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Last updated: 10 May, 2009 - Published 18:02 GMT
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I feel Tamils' pain - Sonia
Sonia Gandhi addressing an election rally (file photo)

The leader of India’s ruling Congress Party, Sonia Gandhi, says Indian government is committed to get equal rights for the Tamil community in Sri Lanka.

Addressing an election rally in the southern Indian Ms. Gandhi also expressed her “deep pain and anguish” over the “serious and heart breaking plight” of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka.

“Our ultimate goal is to secure for the Tamil people in Sri Lanka equal rights and equal status within the framework of the India Sri Lanka agreement of 1987,” she said.

The leader of the Congress Party added that the Indian government has done “everything possible” to end the war in Sri Lanka and ensure the safety of the civilians.

Combat operations

“It is due to our government’s resolute efforts that the government in Sri Lanka has announced conclusion of combat operations,” she told the gathering in Chennai.

In a statement issued on 27 April, the Sri Lankan government said: “Government of Sri Lanka has decided that combat operations have reached their conclusion. Our security forces have been instructed to end the use of heavy caliber guns, combat aircraft and aerial weapons which could cause civilian causalities”.

At least 378 people have been killed by fierce shelling from the Sri Lankan army in the past 24 hours, health official Dr. V Shanmugarajah told the BBC on Sunday.

However, military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said radar had detected Tamil Tigers themselves using artillery and mortar fire on two occasions in the morning, directed against civilians within their zone.

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