Suspected members of pro-Tamil groups damaged three statues of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in Chennai on Thursday, a day after they clashed with Congress workers during a protest against Centre’s opposition to release of convicts in the case related to the assassination of the former PM.
The matter now rests with the Supreme Court which restrained the state government from freeing the seven, but that is unlikely to ease the pressure on the Congress with the elections around the corner and the United Nations Human Rights Council set to discuss a report calling for international probe into allegations of human rights violations in Sri Lanka.
The 25th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council is scheduled to begin March 7 at Geneva, where it will discuss the annual report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillai, in which she has recommended establishing an international inquiry to investigate alleged human rights violations during the last phase of war in 2009.
This is a tricky matter for the Congress as its government had allegedly supported the Lankan forces. With just a week left for the meeting in Geneva, the latest UNHRC review report has brought the issue back to limelight. The report recalled the “magnitude and gravity” of the alleged violations committed by not just the government forces but also the rebel LTTE “which left many thousands of civilians killed, injured or missing”. However, after the almost complete elimination of the rebels after the war, international pressure is squarely on the victor. Taking this up, rights activists have once again raised the demand for an independent inquiry to bring about peace that is rooted in law and justice.
Among the political parties, the DMK has already demanded that India move a separate resolution seeking an independent inquiry, besides backing the US-moved resolution. NDA ally MDMK, led by vociferous LTTE supporter Vaiko, held agitations raising the demand. The parties have sought a referendum among Lankan Tamils on the question of an independent homeland, Eelam.
The Geneva meet will go on till the last week of March, at a time when Jayalalithaa will be on the first leg of her campaign where Sri Lanka, Tamils and freedom of the seven convicts are expected to figure prominently.