Sri Lanka warns India of Kashmir repercussion

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka Saturday warned India of possible repercussions over Kashmir after it voted for a US resolution in Geneva on rights abuses during its war on the Tamil Tigers. Governme

Published: 24th March 2012 03:39 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:41 PM   |  A+A-

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka Saturday warned India of possible repercussions over Kashmir after it voted for a US resolution in Geneva on rights abuses during its war on the Tamil Tigers.

Government spokesman Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said some countries or groups might use the vote on Sri Lanka as a precedence to bring a similar resolution on India over the Kashmir dispute, Xinhua reported.

Sri Lanka was, however, mindful that India acted as a result of immense pressure from Tamil political parties, Abeywardena, the acting media minister, told a public meeting.

Much to the disappointment of Colombo, India was among 24 countries which voted in support of the US sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Thursday.

Fifteen countries voted against and eight abstained.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has warned that countries which voted for the resolution would have to worry about consequences of terrorism. quoted Rajapaksa as saying that "no external forces will be allowed to threaten the country's sovereignty".

Speaking Friday, he vowed to continue his government's development and reconciliation programmes in the island's northeastern region that was the former war zone.

He asked people not to fall "prey to conspirators, opportunists and traitors".

The president commended the 15 countries which voted against "the anti-Lanka resolution for their support" and the eight nations which abstained in the 47-member UNHRC.

Countries which voted against Sri Lanka would have to be concerned about consequences, he was quoted as saying.

But Minister Maithreepala Sirisena pointed out that the resolution was passed with the amendments added by India to safeguard Sri Lanka from "the interferences of UN bodies".

These amendments ensured that no intrusions can be imposed without the consent of the government, he added.

India forced the US to amend its resolution to safeguard Sri Lanka from international intrusions by adding a clause that said the UNHRC can provide advice and technical assistance "in consultation with, and with the concurrence of, the government of Sri Lanka".

Sri Lanka has mainly downplayed India's support to the resolution, saying New Delhi gave in to pressures from its coalition partners in Tamil Nadu who have been traditionally ranged against Colombo.

Another minister, Dullas Alahapperuma, urged the Sri Lankan public not to hate India for supporting the resolution.

Although India had gone the extra mile to make the resolution less "intrusive", New Delhi's siding with the West against an ally which stands by India in every platform "is seen as a betrayal", he said.

On Saturday, The Island newspaper urged India to stop the US and its allies from intruding into Sri Lankan affairs.

UN official warns Sri Lanka over reprisals

LONDON: A UN human rights official has warned Sri Lanka against possible attacks on its rights activists after a UN body passed a resolution decrying rights violations in the island. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said there must be no reprisals in Sri Lanka in the wake of Thursday's Human Rights Council meet in Geneva. During the session, "there has been an unprecedented and totally unacceptable level of threats, harassment and intimidation directed at Sri Lankan activists", she said. Intimidation and harassment of Sri Lankan civil society activists were also reported in other locations, the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said. It said newspapers, news web sites and TV and radio stations in Sri Lanka had since January been running a campaign of vilification including naming and in many cases picturing activists. They were repeatedly accused of treason, mercenary activities and association with terrorism. Some of these reports have contained barely veiled incitement and threats of retaliation, the media quoted the statement as saying. Pillay, a South African of Indian origin, urged the Sri Lankan government to ensure the protection of human rights defenders.

Sri Lankan minister warns rights activists

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan Minister Mervyn Silva has threatened to "break the bones" of three rights activists who campaigned for a US resolution at Geneva that was deemed to be anti-Colombo. Silva's comments were directed at activists Sunanda Deshapriya, Nimalka Fernando and Pakiasothy Saravanamuttu, Sunday Leader reported Saturday. Silva also claimed that it was he who forced the former convener of the Free Media Movement, Podala Jayantha, to leave Sri Lanka. Jayantha left the country fearing for his life after he was brutally attacked. He is believed to be living in the US. Silva accused Sri Lankan rights activists of campaigning against the country's government at the just concluded Human Rights Council session in Geneva. The Council passed a resolution decrying rights violations by the Sri Lankan military during the closing stages of the war that destroyed the Tamil Tigers in 2009.

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