Civil rights activists have urged the Union Government to impress upon Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, due to visit India on June 8, the imperative of constituting an Indo-Sri Lankan joint mechanism for meaningful rebuilding of lives of Sri Lankan Tamils.

The joint mechanism, which could consist of officials from both countries, parliamentarians and NGO leaders, would also provide a credible structural framework for a number of individuals and organisations who wish to engage in the rehabilitation process in post-conflict Sri Lanka, according to participants of a panel discussion organised by civil rights organisation NAAM on Thursday.

The panellists suggested the constitution of a basic fund to undertake works related to relief, capacity building, education, healthcare and infrastructure.

Advocating a clear distinction between the short-term exigencies and the long-term mission, D. Ravikumar, MLA, stated that the NAAM-led civil rights campaign's immediate goal was to focus on rebuilding and the top priority was to reach medical assistance and provide vocational training to the Tamils.

Sashi Kumar, chairman, Media Development Foundation, called for creating a media forum that would highlight the unresolved, ongoing and acute humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka.

Stressing the need to keep aside contentious issues and to agree on a Common Minimum Programme, Mr. Sashi Kumar pointed out that a political consensus in Tamil Nadu could set the ground for exerting more pressure on the Centre for constituting a joint mechanism with Sri Lanka on this task.

Jegath Gaspar Raj, NAAM founder, stressed the importance of conciliation, which was not be confused with compromise, in providing a healing touch to Sri Lankan Tamils.

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