WHERE WAS DMK’S CONSCIENCE SLUMBERING WHEN SRI LANKAN HUMAN RIGHTS WERE ACTUALLY VIOLATED ASKS TIMES OF INDIA
– By Walter Jayawardhana –
The Times of India in a hard hitting editorial written on the threat of walk out by the Indian Central government’s coalition ally the DMK on the issue of alleged human rights violations by Sri Lanka questioned where it was slumbering when the violations were actually committed.
The editorial in the English language newspaper with the world’s largest circulation said , “Alienating Sri Lanka now certainly won’t increase our ability to influence how it treats its citizens. Also, one wonders where DMK’s conscience was slumbering when the alleged war crimes were actually taking place.”
The editorial said by adding genocidal accusations against Sri Lanka as proposed by the DMK, however much this may give DMK a convenient window to reinvent an anti-UPA avatar before the 2014 elections, it won’t advance the cause of either India or of Sri Lankan Tamils.
The following is the full text of the editorial: “DMK supremo Karunanidhi has a rich record of threatening to withdraw from the UPA, starting from successfully scuttling disinvestment during the early days of UPA-I — and thus helping dig the fiscal hole the economy finds itself in today — to most lately in the case of FDI in multi-brand retail where he ultimately backed the Centre despite ‘bitterness and a thousand differences of opinion’. But there are signs that he is not just crying wolf this time. That’s also the way the market read them, tumbling down yesterday despite a rate cut by the RBI.
The DMK is no different from the Congress — which has just conjured up the National Right to Homesteads Bill from its bag of tricks — in having the next general elections on its mind. Jayalalithaa whipping up populist fervour on the Sri Lankan Tamils’ plight has led to Karunanidhi upping the ante — just like on disinvestment. DMK had already used its coalition clout to persuade the Centre to support the human rights resolution against Sri Lanka in the UN last year. It’s gone further this time, by demanding that India introduce amendments that would condemn Sri Lanka for ‘genocide’ and institute a new international commission of inquiry into its ‘war crimes’.
However much this may give DMK a convenient window to reinvent an anti-UPA avatar before the 2014 elections, it won’t advance the cause of either India or of Sri Lankan Tamils. Our diplomats have worked hard to get a toned-down document that India can sign without overtly offending a neighbour that’s now our largest trade partner in South Asia. Alienating Sri Lanka now certainly won’t increase our ability to influence how it treats its citizens. Also, one wonders where DMK’s conscience was slumbering when the alleged war crimes were actually taking place.
This drama follows six months after Mamata Banerjee severed ties with the UPA. Prior to that she too short-changed India’s foreign policy options, obstructing the Teesta Waters deal and thereby preventing a pro-India alignment in Bangladesh. The Congress’s need to make friends with its coalition allies evidently comes in the way of the UPA making friends in India’s neighbourhood. The rickety UPA coalition is looking increasingly battered and the next general elections could happen this year itself. But will this usher in a government that is any less fragmented and inchoate?”