On a day key UPA constituent DMK decided to pull out of UPA, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday backed the southern ally's demand for an independent and credible probe into "unspeakable atrocities" on ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka, saying these cannot go un-investigated.
She said that the Sri Lankan Tamils continue to be denied legitimate political rights and expressed pain and anguish over this state of affairs.
Her remarks while addressing a meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party came a day after DMK supremo M Karunanidhi made a strong pitch for establishment of a credible and independent international commission of investigation in a time bound manner into allegations of war crimes against Tamils in Sri Lanka.
As senior central ministers explored ways to placate the DMK, Gandhi said, "The plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka is close to our hearts. Our support for equal rights and equal protection of the laws to them has been unwavering since the days of Indiraji and Rajivji.
"We are most pained at the manner in which their legitimate political rights continue to be denied to them. We are anguished by reports of unspeakable atrocities on innocent civilians and children, especially during the last days of the conflict in 2009," she said.
Her comments came around the same time the DMK chief announced in Chennai that his party would withdraw from the government if India does not support a strong resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in Geneva on March 21.
In her four-page speech, Gandhi touched upon various other issues including political challenges before the party and its committment to ensure the passage of key bills incluidng the anti-rape bill, which she said should be passed by both Houses of Parliament before the recess of the budget session on March 22.
She also noted that the plight of Indian fishermen, who are being detained or fired upon by the Sri Lankan navy is a matter of great concern. "A permanent solution to the daily violence against them is also imperative," Gandhi said.
Maintaining that the Jaipur declaration after the Chintan Shivir of the party provided the party with a clear roadmap, Gandhi assured she will continue to monitor closely sub-groups constituted in the aftermath to follow up the commitments made in the declaration and sought the MPs' cooperation.