Lanka govt’s move to strip provinces of power worries India

PERTURBED over Sri Lankan government’s moves to remove land and police powers from the provinces prior to the elections in the Northern Province,New Delhi on Friday asked it to not take any step against their own commitments relating to the 13th amendment.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: May 18, 2013 2:49 am

PERTURBED over Sri Lankan government’s moves to remove land and police powers from the provinces prior to the elections in the Northern Province,New Delhi on Friday asked it to not take any step against their own commitments relating to the 13th amendment.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid called up Sri Lankan counterpart G L Peiris on Friday and expressed concerns regarding reports referring to some consideration being given to removal of land and police powers from the provinces prior to the polls.

Sources said Khurshid urged the Sri Lankan government to not take any step in the light of its own commitments relating to the 13th amendment and their expressed intention to build upon it.

According to reports,a key nationalist ally of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is planning legislative action for the abolition of the country’s provincial councils while opposing local elections in the Tamil-dominated north.

Udaya Gammanpila,the deputy secretary of JHU (Heritage Party),has said his party’s policy- making central committee on Thursday night decided to move parliament within the next two weeks to abolish the amendment 13A to the Sri Lankan constitution.

The 13A and the provincial councils entered Sri Lanka’s statutes in 1987 as part of the India-Sri Lanka Peace Accord which envisaged devolution of powers to the island’s provinces in an effort to end the civil war there involving LTTE and government forces.

Apart from the issues regarding the 13th amendment,Khurshid also raised the reports about the Lankan army acquiring private land in the Northern Province for high security zones.

Khurshid raised the issue of 26 Indian fishermen detained by Sri Lanka for the alleged offences of transgression and sought their early release.

He also requested for the release of five fishermen in detention since November 2012 for alleged drug trafficking offences,the sources said.

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