Zee Media Bureau/Himanshu Kapoor
Jaffna: Shortly after landing in Jaffna, British Prime Minister David Cameron`s convoy was stopped by Tamil protesters. Cameron flew to Sri Lanka`s war-scarred northern city of Jaffna to meet the people who have been affected by 25-year civil war in the region.
Cameron was mobbed by the demonstrators who showed him pictures of their relatives claiming they have been killed by the state forces and told stories of suffering in the civil war.
Earlier he tweeted, "I`m the first PM or President to go to the north of Sri Lanka since 1948. I want to shine a light on chilling events there first hand (sic)."
After the chaotic scenes, he met with the journalists of Uthayan newspaper who claim that their colleagues were killed by state forces. In a picture he posted on the micro-blogging site, the journalists showed him the photos of their colleagues who were killed while sitting in a room riddled with bullet holes.
Cameron then left to visit a welfare centre where more than 100 families live in makeshift accommodation. In another post he said, "Visiting a welfare centre in northern Sri Lanka. The stories I am hearing from the people here are often harrowing (sic)."
Cameron said he will pressure Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajpaksha for an independent inquiry into the alleged war crimes by state forces in the final months of the conflict which ended in 2009. He will raise the question of Sri Lanka`s human rights record with Rajpaksha.
While many world leaders gathered in Colombo for the Commonwealth opening ceremony On Friday, Cameron shunned the ceremony and travelled to the northern part of the country in the Tamil-dominated city of Jaffna to meet the people there who suffered heavily during the 25 years of ethnic infighting.
After his tour, Cameron said that he would have liked to talk to more families than he did.
On Thursday before leaving for CHOGM summit, he condemned Sri Lanka`s failure to investigate the alleged war crimes.
The CHOGM summit today began under the shodow of human rights issue, and Rajpaksha used the platform to highlight his government’s success in ending terrorism in the country.
In a stern message, Rajpaksha asked countries not to turn the Commonwealth into a "punitive and judgemental" grouping or indulge in "prescriptive" ways.