Devolve power to Tamils, India tells Lanka

Chennai, Mar 25 : India has urged Sri Lanka to fulfill its commitments to the Tamil population there with proper devolution of powers to the provinces, according to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

In a letter to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK President M Karunanidhi, copies of which were released to the media here today, Dr Singh said India also asked Sri Lanka to fulfill its commitment of ensuring equality and equal rights for Tamils as is the case of other citizens of Sri Lanka.

”Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse has very recently reaffirmed his commitment to a devolution package, which, he said, will fully satisfy the Tamils,” he added.

Mr Rajapakse had also said steps in this direction were being taken immediately.

”We may wait and see what steps are actually taken,” Dr Singh said in his reply to the February 22 letter written by the Chief Minister.

The Prime Minister said, ”during discussions with Sri Lanka, we have consistently proposed temporary cessation of hostilities, which could be utilised to facilitate movement of the Tamil population out of the war affected areas to safety zones, where proper rehabilitation facilities could be arranged.” Observing the condition of thousands of innocent Tamils who become unfortunate victims of the on-going conflict was indeed pitiable, the Prime Minister said in addition thousands of others outside the war zone lived in makeshift camps, where, too, the conditions were hardly any better.

Stating India was in constant touch with Lankan authorities, Dr Singh said contacts were being maintained at several levels, including the highest.

India’s Foreign Secretary recently met his Lankan counterpart, Defence Secretary, Secretary to President and also President Rajapakse at Colombo.

”Our concerns regarding the plight of the Tamils were explicitly reiterated. Certain suggestions to ameliorate their conditions were proposed, the most important being an offer to set up a Field Medical Unit/Hospital to cater to the civilians and internally displaced persons evacuated from the war zone.

”The Sri Lankan side has responded enthusiastically to this offer and the field hospital has been established and it is functioning well,” he said.

= UNI =

Source : newkerala

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