Making a case for India’s effective intervention in ensuring the safety and security of the Tamil-speaking people in his country, Sri Lanka’s Northern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran on Sunday accused the Mahinda Rajapaksa government of obstructing the UN-mandated war crimes probe.
He charged that the government was arresting and intimidating those who try to gather evidence in connection with the investigation relating to crimes by the regime during the Eelam war in 2006-2009.
“The state does not want to allow evidence to leave the shores of the country — just as in the incarceration of the 3,50,000 Tamils, the primary aim is to let no evidence leave the shores,” he said, echoing the strong remarks made by the UN Human Rights Council chairman against the Sri Lankan government recently.
Delivering the K G Kannabiran Memorial Lecture on ‘Safeguarding Security on Sovereignty’, organised by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Wigneswaran repeatedly sought to emphasise India’s “fiduciary duty” towards the “vulnerable Tamils” after the failure of all “national processes” in the island nation.
Ensuring the abolition of the unitary character of Sri Lanka’s Constitution topped the long list of “should dos” by New Delhi. “The Tamil-speaking people of Sri Lanka have been discriminated against, politically marginalised, brutalised in war and even the courts have a systemic bias and have consistently failed to protect them,” Wigneswaran alleged.
“What should India do given its ancient and shared history with Sri Lanka? What should India do when it has nearly a 100,000 refugees from Sri Lanka whose rights are being denied by Lanka,” he asked. Making a case for New Delhi’s intervention, Wigneswaran — a retired judge of the Supreme Court in Sri Lanka — said the wellbeing of the Tamils had an international dimension and could not be suppressed on the basis of sovereignty.
India had legal and moral obligation to ensure the welfare of the citizens in Sri Lanka, he said highlighting the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord.