India, US should put pressure on Lanka on Tamils issue:Cong MP

New York, June 9: Claiming that three million Tamils are living in a "pathetic" condition in post-civil war in Sri Lanka, an Indian Parliamentarian from Tamil Nadu has urged the top US officials to work with India in solving the issue.

Manickam Tagore, an MP from Virudunagar constituency in Tamil Nadu, was part of a seven-member parliamentary delegation that visited the US to undergo leadership training programme at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston organised by Forums for Parliamentarians and FICCI.

Tagore said that though it's almost four years after the war was over, the Sri Lankan government was "dragging its feet" on the issue of devolution of powers and Tamils are treated as "second class citizens" in their own country.

"The urgency shown in completing the war was not shown in helping Tamils to re-settle in their rightful place," he said.

"I did impress on US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Congressman Edward Royce that the US and India should join hands in making the Sri Lankan administration to commit on a time-bound program to help displaced Tamils who are reduced to voiceless and hapless citizens," he said.

"Rajapakse government has not made attempts to meet the legitimate and genuine demands and three million Tamils are in a pathetic state without security and uncertainty looming large over their heads.Both the leaders as well as Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake agreed that there is a need for India and the US to work on this with top-most priority," he said.

The decades long civil war in Sri Lanka ended in May 2009, with the killing of top LTTE leaders including its chief V Prabhakaran. The UN Human Rights Council has passed highly critical resolution asking Sri Lanka to conduct "independent and credible investigation" into alleged war crimes during the country's civil war.

Tagore said the US leaders had concurred with his view that the Sri Lankan government should invite independent international observers to oversee the ensuing elections to Northern Provincial Council.

The Congress MP claimed that the Rajapakse's government rests on the military and Sinhala groups, who are opposed to any, even minor concessions, to the Tamils.

"Devolution of powers was the 13th amendment in Rajiv Gandhi-Jayawardane accord singed in 1987 and successive Sri Lankan governments gave scant respect to it and did not bother to implement the major clause," he said.

Earlier, addressing the executive committee members of the Tamil Nadu chapter of Indian National Overseas Congress, he said unfortunately a "smear campaign" had been unleashed in the media and in the Internet that the Congress Party was against the Sri Lankan Tamils.

He asked the non-resident Tamils to blunt the unfair criticism in Twitter and social media revealing the truth.


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