Sri Lankan opposition leader concerned over attacks on Indian fishermen

Chennai, Aug. 18 (ANI): Sri Lanka's Leader of Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe said Sunday that he is disturbed by attacks on Indian fishermen by his country's naval forces.

According to an Indian fishermen association, as many as 3,000 fishermen, who gave up their work fearing attacks by Sthe ri Lankan Navy in Rameswaram, have moved to the neighbouring states of Kerala and Karnataka to earn their livelihood.

Wickremesinghe expressed sadness over the issue and said that this problem is faced by not just Muslims and Tamils, but also by the Sinhalese population.

"We say there has to be Sri Lankan unity. We are disturbed by what has been happening here. The problems are not only with Muslims and Tamils, Now, it is there for the Sinhalese also. This is why we are running a campaign that we want a national election in 2014," he told media here.

Wickremesinghe also called for elections in his country's Northern Province, which is dominated by the Tamil population.

"We all want a good election in the Northern Province. The UNP (United National Front) has insisted on it and the opposition parties have also insisted on it. We are disappointed that election observers have not been called from the very beginning, as we have all insisted. We wanted election observers called the day the elections were called, the day the nominations were handed over, but that has not happened," he added.

Sri Lanka has repeatedly rejected calls for an independent, international probe into accusations of war crimes committed during the war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which ended in May 2009.

According to a U.N. panel, tens of thousands of civilians, mostly Tamils, were killed in the final months of the war.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is under fire from the U.N. Human Rights Council, which last year adopted a United States-sponsored resolution demanding that Sri Lanka ensure government troops who committed war crimes during the final stages of its war against Tamil rebels are brought to justice.

International investigators, whose findings have been rejected by the Sri Lankan authorities, have said the army committed large-scale abuses and was responsible for many civilian deaths in the final stages of war. (ANI)

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