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HindustanTimes Fri,31 Oct 2014

Left, DMK demand India vote against SL at UN

PTI  New Delhi, March 07, 2013
First Published: 14:32 IST(7/3/2013) | Last Updated: 18:23 IST(7/3/2013)

Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D Raja on Thursday said India should demand an impartial and international inquiry on the war crimes committed by Sri Lankan military on Tamils as well as should vote against the island nation in the current meeting of UN Human Rights Council.

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Raja said the assurances by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or external affairs minister Salman Khurshid has no meaning unless India takes a pro-active role in the current session of the UN Human Rights Council meeting at Geneva.

"And India should see whatever resolution brought by US or anybody else is strengthened and fixes accountability on the part of Sri Lanka. India cannot remain a spectator leaving everything to US and others to decide. And India keeping its stature and keeping its moral position in the international arena should play a pro-active role," said Raja.

"What we have been demanding that the Government of India acknowledges the horrendous war crimes and human rights violation, which took place in Sri Lanka should demand an impartial, international inquiry as well as should vote against Sri Lanka in the current meeting of UN Human Rights Council," he added.

The Prime Minister on Thursday said India is firmly of the view that issues of reconciliation and political devolution in Sri Lanka need to be addressed with a sense of urgency.

"Members have raised the issue of human rights violations during the conflict in Sri Lanka and the lack of progress on reconciliation, accountability and political devolution in Sri Lanka. The Government takes the sentiments expressed by members very seriously. We are firmly of the view that issues of reconciliation and political devolution in Sri Lanka need to be addressed with a sense of urgency," said Singh, while winding up the discussion on the motion of thanks on the President's address in Lok Sabha.

The Prime Minister said "as regards the issue of a draft resolution expected to be tabled by the United States at the forthcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, our decision will depend on the substance of the final text Tabled in the Council".

"We will, however, be guided by our consistent position that we support proposals that seek to advance the achievement of a future for the Tamil community in Sri Lanka that is marked by equality, dignity, justice and self respect," he added.

Singh assured Lok Sabha that New Delhi will remain engaged with Colombo to promote a durable settlement of the Tamil problem that enables the Tamil citizens of Sri Lanka to lead a life of dignity and self-respect with equal rights.

"I also assure the members that we will remain engaged with the Government of Sri Lanka with regard to the welfare, safety and security of our fishermen to ensure that fishermen on both sides can continue to pursue their livelihood in a safe, secure and sustainable manner," he added.

The external affairs minister has asked his Lankan counterpart GL Peiris to work with the US and report progress if any made on the issue to arrive at a draft, which is "acceptable to everybody".

"It is a humanitarian issue. It is not an issue on which anybody should stand on ceremony or ego. If it is possible, speak to them directly and find a suitable and acceptable draft," Khurshid told media outside the Parliament here.

Khurshid's comments came against the backdrop of mounting demands by Tamil parties that India should take a tough stand against Sri Lanka and vote in favour of resolution to be moved against it.

Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) leader Vaiko earlier on March 2 pressed his demand for an independent international investigation on the war crimes committed by Sri Lankan military on Tamils. He said the Indian government should severe all economic ties with Sri Lanka.

The US is set to move a new resolution against Sri Lanka at the current session of the UN Human Rights Council for its alleged war crimes, asking the country to promote reconciliation and accountability.


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