The government came under intense pressure from Tamil Nadu’s political parties in Parliament today to support a resolution in the United Nations against Sri Lanka for alleged war crimes but it remained non-committal on its stand pending the final draft of the document.
AIADMK and DMK forced an adjournment of the Rajya Sabha for the day over the issue and proceedings of the Lok Sabha were also disrupted for some time as they pressed their demand for supporting US-sponsored resolution in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) based in Geneva.
Leader of the Lok Sabha Pranab Mukherjee told the House that “our traditional stand has been we have never supported any country-specific resolution at the UN Human Rights Council,” as DMK,AIADMK and CPI members rushed to the well of the House raising slogans on the issue.
The resolution against Sri Lanka moved by the US,France,and Norway is scheduled to be taken up on March 23 in the UNHRC meeting.
Noting there were “several facets” involved,government sources said India was in touch with several countries,including Sri Lanka,and other interlocutors on the issue.
“In a UN process,resolutions are tabled and then we see how they evolve. So,let’s wait for it. There could be changes in it. There could be various other developments. It is a bit premature to tell now…,” they said.
Referring to its not favouring country-specific resolution traditionally,the sources also noted that India had abstained from the voting on a recent UN resolution on Syria.
In the Rajya Sabha,Parliamentary Affairs Minister P K Bansal said: “India’s meticulous adherence to and respect for human rights is respected the world over. I have got the views of members expressed here and would not like to comment accepting that at this time we do not know what is the resolution before the council.”
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,in a letter to DMK chief M Karunanidhi,has said India is in touch with all parties and efforts are on to achieve a “forward-looking” outcome which would avoid “deepening confrontation and mistrust.”
“We are engaged with all parties in an effort to achieve an outcome that is forward-looking and that ensures that rather than deepening confrontation and mistrust between concerned parties,a way forward is found on issues related to accountability and reconciliation,” Singh said responding to Karunanidhi who demanded India support the US resolution against Colombo during voting.
Singh said India’s objective,as always,remains the achievement of a future for the Tamil community in Sri Lanka marked by equality,dignity,justice and self-respect.
“We have also emphasised the need for an independent and credible mechanism to investigate allegations of human rights violations in a time-bound manner,” he said adding “our focus on these issues with the Government of Sri Lanka will continue,” Singh said.
The issue today rocked Rajya Sabha which failed to transact any business as DMK and AIADMK members disrupted proceedings repeatedly,demanding an assurance from the government that it will support a resolution at the UN against Sri Lanka.
Members from Tamil Nadu raised the issue as soon as the House met for the day and forced three adjournments till 2 pm before the final one for the day.
DMK members were demanding that India should support a resolution moved by the US,France and Norway in the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) against the alleged atrocities committed on Sri Lankan Tamils during the island nation’s civil war.
DMK was joined by members of its rival AIADMK and Left parties in seeking a response from the government on the stand India would take on the resolution.