Vaiko writes to Indian PM, alleges SLN - Indian Navy nexus

[TamilNet, Sunday, 09 December 2007, 19:10 GMT]
Vaiko, General Secretary of the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in India dashed off a letter to the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh alleging "a nefarious nexus between Sri Lankan Navy (SLN) and Indian Navy" after an Indian naval official declared that SLN was not guilty of deliberately killing Indian fishermen. Mr Vaiko also appealed to Mr Singh to "stop forthwith the supply of arms to Sri Lanka and withdraw the radars already supplied and give instructions to the officers of the Indian Navy not to pursue the nefarious game" of collaborating with the SLN. His three-page letter was released to the media on Sunday.

Commodore PE Van Halteren, Naval officer-in-charge of Tamilnadu, had given a clean-chit to the Sri Lankan Navy (SLN) when he addressed the media in Chennai on Saturday. Defending the SLN, he said that it has "never deliberately fired at Indian fishermen in the Palk Straits. The Indian fishermen fell prey to the crossfire between the Lankan Navy and LTTE whenever they crossed the international maritime boundary. As a matter of policy, they do not open fire on Indian fishermen. The SLN never crossed into Indian territory to attack the fishermen who have alleged that they were frequently targeted by the Lankan Navy boats." Vaiko labeled Halteren's statement "most unwarranted, uncalled for and unjustifiable."

Coming down heavily on Halteren's defence and support of the SLN, Mr Vaiko pointed out that in the Indian democratical setup, the chiefs of the armed forces have "all along been very careful in their press briefings and statements" and "confined themselves to the scope of their authority." In his letter he questioned the recent trend of the officers of the armed forces, particularly naval officers, to make statements in support of the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) since it "causes grave concern and reasonable suspicions as to whether they operate at the behest of the Indian Government or the SLN?"

On September 16, 2004, Chief of the Indian Naval Staff Arun Prakash had said that Indian fishermen have never been attacked by the SLN. Two days later, Vaiko had presented a memorandum to Mr Manmohan Singh giving details of the Tamilnadu fishermen who had been attacked and killed by the SLN since 1970 in more than 900 attacks. According to his letter, the deaths of the Tamilnadu fishermen at the hands of the SLN had been acknowledged in Parliament by the Indian Government itself. Vaiko condemned the "audacity" of the the naval chief to have out-stepped his official bounds and given a "clean chit to the murderous SLN" when in truth they had entered Indian territorial waters innumerable times and attacked Indian fishermen. On July 17, 1997, an SLN helicopter had dared to fly over Indian territorial waters at Arukattuturai near Vedaaranyam and dropped bombs that left four Indian Tamil fishermen dead and several others wounded.

In his letter, Vaiko pointed out that there existed "a nefarious nexus between SLN and Indian Navy" and therefore he alleged that "the Indian Navy is under a cloud of accusation that they are collaborating with SLN by providing information, communication and help in the genocidal attacks of SLN against the Tamils in the ongoing confrontation." He noted with distress that "the Indian Navy has never attempted even once to protect Tamilnadu fishermen and ward-off attacks of the SLN all these years."

He alleged that the farsighted foreign policy of Indian Prime Ministers like Pundit Nehru and Mrs Indira Gandhi had been "given a decent burial" by the "clandestine, planned assistance of the Indian Government to the racist Sri Lanka Government in their military attacks against the Tamils" and this was reflected by the "arrogant, alarming utterances of the Indian Naval officers."

Vaiko had previously written to Mr Manmohan Singh on August 6, 2007 expressing his anguish and protest to the decision taken by the SLN and Indian Navy to jointly coordinate their communication network on July 13, 2007 onboard a SLN vessel. He alleged that through this decision, "the Indian Government had knowingly fallen into the conspiratory trap laid by the Sri Lankan racist Government."


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