India urged to tell Sri Lanka to stop warApril 16th, 2009 - 4:03 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, April 16 (IANS) Four Tamil MPs from Sri Lanka have urged New Delhi to put pressure on Colombo to stop the war in the island to protect civilians trapped in the conflict zone.
The members of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which is sympathetic to the Tamil Tigers, conveyed the message to National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan here late Wednesday, a delegation member said Thursday.
“We told the Indian government that the military operations (in Sri Lanka) must be stopped,” TNA MP K. Premachandran said, adding that the delegation was worried about Tamil civilians in the war zone.
Premachandran told IANS that the main reason Sri Lanka was pursuing its military offensive was because there was no pressure on Colombo to end the bloodshed.
“India must tell Sri Lanka that if it cannot protect civilians, then it (India) will have a responsibility to do so,” he said, explaining what the TNA expected from New Delhi.
“Sri Lanka thinks that India is on its side. A minister said so in so many words in parliament. This has not been denied by either the Indian mission in Colombo or the Indian government,” he added.
The TNA delegation, which is led by R. Sampanthan, will also meet Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon.
Tens of thousands of Tamil civilians, their number put at more than 100,000 by some, are caught in a small strip of territory the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) still holds in Mullaitivu district.
The area where the civilians are holed up is known as a no-fire zone but reports say the military continues to target it in response to activities of the LTTE.
Colombo has accused the LTTE of forcibly holding back the civilians as a virtual shield. The Tigers deny the charge.