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“Spirit of Srima–Shastri & Indo-Lanka Pacts are violated”

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Indian origin Tamil community has toiled over centuries to build Srilankan plantation foreign income economy. However this pact pushed majority of them to go to India, while leaving the rest here with the promise of equal treatment. The spirit of the Srima-Shastri Pact is that the rights enjoyed by other citizens of Sri Lanka should also be extended to the upcountry Tamil generation who are citizens of Sri Lanka, the Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) delegation conveyed to the Indian Government during their meeting with the Indian Foreign Secretary.

However, the TPA pointed out that the families of Tamil workers living in the plantations are denied land rights for alternative self-employment as all other citizens. How can such discriminations occur after 60 years since the Pact asked TPA Leader Mano Ganesan. He urged the Indian Government to talk to the Sri Lankan government about the situation. “We believe that the Government of India has a responsibility to these people,” Ganesan said.

TPA delegation said that the 13th Amendment must be implemented while the PC elections should be expedited. “We want immediate elections for the Central, Western, Uva and Sabaragamuwa PCs along with the Northern and Eastern PC. “Further, the 16th Amendment must be fully implemented to ensure the dignity of the Tamil language.”

These sentiments were expressed when the TPA delegation met the Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla for discussions in Colombo. The delegation was led by leader Mano Ganesan along with deputy leaders Palani Thigambaram, V. Radhakrishnan and General Secretary Chandra Schaffter.

All what we wanted is to live with our Sinhala brethren as Srilankans in this indivisible country with dignity and equality. We as citizens of this country are entitled to all the rights enjoyed by all Srilankans of this country.

The TPA leader pointed out that the 16th Amendment has been completely ignored and forgotten, adding that it was through this amendment that Tamil language was recognized as an administrative language, an educational language and a judicial language. It is high time to understand this constitutional fact. 16A which envisages could be a prelude to the national integration.

“Both the 13th and 16th Amendments were incorporated into the Constitution of Sri Lanka through the Indo-Lanka Accord. Therefore, we believe that the Government of India has a responsibility in this regard,” the TPA delegation noted.

TPA Leader Mano Ganesan stated that he is worried about the electoral reform being discussed currently, aims to further jeopardize the parliamentary and provincial council representation of the recent Indian origin Srilankans scattered throughout this country. He stressed that the Indian origin Tamils who hold Sri Lankan citizenship are entitled to the same political representation rights enjoyed by other citizens of this country.

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