Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Jain Commission Interim Report

Indo-Sri Lankan Agreement: Evolution and its Aftermath
Chapter I - Sri Lankan Ethnic issue & Role of India

Sections 1 to 4

1 Role before Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement | 2. Prime Minister's statement | 3 Consideration of the Issue | 4 Information from Gamini Dissanayake

Role  before the Indo-Sri Lanka agreement

1 After independence of Sri Lanka, the Indo-Sri Lankan relations continued to be warm and cordial. The problem of Stateless persons of Indian origin was largely solved through the implementation of the 1964 and 1974 Repatriation Agreements. There had been visits by dignitaries to both the countries and such visits had helped the two countries to mutually set settle their problems and grow their bilateral relations in various fields. Sri Lanka is a multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic and multi-religious country but the major community is of Sinhalese and the Tamils are in minority.

Since the dawn of independence after the termination of the British colonial rule, the majority Sinhalese community perceived a grievance against the Tamil minority by virtue of its access to English language. Tamil minority was occupying a disproportionate share of government jobs. That perceived grievance of the majority resulted in the Sinhalese Only Act of 1956 and thereby the pendulum swung the other way. Tamils were virtually reduced to the position of second class citizens. Sri Lankan Tamil population had close linguistic, cultural and familial ties with the Tamils of Tamil Nadu which existed for generations. The close proximity of Tamil Nadu with Sri Lanka with such links and ties had its own impact on events which may happen in the 'Island' or the 'Mainland'.

Ethnic riots of July-August, 1983 in Sri Lanka and continued violence against the Tamils caused deep concern in India. These riots and violence aroused great concern in India and particularly in Tamil Nadu. The Government of India wished to know, if there was any way they could be of assistance to Sri Lanka in this crisis. The Prime Minister of India Smt. Indira Gandhi took the diplomatic initiative and sent the then Foreign Minister, Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao to visit Sri Lanka in July, 1983.

Shri Narasimha Rao was sent to Colombo on 29th July, 1983 by the Prime Minister after having conversation with the Sri Lankan President, Shri J.R. Jayawardene, to whom she expressed grave concern of the Parliament and the people of India about the happenings in Sri Lanka. She requested President Jayawardene to receive Shri Narasimha Rao on her behalf to which President Jayawardene agreed.

On the next day of his visit, Shri Narasimha Rao called on the President. He gave graphic account of the happenings in Colombo and the situation which he saw and perceived there. The meeting with the President lasted for more than one and a half hours, during which talks, the President gave the whole background and explained his helplessness and he also tended to blame the Tamil Nadu Government. Shri Narasimha Rao conveyed that the Prime Minister of India wished the Sri Lankan President to know that India did not interfere in the internal affairs of others, and had no intentions of doing so now, but what happened in Sri Lanka, was directly affecting India's national life.

The historic links between the peoples of both sides needed new emphasis. Thousands of people who spoke the same language and had the same culture including many who had relations from either side. The feelings in Tamil Nadu had been greatly provoked and this was shared by people all over India. The prime need of hour was to restore law and order and also some sense of confidence among the minority with regard to their security. Second time Shri Narasimha Rao met President Jayawardene the same day and he showed the video presentation of all acts of hooliganism and arson. Shri Narasimha Rao told the President that the Prime Minister of India had conveyed India's grave concern. While such atrocities were going on in the neighbouring country, the Tamil population in India and generally the Indian population felt very strongly about these happenings. The reasons are obvious.

More than 2000-2500 years, the Tamils in Sri Lanka and the Tamils in India had long relationship of blood, business and culture. The people of Tamil Nadu particularly felt strongly agitated. A large number of refugees poured into India. The number ran into about one and a half lakhs over a period of time. Shri Narasimha Rao also called on the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Shri Premadasa. Shri Rao then went to Kandy by helicopter, where there was a large number of Indian population. He also met Mr. Thondaman who represented the people of Indian origin working in tea gardens. He also visited some camps where refugees were kept and met the representatives of Indian population. The basic question between Sinhalese and Tamil population was with regard to finding a devolution package to Tamil areas in an overall framework of Unitary Constitution.

Following Shri Narasimha Rao's visit, President Jayawardene's younger brother Dr. Jayawardene came to India in August 1983 as a special emissary of President Jayawardene for discussions with the Indian Government. Dr. Jayawardene, during discussions with Mrs. Indira Gandhi, indicated that the Sri Lankan Government was willing to consider proposals which would give the Tamil minority their due share in the affairs of the country within the framework of the united Sri Lanka. The Indian Prime Minister offered India's good offices to facilitate a political solution.

1.1 During Mrs. Indira Gandhi's Government, further efforts were made. Shri G.Parthasarathy visited Colombo as her Special Envoy in August 1983. He had discussions with the President of Sri Lanka and also with some important Sinhalee and Tamil leaders. Such discussions were carried on at various levels in Colombo and at New Delhi during 1983-84. He also had discussions with the representatives of TULF and the Sri Lankan Government in November 1983 which resulted in the formulation of proposals so called 'Annexure C'. He further paid a nine-day visit to Colombo from January 3-11, 1984. Strenuous efforts were made by him so that All-Party Conference may be successful.

Several rounds of negotiations were held between the representatives of various Tamil groups and of the Governments of India and Sri Lanka following the acceptance of India's good offices. Some important events in chronological order are as follows :-

(i) Shri Chidambaram , the then Minister of State, met leaders of five militant groups in three lots. First, TELO, EPRLF and EROS and then PLOTE and LTTE separately in 1985. He appealed to them to cooperate in the on-going peaceful efforts and extended a guarantee that the Government of India will ensure an honest implementation of the final settlement arrived at during the negotiations. The LTTE did not respond to the appeal while other groups expressed their reservations.

(ii) Discussions were held in Colombo between the Foreign Secretary Shri Romesh Bhandari and the Sri Lankan Government over the period from March-May, 1985. These resulted in the Delhi Summit meeting between President Jayawardene and the Prime Ministry Rajiv Gandhi in June 1985.

(iii) Two rounds of failed direct negotiations between the representatives of various Tamil groups including militant groups and representatives of the Sri Lankan Government in Thimpu in July and August, 1985 and on September 17, 1985 and the then Indian Prime Minister met the delegation of Sri Lankan Tamils at which the Prime Minister told them that they had failed the Thimpu talks by walking away without giving counter proposals. Shri V. Prabhakaran did not meet the Prime Minister at this point.

(iv) Discussions between representatives of India and Sri Lanka in New Delhi in August 1985 resulted in the preparation of a working paper "Draft Framework of Accord and Understanding" which would serve as the basis for further negotiations.

(v) Shri P. Chidambaram's three visits to Sri Lanka in 1986 - first, from 29th April to 4th May, 1986, second from 23rd to 25th November, 1986 and the third, from 17th to 19th December, 1986 in which discussions had taken place with the Sri Lankan President. Following these discussions, Sri Lankan Government put forward detailed formulations.

