India’s Union Minister E.M. Sudarsana Natchiappan says unless and until Tamils in Sri Lanka get devolution of power, they cannot get equal rights.
He told The Hindu newspaper that Tamils should lay claim to their territory and fight politically for their rights.
He also had the forthcoming Northern Provincial Council elections in mind. “Elections are taking place in Tamil areas for the first time [in over two decades]. Unless and until Tamils get devolution of power, they cannot get equal rights.
It can be achieved only by democratic means,” he said and wanted the diaspora to help the Tamils living in the country.
Natchiappan also said that Tamils in Sri Lanka were keen that the Indian Prime Minister should attend the Commonwealth summit (to be held in November in Colombo) as they believed that only a strong India could protect their interests and as India had already spent considerable sums towards their rehabilitation.
To a question on India’s defence cooperation with Sri Lanka, he said the ties between the two countries were important to ensure that Sri Lanka did not inch towards China for help.