Sunday, June 27, 2010

'Give autonomy within united Sri Lanka' : CPI-M Parliamentary leader

The Sri Lankan Tamils must be given autonomy within the framework of a ‘united' nation and not on the basis of a ‘unitary' nation as was being promised by the government of the island nation, said Sitaram Yechury, Parliamentary Party leader of the Community Party of India (Marxist), here on Saturday.

Addressing a seminar organised by the party on finding a solution to problems faced by the Sri Lankan Tamils, he said that there was a huge difference between the terms ‘united' and ‘unitary' as the former referred to a federal Constitutional system akin to the one practised in India whereas the latter was not so.

He went on to state that at present there were two aspects to the issue: one was to immediately address the humanitarian problems faced by the Sri Lankan Tamils and the other was to work towards a political solution to the long pending problem of the Tamil minority in the neighbouring country.

On the humanitarian front, attention should be given to ensure relief, resettlement and rehabilitation of the Tamils. Steps must be taken to cease the poor conditions in which the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) were living in the camps and there must be international supervision for which the Sri Lankan Government must agree.

The Sri Lankan Government should also allow international agencies to create conditions of resettlement of the IDPs and that process must be started forthwith. An early resettlement plan was important to discourage attempts to bring in a demographic change by asking the majority population to migrate to minority dominated areas.

“This will cause future tensions and this must not be allowed by the international community,” Mr. Yechury said.

He added that the government of the neighbouring country must take all efforts to rehabilitate the Tamils by introducing various welfare measures such as advancing loans and subsidised agricultural materials to restart cultivation.

Simultaneously, a political solution should also be worked out on giving complete autonomy to the Tamil speaking areas in the North and East.

“This autonomy must be given on federal principles and not on unitary principles,” he stressed and added that Tamil must be implemented as an official language of the island nation in order to restore confidence among the Tamil speaking population.

“We share an emotional bond with Tamils in Sri Lanka,” he said and added that slogan mongering would not be of any help to the beleaguered population of that country. Only concrete solutions as suggested by the CPI (M) could bring in peace and normality.

© The Hindu

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