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Sri Lankan Tamils expect India's support: LTTE

T V Sriram in Colombo | March 31, 2009 16:47 IST

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Expressing unhappiness over India's stand on the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka [Images], the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam on Tuesday said the Tamil community expects New Delhi [Images] to extend its support to their 'national aspirations', even as it renewed its call for a ceasefire with Colombo.

The Tamil Tigers also refused to lay down arms for resuming political dialogue with the Sri Lankan government to resolve the 30-year-old ethnic conflict.

"The Tamil people have never been opposed to the strategic concerns of India. Furthermore, it has been their expectation that the Indian government would extend its support to their national aspirations," LTTE's [Images] new head of International Diplomatic Relations S Pathmanathan said, when asked by pro-LTTE website to comment on India's stand on the issue.

He said the Tamils in Sri Lanka were grateful that the people of Tamil Nadu have expressed so much solidarity with them.

"Whenever our people were attacked and killed, their first choice of refuge has been India. Eelam Tamils have always looked to the people of India and the government of India with genuine sympathy," Pathmanathan said, in his first comments after being appointed to the post in February.

Pathmanathan said the LTTE did not believe war was the only means to achieve their aspirations and urged the global community to exert pressure on the Sri Lankan government to enter into a ceasefire with them.

"Laying down arms before any political solution is unrealistic," he said. "The global community should ensure that adequate food and medicines are sent into the conflict areas," he added

Responding to accusations of using civilians as human shields, he claimed that the Tamils in the LTTE-held areas were staying there on their own. Pathmathan said these people always chose to move towards LTTE.

"The LTTE has a moral responsibility to protect them. People should not be coerced to leave their place of choice by denial of food and medicine and by continuously placing them under shelling," he said. He accused the Sri Lankan government of 'building up a brutal force' and said the peaceful demands of the Tamils in the past have always been met with violence by the Sri Lankan forces.

"It is wrong to assume that the versatile and resilient LTTE is in a weakened position," Pathmanathan said.

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