Succumbing to DMK pressure, the Congress on Wednesday called upon the Sri Lankan government to declare a ceasefire so that the humanitarian crisis in the conflict-torn country could be resolved.
This is a major shift in the Congress stand as it had earlier desisted from demanding a ceasefire and insisted on “cessation of hostilities” to enable the citizens of the war zone move to safer places.
“Congress also calls upon the Sri Lankan government to declare a ceasefire so that the humanitarian crisis can be resolved in a demonstrable way,” the party said in a statement.
The statement came a day after DMK chief M Karunanidhi, a key Congress ally, asked the Centre to issue an ultimatum to the Sri Lankan government to declare “immediate and permanent ceasefire” in the island nation.
“We (Congress) did not want to be seen as a party which did not care for Sri Lankan Tamils. There was a pressure and we had to take a position," a senior Congress leader said.
However, Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma denied DMK pressure. “Our partner had put forth a demand, and as a poltical party we had to respond,” he said.