PM Modi visits war-hit Jaffna, assures Sri Lankan Tamils of support


PM Modi prays at the Sri Maha Bodhi tree in Anuradhapura as Sri Lanka President M Sirisena (left) looks on. (Photo courtesy- PIB)

SRI LANKA, March 22, 2015 (by Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times): Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured Tamil minorities in Sri Lanka on Saturday of India’s support in their fight for equal political rights during a highly symbolic first visit by an Indian premier to the island nation’s war-scarred Tamil heartland since the end of the civil war. Modi’s trip to Jaffna came a day after he nudged Colombo to give greater autonomy to the Tamil community through early implementation of the 13th Amendment on devolution of powers to Tamils that was introduced by an India-Sri Lanka pact in 1987 under former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.To this, Northern Province chief minister and Tamil leader CV Wigneswaran asked that India be the guarantor for the political rights of Tamils in Sri Lanka.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the ceremony for war victims in Llavalai, northwest of Jaffna

“Unity, peace and amity are essential ingredients for equitable development where there is respect for all citizens,” Modi said at the auditorium of the historic Jaffna public library after unveiling a plaque for a cultural centre built with Indian help. Later, the PM handed over 27,000 houses built with Indian assistance to Tamils displaced by the civil war as part of New Delhi’s efforts to help in the reconciliation process. “I am glad this program is my final public programme during my Sri Lanka visit, and is one to wipe away tears from the eyes of those who suffered,” he said. “These houses are not merely walls of bricks and stone. These houses are an effort to make the lives of those who have suffered happier.”

Modi offered prayers at Keerimalai Naguleswaram temple, a famous Hindu temple north of Jaffna, as he concluded a packed four-hour visit to the former war zone. “Feeling blessed,” he tweeted later.

Source: Hinduism Today