India will press Lanka for equal rights to Tamils: Sonia

Sonia Gandhi
Chennai, Apr 5: Reaffirming India's support for the Sri Lankan Tamils, Congress president and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi said New Delhi would continue to press Colombo for constitutional amendments to ensure equal rights and status to ethnic minorities in the island nation.

"In our neighbourhood, there is no issue closer to our heart than the Sri Lankan Tamils' issue. There was significant progress last year and India had committed and provided large sums of money for their rehabilitation," Sonia said at a joint election rally with DMK President and Chief Minister M Karunanidhi.

In her first campaign meeting for the Apr 13 Assembly polls, Sonia Gandhi said India will continue to do whatever it could for rehabilitation of Tamils displaced in the war against LTTE.

"We are pressing the Government of Sri Lanka to make changes (in the Constitution) to ensure equal rights and status to Tamils," she said.

On attacks on Indian fishermen allegedly by the Lankan Navy in Palk Straits, Gandhi said Colombo had assured that the incidents would not recur.

"We are deeply pained that some lives of fishermen have been lost. We have been assured that there would be no firing in the future and we will continue to work to ensure this commitment is met," she said.


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