COLOMBO: Members of Parliament from India, who held talks with Sri Lankan ministers and parliamentarians here on Tuesday, stressed the importance of finding a political solution to the Tamil question on the basis of devolution of power to the Tamil minority.
The leader of the Indian delegation, Sushma Swaraj told Sri Lankan leaders that while economic development of the war-torn Tamil provinces in the north and east of the island nation was necessary, lasting peace would come to Sri Lanka only when the political question was addressed satisfactorily.
Indian MPs met External Affairs Minister G L Peiris and Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, and had an interaction with the ruling party and opposition.
Briefing Express on the meeting with a group of Sri Lankan parliamentarians, United National Party (UNP) MP Ramaiah Yogarajan said Sushma Swaraj criticised the Sri Lankan government for dragging its feet on the question of devolving power to the Tamils.
Swaraj pointed out that the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa had been assuring repeatedly that his government would go beyond the 13th Amendment in devolving power but there was no indication as to what “13th Amendment Plus” might be. Rebutting her criticism, Leader of the House and cabinet minister, Nimal Sripala de Silva, said the government, by itself, could not solve the political problem, and had been trying to set up a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to evolve a consensus on the issue.
But the PSC could not be formed because the Tamil National Alliance was refusing to join it