Choose your friends, ally DMK tells government over Lanka policy

4:19 PM, Wednesday, February 27th, 2013
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Salman KhurshidNew Delhi : The Congress’ biggest ally, the DMK, joined opposition parties today in attacking the government during a discussion in the Rajya Sabha on alleged war crimes by the state in Sri Lanka against Tamils in that country. In a strong statement, the Tamil Nadu party asked the government it participates in to decide whether it wants to be friends with Sri Lanka or “with your brethren” in south India.

DMK’s Rajya Sabha MP Tiruchi Siva brought to the House photographs of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam or LTTE chief Prabhakaran’s 12-year-old son that have been released by British media recently, purportedly showing the child in the Sri Lanka Army’s custody before he was shot dead, allegedly in cold blood, in 2009 as the army crushed the LTTE rebellion.  

“Children are without limbs, women are losing what they should not,” the DMK member said today. The party wants India to back a resolution in the UN against Sri Lanka and has asked the government not to allow Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa into India.

The DMK was joined by rival, the AIADMK, and the Left in a walkout from the House to reject External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid’s answer to the debate. Mr Khurshid said while the government shared the concern of the parties from Tamil Nadu, it could not answer for another country’s government. “We may have anguish, we may have anger but we should not be saying Sri Lanka is an enemy country,” he said, adding that “accountability must come from within Sri Lanka, otherwise there can be no future for it.”

Mr Khurshid refused to commit what India’s stand in the UN would be, but promised to share the position the government finally decides to take.

The AIADMK’s V Maitreyan, who opened the discussion, said, “As far as we Tamils are concerned, Sri Lanka is an enemy country, and urged the government to change its Sri Lanka policy. “It is time the Lanka-centric approach of the external affairs ministry is changed to a Tamil welfare-centric approach,” Mr Maitreyan said in the Rajya Sabha.

He also accused the DMK of failing to pressure the UPA government into acting “firmly against Sri Lanka.”

The Left and the BJP too sought that India take a tough stand against Sri Lanka. “I urge upon the government to play a proactive role in Sri Lanka and vote against them if the situation demands so. India should demand an impartial international investigation into the war crimes committed against the Tamils,” the CPI’s D Raja said.

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