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Tamil Nadu Congress MP agrees with Gotabhaya

[TamilNet, Saturday, 27 August 2011 15:47 No Comment]

There is no need for any more solution as the 13th Amendment is already there, said Gotabhaya Rajapaksa in giving an interview to Headlines Today this month. Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, Thursday, Tamil Nadu Congress parliamentarian Dr EM Sudharshana Natchiappan agreed with Gotabhaya. “In the latest booklet released by their [Sri Lanka] Defence Ministry a humanitarian analysis is given. In that also they have accepted the Thirteenth Amendment. Why I am stressing on the Thirteenth Amendment again and again is because there is a new thinking in the policy makers that they have to go beyond the Thirteenth Amendment. This is the policy followed by all the parties including BJP after Rajiv Gandhi. What he had laid as a foreign policy for Sri Lanka is to have the Thirteenth Amendment implemented in toto, so that there is peaceful settlement,” Natchiappan said.

Sudarasana NatchiappanTwo days before his speech Dr Natchiappan convened a meeting of Eezham Tamil political parties to meet in New Delhi.

Natchiappan was seen influencing the parties not to speak about the nationhood of Eezham Tamils and their right to self-determination as basis for finding solutions within ‘one country’. The meeting could not arrive at a consensus on the fundamentals.

The aim of the war partners in Colombo and New Delhi is to avoid any constitutional changes, political analysts said, adding that in this respect India is dictated by Colombo.

Speaking in the Rajya Sabha the same Thursday, Communist Party of India’s National Secretary D. Raja told the Congress government in New Delhi that “Sri Lanka tries to blackmail, and, you succumb to that blackmail.”

Sri Lankan President claims, “I waged India’s war” and did you ever deny the Sri Lankan claim, Raja asked.

“Are you having the sense of guilt? That is why, you are keeping quiet,” Raja accused.

The guilt of New Delhi, especially the guilt of the Congress party is the very basis of the continued strength of the Rajapaksa regime in its genocidal agenda, Tamil Nadu political circles say.

According to them, it is only a junta in New Delhi that dares to brave public opinion and even sits on international action on the issue of Eezham Tamils.

If the flaw of the Congress party is the problem then it should be exposed thoroughly. If the Congress party is bent on repeatedly proving that there is no likelihood of justice coming without its political expulsion then the expulsion should come. Mr Karunanidhi holds all evidence for exposing the crimes of the Congress but he is keeping silent, the Tamil Nadu political circles further said.

In the categorical opinion of an intelligence agent of New Delhi who met the Eezham Tamil diaspora in London sometimes back, the Eezham Tamils have to count India out in seeking independence.

Media reports coming from India make no secret of the guilt of India related to Eezham Tamils coming from a few individuals who in a very strange way got the power in the democratic country to decide on behalf of over a billion people.

How long the individuals in New Delhi frantically seeking smokescreen for their guilt are going to continue the agony of Eezham Tamils is a question that has to be asked to Natchiappan who had convened the meeting ‘Agony and Solace’ instead of agony and solutions, said Tamil politicians in the island.

But Dr. Natchaippan is not an ordinary politician. He is an academic in political science and he aspires for the leadership of the Congress Party in Tamil Nadu.

He was one of the first few Tamils who met Mahinda Rajapaksa immediately after the genocidal war.

There must be reasons for this ambitious and learned person choosing to echo Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s visions of political solution in the Indian parliament.

Just three weeks back the Indian foreign Minister SM Krishna in a suo motu statement in the parliament was harping on Colombo’s assurances to ‘build upon’ the 13th Amendment. Now there must be reasons for Natchiappan MP contradicting the Indian Foreign Minister by arguing against going beyond the 13th Amendment, political observers in the island pointed out.

Dr. Natchiappan wants to protect the Rajapaksa regime from any strain of constitutional changes, the observers said, adding that nowadays ‘policy planning’ is a joint work of governments and corporates, the latter having a bigger say.

Speaking at the Rajya Sabha, Dr Natchaiappan said: “The Government of Sri Lanka has controlled terrorism. Now, they have opened up the sea route between Colombo and Tuticorin. They have to open up Talai Mannar and Rameswaram route, then, everything will become normal because all the districts nearby are totally affected for the past 30 years.”

