New Indian High Commissioner Santosh Jha, in his maiden interaction with the representatives of the mainstream Tamil parties in the north recently, is reported to have emphasized the need for them to have a unified position on their collective demand for a political solution.

However, Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF) led by MP Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam defied it and said his party could not align with other Tamil parties on this matter.

India has been consistent that a solution to what is called ‘Tamil national question’ should be implemented based on the 13th Amendment to the Constitution introduced consequent to the 1987 Indo-Lanka Accord.

The Indian High Commissioner reportedly underscored the importance of having a unified stance on their demand. He said India stands for the political rights of Tamil people. He also briefed them about steps being taken by India as a country to help develop the Sri Lankan economy, including the financial assistance amounting to nearly US $ 4 billion during the crisis time. He highlighted that key Indian investments in Sri Lanka are located in the Northern and Eastern Provinces.

The Indian envoy referred to the Palali Airport, the implementation of the Trincomalee mega city project and the renewable energy project on the coast of Mannar.

Referring to the call for a unified stance on political rights, Mr. Ponnambalam is reported to have said his party is not for a solution based on the 13th Amendment. Citing it as something unworkable, he said he would not agree with his colleagues in other parties on this matter, and therefore a unified stand would not be possible.

The Indian envoy is reported to have said, though differences are all right, it is advisable to have a unified position.

Former MP Suresh Premachandran who attended the meeting representing the newly formed Democratic Tamil National Alliance (DTNA) said there are around 900,000 Tamil votes in the north and the east, and the Tamil parties should not deliver these votes to any presidential candidate from the south without a commitment to resolve the Tamil national question.

source daily mirror