Modi prods Gotabaya to ensure equality for Tamils in SL

Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Reuters photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday called upon Sri Lanka's new President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to ensure equality, justice, peace and respect for the minority Tamils in the Indian Ocean island.

Prime Minister said that he and Sri Lankan President “openly exchanged views” on reconciliaton between majority Sinhalese and minority Tamils in the island nation. “I am confident that the Government of Sri Lanka will carry forward the process of reconciliation, to fulfill the aspirations of the Tamils for equality, justice, peace and respect,” said Modi, as he and Gotabaya addressed media-persons after a meeting in New Delhi.

He also nudged Gotabaya to ensure full implementation of the 13th amendment of the Constitution of Sri Lanka to meet the aspiration of the minority Tamils.

Prime Minister assured Sri Lankan President that India would continue to be a “trusted partner” for development throughout the island nation, including its Northern and Eastern provinces, inhabited by minority Tamils.

Gotabaya, younger brother of former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, won the presidential election in Sri Lanka earlier this month – marking the return of the Rajapaksa Clan to power after a gap of almost four years. He already appointed his elder brother as Prime Minister of the island nation, replacing Ranil Wickremesinghe.

New Delhi was cautiously watching the latest presidential elections in Sri Lanka as Rajapaksa Clan regained popularity riding on a wave of Sinhalese-Buddhist nationalism that swept the nation after a series of explosions killed over 250 people in the island on April 21 this year, causing unease among religious minority Muslims and ethnic minority Tamils.

The return of Rajapaksa Clan to power made the political parties in Tamil Nadu jittery in view of the alleged atrocities on minority Tamils in Sri Lanka during the crackdown on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) from 2006 to 2009.

Gotabaya was Defence Secretary during his elder brother's presidency and oversaw the final military offensive against the LTTE.

The new Sri Lankan President, however, told Prime Minister on Friday that his government would work for “ethnic harmony” with an “inclusive political outlook”.

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