Karunanidhi reiterates his demand of ceasefire between Sri Lankan forces and LTTE

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Coimbatore/Chennai, Nov 16 : Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Muthuvel Karunanidhi on Sunday reiterated his demand of ceasefire between the Sri Lankan forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Sri Lanakan President Mahinda Rajapakse on November 13 in New Delhi ruled out any possibility of ceasefire till the rebels laid down their arms.

The Tigers say they are fighting to establish a separate homeland for Sri Lanka's Tamil minority, which has complained of marginalisation by successive governments led by the Sinhalese majority since independence from Britain in 1948.

But the Sri Lankan government says the rebels must be destroyed, because they are on a host of terrorism lists including those from the United States, India and Europe, and adds that it is increasingly confident of defeating them soon.

"Ceasefire will be our primary demand and until we see this happening we cannot be satisfied," Karunanidhi, who was in Coimbatore for a party function, told reporters.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee has ruled out any Indian involvement in solving the conflict, which the government says must be solved through dialogue.

Sri Lankan government's special envoy to India had sought assurance from Colombo that all humanitarian steps would be taken to protect the ethnic Tamils in the island nation during the ongoing military offensive against the LTTE.

Meanwhile film fraternity of Tamil Nadu industry including actor Vijay joined one-day long hunger strike to demonstrate solidarity with the Sri Lankan Tamils being allegedly killed by the forces in the island nation.

Hundreds of fans of Vijay participated in the hunger strike, organised by them.

"I am very happy that my fans from across the state have organised such a humanitarian and genuine cause. I am very happy to be part of this and I wish them all the success," said Vijay.

The escalating conflict in northern Sri Lanka between government troops and Tamil Tigers has roiled Indian politics.

LTTE supporters in India say the government gives weapons to Sri Lanka, but New Delhi says it only provides non-lethal equipment. Diplomats say it also provides intelligence that has helped Sri Lanka to intercept Tiger boats.

The Indian government had also decided to provide 800 tonnes of relief material to the civilian population in conflict-hit northern Sri Lanka.

Nearly 80,000 relief packets containing necessary life saving drugs, clothes and food material have already been dispatched to Sri Lanka.

ANI

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