Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said on Thursday that it was Tamil Nadu’s view that India should not participate in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo next month at any level, whether titular, ministerial or official. India’s participation in CHOGM would amount to backing the Sri Lankan government which is facing charges of genocide, war crimes and human rights abuses against the Tamil minority, she said.

Alleging that the regime “continues to deny equality and democratic freedom to the Tamil minority,” thereby “violating the central credo of the Commonwealth,” Ms. Jayalalithaa urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ensure that the government of India stayed away from the meeting.

This would exert diplomatic pressure on Sri Lanka to adopt a more reasonable approach towards its Tamil minority population, the Chief Minister said in a letter to Dr. Singh recalling his earlier statement that he would keep in mind the sentiments of the Tamil people while deciding on his participation.

India’s participation, Ms.Jayalalithaa said, would not only embolden the Sri Lankan regime but also incense public opinion and sentiment in Tamil Nadu on this very sensitive issue.

Implications on State security

“It will also have adverse implications on the internal security situation in Tamil Nadu.

Political parties, students and civil society are staging protests, rallies and public agitations.

The participation will further aggravate the situation in Tamil Nadu,” she said.

Canada example

She said the Prime Minister of Canada had declined to attend the meeting on the ground that the Sri Lankan government had failed to uphold the Commonwealth’s core values.

If India stayed away from the meeting, it would demonstrate the country’s commitment to upholding the values of democracy and respect for human rights globally. Besides, it would be an expression of the empathy and solidarity with Tamils, not only in Tamil Nadu but elsewhere, she said in the letter.

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