Attacks on Indian fishermen is disturbing says Ranil in Chennai

Monday, 19 August 2013 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Chennai: Leader of the Opposition in the Sri Lankan Parliament, Ranil Wickremesinghe, said yesterday that he was disturbed by the attacks on Indian fishermen by the island nation’s naval forces. According to an Indian fishermen association, as many as 3,000 fishermen, who gave up their work fearing attack by the Sri Lankan Navy in southern city of Rameswaram, have moved to neighbouring Kerala and Karnataka states to earn their livelihood. Speaking to the media in India’s southern city of Chennai, Wickremesinghe expressed his sadness, while calling for national elections in Sri Lanka by next year. “We say there has to be Sri Lankan unity. We are disturbed by what has been happening here. The problems are not only to the Muslims and the Tamils, now it is there for the Sinhalese also. This is why we are running a campaign calling for national election in 2014,” said Wickremesinghe. Sri Lanka has repeatedly rejected calls for an independent international probe into accusations of war crimes committed during the war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which ended in May 2009. Tens of thousands of civilians, mostly Tamils, were killed in the final months of the war, according to a UN panel. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is under fire from the UN Human Rights Council, which last year adopted a United States-sponsored resolution demanding that Sri Lanka ensures Government troops who committed war crimes during the final stages of its war against Tamil rebels are brought to justice. The Sri Lankan Opposition Leader also called for elections in the Northern Province of the country, which is dominated by a Tamil population. “We all want good elections in the Northern Province. The UNP (United National Front) has insisted on it, the opposition parties have insisted on it. We are disappointed that the election observers have not been called from the very beginning as we all insisted. We wanted election observers called the day the elections were called, the day the nominations were handed over, but that has not happened,” Wickremesinghe added. The 30-year long civil war between the Government and the Tamil Tiger rebels, who at one time controlled large swathes of north of the island state, is estimated to have left tens of thousands of people dead or injured. International investigators, whose findings have been rejected by the Sri Lankan authorities, have said that the Army committed large-scale abuses and was responsible for many civilian deaths in the final stages of war. The International Commission of Jurists said that the failure to submit those abuses and others committed by the Tigers to a court was a symptom of the overall lack of accountability in the country, where rights groups say abductions and attacks on media are also common.