(vi) Two rounds of negotiations were held between TULF and the Sri Lankan leadership in July and August 1986. These negotiations led to the preparation of draft legislative proposals by the Sri Lankan Government which was subsequently discussed by TULF with the Indian constitutional/legal experts in September/ October, 1986.

(vii) Discussions were held between representatives of Tamil Nadu Government and the Sri Lankan Tamil militant groups in Madras at the end of October/early November 1986 which was based on Sri Lankan proposals as modified by the TULF.

(viii) Discussions between Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi and President Jayawardene during SAARC summit in Bangalore in mid November, 1986. Shri V. Prabhakaran was flown to Bangalore for talks.

(ix) Discussions between Ministers of State Shri Natwar Singh and Shri P. Chidambaram and the Sri Lankan Government from which emerged the so- called "December 19 proposals" later rejected by the Sri Lankan Government.

(x) Shri P. Chidambaram, CW-27, in his statement recorded on 6th November, 1996 deposed : "LTTE, EPRLF, TELO, EROS, TULF and PLOTE and some other smaller groups had come to Tamil Nadu. They came at different times. My first contact was in 1985. They must have come earlier. As a political person I noticed there were differences in various militant groups. There were common objectives to start with and they changed over a period of time. These instructions were given when matters were brought to my notice about arms movement, wireless communications and aspects touching the security of India. There were some violent incidents and therefore one has to probe these violent incidents also. .......

There was a policy followed during the period of Mrs. Indira Gandhi and during the period of Shri Rajiv Gandhi upto the signing of the Agreement. Thereafter, there were some changes in the policy. Broadly the policy of the Government of India was to secure for the Tamil Sri Lankans their democratic rights with provincial autonomy but within the framework of united Sri Lanka and to that extent bring about Constitutional changes. To achieve this objective, Sri Lankan Tamils and various groups wanted the Government of India's help although there were differences in the various groups".

About his impression of LTTE on Indo-Sri Lankan Agreement, Shri Chidambaram deposed:

"My impression then was that LTTE was reluctant to go along with the Agreement. Shri Rajiv Gandhi told me that efforts were being made to persuade them to go along with the Agreement" ...... "discord appeared immediately after signing of the Accord, by the LTTE because it expressed its reservations....... "

In my first visit to Sri Lanka the delegation was composed of me, Mr. Kuldeep Sahdev, Joint Secretary, MEA, Advisor in the Home Ministry Shri Balakrishnan and maybe one or two junior officers. No militant groups were present in Sri Lanka in the talks. We discussed only with the Sri Lankan Government about the Constitutional devolution but I had discussions with the groups in India before I went to Sri Lanka. I met Shri V.Prabhakaran of LTTE, Shri Sabaratanam, Shri Padmanabha of EPRLF, some leaders of EROS, Mr. Amirthalingam of TULF and some other leaders. There were serious differences even at that stage between LTTE and PLOTE. Differences between LTTE and EPRLF developed later. Some Sri Lankan groups wanted a separate Eelam. That was not the policy of the Government of India. LTTE, PLOTE and even TELO were the groups who wanted Eelam. I was conveying the Government of India's view that our policy is provincial autonomy for the Tamils within the united Sri Lanka which did not support a separate Eelam.... I was present at the time of SAARC summit in Bangalore in my capacity as Minister incharge of Internal Security. There were bilateral talks between Shri Rajiv Gandhi and Shri Jayawardene............

Mr. Natwar Singh was also present. In December 1986 again there was a talk in Sri Lanka. There was 19th December 1986 meeting regarding devolution. In the summary record of discussions between President Jayawardene and Shri Natwar Singh and Shri P.Chidambaram on Friday, 19th December, 1986, it is mentioned; "if any other approach is adopted, the history of the ceasefire in 1985 and Thimpu talks is likely to be repeated which the Government of India wishes to avoid at all cost. MOS(N) said that during the discussions with the Tamil militants in Madras between 14th and 16th December, both he and MOS(PC) had taken a very firm stance with Tamil militants insisting that they should work towards a negotiated compromise and that while in India they should follow certain ground rules of abiding by the laws of India" ....... I do not think LTTE was hostile to Rajiv Gandhi at that time, that is in December 1986 although they had differences having regard to Government of India's position vis-a-vis differences on the objectives to be achieved towards Sri Lankan Tamils".

As regards seizure of arms and communication equipments Shri Chidambaram deposed "the State Government had made seizures of communication equipments and some groups represented to Shri Rajiv Gandhi. I think Prabhakaran went on fast ....... then we asked the State Government to restore some equipments. I am not in a position to say whether the State Government not only restored the communication equipments but also the arms".

Thus, efforts, negotiations and talks till the end of 1986 yielded no fruitful results and the Sri Lankan Government and the Tamil militant groups were free to resort to their own ways.


2 Sri Lankan Government had intensified its ground and air operations against Tamil militants since April 22, 1987 after the Habarana massacre on the Trincomalee Candy Road of Sri Lanka on April 17, and the bomb blast at Colombo Central Bus stand at Pettah on April 21. High Commissioner was called by the Prime Minister for urgent discussions on May 16 and he remained in Delhi till Sunday, May 24. He had extensive discussions with all senior officials in the Ministry of External Affairs, R&AW, DIB.

The Prime Minister received the High Commissioner on 21st May and gave instructions that a clear message should be given to the Sri Lankan Government to desist from air operations against Tamil civilians and to scale down ground operations and the economic blockade against the North should be lifted. Prime Minister also received Dixit and Sri Lankan High Commissioner in New Delhi Mr. Bernard Tilakaratna on 22nd May at 1800 hours and repeated the above message and asking him to send a communication to his Government. Information was received by the Indian High Commission that Sri Lankan ground forces and airforce were going to launch even larger and extensive military operation against Tamil militancy in the Jaffna Peninsula. This offensive is called "Operation Liberation" which commenced on 24th May and reached a ferocious proportion by 26th May with extensive and indiscriminate bombing and strafing of Tamil civilians from the air.

Prime Minister's statement

2.3 Prime Minister responded to Jayawardene's uncooperative attitude by issuing a strong warning to Sri Lanka in a public statement on the 28th May, which was given widest possible publicity by the Government of India. The operational portion of the Prime Minister's statement reads as follows:-

"While India was patiently and painstakingly working towards a political solution, it is apparent now that the Sri Lankan Government was buying time for pursuing the military option. The present offensive is part of this plan. India has done everything to find solution compatible with the unity of Sri Lanka. But by mercilessly bombing defenceless people and spreading misery, on the basis of only ethnic difference, Sri Lanka is itself putting its unity and integrity in jeopardy. From the rubble and the ashes, there can only arise the total alienation of an entire people, a more determined militancy, more extreme options".

"The time to desist from a military occupation of Jaffna is now. Later may be too late".

