Tamil cauldron boils, PM asks Lanka to stop violence (Lead)

October 15th, 2008 - 7:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Oct 15 (IANS) With Tamil Nadu MPs threatening to resign en masse over the “atrocities” against fellow Tamils in Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday sent a stern message to Colombo to de-escalate hostilities and underscored the need for a political settlement that respects the rights of minorities. “The situation in Sri Lanka remains a cause of serious concern to India. We are concerned at the escalation of hostilities,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told reporters.

He said this when asked whether he had spoken to Sri Lankan President Mahindra Rajapakse in the wake of a threat by all Tamil Nadu MPs, irrespective of party affiliation, to resign over what they allege to be continuing atrocities against Tamil minorities in Sri Lanka.

“We are concerned about the harassment and killing of Indian fishermen in the neighbouring country,” Manmohan Singh said at a press conference at the end of the third IBSA summit with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and South African President Kgalema Motlanthe.

“India has always believed that there can’t be a military victory in Lanka,” he said.

“We have always believed that the situation in Sri Lanka required a negotiated political settlement that respects human rights of the Tamil minorities,” the prime minister stressed.

He also referred to the summoning of Sri Lanka’s Deputy High Commissioner G.G.A.D Palithagenegoda by National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan early this month to convey India’s strong condemnation of the military action in that country. New Delhi had asked Colombo to exercise “greater restraint” and show respect for sensitivities of the Tamil minorities.

The prime minister’s remarks came in the wake of an all-party meeting in Tamil Nadu, convened by Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi Tuesday, that warned the Centre that all MPs from the state would resign if the government failed to halt the war in the island nation within two weeks.

In a strong message, the DMK, a key ally of the UPA regime, and other parties demanded that India halt all military aid to Sri Lanka, take steps to halt Colombo’s military offensive to ensure the return of peace, and despatch humanitarian aid.

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