Report on Lanka to Manmohan

A multi-party Parliamentary delegation that visited Sri Lanka submitted a report on the condition of ethnic Tamils to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday. Dr Singh said India will stand “solidly behind” the minority community in their pursuit for a political settlement.

The 13-member delegation, headed by the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, met Dr Singh at the Parliament House for over 45 minutes during which they briefed the Prime Minister about their five-day visit to Sri Lanka from April 16 to April 21 and the talks they held with the top leadership besides interaction with the ethnic Tamils in the island nation.

Ms Swaraj said the umbrella Tamil grouping of Tamil National Alliance (TNA) had told the delegation that they want “dignified rights and living conditions” for the minority community in a “unified” Sri Lanka.

Submitting a report with detailed conclusions about the visit, Mrs Swaraj told Dr Singh that Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapksa needed to persuade the TNA to join a Select Parliamentary Committee to find a solution to “genuine” political grievances of Tamils.

Dr Singh spoke to every member of the delegation and listened to their views and suggestions, sources present at the meeting said. External Affairs Minister SM Krishna, National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office V Narayanasamy were present at the meeting.

“The Prime Minister said that the visit was timely and came at a crucial period of the bilateral ties,” Congress MP from Tamil Nadu Manicka Tagore, who was part of the delegation, told PTI.

Dr Singh told the delegation that India was closely working with Sri Lanka and “will stand solidly behind theTamils,” Tagore said. (PTI)