“In the areas of Tamil Nadu also there is no industrial development. The sea-shore area starting from Ramanathapuram to Virudhu Nagar to Tirunelveli in Kanyakumari District is a very fertile area and Tuticorin is a modern port, but the business is very dull because there was always war in Sri Lanka. Therefore, there was a threat and no businessman was coming forward to invest in that area. The southern parts totally don’t have any industrial development. Therefore, our interest is also protected if there is a peaceful settlement to the Tamilian issue in Sri Lanka,” Natchiappan said.

Natchiappan’s vision and mission had the partnership of Observer Research Foundation, funded by a leading corporate in India.

Full text of Dr EM Sudarsana Natchiappan’s speech in the Rajya Sabha, Thursday:

DR. E.M. SUDARSANA NATCHIAPPAN: Sir, it is a very important issue. The entire Tamil Nadu, the entire Tamil community throughout the world is very much anxious to know about the stand of India.

Actually, Tamils of Sri Lanka are having three separate entities. One side is north-east part, which is dominated by ancient Tamilians who settled there many, many years ago. The eastern part is having Muslim population who speak Tamil. The central part of Sri Lanka is occupied by the people of Indian origin who in 1960s were around 15 lakh.

There was an agreement between India and Sri Lanka which is known as the Shastri-Bandaranaike Agreement and five lakh people were given citizenship there and the rest of the people were asked to go out of Sri Lanka. Five lakh people were taken as repatriates to India. I know that in the past 40 years how the repatriates suffered there; how they came to India and settled by the Government of India.

The issue now is this. During the period of 1980s, there was a struggle for their own entity. They want to show themselves as equal citizens of Sri Lanka.

Sir, on that basis, the people started to fight against the Government. They finally came to the conclusion that unless the Tamil area, which is now known as ‘Eelam,’ which is the northern and eastern part, is bifurcated and given to the separate entity, their rights cannot be protected.

At that time, Sir, the international forces were not helping in that aspect. On the basis of the UN Security Council’s Resolution, terrorism had to be curtailed there from 2001 onwards. At that time hon. Vajpayeeji was the Prime Minister of India. He knew the foreign policy of India throughout the years. Therefore, he followed the principle which was laid down by the earlier Government.

Rajiv Gandhiji went there to sign an agreement with Jayawardane. And on the basis of that agreement, Sir, the Constitution of Sri Lanka was amended.

That is called the thirteenth amendment of the Constitution of Sri Lanka. By that, three important positions were made clear. One is, ‘Tamil’ was uplifted as the official language, as a national language, along with Sinhalese. That was accepted by the Government, and an amendment was also carried out in Chapter 5 of the Constitution.

Second one is, the Ealam area which was demarcated as the North-East area was also made a single province and that single province should get all the powers just like the Indian States, which are having their separate State powers. Similarly, those powers were also given as ‘provincial powers’.

‘Reserve powers’ were given to the Central Government. The concurrent powers were with both. That was the arrangement made by Rajiv Gandhi’s agreement. That was an excellent architecture on which Sri Lanka could become a strong nation with equality given to Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and all other religious and linguistic people living there. That was the correct structure on which the foreign policy was built up.

Subsequently, according to the Security Council’s Resolution No.1713, terrorism was to be removed. Accordingly, all the nations throughout the world were supporting it. They banned LTTE and on that basis, they had gone for a war.

Sir, during the last days of the war, there was a report by the United Nations, which clearly gives the information as to how much damage has been caused to the innocent Tamil people. Three lakh people were taken away by LTTE just to protect them from the bullets of the Sinhalese Army. That was given in the United Nations report. Six counts of errors were committed by LTTE and five counts of errors were committed by the Sri Lankan Government. That was given in the report.

Sir, I would like to read the extracts of the emergency meeting, a special meeting, which was conducted by the International Human Rights Council. The Council called the meeting in May 2009. There, they had given a clear undertaking. The Government of Sri Lanka also gave an undertaking. I am reading from that portion. I quote, “Welcoming also the recent assurance given by the President of Sri Lanka that he does not regard a military solution as a final solution, as well as his commitment to a political solution with implementation of the thirteenth amendment to bring about lasting peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka”.

