Sri Lanka Prez puts Tamil peace process on backfoot
With an Indian delegation currently on a visit to Sri Lanka seeking better clarity on various allegations levelled against the Lankan government, the onus is definitely on Sri Lanka to smoothen out the strained relationship over reports of atrocities faced by Sri Lankan Tamils there. The delegation comprises of NSA Shivshankar Menon, foreign secretary Nirupama Rao and defence secretary Pradeep Kumar.
Following talks between the delegation and the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, he stated in clear terms that he will not give control of land and police to the provincial councils. The statement is in direct breach of India's initiative for a solution to resolve the conflict. Reports have emerged that this stand could spoil the relationship between the two countries and take them on 'a collision course'.
Rajapaksa took the controversial decision after consultations with leaders of the ruling United People"s Freedom Alliance (UPFA). The allies expressed reservations and objections to the provisions of the 13th amendment to the Constitution, which is derived from the Indo-Lanka Accord of 1987.
The new flip in the Sri Lankan stand is in direct contrast to the promise made by the Sri Lankan foreign minister G.L. Peiris during his visit to India where he met SM Krishna. India had sought a review in the 13th amendment.
But with Rajapaksa's latest statement, the viewpoint of Sri Lanka has emerged. The government is not ready to yield the land and police powers to provincial councils want to stave off the Tamils from exercising authority in the key areas of governance, especially in the North and east.