UPA buys time from DMK

Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad with DMK president M. Karunanidhi (below) in Chennai on Monday. The leaders discussed about the US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka which is expected to come up for voting at the UNHRC session in Geneva on March 21. Photos: PTI   | Photo Credit: Picasa

The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has bought time from its ally DMK, which is threatening to leave the alliance, by promising to adopt a resolution in Parliament supporting two important amendments to the U.S.-sponsored draft resolution against Sri Lanka in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

This was the outcome of the reconciliation talks, lasting over two-and-a-half-hours, on Monday between DMK leader M. Karunanidhi and Congress emissaries, Union Ministers P. Chidambaram, A.K. Antony and Ghulam Nabi Azad.

Mr. Karunanidhi had been demanding an amendment that would declare that “genocide and war crimes had been committed on Eelam Tamils by the Sri Lankan Army and administrators.”

He also sought a second amendment for the constitution of a credible, independent international commission of inquiry into the allegation of war crimes in the draft resolution.

Mr. Karunanidhi wanted India to take steps to include the amendments in the draft resolution to be placed before the UNHRC.

On Monday, he came up with a fresh demand that Parliament formally adopt a resolution in support of these amendments.

Talking to reporters after the meeting with Congress leaders at his CIT Colony residence here, Mr. Karunanidhi said the Union Ministers had promised to take steps to pass a resolution in Parliament. However, he rejected the suggestion that the new agreement had defused tension between the DMK and the Congress.

“The tension can be presumed to be defused only after our demands [for the welfare of Sri Lankan Tamils] are conceded,” he said.

On whether his optimism was not inconsistent with the remarks of Mr. Azad — who merely talked about reporting to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi — Mr. Karunanidhi said he was stating only what had been promised to him.

Asked if it was possible to bring in the amendments at this point of time, he said demands for inclusion of the amendments in the U.S. resolution had been made well before.

Mr. Azad said the DMK leader and his Ministerial colleagues discussed in detail the contents of the letter the DMK leader had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the amendments suggested by him.

This article has been edited to correct a factual error .

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Printable version | Jul 26, 2021 8:05:58 AM |

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