This was asserted, and the Sri Lankan Government also accepted it.

Similarly, Sir, subsequently, it was also mentioned as to how the people have to be protected. I quote para 4. It says, “Welcomes the announcement of the proposal to safely resettle the bulk of internally displaced persons within six months and encourages the Government of Sri Lanka to proceed in these endeavours with due respect for the persons belonging to the national, ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities.”

This was also to be done before December 2009. They delayed it. We were also a party.

At that time, the hon. Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Dr. Kalaignar, was invited by the President of Sri Lanka to directly interact with the internally displaced persons. He nominated Congress Members and DMK Members of Parliament and also Mr. Thirumavalavan to go and visit the places. We visited the places.

There were about three lakh people who were put up in the same area, in the open area, and on the basis of the United Nations Relief Fund, they had put up tents and other things.

Sir, we demanded that all the people should be resettled. Accordingly, they could make it within a period of 15 days. They resettled 1.5 lakh people to their original places where they had their own houses, land, and where they had Government jobs and other things.

Subsequently, Sir, for the rest of the people, the resettlement is very much delayed. At that time, we demanded the same thing. We put up the things here also as a debate in the Parliament. The Government of India took the initiative and sanctioned Rs.500 crores as a first instalment for the help.

In the meantime, 100000 dollars were also given as part of the effort to have a rail link to be restored, and also the road to be restored. The agricultural land has to be de-mined. Then, it has to be handed over to the agriculturists. The Government of India has sent by sea route fertilizers, pesticides and agricultural related things so that Tamilians could resettle themselves in the northern part of the Sri Lanka. They got two best crops in their life after 25 years of disbanding that land.

Yesterday, the parliamentary forum on Human Rights for Global Development had a discussion with eight Tamil political parties from Sri Lanka. They came down to New Delhi. Our Members of Parliament from all political parties from different States have interacted with them. At that time, they told that the Sri Lankan Army was there. The Army is dominated, more or less, by the Sinhalese alone. The Tamilians are not a part of the Army, Navy and the Air Force. They are dominating there. If you take the area of the northern part, more than one lakh Army personnel are there.

The people are living under fear and wondering whether they were living in their own country and whether they were enjoying civil rights.

Now, we have to request the Sri Lankan Government to withdraw the Army from that area and deploy police so that the civilian rule comes back.

Sir, when we are giving thousands of crores of rupees for constructing 50,000 houses, the first level of a pilot project which was started is somewhat slow because the identification of the persons was done by the civil administration. They call it as Government agents, District Collectors. They are empowered with that. For this purpose the Army has to give clearance.

They have given a proper list for the first time and then they withdrew it. Then, the Indian High Commissioner has taken interest and told that people who were affected and displaced would have to be accommodated. Now, they have given another list.

Already there was an election at the grass root level. The Tamil parties have won the elections in that area. There are elected panchayat bodies. They should be in charge of identifying the persons and they should be allowed to construct the houses. Whatever funds we are giving should be utilized through the elected Government rather than through the Army people.

Similarly, I would like to attack the Government on this issue. The parties who have participated in the meeting yesterday requested that immediate steps should be taken on the so-called take over of the land by the Army under the guise of the high security zone and must be dismantled properly.

They have taken over Mulaitheevu and other important places against the wishes of the Tamilians. They are emotionally attached to these places. The Army has taken over it in the name of de-mining process. Those areas are under Army’s occupation. They are asking Tamilians to go away from there. In lieu of that they are giving more than 10,000 acres. They are asking Tamilians to shift from there.

Sir, Mulaitheevu and other places are sea-shore places. The Tamilians are fishing there since ancient times. They were using that place for fishing. Now, if they are shifted to some other place, how could they fish? We are getting reports that Sri Lankan Government has brought Sinhalese in that place and allowing them to fish.

Now, fighting is going on between Tamil fishermen and Sinhalese fishermen. That has to be looked into. Therefore, there should be a body of fishermen representatives in both the countries. They should regulate themselves.

The Army must be withdrawn from the North and East because the threat of the Army rule has to be taken away. The Government of Sri Lanka has controlled terrorism.

