India will not press for merger of north, east Sri Lankan provinces: Jaishankar
Posted on February 21st, 2017

By P.K.Balachandran  |  Express News Service  |   

COLOMBO: India will not be pressing Sri Lanka to merge the Northern and Eastern Provinces to form a single Tamil-majority, Tamil-speaking province as envisaged by the India-Sri Lanka Accord of 1987, the Indian Foreign Secretary S.Jaishankar told the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) here on Monday.

He was reacting to a demand made by the leader of the Eelam Peoples’ Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) Suresh Premachandran, that India should honor its promise to keep the North and East united. It had even said that it would not allow a referendum to be held on the issue. When the united province was de-merged in 2006 by a Supreme Court order, India did not protest saying that it was for the Sri Lankan government to appeal against the judgment. India had clearly lost interest in the issue. Its interests lay elsewhere in Sri Lanka.

Jaishankar told Premachandran that much water has flown down the bridge since 1987 and as the situation has changed it will be better for all concerned to make use of the various windows of opportunity which have opened up recently with the change of regime in Colombo and secure the rights of the Tamils.

He argued that it would not be wise to hold every other matter hostage to one issue – the merger of the North and East.

However, he added that India would not mind if the Tamils kept the issue alive and kept it on the table for talks with the Sri Lankan government.

Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar. |AFP

Premachandran had highlighted the issue of the merger of the North and East partly because it had been the main theme of the Ezhuga Tamil rally held recently in the Eastern town of Batticaloa. Premachandran is a key member of the Tamil Peoples’ Council which  organized the rally.

The merger of the North and East is considered important by the Eastern Tamils because it helps them face the Muslims who tend to dominate them economically and politically. If the East were to be merged with the North, the Tamils will be in an overwhelming majority and can run the province as per their wish, and also bargain with Colombo more effectively for more powers.

But the Muslims are opposed to the merger as their proportion would be reduced from 35 % to 12%. At any rate, successive Sri Lankan governments have been against a merger as they fear that a strengthened and united Tamil province will be in a better position to secede from Sri Lanka. It was to destroy the unification of the North and East wrought by the India-Sri Lanka Accord of 1987 that some Sinhalese and Muslims, enjoying tacit government support, challenged the merger in the Supreme Court and got a favorable verdict in 2006.

Premachandran pointed out that India has a moral responsibility to ask the Sri Lankan government to re-merge the North and East as it is part of the India-Sri Lanka Accord of 1987. If the Accord is still valid, every part of it should be deemed to be equally valid and implemented, he argued.

He recalled that former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had solemnly promised that the merger would remain and that the proposed referendum would not be held. He also recalled that the EPRLF had fully cooperated with India on the implementation of the Accord, and like the Indian Peace Keeping Force, had lost many men in the fight against the LTTE which opposed the Accord. India has a moral responsibility to keep its promise and persuade the Sri Lankan government  to re-merge the North and East, Premachandran said.

6 Responses to “India will not press for merger of north, east Sri Lankan provinces: Jaishankar”

  1. Hiranthe Says:

    “former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had solemnly promised that the merger would remain”

    Ha ha.. that is why he gave his head to Dhaanu..

    Now Rajiv and Prabha and Dhaanu must be eating the same shit in the hell and burning in the same fire..

    Why on earth other Peelamist survived?? go to hell Premachandran and join the band there… Leave Mother Lanka in peace. You can take Viggie with you for emotional support. Get hold of a boat going there!!!

  2. Fran Diaz Says:

    A Good sign that INDIA has relented and is for the de-merger of the N&E to remain.

    For INDIA, the damage done to Lanka over some 30 yrs due to the 13-A and training of the LTTE in Tamil Nadu, is a shameful burden.

    For INDIA, a friendly neighbor is far better than a resentful and mistrustful one ….

    Mr Premachandran : Are you Sri Lankan or some other nationality ???

  3. Ananda-USA Says:

    WTF!

    What right has India to press or not-press on the merger of Norhern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka?

    Was Sri Lanka consulted when the new State of TElegana was carved out of Andhra Pradesh? No, SL was not quite rightly NOT CONSULTED because it was NONE OF Sri Lanka’s business!

    Likewise, we DEMAND that India BUTT OUT OF Sri Lanka’s internal affiars!

    Sri Lanka’s inyternal matters are NONE OF India’s business!

    India is INTERFERING TOO MUCH in sovereign Sri Lanka’s internal matters: political, social and economic!

    BUTT OUT, India! GO HOME and solve your own problems of poverty and endemic discrimination in your own country! Leave Sri Lanka WELL ALONE!

  4. Kumari Says:

    Apparently, as per the Eelam preamble approved in the Northern province under Vigneswaran, the two provinces need to be amalgamated. With that the total Tamil population is a little over 60%. Still the only language for the amalgamated province is Tamil. These are the ungrateful people who lived, studied, brought up their families, educated their children in government schools, obtained security through our government security forces, children married into Sinhalese families.

    With all this they want equal representation to tamils in the whole island. Tamils are only a little over 10% of the total population. They want 1/3rd of the land mass and 2/3rds of the coastal belt.

    This morning, I read on world news that there is an official famine, drought in on part of Sudan. Cameron and Banki Moon must be over the moon. As it was these two idiots (with all the work done behind the scenes by the NWO) who hailed the partition of Sudan into oil rich, Christian South and the poor Muslim North. Now the UN is asking the average world citizen to help out the starving and dying Sudanese. I only hope this will not repeat in Sri Lanka.

    Never trust Indians, don’t take them on face value.

  5. Fran Diaz Says:

    INDIA agreeing not to re-merge the N&E of Lanka is not enough.

    Must Do items for INDIA :

    * INDIA must take back their illegal migrants in Lanka.
    * INDIA must grant INDIAN citizenship to the Tamil folk in Refugee Camps in Tamil Nadu. That is what earlier CM of Tamil Nadu, Jayalalitha requested from the Delhi govt.
    * The INDIAN Central Govt should make sure that Tamil Nadu is prepared to take care of the droughts & floods there without pouring their poverty stricken low caste Tamils into Lanka as Refugees. TN has the funds and the engineers to do so.
    * Removal of the 13-A should be encouraged by INDIA.

    * Question : Recent news item – A Ferry Service is to be started between Cochi, Kerala, and Colombo. Why ?
    Lanka can do without such a Ferry Service. Whilst there is Caste stated on the birth certificates of INDIANS, particularly in Tamil Nadu, why ask for further trouble when the current problems created by INDIA have not yet been resolved ?
    The Ferry Service to Colombo : an unwise move at this point in time.

  6. Lorenzo Says:

    Notable ENDIAN citizens in SL

    TNA Siddarthan
    TNA Premachandran
    Dayan J
    Gonason
    Thondaman

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