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Tamil Eelam Supporters’ Organisation demands UN probe on Lanka war crimes, steers clear of Eelam

CHENNAI: Three years after the ethnic war in Sri Lanka ended with the fall of the LTTE, political leaders and human rights activists from across the globe gathered in Chennai on Sunday under the banner of Tamil Eelam Supporters’ Organisation (Teso) and DMK president M Karunanidhi’s leadership to demand that India move a United Nations resolution to empower Tamils with political rights. The event represented the first such overseas gathering aimed at forging a political consensus on the future of Tamils in post-war Lanka. The conclave had remained doubtful till Saturday, but got a eleventh hour reprieve on Sunday with the Madras high court giving a conditional nod for holding the meet at the YMCA grounds. While projecting himself as a champion of the war-ravaged Tamils in Sri Lanka, the DMK patriarch used the occasion to berate the UPA government at the Centre for failing to take proactive steps to help Tamils achieve civilian and political rehabilitation. One of the resolutions adopted at the meeting called upon the UN to probe war crimes in Sri Lanka and ensure that the army was withdrawn from Tamil areas. In all, 14 resolutions were adopted, touching upon a range of issues including livelihood, language, political autonomy, and refugees. Speakers at the meet clearly steered away from mention of a militant or armed response to further the cause of Eelam. The meet, referring to a report of a three-member UN team which exposed mass killings of Tamils by the Lankan forces through bombing of notified safety zones and hospitals in the northern and eastern parts of the island nation in May 2009, demanded that an international committee be constituted by the Human Rights Council of the UN to examine war crimes committed by the Lankan government. The Teso conference was also critical of the stand taken by the government of India on the Lankan issue. They called upon the Central government to move a resolution in the UN that would provide a rightful political space for the Lankan Tamils. The delegates pointed out that despite the Human Rights Council of the UN passing a resolution against Sri Lanka, nothing much had changed on the ground. The meet called upon the UN body to appoint a supervisory committee to ensure that the Lankan government acted upon the UN resolution. Abdul Razak Momoh, a member of Nigerian parliament, noted that the responsibility of protecting the rights of Lankan Tamils did not rest with Teso or India alone. The whole world had the responsibility to protect the rights of innocent Tamils, he said. “If UN sanctions can be imposed on Iran for taking a nuclear route, why can’t they be imposed on Sri Lanka for indulging in human rights violations,” asked Momoh. Despite being a DMK-sponsored conference, the party sought to give it an apolitical colour by not allowing anybody to carry party flags. Ram Vilas Paswan, president of Lok Janshakti Party, called upon Karunanidhi to hold such conferences in other parts of India and abroad to make people aware of the sufferings of Lankan Tamils as well as to mobilise mass support for their cause. He said people in north India mistake Lankan Tamils’ issue as an LTTE problem.

Author: TELO Admin