The Union Shipping Minister expressed his concern for the “suffering" Sri Lankan Tamils.

Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan on Tuesday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and urged him to take up with other countries shifting of the venue of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting(CHOGM) in November from Colombo in view of the anti-Tamils attitude of the Rajapaksa government.

The Congress’ Rajya Sabha member from Tamil Nadu told The Hindu that Dr. Singh listened to his request and did not say anything.

Mr. Vasan, son of popular Congress leader late G.K. Moopanar, referred to the agitations in various parts of Tamil Nadu in support of the “suffering” Sri Lankan Tamils at the hands of security personnel. He said it would be India’s duty to ensure that Tamils lived in peace in their own land and regained their original status and rights.

The Minister, during the 30-minute meeting, also asked Dr. Singh to direct the Ministry of External Affairs to take up the issue of frequent firing, harassment and arrest of Tamil Nadu fishermen by Sri Lankan naval personnel and ensure that a full stop was put to the issue.

Similarly, India should take measures for the immediate release of all arrested Tamil Nadu fishermen, and monitor the rehabilitation measures carried out by Colombo in the Tamil areas with India’s support.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and DMK president M. Karunanidhi had recently issued statements urging India to boycott the meet in view of denial of rights to Tamils in Sri Lanka.

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