Millennium Post

Resolution forgets ltte’s excesses

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) had proved to be the most dreaded organisation; no other militant organisation violated human rights so unabashedly as the LTTE did. In its bloody 26-year-long history, it had let loose a mayhem not only in Sri Lanka but in India too. Over one-lakh civilians, 22,000 soldiers and 30,000 LTTE rebels were killed in the civil war in the island nation. The LTTE, for the first time, pioneered the use of suicide belts.

The LTTE targeted Rajiv Gandhi, one of the tallest leaders of India, who was blown to bits in a rally at Sriperumbudur by a female suicide bomber. Two years later, it was the turn of President Premdasa in Colombo. An unsuccessful attempt was made to assassinate yet another Sri Lanka President, Chandrika Kumaratunga. She survived, loosing one eye. Selectively, hardliner Sinhala Sri Lankan Ministers were also targeted. Even Tamil opposition politicians were not spared. The LTTE supremo, Prabhakaran, would not tolerate any rivals even though they may be from his own fraternity.

In this context the US sponsored resolution at UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, criticising human rights record of Sri Lanka and calling upon Colombo to conduct an independent and credible investigation into alleged war crimes, mocks at the atrocities committed by LTTE. It, as a matter of fact, is in sharp contrast to the mayhem let loose by the dreaded organisation, led by cold-blooded murderer Prabhakaran.

However, what must bring some relief to Sri Lanka, was the fact that the resolution avoided references like call for international probe into alleged human rights violation or ‘genocide’ in the context of civilian killings during the prolonged conflict. The resolution was adopted with 25 votes in favour, 13 against and eight abstentions in the 47-member body. Pakistan came further close to Colombo by voting against the resolution, saying it would fail to engage Sri Lanka constructively and negatively impact the ongoing reconciliation process.

India wanted to introduce some tough amendments to the resolution in view of the overwhelming concerns over the plight of Tamils in the island nation but was dissuaded from doing so by the US. India’s envoy to the UN offices, Dilip Sinha, was told by sponsors that the attempt was to make the resolution as broadest as possible and that certain words in the text might make things difficult for its smooth passage. However, the Indian representative was allowed to make intervention during the discussion. The Sri Lankan envoy expectably strongly opposed the resolution contending that it was based on misrepresentation of facts. ‘The resolution casts aspersions on democratic process without any foundation and could hinder the reconciliation process’, he said.

DMK chief Karunanidhi has his own politics to play in the murky scenario. Already down and out in Tamil Nadu, he played Tamil card, irrespective of atrocities committed by LTTE on the Sinhalese people. The militant organisation did not spare its own people – Tamilians opposed to its cause in Sri Lanka and India – murdering them in cold blood.

In quitting the UPA government at the Centre with only a year to go before the general election, the DMK is not exactly taking a huge political gamble. The possible gains far outweigh the inherent risks in leaving a ruling coalition and being out of power at the centre as well as in the state. As the protest movement on the Sri Lankan Tamil issue gathers momentum in Tamil Nadu, the DMK realised it could be under attack for being a part of government at the centre. The party, therefore, decided to be more aggressive. Instead of having to defend the Centre’s action or inaction in Sri Lanka, the DMK will now have freedom to question and criticise the UPA’s foreign policy.

Of course, the party is now without a strong ally in the state. But, then, the DMK knows that the alliance with which it won 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha elections and the 2006 Tamil Nadu Assembly elections had failed to deliver in the 2011 Assembly election. Circumstances are propitious for political churning as the ruling party in the state – the AIADMK – too has alienated its allies of 2011. Ideally, the DMK would have liked to time the breakup closer to the general election, but with the spontaneous overflow on the streets of the powerful feelings of Tamil identity, Karunanidhi decided to seize the opportunity.

With several of his earlier threats to leave the UPA on the Sri Lankan issue having achieved nothing tangible, the DMK President was also under pressure to show that he meant business and adhere by what he said. Irrespective to what happened to the resolution at the UN Human Rights Commission, Karunanidhi will be hard to please from now on.

Although the UPA government is not in imminent danger of collapse, it no longer has comfort of numbers. Anyone of the parties supporting the government from outside, especially the Samajwadi Party or the BSP, can now trigger a general election before schedule. What this means is that in the most crucial period before poll, the Congress will not have ability to push ahead with economic reforms and political agenda overriding opposition from other UPA constituents and supporting parties.

The DMK too might not be looking at an early election. Memories of the drubbing it took two years ago after 2G spectrum scam are still fresh and Karunanidhi might like to give AIADMK some more time to slide down in the popularity graph. However, the party may be hoping to make better use of its time in opposition than it made while in power. Will the wily  DMK patriarch be able to do so now? (IPA)
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