The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court has directed the Cabinet Secretary, Government of India to respond to three queries on the proposed sale of two war ships to Sri Lanka before October 8. The court wants to know about the “mechanism and arrangement” of these ships, why the sale at a time there are strained relations between both countries, and by when these ships are likely to be exported to Sri Lanka.
In his Public Interest Litigation, the petitioner, a Madurai based lawyer Stalin, has sought a direction to cancel the proposed deal. He has expressed apprehension that these ships could be deployed against Indian fishermen fishing in the palk straits. He has also pointed out that twice India had voted against Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council and the deal could be insensitive to the strong sentiments in Tamil NJadu against Sri Lanka which is facing allegations of war crimes and human rights violations against Lankan Tamils.
The judges also mentioned that two years ago the same court had directed the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard to deploy two ships in the palk straits to safeguard Indian fishermen.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa too had recently expressed concern about the proposed sale of war ships to Sri Lanka and wanted the agreement to be called off. (NDTV)