We feel cheated by Sri Lankan government: TNA
New Delhi, Oct 16 (IANS) Sri Lanka's main Tamil political party says it feels cheated by Colombo over its failure to grant meaningful autonomy to Tamil areas in the island nation.
A delegation of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) did some plain speaking when it met Indian officials here late last week.
According to the delegation, the Sri Lankan government's insincerity was evident in the way it was telling the TNA to present its views on autonomy and related issues to the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC).
The TNA's argument is that the PSC is dominated by the ruling party and Sinhalese politicians and they would never agree to any meaningful steps suggested by the Tamil side.
At a weekend meeting at the Jawaharlal Nehru University here, TNA leader R. Sampanthan said the Tamil political leadership would prefer a pact with the government and this package could then be taken to the PSC.
"We have been telling the government: Let us agree on some formulation, and then go there (PSC). But the government doesn't agree.
"We have no trust in the PSC. Nothing will come out of it. We also realize that the government is not serious about granting autonomy to the Tamils.
"Forget the grant of police powers, even some of the financial powers accorded to the provincial governments are being taken away," Sampanthan pointed out.
"We feel cheated by the government. They say something, and do something (else)."
Ever since Sri Lanka crushed the Tamil Tigers in May 2009, some of the Tamil leaders have accused Colombo of imposing a majoritarian Sinhalese agenda on the rest of the country. The government denies the charge.
When the war was on, Sri Lankan leaders, including President Mahinda Rajapaksa, repeatedly pledged to reach a satisfactory political settlement to settle the ethnic issue.
According to the TNA MPs who visited New Delhi, including Mavai Senathirajah and Suresh Premachandran, Tamils in the country's north were facing several problems.
These, the TNA delegation said, included "militarization" of Sri Lanka's Tamil-dominated north and the inability of many displaced during the war against the Tamil Tigers to return to their homes.
They said numerous military camps dotted the region although the war got over three years ago.
Sampanthan said some Sinhalese villages had been added to the eastern province and some Tamil villages pulled out of the east and merged with other provinces to alter the demography of the multi-racial province.
But Sampanthan underlined that the TNA did not visit India due to any pressure from the Indian government.
"There is no pressure on us from India to take part in the Parliamentary Select Committee," he said.
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