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UPA govt under intense pressure to vote against Sri Lanka at UNHRC

New Delhi, Mar 8 (): By the end of a four-hour heated discussion in Lok Sabha over Sri Lanka’s genocidal war crimes and human rights violations, the UPA government has been pressured by various parties to vote against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC sessions currently underway in Geneva.

External Affairs minister Salman Khurshid did not make any obligatory promises to vote against Sri Lanka at UNHRC when the resolution comes up for voting on  March 22. However,he promised to consider all the concerns shared by MPs while finally deciding on the anti-Sri Lanka vote.

Protesting against the government’s inability to  support Eelam Tamils, DMK, AIADMK and BJP-led NDA walked out of the House.

UPA’s key constituent ally DMK called for the investigation of the top leadership of the Rajapakse government for “war crimes” while the main opposition BJP demanded withdrawal of Sri Lankan Army from Tamil areas and AIADMK wanted India to impose economic sanctions against Sri Lanka.

Salman Khurshid said he favoured diplomacy over war. Khurshid said, “What we do today should not be thrown back at us in the future as everybody is not our friend.” He added, “We don’t play the policeman of the world or the big brother in any country.”   

The foreign minister also conveyed to Sri Lanka that the old wounds can  be  tended to only if Tamils are allowed to live with dignity and comfort. He said, “Th­ere has to be an acceptance of truth and reconciliation” and Tamils are given dignity, comfort and participation in the country’s affairs.”  

When BJP leader Yashwant Sinha charged the UPA government of being complicit in allowing the Lankan armed forces to unleash brutality against Tamil civilians, Khurshid said it was unjust to reach such a conclusion.

Observing that the civil war in Lanka ended four years  ago, Mr Sinha said the normal law and order duties should have been assigned to the po­l­i­ce by now. And, he added that the Sri Lankan Army can get back to the barracks and not run the northern province on a daily basis.

AIADMK member V Maitreyan, attacked DMK and Congress for poor handling of the issue and demanded the government to support the US-supported resolution on the Tamils’ issue at UNHRC and “not dilute it like the last time”.

Meantime, at the DMK-backed Tamil Eelam Supporters’ Organization (TESO) meet held yesterday in New Delhi, DMK has pressed for referendum in the north and east of Sri Lanka and to seek ways for rehabilitation and resettlement of Sri Lankan Tamils displaced by war.