Sri Lankan Tamils, marine issues figure in Congress top brass meet
New Delhi: The issue of Sri Lankan Tamils and the controversy surrounding the absconding two Italian marines on Friday figured in the meeting of Congress top brass including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party President Sonia Gandhi here.
The meeting, in which External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid was specially called, took place at a time when the government is working on its stand on a proposed UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka.
Making a statement in Rajya Sabha in the wake of demands made by DMK and AIADMK that India should support the US- sponsored resolution on killing of Tamils in Sri Lanka and holding of an independent inquiry, Khurshid said that there should be accountability besides an "impartial, independent and transparent" probe into allegations of atrocities on Tamils.
He said the process for a decision on the resolution is underway and India has already started engaging with other countries to finalise its view on it.
The party`s Core Group meeting, attended by Defence Minister A K Antony, Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Gandhi`s political secretary Ahmed Patel, also took place amid India deciding to downgrade its diplomatic ties with Italy.
India has asked its Ambassador-designate to that country Basant Kumar Gupta, who was scheduled to leave for Rome today, not to proceed to take up his posting after Italy reneged on its commitment to send back its two marines facing trial for allegedly killing two Indian fishermen last year.
All the exit points, including airports across the country, have been alerted to prevent Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini from leaving the country. The decision was taken by the Union Home Ministry, a day after the Supreme Court restrained the Italian Ambassador from leaving India without its permission, official sources said.
"The government is firm on the marines issue," a leader said after the Core Group meeting when asked what would be the next step of the government on the matter.
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