India expresses deep concern over civilian killings in Sri Lanka

NEW DELHI, Nov 16, 2006 (AFP) – India’s prime minister has expressed deep concern over rising civilian deaths in Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict, saying there was no justification for the violence, the Press Trust of India reported. Manmohan Singh, in a letter to the chief minister of southern Tamil Nadu state M. Karunanidhi, said he planned to talk with Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse on the issue and send Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon to Colombo to convey his concerns, PTI said.

Menon is slated to visit Colombo November 22 and 23 while Rajapakse is due in New Delhi from November 25 to 29.

“We are making known our deep concern and anguish at the recent spurt of violence in Sri Lanka, which has resulted in civilian casualties among the Tamil population,” PTI quoted the letter as saying.

“There can be no justification for the killing of innocent women and children.”

Karunanidhi had asked Singh to respond to the worsening violence in India’s backyard as Sri Lanka’s minority Tamils share close cultural and religious links with the 55 million Tamils in the state.

Around 15,000 Sri Lankans have also fled to Tamil Nadu this year to escape violence at home, many across the Palk Straits which separates the