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DMK gives notice to suspend question hour

Updated: March 19, 2013, 10:11 AM IST
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DMK gives notice to suspend question hour
The Centre is worried that India-Sri Lanka ties will be hit if the government takes a strong stand on the resolution.

New Delhi: Standing firm on its stand for a very strong resolution against Sri Lanka in the United Nation Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the DMK has decided to stall both houses of Parliament on Tuesday to force the Congress-led UPA Government to vote in favour of the US-sponsored resolution. DMK leaders have given a notice for suspension of question hour in both houses of Parliament.

The government is walking a tightrope after the DMK threatened to pull its ministers out of the Union Cabinet and may consider extending outside support to the government. There are several important bills pending and the Centre is worried that India-Sri Lanka ties will be hit if the government takes a strong stand on the resolution.

Government sources, however, claim that there is not much to worry as the DMK would be placated soon. On the other hand the DMK feels that it has little to lose as Lok Sabha are just about a year away and if the party takes a strong stand on the alleged war crimes by the Sri Lanka forces during the war against the LTTE, it can bounce back in Tamil Nadu. The DMK has been on the backfoot after losing to the AIADMK in the Tamil Nadu assembly elections.

Congress leaders P Chidambaram, AK Antony and Ghulam Nabi Azad had on Monday met M Karunanidhi at his residence in the evening to sort matters out after the latter threatened to pull out his ministers from the UPA Cabinet if his demands on the issues were not met.

Karunanidhi, as well as his political rival, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, have been demanding amendments to the UN resolution against Sri Lanka. The two parties, the DMK and the AIADMK, have been demanding that India vote in favour of the resolution. They have also demanded introduction of the words 'Eelam' and 'genocide' in the US-sponsored resolution. They have also asked for an international probe into the matter.

The government had hoped that voting against Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights council in Geneva would be enough, but the DMK chief wants more. Sources now say that the DMK is likely to offer outside support to the UPA. However, they add that the party has not yet decided on pulling out from the government. A decision is likely to be taken after a party meet, they say.

"Genocide must be included. It must be a tougher resolution," Karunanidhi said.

In Delhi, government said India's Representative to the UN in Geneva will be in the national capital on Tuesday for consultations and a call will be taken after studying the final draft of the resolution. "The resolution in its final form will be available late this evening, Geneva time. The Foreign Secretary has also asked our Permanent Representative to the UN Dilip Sinha to come over to Delhi tomorrow," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson told reporters.

But diplomats say the government's domestic compulsions must be balanced with diplomatic commitments. India has traditionally opposed such harsh language and international interference from the UN, and wants to avoid another strain in ties with Colombo.

Karunanidhi had on Sunday said he felt 'let down' by the 'lukewarm' response of the Centre.

One of the amendments the Tamil Nadu parties seek is to "declare that genocide and war crimes had been committed and inflicted on the Eelam Tamils by the Sri Lankan army and the administrators." The second one is "establishment of a credible and independent international commission of investigation in a time bound manner into the allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity, violations of international human rights law, violations of international humanitarian law and crime of genocide against the Tamils."

First Published: March 19, 2013, 10:11 AM IST
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