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Swamy meets Rajapaksa, discusses Tamil issue

Swamy meets Rajapaksa, discusses Tamil issue

Colombo: Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy met Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa here and requested him to mobilise other Tamil parties in the Northern Province besides the dominant TNA to achieve political reconciliation.

Swamy, who is in Sri Lanka to attend an international seminar, discussed with the President the ethnic issue and devolution of power to the Tamil-dominated province Thursday.

He said after the meeting that Rajapaksa wants resolution of the key issues in the reconciliation process to be achieved through the parliamentary select committee (PSC) process.

The PSC is yet to get underway as the main Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has shown unwillingness to attend it, charging that it would be another stalling tactic of the Sri Lankan government.

The Sri Lankan government is discussing the issue of devolution of power to the north and eastern provinces, and the question of police powers and revenue has been a major irritant in the negotiations.

"I told the President the need to mobilise the non-TNA Tamil parties who could make a contribution to the process," Swamy said.

He said he drew the attention of the Sri Lankan President to article 356 of the Indian constitution where the centre has the power to take corrective action should the states operate against the unitary character of the constitution.

Article 356 of the constitution of India refers to "provisions in case of failure of constitutional machinery in state".

Swamy said he felt the Sri Lankan government was not willing to share police powers with the provinces.

He said even if the police powers are devolved, the centre could invent a system where safeguards can be placed so that any untoward happening could be checked. This could be an arrangement to "supersede" provincial police powers.

Swamy, an avowed critic of the LTTE, said he told Rajapaksa that after ridding Sri Lanka of terrorism, now it was time to resolve the Tamil issue through positive action.


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