India summons Sri Lankan Deputy High Commissioner

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New Delhi, Oct 6 (UNI) India today summoned the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commissioner and conveyed New Delhi's ''grave concern and unhappiness'' at the increasing number of casualties of unarmed Tamil civilians as a result of Sri Lankan military action.

National Security Advisor (NSA) M K Narayanan summoned the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commissioner D Palithaganegoda and told him that the escalation of hostilities in the North and the resultant fall-out was leading to a great deal of concern in India.

It was pointed out that there was need for the Sri Lankan Government to act with greater restraint and address the growing feeling of insecurity among the minority community.

Mr Narayanan also highlighted the need to revive the political process to stem the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the island nation, an External Affairs Ministry spokesman said here.

The Deputy High Commissioner was told it was essential that vital supplies to affected population were not disrupted in any manner.

The NSA also expressed serious concern at the continuing attacks on Indian fishermen, including the recent incident on September 27-28.

This was not in keeping with the spirit of the understanding reached between India and Sri Lanka and recently reiterated in meetings held at highest levels.

The Sri Lankan Navy should cease such attacks and not lose sight of the humanitarian and livelihood dimensions of this issue, the NSA said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had assured Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi that the Centre would take all steps to stop the 'genocide' of Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Tamil Nadu fishermen fishing in the sea were frequently targeted by Sri Lankan navy and sometimes arrested and robbed off their catch. India has frequently protested to the Sri Lankan government against such incidents.

The NSA had announced on August 25 that Sri Lanka had assured that its Navy would not fire at Indian fishermen.

Reports from Rameswaram said yesterday that Sri Lankan Navy allegedly surrounded ten boats off Katchatheevu islands on Saturday morning and robbed the fishermen of their catch and seized their nets.

UNI RB PK HT1838

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