will ask Govt. not to de-merge N-E: TNA
The Indian government will ask Sri Lanka to ensure that the Northern
and Eastern Provinces remain merged in accordance with the 1987
Indo-Lanka Accord, a Tamil National Alliance MP said yesterday.
TNA MP Mavai Senadhiraja who was in the party's delegation that
met Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said this assurance had
been given to them by the Indian leader.
The Indian government’s position is to be
conveyed to President Mahinda Rajapaksa when the Indian External
Affairs Minister Pranab Mukarjee arrives on a two day visit to Colombo.
The visiting Indian Minister is due to meet Prime Minister Rathnasiri
Wickremanayake and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera during his
visit, a spokesperson for the Indian High Commission in Colombo
During the recent 10 day visit by the TNA, the
issue of the de-merger of the Northern and Eastern Provinces was
raised with the Indian Premier as well as the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister
M. Karunanidhi. Mr. Senadhiraja said during the visit they had pointed
out to the Indian government that the current peace talks started
on the basis that the Northern and Eastern Provinces were temporarily
merged following the Indo–Lanka peace accord of 1987 and the
de-merger would be a reversal of the peace process.
“We have an assurance from the Indian government
that they will work towards ensuring that the merger of the Northern
and Eastern Provinces remain”, he said. On Friday, a delegation
from the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) met the new Indian High Commissioner
Aloka Prasad and raised the issue about the de-merger and said that
India, as a friendly country, should not pressurize the Sri Lankan
government on the merger issue. JHU MP Athureliye Rathana Thera
told The Sunday Times they believed that there was no logical reason
for the Northern and Eastern Provinces to remain merged.
“We pointed out to the Indian High Commissioner
that the two provinces were temporarily merged due to Indian pressure”,
he said. The Government has already taken practical measures to
de-merge the two provinces by setting up different administrative
units for each. Former Inspector General of Police Chandra Fernando
is due to be named as Northern Province Governor while Mohan Wijewickrama
will remain the Governor for the Eastern Province.
All transfers in the two provinces also have been
cancelled until further notice. The Supreme Court earlier held that
the temporary merger of the Northern and Eastern Provinces was not
done according to constitution.