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* Sri Lanka Tamil party delegation visits India to seek solutions to national issue
Thu, Aug 21, 2014, 09:02 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Aug 21, Colombo: A five-member delegation of Sri Lanka's major Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance (TNA), will leave for India today to hold discussions with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior Indian leaders on a host of issues.

The TNA delegation, led by its leader MP R. Sampanthan, will meet Prime Minister Modi in New Delhi on August 23.

This is the first meeting the party will have with the new Indian PM and his government after the Chief Minister of Northern Province C. V. Wigneswaran turned down an invitation to accompany Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the swearing-in ceremony of Modi in May this year.

During the meeting with the Prime Minister, the TNA delegation is expected to raise the issue of power devolution under the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and host of other issues including the demilitarization of North.

TNA MP M. A. Sumanthiran told Press Trust of India that delegation will urge India to ensure Sri Lanka fully implements the India-brokered 13th Amendment as the Sri Lankan government had promised to India earlier.

Following the TNA's victory in the Northern Province last September and gaining power in the Provincial Council, the party has demanded the Sri Lankan government grant police and land powers to the Province.

The Sri Lankan government has made it clear that devolving police powers to provincial councils is not acceptable saying that it is not the policy of the government to provide police powers to any provincial council in the country.

The Sri Lankan government says that it would resort to a power devolution process or introduce constitutional changes only through a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) with an extensive political interaction with all political parties and other stakeholders to discuss all the issues related to power devolution, police and land powers to PCs and security issues of the provinces.

However, the TNA has refused to take part in the PSC despite the requests from the government as well as from foreign leaders to do so.

The TNA delegation is also scheduled to meet India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval tomorrow (August 22).

After the visit to New Delhi, the TNA is likely to follow up on its earlier request for a meeting with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, The Hindu reported.

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