India can’t cut off ties with Lanka, PM tells Vaiko

  • Shekhar Iyer, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
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  • Updated: Aug 02, 2011 23:23 IST

Manmohan Singh on Tuesday told MDMK leader Vaiko that India cannot afford to restrict economic ties with Sri Lanka — as demanded by Tamil Nadu’s political parties — in order to apply pressure to mitigate the sufferings of Sri Lankan Tamils.

That, the Prime Minister said, would only encourage China to displace India as a strategic and trading partner of Sri Lanka.

In response, Vaiko, who met the PM in Parliament House, said he told Singh that “in any case, China is already aiding the Sri Lanka naval forces to attack Indian fishermen and is more of an ally of Pakistan than India”.

Since the assembly polls, Tamil Nadu politicians have been trying to beat one another in taking up the plight of Lankan Tamils living in camps and Indian fishermen following the May 2009 war, which liquidated Tamil Tigers led by LTTE chief V Prabhakaran.

Vaiko said in a statement that he also took up with PM the case of death row convict Perarivalan in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, saying it could be considered on the lines of another convict, Nalini, whose death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.

Perarivalan has already spent 20 years in prison, Vaiko said.

The PM agreed to ask the home ministry to look into the case. Vaiko also met home minister P Chidambaram.

Vaiko’s meeting with the PM took place a day after Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa announced a monthly dole of R1,000 to 5,544 Lankan Tamils living in refugee camps in the state.

On Monday, ADMK MPs tried to embarrass a visiting Sri Lankan parliamentary delegation by raising slogans.

DMK MP Tiruchi Siva also staged a walkout from a meeting in honour of the visiting team hosted by vice-president Hamid Ansari, in protest against the “violence and human rights violations” by the Lankan government.


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