Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Sunday threw his support for the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to its Constitution, which provides for the devolution of power to the minority Tamil community.
Addressing the national Pongal festival– a ceremony unique to the country’s Tamil minority in Jaffna— Wickremesinghe said that his government has been working to implement the amendment legislation as soon as possible.
He informed that a Social Justice Commission would be established to address the grievances of all communities to create a Sri Lankan identity without discrimination.
India has been urging Sri Lanka to implement the 13th Amendment which was brought in after the Indo-Sri Lankan agreement of 1987.
The Sri Lankan leader’s remarks assume significance as India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is scheduled to visit Colombo on January 19.
It is expected that the Indian minister will raise the issue of the Tamil community during his high-level talks.
It comes amidst protests held by the Tamil community who have issued an ultimatum of January 17 for the government to come up with solutions.
Wickremesinghe said he would be making a statement on steps to be taken to achieve national reconciliation on February 4, which is Sri Lanka’s 75th anniversary of independence celebrations, reports PTI news agency.
According to reports, a political party leaders’ meeting would be convened next week to discuss the views of all parties on reconciliation.
For long, the negations between the government and the Tamil community over their demand for some form of political autonomy has been failed to reach its end. Their demand stems from the alleged discrimination against the community.
In 1987, India tried to influence the ruling government to create a system of a joint provincial council for the Tamil-dominated north and east faltered as the Tamils, but it fell short.
(With inputs from agencies)
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