TULF delegation led by Mr.A.Amirthalingam was in Delhi between 20th and 24th of May urging the Government to take effective measures to neutralise Sri Lankan military operation and break the economic blockade against the Peninsula. PM instructed the officials of his Secretariat, M.E.A. Cabinet Secretariat and Defence Ministry to consider the Indian options. Options submitted to the Prime Minister were:

(a) to send relief supplies to Jaffna by ship unilaterally after giving advance information;

(b) if Sri Lanka refuses relief supplies by ship, ensure peacefully the supply of relief goods to Jaffna Peninsula which may bring military operation to a stop;

(c) if relief supplies are interfered with, militarily and with violence, to escalate pressure gradually and in a calibrated manner to bring Sri Lanka around to giving up military option.

Consideration of the issue

3.4 Shri J.N. Dixit was called back to Delhi for discussions on 25th June, 1987. He briefed the core group of senior officials dealing with Sri Lanka at 1200 hrs in Foreign Secretary's room, which was attended by Foreign Secretary Shri K.P.S. Menon, Defence Secretary Shri S.K. Bhatnagar, Special Secretary to P.M. Shri G.K. Arora, Secretary(R) of Cabinet Secretariat Shri S.E. Joshi and Director of Intelligence Bureau Shri M.K. Narayanan. Shri Dixit met the Prime Minister four times between June 26 and June 29. The core group made the following recommendations :

i. Relief supplies to continue for indefinite period so that military operations do not take place in Jaffna and an informal ceasefire is maintained;

ii. President Jayawardene to be told not to hold elections to Local Self-Government and Provincial Councils without finalising a framework for solution to the ethnic problem;

iii. Proposals evolved between May and December 1986 need to be further improved so that they can be responsive to the four basic demands of the Tamils, namely (i) homeland,

(ii) merger of North and East, (iii) recognition of Tamil as an official language, and (iv) recognition of Tamils as a separate and distinct national or ethnic entity.

iv. President Jayawardene can improve the package further with some new ideas. He should somehow concede a politico - geographical linkage between North and East and he should hold a Referendum later in the East. Whether he can reverse the proposal for linkage as envisaged in the 19th December 1986 proposals which envisaged separate Provincial Councils for the Northern and Eastern Provinces having some consultative mechanism between the two Provinces and then have a Referendum three to five years later in the East. The Prime Minister's view was that linkage should be first and Referendum later.

Information from Gamini Dissanayake

4 Prime Minister received information late in the evening of Sunday, June 28 that President Jayawardene and Minister Gamini Dissanayake had spoken to the Associate Editor of The Hindu, Mr. Ram when he was at Singapore on way to China and informed him that Sri Lankan Government would be willing to offer the following additional concessions :

i. Recognition of Tamils as a distinct ethnic entity;

ii. Recognition of the North and East as areas of long- term residence of the Tamils;

iii. Tamil would be made an official language, and

iv. An immediate Referendum in the East to decide whether there should be a linkage between the Northern and the Eastern Provinces.

4.1 Prime Minister called the High Commissioner at 1900 hrs. on 29th June and informed him of his conversation. Prime Minister also had the information that Mr. Ram had spoken about these concessions to the LTTE leader Balasingham in Madras. Balasingham had referred the matter to Prabhakaran and Prabhakaran had indicated his unwillingness to accept any such suggestions unless the Government of India had studied them and assessed their practicability.

The High Commissioner returned to Colombo on 30th June and called on Gamini Dissanayake, Minister of Lands and Mahaweli Development on the same evening to confirm his conversation with Mr. Ram. He clarified that he made these suggestions to Ram over the phone when he was at Singapore on his journey to Beijing. It was also communicated to the High Commissioner by Gamini Dissanayake that Prof. K. Sivathamby, a senior Tamil Professor of Jaffna University had told him that LTTE may be willing to accept the type of suggested package concessions.


4.2 High Commissioner called on President Jayawardene on 1st July, 1987 at 1930 hrs., as instructed by the Prime Minister and conveyed the Prime Minister's message. The message was not to conduct bye-elections to 16 Parliamentary seats from the North and the East, not to hold elections to Municipal and Urban Councils and Pradeshiya Sabhas. The holding of elections would only prolong the ethnic crisis, including violence which characterises this crisis and if a genuine solution is evolved by the Sri Lankan Government, peaceful political solution to the ethnic problem is possible. Prime Minister sought the President's reactions to this suggestion.

As regards elections, his response was that in consultation with his senior colleagues, he will give his response later and he enquired what further ideas the Government of India wants from him beyond the '19th December Proposals'. Then the President of his own mentioned Gamini Dissanayake's and his conversation with N. Ram of The Hindu and said "we had made some additional suggestions to Ram to be conveyed to LTTE but LTTE has rejected it, so what is the point in making additional suggestions, if LTTE remains obstinate". When details were sought of the additional suggestions, President Jayawardene said that he will consult Gamini Dissanayake as he did not remember and the President suggested that he will call the High Commissioner for a meeting with Gamini Dissanayake on 2nd July, 1987.

President Jayawardene called the High Commissioner on 2nd July at 2030 hrs in the presence of Gamini Dissanayake. Both of them confirmed about the message given to Ram for consideration by the LTTE, when LTTE rejected saying that proposals can only be discussed after Army vacates the Vadamarachchi area.


4.3 Gamini Dissanayake summarised the message to Ram as follows :

i. Immediate and total ceasefire by both sides ;

ii. LTTE and Sri Lankan security forces to remain within their barracks at the time of agreement;

iii. Sri Lankan Govt. to recognise Northern and Eastern Provinces as Tamil ethnic areas;

iv. Some additional arrangements for cooperation between Northern and Eastern Provinces could be offered;

v. India should mediate to finalise this arrangement and guarantee whatever agreement emerges;

vi. Remaining package as envisaged in proposals evolved between May and December, 1986.

President Jayawardene suggested the High Commissioner to meet the National Security Minister Lalith Athulathmudali and repeat the Prime Minister's message for peaceful solution.


4.4 High Commissioner met Lalith Athulathmudali on 6th July at 1200 hrs. The High Commissioner told that imposition of economic blockade on Jaffna would not be countenanced by India, no disruption of on-going relief supplies to Jaffna as agreed between the High Commissioner and the Foreign Minister Hameed, military option against Tamils would not be allowed to succeed. Sri Lanka's unity, integrity and stability ultimately depends on good neighbourly relations with India. India is willing to cooperate with the Sri Lankan Government to find an acceptable and durable compromise. It was amplified that India had not made any request nor had India put forward any concepts or proposals. It was for Sri Lanka to decide. India has first hand and documented audio-visual evidence about atrocities perpetrated by Sri Lankan military since the end of April 1987. When asked as to "who will not allow military operations to succeed, India or the LTTE?", the High Commissioner responded "it is for him to speculate". Lalith wanted to know about President Jayawardene's response to the Prime Minister's message. High Commissioner informed him that the President has asked him to await a response by 7th or 8th of July and he may ascertain the President's response and he should give practical advise to the President. Lalith said there were only two concrete points, one, recognition of Tamil homeland and two, creation of a single administrative unit of the two Provinces. But he said the Muslims, Tamils and Sinhalese of the East would not want to be part of the Jaffna town. High Commisioner then said that he is misrepresenting political facts. Under the system of proportional representation, the question of any particular segment of population dominating the Provincial Council just does not arise. The two exchanged their views freely and frankly. If Sri Lanka is free to take help from other countries, India too may have to adopt its options. The exchange between the High Commissioner and Lalith was terse and business-like.


