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Saturday, April 20, 2024

DMK wants India to vote against Sri Lanka for alleged war crimes

Chennai/New Delhi:  The DMK, a senior partner in the UPA, has said that India must vote against Sri Lanka next week in Geneva at a session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. The resolution has been moved by the US and India had hinted that it would support its neighbour. The DMK wants both Houses of Parliament to discuss this today and commit to a vote against Sri Lanka.

That’s largely due to excerpts from a documentary shot in Sri Lanka that will be aired on Channel 4 this week in the UK. The film shows a 12-year-old lying dead with five bullet holes in his chest. “The boy’s name is Balachandran Prabhakaran; he is the son of the LTTE leader, Vellupillai Prabakaran. He has been executed in cold blood,” said the documentary’s maker, Callum Macrae, in an interview to the Independent newspaper. In the same paper, Mr. Macrae says the video “seems to have been shot [as] a grotesque trophy video by Sri Lankan forces.”

TKS Elangovan of the DMK said that party chief M Karunanidhi has seen the video and has made it clear that India cannot support Sri Lanka, or abstain during the Geneva vote. He said the party will consider later whether to exit the UPA if it’s demand is not met. Sri Lanka has rejected the claims made by the documentary about alleged war crimes. “The Lankan Government is in the process of reconciliation and taking steps to bridge gaps. We don’t need extra regional intervention in our region. It’s uncalled for,” said Prasad Kariyawasam, the Sri Lankan High Commissioner in India.

The 60-minute documentary titled Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields: War Crimes Unpunished corrodes Sri Lanka’s opposition to the resolution moved by the US. What America has asked for is an inquiry into human rights violations and the alleged execution of civilians by Sri Lankan soldiers. The DMK, a major ally in the UPA, wants a discussion today in the Rajya Sabha on whether India will vote against Sri Lanka. In Chennai,  DMK leader M Karunanidhi said, “India should support the US resolution against Lanka in UNHRC…lots of human rights violations have taken place in Sri Lanka.” India had hinted earlier that it would support its neighbor during the vote but the new documentary may provoke a reassessment.

Sri Lankan officials have rejected the claims – both in the new documentary and in another last year that also aired on Channel 4 – that the end of their country’s 26-year-long civil war included atrocities that catalogue unimaginable war crimes against the island’s Tamils.

“The UN reported that over 40,000 people died in weeks. This is appalling. India has a great opportunity to raise this at UN General Assembly. India as a neighbour must act at least now,” said Suren Surendiran, a spokesperson for the Global Tamil Forum.

But a faction also warns India that the consequences of voting against Sri Lanka could be grave.

“Support for such adventurist resolutions will make India vulnerable to future resolutions on Kashmir and Manipur,” said Subramanian Swamy, the Janata Party President who is from Tamil Nadu.
Reported by Sam Daniel and A Vaidyanathan,


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