India asks Lanka to take steps to stop military violence

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi, Oct 17 | Updated: Oct 18 2008, 07:03am hrs
India has asked Sri Lanka to take steps to stabilise the situation in the island country, whose rippling effects have been felt in Tamil Nadu.

Foreign secretary Shivshankar Menon on Friday summoned Sri Lankan High Commissioner CR Jayasinghe and asked Colombo to take steps to stop the violence.

India expressed grave concerns over the ongoing violence in Sri Lanka. He asked Colombo to take concrete steps to stop the military offensive in Sri Lanka, an official source said after the foreign secretary summoned Jayasinghe to South Block, the seat of the external affairs ministry, to register Indias unhappiness with the situation in Sri Lanka.

This is the third message from New Delhi to Colombo in the last three days.

With 38 Tamil Nadu MPs threatening to resign en masse if the violence against innocent Tamils is not stopped in Sri Lanka, Menon again impressed upon Colombo to pursue a negotiated political solution, rather than continue with military means to settle the decades-old ethnic feud.

Menon also asked Colombo to ensure that the harassment and killing of Indian fishermen in neighbouring areas are stopped forthwith.

According to a source, This shows New Delhis growing impatience with Colombo over the way the Sri Lankan government has launched its biggest ever offensive against the Tamil Tigers, leading to much hardship and suffering for civilians caught in the crossfire.

On Thursday, external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee had sent a stern message to Colombo Thursday asking it to shun military means and pursue a political settlement that respects the human rights of minorities in the island nation.

Lankas ethnic Sinhalese-dominated government is engaged in one of its biggest-ever offensives against the Tigers, who control part of the north of the island and want to carve out a separate state.

Colombo says it has killed around 7,500 Tamil Tigers since January, when it pulled out of a Norwegian-backed truce. The UN says 230,000 people have been displaced in the recent wave of fighting.