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India blamed for rights abuses in Sri Lanka


New Delhi : A group of women activists in India has blamed the Indian government for what they said were widespread human rights violations in Sri Lanka.

The “Indian Women’s Rights Activists in Solidarity with Women in Sri Lanka” also said it had stopped believing in Colombo’s periodic pledges to bring about reconciliation in the country.

“We no longer believe the empty promises of the Sri Lankan government to bring peace and reconciliation, and strongly demand immediate action that will convince us of the seriousness of this intent,” it said.

“We strongly condemn the Indian government’s silence and active participation in many of the human rights violations meted out by the Sri Lankan government,” it said in a statement.

“We demand that the Indian government take positive steps for justice and the basic welfare of all those people adversely affected by the prolonged conflict in Sri Lanka.”

The statement faulted the Sri Lankan government for not acknowledging the range of rights violations committed by its armed forces, even two years after the Tamil Tigers were crushed.

It said women were among the worst hit in the dragging conflict in Sri Lanka that began in 1983.

It demanded that displaced people should be allowed to return to their homes and high security zones in the country’s northeast should be dismantled.

“We strongly urge the Indian government to desist from participating in industrial and developmental projects in Sri Lanka where they result in permanent loss of the land and livelihood or ethnic cleansing of war-displaced minorities.”

The signatories to the statement included historian Uma Chakravarty, professor Ilina Sen and Lakshmi Lingam, Rohini Hensman, Saheli, Mumbai’s Forum Against Oppression of Women, and Mary. E. John, director of New Delhi’s Centre for Women’s Development Studies.