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Protests may force PM to skip Commonwealth meet

17 October 2013 02:58 am - 24     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


With voices of protest against India's participation in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo next month growing louder, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is likely to skip the summit.

Sources said pressure from the Tamil Nadu unit of the Congress and the party's erstwhile partner DMK may have prompted a rethink in the government on the Prime Minister's participation in the biennial event.

Congress and DMK leaders said there are enough indications to show that the Prime Minister is not willing to attend the meeting, keeping in mind the strong anti-Sri Lanka sentiments in Tamil Nadu. A senior Congress leader said India may be represented at the summit by Vice-President Hamid Ansari and external affairs minister Salman Khurshid.

"The Prime Minister and other senior leaders in the party have been discussing the issue for the last month. We got indications that the PM is not likely to attend the meeting," a Union minister from Tamil Nadu told TOI. He said the PM is likely to request Ansari to travel to Colombo for the summit.

Ansari had headed the Indian delegation at the last CHOGM in Australia in 2011.

During his recent visit to Sri Lanka, Khurshid had confirmed his participation in the meeting. "I am in touch with the Sri Lankan foreign minister %(G L Peiris). I will obviously come as part of the delegation as the foreign minister," Khurshid had said. The meeting will begin on November 10.

Manmohan Singh's recent letter to DMK chief M Karunanidhi also hinted at a rethink on his participation in the meeting. He said the matter would be decided after considering all factors, including the sentiments of people of Tamil Nadu and DMK. Singh conveyed the same to DMK parliamentary leader T R Baalu during a 25-minute meeting in New Delhi on Monday. "We have been demanding that India boycott the meeting. Baalu conveyed our party's stand and the sentiments of various sections in Tamil Nadu. The response from the PM gave us some hope," a former DMK Union minister said.

He recalled India's vote against Sri Lanka at UN following pressure from Tamil Nadu parties, including DMK. "Since Lok Sabha elections are round the corner, Congress would be very conscious of what decision they take. Congress leaders like (Union minister) G K Vasan have been reflecting the mood of TN," he said.

Following Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's decision to skip the CHOGM, citing Sri Lanka's human rights record, protests in Tamil Nadu and among Tamil diaspora against India's participation have grown.

The diaspora has been lobbying with Indian envoys in various countries, including the US and European countries, to boycott the event. Tamil National Alliance in Sri Lanka, which swept the recent Northern Province council elections, has also asked India to follow in the footsteps of the Canadian PM.  (The Times of India)

  Comments - 24

  • Santhosh Thursday, 17 October 2013 07:17 AM

    That's the correct move.

    Lucky Weeramantry Friday, 18 October 2013 12:46 PM

    Come Or Go Chicago, The Party Goes On

    Lucky Weeramantry Friday, 18 October 2013 12:41 PM

    Jealousy. Nothing Else.

    siva Friday, 18 October 2013 08:30 AM

    He did not go to the previous meeting in Australia also . What was that for?

    Kajen Friday, 18 October 2013 06:03 AM

    Hallo Suq Madique

    In such way they realise how the People will behave.
    It`s a fundemantal basic knowledge for legistetors.

    Keerthi Nelson Friday, 18 October 2013 05:13 AM

    I am sorry, I didn't know that Jayaram Jayalalitha is the Prime Minister of India now.

    Crazy Coot Friday, 18 October 2013 02:35 AM

    Must have spent it on development, no?

    Madanamutha Thursday, 17 October 2013 02:10 PM

    Caravan will stuck in the mud and the dog will have a last laugh!

    Madanamutha Thursday, 17 October 2013 02:09 PM

    Yer, push off the island and go closer!!!

    spongeglobal Thursday, 17 October 2013 01:57 PM

    Great! So we can get much closer to china

    fawazan Thursday, 17 October 2013 10:45 AM

    Mud on MR & others face...

    Rohan1 Thursday, 17 October 2013 07:38 AM

    Who killed those people, whose skeletons were found in Matale?

    BuffaloaCitizen Thursday, 17 October 2013 04:00 AM

    Very good move...person with simple conscience will not want to shake the hands of war criminals. Furthermore, with the level of intolerance, indiscipline and impunity in this regime, the chances of some minister saying a shameless statement (like what was done to UNHCR chief) cannot be ruled out notwithstanding a probable bayonet head shot from a local soldier like what happened to Rajiv Ghandhi.

    Suq Madique Thursday, 17 October 2013 07:05 AM

    Isn't it a shame that the supposedly mighty India is ruled by the state of TN? So right or wrong they have to comply....shameful.

    Suq Madique Thursday, 17 October 2013 07:04 AM

    Don't get your hopes up and don't comment like an idiot because nothing has been proved yet.

    Suq Madique Thursday, 17 October 2013 07:02 AM

    Its not a decision made by them but made for them by those casting votes. Attending would have meant losing the votes and power.

    kumar Thursday, 17 October 2013 06:37 AM

    Your 'kunu' comment suits your name.

    Sonali De Silva Thursday, 17 October 2013 06:22 AM

    Do the morons who are not attending the summit think its going to affect us?
    "the dogs bark, but the caravan goes on"

    Dilum Thursday, 17 October 2013 06:11 AM

    What about the bribe we offered to Dr.Manmohan Singh to attend the CHOGM, THE SAMPUR PROJECT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Mason Thursday, 17 October 2013 05:09 AM

    Sri Lanka is not going to improve it's hopeless attitude towards all types of abuses, simply because the Indian PM attends the CHOGM. He would do better staying away from the gathering.

    Duminda N Jayatileke Thursday, 17 October 2013 05:03 AM

    With India also not coming, who knows, economic sanctions could be next.

    sinhala modaya Thursday, 17 October 2013 04:25 AM

    If the mighty Indian PM fails to appear at CHOGM, it clearly shown what their real motives are for sri lanka. Shame on you India after all you nurtured & funded blood thirsty tamil separatist under Indira Ghandhi & you didnt have the spine to disarm them even under India-SL accord that was forced on us by your parrippu drop to scare JRJ. Only SL valiant forces were able to defeat terrorism against all odds, so dont fall prey to tiger remnants in PeeNadu just to get their kunu votes to congress to stay in power. Your days are numbered

    Mithila Thursday, 17 October 2013 04:23 AM

    Good Decision by Indian & Canada

    Mother Lanka Thursday, 17 October 2013 04:13 AM

    Who cares!!

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