Unhappy over the government’s stand on the UN resolution against Sri Lanka, the DMK, AIADMK and Left parties on Wednesday walked out of the Rajya Sabha even as External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said the island nation should not be branded an “enemy country”.
He didn’t give make clear India’s position, pointing out that the resolution was still not finalised.
“At this juncture, we’d encourage the United States and Sri Lanka to directly engage on the draft resolution and aim for a mutually acceptable outcome,” said Khurshid, adding that India will take a call on the vote at the United Nations Human Rights Council towards the end of March, depending on the outcome of the talks.
He said India will “remain engaged” with the Sri Lankan government to advance the objective of a future for the Tamil community in Sri Lanka “marked by equality, dignity, justice and self-respect”.
But the members demanded that India should support the US-sponsored resolution and mobilise opinion for an independent international inquiry into the war crimes allegedly committed by Sri Lankan soldiers before and after the civil war that ended in 2009.
The AIADMK’s V Maitreyan said India had “bailed out” Colombo by “softening its tone and tenor”. “As far as we the Tamils are concerned, Sri Lanka is an enemy country and it will remain so as long as injustice is meted out to the Tamils,” he said.
Taking a dig at the DMK, a UPA ally, he said meeting foreign envoys “will not wash away sins of the past”.
The DMK’s Tiruchi Siva took umbrage at the remarks and demanded that a certain word used by Maitreyan be removed from the records. He gave an ultimatum to the UPA Government that it had two options -- either it can be “friendly with the inhuman and unfriendly country which is butchering its own people” or it can “maintain friendship with your brethren in the southern part of this country”.
The CPI’s D Raja said India “should move the resolution, vote against Sri Lanka and demand an international investigation into the war crimes and human rights violations”. Venkaiah Naidu of the BJP made it clear that the party “did not approve of” the LTTE and that there was no need to sever ties with Sri Lanka, drawing an analogy to India’s relations with Pakistan.
“But, at the same time, you can’t take it as a reason to kill an innocent boy of 12 years; and then fire at him point-blank range,” he said, referring to the recent photographs of the slain LTTE chief Prabhakaran’s son Balachandran, ostensibly taken a few hours before the teen was shot dead.