Avdhash Kaushal, the Indian social worker, who has been appointed as one of the five advisors to the Sri Lankan Presidential commission on missing persons, has said that India should respect Sri Lanka’s sovereignty while trying to help the latter resolve the Tamil question.
In an interview with P K balachan dran of the New Indian Express, he said, “You can talk to the Sri Lankan government and give them advice, but you cannot ask them to behave. India and Sri Lanka must respect each other’s sovereignty.”
“How will we in India feel if Sri Lanka calls and talks to Indian separatists ?”, the 77-year-old Padma Shri award winner asked.
Kaushal’s plea to India and Lanka to respect each other sovereignty came in the context of a meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Sri Lankan Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in New Delhi on Saturday, after India had objected to an earlier meeting in New Delhi between Kashmiri separatists and the Pakistan High Commissioner.
“We should not add fuel to the fire, but help Sri Lanka solve the problem. We should not pose as the Big Brother and apply pressure on it, but attempt to convince it of our stand. India should express appreciation of the progress made thus far in the implementation of the 13 Amendment on devolution of power to the provinces, and then urge the Lankans to move forward,” Kaushal said.
The Indian social worker’s appeal to the Lankan Tamils was that they must forget that they came from India and consider themselves Sri Lankans now, abiding by Lanka’s laws and constitution.
“They cannot ask for police powers for the Northern Province,” he said.
Avdash Kaushal is one of the two new members appointed to the Advisory Committee to the Disappearances Commission appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He was appointed together with the noted Pakistan lawyer Ahmer Bilal Soofie.