Malaysian Tamils demand war tribunal against Sri Lankan leaders
Kuala Lumpur, May 24 (IANS) Tamils in Malaysia, who form a bulk of the ethnic Indian population, have demanded a war tribunal against Sri Lankan leaders, even as the government has sought to dissuade them from staging protest rallies against what they call the 'genocide' against Tamils in the island nation.
The Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), a constituent of the ruling Barisan Nasional alliance, has urged the government not to back a Sri Lanka-sponsored resolution at the UN on the current developments in the country.
Malaysia is one of the 12 nations backing Colombo's draft at the UN Human Rights Council, Geneva. The other signatories are China, India, Pakistan, Bahrain, Bolivia, Cuba, Egypt, Indonesia, Nicaragua, the Philippines and Saudi Arabia.
MIC chief S. Samy Vellu said Saturday he would write to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak on the issue, New Straits Times newspaper reported Sunday.
'Tamils in Malaysia constitute 1.4 million of 1.8 million Indians in the country. As such, their feelings have to be respected.
'There has to be a war tribunal in Sri Lanka to bring those people who perpetrated crimes against the Tamil community in their war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE),' Vellu said in a statement.
Official news agency Bernama reported Vellu as saying that they had committed genocide and would have to pay the price for the actions of the Sri Lankan Army.
Meanwhile, in Shah Alam, Selangor deputy police chief Senior Assistant Commissioner Jamshah Mustapa urged the public to ignore an SMS asking them to gather at Batu Caves Sunday for a mass rally in support of the Tamil Eelam.
He said no police permit had been given for the gathering.
The mass rally is organised by Malaysian Indian NGOs to protest the 'genocide' against the Tamils by the Sri Lankan government.
The SMS urged people to come to the rally dressed in black.
'It is fine if devotees go to Batu Caves to pray or for religious purposes, but not for an illegal rally,' the police official said.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay last week backed calls in the West for an independent inquiry into possible war crimes in the tiny zone she said might have become a 'killing field'.
Fending off outside criticism, Sri Lanka Saturday presented to the UN Human Rights Council a draft resolution stating the 'principle of non-interference' in internal matters and respect for its sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.
Geneva-based monitoring group UN Watch denounced Sri Lanka's text as 'an outrageous abuse and show of contempt'.
'Sri Lanka does not deserve to be praised, but rather condemned for blocking humanitarian emergency relief to thousands, (and) creating conditions leading to the spread of diseases,' its executive director Hillel Neuer said.
The UN said the conflict had killed between 80,000 and 100,000 people since erupting into full-scale civil war in 1983. About 300,000 Tamils are in refugee camps.
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