Wednesday, April 20, 2011

CPI questions India's 'silence' on UN report on SL civil war

New Delhi: In the wake of reports that a UN panel has found "credible allegations" that war crimes were committed during the conflict in Sri Lanka, the CPI Wednesday questioned India's "studied silence" on the issue accusing it of "partnering" with Colombo during the last phase of the war.

Party National Secretary D Raja said India "stands accused" in the eyes of the international community for providing "military and monetary" assistance to Sri Lanka in the war during which thousands of "innocent Tamil civilians" lost their lives.

"Why is the Government of India not commenting on the report, excerpts of which have been carried in the media? What is India's stand on the alleged war crimes committed in the war during which it supported the Sri Lankan Government?" he asked.

 The high-level panel, appointed by UN chief Ban Ki- moon last year, has concluded that there are "credible allegations" that thousands of civilians were killed and war crimes were committed in the last phase of the 30-year-old bloody civil war, media reports have said.

Raja said since Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa himself had admitted that war against LTTE would not have been won without the support of India, the UPA Government has an obligation to spell out its stand on the alleged war crimes.

"India never denied reports that it supported Sri Lanka in the war. It is a fact that India provided military support to the Sri Lankan Government. India was an active partner in the war against ethnic Tamils there," he said, adding that DMK, which is part of the UPA, should also respond.

Raja said questions could be raised now on India's stand towards human rights violations in the wake of the report which has blamed the Sri Lankan Government along with LTTE for civilian deaths.

He said India has to "come clear" on this as it will serve as a non-permanent member in the UN Security Council for the next two years and also it aspires to become a permanent member of the panel.

"The killing of Tamil civilians was a genocide. It drew all-round condemnation from European countries like the UK and France, the US, Canada and Australia. India never condemned the violations because it was a party to the war," he said.

Raja also alleged that India played a proactive role in "suppressing" the voice of the international community over the "war crimes" committed during the last phase of the civil war.

"This was rightly exposed in the WikiLeaks cable. India never accepted the views of the international community on the issue. India never took up the issue at global fora and at regional fora and it betrayed Sri Lankan Tamils," he said.

Raja also accused the Congress-led UPA of not making any "sincere effort" to resolve the ethnic question through political means that will guarantee the co-existence of Tamils in Sri Lanka.

India has not influenced the Sri Lankan Government to resolve the issue immediately by amending the Constitution, he said and asked New Delhi to make sure that the assistance provided by it to Colombo for rehabilitation of Tamil civilians is used in a proper manner.

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