TNA delegation leaves for India on Lanka 13A talks
Colombo: Faced with the prospect of having to face a dilution of the northern provincial council powers, a delegation of Sri Lanka`s main Tamil party TNA on Sunday left for Delhi to hold urgent consultations with Indian leadership.
TNA sources said the six member delegate on was expected to meet with both India`s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress party Chief Sonia Gandhi. The TNA`s New Delhi visit adds a new dimension to the ongoing efforts by the Mahinda Rajapaksa government to water down provincial council powers.
India, according to political sources, had repeatedly urged Sri Lanka not to make any unilateral changes to the 13th amendment of 1987, a byproduct of the Rajiv Gandhi-Junius Jayawardene agreement better known as the Indo-Lanka Accord.
Notwithstanding Indian worries, the Sri Lankan Cabinet last week approved the 19th amendment to the Lankan constitution. It aims to repeal article 154A (3) that allows two or three adjoining provinces to form one provincial council.
The move stands contrary to Indian wish list in Colombo. Egged on by nationalists within the ruling coalition, the Rajapaksa government seeks to abolish provincial council powers over police and land issues.
Commenting on the developments, the Sunday Times reported that Delhi mulls appointing a Special Sri Lankan Envoy -which the paper said was indicative of India`s elevating of the Sri Lankan issue.
The report said Hardeep Singh Puri, who was India`s permanent representative at UN till recently, has been earmarked for the position. Puri in the 80s had served at the Indian High Commission in Colombo as political secretary.
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