By Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai
“We can help people to contribute to peace and humanity” – Mumbai Peace Activists in Colombo
“India should lift ban on LTTE. I am of the view that, the ban should be lifted. I am against the ban” said Kudlip Nayar, a well known political analyst, and head of Indian Peace Mission- Mumbai Peace Mission.
Mumbai Peace Mission, consists of five members visited Sri Lanka from October 29th 2006 to November 2nd 2006. They met politicians, and civil society members during their stay in Sri Lanka, except the LTTE. This was the first visit of the Mumbai Peace Mission, outside India. They held a press conference at the end of their visit in Colombo on Thursday.
[Kudlip Nayar a well known political analyst at a press conference in Colombo on Thursday]
Kudlip Nayar further said that, “banning of organizations will never solve a problem. It should be solved through negotiated political settlement. India should lift the ban on LTTE, and engage them politically in order to bring an everlasting peace to Sri Lanka. The issue would be taken up in a meeting.
The A9 highway should be re-opened immediately. Almost all parties said that, India should do something. We should not keep a distance as we are. We are wanting to communicate with people, and see that we can pursue. We believe that, we can help people to contribute to peace and humanity. We are convinced after coming here.
Mistrust between the Tamil and Sinhala communities has increased. We have noticed some incidents of abductions in Sri Lanka. Disappearances and abductions are intolerable, undemocratic and cruel. This causes a great worry. Human rights really relate to the minorities in a country. Human rights issues have to be addressed immediately. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are the worst offenders in the South Asia region in terms of human rights violations. We are assured that, a commission would be announced soon.
Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights informed us that, Government of Sri Lanka has invited the former Chief Justice of India P.N. Bhagwati to be a member of a new commission, which will look into human rights violations in Sri Lanka.”
[Jatin Desai, Trade unionist]
Jatin Desai, a trade unionist said that, “We are against ban. When an organization is banned, it is not possible to get that organisation politically involved
[Gayatri Singh, Labour, human rights advocate and feminist]
Team-mate of Mumbai Peace Mission, and labour and human rights advocate , and feminist, Gayatri Singh said that, “India should intervene in Sri Lankan problem. But not militarily. We oppose for the military intervention. India should be able to put pressure on both parties. Both the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE have had a good relationship with India earlier. It has to take a positive view, with regard to Sri Lankan ethnic conflict.”
[Women’s rights activist, Jayasree Velankar]
Another team-mate, and a women’s rights activist Jayasree Velankar said that, “We are very worried and concerned. The situation is very very grave. We all believe that, the military solution is not possible, political solution is necessary. All want a solution, but how far is the question.”
[Professor Kamar Agar]
“We do not want the war to break. Media in every country should be free” said Kamar Agar, Professor, Journalist and a peace activist.