Indian MPs slam Sri Lanka for 'war crimes'

Indo Asian News Service

New Delhi, Aug 25 (IANS) The Indian opposition Thursday accused Sri Lanka of ill treating Tamils even after crushing the Tamil Tigers, while a Communist leader also flayed New Delhi for its silence on 'war crimes'.

'There are increasing concerns and worries over the ill-treatment of Tamils Sri Lanka,' Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader Sharad Yadav said in the Lok Sabha during a discussion on the situation in Sri Lanka.

Saying the continuing 'humiliation' of Tamils must end, Yadav said: 'India can't rest in peace as long as the ill-treatment of Tamils continues.'

He asked the Sri Lankan government to show greater initiative to overcome the ethnic divide as the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ended over two years ago.

Prasanna Kumar Patasani of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) alleged that Tamils were butchered in Sri Lanka as the military crushed the LTTE and they continued to be persecuted in the island nation.

Alluding to a UN report, M. Thambi Durai of the AIADMK pointed to the rights violations during the conflict and pressed India to impose an economic embargo against Sri Lanka till the Tamils were treated better.

In the Rajya Sabha, Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D. Raja was more scathing.

He accused New Delhi of betraying the Sri Lankan Tamils at a crucial time by not raising their mass killings in international forums.

'Government of India betrayed Sri Lankan Tamils at a crucial moment,' Raja contended.

'There is a demand for international impartial investigation. So far India has not raised this demand...

'What happened in May 2009 was nothing but genocide,' Raja said, referring to the period when the military used its awesome machine to crush the LTTE, disregarding appeals that this could cause harm Tamil civilians in the area.

'We have not seen such genocide in any country in contemporary history,' Raja said.

'I do not stand here to condole their death but to demand justice for those who were killed and for those who are alive in Sri Lanka.

'I stand here to demand an impartial international investigation on war crimes and abuse of human rights.'

Raja quoted Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa as stating that he was fighting the war for India.

'What the Sri Lankan government told the world, the government of India was a collaborator (in the war against LTTE), what is the meaning of your silence, why you are not speaking?'

Raja asked New Delhi to take up the issue internationally and to establish a mechanism to monitor the aid given to Sri Lanka for the resettlement of war displaced Tamils there.

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna is expected to reply to the discussion.

On Aug 4, Krishna stressed that India desired a political solution to the Tamil problem in Sri Lanka.