Ahead of Lankan envoy Basil Rajapaksa's visit to New Delhi to discuss the controversial plan on devolution, a Lankan nationalist group today asked India to respect the sovereignty of the island nation. Several hundreds of Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) activists, mainly Buddhist monks, staged a walk to the Indian High Commission here under a banner saying "India, do not touch Sri Lanka's sovereignty". "A group of around 1000 of our monks staged a peaceful walk to the Indian High Commission today.
We handed over a communique addressed to the Indian Prime Minister. We said that any political intervention now in Sri Lanka would hurt our sovereignty," Galagodaatte Gnanasara, the General Secretary of BBS told reporters. The visit of Basil Rajapaksa, the younger brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, comes in the backdrop of a visit to New Delhi by the main Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which opposed the government plans at the behest of its nationalist allies to dilute 13A. The tinkering of the 13A, a by product of the Indo-Sri Lankan Accord of July 1987 to try and resolve the ethnic conflict, is being attempted ahead of the provincial council elections in Tamil-dominated northern areas in September. The Sri Lankan parliamentary select committee (PSC) will meet on July 19, despite boycott by opposition members, to look at powers of the 13A and strip the provincial councils of land and police powers. Nationalist groups such as BBS, the National Freedom Front and the Jathika Hela Urumaya - all government allies, fear that India would force President Rajapaksa to leave the 13A undiluted.