With key partner DMK threatening to snap ties with the government, India is veering towards voting in favour of a US-backed resolution against Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva next week.
The resolution seeks to put Sri Lanka in the dock over alleged war crimes and human rights violations against Tamil civilians during the last phase of the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009. The government is trying to ensure the resolution pacifies their ally without compromising on India’s stance on the issue of human rights.
Traditionally, New Delhi does not favour the international community taking “intrusive” positions on issues of human rights, such as international monitoring and probes. But the government has to keep the demands of the DMK, which has 18 Lok Sabha members, in mind.
On Sunday, DMK supremo M Karunanidhi reiterated his threat to pull out of the UPA government at the Centre if it failed to act against Sri Lanka at the UN forum.
To prove the seriousness of the party’s intent, DMK ministers at the Centre may skip office from Monday, sources said.
Lamenting the “silence” of the government, Karunanidhi sent a written letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. In it, he demanded that India suggest amendments to the resolution, including an international probe and time-bound action against those found guilty. The government has time till March 18 to move the amendments, Karunanidhi said.
“If India doesn't bring these amendments, I doubt if the alliance will continue,” he said. External affairs minister Salman Khurshid, meanwhile, said the Centre will consult the DMK before taking a final decision. “DMK is our ally. We will take their opinion into consideration before taking the final decision,” he said.
India’s intent towards backing the resolution is reflected in a statement issued on March 15 in Geneva, in which New Delhi seems to be laying the groundwork for voting against Sri Lanka.
Sources said that India, in the report, pointed out that areas such as promoting trilingual policy, reduction of high security zones, return of private land by the military and phasing out of security forces in civilian activities in the Northern Province are not being done in an effective and timely manner in the island nation.