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Lankans protest against India's role in implementing 13A

Press Trust of India  |  Colombo 

Sri Lankans today held protests here against India's role in promoting power devolution for ethnic minority Tamils in provincial councils on the 26th anniversary of a crucial Indo-Lanka Accord.

The Collective of National Organisations, made up of nationalistic groups, staged a sit-in for about 45 minutes in front of the Indian High Commission premises here and urged not to interfere in Lanka's internal affairs.

Several hundreds of them carrying the national flag and staged a prayer before dispersing.

"We pray that stop pressurising through the 13th amendment in the same way they put pressure on 26 years ago", Bengamuve Nalaka, a leading figure in the sit-in, said.

Rajiv Gandhi-JR Jayawardene accord signed on July 29, 1987 triggered nationwide protests as Jayawardene was accused of betraying Sri Lanka's sovereignty in the face of Indian intervention on Sri Lanka's conflict with the Tamil minority.

Nationalists now protest Indian opposition to President Mahinda Rajapaksa's move to dilute the 13A by stripping provincial councils of land and police control powers.

Elsewhere, in the central provincial town of Kandy, the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress (ACBC), the prime Buddhist body staged another sit in prayer.

"We pray that will change its stance as regards 13A so that can preserve its unity", Prashantha Lal de Alwis, a leading lawyer and a senior ACBC figure, said.

Sri Lanka reportedly under pressure from New Delhi has held back two amendments to the 13A until the conclusion of the northern provincial council late September.

India has repeatedly emphasised to Sri Lanka on the need to fully implement the constitutional provision dealing with devolution of powers to provinces without dilution and to go beyond it to ensure meaningful development there.

Indian leadership expressed "dismay" at Sri Lanka's plan when a group of opposition Tamil lawmakers from Sri Lanka visited the country last month.

First Published: Mon, July 29 2013. 21:15 IST