ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, January 7, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 32

India 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 said.

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.


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Copyright 2006 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.