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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2859

Eelam no longer feasible, says Karunanidhi

[caption id="attachment_1564" align="alignright" width="313" caption="M Karunanidhi - Tamil Nadu Chief Minister"]M Karunanidhi - Tamil Nadu Chief Minister[/caption]From S. Murari, Chennai

Chennai,01 July ( In a major shift in stand in keeping with the current ground reality in Sri Lanka after the defeat of the separatist LTTE, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi said on Wednesday that an independent Eelam was no longer achievable and "we can now only fight for equal rights and autonomy for Tamils there".

Replying to a special discussion in the State Assembly on the issue, Mr Karunanidhi recalled how the DMK gave up its separate Dravida Nadu demand following a move to outlaw separatist movements, and secured for States a greater measure of autonomy and for Tamil classical language status by working in tandem with "understanding regmies at the Centre".

Deamand for Eelam

Recalling that the demand for an independent Eelam was born after years of peaceful struggle by the likes of S J V Chelvanayagam, A Amirthalingam, Kuttimani and Jegan, he said in a veiled reference to LTTE's armed struggle for an independent Eelam that "a movement is for the people and not the other way round and when it starts hurting the people, we have to pause and ponder alternative paths to achieve our goals".

"In the present circumstances, we can only raise our voice for equal rights and autonomy for Tamils and devolution of powers to their region", he said and cautioned members, who wanted President Mahinda Rajapaksa to be hauled before the International Criminal Court for alleged human rights violatiuon, that such provocative statements "will only further infuriate the Sinhalese to the detriment of suffering Tamils".

Not for putting Mr Rajapaksa in the dock

He said "our aim should be for the betterment of the Tamil people and not for putting Mr Rajapaksa in the dock". If Tamils lot were to be improved, it could be done only in cooperation with the present government in Sri Lanka, he said.

He said just as the DMK, by giving up its separatist demand and fighting for a Government at the Centre that would be responsive to the needs of the States, achieved its objective, "there may come a time when Tamils may rule Sri Lanka along with majority Sinhalese".

He said it was not impossibility and pointed out how America had elected Barrack Obama, a black, as its President for the first time in its history.

Deputy Leader of the Opposition AIADMK O. Panneerselvam lamented that the Governments here could not even ensure that the relief ship, chartered by European Tamils for providing relief to three lakh Tamils displaced by the war, reached them.

Vananga Mann Ship will not be sent to Colombo

Responding to this, Mr Karunanidhi said the ship, Vananga Mann, which had been turned back by Sri Lanka and which was now anchored off Chennai, would not be sent back to Colombo. However, the Indian Government was pondering over how to reach the relief materials to the displaced Tamils.

Mr Karunanidhi also said that Sri Lankan Minister and Ceylon Workers Congress leader Arumugham Thondaman called on him a few days ago and suggested that a team from Tamil Nadu visit Sri Lanka to study the situation." I told him we cannot visit Sri Lanka without sanction from the Government of India. I suggested instead that he work for improving the lot of Tamils and promised to mobilize support here for his efforts". Mr Karunanidhi said he was hoping to get a favourable response from Mr Thondaman.

- Asian Tribune -

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