India must take UN help to protect Tamil civilians: CPI-M


New Delhi : The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Thursday urged India to take help from the UN to protect Tamils trapped by Sri Lanka’s war between the military and the Tamil Tigers.

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The CPI-M politburo also asked New Delhi to “step up its diplomatic and political efforts” to ensure that Colombo takes steps to provide “genuine autonomy” for the Tamil-speaking areas.

Voicing “serious concern” over reports of casualties among the Tamil civilians in Mullaitivu district, the CPI-M quoted the UN as confirming the deaths of 52 civilians in fighting in just one day. There are also incidents of two hospitals being shelled or bombed, it said.

The CPI-M said in a statement that it was disappointed that Colombo was “not making any progress in working out a political settlement on the Tamil question despite assurances”.

“The government of India should seek the assistance of the UN to ensure the safety of the Tamil civilian population. It should also step up its diplomatic and political efforts to ensure that Sri Lanka immediately takes up the provision of genuine autonomy for the Tamil-speaking areas within a united Sri Lanka.”

The CPI-M said there “are over 200,000 civilians who are trapped in the areas where the fighting is going on. Both the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) have to ensure that the civilians are given safe passage into areas where there are no hostilities or safe zones”.

Sri Lanka says it is poised to crush the LTTE, the last of whose fighters are now massed in a small area in Mullaitivu district.