Updated March 4th, 2024 at 22:10 IST

India Firmly Committed to Wellbeing of Indian-Origin Tamil Community in Sri Lanka: Envoy

India is firmly committed to the well-being and holistic development of the Indian Origin Tamil community in Sri Lanka, India's envoy here said on Monday after meeting the leaders of Tamil Progressive Alliance.

Sri Lanka's Ranil Wickremesinghe and PM Modi. | Image:PTI
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India is firmly committed to the well-being and holistic development of the Indian Origin Tamil community in Sri Lanka, India's envoy here said on Monday after meeting the leaders of Tamil Progressive Alliance. During the meeting, the Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Santosh Jha also said that it was agreed to work closely toward the well-being of the minority community.

The leader of the Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) is Mano Ganesan who represents mostly the Western province-based Tamils of Indian-origin. "High Commissioner @santjha met the leaders of Tamil Progressive Alliance. Reiterated India’s firm commitment to the well-being and holistic development of the Indian Origin Tamil community. It was agreed to work closely towards this endeavour," Indian mission in Sri Lanka posted on X.

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India has been pressing Sri Lanka to implement the 13th Amendment which was brought in after the Indo-Sri Lankan agreement of 1987. The 13A provides for the devolution of power to the Tamil community. Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe on January 5 backed the India-mooted 13th Amendment as a solution to address the minority Tamil community's long-pending demand for political autonomy.

The 13A became a part of Sri Lanka’s Constitution in 1987 through the direct intervention of the then-Indian government led by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. It created nine provincial councils for nine provinces with a temporary merger of the North and East which the Tamil minority claims is their traditional homeland. Sri Lanka had had a long history of failed negotiations to end the Tamil claim of discrimination by allowing some form of political autonomy.

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An Indian effort in 1987 which created the system of a joint provincial council for the Tamil-dominated north and east was faltered as the Tamils claimed it fell short of full autonomy. Wickremesinghe himself tried an aborted constitutional effort between 2015-19 which too came to be scuttled by the hardline majority politicians here.

The Tamils put forward their demand for autonomy since gaining independence from Britain in 1948 which from the mid-70s turned into a bloody armed conflict. Velupillai Prabhakaran led a three-decade-long bloody separatist campaign under the banner of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to establish a separate Tamil homeland in the Northern and Eastern provinces of the island nation. 

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Published March 4th, 2024 at 22:10 IST