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'Accept the 13th Amendment as it is' - PLOTE leader

Leader of the People’s Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) and Tamil member of parliament Dharmalingam Siddarthan told Tamils in Vavuniya that the 13th Amendment should be accepted as it is the “realistic” thing to do. 

“Everyone should unite and accept the 13th Amendment to the constitution as it is,” he told a gathering in Vavuniya. “Accepting it does not mean it is sufficient. Even though many of us continue to deny it, successive governments continue to withhold it.”

He told the gathering that over 200,000 Tamils have fled their homeland and now reside in places around the world, including Europe and Canada. “Our race is depleting in numbers gradually,” he said. “We would therefore unit in the North-East to hold on tightly to what we have before us. This is a realistic conclusion, even though it is not the right decision.”

Referring to upcoming elections, given that a parliamentary election is to be held in Sri Lanka in the near future, he said that practice in the past has been the coalition of Tamil political parties, and it has been cantered purely on securing votes. “But we are not saying this for the election. We are talking about it from the start, well ahead of the elections.”

He added that PLOTE welcomes any other Tamil political parties to join forces to achieve the aspirations of the Tamil people.

His remarks on the 13th Amendment to Sri Lanka’s constitution, come after Tamil parliamentarians spoke of India’s commitment to it earlier this year. The 13th Amendment was brought in after the Indo-Sri Lankan agreement of 1987, which calls for a merged North-East and the devolution of police and land powers to the province. However it has been consistently rejected by the Tamil people as not being an adequate solution, whilst the Sri Lankan state for decades has obfuscated its implementation.

The newly elected leader of the Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK), Sivagnanam Shritharan told the Tamil Guardian in an exclusive interview that the 13 Amendment is not an adeqaute political solution to the Tamil national question. 

"The 13th Amendment has so far not been a political solution for our people," he said. "Many of the provisions of the 13th Amendment have been removed by the Government of Sri Lanka. None of us think that a major solution can be achieved by using the term 13th Amendment over and over again.”

Last year, the Tamil National People's Front (TNPF) reiterated their refusal to accept the 13th Amendment as a starting point to the Tamil national question in a letter to Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe. 

Last month, students from the Jaffna and Eastern universities issued a statement, where they rejected attempts that seek to curtail the Tamil nation’s aspiration within the 13th Amendment, adding that “the recognition of the Tamil nation’s inalienable right to self-determination is the only political solution to the Tamil national question that would guarantee the nonrecurrence of the aforementioned atrocities and oppression”.

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