Lawmakers Pressure Indian Government on Alleged Sri Lanka War Crimes

Police officers stand guard in front of the UN head office during a protest in Colombo, Sri Lanka, March 2, 2012. The UN Human Rights Council is currently debating a proposed resolution to probe alleged war crimes in the final months of the Sri Lankan civ
Police officers stand guard in front of the UN head office during a protest in Colombo, Sri Lanka, March 2, 2012. The UN Human Rights Council is currently debating a proposed resolution to probe alleged war crimes in the final months of the Sri Lankan civ
Kurt Achin

India's parliament was the site of commotion Tuesday about the country's approach to allegations of war crimes in Sri Lanka.

Instead of tending to scheduled budgetary issues, India's parliament had to be suspended for several hours after members began shouting for action on an upcoming United Nations vote on Sri Lanka. Indian politicians are trying to pressure the government into taking a firmer stand on its neighbor.

The United States is among the backers of a resolution to be voted on next week at the United Nations Human Rights Council, calling for more thorough investigation into alleged war crimes in the final months of Sri Lanka's civil war.

Last year, a panel of U.N.-appointed specialists said there was reason to suspect the Sri Lankan army may have deliberately attacked thousands of non-combatants in areas the government declared as safe. The same report accused Tamil separatist rebels of using hostages as human shields.

Human rights groups say the Sri Lankan government's own investigation of the period is inadequate, and domestic pressure is mounting within India for the government to clarify its position.

Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee spoke Tuesday in parliament, hinting India may abstain on next week's resolution.

"Traditional position of India has always been, not only in respect of this case, that we normally do not support any country-specific resolution," said Mukherjee. "But what view on this issue will be taken will be determined as and when the time will be finalized in respect of the meeting of the Human Rights Commission."

Meenakshi Ganguly, India's representative for Human Rights Watch, said the emergence of images from the final days of Sri Lanka's war is fueling Indian demands for a firmer government position.

"It is only now when evidence is beginning to trickle out, pretty much because of the trophy videos that were taken by the military itself, that the Tamil community in India is extremely concerned about what happened in those last few weeks," said Ganguly.

Britain's Channel 4 produced a documentary on alleged Sri Lankan war crimes last year and plans to air a follow-up this week. It accuses the Sri Lankan military of summarily executing the Tamil separatist leader's young son.

Sri Lanka says Channel 4's material is fabricated and biased.

Ganguly, with Human Rights Watch, said India cannot continue with past policies of neutrality on Sri Lanka as it rises in global status and presses for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

"That civilians were caught in this, and that there were serious allegations of war crimes has to be investigated, and India will have to take a position on that," Ganguly said.

Next week's United Nations Human Rights Council vote is mainly symbolic, as the council has no authority to appoint an independent probe.

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Comment Sorting
by: Obama
March 17, 2012 9:24 AM
International community should not back India's bid for permanent seat at the UN, if India fails to act on this shameful.attrocities

by: Yp
March 16, 2012 3:39 AM
This is about innocent human being murdered in cold blood, they must get justice.
War is a dirty business but it must never be brought to civilians like it was done by the SriLanken army.

Any Hindu will remember a story of Ramayana about a king called Ravan, unfortunately for innocent people of the North there was no Ram to save them from the brutal kingdom, and this says enough about India's attitude to its history and heritage.

by: Narayan
March 15, 2012 8:38 PM
Wherever it might happen - crime against humanity must be dealt with an iron fist. UN will fail in its responsibilities if it sits as a mute spectator on this war crime perpetuated by Srilanka on innocent people. Channel 4 program clearly shows that most of the victims were kids and old people. What a shame.

by: rao
March 13, 2012 6:22 PM
Sri Lankan Govt war crimes are a shame on humanity. Indian Govt's lack of backbone is nothing unusual. It doesn't EVEN have any courage to handle Pakistan when it sponsors terrorists to kill innocent people in Mumbai. How can anyone expect Indian govt to show any courage when it comes to Tamils in Sri lanka. Unfortunately for tamils in sri lanka, india is irrelevant.

by: real
March 13, 2012 1:59 PM
Tamils need justice who care about india we dont need there justice which they dont have there own people or equal to srilankan justice.we need from UN

by: dave
March 13, 2012 12:47 PM
I will not set foot in Sri Lanka again and I know a lot of my mates who decided also not to go there to watch England play until some justice has been dished out to the murderous govt regime. Please India, show the world how democratic and fair you are and demand for justice for the tamils.

by: Shiva
March 13, 2012 10:36 AM
International Law must be applied in Sri Lanka and all perpetrators must be brought to face the Law!

by: Shiva
March 13, 2012 10:11 AM
No war criminal or human rights abuser can escape from responsibility. Indian Congress regime that collaborated with the Sri Lankan war crimes and genocide. As Indian leaders are implicated into war crimes, Indian Congress regime is trying to bail out Sri Lanka. International Community must exclude India (except Tamil Nadu) and independently investigate crimes against humanity.

by: EQJustice
March 13, 2012 9:56 AM
The truth is that every key member nations at UN including Hon Secretary knows what has happened during the last days of the war in Sri Lanka.
The stupid decision that Tamil Tigers have taken to kill Rajiv did not warrant crimes against humanity of this magnitude -YES, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT 40000+ perished lives to go unnoticed. It's not too late to act. Those innocent poor Tamil civilians who perished will silently bless the mother India from heaven, if she's willing to act.

by: Jothipala
March 13, 2012 8:23 AM
Srilanka not going to give anything to tamils.only dividing srilanka is solution

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