India betrayed Sri Lankan Tamils by abstaining from vote, say TN opposition parties

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New Delhi: On Tuesday, the main opposition parties in Tamil Nadu, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and its allies including the MDMK, condemned the Government of India for abstaining from voting on a United Nations Human Rights Council resolution against Sri Lanka and termed it “an unpardonable betrayal” of the Eelam Tamils, news agency PTI reported.

DMK chief M K Stalin alleged that abstaining from voting only reflected support for Sri Lanka and that the BJP-led government of India was against the Eelam Tamils, the report said.

‘Eelam’ denotes homeland and ‘Eelam’ Tamils is a term used by political parties and others in Tamil Nadu to refer to the Tamils in neighbouring Sri Lanka.

“Today, the Indian representative, without taking part in voting, has walked out. This is an unpardonable, huge betrayal of Eelam Tamils by the Indian government,” the report quoted Stalin as saying.

The UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution against Sri Lanka’s human rights record, which gives the UN body a mandate to collect evidence of crimes committed during the country’s brutal civil war (2008-09) against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The report said that resolution was closely watched in Tamil Nadu by political parties, as it came just weeks ahead of the Assembly polls in the state, scheduled to be held on April 6.

India abstained from voting, saying its approach to the question of human rights in Sri Lanka is guided by two fundamental considerations. One is support to Lankan Tamils for equality, justice, dignity and peace and the other is ensuring the unity, stability and territorial integrity of that nation, the report said.

It urged Colombo to fulfill its commitments on the devolution of political authority, to carry forward the process of reconciliation and address the aspirations of the Tamil community in the island nation.

Stalin said days ago he wanted Prime Minister Narendra Modi to break his silence on the matter since Lanka had been hoping that India would support it in the UN body.

“We expected that the Modi government would take a stand in favour of the Eelam Tamils in the UNHRC. But the Modi government has deceived the world’s Tamils,” Stalin, who is in the thick of campaigning for the April 6 assembly polls, alleged in a statement.

PMK founder leader S Ramadoss said India must have voted against Sri Lanka. However, India not supporting Sri Lanka in the UN council and picking a neutral stand was a matter of solace, he said.

“I thank all the nations that have supported the resolution,” the report quoted Ramadoss, whose party has aligned with the ruling AIADMK in which the BJP is also a constituent, as saying.

MDMK chief and Rajya Sabha MP Vaiko, a vocal supporter of Tamil Eelam, too said that India abstaining from voting is a ‘huge betrayal’ of the Eelam Tamils and condemned the GoiI for it.

Both Stalin and Vaiko claimed that since Assembly polls were round the corner in Tamil Nadu, India abstained from voting in the UN body. Otherwise, it would have voted in ‘favour’ of Sri Lanka, they said, targeting the Modi government, the report mentioned.


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