Call Lankan Prez on Tamils issue: Jaya to PM

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Chennai, Oct 9: Ridiculing Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi for his suggestion to 'flood' the Prime Minister's Office with telegrams to save the Tamils in Sri Lanka, Former Chief Minister and AIADMK General Secretary J Jayalalithaa on Thursday, Oct 9 reiterated that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should call up Lankan President to stop the 'genocide' against the Tamils.

In a statement here, Ms Jayalalithaa said she had already suggested that Mr Karunanidhi, as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and as the leader of an important constituent of the Congress-led UPA Government at the Centre, should exert pressure on the Dr Singh to call up the Lankan President and ask him to stop the 'genocide' against the Tamils.

''In response, Mr Karunanidhi now comes up with the 'brilliant' idea the people of Tamil Nadu should flood the Prime Minister's Office with telegrams to exert pressure on the Prime Minister,'' she said.

While addressing a public meeting here on Oct 6, the Chief Minister was driven to asserting that his party was even prepared to withdraw from the UPA coalition, if it was necessary, to exert pressure on the Dr Singh.

In May 2004, Mr Karunanidhi personally went to New Delhi and directed the seven DMK representatives, who were given Ministerial berths at the Centre, not to assume charge unless the Shipping Portfolio was allotted to Mr T R Baalu who managed to get it, she alleged.

''But when it is an issue relating to the Tamil people, he merely pontificates from public platforms and asks the people to send telegrams. So much for his so-called concern for the Tamil people,'' Ms Jayalalithaa criticised.

She said in the ongoing conflict in the island, thousands of innocent civilian Tamils had been displaced. They were rendered homeless and living as refugees in their homeland.

They were struggling without food, medicines and shelter. Women and children are forced to bear the brunt of these problems, she claimed.

In this backdrop, sending telegrams or reprimanding a low-level official of the High Commission was of no use to these suffering people.

''Should not the persons in power at the Centre and the State have at least an iota of concern for these suffering Tamils,?'' she asked and urged the Centre to mobilise necessary relief material for the Lankan Tamils suffering without food, clothing, shelter and medicines.

Describing Mr Karunanidhi's statement on Tamils' issue as amusing, Ms Jayalalithaa said ''he seems to be of the opinion that every time he and his minority government are pilloried for their lapses, insensitivity or apathy, the best way to wriggle out is to throw mud at someone else.'' The AIADMK leader said she had questioned Mr Karunanidhi's lack of commitment to the cause of Indian fishermen who were periodically killed by the Lankan Navy and the Tamil civilians of Lanka, who were being 'butchered by the Lankan Armed Forces' on the pretext of a civil war.

She had pointed out that when it pertained to getting plum positions in the Centre for party loyalists, the Chief Minister was not averse to using his clout, but when it came to the problems faced by the Tamil citizens of Sri Lanka, he was merely confining himself to issuing statements sitting in Chennai.

When she damaged Mr Karunanidhi's self-proclaimed credentials as the ''saviour of the Tamil people,'' Mr Karunanidhi was trying to wriggle out by accusing her of being whimsical and inconsistent in her policy on Sri Lankan Tamils, she claimed.

Stating her stand and that of the AIADMK on the Tamils issue was well known, she said ''we recognise the rights of the Tamil people of Sri Lanka for equality with their Sinhala brethren.

''We recognise their demand for equality before law, equality in educational institutions and equality in employment. We recognise their just struggle for self determination. We also recognise their struggle for an autonomous Tamil homeland within the federal set-up of Sri Lanka, but opposed to armed struggle.

''What we are opposed to is an armed struggle, which has lost its way, as a result of which thousands of innocent men, women and children on either side are being wantonly killed.

''We are distressed that a Former Indian Prime Minister was brutally assassinated on Tamil soil as a fallout of this armed struggle. We are also opposed to the policy of annihilation followed by the protagonists of this armed struggle to eliminate political opponents, including Tamils,'' Ms Jayalalithaa said.

''There are two very clear and distinct issues. The Tamils' fight for self-determination is one. Tamil militancy or terrorism is the other. We support the first. We oppose the latter. More so, when the aftermath of this terrorism left an imprint of blood in India and even posed a threat to the security and sovereignty of the Indian Nation.

''Mr Karunanidhi, in his characteristic style, is trying to obfuscate matters by mixing up the two,'' Ms Jayalalithaa added.

UNI

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