Government denies diluting US resolution on Sri Lanka

The government Wednesday denied that it had diluted the US-sponsored resolution denouncing Sri Lanka over rights abuses at the UNHRC in Geneva.

"This is a canard. The (media) story is stoutly denied," said an official statement issued at a press conference addressed by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram here.

"India's position has always been - and remains - that the UNHRC should adopt a strong resolution that would send a resolute message to Sri Lanka and goad Sri Lanka to accept an independent and credible investigation," it said.

DMK president M. Karunanidhi said Wednesday that his party quit the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and the government after realizing that India helped to dilute the US resolution.

A vote is coming up at the 47-member UNHRC pulling up Sri Lanka for military excesses during the final stages of the war that vanquished the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Last year, India had played a similar role even as it voted against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC. Chidambaram said India intends to move amendments to the US resolution at the UNHRC and that the government was also talking to political parties over a resolution on Sri Lanka to be moved in parliament.

Chidambaram said India's position was that the UNHRC should adopt a strong resolution to send a "resolute message" to Sri Lanka to accept an independent and credible investigation into charges of "war crimes".

Colombo has repeatedly denied killing Tamil civilians. Chidambaram said the government had Tuesday finalized amendments to the draft resolution at Geneva.

"We will also continue to consult political parties on bringing a resolution to be adopted by parliament," he said. The statement said India's Permanent Representative to the UNHRC was in New Delhi for consultations.

It denied media reports that India had worked with the US to dilute the text of the draft UNHRC resolution. Chidambaram, however, said the proposed resolution in parliament was not linked to the withdrawal of support by the DMK.

He reiterated that the government was stable -- despite the withdrawal of support by the DMK that has 18 members in the Lok Sabha. Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said the government had to be sensitive to the feelings of the people of a state.

The reference was to the unending street protests in Tamil Nadu demanding that India should take a hard line vis-a-vis Sri Lanka.

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