence that promise would be fulfilled soon. Sri Lanka introduced the 13th Amendment on Nov 14, 1987 in accordance with the Indo-Lanka Accord of July 29, 1987.
Commenting on the post-war era, Rao said that economic development, industrial activity as well as employment generation measures would pave the way for sustainable development and peace.
Minister Hakeem said that Rao had conveyed the BJP’s commitment towards building strong ties with Sri Lanka. The BJP believed that building trust as well as accommodating diversity and devolution that had been promised to Tamil speaking people is as important as defeating terrorism, Justice Minister said.
The minister quoted Rao as having said that the Muslims being a minority in Sri Lanka had to work with other communities while preserving their own identity. “Rao also lauded our efforts to lead our people towards a united and prosperous Sri Lanka”, he said.