4.5 High Commissioner again met the President on 8th July and the President said that he is in the process of considering some additional concessions to improve the 19th December proposals and said that he had given instructions to Lalith and Gamini Dissanayake to discuss these with the High Commissioner. High Commissioner was directed to a meeting with both the Ministers from 9th July onwards as he wished to finalise the response by 15th or 16th of July.


4.6 High Commissioner met both of them on July 9th. Gamini Dissanayake told that the only instructions were to find out if India was willing to give any written formulations to improve the '19th December Proposals'. High Commissioner said that he would have to refer the query to Delhi as he had no instructions to give written formulations. He pointed out that the Prime Minister's message of 1st July was in view of President Jayawardene and Gamini Dissanayake's conversation with Ram and the report which Ram had conveyed to Delhi on these conversations. So it is for Sri Lankan authorities to formalise these suggestions and then their practicability can be considered by India. Gamini Dissanayake said that he would try to persuade the President to do this. He also said that Premadasa and Lalith were the main hurdles in overcoming the impasse.

Lalith made the following points when High Commissioner met him later that day :

"'19th December Proposals' are not acceptable to Muslims and some Tamils of the East. So it is difficult to improve on them. He said that he is willing to advise the President to give some additional concessions and would like to have some preliminary discussions with the Prime Minister. High Commissioner said that such suggestion should come from the President and he is in no position to respond to these suggestions. Lalith said that some formula can be found for recognising Tamils as a distinct ethnic entity, issues of recognising the North and the East as their traditional areas of habitation and creating one administrative unit would be difficult to resolve. Some via-media has to be found.

He said that two separate Provincial Councils could be constituted and then they could be asked to decide by vote whether they want to reconstitute themselves into a unified Provincial Council. If this can be worked out, there can be one Provincial Council, one Governor, one Chief Minister but with two Councils of Ministers under one Chief Minister, one dealing with the administration of North and the other dealing with the East. High Commissioner told that this was a very involuted way of meeting the Tamil demands and said that he had no brief to negotiate such specific proposals.

Lalith said that he will have further discussions. But High Commissioner wanted the response of the President for giving additional concessions to meet the remaining basic demands of the Tamils barring Eelam. What are the specific suggestions which Sri Lanka would like to give. Lalith also asked the High Commissioner about the details of Indian guarantees for additional concessions. He asked whether the Government of India would give an aide memoire or a note formally confirming that India will do joint patrolling of Palk Straits, extradite Tamil militants. He said that these matters were discussed with the Prime Minister in June 1985 and the Prime Minister had agreed."

High Commissioner conveyed his assessment to Delhi about Sri Lankan leadership's thinking.


4.7 Premadasa was away in London and Japan and was not aware of the details of the discussions. Meanwhile, Lalith launched an orchestrated publicity campaign against any further concessions being given to the Tamils. Jayawardene called High Commissioner for three more meetings between 9th and 11th July. In view of the opposition from Prime Minister Premadasa, Lalith and President Jayawardene's son Ravi Jayawardene, the President started vacillating and is on the defensive even with his own political party. High Commissioner had detailed discussions with TULF MPs, Chairman, Communist Party, brother of the President on specific formulations that would improve on '19th December Proposals'. Gamini Dissanayake prepared a rough draft of a set of proposals in consultation with the High Commissioner and handed over to the President late on the night of 12th July.

President called the High Commissioner at his Ward Place residence at 1600 hrs on 13th July where Gamini's first draft was discussed. High Commissioner made some specific suggestions to the President regarding recognition of Tamil as an official language, recognition of Tamil as a separate ethnic entity, creation of Northern and Eastern Provinces into one administrative unit. President said that he would consider these suggestions.

High Commissioner was again called at 2000 hrs on 13th July. A generally acceptable draft agreement emerged at the end of this session on 13th July at 2300 hrs. President Jayawardene was however not ready to concede the status of official language to Tamil and creation of Northern and Eastern Provinces as one unit immediately. He suggested that Tamil should be declared the official language for the Northern and Eastern Provinces and that the administrative linkage between the North and East should be subjected to an immediate Referendum. High Commissioner said that refusal to concede these two points will make the whole exercise futile.

High Commissioner had further discussions with Gamini Dissanayake and Lalith on 14th July and the President also suggested to High Commissioner to speak to Foreign Minister Hameed. High Commissioner met the three Ministers during the forenoon of 14th July. Discussions with Gamini Dissanayake were more constructive and he said that he would advise the President to over-rule all objections raised by others.

High Commissioner reported on his discussions with the President at 1630 hrs on 14th July. President instructed the High Commissioner to immediately call on Defence Secretary to get his professional specialised advice and the High Commissioner was also advised to meet the Ministers Thondaman and Devenayagam and to inform them of the general contents of the draft agreement. These discussions were completed and the Defence Secretary agreed to advise the President in a manner which would overcome the apprehensions.

Gamini Dissanayake came to India House at 1900 hrs on 14th July and prepared an improved Draft Agreement on the basis of discussions between High Commissioner and the various Sri Lankan representatives. The High Commissioner took this Draft to the President at 1945 hrs. A two-hour discussion followed at the end of which the President agreed to designate Tamil as an official language and constitute the North and East Provinces into one administrative unit, recognise Tamil ethnicity and guarantee its safety and also to acknowledge that the Northern and Eastern Provinces were historical areas of habitation of the Tamil speaking people. The President told the High Commissioner to revise the draft on the basis of discussions and send it on to him by 0700 hrs on July 15th.High Commissioner called on the President at 0730 hrs with the finalised Draft Agreement which the President approved. It was also suggested by the President that general principles and broad concepts would find mention in the basic Agreement and more specific may be in the annexure. The Draft Agreement was further modified at the President's Office and a confidential Annexure was drafted and added to the Agreement.


