Sonia falls short of ally's expectations

Sonia falls short of ally's expectations

Notwithstanding DMK’s decision to pull out from the government, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday refrained from echoing the regional party’s demand for an international probe into alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka (SL), even as she favoured an “independent and credible” inquiry.

“We are anguished by reports of unspeakable atrocities on innocent civilians and children, especially during the last days of the conflict in 2009. These reports cannot go un-investigated.

That is why we demand for an independent and credible inquiry into the violation of human rights in Sri Lanka,” Sonia Gandhi said speaking for the first time on the issue. She was addressing the Congress parliamentary party (CPP) meeting here.

The UPA chairperson expressed pain and anguish over the plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka and the manner in which their “legitimate political rights” were being denied. “Our support for equal rights and equal protection of the laws to them has been unwavering,” she said.

In her four-page speech, the Congress president also expressed concern over the plight of fishermen, who were detained by the Sri Lankan Navy, saying a permanent solution to the “daily violence” against them was also imperative.

Sonia also used the opportunity to criticise the BJP. “People have seen through the obstructionist tactics adopted by the BJP in Parliament and the deliberate falsehood spread by it outside.

The use of intemperate and abusive language about our party and its leaders goes beyond the pale of civilised discussion and debate. Are we going to take this lying down? Certainly not. We will maintain our dignity and take our fight to the people. We shall face the elections with confidence, professionalism and enthusiasm,” she said.

Speaking on a range of issues from corruption to terrorism, Sonia said that a number of Bills will come up for discussion in Parliament after the recess. “We will strive for a consensus. Our party should argue forcefully in favour of these legislations both inside and outside Parliament.

The National Food Security Bill is a key commitment from our 2009 manifesto. Once cleared by the Cabinet, we must push for its passage in this session,” she said.