ibnlive » Politics

Nov 02, 2013 at 11:06pm IST

CHOGM summit in Sri Lanka faces heat from international rights groups

Chennai: India's participation in the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka continues to face uncertainty. With no end to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's dilemma over alleged war crimes against Tamils by the Sri Lankan government, international rights group are now putting pressure on India to skip the summit. They have been emboldened after the release of a video by a British channel that allegedly shows the brutalisation of an LTTE television anchor.

Battle lines are clearly drawn between those who want him to attend CHOGM and those insisting he shouldn't. CPI Rajya Sabha MP from Tamil Nadu D Raja says the PM should not overlook the unanimous resolution passed by the Tamil Nadu Assembly.

"I don't understand why is the PM not responding. He must take a stand," said Raja.

Those who are against the PM's visit to Colombo include Finance Minister Cabinet P Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu government and state Assembly and international rights group like Amnesty and HRW.

But equally strong arguments are being made by those in favour of the summit who believe Indian not participating will affect the country's standing in the region and Commonwealth. These include the Sri Lanka government, Commonwealth countries like Australia and UK, and foreign policy advisors.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has come out and spoken in favour of India's participation. "India is an important member of CHOGM and the PM must attend the summit."

Amidst the tussle between India's diplomatic responsibilities and domestic pressure, Chidambaram met DMK chief M Karunanidhi to explain the government's position. Sources in the DMK say they are unhappy because of the non comittal assurance given by Chidambaram. Meanwhile, on the CHOGM, many ministers as well as senior leaders are expressing reservation against the PM's visit.

All this clearly seems be of no help in the helping PM take a decision to visit Colombo, where all arrangements have been made.