India has always demanded Prabhakaran’s extradition: Menon

January 6th, 2009 - 12:28 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 5 (IANS) India has consistently urged Sri Lanka to extradite Tamil Tiger chief V. Prabhakaran, an accused in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon said here Monday. “We have consistently demanded the extradition of Prabhakaran… this is a request we have renewed repeatedly,” Menon told reporters.

Asked to comment on the advances being made by Sri Lankan forces in key Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) bastions, Menon said while the military situation may vary from time to time, India advocated a political solution to the decades-old ethnic conflict.

He reiterated India’s considered position that the island nation needed to find a political solution, which will meet aspirations of all communities, including the Tamil minorities.

Menon also stressed on the humanitarian side of the situation in Sri Lanka which has badly affected the Tamil civilian population who find themselves entangled in the military conflict.

Sri Lanka has, however, said it has not yet taken a decision whether or not to hand over Tamil Tiger chief Prabhakaran to India if he is caught alive by its troops.

According to a media report in Sri Lanka, defence minister Keheliya Rambukwella said Colombo would consider the matter seriously if India was to make an official request for Prabhakaran’s extradition, but stressed that a final decision would be taken in line with the international and diplomatic relations with its neighbours.

“Prabhakaran’s future will be based on international conventions like the Geneva Convention etc., and our diplomatic relations with other countries. It is basically a diplomatic matter and will be handled that way,” the Daily Mirror newspaper Monday quoted Rambukwella as saying.

Sri Lanka’s reaction comes a day after India’s ruling Congress party spokesman Veerappa Moily had demanded that Colombo extradite the LTTE chief if he is nabbed during the Sri Lankan military offensive, to be tried for his links with the assassination of former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.

“He is an assassin and we would be happy if he is extradited to India. We want him to be prosecuted and convicted in India for the grave crime he committed,” Moily told reporters in India Saturday.

The elusive rebel leader, who founded LTTE in 1976, is known to have deep and seemingly secure underground caves and bunkers in the dense forests of Mullaitivu, from where he oversaw the war against Indian troops in Sri Lanka’s northeast in 1987-90.

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