Did India clandestinely deploy its armed forces in Sri Lanka during the final phase of the ethnic war in 2009?
A PIL filed in the Supreme Court has said Indian military personnel took direct part in the war, and that some were even injured in the battle. A Sikh officer was commanding the forces, it said, citing eyewitness evidence and international probe. Noting that deploying Indian military without parliamentary or presidential nod is illegal, it sought a special tribunal to probe and prosecute persons who were behind the "illegal war", besides compensation to the immediate families of the victims.
The petition filed by Delhi-based advocate Ram Sankar, secretary of Delhi Tamil Advocates Association, last week has been listed for hearing on April 17.
The petition said Indian Army, Navy and Air Force personnel "were unlawfully sent to Sri Lanka to aid and abet the Sri Lankan forces in their internal war against Tamil minorities" in 2008 and 2009, without declaring an open war or without the sanction of the President of India, who is the supreme commander of the armed forces, and without parliamentary sanction required under Article 246 of the Constitution.
Sankar said he visited Sri Lanka several times as part of international humanitarian efforts. "Asylum seekers have said that a turbaned Indian officer was seen commanding the armed forces that were attacking Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu."
"The authorities, without declaring an open war, deployed the personnel of armed forces in aid and abetment of the armed forces of Sri Lanka. This fact was also not revealed to Parliament, which alone is vested with the power to regulate the military affairs. There is no provision in the Constitution permitting the use of Indian armed forces for any purpose other than for the defence of India," he said.
"This clandestine action of Indian armed forces to assist the Sri Lankan armed forces against Tamil rebels in a domestic conflict, not for the defence of India, in 2008 and 2009 is reported in paragraph 56 of a report prepared by an independent international panel of experts appointed by the United Nations secretary general Ban Ki Moon. It was published on March 31, 2011," the PIL read.
It wanted the apex court to constitute a special investigation team under its control and supervision to probe individual and collective roles of Indian armed forces against Tamils, including persons of Indian origin, in Sri Lanka. It wanted the court to direct the authorities to constitute a special tribunal to prosecute those who committed the crimes against the lives, property and honour of Tamil minorities in Sri Lanka, and to direct them to pay adequate compensation to the immediate family members of the victims.
Sankar cited the ministries of defence, external affairs and home, besides the cabinet secretariat, as respondents in the case. (Source: Times of India)