“India supported resolution against Sri Lanka at UNHRC session”

Rejecting suggestions that the Centre was indifferent to the feelings of Tamil Nadu when it came to the Sri Lankan Tamil issue, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Manish Tewari said the process of India’s engagement with its neighbours could not be in any manner construed as insensitivity towards the feelings of a particular section.

“Definitely, in the case of the larger Tamil issue, we have walked the extra mile in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), where India went ahead and supported the resolution against Sri Lanka,” Mr. Tewari told reporters here.

Stressing the need for understanding certain realities, he said there were sovereign States in the neighbourhood and India had a larger interest in the region. “Obviously there is a process of engagement with them. This should not, in any manner, be misconstrued as insensitivity towards the feelings of a particular section.”

DAS for Arasu

Asked about the allegation that his Ministry was delaying action on Tamil Nadu’s request for licence for the State-owned Arasu Cable TV Corporation to operate Digital Access System (DAS), he said, “We neither have rejected nor granted the licence.” The issue was under the review of an inter-ministerial committee.

He said when a multi-system operator licence was granted in 2008, it was given subject to the government taking a decision on the recommendations of the Telephone Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

“Subsequent to the grant of licence, TRAI gave a clear recommendation that the State Government should not be either in broadcasting or in distribution. When I became the Minister, it would be unfair on my part to take a decision one way or other. So, I asked TRAI to have a fresh look and they reiterated that recommendation,” he explained. The inter-ministerial committee’s recommendations were awaited.

“The issue has vital importance and is not confined to one region of the country. Once the inter-ministerial committee gives its recommendation, we will take a final decision,” he said.

He dismissed as unfounded speculation the view that Rahul Gandhi’s elevation as Congress vice-president could alter its relationship with various allies, including the DMK.

“Earlier, Mr. Gandhi had a limited agenda to reinvigorate, reenergise, rejuvenate and democratise the central organisation. Now, he has responded to the popular appeal and taken a wider role. He is interacting with stakeholders, alliance partners and Congress leaders across the country,” he said.

To a question whether the Congress planned to rope in more parties in its fold before the Lok Sabha elections, he said there was already a stable arrangement in Tamil Nadu and a decision would be taken by the Congress general secretary in-charge-of the State. “Anyway elections are 15 months away.”

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