Describing as “regrettable” the protests by sections of the Tamil community calling for unfriendly measures against Sri Lanka, the island nation on Monday invited its vociferous critics to visit the country and ascertain the progress of work on the ground to rebuild the nation, resettle displaced persons and reintegrating “misguided youth”.
In an apparent reaction to the March 27 Tamil Nadu Assembly resolution urging the Centre to stop treating Sri Lanka as a friendly nation, the External Affairs Ministry of the island country issued a statement on Monday stating that the demands for international intervention in Sri Lanka “are devoid of merit and smack of prejudice”.
“Allegations levelled against the Sri Lankan state, its leaders and Security Forces are based on hearsay, misinformation, misperceptions and ethno-nationalistic ideologies,” the statement held.
The TN Assembly resolution had also sought sanctions on Sri Lanka besides demanding a referendum for a separate Tamil Eelam.
“Strident demands to stop calling Sri Lanka a friendly country by some are disturbing and do not relate at all to the continuing friendship and cooperation between India and Sri Lanka that has tood the test of time and finds expression today in a multi-faceted relationship encompassing all regions of India and all aspects of modern life, including substantive economic interactions,” the communique stressed.
Warning that efforts by “interested parties to create communal discord will not succeed”, the statement said that Sri Lanka required “time and space” to move forward on the course already charted to provide justice and dignity for all Sri Lankans. To this end, it had appointed the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) to provide equity and justice to all in the country, especially those in the strife-torn Northern and Eastern Provinces. “Its comprehensive set of recommendations is now being implemented step by step, in a structured and methodical manner,” the statement read.
Dwelling upon allegations against Sri Lankan Navy over killing and harassment of Indian fishermen, the statement said they were “erroneous and without any factual basis”.
“The Sri Lankan Navy is under strict orders to treat all Tamil Nadu fishermen, who cross regularly into Sri Lankan Waters, in a humane manner,” it emphasised.
“At the same time, Sri Lanka has continually and emphatically impressed upon Indian authorities of the compelling need to take appropriate action regarding the very large number of fishing boats daily entering Sri Lanka’s territorial waters and exploiting fisheries resources, causing grave damage to the livelihoods of fishing communities in the north of Sri Lanka,” the statement said.