New Delhi: The
allegations of "war crimes" during Sri Lanka's bloody civil war
with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Tuesday triggered
a massive uproar in parliament, with the government indicating
that it has not made up its mind on the UN resolution on the
Two key Tamil Nadu parties -- DMK and AIADMK -- came together in
the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha to vociferously ask the Indian
government to vote against Sri Lanka on a US-sponsored resolution
before the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights (UNHCHR)
in Geneva on war crimes.
Seeking to pacify the MPs from Tamil Nadu, the government informed
parliament that no date had yet been finalised for the debate at
the international forum on the war crimes resolution. "Our
traditional stand has been that we have never supported any
country-specific resolution at the UNHCHR," Finance Minister
Pranab Mukherjee told the Lok Sabha.
Mukherjee also said no date had been fixed for the resolution
against Sri Lanka moved by France, Norway and the US.
He said India's stand can be decided in due course, adding that
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had already written two letters to
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa and DMK chief M.
Karunanidhi on the ssue.
"If members want further clarification, I will request the
External Affairs Minister to make a brief statement," Mukherjee,
who is also the Leader of the Lok Sabha, said.
Government sources indicated that India is in touch with various
countries, including Sri Lanka, over this contentious issue. Dilip
Sinha, additional secretary in the external affairs ministry, is
in Geneva and is engaged in discussions with other stakeholders.
Much will depend on the wording of the resolution, said the
The sources said that given the sensitivity of the resolution and
its ramifications on India's relations with Sri Lanka, it will
weigh in carefully before deciding a stand on it.
Last week, Krishna had said that India would take a final call on
its stand on the US-backed resolution after taking into account
overall relations between India and Lanka, besides the sentiments
prevailing in Tamil Nadu.
In his letter to Karunanidhi, the prime minister said India
attaches "high priority" to the safety, prosperity and well-being
of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka.
He also said that New Delhi has been consistent in drawing
Colombo's attention for a political settlement since the end of
the internal conflict three years ago.
"We are engaged with all parties in an effort to achieve an
outcome that is forward-looking and that ensures that rather than
deepening confrontation and mistrust between concerned parties, a
way forward is found on issues related to accountability and
Manmohan Singh said the Indian government's objective remains the
achievement of a future for the Tamil community in Sri Lanka
marked by equality, dignity, justice and self-respect.
In the Rajya Sabha, agitated members from the DMK and AIADMK,
supported by opposition parties like the Bharatiya Janata Party
and Communist Party of India, forced adjournment for day on the
The government tried to placate the agitated members with
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal saying a
statement will be made by Krishna Wednesday, but this assurance
did not cut ice with a belligerent opposition.
Bansal said India's "meticulous adherence (to) and respect for
human rights is respected the world over. I have got the views of
members here and would not like to comment excepting that at this
time we do not know what is the resolution before the council."
BJP's S.S. Ahluwalia and Venkaiah Naidu backed the demand of the
DMK and AIADMK members. "It is a sensitive issue and we cannot
(close) our eyes and ears as atrocities are being committed,"
"The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister (J. Jayalalithaa) has raised this
issue with the prime minister. We want an answer from the prime
minister... Will they (India) support the UN resolution?" said V.
Maitreyan of AIADMK.
DMK MP Tiruchi Siva urged the government to back the resolution.
In the Lok Sabha, as soon as the house convened, DMK member T.R.
Baalu demanded that the government support the US-sponsored
resolution against Sri Lanka in UNHCHR. Baalu was backed by his
party colleagues and members from the AIADMK and the CPI.