Lanka issue: Govt not diluting resolution, DMK changed position, says Chidambaram

Last Updated: Wed, Mar 20, 2013 06:48 hrs

New Delhi: A day after the DMK pulled out of the UPA Government over the Lankan Tamils issue, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Wednesday said the government wanted a strong resolution against the island nation.

Speaking to media persons here, Chidambaram said he was not aware as to why the DMK had gone ahead and pulled out of the UPA, because the government had been moving on all the demands put forward by the DMK leadership for a stronger UN resolution and a parliamentary resolution on Sri Lanka.

He further said the government had started consultations with other parties on the issue of the resolution to be adopted by Parliament.

"We intend to move amendments to the draft resolution on Sri Lanka in the UNHRC," he added.

Chidambaram also strongly denied media reports that India had worked with the United States to dilute the original text of the resolution against Sri Lanka, saying that such reports were blatantly false.

"India's position has always been for a stronger resolution against Sri Lanka that would goad it into accepting an independent probe", he said.

The Finance Minister also said that the DMK stance had nothing to do with the government's sudden need to introduce amendments to the UNHCR resolution, saying that they were aware that over eight crore Tamil people in India were concerned.

Meanwhile, after formally withdrawing support to the Congress-led UPA Government, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) ministers will submit their resignations to Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh today.

A five-member DMK delegation headed by T R Baalu handed over a letter by party supremo M Karunanidhi to President Pranab Mukherjee at 10.30 p.m last night at Rashtrapati Bhavan indicating withdrawal of support of its 18 Lok Sabha MPs to the UPA Government.

Baalu told media that DMK ministers will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday to submit their resignations.

On replying to a question about DMK's support to UPA government from outside, Baalu said the decision lies with party supremo Karunanidhi.

The DMK had pulled out of the UPA Government over the issue of alleged human rights violations of Sri Lankan Tamils.

"DMK continuing to support the Central Government under these circumstances is impossible. Even if the LTTE is vanquished, our support for the fight of Tamil freedom and human rights is not over," said Karunanidhi, while addressing the media yesterday in Chennai.

"We totally support the revolution in Sri Lanka and the rights of the Tamils, we have fought for their rights," he added.

With the pullout of the 18 DMK MPs in the Lok Sabha, the strength of the UPA Government declines from 295 to 277 in the Rajya Sabha.

The DMK has also ruled out any question of giving outside support, but said it might consider changing its stand based on the government's stand.

"If the Parliament passes a resolution before the vote in UNHRC, we might change our stand," Karunanidhi said.

Karunanidhi had earlier said India should strongly urge the establishment of a credible and independent international commission of investigation into the allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity, violations of international human rights law, violations of international humanitarian law and genocide against the Tamil people.

The U.S.-sponsored motion puts the island nation in dock over alleged war crimes and rights violations against Tamil civilians during the final phase of the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The resolution is moved by the US for the second time. Last year, India had supported a similar resolution.

Government, parties in talks on resolution on Sri Lankan Tamils

The government on Tuesday said it was talking to political parties on a resolution concerning the Sri Lankan Tamil issue in parliament, but the move was not linked to the withdrawal of support by the DMK to the UPA.

Addressing the media here, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said the proposed resolution was not linked to the DMK's decision to withdraw support.

He said the government was mulling over the resolution, seeing the sentiments of the Tamils.

Answering a query, he said the government was stable: "No one has questioned our stability," Chidambaram said.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said it was part of government's duty to highlight the feelings of the people of a state.

"Talks are being held (on the resolution)," he said.

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