India expresses concern over violence against fishermen

India on Tuesday conveyed to Sri Lanka that "continued violence" against Indian fishermen straying into its waters was a matter of "serious concern".

New Delhi: India on Tuesday conveyed to Sri
Lanka that "continued violence" against Indian fishermen
straying into its waters was a matter of "serious concern".

This was conveyed to visiting Sri Lankan Foreign
Minister GL Peiris, who called on Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh and held delegation-level talks with his counterpart SM
Krishna during his three-day visit ending on Tuesday.

The joint statement, issued after his meetings with
the Indian leadership, said India and Sri Lanka have agreed
that the use of force could not be justified under any
circumstances and that all fishermen should be treated in a
humane manner.

"The Indian side conveyed that the incidents of
continued violence against Indian fishermen in the vicinity of
Sri Lanka were of serious concern," the statement said.

Agreeing on the need for reform of the UN Security
Council, Sri Lanka reiterated its strong support for India`s
legitimate claim for permanent membership in an expanded UN
Security Council.

India also stressed the need for the expeditious
implementation of measures by the Sri Lankan Government, to
ensure resettlement and genuine reconciliation, including
early return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), early
withdrawal of emergency regulations and investigations into
allegations of human rights violations.

Peiris reiterated the commitment of his Government to
continue to address issues related to resettlement and
reconciliation in a focused and progressive manner and
referred to the work of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation
Commission (LLRC).

The Sri Lankan minister also talked about the steps
taken by the Inter-Agency Advisory Committee (IAAC) chaired by
the Attorney General in implementing the Interim
Recommendations of the LLRC in relation to detention, law and
order, administration and language issues and socio-economic
and livelihood issues.

Though there was no official word on whether Peiris
also put forth position of his government on the report by the
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon`s expert panel accusing Sri
Lanka of "war crimes", reports from Colombo, ahead of the
visit, had indicated that he will do so.

The panel was constituted to study the events during
the last phase of the war against the LTTE, probe allegations
of war crimes and advise the UN chief on the issue.

The report has accused the Lankan government and the
now vanquished Tamil Tiger rebels of targeting and killing
thousands of civilians during the last phase of the civil war
that ended on May 19, 2009 with the death of Velupillai
Prabhakaran. It also advocated setting up of an independent

The UN Secretary General has made it clear that any
independent international investigation will be instituted
only after the member states call for it.

Measured in its response, India had said it was
willing to engage with Sri Lanka on the report.