National / World

Welfare of Lankan Tamils top priority: Krishna

New Delhi, Aug 4 (IANS) Underlining that the welfare of Tamils in Sri Lanka is of utmost importance, India Thursday urged Sri Lanka to pursue a lasting political settlement that provides for harmonious co-existence of all communities, including minorities, in the island-nation.

Making a suo moto statement in the Lok Sabha on "The Situation in Sri Lanka", External Affairs Minister S.M.Krishna called for a "just and fair" settlement of the Sri Lankan political problem and immediate priority to the Tamils' rehabilitation.

"Our primary objective in all that we are doing in Sri Lanka is to ensure the welfare and wellbeing of Sri Lankan Tamils, including internally displaced persons (IDPs), and to assist in the development of northern Sri Lanka," Krishna said.

Alluding to questions raised about the conduct of the war by the Sri Lankan troops, which has been scrutinised in a report by a panel of experts set up by the UN secretary general and a documentary on Britain's Channel 4, Krishna said India has taken note of these concerns, but stressed that the focus remained on the welfare of the minority Tamils.

"Presently, our focus should be on the welfare and well being of Tamils in Sri Lanka. Their rehabilitation and rebuilding should be of the highest and most immediate priority," Krishna said.

"A just and fair settlement of the political problem is of utmost importance," he said.

"I have, nonetheless, stressed to my Sri Lankan counterpart, the need for an early withdrawal of emergency regulations, investigations into allegations of human rights violations, restoration of normalcy in affected areas and redress of humanitarian concerns of affected families," he stressed.

Krishna also welcomed the beginning of a structured dialogue between the government and representatives of Tamil parties in pursuit of a political solution and offered India's support to help in taking forward the process.

The minister's assurance to parliament came against the backdrop of repeated expressions of concern by various political parties, specially the DMK, about the precarious condition of Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Krishna informed the house that since the end of the war, in which the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam was crushed in 2009, around 290,000 internally displaced Tamils have already been resettled.

"Only around 10,000 IDPs remain in the camps," Krishna said.

Krishna underlined that the welfare, safety and security of Indian fishermen "have always received the highest priority from the government", and said that India has repeatedly taken the issue of attacks on Indian fishermen with Colombo.

"The government has conveyed to the Sri Lankan government that the use of force could not be justified under any circumstance and that all fishermen should be treated in a humane manner," he said.

"The Sri Lankan side, while denying that their navy was involved, has promised to seriously investigate these incidents," he said.

"In 2010, a total of 137 Indian fishermen were apprehended and released by Sri Lanka. Till Aug 3, a total of 164 Indian fishermen were apprehended by Sri Lanka and all were subsequently released," he said.

"At the same time, in 2010 a total of 352, and in 2011 a total of 131 Sri Lankan fishermen, have been apprehended by our authorities," said Krishna.

"A total of 104 Sri Lankan fishermen are still in Indian custody whereas all Indian fishermen apprehended on charges of fishing related violations in Sri Lanka have been released," he added.

Comment on this article

  • ram, australia

    Thu, Aug 4 2011

    Fianlly Krishna too has joined the Kerala mafia think tank in trying to bull shit the lankan Tamils.
    He knows very well those released from the camps are still languishing in various other places without food or proper shelter. Even people like me are aware of it. Why is he trying to B.S.?

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  • sam, SRI LANKA

    Thu, Aug 4 2011

    Who are telling Army is still in control of the lives of Tamils.No this is not true.Army should be in the country where it necessary .They have to protect the people.Dont forget Sri Lankan Amry is one of greatest Army in the world .They rescued 300000 tamils people from Bood sucker, pirabhakarn.

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  • Senthooran, Melbourne Australia

    Thu, Aug 4 2011

    It is immoral for Krishna to say that welfare of Tamils is their priority after assiting the govt of Srilanka to bring Tamils to this situation. Accountability for Indial Govts actions in thsi genocidal war cannot be ignord any longer. the high moral gropund India had so far is not sustainalbe and the Indian Public should be made aware of thsi act of tretchery.

