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DMK toughens stand, Cong non-commital

Chennai, Mar 18, 2013, DHNS: 1:44 IST
Union Ministers AK Antony, Ghulam Nabi Azad and P Chidambaram meet DMK chief M Karunanidhi at his residance in Chennai on Monday. PTI Photo
Talks between the DMK and the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) failed on Monday over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue with the regional party making a new demand.

Three senior Union Ministers and DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi attended the two-hour meeting.

Congress Ministers A K Antony (Defence), P Chidambaram (Finance) and Gulam Nabi Azad (Health) on Monday came rushing here to mollify the DMK chief after his party threatened to pull out of the UPA unless India took steps to incorporate “amendments” suggested by the DMK in the US resolution against Sri Lanka’s 2009 war crimes at the on-going United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) meeting.

Azad, also Congress general secretary in charge of Tamil Nadu, offered nothing even while seeking to keep the DMK on board the UPA, particularly in the light of the latest expose on the “2G” spectrum scam issue after it emerged that some officers in the PMO “agreed” with former Telecom Minister A Raja’s (of the DMK) actions.

Karunanidhi’s letter to the prime minister on Saturday night has embarrassed the Congress, political sources said. It was evident from the fact that the Congress sent three senior ministers to talk to the DMK patriarch as the deadline for effecting any amendment to the US resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC meeting in Geneva nears.

“We discussed the letter” (the letter suggested changes that India should take steps for incorporating in the US resolution) the suggestions for some amendments, Azad said in brief remark to reporters at the DMK chief’s residence after the talks. We will report back to the prime minister,” he said before immediately leaving the venue with the other two ministers and Congress functionaries, including the TNCC president B S Gnanadesikan.

Even as Azad left the media guessing on the outcome of talks, Karunanidhi in a statement to the media said that he continued to insist that the “attacks and war crimes perpetrated by the Sri Lanka Army and its administrators should be declared genocide against the Tamils in Sri Lanka (during the final days of the war there).”

Karunanidhi said he also impressed upon the Congress team that the resolution should strongly urge the 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 and the anti-humanitarian acts against the Tamil people” in Sri Lanka.

Placing a new demand now, Karunanidhi said he further emphasised with the Congress ministers that “another resolution (against Sri Lanka) incorporating the amendments as suggested above (by DMK) should be immediately adopted by the Indian Parliament.”

This latest demand appeared to be a face-saver for the DMK, should the Centre insist that it was now too late for India to effect any changes in the US resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC. “Our leader is still very angry,” a source in the DMK told Deccan Herald.

UN envoy to brief govt

The Government has called India’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations offices in Geneva, Dilip Sinha, to New Delhi for consultation ahead of the voting on the US-sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council, reports DHNS from New Delhi. Sinha is expected to brief Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai.

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