The Prime Minister said today in Parliament that India is inclined to vote against Sri Lanka at a session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. A resolution against the Sri Lankan government for alleged war crimes and human rights violations has been moved by the US, Norway and France. “We do not yet have the final text of the US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka. However, I may assure the House that we are inclined to vote in favour of a resolution that we hope will advance our objective, namely the achievement of a future for the Tamil community in Sri Lanka that is marked by equality, dignity, justice and self-respect.” Sources say that the resolution, to be balanced, could include criticism of the LTTE too.
Dr Manmohan Singh’s comments have placated his ally, the DMK, which has threatened to pull out of the coalition at the centre if India either abstained or supported Sri Lanka at the vote. The DMK has 18 Lok Sabha MPs and is needed for the government’s survival. “We welcome the announcement if it’s true,” said the party’s president, M Karunanidhi, adding “(but) we will wait for the final decision.”
All parties from Tamil Nadu have been urging the Centre to take a strong stand on the atrocities allegedly committed by the Sri Lankan government in ending the country’s civil war and extinguishing the LTTE. The deaths of Sri Lanka Tamils – 40,000 according to some reports – has been an emotional issue in Tamil Nadu.
In a statement today, the Ministry of External Affairs stressed that Foreign Affairs Minister SM Krishna is “giving great importance to views expressed by MPs from Tamil Nadu” and that India will study the draft of the resolution against Sri Lanka and then take a call on its vote.