New Delhi: Sri Lankan President Mahinda
Rajapaksa today assured a delegation of DMK and Congress MPs
from Tamil Nadu that over 54,000 Tamils displaced due to the
civil war there will be resettled in their towns and villages
within three months.
The visiting President also told the delegation led by
DMK Parliamentary Party leader T R Baalu that his government
was committed to implement the 13th Amendment under the 1987
Indo-Sri Lanka accord.
A total of 14 MPs from DMK and Congress, including DMK
chief M Karunanidhi`s daughter Kanimozhi, former Union
Minister Manishankar Aiyar and E M Sudarsana Natchiappan,
called on Rajapaksa here and demanded that steps be taken to
integrate Tamil minorities into the mainstream.
"We requested the President to take steps to resettle
the 80,000 people who are still lodged in camps in northern
Sri Lanka. He said there were only 54,000 people in camps and
they will resettled in three months before the monsoon season
begins," Baalu told reporters after the meeting.
Rajapaksa admitted that there was some delay in
resettling the displaced Tamil civilians due to Presidential
and Parliamentary elections in Sri Lanka, Baalu quoted him as
Baalu said the delegation impressed upon Rajapaksa to
implement the Rajiv Gandhi-Jayawardane Accord in "letter and
spirit" to which the President replied in the affirmative.
He said the delegation was not "fully satisfied" with
the meeting as Rajapaksa failed to give any concrete
DMK spokesperson T K S Elangovan, who was also part of
the delegation, said that Rajapaksa told the team that his
government was committed to implement the 13th Amendment and
that was considering a political solution to resolve the long
impending Tamil question.
"He listened to us, but did not give any concrete
assurances. He told us that there were 54,000 people still
living in camps and they will be resettled soon," he said.
In a memorandum submitted to Rajapaksa, the delegation
said they have come to know that Sri Lanka has not yet
utilised the Rs 500 crore financial assistance which has been
given to it by India to carry out developmental works in the
war-ravaged northern Sri Lanka.
"We urge the Sri Lankan Government to spend the money
given by India to be used for developmental works in the
north," they said in the memorandum.
The MPs also demanded that Sri Lanka implement in
"letter and spirit" the Indo-Sri Lanka accord and implement
13th Amendment which calls for devolution of powers in
Tamil-dominated northern region.