Indian Govt Shouldn’t Have Dealt Directly With TNA – Udaya Gammanpila

The Sri Lankan government was expecting the new BJP government to respond positively towards Sri Lanka government’s policies, especially towards Tamil national issue of the country. However, the recent statement of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka has clouded those hopes of the Sri Lankan government to some extent.

JHU MP Udaya Gammanpila told The Sunday Leader that it is not justifiable for the Indian government to make such requests as India has violated certain aspects of the Indo-Lanka agreement under several circumstances.

Excerpts of the interview:

By Waruni Karunarathne

Q: Was it right for the Indian government to have meetings with TNA instead of other Tamil political parties in Sri Lanka?

A: This is not something new. Throughout the history the TNA or other Tamil main political parties always used to deal with Indian Prime Ministers since the time of Indira Gandhi. This is not right. We have never interfered into the internal affairs of India. There are so many separatist movements in India than anywhere else in the world. But we have never engaged in talks with any such separatist leader in India. The TNA acted as the mouthpiece of the LTTE. They are separatists. Therefore, the Indian government should not have directly dealt with the TNA jeopardising Indo Lanka relationship.


Q: Does it mean that the Indian government is considering TNA as the sole representative of Tamils in Sri Lanka?

A: It seems so. Because we have never heard the Indian government engaged in any dialogue with other political parties. The Indian government has always favoured and continues to favour leaders of the Tamil separatist movement – democratic or militant.


Q: Should the Sri Lanka government give consideration to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for the 13th Amendment to be fully implemented? 

A: Unfortunately the statement of the Indian Prime Minister reflects lack of his knowledge about the 13th Amendment and the Indo-Lanka Accord which gave birth to the 13th Amendment. The Indo-Lanka Accord is not valid anymore due to five reasons.

Any agreement entered upon fear or force is not valid before the law. As we know SL government was forced to sign this agreement at gunpoint with the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Secondly the 13th Amendment became part of our Constitution using an undemocratic process. The parliament term had been extended through an undemocratic corrupt referendum. Thirdly the Indo-Lanka agreement has been violated by India under several circumstances. As a result it is not valid anymore. According to the Accord, Sri Lankan government’s obligations are conditional on how India performs certain acts. Firstly, it tells India not to allow Tamil separatists to enter the Indian territory to achieve the separatists’ objectives. India violated that by letting the Tami separatists use Tamil Nadu as their launching pad – and Tamils in India had lots of demonstrations and created agitations in support of Tamil militants. Secondly, Indian Navy and coastal guards were supposed to cooperate with the Sri Lankan government – they did it for a few months and stopped the military movement between India and Sri Lanka. Thirdly the Indian government guaranteed the security of all ethnic groups living in the North and the East. But we can remember that in October 1987 some Buddhist monks were killed in the East.

There were five such violations. Therefore India has no moral right to force the SL government to fully implement the 13th Amendment.


Q: If Sri Lanka government does not fully implement the 13th Amendment how is it going to affect the bilateral relationship between the countries?

A: It is the SL government’s responsibility to point out that India has no moral or legal right to talk about the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution and create a barrier between Indian and Sri Lanka’s relationship. When it is an agreement, obligations are for both sides. If one side has not fulfilled their obligations, they don’t have the right to force the other party to do so. I think Modi is an intelligent and pragmatic leader. If we explain the current situation of the Indo-Lanka Accord and the 13th Amendment, he would understand it and he can move for a fresh start.


Q: Why is it that the Northern Provincial Council does not have the right to fully govern in the North since the majority in the area have given them the mandate to do so?

A: I do not know as to whether they are being granted the powers or not. If Sri Lankan government or the governor has not granted them powers enjoyed by other Provincial Councils, they should have gone to the Supreme Court. Chief Minister of the Northern Provincial Council, C. V. Wigneswaran, being a member of the judiciary at the highest level should have known the proper procedure to follow if they are not given equal powers.


Q: Is there a need to hold a referendum purely on the 13th Amendment in order to obtain pubic views? 

A: There is no need to hold a referendum on the 13th Amendment – because public sentiment on the 13th Amendment is obvious. Around 67,000 youth in the south sacrificed their lives resisting the signing of the Indo-Lanka Accord and the implementation of the 13th Amendment. Thousands of youth in the North also resisted it and sacrificed their lives. Both North and South have expressed their objections to the 13th Amendment. People are against it. Even the UNP is fully aware of the public opinion.


4 Comments for “Indian Govt Shouldn’t Have Dealt Directly With TNA – Udaya Gammanpila”

  1. NAK

    The main responsibilities of the parties according to the agreement were Sri Lanka to devolve power through the 13A and India to disarm all the militants. India failed miserably in that regard and therefore has no right to demand anything relating to that accord.

  2. Since defeating LTTE our President has promised to India that he will implement the 13th amendment to the constitution and the plus. It is well over 5 years nothing has happened. There is nothing wrong in TNA seeking help from not only India but also the other foreign countries. I don’t think any government is keen in resolving the Tamils issue. If Srilanka wants to prosper in international arena they need to resolve this issue. Tamil diasporas are not going to sit and see their relatives and friends problems go unresolved.

  3. R.M.B Senanayake

    He is ignoring the fact that the 13th Amendment is the product of an International Agreement. The adversely affected party has a right to complain to the two governments that underwrote the Amendment. When the GOSL refuses to implement it the affected party has a right to complain to the other Party.
    If the GOSL wants to amend the 13th Amendment it should discuss with the Indian Government.

  4. S Shivalingham

    modaya, dion’t talk a load of bollocks. move on modaya instead of talking about the past. face the reality madaya. tamil rights cannot be be dragged on for ever by modayas like you.get on with it modaya.

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