Tamil Nadu Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa Jayaram, in a strongly worded letter, has requested Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to stay away from attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to be held in Colombo in November this year.
Jayalalithaa’s letter of yesterday, states that he should keep away from CHOGM in Colombo in order to mount pressure on Sri Lanka to ensure accountability under an international framework for its alleged war crimes.
Any high level participation or engagement from the Indian side at CHOGM will not only embolden the Sri Lankan regime but also incense public opinion and sentiment in Tamil Nadu on this every sensitive issue even further, she has further mentioned in her letter.
She also cited reports that Canada was likely to boycott and the House of Commons Committee on Foreign Affairs in the UK had also urged the British Prime Minister not to attend.
Many important countries across the world, including two G-8 countries, propose to leverage the CHOGM and make substantial progress in human rights issue in Sri Lanka, she wrote.
“As an emerging great power and an aspirant for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, India has a duty to ensure that the values of democracy and respect for human rights are upheld anywhere in the world and in particular in its neighbourhood,” the AIADMK supremo said.
As a leader in South Asia, India is uniquely positioned to exert maximum influence on Sri Lankans to accept an independent international mechanism to hold those who committed ‘genocide and war crimes’ to account, she said. The proposed CHOGM was another ‘opportune occasion’ for India to mount further pressure on Sri Lanka to ensure that accountability is established under an international framework for the “War crimes and genocide committed in the closing stages of the civil war and the ongoing gross human rights abuses,” she had added.
Observing that there is still time to consider an alternative venue to hold the event and India should ask for it, Jayalalithaa said, “If India takes this diplomatic initiative, there is likely to be broad based support amongst member countries of the Commonwealth.”
Accusing India of voting in favour of a ‘diluted and weak’ US resolution against Sri Lanka and not moving any amendments at the UNHRC, she said, “There was widespread disappointment at the stand of the Government of India and a continuing sense of injustice in Tamil Nadu on the issue.”