Cameron BLIND TO Kashmir horrors – in plea for more trade with India
Posted on February 22nd, 2013

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

With the next sessions of the UN Human Rights Council fast approaching, there is much action by forces targeting Sri Lanka, with a rapid regurgitating of earlier charges against the country, by groups with a clear agenda of anti-Sri Lanka action. Amidst a lot of the old hat of unverified and unsubstantiated charged being leveled against those who defeated the LTTE in 2009, being given new tinsel dressings of authenticity, there are also new areas of attack that have emerged in the past few days.

One such diversionary attack was the British media “revelation” about alleged arms sales from UK to Sri Lanka. The Independent and Guardian in the UK, made much of this piece, with the former going to unimaginable stretching of imagination to show why the UK should not sell arms to a fellow member of the Commonwealth; that according to its own report is using these weapons for anti-piracy operations. This was the first indication that fighting piracy, which is emerging as a major threat in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea region, should not be done by a Navy that has played its own role in defeating the world’s most ruthless terrorist organization “”…” the LTTE – so identified by the US State Department.

J Jayalalithaa

Afzal Guru

There are no qualms in quoting from clear one-time activists of this terrorist organization, now banded together as the Global Tamil Forum, and several similar groups, whose concern for human rights, and for the lives of children, was never noticed by anyone when the LTTE was carrying its war against democracy for the subjugation of the Tamil people of Sri Lanka, with the killing of Tamil children by the hundreds as child soldiers.

It is strange that these sections of the British media were making such a din about the UK having arms sales to Sri Lanka, because of its alleged bad record on human rights, when the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, was in India, with the biggest trade delegation ever, trying to get the best trade deals possible, while there is huge outcry there against the most foul execution ever – the hanging to death of Afzal Guru on February 9, 2013, for the offence of attacking the Indian Parliament, seven years after the Supreme Court pronounced the death sentence on him in August 2005.

It is interesting to quote what the Hindu, which also chimed in with some synch on the media attacks against Sri Lanka, had to say of this execution in its edition last Tuesday (February 19). An Op-Ed titled “Execution most foul”: said: “The execution of Afzal Guru on February 9, 2013 was an inhumane act by the Government of India. Afzal Guru was hanged seven years after the Supreme Court’s pronouncement of the death sentence on him on August 4, 2005 and over six years after his clemency petition to the President of India on November 8, 2006. During this period, he and his family remained in agonizing suspense over his fate every day “”‚ a situation that is condemned by all civilized countries and our Supreme Court. The rejection of his petition by the President after over six years on February 3, 2013, was kept secret and deliberately not communicated to his family, lest it became the subject of judicial consideration as has been done in other cases of delayed execution. Within a few days of the rejection of his mercy petition, the execution was carried out in secrecy on February 9, 2013 without informing his family, and his body was buried in equal secrecy in a grave inside Tihar Jail, New Delhi.”

Human rights violations

David Cameron was busy shaking hands with those responsible for this heinous disregard for civilized practice, while the UK media and many of its Legislators, across party lines, were ganging up against Sri Lanka on human rights and accountability. Meanwhile the British media targeting Sri Lanka for alleged human rights violations and crimes against humanity in this country’s war against terror seem totally ignorant, or willfully blind, to the huge human rights violations that continue in India, in the Kashmir Valley.

Indian commentator, Amaresh Misra wrote in mid-2011 that “the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) of Kashmir brought out a report, after three years of painstaking investigations that revealed shockingly the existence of 38 sites of unmarked graves in North Kashmir. Estimates vary, but more than 2,500 unidentified bodies were unearthed during the exercise. The SHRC has asked for DNA profiling to identify these bodies and determine whether they are dead militants or dead, ordinary Kashmiris.

