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* Sri Lanka Tamil party discusses resolving ethnic issue with Indian Foreign Minister
Fri, Aug 22, 2014, 08:45 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Aug 22, New Delhi: A six-member delegation of Sri Lanka's major Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance (TNA),Friday met with India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and discussed solutions to the ethnic Tamil problem in the island nation, the Press Trust of India reported.

The TNA delegation, led by its leader MP R. Sampanthan, told the Indian Minister that India can play a major role in resolving the Tamil issue and India's involvement in the resolution of the Sri Lankan Tamil issue is vital.

"They (people who live in Sri Lanka) have their roots in India. Their culture is Indian and everything is Indian. So, I think India is one country that can play a major role," Sampanthan said after meeting Ms. Swaraj.

The delegation comprising six TNA MPs held discussion on various issues and complained about the alleged attempts by the Sri Lankan Government to change the democratic composition of the Northern Province.

Sampanthan said the delegation explained to the Indian Minister the position currently prevalent on the ground in the north and the east and the difficulties people are facing.

They have briefed Ms. Swaraj of the "aggressive programme" implemented by the Sri Lankan Government to change the democratic composition of the northern and eastern provinces and the cultural and linguistic identity of the areas.

Accusing the Sri Lankan Government of being not interested in any political solution, The TNA leader has said that the government has not taken any steps to implement the 13th amendment for devolving powers to the Tamil minority.

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.

"We have also talked about various other matters that are of concern of Tamil people and requested that some action can be taken by India. India should be pro-active in dealing with these questions," Sampanthan told reporters.

The delegation's meeting with Ms. Swaraj was cordial, he said.

The TNA delegation is scheduled to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday (August 23).

This is the first meeting the party will have with the new Indian PM 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.

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