NEW DELHI: The Sri Lankan High Commissioner has apologised for recent remark, which suggested that Tamil Nadu MPs had been lobbied by LTTE members to object to the alleged war crimes of the Sri Lankan Government. Kariyawasam issued his apology after he was summoned by the Ministry of External Affairs to explain his interview.
“If they are sympathetic to the LTTE cause, the Indian authorities should investigate into the matter,” Kariyawasam had said in an interview published on Thursday.
“I would like to apologise to MPs of Tamil Nadu if I have caused any discontent or concern or distress in their minds. I feel sorry about that,” the high commissioner told mediapersons outside South Block, after being summoned for a meeting with the Ministry of External Affairs’s Joint Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla.
He added that the Indian Government had raised content about the ‘tone and content’ of the interview. “I am very sorry about that. That’s not what I meant. I have a lot of respect for the parliamentarians. Some of them are good friends and what I would not assume that I would ask the Indian authorities to investigate parliamentarians. I cannot ask that and I would not,” Kariyawasam added.
But, he insisted that ‘concerns about the LTTE lobby groups’ who are carrying on a campaign here in India was still valid. I was talking in terms of investigations of these LTTE lobby groups’. Asked what stand he expected India to take at the Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva on the US-sponsored resolution on ‘war crimes’ in Sri Lanka, the envoy said, “India is a responsible country.”
In the Rajya Sabha, Kariyawasam’s remarks created a storm on Thursday. D Raja of the Left, along with the AIADMK and DMK members, said the Envoy had violated diplomatic norms. “There can be no comment on the conduct of the MPs. It is in gross violation of our privilege,” said DMK leader Trichy Shiva.
Similarly, CPI’s D Raja demanded a response from the government. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla said the members should only believe what the External Affairs Minister have said in the House on the Sri Lankan matter. The AIADMK and DMK members also gave a notice for breach of privilege against the Sri Lankan Envoy.
Following the apology, DMK leader Tiruchi Shiva said they were ‘considering’ whether to continue with the notice. However, CPI leader D Raja refused to accept the apology. “The apology is not acceptable. On behalf of the CPI, the Government of India should ask the Sri Lankan Government to call back its High Commissioner working in Delhi,” said Raja.