Indo-Lanka Accord, Thirteenth Amendment and the Tamil March of Folly

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Much concern is now being shown by political parties representing the minority (numerical) ethnicities of Sri Lanka over the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. As is well known it is the 13th Constitutional Amendment which ushered n a certain quantum of devolution to the country through the setting up of Provincial Councils. 13 A itself was due to the historic India-Sri Lanka agreement signed by Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Sri Lankan President Junius Richard Jayewardene on July 29th 1987. The Indo-Lanka Accord at that time brought an end to the ongoing armed conflict between the Sri Lankan armed forces and the Tamil militant organisations.

Indo-Lanka Accord signing

The accord among other things bestowed upon India the responsibility (shared with Sri Lanka) of ensuring and protecting the security and safety of all communities living in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka. Clause 2.16(e) says: “The Governments of Sri Lanka and India will cooperate in ensuring the physical security and safety of all communities inhabiting the Northern and Eastern Provinces.”

While the Sri Lankan Government agreed to implement the proposals outlined in the accord, clause 2.14 stated: “The Government of India will underwrite and guarantee the resolutions, and co-operate in the implementation of these proposals.”

The Indo-Lanka Accord provided India a permanent “say” in the affairs of Sri Lanka as it had to underwrite the resolutions and guarantee their implementation. Also, it was – in theory at least – responsible for the safety and security of all people living in the north and east.

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