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Another Indian Minister pushes for PM to miss CHOGM

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The Indian Prime Minister faces a growing chorus within his Congress party to miss a Commonwealth summit in Colombo over allegations of war crimes in Sri Lanka, though his office has advised him to attend the event.

Union Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan has become the third union minister to voice her concerns over Dr Manmohan Singh’s proposed visit to Colombo on November 15, after Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Shipping Minister GK Vasan.

“I have requested a meeting with the PM. I want to convey the strong sentiments of people of Tamil Nadu on his Sri Lanka visit. I will request him to factor sentiments against his visit when he considers his final decision,” said Ms Natarajan, who is a Member of Parliament from Tamil Nadu.

Last week, GK Vasan had met the Prime Minister and asked him to boycott the event.

Sources close to Mr Chidambaram said he, too, opposes the visit and feels that while the government can send a representative to the conference of leaders of Commonwealth nations, Dr Singh should not travel there.

Last month, the Tamil Nadu assembly unanimously adopted a resolution that said India must boycott the session to register its protest against the Sri Lankan government’s failure to investigate and punish those who allegedly persecuted the island’s ethnic Tamils in the final phase of the civil war that ended in 2009 when the military feared the rebel Tamil Tigers.

M Karunanidhi, the leader of regional party DMK, has warned that if the PM travels to Sri Lanka, “his party will have to face the consequences.” The DMK quit Dr Singh’s coalition in March, accusing it of failing to hold the Sri Lankan government accountable for alleged war crimes against Tamils.

Sources in the government have told NDTV that senior bureaucrats in the PM’s office and the Foreign Ministry feel it is important to continue engaging with Sri Lanka’s government so that India can push for the Tamil cause.

The Prime Minister said recently, “We will consider the sentiments of the Tamil people.” - NDTV

Posted on Monday, November 04, 2013 @ 13:31:22 LKT by

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