Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Monday made a strong appeal to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh not to attend Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to be held in Colombo during November 15-17.

In her letter to Dr Singh, the Chief Minister said the Sri Lankan regime, “which continues to deny Tamils their legitimate human rights, equality and democratic freedom,” had “clearly violated” the central credo of the Commonwealth - democracy and human rights. “Nations have been suspended from the Commonwealth for far less,” she pointed out.

In the light of the “fresh, mounting evidence of atrocities” committed by the Sri Lankan military, the conference presented another opportunity to secure for Sri Lankan Tamils equal constitutional rights and a life of dignity. India should play a crucial role, given not only “the deep and widespread sentiment” in Tamil Nadu but also at the national level. There was a need to establish India as a global leader standing up for democracy and human rights.

She referred to reports that Canada had already indicated that it was likely to boycott the CHOGM.

The House of Commons Committee on Foreign Affairs in the UK also urged the British Prime Minister not to attend the CHOGM in Colombo.

“Clearly, many important countries across the world, including two G-8 countries, propose to leverage the proposed CHOGM in Sri Lanka and make substantial progress in human rights issues in Sri Lanka,” she stated.

Ms. Jayalalithaa called upon Dr Singh to use the opportunity to demand that the venue for the CHOGM be shifted to another country. “If India takes this diplomatic initiative, there is likely to be broad-based support amongst member countries of the Commonwealth.”

At the very least, India must stay away from the CHOGM to be held in Colombo, she argued.

DMK resolution

The DMK demanded that India should boycott the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting to be held in Colombo during November this year. This was one of the resolutions passed in the executive committee meeting of the party, which was held here on Monday.

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