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Jayalalithaa fasts over Lankan Tamils issue
March 09, 2009 17:39 IST
All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader Jayalalithaa on Monday accused the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre and the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in Tamil Nadu of not doing anything tangible to solve the Sri Lankan Tamils issue and warned them of the 'consequences'.
"The UPA and DMK have done nothing for the Sri Lankan Tamils. This will have an impact in the coming elections," she said, launching a day-long fast to express solidarity with the Sri Lankan Tamils.
"UPA government failed miserably by not despatching immediate humanitarian aid. Why did not the Centre send relief material such as food, medicines and clothes? Centre, as well as the ruling DMK have no genuine concerns for the Lankan Tamils," Jayalalithaa said.
Describing the Congress and DMK's decision to continue their alliance as "borne out of absurd courage," Jayalalithaa, who had recently made a vain bid to woo Congress by urging it to leave the "DMK quicksand," said the people will give a "drubbing" to the alliance in the elections.
On the Lankan Tamils issue, she said, "We recognise their struggle for self-determination and equality with their Sinhala brethren and demand for equality before law."
Supporting the demand of an autonomous Tamil homeland within an unified Sri Lanka [Images], which, she said, alone could solve the issue, Jayalalithaa opposed the armed struggle by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
"What we are opposed to is an armed struggle, which has lost its way, as a result of which thousands of innocent persons are being wantonly killed. We are distressed that former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi [Images] was brutally assassinated in Tamil Nadu as a fall-out of this armed struggle," Jayalalithaa told scores of party workers, mainly women, who participated in the fast.
Citing reports, Jayalalithaa accused New Delhi [Images] of "supplying arms and sophisticated equipment to the Sri Lankan army," besides imparting military training to the Sri Lankan defence personnel.
"The claims made by Sri Lankan army about the death toll indicate that it is not just the LTTE [Images] militants who are being mowed down, but a substantial part of the hapless Tamil population as well. So, in essence, it is the Indian arms and ammunition which today are being used against the innocent Tamils of Sri Lanka," she said.
Jayalalithaa said, "Though this fast would not bring relief to the hunger-struck Tamils in Lanka, it would, however, convey the sentiments and anger of the people of Tamil Nadu against the state and Central governments."
Announcing that her party would collect funds for the Sri Lankan Tamils, she made the first personal contribution of Rs 5 lakh.