Tamil Diplomat

Validity of the Indo-Lanka Accord for Tamils Political Will


Indo-Lanka Accord was made by the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, His Excellency Mr.J.R.Jayawardene, and the Prime Minister of the Republic of India, His Excellency Mr. Rajiv Gandhi in 29th July 1987 in Colombo. This acknowledged the imperative need of resolving the ethnic problem of Sri Lanka, and the consequent violence and for the safety, well being and prosperity of people belonging to all communities of Sri Lanka.

Indo- Lanka Accord (1987) (Para 1.4) recognized that the Northern and the Eastern Province have been areas of historical habitation of Sri Lankan Tamil speaking peoples, who have at all times hitherto lived together in this territory with other ethnic groups. According to the Indo- Lanka Accord (Para 2.1) North and East provinces joint to form one administrative unit. And it was mentioned that all persons who have been displaced due to ethnic violence or other reasons will have the right to vote in a referendum in the eastern province to decide to be separate (Para 2.4). Further this referendum will be monitored by a committee headed by the Chief Justice (Para 2.5).

But this accord has been violated by the Sri Lankan government and the Chief Justice himself. Chief Justice Sarath, N. Silva with justices Nihal Jeyasinghe, N.K. Udalagasma, Raja Fernando, N.G.Amarathunga separate Northern and Eastern Provinces 16th October 2006. The Supreme Court made the Indo- Lanka Accord implementation as Null and Void and had no legal effect. They further said North-East merger is illegal. Tamil traditional homeland aspirations have been Nullified by the Sri Lankan government by violating the Indo- Lanka Accord Para 1.4, Para 2.1, Para 2.4 and Para 2.5.

According to Indo- Lanka Accord Para 2.14 the government of India will underwrite and guarantee the resolutions and co-operate in the implementation of the political proposal. But it is not so far achieved.

Indo- Lanka Accord Para 2.16 that the actions for any militant groups operating in Sri Lanka do not accept the frame work of proposal for a settlement and the Para 2.16 (e) state that  the Government of Sri Lanka and India will co-operate in ensuring the physical security and safety of all communities inhabiting the Northern and Eastern Provinces.

Indo- Lanka Accord is still valid and the repatriation of Sri Lankan refugees from Tamil Nadu also not accomplish according to the Para 2.1.6 (d).

Tamil Diaspora should make the legal dimension Indo- Lanka Accord (1987) for our political will The Sri Lankan government and its military involvement against the Indo- Lanka Accord in the North and East provinces and the absence of the political solution for the ethnic conflict for the past 30 years is further evidence for Violation of Indo-Lanka Accord  (the Para 2.14 , Para 2.15 and 2.16 of Indo- Lanka Accord).

But the validity of Indo- Lanka Accord (1987) is vital for Tamil’s Political Aspiration. Sri Lankan ethnic Conflict of the past are continued through legal and political wrangling in a limited space. The Tamil Society is victimized urged the Transitional Justice. We need a broadest sense is concerned with criminal trials, truth and reparations. The main problem, that victims face is the culture of silence and denial that the people and power structures which are part of our victimization have over us. The need to include victims in the transitional process is vital aspect of Transitional Justice and Victimology. Prisoner’s issue, Missing persons’ issue, Land issue are not addressed by the present government or its justice system genuinely. Transitional Justice for Tamils is reversely affected by the polarized local political parties and by the altered geopolitical diplomatic and economic interventions. But victims should be acknowledged for establishing truth and accountability.

The plight of the Tamil victims’ journey in the grey zone with embracing complexity, Nuance and empathy should be answered by the international community.

The interim report about the future constitutional change also made panic about the power structure of the Sri Lanka affecting the Tamils who are the regional majority ethnic group. It will make the victims to be stay silent, bury their vindictive urges, and accept impunity for fear or reigniting the violence.

The denial of the past cannot and must not be a substitute for dealing with it. Attempts to distort history as a strategy for rejecting an accountability process will not succeed.

The Sri Lankan delegation responds about the ongoing plight of relatives of the disappeared, thousands of whom from all communities; remain hardly any closer to the truth about the fate of their loved ones; despite repeated pledges and premises by the government. We are hoping in particular for some meaningful responses to demands made by Tamil relatives of the disappeared who have been protesting continuously for more than one year. The government of Sri Lanka did not do any concrete measures to guarantee the victims, including relatives of the enforced disappeared and not brought to justice. The government has opened an office for missing person’s inquiry. It is the office of missing persons (OMP) from 28th of February 2018. OMP will address the issues during the conflict period. This will include the last thirty years missing person’s documentation. So Indo-Lanka Accord 1987 validity is very vital in the context of missing persons also.