Feb 24 (NIE) With the Manmohan Singh government under increasing pressure from Tamil Nadu MPs to vote for the US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka in the March session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Sri Lankans have brought up India’s questionable human rights record in Kashmir, to rein in New Delhi.
Speaking to The Island Daily, Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa reminded India that UK's Channel 4 TV, which was showing videos of atrocities allegedly committed by the Sri Lankan army, to tarnish Lanka's image ahead of the UNHRC session, had shown a similar video in July last year on alleged Indian atrocities in Kashmir.
According to the publicity material of Channel 4, the video Kashmir's Torture Trail showed how "hundreds of thousands" of stone-throwing teenagers took aim at heavily armed Indian security forces, who returned live fire; 118 demonstrators, many of them children, were killed. This was followed by a lockdown in which no one could get in or out of the State. It was a "powerful and shocking film uncovering a State-sanctioned torture programme that had set India on a collision course with the international community." Gotabaya recalled that a section of UK's influential print media had backed the Channel 4 documentary on Kashmir. He pointed out that the Indian media had, at that time, wondered how the Channel 4 team was present in the valley when the stone throwing movement took place, and whether it had been tipped off by those who planned the demonstrations.
Writing in the State-owned Daily News, columnist Lucien Rajakarunanayake pointed out that the British media, which had gone ballistic on alleged human rights violations in Sri Lanka, was silent on the "huge" human rights violations that India was committing in Kashmir - the latest being the hanging of Afzal Guru, described by the Indian media itself, as an "Execution Most Foul". Rajaklarunanayake attributed the stony silence of the British media to Britain's need to sell its products to India.