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  • ennam, s. India

    Thu, Aug 4 2011

    both of you are correct. There is a saying"thirudanukku thEL kottinaal pola" India only commanded and odered the massacre of Tamils in Sri Lanka's Rajapaksa and his brother. with out finding the real muderer of Rajiv the lady from Italy (probably the one have some connection in the murder) wanted the LTTE and hence the Tamils punished so the murder will go unheard. The only way to bring the justice to Tamils is to investigate and find teh real murderer of Rajiv and invade Sri Lanka just like Inra Gandhi did in Bangaladesh and give freedom to Tamils and set their own government.

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  • Kumar, UK

    Thu, Aug 4 2011

    India helped Sri Lanka/Rajapaksa during the war with material and moral support. Now India is protecting SL at The UNHRC against warcrime allegations. I agree with Saro, SL will not listen to India which has to sing the same old song-"equality to all SL citizens etc". This will be ingnored by SL. The regional power knew that this climate of atmosphere or Sri Lankan attitude would prevail once Tamils have been crushed and that's happening now. The current policy of the regional power is doomed to fail as well.

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  • Saro, UK

    Thu, Aug 4 2011

    No one is prepared to believe that Indian government consider the 'welfare of Sri Lankan Tamils top priority', all they are concerned is protecting Sri Lankan government from being investigated for its involvement in war crimes and violations of international laws. Just look at what India did to help Tamils and their sufferings and compare with how it assisted the government in crushing LTTE and protecting it at UN HRC. Sinhalese army is still in control of the lives of Tamils.

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  • Percy de Silva, London

    Thu, Aug 4 2011

    Krisna the Foreigh Sec: Please do not pretend that India did not know what happened in Sri Lanka during last 9 months prior to the final stage of the war. India has satelites and do you mean to say they did not take any notice what was going on there. If there was direct shelling civilians and hospitals India would have been the first country to warn Sri Lanka because they have an obligation for Indian Tamils. e all know India did not worry about Prabakaran and LTTE because of Rajive Ganhdi but they kept quiet about the war between SL & LTTE. Why now Is it because of the C4 Bogus Channel Show. You have seen the latest video " Lies Agreed " and if you have any misunderstandings please have a dialogue about the contents of the vidio. India knows about LTTE diaspora lies about Isipria, all doctors who worked for make shift hospitals and made comments for the benefit of LTTE under duress and the doctors have given statements and they are the truth. Why dont you interview families of LTTE people who made statements. Mr foreigh secretary please do not get bogged down to Western Pressurend LTTE supporters in Tamil Nadu and they are out ^ out terrorists.

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  • Raja, Sri Lanka

    Thu, Aug 4 2011

    Could the Sri Lankan side offer a solution based on FEDERALISM. Devolution under a present UNITARY constitution of Sri lanka, any solution offered today could be taken back tomorrow by the center. Then it will just be an eyewash until Tamil majority areas are colonised by the Sinhalese. After that there is no need for a solution.

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  • Sellam, UK

    Thu, Aug 4 2011

    The politicians are with vivious tongue. They do not mean what they say. Minister Krishna and the Prime Minister Singh inclusdive have all along said the Priority for the Tamil People is to be rehabilitated. When is this going to happen????

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  • Jay Ranaweera, Sri Lanka/USA

    Thu, Aug 4 2011

    Krishna, Tamils in Sri Lanka are SRI LANKANS and India should not and need not issue statements how to govern as already many Tamils who were kept as buffer by LTTE and suffered for 3 dedades are living peacefully.But many Tamils ARE RACISTS. Such people can be taken back to TN and pl do not ever interfere with Sri Lanka matters like Rajiv and his mom who were correctly treated by their own creations-LTTE.

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