PM bows to pressure; may not go to Lanka for CHOGM
New Delhi: Bowing to pressure from Tamil Nadu politicians, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh may skip Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Sri Lanka. The TN politicians – including those in the Union cabinet- had urged the PM to boycott the event over Sri Lanka's alleged war crimes against Lankan Tamils.
According to reports, a government delegation may be sent to Sri Lanka for the November 15 meet instead of the PM and this move has the backing of Finance Minister, P Chidambaram who is an MP from Tamil Nadu. On Friday, the Congress Core Group headed by party president Sonia Gandhi and including the PM discussed for more than an hour if India should participate in the Summit.
Earlier on Friday, DMK president M. Karunanidhi asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to act according to his conscience and urged India to boycott the Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka. Karunanidhi told reporters: "The prime minister has conscience. He should act according to his conscience." He said nobody from India -- the prime minister or anybody else -- should participate in the Commonwealth meeting to be held in Colombo.
All major political parties in Tamil Nadu including the ruling AIADMK, DMK, Congress, DMDK and PMK want India to boycott the CHOGM at Sri Lanka in protest against "war crimes" there. The Tamil Nadu assembly has passed an unanimous resolution urging the Indian government to keep away from CHOGM.
Critics say that Sri Lankan security forces killed thousands of innocent Tamils during the final stages of the war against the LTTE and Colombo has since then refused to give political autonomy to the Tamils. Karunanidhi said his demand had nothing to do with whether or not the DMK was with the Congress-led UPA government. "The issue is not about outside support (to the government). We have already come out of the government."