Anti-CHOGM agitators block trains in Tamil Nadu

Chennai, Nov.12 : Demonstrators blocked trains in Tamil Nadu, and particularly in state capital Chennai, in protest against the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) Summit, even after it was announced that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would skip the meet to be held in Colombo.

The government was under immense pressure to boycott Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) from the Tamil community.

Many political parties and some ministers within the ruling Congress party were advocating a total boycott of the event over alleged war atrocities of the Sri Lankan Army in its war against the Tamil Tigers.

Protesters shouted slogans and waved flags against the Sri Lankan Government and urged Indian leaders to take a strong stance against the island nation.

National Secretary of Communist Party of India (CPI), D. Raja reiterated the demand of the protesters.

"Of course political parties are in the agitations, but all sections of the society, all sections of the student community they are all agitated, they are all on the streets protesting that government of India should take a reasonable policy towards Sri Lanka. In the present context it is better that government doesn't attend CHOGM that is general demand on which everyday struggles are going on in different forms," said Raja in New Delhi.

The Sri Lankan government, which defeated separatist Tamil Tiger rebels in 2009, is under increasing pressure from the international community to try those responsible for rights abuses during the nearly three-decade-long conflict.

Groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have called on the 53 Commonwealth heads of government, which include Britain and its former colonies, not to attend, or to send a low-level delegation, to the Indian Ocean Island.

As many as 40,000 civilians were killed in the last months of the conflict, as government troops advanced on the last stronghold of the rebels fighting for an independent homeland, a United Nations (UN) panel said in 2011.

The U.N. Human Rights Council has urged Sri Lanka to allow an independent body to investigate the alleged war crimes.

Colombo has rejected the allegations and resisted pressure to allow an independent commission to investigate its military, saying a range of recommendations made by its own reconciliation body are being implemented.

Political violence has eased since Sri Lanka crushed the rebellion, but international rights groups say rule of law problems persist, including abductions and attacks on media and government critics.

--ANI (Posted on 12-11-2013)

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