“The Kashmiri Association of Parents of Displaced Persons (APDP) has been agitating for several years about locating more than 10,000 missing persons. These people could have been targets of militants, or of the Indian army, or both. It is suspected that many more unmarked graves exist in other areas of Kashmir. The SHRC has requested the State government to conduct a thorough inquiry in the matter.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron (L) shakes hands with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh prior to a meeting in New Delhi on February 19, 2013. British Prime Minister David Cameron promised full cooperation with India and its police as a probe into alleged kickbacks in a helicopter deal clouded his meetings Tuesday with leaders in New Delhi. AFP

“Truth seeking, and coming clean on facts, plus justice and compensation for people killed either by the army or the militants, will boost India’s credibility.”

We are well aware of the problems faced by the British economy, with continued recession and the pressures building on the ConLib coalition to get the economy moving. But the UK media, and other commentators who are so concerned about human rights in Sri Lanka, and why that should affect trade with the UK, enjoy their pretended blissful ignorance of the huge human rights violations taking place in Kashmir today, which was further focused on by last week’s “Execution most Foul”.

In its efforts to draw Indian opinion in the UK or elsewhere to the campaign being heightened against Sri Lanka, the Independent went as far as to draw in alleged attacks on South Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy. This is what it said: “The final destination of the small arms (from UK) is not known “”…” but a footnote in the (UK) government’s data suggests some of it may have been intended for “maritime anti-piracy” measures. Sri Lanka is fast turning itself into an anti-piracy hub, centred around the south-western port of Galle where many ex-navy and army servicemen who fought against the Tamil Tigers are making themselves available for security details on international shipping routes heading towards the pirate-infested waters off the Horn of Africa.

“Anti-piracy measures could also include the Sri Lankan Navy, which has a controversial track record especially when it comes to firing on Indian fishermen from the southern state of Tamil Nadu. Over the past few decades hundreds of Indian Tamil fishermen have been shot and killed by Sri Lankans after they have inadvertently or deliberately strayed into their waters. Earlier this month, 12 Indian fishermen claimed they were thrashed with sticks by Sri Lankan Navy personnel while fishing near Katchatheevu, an islet ceded by India to its neighbour. The Sri Lankan High Commission did not respond to calls to comment on the sales.”

Sri Lankan waters

It moves to the farcical when writers who speak of the killing of hundreds of fishermen by shooting also talk in the same breath of being “thrashed with sticks by the Sri Lankan Navy personnel”. The fact is that Katchatheevu is very much a part of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan Navy is giving protection to both Indian and Sri Lankan Catholics who come there this week for the annual church feast. Also, how does even an Indian fisherman deliberately “stray” into Sri Lankan waters?

But the facts about how the Sri Lanka Nay deals with Tamil Nadu and other South Indian fishermen who poach in Sri Lankan waters is very much different to what the Independent has reported, this Monday (18). The reports of the Indian Coast Guard and evidence placed before South Indian Courts give a totally different story to what this anti-Sri Lankan propaganda states.

Here is some recent evidence of the truth from reports published in the India media. “TN govt denies reports on alleged attacks by SL Navy” “”…” (Tuesday July 17 , 2012) – Tamil Nadu government today denied reports that the Sri Lankan Navy had allegedly attacked fishermen belonging to the state on Sunday.

Fisheries Minister K. A. Jayapaul said following reports that the fishermen were attacked while fishing at Katchatheevu, and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had directed officials to probe the matter.

“The fishermen said they heard some sound near Iranial island and suspected that it could have been a gunshot. However, no one said they witnessed the Lankan Navy firing in the air and could not confirm about such an incident,” he said in a statement.

Some 697 fishermen, who had put out to the sea on July 14 from Rameswaram, had safely returned and there was no damage to boats or fishing accessories, he said. If the Sri Lankan Navy had attacked the fishermen, the Chief Minister would have immediately brought it to the notice of the Centre, he said. He dismissed the reports as “contrary to facts,” published without ascertaining the truth, with the motive to create sensation.

