Sri Lanka should show flexibility to resolve Tamils issue: BJP

BJP on Friday said the Sri Lankan government has to show flexibility for resolving the problems of ethnic Tamils in the country and it can be achieved only through devolution of power.

PTI| Updated: Sep 26, 2014, 21:11 PM IST

New Delhi: BJP on Friday said the Sri Lankan government has to show flexibility for resolving the problems of ethnic Tamils in the country and it can be achieved only through devolution of power.

BJP leaders, who attended an international conference of Asian political parties in Colombo, during their meeting with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa stressed on the need for immediately starting dialogue with Tamil National Alliance and other representatives of the Tamil community.

They said that a permanent settlement of the pending Tamil issues within the frame work of Sri Lanka Constitution is imperative for restoring peace in Sri Lanka as well progress of the region, which had huge potential of emerging as a major force in the world.

"The resolution of the Tamil problem is only through devolution. Finishing of terrorism should not be taken as finishing of the problems.

"Resolution should become a reality which was promised by the Sri Lankan government. The Sri Lankan government has to show flexibility in solving the Tamil problem," BJP general secretary Muralidhar Rao said.

Rao, who is also the incharge of party affairs in Tamil Nadu and had attended the Colombo conference along with Vijay Jolly, said measures should be taken for socio-economic uplift of the upcountry Tamilians in Sri Lanka facing economic hardships, like addressing the housing issue.

Stressing on the need to immediately address the fishermen issue and other outstanding contentious matterss, the BJP leader said the Indian government is discussing and negotiating with the Sri Lankan government.

"It has to be flexible, sensible and creative. Sri Lankan government has to take the issue in this way," he said.

He said the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for promoting religious and cultural tourism between India and Sri Lanka has evoked consensus on both sides and ties have improved in the recent past.

The BJP leader claimed that ever since the new government came to power, there is "no shoot-at-sight or targeting" of fishermen and they are not kept in custody for long. Also, 94 fishermen have been released by the Sri Lankans.

Rao said the need for a new Maritime Indo-Lankan policy to solve this recurrent problem of Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen to the satisfaction of all was also emphasised.

The BJP leader also brushed aside criticism of their visit in Tamil Nadu, saying "we think engagement is always important" in resolving issue.