Pillayan calls for Indo-Lanka accord

A former Sri Lankan rebel on Friday called for the implementation of an accord inked between India and Sri Lanka in 1987.

The Chief Minister of Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, also known by his alias name Pillayan, told a visiting Indian delegation that India must ensure the key agreement is implemented.

The Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord was signed in Colombo on July 29, 1987, between late Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and former Sri Lankan President J.R. Jayewardene.

The accord was expected to resolve Sri Lanka’s civil war and under the terms of the agreement Sri Lanka agreed to devolve power to the provinces.

Chandrakanthan, who was a member of the Tamil Tigers before he defected in 2004, told the Indian delegation led by Indian opposition leader Sushma Swaraj that former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi sacrificed his life for the accord and so India has a responsibility to ensure it is now implemented.

Gandhi was assassinated by the Tamil Tigers in 1991 while campaigning for elections in India. The rebels were subsequently defeated by the Sri Lankan military in May 2009 after 30 years of war.

“The India-Lanka accord was a turning point in Sri Lanka,” Pillayan told the Indian delegation.

A visiting Indian parliamentary delegation began a tour to Sri Lanka on Tuesday to assess the post war situation in the country.

The delegation had this week travelled to the former war affected areas in the north of the country and met war displaced people at a camp.

The delegation, which consists of members from India’s ruling Congress party, the BJP, CPM, SP, BJD and JD (U) will also meet Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Saturday.

Two major political parties from Tamil Nadu, the AIADMK and DMK, withdrew from the delegation at the last minute as they felt the visit will merely be a sightseeing tour.