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TNA to seek push from Modi on 13-A

By Randev Jayasinha and Sarah Hannan

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) will look to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to put pressure on the Government to fully implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and ensure meaningful devolution of powers.

Modi is to meet the TNA for talks today during his short visit to the country.

The meeting with Prime Minister Modi is scheduled for 2 p.m. at India House.

TNA Leader R. Sampanthan and Parliamentarians M.A. Sumanthiran, Mavai Senathirajah, S. Sritharan, and Selvam Adaikalanathan will attend the meeting with Modi.

Speaking to The Sunday Morning, Sumanthiran said that the former government led by Mahinda Rajapaksa had assured India that the 13th Amendment will be fully implemented.

However, he noted that to this day, the 13th Amendment has not yet been fully implemented even though the Indo-Lanka Accord, through which the 13th Amendment was introduced, is still in force.

Sumanthiran said that the Sri Lankan Government has an obligation, not just towards the Tamils, but also India, to ensure the 13th Amendment is fully implemented.

“The Sri Lankan Government has given assurances on the 13th Amendment and we have also had discussions with the Government on this. We have also had talks on a new Constitution but that has also not been achieved. So we will raise these matters with the Indian Prime Minister,” Sumanthiran said.

Prior to his arrival in Colombo, Modi said that his visit to Sri Lanka will help further strengthen the close ties between both countries.

Modi said that the purpose of his visit to Sri Lanka was to express solidarity with the Government and the people of Sri Lanka in the wake of the terrible terrorist attacks on 21 April.

“India stands with Sri Lanka in the fight against terrorism. Our bilateral relations with Sri Lanka have gained considerable momentum in the last few years. I had the pleasure of meeting President Sirisena during his recent visit to India to attend the swearing-in ceremony of the new Government. I look forward to meeting the Sri Lankan leadership during my visit,” he said.

Modi said he was confident that his visit will further strengthen the close and cordial ties in line with India’s “Neighbourhood-First Policy” and the vision of security and growth for all in the region.

Narendra Modi will be the first state leader to visit Sri Lanka after the Easter Sunday Attacks, and the visit is a mark of solidarity to assist Sri Lanka in rebuilding its tourism and trade affairs.

This will be the third time within a four-year period the Indian Premier visits Sri Lanka.

Modi will be received through a ceremonial welcome and in his short visit will be meeting with President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, and the Cabinet of Ministers during a state lunch.

Following that, he is scheduled to meet the Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa and TNA Leader R. Sampanthan.

Furthermore, he will briefly meet the Indian expat community in Sri Lanka at India House.