Only politics can solve SL ethnic crisis: MK

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Chennai, Nov 2: DMK President and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on Sunday, Nov 2 said a negotiated political settlment was the only solution to the decades-long ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka, where innocent Tamils were being killed by Lankan Military troops.

In a ten-page epistle to the party cadres in which he had a dig at DPA's estranged ally PMK for its criticism of the DMK on the issue, Mr Karunanidhi reiterated that a military solution was not possible in Sri Lanka. Observing that there was no compulsion for the DMK to prove its credentials on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, he said the wish of every person in Tamil Nadu was to bring in immediate ceasefire to put an end to the ongoing genocide.

''But there are differences of opinion on how to implement it'', he said, recalling Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's remarks that India had always been insisting for a negotiated political settlement to the crisis.

He also recalled External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee's statement on October 16 that normalcy could not return to Sri Lanka through military action and that the Sri Lankan Government should work towards arriving at a political solution through talks.

Reiterating the stand, Mr Karunanidhi said the demand for a neogtiated political settlement was made only to bring in immediate ceasefire in the Island Nation.

Refuting PMK Founder S Ramadoss charge that the decisions taken at the All-Party Meeting on October 14 were put on the backburner, Mr Karunanidhi said, ''it was improper to find fault among ourselves''. ''Our aim is that every Tamil in Sri Lanka should be saved and protected and the truth is that we are working towards achieving it'', he added.

Observing that he considered the criticism of PMK as a chance to enable him to give a detailed explanation on the issue, the Chief Minister appealed to all political parties to take a pledge and remain united on the issue.

Denying Dr Ramadoss charge that the mere collection of funds would not solve the problems of the suffering Tamils in Sri Lanka, Mr Karunanidhi said all the resolutions passed at the meeting were immediately sent to the Central Government.

As a follow-up action, the Centre had summoned the Sri Lankan High Commissioner and expressed its condemnation to the ongoing genocide. The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also spoke to Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse over phone on the issue, besides deputing the External Affairs Minister Mr Pranab Mukherjee to Chennai to meet him.

Pointing out the massive human chain rally organised in the city that stretched upto Chengalpattu in pouring rains, the rally organised by the film world in Rameswaram and the fast by the film actors in the city yesterday and the Rs 45 lakh funds collected for the Sri Lankan Tamils Relief fund, Mr Karunanidhi asked whether these actions had put the issue in the cold storage.

Referring to the decision taken at the all-party meeting setting a two-week deadline for the Centre to ensure ceasefire in Sri Lanka, failing which the MPs from Tamil Nadu would tender their resignations, Mr Karunanidhi said some parties like the Congress and the CPI(M), which were party to the decision, had expressed reservations later.

On Dr Ramadoss' charge that mere collection of funds would not solve the problem of the Tamils in Lanka, he said the decision to collect funds was taken, considering the plight of the Tamils, who were starving for food and clothing.

''What to do if people find fault even on such actions'', he regretted.

On how to send the relief materials to the suffering Tamils, Mr Karunanidhi said the State Government was estimating the quantum of rice it could provide to the suffering Tamils.

He said all the relief materials would be sent only through the International Red Cross Society and UN organisations and not through the Lankan Government.

The State Government had been keeping constant touch with the Centre and listing out details on the items to be sent to the Tamils.

On the follow-up measures taken by the Union Government consequent to the decisions of the all-party meeting, Mr Karunanidhi said the Centre had been taking steps on the issue within its powers. ''A nation can directly intervene in the internal affairs of the neighbouring country only to a certain extent. One should understand the limitations of the Centre'', he said and added that the Indian Government had taken steps within its limitations.

He said if the MPs submitted their resignation and the Government falls at the Centre, a situation would arise wherein even these type of efforts and help could not be done to the suffering Tamils.

UNI

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