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Thursday, March 15, 2012

With political pressure mounting, Will India vote for or against Lanka at Geneva

It is a simmering cauldron out there - SM Krishna, once famously read the note of Portugese Minister thinking it to be his.

It was hot out there at Delhi.  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and senior Congress leaders, including Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, and her political secretary Ahmed Patel, went into a huddle at 7 Race Course Road late on Wednesday night(14th Mar 12), after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee precipitated a potential political train-wreck: sources said she had faxed a letter to the Prime Minister, asking him to sack Railway Minister and fellow Trinamool party leader Dinesh Trivedi and withdraw the hike in passenger fares announced in his first budget earlier in the day.

On a different pitch – one which perhaps could keep the Dravidian parties together, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna stated that Sri Lanka should investigate and inquire into rights violations charges through a transparent process.  In the wake of sharp criticism from members of both Houses of Parliament that it was trying to bail out Colombo at the ongoing 19 session of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, the Govt on Wednesday said its stand on the issue would be finalised keeping in mind the implications on the reconciliation process in Sri Lanka.  In a  suo motu statement in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said the government's “objectives, as always, continue to remain the achievement of a future for the Tamil community in Sri Lanka that is marked by equality, dignity, justice and self-respect.”

His statement on the need to examine whether our actions will actually assist in the process of reconciliation in Sri Lanka, and enhance the current dialogue between the government of Sri Lanka and Tamil parties, including the Tamil National Alliance, made some members aggressive.  Those belonging to the AIADMK tore up a copy of the statement of External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna on the issue made in both Houses before staging a walkout.

The 19th regular session of the Human Rights Council is on at Geneva and tomorrow it might take up the US sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka for discussion at the  UN Human Rights Council. This will be the second time that Sri Lanka has had to face a vote at the UN-HRC. In May 2009, the Western powers tried to get a resolution passed against Sri Lanka and they failed.   The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body created by the United Nations General Assembly on 15 March 2006 by resolution 60/251.  Analysts say that last time, of the 47 members of the HRC, 29 voted with Sri Lanka, 12 voted against and 6 abstained. The scenario could be in for a change with many of those ‘for and against’ not continuing to be members of HRC. 

Delhi need to pronounce its stand clear on whether India would vote for or against Sri Lanka if a resolution does come up against the island-nation at UNHRC.    Earlier, India has  backed Lanka solidly and had opposed moves in Geneva and elsewhere to censure Colombo for its acts of commission and omission during the last stages of the Eelam War 4.  officially that had been sought to be explained as in the hope that the Sri Lankan government will respond swiftly to global criticism by ordering an impartial probe into allegations of excesses committed during the final phases of the civil war that ended in May 2009 with the killing of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, and take action against the guilty, if any.   SM Krishna has stopped short of giving a clear answer to whether India would support the resolution submitted by the United States

The issue disrupted the Parliamentary proceedings in both the Houses as pressure builds up by both AIADMK and DMK.  Sri Lankan diplomats  are also intensely  lobbying on the same asking the Indian government to take the right decision at the right time.   DMK, a major ally in the UPA coalition government,  issued a veiled threat  that it could pull out of the government if its demand is ignored and stressed that the government should unequivocally support the US-backed resolution on Sri Lanka.  DMK Leader M Karunanidhi is quoted as saying that “India should support the resolution. Otherwise, the DMK would consider it as a betrayal of Tamils”.  However, on the Q of whether DMK would withdraw its support to the Central government if India failed to support the resolution, it was stated that the Party’s EC will have to discuss and  decide.   Perhaps the Centre solaces the past where many a times where the party has backed down after making the demands. 

There is increased  emergence of new macabre evidence of alleged human rights violations by the Sri Lankan army, particularly in the killing of LTTE leader Veluppillai Prabhakaran and his son Balachandran.  The photos and video  has generated all-round outrage in Tamil Nadu. The state, which had been divided in its support to LTTE, now seems to have gained more concerted opinion that the perpetrators of the alleged war crimes against Tamils in Sri Lanka should be brought to book.

Whilst what could the Indian move be,  is hotly debated in political circles, some International forums have snubbed  Delhi stating that it has always prevaricated and slobbered with confusion on its stance in the issue.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

1 comment:

  1. that is another inswinger from Imran - gupta