“Attacks on Indian fishermen by SLN are mere allegations – Indian Govt” (Sunday, January 08, 2012) – Recent attacks on Indian fishermen by the Sri Lanka Navy are mere allegations sans any proof, the Union External Affairs Ministry of India said.

Deepak Mittal, Director, BSM (Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Maldives) Division, Ministry of External Affairs, made the submission in a counter affidavit filed in reply to a couple of contempt of court applications filed in the Madras High Court Bench against the Union Cabinet Secretary, National Security Advisor, Defence Secretary, External Affairs Secretary and Deputy Director-General of Indian Coast Guard.

“Fishermen sensationalizing attacks by SL Navy – Indian Coast Guard” (Thursday, November 17, 2011) Indian fishermen have sensationalized alleged incidents of attacks by Sri Lanka Navy instead of seeking help from the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) or Indian Navy.

The Inspector General of ICG V.S.R. Murthy stated this in a counter-affidavit in the Madurai bench of Madras High Court.

He noted that Indian fishermen crossing the IMBL may be potential target for non-state actors towards anti-national activities as they could use Indian fishing vessels to carry out serial blasts, as in Mumbai, he warned.

The official has suggested strict punitive measures for violators of the ‘no fishing zone’ to avoid illegal cross border fishing, PTI reported.

“Alleged attack on TN fishermen: Madras court questions Tamil Nadu’s blame game” “”…” (Tuesday, September 25, 2012) – The Madras High Court Bench yesterday questioned the rationale behind the State government blaming the Centre alone for alleged attacks on Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy when the Coastal Security Group, under the State police department, was also equally responsible to check infiltration in coordination with Central agencies such as Navy and Coast Guard.

The question arose during the hearing of a batch of public interest litigation petitions before a Division Bench comprising Justice Vinod Kumar Sharma and Justice A. Selvam, Indian media reported.

While one of the petitioners sought protection for fishermen, the other wanted the government to give them fire arms and another sought to take up the issue with the International Court of Justice.

Later, when a Special Government Pleader, representing the State, said that it was up to the Coast Guard to prevent such attacks on the high seas, the judge retorted saying: “We want to ask you one question. Protection of law and order is whose duty? It is the State’s duty. Why don’t you prevent the fishermen from crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL)?”

Then, Additional Solicitor General P. Wilson said that almost all boats owned by fishermen were fitted with Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment and wireless communication systems. But none had ever contacted the Coast Guard regarding any kind of attack by the Sri Lankan Navy probably because the alleged attacks had not taken place in Indian territorial waters.”

Well so much for the “terrible” Sri Lanka Navy shooting and killing hundreds of Indian fishermen as claimed by the Independent. The facts show a very understanding navy, whose work has been appreciated by the Indian Coast Guard, and State authorities across the Palk Strait. But this is not the truth that a biased western media that is targeting Sri Lanka wants today.

It is no better than David Cameron pleading for more business with India, just when the norms of civilized behaviour were shattered by India’s “Execution most Foul” among continued violations of human rights in Kashmir, and his government too moving on action against Sri Lanka on unsubstantiated charges that don’t stand the test of scrutiny “”…” whether they come from Channel 4, in new edits of its horror videos, allegations by the Global Tamil Forum or an alliance of UK MPs trying their best to harvest Tamil votes in their electorates.

As the orchestration of action against Sri Lanka to sync with the upcoming UNHRC Sessions, where the US will bring a resolution on Sri Lanka, the duplicity of the players becomes increasingly evident, whether from so-called “Tamil Diaspora” elements, human rights activists and the western media.


One Response to “Cameron BLIND TO Kashmir horrors – in plea for more trade with India”

  1. Christie Says:

    It is India and Indians who are taking on the islaqnd nation and the Sinhala people. What about Indias’s huma rights record? I am sure most of the people on this forum who attack the US vehemently are Tamils or who lives off Indians and Tamils.
    I agree US plays a part, but India is doing the job. India voted against Us last time. Navi Pillai is an Indian colonial parasite.

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