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India should help Lanka resolve crisis, says DMK

February 03, 2009 16:42 IST

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The ruling Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam on Tuesday asked the Centre to work with Colombo to find a permanent solution to the ethnic problem by ensuring full devolution of powers and autonomy to north and eastern areas of the island within a timeframe. It asked the Sri Lankan government to extend full cooperation in this regard.

"As a first step, the Centre should immediately take steps to workout a permanent solution which would ensure full devolution of powers and autonomy to Tamils living in northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka [Images] within a timeframe. The Sri Lankan government should extend its full cooperation to this effort," said a resolution passed at the party's executive committee meeting.

The meeting, presided over by party president and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, decided to mobilise public support for the DMK's stand by holding public meetings and rallies throughout the state from February 7 to 9.

The DMK has convened an executive committee to formulate its course of action on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue. To counter the Sri Lankan Tamils Protection Movement, floated by pro-LTTE parties like the Pattali Makkal Katchi, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi and Tamils National Movement, the meeting decided to form a Sri Lankan Tamils Welfare Rights forum in association with like-minded parties, who wanted a solution to the ethnic struggle in 'a democratic way'.

The meeting was held in the backdrop of External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee's [Images] recent visit to Colombo and a general strike called by the SLTPM on Thursday. Mukherjee undertook the visit to Colombo after the Tamil Nadu Assembly passed a resolution making 'a final appeal' to the Centre to intervene and arrange for a ceasefire, the resolution said.

Karunanidhi's remarks on ceasefire assume significance in the wake of demands by leaders of many political parties, including PMK founder Dr S Ramadoss, who had asked him to play a more active role in bringing about a ceasefire to save the civilian Tamils caught in the war zone in Sri Lanka. On the outcome of External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee's recent visit to Colombo, Karunanidhi said even Mukherjee 'might not be satisfied'.

Replying to another question, he said "It will be good if the United Nations intervened to stop the war. I welcome it." He deplored that the Sri Lankan army attacked civilians even after declaring a 48-hour ceasefire and identifying 'safe zones'.

On LTTE [Images] chief V Prabhakaran's interview to a magazine that he would prefer dictatorial rule, he said it was not acceptable to the DMK.

Earlier, addressing the executive, Karunanidhi said the DMK only supported the cause of Tamils and not the 'revolutionaries', he said in an apparent reference to the LTTE.

"There has been some misinterpretation on our stand�the DMK is only in favour of Tamils," he asserted. He declined to comment on the invitation extended by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapkasa to visit the island to prevail on the LTTE to come to the negotiating table. He also dismissed as 'false' the allegations that India was extending military help to Sri Lanka, saying that the government had replied in negative several times on the allegations. Even Mukherjee had denied it, he said.

Replying to a question, Karunanidhi said he was of the view that action taken by the Centre on the Sri Lankan issue was "not enough." He also accused the PMK and other constituents of the pro-LTTE Sri Lankan Tamils protection movement of 'conspiring to topple' his government.

The recent violent incidents, besides going back on their assurance that they would decide their future course of action in consultation with him, proved this, he said.

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