COLOMBO, Jan. 22, Reuter: President Junius Jayewardene will tell Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi next week that Indian troop in Sri Lanka must crush Tamil separatist guerrillas soon and then leave the island, a senior official said on Friday.
The official, who did not want to be identified, said Jayawardene would visit India for six days from Monday when he would be chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations.
He said Jayewardene and Gandhi would also review progress of an accord they signed last July to end a four year secessionist revolt by Sri Lankan Tamils in which more than 8,000 people have died.
The official said implementation of the accord was well behind schedule, but added Jayewardene ‘was not expected to set the Indians a deadline,
Sri Lankan opposition leaders. Have criticized the slowness with which the pact has been implemented, saying Indian troops sent to disarm the rebels should have left! by the end of last September.
Jayewardene told ruling United National Party members on Wednesday the Indian restore peace in the north of the island by February but said there were unspecified obstacles in the east.
National Security Minister Lalith Athulathmudali, who will accompany Jayewardene to New Delhi, told Parliament on Thursday 37,270 lndian troops were now stationed in Sri Lanka.
Their main task is disarming the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the most powerful rebel group which has rejected the accord.
Opposition leader Anura Bandaranaike asked why the lndian forces were taking so long to disarm the estimated 1,500 Tigers.
“Either they are incompetent or they do not want to complete the job,” he said.
Article extracted from this publication >> January 29, 1988