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Sri Lanka war crimes: Govt in a bind after DMK threat, Jaya's letter

CNN-IBN
Mar 18, 2013 at 07:58pm IST

New Delhi: Shaken up by DMK chief M Karunanidhi's threat of pulling out his ministers from the UPA Cabinet if his demands on the UNHRC vote against Sri Lanka are not met, the Congress on Monday sent its leaders to placate him. Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Defence Minister AK Antony and Minister of Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad met Karunanidhi at his residence in an attempt to bridge differences between the two allies.

The DMK wants the words 'genocide' and 'Eelam' added to the US-sponsored resolution in UNHRC against Sri Lanka. Apart from a vote against Sri Lanka and adding the words 'genocide' and 'Eelam', Karunanidhi has also sought a time-bound international probe into the alleged Sri Lankan war crimes and has demanded that India should move these amendments in the US-backed resolution.

However, the Centre is opposed to the idea of 'Eelam' and will not accept the term 'genocide'. India is also said to be against an 'international' probe into the alleged war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan army during the battle with LTTE cadres.

Following Karunanidhi's threat, the Congress seems to be walking a tightrope as its relations with the DMK has been under strain for the past several months. The arrest of DMK leaders A Raja and Kanimozhi in the 2G spectrum case and the blame game between the two parties after a dismal show in Tamil Nadu Assembly polls have been the major sticking points.

In 2012 India was forced to vote against Sri Lanka in UNHRC due to DMK pressure and is likely to vote in favour of the amended resolution again.

Further, with India's vote against Sri Lanka at UN, bilateral ties are likely face more strain even as other countries like Russia, China and Pakistan have pledged support to Colombo.

To add to UPA's troubles, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has also written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, demanding that the government move amendments to the US-backed resolution.

The government has, meanwhile, called India's ambassador to the UN, Dilip Sinha for consultations.

The big question now is whether the DMK will pull out of the UPA if its demands are not met.

A look at the numbers in Parliament:

15th Lok Sabha - Total 539

Halfway mark - 270

UPA - 250

Congress 202

NCP 9

RLD 5

Others 16

DMK 18

Outside Support to UPA - 49

BSP 21

SP 22

RJD 3

JDS 3

NDA - 152

Left + Others 88

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