India's focus on Lankan Tamils' welfare, PM assures Karuna

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Manmohan Karunanidhi
New Delhi, Oct 2: It has emerged that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wrote to DMK chief M Karunanidhi last week on the Sri Lankan issue.

The latter had sent a letter on Aug 20, expressing concern over the plight of ethnic Tamils in the island nation who were displaced by the Lankan Army's prolonged battle with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

India must introduce a resolution in the United Nations General Assembly as well as the UN Human Rights Commission and therein demand that ethnic Tamils be given the right to devise an acceptable political solution since Sri Lanka has failed to take steps for their welfare, Karunanidhi said. 

The DMK chief sought Permanent Resident Status for the Tamil refugees living in India. Karunanidhi also appealed for a fact finding team that can ascertain whether Sri Lanka is properly utilising the Rs 500 crore assistance given for the re-settlement and rehabilitation of ethnic Tamils.

Tamil fishermen must be protected from attacks by the Lankan Navy and the island nation's defence personnel should not be trained anywhere in India, he stressed.

In his Sep 25 reply, the PM assured Karunanidhi that India's focus has been on the welfare of Lankan Tamils ever since the civil war ended in 2009.

India has urged Sri Lanka to continue the dialogue with the political representatives of ethnic Tamils so that more power can be devolved to them, he said. India will try to ensure a future that is marked by "equality, dignity, justice and self-respect" for the Tamils in Sri Lanka, the PM added.

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