E.M. Sudarsana Natchiappan termed as ‘fruitful’ the talks with President Mahinda Rajapaksa on issues including devolution of powers to Tamil-speaking areas.
On their return from Sri Lanka to assess rehabilitation of internally displaced Tamils, the MP told reporters in Chennai that the MPs had visited many places including the Menik farm where IDPs are lodged, PTI reports.
He and other MPs said the number of IDPs had come down from around 2.5 lakh during the last visit of a MPs delegation in 2010 to 6000 now.
Sri Lankan officials had told the delegation that the rest would be resettled in their areas in the next few months as efforts to remove mines were on in these places.
Summing up their almost week-long (April 16-21) tour, he said while a report would be submitted to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the team had taken up various issues with the Sri Lankan President including devolution of powers to Tamil-speaking areas. “We had fruitful discussions with him today for about 45 minutes,” he added.
In a guarded response to criticism by Dravidian parties, including ally DMK, regarding the just-concluded visit, he said “in a democracy, every party has its goal, its agenda.”
Both AIADMK and DMK had declined to participate in the week-long (April 16-21) exercise.
Chief Minister Jayalalitha had pulled out her party nominee and DMK chief M Karunanidhi said his party had no intention to be a part of the team.
Jayalalitha had described the visit as “mere eye-wash” while Karunanidhi said such visits had served no purpose in the past.
While the MPs said they were able to move independently, Krishnasamy said there was a sense of fear among Tamils in some areas and this needed to be addressed.
The Congress MPs from Tamil Nadu E. M. Sudarshana Natchiappan, Manicka Tagore, M. Krishnaswamy and N. S. V. Chithan, and the party state unit chief B. S. Gnanadesikan briefed the media on their return from Sri Lanka.