India a ‘loser’ in Geneva, says Sri Lankan media

A widely-respected Sri Lankan daily led a tirade against New Delhi describing India as "a loser in Geneva, though it helped the US win” on Friday for voting in favour of a resolution demanding war crimes probe in the Island nation at the UNHRC.

The Island in an editorial said the move would embolden Tamil politicians to pressure the centre and even resurrect the LTTE in India. It said New Delhi may have extricated itself from a domestic imbroglio at Sri Lanka’s expense at the behest of the likes of Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa, but it has "plunged India into an unholy diplomatic and political mire” . It said the US can now rely on Tamil Nadu to exert pressure on the Centre on sensitive issues "( w)ith Jayalalithaa and (former Tamil Nadu chief minister M) Karunanidhi on its side” . It said Tamil Nadu politicians failed to save LTTE chief Prabhakaran but have won all political battles against the Centre since his death. "… so much so that even Rajiv Gandhi killers could not be hanged in Tamil Nadu… ”

It warned that the LTTE is likely to step up its operations in Tamil Nadu, "where a situation conducive to its activities exists with prominent politicians backing it… ” . The newspaper hoped that "India will not be hoist with its own petard–once again” .

The Daily News called the countries that voted for the resolution as "destructive” and denounced the USbacked move as "a desperate attempt to disempower and undermine Sri Lanka” . It said they are trying every trick in the bag to further this dark design. It noted that a majority was prepared to vote in favour of the resolution or abstain due to the US pressure and its ability to wield its economic clout in a separate story headlined as "Might overrules right” .

But The Daily Mirror called for understanding the resolution’s spirit, saying its key sponsors have been Sri Lanka’s long standing friends. "India, who voted with the resolution, has been a great friend throughout and as (former Sri Lankan foreign minister Lakshman) Kadirgamar once said our friendship has reached a state of ‘irreversible excellence’ ." It advised against hurling vitriolic abuses and asked Colombo to realize that the resolution is merely "a note of caution made by concerned friends who are genuinely worried about the self-destructive direction Sri Lanka is taking.”

The Island too noted a silver lining. It reported the resolution was amended at the eleventh hour at India’s behest "to replace phrase, ‘and the government of Sri Lanka to accept’ with ‘in consultations with and with the concurrence of the Government of Sri Lanka’ ."

Anger against India had been building in Sri Lankan press since external affairs minister S M Krishna hinted that it could vote against Colombo keeping sentiments in India in mind.

Minister wants VOA to be booted out

Sri Lanka on Friday rejected a UN resolution urging it to seek external help in probing alleged war crimes committe against LTTE. Foreign minister Dew Gunasekera told parliament that Sri Lanka will resist outside help to probe violations of humanitarian law. "We will not, under any circumstances, allow others to impose on us their advice or solution," he said. Hitting out at the US for sponsoring the resolution , construction minister Wimal Weerawansa demanded the shutting down of the Voice of America (VOA) station, which he said was being used for "intelligence gathering" .

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