“It will be deeply hurtful to cause of innocent Sri Lankan Tamils’’
Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jayanthi Natarajan has urged the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) Naina Lal Kidwai to cancel the proposed trip by a delegation of Parliamentarians to Sri Lanka, “in solidarity with the sufferings of innocent civilian Tamils in Sri Lanka and out of respect for the feelings of the people of Tamil Nadu.”
[Organised under the auspices of the FICCI, the trip, by the delegation of six MPs, is to begin on Monday (April 8) and conclude on Friday].
The proposed trip, if carried out, would create an “avoidable impression” that “anguish and turmoil” felt by Tamils and the whole country over the “human rights violations” by the Sri Lankan government against Sri Lankan Tamils had not been “supported or taken seriously” by the FICCI, she argued.
In a letter written on Saturday to the FICCI president in her personal capacity, she stated, “I feel that this is a trip, which if undertaken, will be deeply hurtful to the cause of innocent Sri Lankan Tamils.” She would also write separately to the MPs.
Referring to a report in The Hindu which quoted Jyoti Malhotra, convener of FICCI Forum of Parliamentarians, as saying that this initiative is “a part of Track Two political dialogue between Indian Parliamentarians and their Sri Lankan counterparts” and that “this visit is part of a larger programme that seeks to institutionalise political partnerships,” she said “this stated intention and the trip proposed to be undertaken run directly contrary to the anger and sorrow felt by the people of Tamil Nadu regarding the human rights violations by the Sri Lankan government.”
Expressing her deep sense of anguish at the atrocities perpetrated on Tamils of Sri Lanka, she said “although UN has repeatedly called for the de-militarisation of northern Sri Lanka, this has not happened and the Sri Lankan army continues to inflict serious human rights violations upon civilian Tamils in northern Sri Lanka, treating the area a conquered land.” While recalling that the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the UPA government had, time and again, reiterated the importance of accountability and the implementation of 13 Amendment to devolve meaningful powers to the Tamil people in Sri Lanka, she said: “However, this has not happened.” The UPA government had put together substantial financial packages for the rehabilitation of the internally-displaced Tamils in northern Sri Lanka, including supply of vital pharmaceutical drugs and building houses.
However, despite the constructive aid offered by India, Sri Lanka had failed to properly deliver these resources to the intended recipients, she said, adding UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi expressed her concern over the human rights violation by the Sri Lankan government.