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TNA demands devolution package should go beyond 13th Amendment

Press Trust of India  |  Colombo 

Seeking greater autonomy within a united Sri Lanka, party chief R Sampanthan has said Tamils must have "unrestricted authority to govern our own land, protect our own people and develop our own economy".

Addressing the 14th annual convention of the TNA in the eastern town of Batticaloa over the weekend, Sampanthan distanced his group from the views of the now-purged LTTE, saying Tamils in Sri Lanka could not have difference of opinion with India.

He called the 30 years of violent political struggle in the north and east of Sri Lanka as "a chapter of blood, tears, courage, despair and great destruction" and said this period saw the emergence of LTTE as a great force within Tamil community.

Sampanthan said the intervention of India was an inevitable chapter in the history of Tamil political struggle.

"The intervention of India has clearly taught us the lesson that whatever our aspirations may be, India will never welcome a political solution in Sri Lanka that does not accord with the interests of India," he said.

Sampanthan said TNA used the intervention of India to their benefit, "together with its assistance and blessing, we grasped an opportunity to arrive at a political solution that would enable us to live with dignity within a united Sri Lanka".

"We must not forget the lesson history taught us, of the difference of opinion we had with India that not only caused it to distance itself from us for the past 20 years, but even caused it to work against us.

We want to ensure that we do not act in such a manner again, and thus alienate ourselves from the international community." (More)

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First Published: Tue, May 29 2012. 16:45 IST