4.8 High Commissioner also conveyed India's concerns about Indo-Sri Lankan bilateral relations and told that India's security concerns had not been taken care of. High Commissioner told the President that the Prime Minister would be taking an enormous risk in signing such an agreement in terms of Indian public opinion. So there must be a formal understanding between Sri Lanka and India, of India's concerns which should be embodied in another agreement or exchange of letters. President wanted the High Commissioner to be specific about India's concerns. High Commissioner then said that Sri Lanka should give assurance to India on the following points :

i. Reduction and phasing out of foreign military and intelligence personnel in Sri Lanka;

ii. Sri Lanka should reorganise its foreign and defence policies and reduce its involvement with foreign powers;

iii. Sri Lanka should give some assurances to India that its sea ports and airports will not be utilized by foreign powers which are antagonistic towards India and which affect India's security interests negatively;

iv. Sri Lanka should fulfil its assurances which it gave in 1985 that India be given an opportunity to maintain the Trincomalee Oil Tank Farms and that Sri Lanka will prevent foreign broadcasting stations like the Voice of America from being utilized for military purposes by other countries.

President Jayawardene said that these were excessive demands being made at the last moment. President consulted Minister Gamini Dissanayake and Finance Minister Ronne de Mel over telephone on these points and the High Commissioner was directed to proceed immediately to the Offices of these two Ministers. High Commissioner met both these Ministers at 0900 hrs and 1100 hrs and it was agreed between these two Ministers and the High Commissioner that the points raised by the High Commissioner could be covered by means of a letter which should be carefully drafted. High Commissioner said that he will get the draft letter covering these points and he will carry the same and bring it back for approval along with the proposed agreement.

Sri Lankan Cabinet met on 15th July at which the Draft Agreement was discussed. Some Ministers strongly opposed the Agreement especially on the questions of merger and Tamil being recognised as an official language. Other Ministers while acknowledging that the Agreement would create problems said that this was the only way the long standing ethnic problem could be resolved and a good working relationship with India revived.

President was told by the Cabinet to call the High Commissioner for another meeting to suggest that the solution should be based on proposals which emerged upto 19th December, 1986 and these additional concessions should be considered after those proposals are implemented, after a gap of two years.

President called the High Commissioner at 1630 hrs and mentioned these developments. High Commissioner said that he had been reporting the developments twice or thrice every day and this sudden backing off will have long term serious and negative repercussions on Indo-Sri Lankan relations and the Government of India will have to undertake a fundamental review of its approach towards the ethnic problem.

President said that he will have to reconsider the whole matter and asked the High Commissioner to come to his residence at 2000 hrs. High Commissioner reported at President's residence at 2000 hrs on 15th July. President asked Mrs. Jayawardene to be present at this meeting. President said that Mrs. Jayawardene had one or two questions to ask. Mrs. Jayawardene posed : (1) Whether Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi would come to Colombo for signing the Agreement; (2) if the President faces extensive opposition and the danger of being overthrown, will Mr. Rajiv Gandhi ensure the safety of the President and his continuation in power?

High Commissioner told Mrs. Jayawardene that if the Agreement contained a satisfactory package, Rajiv Gandhi would not have any objection to come to Colombo but he first must see the full text of the Agreement and if as a result of signing the Agreement any political or security threat results, the Prime Minister will guarantee Presidents political stability and security. At this point, President resumed the discussions and said that he would now finalise the Draft as it was discussed and he would be calling another emergency meeting of the Cabinet to ask them to reconsider their objections earlier in the day.

President informed the High Commissioner around 1200 hrs on 16th July that the Cabinet had left the decision entirely to the President though many Ministers still had reservations about the proposed Agreement and he said that he was calling the more senior members of his Cabinet for a meeting at 1800 hrs and that he wanted the High Commissioner to be present at this Cabinet meeting so that the High Commissioner could be exposed to the deep apprehensions and doubts which members of his Government have about the Agreement and he should come prepared to answer the queries. High Commissioner went to the Cabinet Room in the President's official residence at 1800 hrs.

Doubts were raised by the Cabinet Ministers apart from expressing general reservations about the Agreement and lack of faith in Tamil militants. The High Commissioner met the points raised by the Ministers. High Commissioner said that the Sri Lankan Cabinet was making a serious mistake in not taking note of Shri Rajiv Gandhi's commitment to the unity and integrity of Sri Lanka and his insistence that the militants should agree to a political compromise and not insist on Eelam. The very fact that India is patiently attempting a compromise Agreement and that the proposed Agreement includes guarantees from India to bring Tamil militancy to an end.

At one stage High Commissioner expressed that he would like to leave the meeting at once if the discussion is going to be about the good faith of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and the Government of India. It was said by the Cabinet Ministers in the meeting that people of Sri Lanka do not trust the Prime Minister or the Government of India as far as the Eelam problem goes. India will always support the Tamils and India would not implement any fair compromise because it is subjected to Tamil Nadu Politics. What is the guarantee that India would not support the Tamil militants and would continue to give them a refuge. The meeting lasted for nearly two hours from 1800 hrs. to 2000 hrs.

President had a separate meeting with the High Commissioner at 2030 hrs. and said that he will give the final Drafts by the evening of July 17th and that the High Commissioner should proceed to Delhi on July 18th.

On 17th July, President called the High Commissioner again to his private residence at 0800 hrs. and informed him that there is total opposition in some quarters for concessions of disbandment of the Home Guards and withdrawal of the STF and the Sri Lankan Army going to barracks and the closing down of military camps. He said that Referendum in the Eastern Province will have to be held earlier - within six months of Provincial Council being established. He said that the Draft Agreement will have to be reconsidered and it may take some more time and he also added that he will have to consult Prime Minister Premadasa.

The High Commissioner candidly said that if the President withdraws from the negotiations or delays the despatch of the Agreement, it would be a repetition of what he did at the All Party Conference in relation to Annexure 'C' in 1984. High Commissioner told the President that in the circumstances India would have to withdraw from its mediatory and good offices roles more or less permanently but at the same time India would not standby and see Tamil civilians being affected by Sri Lanka's security forces in Jaffna or in Eastern Province.

He drew attention of the President to the Prime Minister's statement of 28.5.1987. The President asked the High Commissioner to have further round of discussions with Ravi Jayawardene and Lalith Athulathmudali and the Chief of Joint Operations Command General Cyril Ranatunga. If these three could be convinced, then he would consider giving the High Commissioner the finalised Draft. High Commissioner met all the three between 1500 hrs. and 1930 hrs. Each meeting lasted for about 40 minutes. Lalith remained adamant. Ravi and Gen. Ranatunga agreed to advise the President to adhere to his commitment regarding the Draft Agreement.


4.9 High Commissioner had another hour-long meeting with the President at 1945 hrs on 17th July where the President finally agreed to initial the proposed Draft Agreement. He told the High Commissioner to report back at 0900 hrs. on Saturday, the 18th July to collect the Draft Agreement. High Commissioner called on the President at 0900 hrs. where the President again suggested that the merger of the North and East should be preceded by a Referendum in the East. High Commissioner said that Referendum may be held by the end of 1988 is itself going to be unacceptable to the Tamils.

