India should have sought SL`s suspension from Commonwealth: BJP

Last Updated: Thursday, April 4, 2013 - 00:22

Chennai: Expressing support to the cause of protecting Sri Lankan Tamils, BJP on Wednesday said India should have demanded Sri Lanka`s suspension from the Commonwealth for alleged human rights violations and urged the country not to participate in the next CHOGM.

"India should have taken the initiative to bring to the notice of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group over the violation of human rights and sought the suspension of Sri Lanka," senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said, addressing a party meeting here.

Accusing the Centre of "inept" handling of the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, he said "India did nothing of that kind (to seek the suspension of Sri Lanka)."

He alleged that without the complicity of the Indian government, the "genocide" of Tamils in the island nation would not have occurred.

Echoing the sentiments of political parties in Tamil Nadu which have been demanding that India boycott the upcoming CHOGM to be held in Sri Lanka in November, he said he was also not in favour of the country`s participation.

"The government of India should tell the Commonwealth Secretary General that it would not be possible for India to attend it in Sri Lanka. If India says we are not going to Sri Lanka, there will be no CHOGM. Will Prime Minister Manmohan Singh show this courage?" he said.

Making his party`s stand clear on the country not attending CHOGM in Sri Lanka, the former External Affairs Minister said "I say, `No` with a capital N and O."

He advocated that India should press for action against Sri Lanka in the Commonwealth as it enjoyed a strong say in the body. "There is no Commonwealth without India. India is the pivot of Commonwealth."

Expressing his support for a separate `Eelam` (homeland)
for Tamils in Sri Lanka, Sinha cautioned Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa that his government cannot suppress the demand with repression using the army.

"The history of the world will show that repression has never worked. No people can be subdued with the strength of military, however mighty it be," he said and cited the creation of East Timor, Sudan and Bangladesh.

"I`m sending a message to President Rajapaksa. If you continue along this path of repression and distortion, Tamil Eelam is not far away," Sinha cautioned the neighbouring nation.

Blaming the ceding of Kachchatheevu island to Sri Lanka by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, which, he claimed, was the origin of all problems faced by Indian fishermen, Sinha said "nothing stops India from redrawing the fishing line around Kachchatheevu (an islet in the Palk Straits)."

Demanding that India annul the agreement ceding the islet to Sri Lanka, the senior BJP leader promised to bring a negotiated settlement for the Lankan Tamils in their country if his party was voted to power, apparently to lure the electorate in Tamil Nadu in the next Lok Sabha elections.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, April 4, 2013 - 00:22

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