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Last updated: 08 February, 2009 - Published 12:52 GMT
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Help civilians - India
Pranab Mukherjee
The senior Indian minister urges Sri Lanka to provide civilians with 'shelter, food and security'

India has urged the Sri Lankan authorities to provide humanitarian assistance to Tamil civilians caught in the conflict in northern Sri Lanka.

Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee said his government is "concerned for the sad plight of Tamil civilians" in the island nation.

Mr. Mukherjee, who chairs Cabinet meetings in the absence of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, made the remarks addressing Congress Party activists in Delhi.

UN estimates that about 250,000 civilians are caught in the conflict while government says the figure is around 120,000.

'Terrorist organisation'

At least 16,000 civilians have crossed to the government-held territory in recent days, according to the government.

The senior Indian minister has appealed to Sri Lanka government to take measures to provide them with ‘shelter, food and security’.

Mr. Mukherjee reiterated his government’s position on the Tamil Tigers.

“We have no sympathy for the LTTE. It is banned in many parts of the world. Every year we demand from the Sri Lanka authorities extradition of Prabhakaran,” he said.

He has appealed to the politicians in Tamil Nadu to make a distinction between the LTTE and the Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka.

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