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Sri Lankan Tamil MPs meet PM

December 22, 2006 14:52 IST

A delegation of Sri Lankan Tamil MPs Friday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and told him about the "pathetic and deplorable" condition of Tamil people in the island nation.

The MPs of the pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance informed the prime minister that the Tamil civilian population were "being killed and their properties destroyed" by government troops, R Sambandham, who led the delegation, told reporters after a hour-long meeting with Singh at his office. "The Tamil people are suffering without food, medicine and fuel and food is being used a weapon. The situation is deteriorated by the day," he said.

The meeting was also attended by National Security Adviser M K Narayanan and Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon.

Observing that they had a "very successful" meeting with the prime minister, Sambandham said that the delegation told him that India's commitment to Sri Lanka's unity and territorial integrity without Tamil speaking people being given their due political space and to their legitimate aspirations would not be meaningful.

The prime minister told the MPs that India and his government were concerned about the denial and violation of human rights and the humanitarian concerns of the Tamil people and the matter has been conveyed to the Sri Lankan government. The MPs comprising of Suresh Premachandran, Gajan Ponnambalam, Mavai Senati Raja and Selvam Adaikalanathan had met Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Karunanidhi in Chennai on Wednesday and sought his help in ending "attacks by government troops on innocent Tamils".

A couple of months ago, the MPs had tried to meet the prime minister, but the meeting apparently arranged by MDMK leader Vaiko could not materialise. The MPs also wanted to meet Karunanidhi that time. Sambandham said that the demerger of northern and the eastern provinces would "immensely harm" the Tamil population in the country. The message of India was very clear that there must be political solution which satisfied the aspirations of the Tamils, he said adding "Sri Lanka's unity and territorial integrity becomes relevant only if the Tamil speaking people are given a political space".

"We have explained the position to Indian government very clearly. We look forward to Indian government taking proper action that alleviates the sufferings of the Tamil," he said. Asked whether they would also meet Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Sambandham said though they certainly look forward to meeting her, they had not made any effort to meet her this time as she was busy with some poll related work.

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