Vasan appreciates David Cameron's efforts on ethnic Tamils

Published: 18th November 2013 03:24 PM  |   Last Updated: 18th November 2013 03:51 PM   |  A+A-

By PTI

Union Shipping Minister G K Vasan today hailed the "positive" efforts by British Prime Minister David Cameron in seeking an independent probe into alleged human rights violations against ethnic Tamils during the just concluded Commonwealth Heads of Government meet in Sri Lanka.

"Nobody can deny his positive efforts in two days," Vasan said while speaking to the press on the sidelines of a function here.

To a query he said External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, who represented India at the meet could have discussed with his counterparts from other member countries about the alleged human rights violations.

"I am convinced and justified on India's representation led by Salman Khurshid and also the long pending demand of India for welfare of Tamils living in Sri Lanka".

Vasan refused to be drawn into discussions on TESO, a pro Eelam outfit's demand for Parliament to pass a resolution, urging Sri Lanka to probe human rights violations. "I have already stated whatever I had to say on the issue", he said.

Cameron had urged Sri Lanka to complete an independent probe into alleged human rights violations by March next year.

The DMK supported TESO at its meet yesterday had called for passing a resolution in the coming Parliament session pressing for a probe into human rights violations in the neighbouring Island nation.

Vasan, who had demanded for Prime Minster Manmohan Singh's boycott to the CHOGM meet, expressed confidence that Khurshid must have spoken with other leaders on the alleged human rights violations against Tamils in Sri Lanka.

"I am sure Khurshid must have had the time to meet all the leaders (who had participated in CHOGM) and tell them about India's demand with Sri Lanka (for Tamils' welfare)," he said.

India, among others, is for implementation of the 13 Amendment to Sri Lankan Constitution for devolution of powers to Tamil provinces.

Vasan said the UPA government was implementing various welfare activities for Lankan Tamils and recalled that India had voted twice against the Island nation in the United Nations Human Rights Council on rights violations.

Holding that Sri Lankan navy was behind attacks on Indian fishermen, Vasan urged External Affairs Ministry to expedite steps to put an end to such attacks.

He also extended his greetings to veteran scientist CNR Rao and Sachin Tendulkar after Centre announced their names for India's highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna.

Earlier, Vasan launched Rs 5.25 crore worth Corporate Social Responsibility efforts of Ennore Port Limited (EPL).

With EPL implementing various projects including an LNG Terminal and additional coal berth and multi-container terminal, its capacity will more than double from the 30 million tonne per annum (MTPA) to 67 MTPA by the end of the the 12th plan period (2012-17), Vasan said.

On the lines of opening up light houses for public, his Ministry was also planning to allow children visit major ports in the country, and an announcement will be made soon following consultations with officials, he said.

Differing with an Indian Navy official's recent statement that there were no incidents of attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy in the country's waters, Vasan insisted there could be no second opinion on Lankan navy attacking the fishermen, and said he would take up the matter with Defence Minister A K Antony.

"If the Indian official had made any such remarks, it has to be denied," Vasan said.

Commodore Amar K Mahadevan, Naval Officer In-charge (Tamil Nadu and Puducherry), had recently said that according to information he had, "I can say these reports of Indian fishermen being attacked by Sri Lankan Navy did not happen within our waters."

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