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* Sri Lankan peace organization calls on government to resume dialogue to avoid backslide to past
Fri, Apr 18, 2014, 10:04 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Apr 18, Colombo: The National Peace Council (NPC), a nongovernmental organization promoting peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, has urged the government and other political parties in the country to urgently set up institutions to enable giving a measure of autonomy to the Tamil people.

The NPC in a statement has said the government held elections and established the Northern Provincial Council, but it is useless unless the Northern Provincial Council is allowed to function without undue interference from central authorities.

"It (the government) must also discuss with the TNA a more inclusive political solution. We also call on the government to come up with a national investigative mechanism that could cooperate with the UNHRC-appointed investigative body on the issues of truth-seeking and accountability," the Council has said.

"Less than five years after the end of the three decade long internal war, the Sri Lankan government has warned that the LTTE is regrouping and plotting to renew its violent campaign for a separate state again. This warning has come in the context of a shootout reported in the North that led to the killing of three LTTE members by the military who, according to the government, had shot and injured a policeman in the leg. The security forces conducted extensive cordon and search operations and arrested over 60 persons, including civic activists, prior to the final shootout. The slain persons are accused of having had connections with the Tamil Diaspora," the statement has noted.

The NPC has stated that this violence, which is the first LTTE-related violence since the end of the war, occurred soon after the passage of the UNHRC resolution calling for an international investigation into the last phase of Sri Lanka's war.

"The government has refused to cooperate with this investigation. It has also banned 16 Tamil Diaspora organizations and 424 individuals whom it has accused of promoting terrorism. Reports from the North indicate that the military role has grown and the space for civil society to function has shrunk due to permission for activities that has to be obtained and is either not forthcoming or is deemed to be impossible to obtain. In the absence of a mutually acceptable political solution, the Tamil Diaspora will persist on highlighting the concerns of civilians living in the former LTTE held areas that continue to disrupt their lives in a variety of ways reminiscent of the ground realities that prevailed during the war," the NPC has added.

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