New Delhi / Chennai: The Centre is under extreme pressure to vote against Sri Lanka on March 21, when the United Nations' top human rights body meets in Geneva. The US is moving a resolution that is expected to criticize Sri Lanka for alleged war crimes and human rights violations by its defence forces in the final phases of the civil war against the Tamil Tigers which ended in May 2009.
Here are 10 big developments in this story:
- Amid the controversy, India has called off Defence Secretary-level talks with Sri Lanka slated to begin on March 23.
- A trio of ministers - P Chidambaram, AK Antony and Ghulam Nabi Azad - met the DMK chief M Karunanidhi this evening to broker a possible compromise after he threatened to drop out of the government. "We would report Karunanidhi's suggestions for amendments to the Prime Minister. I can't say anything more," said Mr Azad after the meeting.
- The DMK, which is the Prime Minister's main ally, says that just voting against Sri Lanka in Geneva is not enough. The DMK wants India to add strongly-worded amendments to the US resolution, asking for an international probe that must be completed within a fixed period on the island's "genocide."
- India has not yet seen the final format of the proposed resolution at the UN Human Rights Council against Sri Lanka, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday. The text of the resolution is expected to be finalised and circulated tonight.
- Dilip Sinha, ambassador and permanent representative of India to the UN in Geneva, will arrive in Delhi tomorrow to brief the government on the US resolution.
- More than 500 college students were arrested in Chennai today for attempting to march to the Governor's house to protest against Sri Lanka. IIT Chennai has joined the protests today.
- The state government has ordered all arts and science colleges to remain closed to contain student demonstrations, an order that has proved ineffective.
- The DMK's arch rival, J Jayalalithaa, who is chief minister of Tamil Nadu, has written to the Prime Minister today stating, "It is absolutely important that India takes a strong stand in support of the US-sponsored resolution at the 22nd session of the UNHRC and more importantly moves necessary independent amendments to further strengthen the resolution." (Full text of the letter)
- Last month, Channel 4 from the UK released new photos which allegedly show the 12-year-old son of the chief of the rebel Tamil Tigers was shot in cold blood by the Sri Lankan army. Sri Lanka alleges that the photos are morphed.
- Last year, India voted against Sri Lanka after the DMK threatened to quit the government. The resolution adopted then asked Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations of an internal commission.