Chennai, March 29 (IANS) Union Shipping Minister and senior Congress leader G.K. Vasan Friday said that the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and the Leaders' Retreat in November should be shifted out of Sri Lanka.
Vasan said here that the Sri Lankan government should decide on having the meeting outside the country. If Sri Lanka did not shift CHOGM to another country, the nations that voted in favour of the US resolution in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) should take steps to have the CHOGM outside the island nation.
Two major political parties in Tamil Nadu - AIADMK and DMK - have demanded that India should boycott the CHOGM if it is held in Sri Lanka Nov 15-17.
Vasan said the Indian government is lending financial assistance to the Sri Lankan government for building infrastructure like schools, hospitals and roads.
Referring to the recent protests by students in Tamil Nadu against Sri Lanka, Vasan said he would convey their views to the government. He said students should not allow anybody to demean their agitation.
He also refuted the charge that the Indian government was instrumental in watering down the US resolution against Sri Lanka in the UNHRC.
Welcoming Vasan's views on the CHOGM, DMK president M. Karunanidhi said here in a statement: "The announcement should be appreciated. However, he (Vasan) has said it as his personal opinion. If that is the view of the Congress, it will be appreciated."