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HindustanTimes Mon,20 Oct 2014

Congress fails to decide on PM trip to Sri Lanka

PTI  New Delhi, November 08, 2013
First Published: 16:33 IST(8/11/2013) | Last Updated: 18:02 IST(8/11/2013)

Amid growing political controversy over India’s participation in the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) meet in Sri Lanka, Congress top brass on Friday deliberated on the issue. A decision, however, is yet to be taken on whether Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will attend the November 15 event.

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A meeting of the Congress core group headed by party president Sonia Gandhi with the Prime Minister by her side deliberated over the issue for more than an hour.

Further consultations are expected soon to take a call on whether the Prime Minister should attend the CHOGM meet, party sources said.

There has been a huge political controversy over India’s participation in the summit with political parties and various groups in Tamil Nadu strongly opposed to it. The Tamil Nadu assembly had recently adopted a resolution demanding a complete boycott of the event alleging that Sri

Lanka has indulged in atrocities against ethnic Tamils. DMK supremo M Karunanidhi stepped up pressure insisting that India should boycott the meet hosted by Colombo on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue.

"The PM has conscience. He should act according to his conscience," he said.

The government is in a dilemma over the issue with some sections feeling that the Prime Minister's absence at the CHOGM could affect India's image internationally and hence he must participate.

Meanwhile, twenty-one pro-Tamil outfits pressing for India's non-participation in the summit demanded that the Tamil Nadu government declare a bandh on November 12 to mount pressure on the Centre over taking part.

The decision was taken after deliberations among various outfits, including Vaiko-led MDMK, May 17 Movement, Thanthai Periyar Dravida Kazhagam and Manithaneya Makkal Katchi.

Sri Lanka, which faces international censure over alleged war crimes, has revoked visas of human rights experts for a meeting coinciding with the Commonwealth summit, the International Bar Association said Friday.

The London-based IBA's team of experts had their visas withdrawn ahead of their planned attendance at a seminar next week in Colombo, where the 53-member Commonwealth bloc also holds its summit — an event that takes place every two years.

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka said the government's decision to block their foreign guest speakers amounted to a "clear assault" on freedom of speech and association.


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