T.K. RANGARAJAN on the remarks made by Sri Lankan Prime Minister

Ranil Wickramsinghe on Indian fishermen:


Mr. Deputy Chairman, Sir, I thank you. Sir, I am not convinced by the Statement made by the External Affairs Minister, Shrimati Sushma Swaraj. The entire House, several times, discussed about the Sri Lankan issue. We are very much concerned about the Sri Lankan issue and our fishermen’s issue. When our External Affairs Minister was there, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka gives an interview to a Tamil Channel. Now, that interview is in the minds of the Tamil people. He said that he can shoot them. How do our Coast Guard behave with the Sri Lankan fishermen? We never do any harm to any fishermen. We treat them humanely. As they cross the territory, we arrest them and that is all. We don’t damage their boats. But the way in which the Sri Lankan Government, either the Rajapaksa Government or this new Prime Minister’s, behaves, it creates doubts. Are they really for conciliation? Are they really for a settlement? My worry is, now our Prime Minister is going to visit that country. Suppose they behave in the same manner; the Prime Minister may agree with our External Affairs Minister in camera meeting, nobody knows beyond that. So, it is ill-treatment of our External Affairs Minister and India by the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. My second point is, when our Prime Minister goes there, he should discuss about the Rajiv-Jayawardene Agreement. Still, they are not prepared to implement anything on it, on displaced families, as Mr. Natchiappan said here. I agree with all of his points. So, what are you going to achieve through our Prime Minister’s visit to Sri Lanka? We may put some capital investment there. We may have some trade relationship. That is all good, I don’t disagree on it. But the Tamils who have been suffering for the past 30 years have lost their power; they have lost their language. They are our neighbours. You must remember the sentiments of this House and the sentiments of the Tamil people on the Sri Lankan Tamil issues. Finally, I request our Prime Minister to visit the plantation Tamils, which Sushmaji visited during our trip. They are our people. We are giving them a lot of help. Further help should be given to them. With these words, I again request our External Affairs Minister to give more clarification on what she discussed with the Prime Minister and the Government. (Ends)