Noting that the Sri Lankan government had announced cessation of combat operations, Tharoor said ‘I am hoping that the first consequence to that is the unrestricted humanitarian access to the victims as well as untold numbers. We don’t know whether 10,000 or 15,000 people are trapped inside’.
Tharoor said International and humanitarian relief agencies must have an opportunity to go in to meet the people, assess the need and bring in the required assistance for which access was very important.
He termed Indian government’s attitude ‘unbiased and sensitive to the strong feelings in Tamilnadu’ on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue on the sidelines of the convocation ceremony of a business management school in Chennai.
‘It is not just a feeling in Tamilnadu but all over India that we must stand up for the well-being of our neighbours, the Tamil civilians of Sri Lanka’, he said. He said Tamil civilians have been caught in between the Sri Lankan military offensive and ‘actions of a terrorist group (LTTE)’.
‘The civilians have been innocent victims of this ongoing conflict and assisting them is the right thing for us to do as a good neighbour’. On Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announcement of Rs 100 crore for relief and rehabilitation of Tamil civilians, he said ‘I very strongly think the government of India’s willingness to spend a large sum of money is not just a reflection of our money but also our heart’.
Earlier, delivering the convocation address he said, acquisition of knowledge can be a powerful mission and it (knowledge) also acts as a tool to bridge the gap. ‘It also enriches your culture’ he said, adding the migration of Indian engineers to western countries has also enhanced India’s position globally.
He urged the new graduates to act on their instincts and explore new frontiers. Tharoor also gave away certificates and medals to 162 graduates of the institute.