Sri Lanka urged by India to probe rights record

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NEW DELHI, May 17, 2011 (AFP) – India broke with past practice on Tuesday and called on Sri Lanka to investigate allegations of human rights abuses during the island’s civil war, upping pressure on President Mahinda Rajapakse. India has not joined recent demands from the United Nations and Western countries for a probe into alleged war crimes committed during the final stages of the conflict which ended in May 2009 with the crushing of Tamil rebels.

During a visit by Sri Lankan Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris to New Delhi, India “urged the expeditious implementation of measures by the government of Sri Lanka, including… investigations into allegations of human rights violations,” a statement said.

The strongly worded message comes amid tensions over fishing rights in the sea separating the two countries which have resulted in several Indian fishermen being shot dead by the Sri Lankan navy.

As well as a rights’ investigation, India also pushed for speedy resettlement of ethnic Tamils displaced by fighting; “genuine reconciliation” with the ethnic minority group and the early end of emergency laws.

Sri Lanka is extremely sensitive about interference in its internal affairs and has vigorously resisted pres