The BJP, the Indian government’s main political party, stressed that those responsible for committed atrocities against the Tamil people in Sri Lanka “must be brought to justice”, in a meeting with a delegation of the British Tamils Forum (BTF) last month.
Meeting with several BJP officials, including the party’s National General Secretary, Muralidhar Rao and the Incharge & Prabhari of Tripura State, Vijay Jolly, who recently travelled to Sri Lanka to attend the International Conference of Asian Political Parties, as well as the Tamil Nadu’s State General Secretary, Vanathi Srinivasan and Minister Ponn Radhakrishnan, the BTF delegation discussed the need for accountability and justice for mass atrocities against Tamils, the ongoing displacement of Tamils and the Buddhisisation occurring through out the Tamil homeland.
“People who have committed atrocities, violence and also who have violated human rights, must be brought to justice, by following the due process of law. It is according to the internationally accepted principles of jurisprudence,” said Muralidhar Rao, adding that unless these issues are fully addressed there would be no lasting solution.
UN inquiry into mass atrocities in Sri Lanka
Asked for the Indian government’s view of the OHCHR Investigation into Sri Lanka, which is due to present its findings to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2015, Muralidhar Rao reiterated the Indian government’s commitment to justice, however, said he could not comment on March.
“The Indian government is also committed to the protection of human rights, and the delivering justice and bringing the people who have committed any kind of violations or crimes, must be brought to justice,” he said.
“All these things definitely are very important, even in the view of the Indian government,” he added.
“But when it comes to United Nations, and the reports and resolutions, definitely our External Affairs Ministry, and minister, and prime minister – it is a governmental level issue – so for me it is too early to make a conclusive opinion.”
Tamil suffering ‘cannot continue’
Speaking at length about the lack of a lasting political solution to the ethnic conflict on the island, Muralidhar Rao told the BTF delegation that the Tamil people could not be expected to continue suffering in the way it has and is, and that the diaspora has a significant role to play.
“Devolution of powers has become the subject of debate all over the world, and has now become contentious in Sri Lanka. This has to be addressed very soon and the Sri Lankan government has to work on its promise. The promise it has given not only to the citizens of Sri Lanka, but to citizens all over the world.”
“The BJP feels that it has definitely an important role to play in solving this problem or in addressing this problem or also in facilitating the dialogue to happen. The people who are suffering cannot be expected to continue the same kind of suffering even after so many years of this turmoil and war like situation and all other things.”
Stating that the diaspora, by virtue of its organic connection to those in the North-East, through linguistic, religious, cultural, racial and ethnic ties “cannot be expected to cut off from the source community, or the community in Sri Lanka and their sufferings”, he said it had a “very important responsibility”.
“They [the diaspora] have played a major role in highlighting the problems of Sri Lankan Tamilians all over the world and they have helped the Tamil people in Sri Lanka in making the people all over the world to understand what actually is happening and in creating public opinion.”
“Their contribution is significant and actually that is helping the Sri Lankan Tamilians, in surviving and sustaining.”
His comments were echoed by Vijay Jolly who said the BJP was “very much pleased to receive a delegation of the British Tamils Forum”.
“We do not wish to interfere in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka, but certainly our sentiments are there in every positive endeavour of the British Tamils Forum and its activities worldwide.”
“We wish you all the best, and we do hope [that] better senses should prevail for [the] protection of human rights of Hindu Tamils in Sri Lanka and [that] the Western nations will take adequate note of the valid concerns of the British Tamils Forum on this subject.”
Buddhisisation of Tamil homeland
Stressing the importance of a solution that recognises and upholds the rights of the Tamil people, Muralidhar Rao said this would create a “good foundation” for the future.
“In coming days, the cultural, religious, political and economic rights of the Sri Lankan Tamils have to be attended, addressed, and this will in my view, will create good foundations for sound and prosperous Sri Lanka. This is also a very important thing.”
Highlighting the destruction and militarisation of Tamil places of worship across the North-East, the BTF delegation explained in detail the ongoing destruction of Hindu temples, particularly in the Trincomalee district. Condemning the attacks, Vijay Jolly called for the attacks to cease.
“We are of the firm view, that the human rights of the Tamils in Sri Lanka [and] the reported attack[s] on religious places of worship in Sri Lanka should immediately stop,” he said.
“In our last meeting with the honourable president of Sri Lanka, Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa, on behalf of the BJP, along with my BJP General Secretary Mr Muralidhar Rao, we were very categorical in putting forward the current scenario prevailing in Sri Lanka, which is of grave concern to us.”