Chennai: MDMK Chief Vaiko has been arrested by Chennai Police after he attempted to lay siege on the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission today. Mr Vaiko, who led several pro-Tamil groups, was protesting against alleged war crimes and human rights violations committed by the Sri Lankan government against Tamil civilians there.
The MDMK chief is demanding that New Delhi should vote against Colombo during the US-sponsored motion at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) later this month. He has also demanded for an international probe to be initiated against the Lankan government on charges of war crimes.
Mr Vaiko is joined by political parties in Tamil Nadu, including the Karunanidhi-led DMK, who have been pressing for India to vote against Sri Lanka at the United Nations forum. They allege that ethnic Tamils in the island nation were subjected to atrocities by Sri Lankan forces during the final phase of the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
In fact, the DMK, in a strong statement in the Rajya Sabha last week, had asked the central government it participates in to decide whether it wanted to be friends with Sri Lanka or then “with your brethren” in south India. DMK is the second-biggest constituent of the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre.
External Minister Salman Khurshid had said in Rajya Sabha that while the government shared the concern of the parties from Tamil Nadu, India would not intervene directly in Sri Lanka’s sovereign affairs. The minister had said that “accountability must come from within Sri Lanka”, but remained evasive on the position New Delhi will take at the UN on a resolution against Colombo.
India had supported the US motion last year and this time the international body would review how much Sri Lanka has implemented recommendations of its lessons learnt and reconciliation commission.
Rights groups say up to 40,000 civilians were killed by security forces in the final months of a no-holds-barred offensive in 2009 that ended Sri Lanka’s decades-long fight against Tamil separatists.
Sri Lanka has denied causing the civilian deaths.