Tamil Nadu

‘India wants Sri Lanka to deliver on legitimate aspirations of Tamils’

India believes that delivering on the legitimate aspirations of the Tamil community is in the best interests of Sri Lanka, according to Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan.

Replying to a question by MDMK’s general secretary Vaiko in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, the Union Minister referred to the position taken by India at the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council in March this year.

India had then stressed its abiding commitment to the aspirations of the Tamils of Sri Lanka for “equality, justice, peace and dignity”.

It reiterated its stand that “respecting the rights of the Tamil community, including through meaningful devolution, contributes to the unity and integrity of Sri Lanka”.

Besides, the country had urged its neighbour to “carry forward the process of reconciliation, address the aspirations of the Tamil community and continue to engage constructively” with the international community to ensure that the fundamental freedoms and human rights of all its citizens were fully protected.

Pointing out that India had always supported efforts to preserve Sri Lanka’s character as a “multiethnic, multi-lingual and multi-religious society” in which all citizens, including the Sri Lankan Tamil community, could live in equality, safety and harmony, and prosper and fulfil their aspirations within a united Sri Lanka, Mr. Muraleedharan said the government had “consistently” called upon Sri Lanka, during bilateral discussions at all levels, to fulfil its commitments on issues relating to rights of Tamils of Sri Lanka.

The member’s question touched upon a number of issues such as the Central government’s stand on the demand of parties of Sri Lankan Tamils for international probe into allegations of human rights abuses and measures to be initiated by the Centre for the international probe.

On another question from P. Wilson of the DMK Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam on the reported recent attack by the Sri Lanka’s Navy on Tamil fishermen, the Union Minister responded that in the light of reports in June about the Sri Lankan Navy firing on Indian fishing boats in the Palk Straits, the Indian High Commission in Colombo had lodged a “strong protest” with the Sri Lankan government. It had also highlighted that the issue of fishermen should be viewed “as a purely humanitarian and livelihood concern” and that the use of force was not resorted to under any circumstance.

During the virtual bilateral summit in September 2020 between Prime Ministers of the two countries, Narendra Modi and Mahinda Rajapaksa, and the meeting of External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar with Sri Lankan Minister of Fisheries Douglas Devananda in January 2021, all issues related to fishermen including their safety and security were discussed. At the 4th round of the Joint Working Group in December 2020, the two governments also deliberated upon the entire gamut of issues. “As a result of sustained diplomatic efforts, there are currently no Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody,” the Union Minister added.


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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 6:58:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/india-wants-sri-lanka-to-deliver-on-legitimate-aspirations-of-tamils/article35642592.ece

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