Photo: Asma Jilani Jahangir one of the experts on UNHRC investigation is a leading Pakistani human rights activist
Chennai: Expressing surprise over reports indicating denial of visa by the Centre to a United Nations team probing human rights violations in Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to grant them visa to enable them to hold a fair probe. In a letter to the Prime Minister yesterday which was released to the media today, Jayalalithaa said, “if the media reports are true, this would be a bitter disappointment to the people of Tamil Nadu who are determined to ensure that the Sri Lankan regime is held to account for its heinous acts against Tamils.”
Pointing out that India was geographically Sri Lanka’s closest neighbour and that Tamil refugees of the island nation were still residing in Tamil Nadu, she said “India is definitely a place that any team probing human rights violations in Sri Lanka should visit to conduct its inquiries.
“I request you to kindly intervene in the issue and ensure that the international committee is granted the necessary visas and is in a position to complete a fair and impartial enquiry into the human rights violations in Sri Lanka.”
This would go a long way in assuaging the strong sentiments prevailing amongst all sections of society and the polity in Tamil Nadu, she noted.
Reiterating a strong demand in Tamil Nadu to hold the Sri Lankan regime to account for the alleged genocide and war crimes in the closing stages of the civil war, she regretted that Tamil minorities in Sri Lanka continued to be discriminated.
Stating that she had written to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on this issue, she rued that no strong action was taken.
“Under the new government under your leadership, we were very hopeful of a change in India’s stance.”
Referring to her memorandum to Modi on June 3, she recalled that she had urged the Centre to sponsor a resolution in the United Nations “condemning the genocide in Sri Lanka and to hold to account all those responsible for the genocide and thereby render justice to the Tamils in Sri Lanka.”
DMK president M Karunanidhi urged the Centre to allow UN probe in Chennai on alleged war crimes committed by Sri Lanka.
Referring to reported denial of visa to a UN committee, Karunanidhi in a statement here said “the Tamils world over expect that the Indian government should allow the probe to be conducted in Chennai.”
The denial of visa to the UN team has led to apprehension that the Union government was supporting the war crimes and blatant human rights violations of the Rajapaksa regime in Sri Lanka,” he said.
Expressing anguish, the DMK leader wanted the Centre to spell out its stance on the Lankan issue and asked “if the Centre was following the same stance of the previous Congress regime” vis-vis Sri Lanka.
“Modi had said during the run up to the elections that if a BJP government was elected it would be supportive of Sri Lankan Tamils,” he reminded.