Now, they have opened up the sea route between Colombo and Tuticorin. They have to open up Talai Mannar and Rameswaram route, then, everything will become normal because all the districts nearby are totally affected for the past 30 years.

In the areas of Tamil Nadu also there is no industrial development. The sea-shore area starting from Ramanathapuram to Virudhu Nagar to Tirunelveli in Kanyakumari District is a very fertile area and Tuticorin is a modern port, but the business is very dull because there was always war in Sri Lanka. Therefore, there was a threat and no businessman was coming forward to invest in that area. The southern parts totally don’t have any industrial development. Therefore, our interest is also protected if there is a peaceful settlement to the Tamilian issue in Sri Lanka.

The third point is that all the land grab schemes must be halted. We were told that in each and every part of Tamil occupied areas, the original Tamil places, they were sandwiched between Sinhalese habitations. We can’t accept it. Already, the international fora have condemned these types of things in the case of Israel. It has done like that. Similar things should not happen here. It should be stopped at this stage itself.

The fourth point is that the political prisoners must be released forthwith.

The fifth point is a conducive atmosphere must be created in the north and east of Sri Lanka for the refugees in India to return and restart their lives in the original places. More than two-and-a-half lakh refugees are living in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and other places. They are not given any special treatment in India. For the past 28 years they lost their property; they lost their own culture. They lost all their properties in Sri Lanka. They want to go back. When they go back, if their properties are occupied by non-Tamilians or by the army people and the Sinhalese, how can they go and settle there? What is the security for their life?

Therefore, we have to create an atmosphere, and for which the Sri Lankan Government should come forward, to understand the issue of their emotional attachment to the land, that is, Eelam. They have to see to it that the Thirteenth Amendment is properly implemented.

If it is implemented, nothing will happen to the Sri Lankan integrity. Sri Lanka will remain as a single country and there will be integration and peace.

Here I just want to make a correlation with the Thirteenth Amendment of the United States of America. Abraham Lincoln brought the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America in 1865 for the abolition of slavery. Had they taken away the Thirteenth Constitution Amendment, Mr. Obama could not have become the President of the United States of America. We visualise a day when a Tamilian, an Eelam man, would become the President of Sri Lanka by accepting the Thirteenth Amendment. It was also accepted by the Government of Sri Lanka in various fora.

In the latest booklet released by their Defence Ministry a humanitarian analysis is given. In that also they have accepted the Thirteenth Amendment.

Why I am stressing on the Thirteenth Amendment again and again is because there is a new thinking in the policy makers that they have to go beyond the Thirteenth Amendment. This is the policy followed by all the parties including BJP after Rajiv Gandhi. What he had laid as a foreign policy for Sri Lanka is to have the Thirteenth Amendment implemented in toto, so that there is peaceful settlement.

The Sri Lankan Government has started tampering with the Eighteenth Amendment by which they want to take away the police power from the State, that is, the Provincial Council.

If they start doing things like that one after the other and if they take away the land right also, there will be no settlement in Sri Lanka.

Therefore, I request, through you, Sir, to the Government of India that it should clearly say that the Thirteenth Amendment is helpful not only to the Tamil people but also to the Sri Lankans.

The Tamil people will be benefited by getting their land, their rights again and identifying the areas.

The entire Sri Lankan people are going to benefit by the Thirteenth Amendment because it is devolution of powers to the people including Sinhalese, Muslims and Indian origin people, in the six provinces.

All the people are going to get power. Therefore, it has to be enforced as it is.

Along with lifting of the state of emergency, other similar provisions in other laws and the Prevention of Terrorism Act also must be repealed.

When we have accepted it and the international bodies have also accepted it that terrorism in Sri Lanka is totally curbed, this is the correct situation to withdraw these laws.

Finally, I want to conclude by saying that we are trying to create unanimity among the Tamil parties in Sri Lanka.

We could succeed yesterday by asking them to sit across the table for two days and discuss and come out with their points. They gave their points to our parties.

All the parties have attended that discussion.

Similarly, I request all the Diaspora — they are having their own international bodies in three places, that is, in the United States, the UK and Germany — to communicate with the Government of India so that we can have a peaceful Sri Lanka which will be helpful for them, for Tamil Nadu and also for India. Thank you.

[Full Coverage]

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