16 April, 2024


Plans Afoot To Send All-Party Delegation To Lanka

Manmohan Singh

New Delhi: Government plans are afoot to send an all-party delegation led by Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj to Sri Lanka in April to press for stopping all atrocities against Tamils living there and also look into their living conditions after the end of LTTE.

Swaraj told reporters that the all-party delegation’s visit to Sri Lanka is very much on and is tentatively scheduled from April 16 to 21.

BJP has nominated Prahlad Joshi from Lok Sabha and M Venkaiah Naidu from Rajya Sabha as its representatives in the delegation.

India had recently voted- after some amendments for a US resolution at the UN condemning Sri Lanka for the atrocities against Tamils during the war with LTTE.

Sri Lanka had openly spoken against India’s decision.
Deputy Leader of BJP in Rajya Sabha S S Ahluwalia had first made the suggestion in December in Parliament that an all-party delegation should be sent to Sri Lanka to learn about the condition of Tamils there after LTTE was decimated and its Chief V Prabhakharan killed.

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna had welcomed the suggestion in the Rajya Sabha and later made a statement in the Lok Sabha endorsing the idea.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal is said to be working on finalising the details of the visit, including the list of MPs who will be part of the delegation.

Swaraj said she is hopeful the trip will take place. The delegation was to leave on February 11 but due to Assembly elections in five states and other factors, the trip was postponed.


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    Indian delegations to Sri Lanka should have been periodic since the end of the war, where progress in resettlement of internally displaced people, rehabilitation of former LTTE cadres, tours of citizens of the North and East to the other provinces and vice versa could have been observed first hand.

    While the larger majority of ethnic Tamils live outside these two provinces and have been so, for many generations, they would also necessarily need to be inteviewed candidly and their accounts verified independently, free of regional political bias and not with a view to appeasing the political extremists of southern India calling for blood in retaliation against what they might like to perceive as a war of attrition against ethnic Dravidians in Sri Lanka.

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