PM reviews Lanka situation at special meeting, Chennai strikes

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New Delhi/Chennai, Apr 23 (ANI): Amid escalating tensions in neighbouring Sri Lanka over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a special meeting was convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday night to review the situation in the island nation.

The hour-long meeting was also attended by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, National Security Adviser M. K. Narayanan, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and Defence Minister A. K. Antony.

The ministers voiced their concerns over the plight of Tamils in the country and asked the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to stop their "barbaric" acts against civilians.

They assessed the state of affairs in the country after the final assault against LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran began on Tuesday afternoon.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, Mukherjee expressed his grief over the merciless killing of Tamil civilians.

"We are very unhappy at the continued killing of innocent Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka. These killings must stop," said Mukherjee.

According to reports, Senior Presidential Advisor and Parliamentarian, Basil Rajapaksa would visit India shortly as a special envoy of President Mahinda Rajapaksa for talks with the Indian authorities.

Meanwhile, a 12-hour strike in Chennai is on to protest against the government's inaction on the situation in Sri Lanka.

Late on Tuesday night, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi had called for the strike on Thursday. He issued a "final appeal" and asked all Tamils, irrespective of their political affiliations, to join the strike.

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) supremo clarified that the priority was not to ban the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), but to save the lives of thousands of Sri Lankan Tamils. (ANI)

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