We feel cheated by Lankan govt: Tamil party

(IANS) Sri Lanka’s main Tamil political party says it feels cheated by Colombo over its failure to grant meaningful autonomy to Tamil areas in the island nation.

A delegation of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) did some plain speaking when it met Indian officials in New Delhi late last week.

According to the delegation, the Sri Lankan government’s insincerity was evident in the way it was telling the TNA to present its views on autonomy and related issues to the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC).

The TNA’s argument is that the PSC is dominated by the ruling party and Sinhalese politicians and they would never agree to any meaningful steps

suggested by the Tamil side.

At a weekend meeting at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, TNA leader R Sampanthan said the Tamil political leadership would prefer a pact with the government and this package could then be taken to the PSC.

“We have been telling the government: Let us agree on some formulation, and then go there (PSC). But the government doesn’t agree.

“We have no trust in the PSC. Nothing will come out of it. We also realise that the government is not serious about granting autonomy to the Tamils.

“Forget the grant of police powers, even some of the financial powers accorded to the provincial governments are being taken away,” Sampanthan pointed out.

“We feel cheated by the government. They say something, and do something (else).”

Ever since Sri Lanka crushed the Tamil Tigers in May 2009, some of the Tamil leaders have accused Colombo of imposing a majoritarian Sinhalese agenda on the rest of the country. The government denies the charge.

When the war was on, Sri Lankan leaders, including President Mahinda Rajapakse, repeatedly pledged to reach a satisfactory political settlement to settle the ethnic issue.

According to the TNA MPs who visited New Delhi, including Mavai Senathirajah and Suresh Premachandran, Tamils in the country’s north were facing several problems.

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