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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 949

Stalin wants strong message from Centre to Sri Lanka, TESO meet in Delhi

From R. Vasudevan—Reporting from New Delhi
New Delhi, 21 February (Asiantribune.com):

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam treasurer M.K.Stalin has urged the Centre to send out a strong message to Sri Lanka to put an end to the atrocities perpetrated against Tamil Nadu fishermen .

Leading a demonstration to highlight the plight of the fisherfolk of the State, organised by the Tamil Eelam Supporters Organisation (TESO) at Tiruchirapaali, he said continuance of inhuman attacks on fishermen, who ventured into sea, by Sri Lankan forces has been a matter of grave concern. Making a fervent plea to the Centre to effectively intervene in the issue, he recalled that an understanding was reached between the then External Affairs Minister S.M.Krishna and his Sri Lankan counterpart that Indian fishermen would not be harassed even if they crossed the International Maritime Boundary inadvertently.

It was also agreed then that in the event of any violation they would be cautioned and sent back. The Sri Lankan forces would not fire at them and harm them. The understanding was reached against the backdrop of DMK and other parties making repeated requests to the Centre to protect Tamil Nadu fishermen, he said.

The Centre was duty-bound to safeguard the fishermen of Tamil Nadu from such frequent attacks on the high seas, as they were Indian citizens, he said.

The DMK Chief, M.Karunanidhi, had been working out strategies under the banner of TESO for a lasting solution to the Tamils issue. Publicising TESO resolutions had helped create awareness on the issue among the international community.

It has been proposed to hold a TESO conference at New Delhi next month, in which the leaders of various political parties and representatives of Amnesty International are expected to participate. Referring to the pictures of dead Prabakaran’s son in Lankan custody, Stalin said that pictures had shocked the conscience of the Tamil community.

T. R. Baalu and Subbulakshmi Jagadeesan, DMK leaders and former Union Ministers, K.Veeramani, leader of the Dravidar Kazhagam, Thol Thirumavalavan, MP and leader of Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, Suba Veerapandian, and A. K. S. Vijayan, MP, participated.

Pro-Eelam rhetoric gets shriller

Loyal ally of Congress in UPA, the DMK is increasingly finding it hard to stem the tide of public and TN parties anger and is being forced toadopt a strident pro-Eelam stance.

Alleged pictures of 12-year-old Balachandran, son of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakarn, detained in an army bunker before he was shot dead in cold blood, have added more fuel to DMK rhetoric. This has the potential to create complications for UPA government. Colombo has dismissed the photos as fake.

With the US all set to move another resolution before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on March 15, the UPA government at the Centre would be under intense pressure to vote in its favour and do a rethink on its diplomatic relations with Sri Lanka.

Observers point out India, which has historically refrained from voting against resolutions targeting individual countries, had succumbed to the anti-Sri Lanka chorus from Tamil Nadu to deviate from its stance. This earned the country the fury of Sri Lanka which has never tired of emphasizing that the fight against LTTE stemmed from the same concern for territorial integrity which New Delhi summons in the case of J&K. It has also reminded India that LTTE was responsible for the cold-blooded killing of former PM Rajiv Gandhi.

Sri Lanka's anger has raised doubts whether India will vote against the island nation yet again at the UNHRC. However, it will have to contend with renewed pressure from its long-time alliance partner, the DMK, as well as from other political parties in the state, including the ruling AIADMK, to take a tough stand against the Sri Lankan government for war crimes in view of the Channel 4 documentary.

DMK organizing secretary and MP T K S Elangovan has said the said the alleged pictures were “ yet another proof that Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa was "a war criminal". He said, "Rajapaksa should be produced before the International Court of Justice. We insist that India vote against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC meet in Geneva."

The DMK has announced a meeting of the Tamil Eelam Supporters' Organisation (Teso) in New Delhi on March 7.

"Kalaignar (Karunanidhi) was very upset when he saw the pictures of Prabhakaran's son. He will put pressure on the Centre to vote against the Sri Lankan government," said a senior DMK leader. "We will try to create a consensus at Teso's Delhi meeting," he added.

Hectic preparations are on for the Teso meeting which could bring the Sri Lanka issue under the national spotlight. By holding the meeting in the capital, the DMK hopes to whip up sentiments on a wider platform. The party claims that at least 35 national political parties, including the Congress, the BJP and the CPM will attend the meeting. "The idea is to influence national leaders to raise the issue in Parliament during the budget session. Amnesty International and other human rights groups will also participate in the meeting," said the DMK leader.

Party treasurer M K Stalin and DMK parliamentary party leader T.R. Baalu met United Nations deputy general secretary Jan Eliasson and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navaneetham Pillai recently and handed over resolutions passed at the Teso meetings held in Tamil Nadu.

- Asian Tribune -

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam treasurer M.K.Stalin
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