So advancing the Referendum would be a non-starter and he said that the clause in the Agreement regarding discretion of the President to postpone the Referendum should remain and the President should use this clause to postpone the Referendum in the larger interest of Sri Lanka and to retain the loyalty of Sri Lankan Tamils for the unity of Sri Lanka.

An hour-long discussion followed at the end of which President agreed to the High Commissioner's suggestions. He initialed the Draft Agreement, made the High Commissioner counter-sign the Agreement and directed that High Commissioner should proceed to Delhi as scheduled on July 18th and come back with the Government of India's response within three or four days. President said that he would like to have the Government of India's response by 24th July so that the same could be shown to Prime Minister Premadasa on his return from tour on 25th July.


4.10 High Commissioner reached Delhi at 1900 hrs. on 18th July and called on the Prime Minister at 7, Race Course Road at 2230 hrs. He handed over the Draft Agreement initialed by President Jayawardene, in a sealed cover. Prime Minister did the first reading of the Agreement and immediately called an official level meeting. After a clause-by-clause reading of the Agreement, the Prime Minister said that some of the clauses will have to be improved and tightened to meet Tamil concerns. The Prime Minister instructed that the officials should meet under the Chairmanship of Foreign Secretary on the morning of July 19th, and the Agreement duly considered and revised should be brought back for discussions by him by the afternoon. Prime Minister also instructed that Mr. V. Prabhakaran, Leader of the LTTE, should be immediately contacted at Jaffna and he should be told about the outline of the Agreement and it should be ascertained whether he would cooperate. Prime Minister also instructed that if Mr. V. Prabhakaran is agreeable, he should be brought to Delhi for further discussions to get his formal consent.

On the 19th July, the officials met at 1100 hrs. and studied the Agreement in detail and some drafting improvements were considered. They also agreed that Prabhakaran should be immediately approached at Jaffna. The High Commissioner instructed Shri Hardip S. Puri by telephone to proceed to Jaffna immediately and inform Prabhakaran the outline of the Agreement and to get his response on the Agreement as well as on his willingness to come to Delhi for an exchange of views. Shri Hardip S. Puri proceeded to Jaffna as instructed.

Prime Minister met the officials group at 1600 hrs. and then again at 2100 hrs. on 19th July and he approved of the improvements made in the Draft and instructed for preparation of the additional letters to be exchanged. Prime Minister enquired about the possible Sri Lankan situation if the President signs the Agreement. The High Commissioner explained of possibilities which may emerge in Sri Lanka by various groups and parties and the Sri Lankan forces.

The Defence Minister was also informed of the developments and necessary action was taken by the Defence Ministry. The Tamil Nadu Government was also directed to be briefed about the proposed Agreement and to obtain the Chief Minister, Shri M.G. Ramachandran's consent. The Foreign Secretary, the High Commissioner, the two Joint Secretaries and the Director, I.B. were instructed to proceed to Madras on July 20th evening and instructions were also given that these officials should contact representatives of all Sri Lankan militant groups and brief them about the Agreement with a view to getting their consent.

A meeting took place in Foreign Secretary's room at 0900 hrs on Monday, the 20th July. The final version of the Draft Agreement was considered and approved for submission to the Prime Minister. The main improvements were: references to proposals evolved at Thimpu and at Delhi in 1985 were omitted, and an Annexure to the Agreement was prepared dealing with specific actions to be taken by the two Governments to implement the Agreement and to ensure ceasefire, surrender of arms and prevention of terrorism. The main concepts to be incorporated in the letters to be exchanged were decided upon.

First Secretary Hardip S. Puri in the meanwhile had returned from Jaffna after having discussions with Prabhakaran on 19th and early forenoon of July 20. He confirmed that Prabhakaran is generally agreeable to the proposed Accord but he had only two pre-conditions: (a) Sri Lankan forces should close down all the military camps established in the Vadamarachchi region after 25th May, 1987 and withdraw to older camps/barracks, and (b) he would like to be taken to Madras and Delhi officially in the Indian aircraft. He also expressed his wish to call on Shri M.G. Ramachandran, the Chief Minister. This information was conveyed to the Prime Minister immediately who confirmed that these conditions should be met. Prime Minister directed that Prabhakaran should be air-lifted from Jaffna on 24th July and brought to Delhi.

The Prime Minister had a CCPA meeting on Sri Lanka early in the afternoon of July 20. The improved draft of the Agreement was approved and the officials delegation was directed to proceed to Madras. First Secretary Hardip S. Puri was also directed to come to Madras from Colombo to assist the officials delegation in discussions with the Tamil Nadu Government and representatives of Tamil militant groups. The officials proceeded to Madras and Mr. Hardip S. Puri also joined the delegation.

The delegation called on Mr. S. Ramachandran, Food Minister of Tamil Nadu at 0900 hrs on 21st July and explained the contents of the Agreement in detail to him. Mr. Ramachandran felt that the Agreement met all Tamil demands and that it should be expedited. The officials delegation then called on Chief Minister at his office at 1100 hrs. The Chief Minister was briefed and after a 2-hour discussion, he endorsed the Agreement and he also directed that the officials from Delhi should brief the representatives of various Sri Lankan Tamil groups. Briefing was also made to the Home Secretary and the DGP of Tamil Nadu.

There were meetings with Sri Lankan Tamil groups between 1230 hrs and 1430 hrs. Some officials met Mr. Amirthalingam and Mr. Sivasithamparam. The TULF delegation consented to the Agreement. The other officials met the representatives from the LTTE, PLOTE, EROS, EPRLF, TELO AND TELA. Representatives of these Tamil groups were satisfied with the briefings and felt that the proposed Agreement is practical and it meets with their aspirations.

The officials returned to Delhi around 2030 hours and drove directly to the Prime Minister's residence and submitted a report confirming that the Tamil Nadu Government as well as all Sri Lankan Tamil groups endorsed the Agreement. The Prime Minister said that the CCPA meeting should be held on the forenoon of Wednesday, 22nd July at 2230 hours and expressed his satisfaction about the Draft Agreement.

The officials of the core group met in Foreign Secretary's office at 0900 hrs on July 22nd. The final draft of the Agreement, its Annexures and the letters to be exchanged were finalised for submission to the Prime Minister and the CCPA. The CCPA met between 1130 and 1300 hrs under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister where the Draft

Agreement, its Annexures and the drafts of letters to be exchanged were approved. The High Commissioner was directed to proceed to Colombo and to indicate to President Jayawardene that if the Drafts, as revised, were acceptable, Prime Minister would be willing to come to Colombo to sign the Agreement on Sunday, the 26th July. The Prime Minister met the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in New Delhi, Mr. Bernard Tilakratna, in the presence of High Commissioner Dixit, on 22nd July at 1300 hrs and informed Tilakratna that he would be willing to go to Colombo for the signing of the Agreement.


