Chennai, Oct 24 (): Tamil Nadu Assembly unanimously passed a resolution asking the Central Government to boycott the Commonwealth meet in Colombo next month. It cited the Sri Lanka’s war crimes against Lankan Tamils and the arrest of state fishermen for straying into Lankan waters.
The Jayalalithaa government’s resolution in the assembly received support from all parties including Congress demanding that India should boycott the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo.
The resolution urged India should take action to suspend Sri Lanka from Commonwealth till Tamils are given equal rights in the island, asking the Centre to convey this demand to Colombo.
All major parties in Tamil Nadu, ranging from the DMK and Jayalalithaa’s ruling AIADMK to the State unit of Congress, have been demanding the Centre to take a strong stand against genocide of its ethnic Tamils in the war that ended when defence forces defeated the Tamil Tigers in 2009.
Tension with Colombo rose over the arrest of more than 100 fishermen at many times, mostly from Tamil Nadu. Some of them are facing trial for entering Sri Lankan waters.
Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister GL Peiris had personally hand-delivered a personal invitation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to attend the Commonwealth meet next month, and hoped that India will be represented at the highest level implying the PM would come for the CHOGM.
With LS polls due in May, the Prime Minister has to give weight to the domestic fallout of a trip to Colombo. Tamil Nadu parties have already accused his government of not doing anything to hold Sri Lanka accountable for alleged war crimes and human rights atrocities during the island’s civil war which ended in May 2009. I
n March, the regional ally DMK quit Dr Singh’s coalition. Leaders of the DMK party said that at a UN session on human rights in Geneva, India had failed to directly indict Sri Lanka of genocide.
Human rights organizations and the Tamil diaspora across the world have indicted the Sri Lankan army of killing over 40,000 unarmed civilians, a charge Colombo has till now not accepted despite concrete proof. Dr Singh had earlier told T R Baalu that the decision on CHOGM would be taken after taking Tamil sentiments into consideration.