Report says TNA wants New Delhi to boycott CHOGM

The Sri Lankan government officially refrained from commenting on the Tamil Nadu Assembly resolution passed on Thursday, with sources observing that it was India’s “internal matter”.

(The resolution has called for “total boycott” of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo).

Though there has been considerable speculation on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s participation in the meet in November, the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry has not made any official statement so far in connection with India’s representation.

A senior official of the government, speaking to The Hindu on Thursday on condition of anonymity, said: “India is a large country with very complex political systems. Us [the Sri Lankan government] commenting on internal matters will not be good for our bilateral relations,” he said. Some other government sources, however, maintained that they look forward to prime ministerial-level participation as it would send a positive signal to take the bilateral relations forward.

“Take a practical view”

Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, executive director, Centre for Policy Alternatives, Colombo, said while there were some arguments being made in support of the need for India to boycott CHOGM, he said India might want to reflect on whether a boycott would give it leverage in the pursuit of its interest in Sri Lanka. New Delhi would have to see if a boycott would help the cause of upholding human rights and civil liberties. “It has to be viewed in the context of practical politics,” he told The Hindu.

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which has just formed the first northern provincial council government, however, is of the opinion that India must boycott CHOGM since the Sri Lankan government “violated the norms of the Commonwealth,” English daily Ceylon Today reported.

The report quoted TNA parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran as saying: “The ousting of the country’s Chief Justice is one of the instances where the government had violated basic foundations of the Commonwealth. The Indian government should look into the reasons as to why Canada has decided against participating at the CHOGM, and take a decision, accordingly.”