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HindustanTimes Mon,01 Sep 2014

India should stay away from Colombo CHOGM: Jaya

PTI  Chennai, March 25, 2013
First Published: 16:23 IST(25/3/2013) | Last Updated: 16:24 IST(25/3/2013)

Joining her arch rival DMK on the Lankan Tamils issue, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa today said India should stay away from the CHOGM to be held in Colombo in November to mount pressure on Sri Lanka to ensure accountability under an international framework for its alleged war crimes.

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"...Any high level participation or engagement from the Indian side in the CHOGM will not only embolden the Sri Lankan regime but also incense public opinion and sentiment in Tamil Nadu on this every sensitive issue even further", she said in a strongly-worded letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

She cited reports that Canada was likely to boycott and the House of Commons Committee on Foreign Affairs in the UK had also urged the British Prime Minister not to attend.

Many important countries across the world, including two G-8 countries, propose to leverage the CHOGM and make substantial progress in human rights issue in Sri Lanka, she said.

"As an emerging great power and an aspirant for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, India has a duty to ensure that the values of democracy and respect for human rights are upheld anywhere in the world and in particular in its neighbourhood", the AIADMK supremo said.

As a leader in South Asia, India was uniquely positioned to exert the maximum influence on the Sri Lankans to accept an independent international mechanism to hold those who committed "genocide and war crimes" to account, she said.

The proposed CHOGM was another "opportune occasion" for India to mount further pressure on Sri Lanka to ensure that accountability was established under an international framework for the "war crimes and genocide committed in the closing stages of the civil war and the ongoing gross human rights abuses," she said.

Observing that there was still time to consider an alternative venue to hold the event and India should ask for it, Jayalalithaa said, "If India takes this diplomatic initiative, there is likely to be broad based support amongst member countries of the Commonwealth".

Accusing India of voting in favour of a "diluted and weak" US resolution against Sri Lanka and not moving any amendments at the UNHRC, she said, "There was widespread disappointment at this stand of the Government of India and a continuing sense of injustice in Tamil Nadu on this issue".


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