Sri Lanka today said it would like Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to attend the upcoming CHOGM meeting in Colombo despite opposition from political parties in Tamil Nadu on his participation on the grounds of human rights violations of Tamils there. Visiting Sri Lankan Foreign Minister G L Peiris expressed his country's keenness in this regard on the eve of his meeting with the prime minister here to extend an invitation to him on behalf of President Mahinda Rajapakse. "I am here basically for the purpose of extending an invitation(to PM)." he told reporters. "We would very much like him to be there.
It is very important," Peiris said while noting that the meeting was happening in an Asian country after nearly quarter of a century. Asked about the opposition by political parties in Tamil Nadu, Peiris said, "It is upto India to decide but we will like participation of India at the highest level." Both ruling AIADMK and Opposition DMK in Tamil Nadu have mounted pressure on the Centre demanding that India boycott the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to be held in Colombo this November. DMK president M Karunanidhi yesterday warned of rail blockades, black flags on houses and commercial establishments across the state if the prime minister did not declare that India would not participate in the CHOGM meet. In a statement, Karunanidhi, referring to Peiris' proposed visit to India had said, "The prime minister without neglecting Tamils' demand should categorically and openly declare that India will not participate in the meet." He said the Lankan government has lost credibility in the international forum and it is trying to dilute the provisions of 13th amendment to its constitution. The 13th amendment in the Sri Lankan constitution was carried out with Indian backing in the 1987 to ensure autonomy to provinces and by extension to the Tamils in the island's north and east. But the regime of President Rajapaksa has threatened to dilute its provisions, causing dismay in India. "At the very least, India must stay away from the CHOGM to be held in Colombo and, thereby, exert pressure on Sri Lanka to do justice by its hapless, much exploited Tamil Minorities," Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had said in a letter to the prime minister.