New Delhi: Sri Lankan High Commissioner Prasada Kariyawasam on Monday compared the protests in Tamil Nadu against war crimes in Sri Lanka to terrorism and said the country will oppose any resolution against its army. Talking to CNN-IBN, the Sri Lankan High Commissioner said, "Resolution on Sri Lanka in UN is uncalled for. We don't think there is a need for international community to get involved in Sri Lanka at this point."
Talking about the protests in Tamil Nadu, he said, "Those who are protesting against Sri Lanka in Tamil Nadu have not visited Sri Lanka recently. They have never been there, they are going on hearsay and on the basis of lobbying by the LTTE sympathetic groups living abroad, outside the country. Some of these agitations have taken the form of terrorism. In fact some innocent monks and pilgrims from Sri Lanka have been attacked. This is again the kind of violent method practised by LTTE in the past in Sri Lanka."
The UPA is reaching out to DMK, which has threatened to pull out of the alliance, over India's vote at the UN Human Rights Council. UPA ministers P Chidambaram, AK Antony and Ghulam Nabi Azad are flying to Chennai to meet Karunanidhi on Monday evening to sort out issues. Karunanidhi had written another letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, asking the government to push for an international probe into war crimes in Sri Lanka.
The DMK chief insisted that the government should bring in amendments to declare that "genocide and war crimes had been committed and inflicted on Eelam Tamils by Sri Lankan Army and the Administrators" and seek a credible and independent international commission to probe human rights violations. "I am writing this letter with immense mental agony and feeling of having been let down by the Government of India," he said and hoped the Centre would take immediate steps to assuage the feelings of entire Tamil community by getting the amendments incorporated in the resolution.
Karunanidhi said he was constrained to write to them in view of the "volatile situation" prevailing in the state. He said there was a feeling of "injustice" among the Tamils in the context of the "lukewarm response of the Government of India to the entreaties made by the various sections of Tamil community in general and students community in particular across the state."
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has maintained that the final decision will be taken after consulting allies. The draft resolution by the US circulated in Geneva could complicate New Delhi's efforts to honour the sentiments of Tamil MPs while protecting ties with Colombo.
Earlier on Sunday, the police lathicharged members of a pro-Sri Lankan Tamil group which tried to barge into the camp office of Minister of State in PMO V Narayanasamy, demanding that the Centre take steps to protect Tamils in the island nation. Volunteers of the local unit of Tamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi tried to barge into the office to push forward their demands, including steps to stop attacks on fishermen allegedly by the Sri Lankan Navy and raised slogans, following which police rushed to the spot and lathicharged them.
Students continue to hold protests
Students of various colleges in Tamil Nadu also continued their protests for the seventh day today over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue. In Chennai, students of Dr Ambedkar Law College continued their hunger strike even as 20 students of IIT-Madras embarked on a similar protest inside their campus, police said. Protests continued in various parts of the state, including Coimbatore and Tirunelveli, with students pressing for various demands, including an independent probe against Colombo for alleged human rights violantions and moving the International Court of Justice.
City-based Loyola College students had first embarked on a fast-unto-death last week on this emotive issue, with more and more students taking to various forms of protests, including hunger strike and boycott of classes. Emotions in Tamil Nadu had surged especially after pictures by a private channel showed the alleged cold blooded killing of slain LTTE chief V Prabakaran's 12 year-old son, Balachandran.
Meanwhile, around 15 law students were arrested late last night for trying to stage a fast at the Marina beach
here. On Sunday, protestors burnt effigies of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Mylapore area. Security has been stepped up at Sri Lankan installations in Chennai, including the Mahabodhi Society, after some persons tried to stage a protest there. Security has also been increased to the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission. The move came in the wake of a Sri Lankan priest being attacked by fringe pro-Tamil groups in Tanjavur on Saturday.
While the government is yet to announce its stand, the Tamil parties and student protests are keeping up the pressure on the Centre.
(With additional information from PTI)