by Press Trust of India, November 30, 2013
India today asserted that it would not rest till the Sri Lanka implemented the 13th amendment and insisted on an “elaborate, independent and genuine probe” acceptable to the international community into the ‘genocide’ by that government during 2009 civil war.
“There are attempts being made there for not implementing the 13th amendment in the Sri Lankan Constitution. Efforts are being made to dilute many provisions by the Rajapaksa government. TNA (Tamil National Alliance) is opposing it… the 13th amendment cannot be diluted. India has been and will continue to insist for its implementation,” Finance Minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said.
Addressing a party meeting to explain the government’s stand on the Lankan Tamils issue here, he said LTTE chief V Prabakaran and thousand others would have survived if the LTTE and Lankan government had heeded India’s words.
“None can deny that there was genocide. We will continue to exert pressure on the Sri Lankan government for an elaborate probe. I call upon the people of India, including Tamils here to support the government’s efforts to protect the 13th amendment, while Lankan government is trying to not implement it,” he said.
Referring to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s decision to stay away from the Commonwealth summit in Colombo earlier this month, he said it was a “shock treatment” to Lankan President Rajapaksa.
He accused the Lankan government of not following up on the functions of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Committee and not punishing the guilty in the genocide, despite having constituted it.
India has been consistently insisting for implementation of 13th amendment. “It is only because of India, countries are aware of the developments in Sri Lanka and that’s how Canada decided to boycott the Commonwealth summit,” he said.
Referring to an invite extended by C V Wigneswaran, the Chief Minister of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, he said, “The invite is still open. There are chances that our Prime Minister will go to Jaffna and hold talks with him. If he visits Jaffna, it would amount to a visit to Lanka. There are chances that Lankan President Rajapaksa would change his mind.”
Contending that is not an “easy task” to fight for minority rights in another sovereign country, which is also a neighbour, he asked “Are we saying it is right to fight for a separate land for Mizos or in Kashmir or in Manipur.”
‘None can deny that there was genocide – Chidambaram
by ‘Tamil Guardian,’ London, December 1, 2013
|Stating that “none can deny that there was genocide”, India’s Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, said that “the Centre will not rest until a genuine , detailed investigation is initiated against genocide and the perpetrators are brought to justice.”
“If they (the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government) had heeded our advice in the final stages of the war, Prabhakaran would have been alive today,” he added.
Following months of activism and vehement condemnation of the Sri Lankan government’s actions against Eelam Tamils within the Tamil Nadu assembly, Chidambaram is now the latest, and most senior ranking official within Indian polity to demand an investigation into genocide.
Defending the Indian Prime Minister’s decision not to attend the Commonwealth leader’s summit as “sensible and wise”, and a necessary “shock treatment” to Sri Lanka, his comments were at odds with the External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid’s post-CHOGM lamentation that India had made an erroneous decision.
Brushing over the strong stand taken by the Canadian premier, Chidambaram said, “It is not a neighbouring country to Sri Lanka unlike India. Canada is some 15,000 miles away from Sri Lanka.” He went on to assert that the actions of the British premier David Cameron were “a victory to Indian diplomacy for having brought international attention to the issue in Sri Lanka.”
Yet with seeming equivocality, he stressed the need to adopt a non-confrontational approach and called on the Commander in Chief at the time of the “genocide” against the Tamils, to show benevolence.
“We should not adopt a confrontational attitude with our neighbour, but should continue to engage Sri Lanka,” said Chidambaram, added, “India is a neighbour and cannot act against Lanka, a sovereign nation. Both countries will have to maintain friendliness.”
“We hope Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksha will change his attitude.”
Commenting on India’s previous (and notoriously reluctant) approach to pushing accountability and justice for Eelam Tamils, he dismissed previous reports that suggested that India had been principally responsible in watering down the previous two resolution passed on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council. Instead, Chidambaram said,
“I accept the resolution brought was a diluted one, so we wanted to strongly word it. Though some countries did not accept our draft, it was heard and we did achieve in that.”
Reiterating the need for full implementation of the 13th Amendment, Chidambaram raised strong possibilities of the Indian Prime Minister accepting an invitation by the Chief Minister of the Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran, Mr Chidambaram to visit Jaffna, he said,
“The invite is still open. There are chances that our Prime Minister will go to Jaffna and hold talks with him. If he visits Jaffna, it would amount to a visit to Lanka. There are chances that Lankan President Rajapaksa would change his mind.”
“What if Rajapaksa refuses visa for our officials. You may ask how can he deny? He can deny like the way the US denied visa to Narendra Modi.”