PM assures Karunanidhi on SL Tamil issue

(PTI) With Tamil Nadu MPs insisting that India make its stand clear on the US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka in UNHRC, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said efforts are on to achieve a "forward-looking" outcome which would avoid "deepening confrontation and mistrust."

"We are engaged with all parties in an effort to achieve an outcome that is forward-looking and that ensures that rather than deepening confrontation and mistrust between concerned parties, a way forward is found on issues related to accountability and reconciliation," Singh told DMK chief M Karunanidhi.

In a letter to the DMK leader, who demanded that India support the US resolution against Colombo for alleged war crimes during voting, Singh said India’s objective, as always, remains the achievement of a future for the Tamil community in Sri Lanka marked by equality, dignity, justice and self-respect.

Noting that India had emphasised to Sri Lanka the importance of a genuine process of reconciliation to address grievances of Tamils, he said New Delhi welcomed the report of Sri Lankan Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Committee (LLRC).

India believed implementation of the LLRC recommendations would contribute to the process of reconciliation, he added.

"We have also emphasised the need for an independent and credible mechanism to investigate allegations of human rights violations in a time-bound manner, which has also been recommended by LLRC. Our focus on these issues with the Government of Sri Lanka will continue," Singh said.

The Prime Minister informed Karunanidhi that India attaches "high priority" to the safety, prosperity and well-being of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka and has consistently drawn Colombo’s attention to the need for a political settlement since the end of the internal conflict in 2009.

"In our engagement with the Government of Sri Lanka, we have urged it to put in place a process of resettlement, rehabilitation and reconstruction, including early return of all internally displaced persons to their respective habitats," he said.

India had also urged Sri Lanka for early withdrawal of emergency regulations, investigations into alleged human rights violations, restoration of normalcy in affected areas and redress of humanitarian concerns of all affected families, Singh said.

"We have offered our technical, economical and financial assistance to aid this process. I would like to underline that it is as a result of our engagement with the Government of Sri Lanka and our considerable assistance programme that a modicum of normalcy is beginning to return to the Tamil areas in Sri Lanka," the Prime Minister said. India has implemented and continues to do so a wide range of projects covering housing, education, health, vocational training, agriculture and reconstruction of infrastructure, Singh noted.

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