Modi’s visit came a day after he had met President Maithripala Sirisena in Colombo and favoured a life of equality, justice, peace and dignity in a unified Sri Lanka.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi offers prayers at a temple in Jaffna, Sri Lanka on Saturday.

AFP
Making a historic visit to a region once ravaged by strife, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday called for equitable development and respect for all citizens in Sri Lanka, seen as an oblique reference to Tamils who had suffered during the war between the LTTE and forces.Winding up his public engagements on his two-day trip to the island with a hugely-symbolic visit to Tamil-dominated Jaffna, the first by an Indian Prime Minister, he said he was glad that it “is one to wipe tears from the eyes of those who suffered”.The Prime Minister, who is only the second international leader to visit the region after Premier David Cameron in 2013, handed over 27,000 new homes to Tamils who became homeless during the civil war.The houses were built with Indian assistance as part of India’s efforts to help in the reconciliation process.Modi’s visit came a day after he had met President Maithripala Sirisena in Colombo and favoured a life of equality, justice, peace and dignity in a unified Sri Lanka.
He had also urged the Sri Lankan government to ensure early and full implementation of the 13th Amendment relating to devolution of powers to Tamils and to go beyond that in finding a political solution.Laying the foundation today for a Cultural Centre being built here by India, Modi said, “Sri Lanka should also progress. Unity, peace and amity are essential ingredients for equitable development where there is respect for all citizens.”Northern Province Chief Minister and Tamil leader C V Wigneswaran, who was present at the event, made a strong pitch for replacing the 13th Amendment with a more dynamic system of devolution of powers.”13th amendment (to Sri Lankan Constitution) cannot be a final solution,” he said, noting that Modi himself is a proponent of devolution of powers and cooperative federalism.Earlier, Modi flagged off a train service in the north-western town of Talaimannar — the closest point to India — restored after decades of civil war, completing the reconstruction of the entire Northern Province Railway Line.
At Ilavalai in Jaffna, where India is assisting in a housing project, Modi participated in a housewarming ceremony and lent a helping hand in the traditional milk boiling before a family moved into a new home.He was received by women who performed the traditional ‘aarti’ to the accompaniment of Nadaswaram music.Modi also offered prayers at the Naguleswaram Temple in Jaffna. “Feeling blessed,” he tweeted later.16:34 IST Saturday, 14 March 2015 Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said Jaffna is spreading the message of peace to the world and added that India is proud to have an opportunity to establish a unique and world level cultural centre there.
“Jaffna is making a new mark for itself, spreading message of peace to the world. India is proud to have an opportunity to establish a unique and world level cultural centre in Jaffna,” Prime Minister Modi said after laying the foundation stone for the Jaffna Cultural Centre. “I assure you that the work we’ve started will be completed well in time and will be better than your imagination. I’m confident that the Talaimannar Railway project will give pace to the development of this area,” he added.14:01 IST Saturday, 14 March 2015 Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday inaugurated the Talaimannar 1650 pier railway station and flagged off the Talaimannar- Medawachchiya train. India was involved in the construction of the railway track. Prime Minister Modi will also be laying the foundation stone for the iconic Jaffna Cultural Centre.12:55 IST Saturday, 14 March 2015Accompanied by Sri Lanka’s President, Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived here and offered prayers at the sacred Sri Maha Bodhi tree. He also stopped at the Buddhist temple in the historic north-central city. Worshippers believe that the Sri Maha Bodhi Tree has grown from a sapling from one that sheltered the Buddha over 2,500 years ago.With agency inputs

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PM Narendra Modi visits Jaffna, seeks respect for all citizens in Sri Lanka