TN Govt open to enact spl law to curb expression of support to LTTE

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Chennai, Jan 29: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today told the State Assembly that the government was open to enacting a special law to curb the expression of support to banned organisations like the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the state.

The Chief Minister made the significant observation while responding to the concerns, raised by members of the opposition AIADMK and the Congress, a key ally of the ruling DMK, over the support offered by some political parties and organisations to the outlawed LTTE in the state.

Soon after the Question Hour, the House witnessed heated debate as the members demanded action against Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi (VCK) President Thol Thirumavalavan for offering open support to the LTTE on the pretext of organising a conference on ''Right to Freedom of Expression'' here on January 27.

Referring to Congress legislator C Gnanasekaran's demand for arresting Mr Thirumavalavan on charges of offering support to the LTTE, the Chief Minister said one should ponder whether there was provision in law to arrest those who express verbal support to banned organisations in view of the Supreme Court verdict.

The Supreme Court (in the POTA review case preferred by MDMK General Secretary Vaiko) had clearly stated that mere expression of verbal support to a banned outfit would not be a penal action, he said.

''However, I am not willing to wriggle out of the issue, stating that there is no provision in law,'' he said adding, ''We have to take steps, taking into consideration the apex court's verdict.

''Even now it is not too late. If it is necessary, the government is prepared to constitute a team of eminent legal experts to explore the possibility of enacting a special law to curb the the expression of support to banned organisations,'' Mr Karunanidhi said.

He requested the members to give their views on the issue.

''We should put an end to this issue with this, which will be better for us and the country,'' he added.

Stating that he was aware of the sentiments of the Congress leaders, Mr Karunanidhi said they were expressing their dissatisfaction over some events, organised in the city and other parts of the state in support of LTTE by some political parties and organistions. The leaders had also expressed their ire against the government, as if it had allowed these parties and organisations to hold meetings in support of LTTE, he said and clarified that the government had to meet legally, leaders like Mr Thirumavalavan and others, who were supporting LTTE.

Mr Karunanidhi said just because the Supreme court had said mere expression of verbal support to a banned organisation would not attract penal action, the pro LTTE leaders could not express their views in any manner.

Stating that he never supported the remarks, allegedly made by Mr Thirumavalavan against Congress leaders and leader of the opposition J Jayalalithaa, the Chief Minister said just because the government was not taking action, it should not be construed that it supported their stand.

Mr Karunanidhi said he had already made it clear that the support to LTTE should be distinguished in two parts-pre Rajiv Gandhi and post Rajiv Gandhi era (before and after his assassination). ''This is my stand and I will never change it'', he told the Congress members.

At the same time, leaders of the alliance parties like Mr Thirumavalavan and other organisations should be restrained, while organising meetings and conferences (to offer support to LTTE) as it would be good for them and for the government.

When he said it was good for the government, he never meant that he was keen on preserving the government, Mr Karunaidhi said, adding he was stating this only with the intention of preserving peace in the state.

Mr Karunanidhi said he had high regards for Rajiv Gandhi. Though he had a wordy duel with him during electioneering, he never failed to regard him and Mr Gandhi also had great regards for him, he said. ''We cannot forget or dismiss the demise of Mr Gandhi, as just an incident'', Mr Karunanidhi said and regretted that those who supported LTTE had gone to the extent of asking whether we should still shed tears for death of Mr Gandhi.

They had also reportedly asked whether the Congress leaders had stopped brushing their teeth and eating, and Ms Jayalalithaa had shed her weight in the last 17 years, since the killing of Mr Gandhi, Mr Karunanidhi said adding ''I dont accept such remarks and wished this should not lead to a war of attrition''.

Taking exception to the remarks made by AIADMK whip K A Sengottaiyan, he said the government never argued before any court of law that the arrested LTTE men should be released.

Attributing motives to the court order, releasing LTTE militants would amount to contempt of court, he warned.

Mr Karunanidhi also had a dig at former AIADMK minister D Jayakumar for stating that Mr Ponnambalam was killed by the LTTE. He would agree that Tamil leader Amirthalingam was eliminated by the LTTE, but Mr Ponnambalam, the eminent lawyer had a natural death, he said.


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