4.11 High Commissioner Dixit accompanied by First Secretary Hardip S. Puri reached Colombo at 1900 hrs by special aircraft and called on President Jayawardene at 2000 hrs at Ward Place. President Jayawardene had invited Mr. and Mrs. Gamini Dissanayake and Mrs. Jayawardene also to this meeting. President Jayawardene agreed in principle to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi coming to Colombo to sign the Agreement on July 26th. The President while tentatively agreeing to 26th July, asked the High Commissioner to meet Ministers Lalith and Gamini Dissanayake again on July 23 to go through the Agreement once more.

High Commissioner met these two Ministers on 23rd July and the President called the High Commissioner at 0900 hrs on July 24th and told him that he would not be in a position to make all arrangements to receive Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi at such a short notice. He suggested the Prime Minister may come to Colombo on 29th July. The High Commissioner agreed. The President handed over a formal written invitation addressed to the Prime Minister. The President tried to re-open some of the more important clauses like the official language, the High Commissioner pointed out that any re-opening would be taken as unwillingness on the part of the President. The President finally approved the draft. The High Commissioner left for Delhi by special aircraft at 1130 hrs on July 24th.


4.12 In the meanwhile, First Secretary Hardip Puri had proceeded to Jaffna on Thursday, the 23rd July, organised the air-lifting of Prabhakaran, four members of the LTTE Political Committee, Prabhakaran's wife and children. He returned on July 23 evening and Prabhakaran and party were airlifted by two helicopters of the Indian Air Force from the grounds of Suthumalai Amman Kovil Temple on July 24 to Trichy from where Prabhakaran and party travelled by special aircraft to Madras. Prabhakaran called on Chief Minister, Tamil Nadu and then proceeded to Delhi leaving his wife and children behind in Madras. His political adviser in Madras Mr. Balasingham was also asked to go to Delhi. High Commissioner reached Delhi at 1600 hrs and reported back to the Prime Minister at 1900 hrs. Prime Minister agreed to visit Colombo on 29th July and approved of the Draft Agreement.


4.13 Detailed discussions were held with Prabhakaran by the officials of the Government of India on Saturday, 25th July and Sunday, the 26th July. The first meeting was held on 24th July at 2000 hours with the High Commissioner, Joint Secretary Sahdev and First Secretary Hardip S. Puri. They met Prabhakaran and his colleagues and explained the details of the Agreement. Prabhakaran did a volte- face and said that he is not in a position to endorse the Agreement. He put forward certain conditions. The meeting remained inconclusive.

The High Commissioner told Prabhakaran that this was the fourth time that he was trying to embarrass the Prime Minister. High Commissioner recalled that he had done this at Thimpu, again in August/September 1985 and then again in Bangalore. High Commissioner informed Prabhakaran that he would be shown the draft of the Agreement and he should study it and then only he should take the final decision. It was a clear assessment of the Government of India officials that Prabhakaran had changed his mind under some influence of discussions held in Madras and due to Balasingham's advice.

First Secretary Hardip S. Puri and Under Secretary Nikhil Seth had a three-hour discussion with Prabhakaran on 25th July explaining the Draft Agreement to the LTTE delegation. Prime Minister was informed of the attitude of Prabhakaran and he took another meeting with officials late at night of July 25th. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and Food Minister were invited by the Prime Minister to come to Delhi immediately to persuade Prabhakaran to endorse the Agreement. He placed his aircraft at the disposal of the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister to reach Delhi. They reached Delhi at about 0930 hrs on July 26th. High Commissioner Dixit accompanied by Director, I.B., Joint Secretary in the P.M.O.

Mr. R. Sen and Joint Secretary(BSM) Kuldip Sahdev called on Shri M.G. Ramachandran at 1130 hrs and briefed him about Prabhakaran's attitude. Shri M.G. Ramachandran and Shri S. Ramachandran had a meeting with Prabhakaran and the LTTE delegation at 1300 hrs. MGR summoned High Commissioner Dixit for a meeting with the LTTE at the Tamil Nadu House at 1530 hrs. High Commissioner had a lengthy exchange with Prabhakaran on all the details of the Agreement in the presence of Shri M.G. Ramachandran and Shri S. Ramachandran.

Prabhakaran remained indecisive and demanded that he should be sent back to Jaffna. MGR told him that he should be patient and should stay back in Delhi for further discussions. The Prime Minister was briefed and he directed the High Commissioner as well as Shri R. Sen to brief Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao and Shri Buta Singh and other members of the CCPA at the residence of Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao and the Prime Minister directed that the CCPA would be held at 0030 hrs on 27th July at 7, Race Course Road to review the situation.

The CCPA met for one hour and decided that the Prime Minister should go ahead with the signing of the Agreement regardless of LTTE's obduracy. Prabhakaran with his delegation was scheduled to meet the Prime Minister on July 28th. The Prime Minister placed his personal aircraft at the disposal of the High Commissioner to fly to Colombo early on July 27 to finalise the arrangements for PM's visit to Sri Lanka on 29th July to sign the Agreement. High Commissioner left Delhi with the finalised documents of the Agreement at 0500 hrs on 27th July and arrived at Colombo at 0830 hrs.


4.14 High Commissioner called on the President over telephone on his arrival and President while welcoming Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's satisfaction expressed that he was still having problems with his Cabinet with the return of Prime Minister Premadasa. A special Cabinet meeting was in progress at 1000 hrs on 27th July when High Commissioner informed the President of Prime Minister's decision to come to Colombo.

Prime Minister Premadasa had read out a three-page formal statement at the Cabinet meeting opposing the Agreement and advising the President not to sign it. Premadasa was supported by Ministers Gamini Jayasuriya and Lalith Athulathmudali. President asked the High Commissioner to come and meet the Cabinet and explain the latest developments from the Indian point of view. High Commissioner Dixit met the entire Sri Lankan Cabinet in the Cabinet Room at the Defence Ministry at 1030 hrs. Premadasa absented himself from the meeting.

When High Commissioner Dixit arrived, he gave a detailed report on discussions in Delhi and conveyed that the Government of India is determined to go through with the Agreement if the Sri Lankan Government is agreeable. He was again subjected to questioning about the advisability of the Agreement by various Ministers. After a 40-minute meeting, President told the Cabinet members that he will meet them again after further discussions with the High Commissioner.

High Commissioner had another meeting with the President at his official residence at 1130 hrs. President had Ministers Gamini Dissanayake, Nissanka Wijeyeratne, Lalith Athulathmudali and Ranil Wickremasinghe at this meeting. The President suddenly sprang a surprise on High Commissioner Dixit by saying that there was intense public opposition to the Agreement and said that a large number of members of his party and the Cabinet were also opposed to the Agreement. He enquired whether the Prime Minister's visit could be postponed by a few weeks so that he can educate his party, his Parliament and public opinion. While Ranil Wickremasinghe and Lalith Athulathmudali supported this suggestion, Minister Gamini Dissanayake advised that pulling back from the signing of the Agreement at this stage will be a disaster.

