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DMK urges PM to talk tough with Lankan president

November 12, 2008 12:09 IST
Last Updated: November 12, 2008 12:31 IST


With the Sri Lankan Tamils issue hogging the limelight again in Tamil Nadu, political parties are demanding that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] take up the matter with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is currently on a visit to New Delhi [Images], and ensure a ceasefire in that country.

The parties, including ruling Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam and its ally Congress, want India to intervene into the ethnic Tamils issue and urge the Sri Lankan government to resolve the decades-old conflict through a 'political settlement'.

'Separating Tamils, LTTE is foolish'

While the DMK and its ally Congress say the Centre has done whatever it could to protect the civilians in Sri Lanka [Images], Communist Party of India, Pattali Makkal Katchi and other parties have expressed their displeasure over the Centre's activities in this regard.

"The DMK's stand is clear on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue. Chief Minister Karunanidhi has also issued a statement on Sunday saying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should take up the issue with Rajapaksa," DMK spokesperson T K S Elangovan told PTI.

Rajapaksa will meet Dr Singh on Thursday, during which the latter is expected to apprise him of the steps being taken by his administration to ensure the safety of Tamils.

'Tamil woes will end only if...'

"We want the Prime Minister to raise the issue personally with Rajapaksa and impress upon him the need for bringing peace in the island by resolving the issue politically," he said.

The demand from these parties, barring Congress, comes less than a fortnight after they failed to implement the threat that their Members of Parliament will resign if the Centre did not take steps to resolve the issue by October 29.

The CPI, which has of late started championing the cause of Sri Lankan Tamils, says India should intervene into the issue as the problems in the island nation have spilled over to the country.

 LTTE chief V Prabhakaran speaks out

"The ethnic conflict in Lanka has, in fact, spilled over to India. That's why we are demanding the Centre's intervention," party National Secretary D Raja said.

"Who is taking care of the refugees who come from north of the island? And who is responsible for those people coming here," he asked.

The Congress echoes the DMK's views and says that India should tell Sri Lanka to implement the Rajiv Gandhi- Jayavardhane accord immediately, 'which is a lasting solution' to the decades-old ethnic conflict.

 Is the Eelam dream over?

"We are dead against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, but we are for innocent Tamils who are caught in the fight between the two warring sides. The Centre has done everything it could do to protect Tamils," Tamil Nadu Congress Commitee president K V Thangkabalu said.

However, Raja wants India to stop the war, ensure a ceasefire in the country and press Sri Lanka for a lasting political solution.

 It's not yet time to write the LTTE's obituary

"The accord signed between Rajiv Gandhi and the then Sri Lankan President Jayawardhane will provide a lasting solution to the ethnic issue. We have been insisting the Sri Lankan government to implement the accord. But, unfortunately it is not being done," Thangkabalu said.

PMK, a constituent of the ruling United Progressive Alliance at the Centre, also wants the prime minister to raise the issue with Rajapaksa and tell him sternly to settle the issue 'politically'.

Party Parliamentary party leader M Ramadass says the party wants the safety and security of Tamils ensured in the island nation in the wake of the offensive against the LTTE [Images] by the Sri Lankan Army.




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