Special Correspondent

Ethnic issue, terror not to be mixed up

NEW DELHI: A day after the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam regretted the assassination of the former Prime Minister and Congress leader, Rajiv Gandhi, the party said it endorsed the stand of the Government, which rejected the statement.

"The Government has made a statement and we have nothing to add to it," Congress spokesperson Rajiv Shukla said at the regular party briefing.

"Too sensitive"

Sources said the issue was "too sensitive" and it was best left to the Government to take a view of the LTTE suggestion that India should put the past behind it.

Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma rejected the Tamil rebel group's plea, saying the people of India could not forget the dastardly crime committed by the LTTE. He said forgiving the LTTE for the crime would "tantamount to endorsing the philosophy of terror, violence and political assassinations."

Mr. Sharma said the remarks by LTTE chief negotiator and ideologue Anton Balasingham were a "confession" by the rebel group of its "complicity" in Rajiv Gandhi's assassination, which was a "well-known fact." The LTTE cadres had been convicted in the case, he said.

For negotiated settlement

He said it was important that the ethnic issue and LTTE terror was not mixed up. India stood for a negotiated settlement, for peace and unity in Sri Lanka and the ethnic issue had to be resolved through talks and negations.