PM reviews Sri Lanka situation, discusses civilians’ plightApril 23rd, 2009 - 1:56 am ICT by IANS
New Delhi, April 23 (IANS) With the worsening humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka triggering an uproar in Tamil Nadu, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday night reviewed the situation in the island nation where the military has launched a “final assault” to wipe out the LTTE.
Manmohan Singh discussed the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Sri Lanka at a special meeting that was attended by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Defence Minister A.K. Antony and National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan.
It was decided at the meeting to provide relief to Tamil refugees who are heading to India, highly placed sources said.
The meeting also decided to send more food and medical relief for starving and sick Tamil civilians who have managed to flee from the no-fire zone, they said.
It also decided to make a fresh appeal to Sri Lanka to “pause” the military operation to enable the trapped civilians to move from the no-fire zone to safe areas.
Sri Lankan presidential adviser Basil Rajapaksa, brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, is expected to be in New Delhi Thursday morning to brief the Indian leadership on the situation in Sri Lanka, said the highly placed sources.
The number of distraught Tamil civilians fleeing the war zone crossed the 100,000 figure Wednesday, said Sri Lankan authorities.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, whose DMK party is a key member of the Manmohan Singh government, has called for a shutdown in the state Thursday to protest against “atrocities on civilians”.
Smaller parties have warned of bloodshed in Tamil Nadu if LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran came to harm in the military onslaught.
India has urged Colombo to extend all facilities to the UN and countries seeking to help in the evacuation of civilians from the war zone.
Earlier in the day, Mukherjee urged Sri Lanka to ensure that relief material India has sent to the country is distributed through the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The Congress, that leads the ruling coalition, Wednesday urged Sri Lanka to declare ceasefire to resolve the humanitarian crisis in the island nation and allow Tamil civilians to move out of the conflict zone.