PM tries to pacify Tamil anger for CHOGM
DMK, CPI register their protest over UPA’s way of handling the situation
Chennai: Seeking to assuage the feelings of the people of Tamil Nadu opposed to India’s participation in the CHGOM meet in Sri Lanka, Centre today detailed its relief and rehabilitation efforts for minority Tamils in the war-torn island nation.
Print advertisements issued by Ministry of External Affairs listed out implementation of “Indian Assisted Projects for Tamil people in Sri Lanka since 2009″ and recalled that even before the “30-year armed conflict” came to an end, India had sent emergency relief assistance for internally displaced Tamils.
The statistics detailing Indian efforts in Sri Lanka were accompanied by pictures of External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid meeting recently elected Chief Minister of Northern Province C V Wigneswaran and the Minister giving away certificates to beneficiaries under an Indian housing project among others.
“India’s development projects in the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka now encompass virtually all sectors of economy, including housing, infrastructure development, education, health, agriculture, fisheries, industry, handicrafts, culture and sports,” it said.
External Affairs Ministry’s full-page advertisement comes a day after Tamil Nadu Assembly expressed “regret” over India’s participation in CHOGM, with the country’s delegation being led by Khurshid himself even as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has chosen to skip the event in the backdrop of stiff opposition against his participation in the multi-country summit.
Meanwhile, the British Foreign Secretary William Hague arrived here today ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) starting on Friday. Hague’s arrival preceded that of British Prime Minister David Cameron who is due here tomorrow, the British officials said.
DMK flays Khurshid’s participation in CHOGM
On the other hand, hardening its stand, DMK today termed External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid’s Sri Lankan visit as “wrong” to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), saying Tamil people’s sentiments should not be ignored in this matter.
Earlier the Tamil Nadu assembly passed the resolution twice seeking India’s complete boycott from the summit. On this backdrop, party chief M Karunanidhi said, “My opinion is that it (Khurshid’s visit) is wrong.” “My stand is that the Centre should not ignore sentiments of Tamil people like this,” he told reporters here. While welcoming Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s decision to stay away from the summit beginning on November 15 Karunanidhi had, however, said the decision to depute a delegation led by Khurshid was ‘debatable’.
Political parties in Tamil Nadu have been demanding that India boycott completely the CHOGM in view of alleged war crimes by Sri Lanka during the battle against LTTE in 2009.
CPI targets UPA government
CPI accused the UPA government of adopting a “callous” attitude towards the Tamil Nadu Assembly resolution on human rights violations in Sri Lanka, saying it would have far-reaching consequences on Centre-State relations.
“It was in an unprecedented manner that the (assembly) resolution was passed unanimously. Centre should have given due respect to it. If it continues to adopt this callous attitude, it will have far-reaching implications on Centre- State relations and raise serious questions on the formulation of the country’s foreign policy,” party national secretary D Raja said here.
Evolution of foreign policy is “not the exclusive domain of the party in power in Delhi”, he said, adding that the policy cannot be formulated in an abstract manner for an abstract situation. “It has to be evolved on the basis of concrete situation based on consensus. India being a diverse country, all sections of the people and all regions must be taken into confidence in this process,” Raja said.
His statement came as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh decided to skip the CHOGM meeting in Sri Lanka, but External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said he has taken a “considered” call on the visit.