Where from here 13-A?

By N Sathiya Moorthy

At a joint media-meet after talks with visiting Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared his nation’s desire for implementing 13-A, signed between the two nations, as far back as 1987 to find the promised post-war political solution to the vexatious ethnic issue. Elsewhere in the Indian capital, PM Rajapaksa announced his Government’s willingness to talk to elected Tamil representatives, and pointed out that it would become possible only after the twin-polls to the nation’s Parliament and also to the Provincial Council. He did not elaborate if the PC poll reference was only to the Tamil-majority North or also included one to the multi-ethnic East, whose merger Tamils back home still insist upon after court-ordered de-merger a decade and more back, in 2006.

“In Sri Lanka, we spoke openly on issues related to reconciliation,” Modi told the global media after the talks. “I am confident that the Government of Sri Lanka will realize the expectations of the Tamil people for equality, justice, peace, and respect within a united Sri Lanka. For this, it will be necessary to carry forward the process of reconciliation with the implementation of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka,,“ he added.

In more than one way, PM Modi’s statement could have been pulled out from the past files of self and his predecessors, from the very day slain predecessor Rajiv Gandhi signed the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord with then Sri Lankan President, the late Junius Richard Jayewardene, in 1987. Generally, Indian statements on the subject used to refer to it all only as ‘Tamil aspirations’ in Sri Lanka. This time the phrase has been changed to ‘expectation’…. Again, there is no clear reference to whose ‘aspirations’ they used to be, or whose ‘expectations’ they now are.

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