Indo-Lanka Accord can’t be thrown away: Tamil MP

ACTS rejects 13th Amendment

A fortnight after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a virtual summit with his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa, urged the country to address Tamil aspirations with the implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, Tamil MPs questioned the government’s commitment to the preceding Indo-Lanka Accord of 1987.

Jaffna legislator and All Ceylon Tamil Congress General Secretary G.G. Ponnambalam told Parliament that his party rejected the contentious legislation on the basis that it “does not even form a starting point” to finding a solution to the Tamil national question. The ACTC has two legislators in the 225-member House. However, observing that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and PM Mahinda Rajapaksa might think that because [some] Tamil people reject the 13th Amendment, they have an opportunity to “throw away” the preceding Indo-Lanka Accord of 1987, he said: “That will never happen.”

Mr. Ponnambalam pointed to a “massive gap” between the Accord and the 13th Amendment that he called a “unilateral interpretation” of the bilateral agreement by the then J.R. Jayawardene government. “Therefore, whilst we reject the 13th Amendment… the Accord is something we will not reject. On the contrary, we will hold India to account that it upholds the provisions of the Accord,” the Jaffna MP said,.

Reiterating his point on the Accord, M.A. Sumanthiran, fellow Jaffna MP, said the agreement “has to be honoured”.

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