India press SL for devolution of powers

An Indian parliamentary delegation called for demilitarisation of former war zones in Sri Lanka.

Colombo: An Indian parliamentary delegation on Saturday called for demilitarisation of former war zones in Sri Lanka and reconciliation with the Tamil minority with "a sense of urgency".

Leader of the 12-member delegation, Sushma Swaraj told Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa that the promise of devolution of power to the ethnic Tamil minority should be adhered to and the current deadlock in talks the main Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) must be broken.

Swaraj said she told Rajapaksa to expeditiously address the issue of a political settlement with the Tamils based on his earlier promise to implement "the thirteen plus" -- the full powers to provincial councils in terms of India initiated thirteenth amendment to the Sri Lankan constitution.

She also said TNA and the main opposition UNP must be persuaded to join the talks.

The delegation included five lawmakers from Tamil Nadu, though the main Tamil parties DMK and AIADMK refused to join.

Swaraj on the conclusion of the visit of the lawmakers told reporters Sri Lanka should implement the recommendations of the the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission(LLRC).

She said her delegation talks centred around the findings of the LLRC.

"We have brought out clearly the need for expeditious implementation of the measures proposed by the LLRC with regard to information on missing persons and detainees, investigation of cases of disappearances and abductions," she said.

"It is important that these are pursued with a sense of urgency. This is the message we have conveyed to our Sri Lankan friends," the delegation leader said. (More) PTI CORR DDC AKD