The media release issued by the National Peace Council of Sri Lanka highlights the significance of President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s visit to India and his meetings with top Indian leadership, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and billionaire Gautam Adani. The visit coincides with the 40th anniversary of Black July, a tragic event in 1983 marked by an anti-Tamil pogrom that led to widespread destruction, violence, and loss of life and property.
The release emphasizes the failure of the Sri Lankan state in providing adequate reassurance to ethnic and religious minorities regarding their safety and security within the country. It points out past incidents of localized anti-Tamil and anti-Muslim riots where security forces were unable to control the violence.
The National Peace Council urges all stakeholders in Sri Lanka, including the government, opposition, and civil society, to reflect on the dark days of Black July and collectively work towards ensuring such atrocities never happen again. It calls for finding a political solution to the ongoing ethnic conflict that will promote unity and strengthen the country to face its economic and social challenges.
The media release highlights the Indo Lanka Peace Accord of 1987 and the 13th Amendment to the constitution, which provides a basis for a potential solution based on devolution of power. It stresses the need to fully implement the 13th Amendment, including the devolution of police and land powers, and re-establish elected provincial councils.
Moreover, the release expresses hope that President Wickremesinghe’s visit to India will result in increased support from India in resolving the ethnic conflict through political reform. It acknowledges India’s role in providing economic and political assistance to Sri Lanka during challenging times and recognizes the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord as an international treaty with an obligation to uphold the 13th Amendment.
Overall, the media release by the National Peace Council seeks to bring attention to the ongoing ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka, advocate for a political solution based on devolution, and express gratitude for India’s support in helping the country during difficult times.
” President’s visit to India brings hope
President Ranil Wickremesinghe is visiting India and meeting its top leadership including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and billionaire Gautam Adani. This visit takes place in the shadow of the 40th anniversary of Black July. During the week of July 23 in 1983 an anti-Tamil pogrom with sections of the government conniving took place in Colombo primarily, but also in several other parts of the country. The destruction of life and property and physical violence that followed constitutes a period of shame and sorrow that has haunted the country ever since.
So far the Sri Lankan state has failed to reassure the ethnic and religious minorities that they are safe and secure in the country. On several occasions there have been localized anti-Tamil and anti-Muslim riots in which the security forces have not been able to stop the rampaging mobs. The National Peace Council urges the government, opposition and civil society to recall those days and strengthen their resolve that such terrible and evil deeds will never again occur in Sri Lanka.
We also urge the government, opposition and civil society to collectively strive to find a political solution to the ethnic conflict to the ethnic conflict that will strengthen and unify the country and our people to face the economic and social challenges it faces. We believe the 13th Amendment which is an outcome of the Indo Lanka Peace Accord of 1987 provides the basis of a solution based on the devolution of power. The 13th Amendment needs to be implemented in full, including the devolution of police and land powers as specified in the constitution, together with the re-establishment of elected provincial councils which have been defunct for over five years due to the failure to hold democratic elections.
We hope that the visit of President Wickremesinghe to India leads to increased support from India to resolve the ethnic conflict through political reform and bring relief to the long suffering people of Sri Lanka. The Indo-Lanka Peace Accord is an international treaty and the 13th Amendment to the constitution that was formulated under it can be considered to be an international obligation. We take this opportunity to express our gratitude to the people and government of India for having provided economic and political sustenance to the country and people at our time of greatest need.
Governing Council ”