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Tamil Nadu MPs to meet Rajapaksa on Wednesday

Source: PTI
June 08, 2010 19:30 IST

A delegation of Members of Parliament of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Congress from Tamil Nadu will call on Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in New Delhi on Wednesday to exhort him to take steps for early resettlement of over 80,000 Tamils displaced due to war and political resolution of the ethnic issue in that country.

It will be perhaps the first political delegation from Tamil Nadu to call on a visiting Sri Lankan president.

The delegation headed by DMK parliamentary party leader T R Baalu will meet Rajapaksa, who is visiting India for the first time after his resounding victory in the January 26 elections, and discuss the issue of rehabilitation and resettlement of the displaced Tamils.

"We will be meeting Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa on Wednesday to press him the need for resettling over 80,000 people who are still lodged in various camps in northern Sri Lanka," Baalu said.

He said the delegation would also discuss about the political solution to ethnic issue, which the Sri Lankan government has promised after the end of the 30-year-long civil war last May following the death of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam chief Velupillai Prabhakaran.

"We will also urge the president to quickly address the Tamil question and take steps to integrate Tamils into the mainstream," he said.

Tamil groups accuse Rajapaksa of "killing the minority Tamils" during the end of the civil war.

Most MPs who were part of the 10-member delegation that went to Sri Lanka in October 2009 will be part of tomorrow's delegation.

Sources said that almost all DMK MPs are expected to join the delegation, while senior Congress members will also form part of the team.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi had on Sunday written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh requesting him to take up the Sri Lankan Tamils issue with Rajapaksa during his three-day visit.

Karunanidhi in his letter to Singh said nearly 80,000 Tamils were still living in transit camps, awaiting rehabilitation measures.

"Those families who have been rehabilitated and settled elsewhere should also be provided with economic development and justice-based reconciliation to work towards a permanent political settlement," he said.
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