India should lift ban on LTTE - Kuldip Nayar
[TamilNet, Thursday, 02 November 2006, 22:04 GMT]
Kuldip Nayar, the noted Indian journalist and head of the Indian Peace Mission to Sri Lanka called on India to lift the ban on the LTTE and engage it politically in order to bring lasting peace to the war-torn island, the Hindustan Times reported.
"I am of the view that the ban should be lifted," Nayar said when asked how India could play a constructive role in the Sri Lankan conflict if it was barred from interacting with one of the two parties in the conflict - the LTTE - because that group was banned in India.
Nayar went on to say that banning organisations was no way to solve problems.
"Problems have to be looked at from the political angle and tackled politically, and the groups involved should be engaged politically," he stressed.
Asked if he would campaign for the lifting of the ban on return to India, Nayar said that the issue would be taken up at a meeting which was being planned.
Gayathri Singh, also on the Peace Mission, said that the issue of lifting the ban on the LTTE would be part of a larger campaign to get governments to tackle such issues politically.
"We are against all bans," added Jatin Desai, also from Mumbai.
Nayar said that the A 9 highway linking south Sri Lanka and Jaffna in the north should be opened "immediately" to alleviate the suffering of the common man.
Asked what India could do to help Sri Lanka settle the long-standing conflict between the majority Sinhalas and minority Tamils, Nayar said that India should not keep the distance it had been keeping.
Gayathri Singh said that India could not be indifferent to what was happening in Sri Lanka because of the possible spill over of the problem into Tamil Nadu.
The peace mission members said that the human rights situation in Sri Lanka was causing great worry.
"Human rights violations here are numberless," Nayar said. "Disappearances and abductions are cruel and intolerable."
When asked to rate the countries in the South Asian region in terms of human rights violations, Nayar said that Sri Lanka and Bangladesh were the worst offenders.