High Commissioner Dixit politely but firmly told the President that if the Prime Minister's visit is postponed, then the visit may not take place and the Agreement will just fade away with no possibility of a political solution to the ethnic problem in the foreseeable future. President again asked whether the Prime Minister would consider the signing of the Agreement without the two provisions in the Agreement i.e. Tamil being declared the official language and the two Provinces being created into one administrative unit. High Commissioner said that there would be no point in signing the Agreement if these two major elements are omitted.

President asked the Ministers to go out of the room and he informed the High Commissioner that he was taking a major risk in going ahead with the Agreement but now that he had failed to persuade the High Commissioner, he would stick to the programme proposed by the Prime Minister. Finance Minister Ronnie de Mel invited the High Commissioner to dinner on 27th July and informed that Prime Minister Premadasa and Minister of National Security Lalith Athulathmudali are bent upon sabotaging the Agreement and that India should be firm in supporting President Jayawardene.

These developments were reported to Joint Secretary(PMO) and Joint Secretary(BSM) by Shri J.N. Dixit on 27th July at 1500 hours. During this period, Prime Minister met MGR and representatives of all opposition parties in Parliament in Delhi. The proposed Agreement was explained and the endorsement of Tamil Nadu Government, Congress Party in Parliament and all opposition parties was obtained personally by the Prime Minister. Prabhakaran had a meeting along with his delegation with the Prime Minister on 28th July.


4.15 Prabhakaran accompanied by Balasingham and Yogi called on the Prime Minister at 1700 hours on 28th July. Shri S. Ramachandran, Minister in Tamil Nadu Government, JS(BSM) Kuldip Sahdev and JS(R) in the PMO Shri Ronen Sen were also present. Prime Minister asked if they have gone through the Agreement and if their doubts have been removed. Prime Minister pointed out that Prabhakaran wanted that the Agreement should expressly provide for Sri Lankan Army to withdraw to positions they held before May 25, 1987.

On this issue, Prabhakaran was emotional as Vadamarachchi was his birth place and he thanked the Prime Minister for ensuring this. Prabhakaran said that, to start with, they had some doubts but after having discussions with the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Shri M.G. Ramachandran and his Minister Shri S. Ramachandran and the Indian officials, these doubts had been set at rest. They rely on the Prime Minister to look after Tamil interests. Prime Minister said that the interests of Tamils of Sri Lanka is one of our guiding principles and he could be sure that they will not let them down.

Prabhakaran said that he will cooperate in the implementation of the Agreement but that he had certain practical problems. Prabhakaran placed his difficulty of meeting finances as he would not be able to realise taxes to support his cadres. Prime Minister said that the Government of India will make up this amount on condition that LTTE will not collect any more taxes and the Government of India payment will be reduced and finally stopped as the LTTE cadres can be employed and rehabilitated.

Prabhakaran said that they may be allowed to form an interim administration and given powers in the North East Province. Prime Minister said that although it is not in the Agreement, he was confident that President Jayawardene will agree to it. However, LTTE should not expect a monopoly of power but be willing to accept a major role in the interim administration and allow representation of other groups also. Prabhakaran said that he will have no problem in accepting TULF and EROS but will find it difficult to accept other groups. Prime Minister said that all groups must be given representation and this matter can be discussed further.

Prabhakaran said that his cadres must all be absorbed into a special Tamil regiment in the Sri Lankan Army or into the Police force. Prime Minister said that he will try to persuade President Jayawardene to set up a Provincial Police force and secure some representation in the armed forces to accommodate militant cadres.

Prabhakaran said that LTTE would now like to undertake large scale rehabilitation and reconstruction measures in the North East to repair the damage of the past few years. They wanted the Government of India to give a rehabilitation grant of Rs.100 crores. Prime Minister said that this could certainly be considered but the grant will have to be routed through the Sri Lankan Government in keeping with the normal international practice but India will make sure that the money will be spent in the North East Province. Prime Minister also said that for the time being Prime Minister decided to announce in the near future a rehabilitation grant of Rs.25 crores. LTTE should start working and identifying concrete projects and schemes to utilize this money. Once this is done, additional grants can be thought of.

Prabhakaran said that while LTTE is accepting the Agreement, India must, as a guarantor, take the necessary measures to protect the interests of Sri Lankan Tamils if the Accord falls due to the insincerity of the Sri Lankan Government. Prime Minister assured Prabhakaran that India will fulfil its role as a guarantor provided the Tamils also give the Agreement a sincere chance to work.

After this, Prabhakaran agreed to release a statement expressing his satisfaction with the talks with the Prime Minister and willing to cooperate in the implementation of the Agreement.

The statement was drafted and signed by Prabhakaran.

It was issued by him on behalf of the LTTE in such a manner that further concessions can be had from the President.

Large scale rioting and arson broke out all over Colombo city at about 1030 hours on 28th July. The riots were originally instigated by the Sri Lankan Freedom Party and the Buddhist clergy but it took a virulent turn with the JVP taking control of the violence. Rioting spread to other parts of the island by the evening of July 28.

Prime Minister arrived in Colombo accompanied by a 24-member delegation which included Ministers Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao, Shri P. Chidambaram, Shri Natwar Singh, Prof. N.G. Ranga, the oldest Member of Parliament, Shri S. Ramachandran and Shri Dinesh Singh, former Foreign Minister. Prime Minister had two meetings with the President at 1215 hours and 1520 hours apart from the ceremonial and social functions.

President Jayawardene was uncertain about inviting the Indian Peace Keeping Force to Sri Lanka to maintain ceasefire and surrender of arms by Tamil cadres during his morning discussion. However, President Jayawardene on insistent advice from Ministers Gamini Dissanayake and Ronnie de Mel requested Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to send the IPKF immediately after the Agreement is signed. The Agreement was signed as scheduled at 1530 hours on 29th July, 1987. (Annexure-A 1).

Annexure to the Agreement provided for Referendum to be observed by a representative of the Election Commission of India on invitation by His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka and elections to the Provincial Council will be observed by representatives of the Government of India to be invited by the President of Sri Lanka. The President of Sri Lanka agreed that home guards will be disbanded and all para-military personnel will be withdrawn from Eastern and Northern Provinces with a view to creating conditions conducive to fair elections.

The President also on his discretion shall absorb such para-military forces which came into being due to ethnic violence, into regular security forces of Sri Lanka. It was also agreed that Tamil militants shall surrender their arms to authorities agreed upon to be designated by the President of Sri Lanka in the presence of one senior representative each of the Sri Lankan Red Cross and Indian Red Cross.

It was also agreed that a joint observer group would monitor the cessation of hostilities from 31st July, 1987 and they also agreed that an Indian peace keeping contingent may be invited by the President to guarantee and enforce the cessation of hostilities, if so required. Then there was exchange of letters between Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and President Jayawardene for securing national interests both of Sri Lanka and India. Letters were exchanged the same day, i.e. on 29th July, 1987.(Annexure-A 2)



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