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India to move amendments to UN resolution on Sri Lanka


Finance Minister P Chidambaram on the right

New Delhi: India will move amendments to the UN resolution against Sri Lanka at Geneva later this week, the government said today. Senior ministers also confirmed that they are working on support for a parliamentary resolution that will ask for an independent inquiry into alleged atrocities against Sri Lankan Tamils.

“India’s position has always been that UN should adopt a strong resolution to goad Sri Lanka to accept an independent investigation,” said Finance Minister P Chidambaram on the amendments India will seek in Geneva. But 24 of the 47 member countries of the UN Human Rights Council will have to back any changes that India wants, which is unlikely. (Read: Govt is neither lame nor a duck, say ministers on DMK crisis)

The DMK, which pulled out of the government yesterday, wanted India to add strong language to the UN resolution, accusing Sri Lanka of genocide and demanding an international inquiry into possible war crimes by the island’s defence forces in the final phase of the civil war against the separatist Tamil Tigers. The party wanted a similar resolution be passed by India’s Parliament. (DMK pulls out of UPA: 10 big developments)

The government moved yesterday to fulfill both demands, but last night, the DMK handed a letter to President Pranab Mukherjee withdrawing its support to the fragile UPA. The party’s five ministers will meet the Prime Minister today to resign.

This morning, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said that despite the DMK’s exit, government is “neither lame nor a duck.” He asserted, “No political party has come out and challenged the majority of this government.” (Watch)

That is because even without the DMK’s 18 Lok Sabha MPs, the government will not lose a vote that tests its majority because of the support of regional powerhouses Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati.

But some of the government’s allies are allegedly not convinced with the need for a parliamentary resolution on Sri Lanka. Kamal Nath admitted that Sharad Pawar, for example, has issues with a country-specific resolution; “we are talking to him, this is why we are holding consultations,” the minister said.

The main opposition party, the BJP, has so far refused to support the resolution, arguing that it will amount to interference and unwarranted commentary on another country’s affairs.

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